It’s Figures & Speech, Nerdist’s regular column by, for, and about grown-ups who still play with their toys, but might want to know more before they buy. From product reviews to informed editorials, these are most definitely the articles that’ll make you want to strike a pose.
Only two months ago, I was reviewing the first series of LEGO-like sets based on Freddy Fazbear and friends from McFarlane Toys. Series 2 are now starting to hit stores, so it’s time to see if the sequel is as good as the original wave, of which I was quite fond.
Sequels are usually best when they try to be different in some way, and this wave definitely takes a new approach. While series 1 had several modular, inter-connecting rooms from Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza in the first Five Nights at Freddy’s, Series 2 focuses on the sequels, and has more of an emphasis on the minifigs, with just enough diorama for context. Chances are the market determined this strategy: three of the original sets were exclusive to Walmart, and the remaining one I’ve only seen at Toys R Us. If I had to guess, I’d reckon these smaller sets are aimed at Hot Topic, which sells blind-box minis, vinyls and Funko toys, but not bigger playsets, ever. The 30-ish piece minifig/mini-display sets, which retail for about $8, are very quick builds, not unlike Gashapon except they’re LEGO-ish.
There are two each from the first three Freddy’s sequel games. From part 2, Toy Bonnie and Toy Chica:
Some unusual choices for McFarlane Toys here. In the second game, Chica gets a creepy, sexified makeover that’s supposed to be uncomfortable, and frankly is something the old Todd McFarlane would totally have done in an action figure. Here, because of the simplified block bodies, her hips and curves are non-existent, rendering her cute in a baby chicken kind of way, rather than creepy in a “please God don’t let me be aroused by this” way. Also, those wiry bits aren’t attached to anything on the base – they just hang over the top tile. The backdrops represent the right and left vents in the game’s control room, and yeah, it would have been cooler to get a full-on control room with both vents and both minifigs. But the market wants what it wants, and it does not want playsets, methinks.
Series 2, which predicted real life by being set in a horror maze based on the first two games, gives us Phantom versions of Foxy and Freddy (in-game, they’re hallucinations caused by bad air circulation), which, from a distance, have a bit of a wooden/tiki look. The build on the arcade cabinet is the same as in series 1. Foxy comes with an extra Chica head, which will fit on all the other minifigs. Note Freddy’s robo-foot.
Game 4 is set inside a young boy’s coma nightmare as he lies dying in hospital, and thus features more monstrous versions of the characters, although the minifigs feature the same animatronic piece inside the heads, rather than extra layers of fangs as the game would have it. Nightmare Freddy, with his hat, now seems far more obviously inspired by a certain previous horror character of the same name. Meanwhile, Balloon Boy, who stars in the bonus rounds, gets his own full-size likeness, and a chair with which to sit in the hallway. With so many of the other characters going full monster, his dead-eyed clown creepiness wins the day for fright factor.
At a slightly higher price point, we get bigger diorama bits, like the office from game 2. Or part of it, anyway. If you light it just right you might even feel yourself losing breathable air…
Here’s the problem: when you compare it to the office set from series/game 1, there is just no contest. The first is waaaaay better.
That’s a full-on room, y’all. The new one is a corner of one. It does come with the important character of Springtrap, and some spare heads you can customize with, but the difference is clear–the one on the right is for fans of toys. The one on the left is for collectors of general stuff. Though the dingy deco on the walls makes me hope one day that McFarlane will consider doing scenes from the Saw movies in this style.
The Closet, from game 3, features a creepy surprise within…
It’s Nightmare Mangle, a Frankensteined creation made doubly diabolical by the imagination of the kid who’s dreaming him. And this figure should have been an absolute home run for McFarlane. I mean, just look at it. This is the kind of thing Todd McFarlane himself loves to draw.
Unfortunately, it has problems. The two-necked head part is supposed to clip on to a nub on his arm, which promptly broke off of mine, not even as a snap, but just kinda rubbed off. I was able to jam the neck at an angle into the open neck cavity, but I think I’m going to have to glue it to stay in place; meanwhile, the legs and arms are loose and tend to fall off. I’d like to see a decent action figure of this character, and hope maybe Funko will come through on their figure line.
The closet doors are moderately functional, but it’s a disappointment that the shutters are mere stickers rather than texture. And that’s a problem that carries through to the final set, The Bed.
That wallpaper design is printed on. The bedsheet, however, is a sticker (or rather, several). Look closely at the front and you’ll see it peeling off at both edges where it won’t stay down on the curved surface. This keeps costs down, but if you can’t keep the stickers on it makes the set look more cheaply done. The scary bears are fun, though the bed only features three raised studs, and counting the cute bear, there are four figures that need to stick on. You can’t even really customize an extra one, because the top sticker only has room for the three existing stud-holes.
On the plus side, my bed set came with some extra long pieces, so I was able to join the two bedroom sets together in one bigger diorama.
I’m a little concerned about the future of this line. I’d love a large playset based on the fifth game, Sister Location, with its unique new female characters and multiple rooms, but that seems very unlikely. The third set of Walking Dead playsets has no scheduled release date yet, and the additional announced Game of Thrones ones have never seen release. Five Nights at Freddy’s also appears to be approaching merchandise saturation overkill, with Toys R Us having discounted all their licensed products last time I was in a store. At least if it does end here, McFarlane Toys has given us a wide array of characters, and they can terrorize your LEGO sets for years to come.
One final bonus: the instruction booklets feature pull-out centerfolds replicating the children’s artworks on the walls of Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza.
Now, Scott Cawthon, can you please license a Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza for real? Like, a horror-themed Dave and Busters, year ’round? I’d go weekly. What say you, commenters?
Images: Luke Y. Thompson for Nerdist
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