Thursday, November 17, 2011

A Brilliant Concept Figure Keeps My Wife Happy: Angel Spike Puppet Plush Rocks!

The Good: Great construction, Fun concept, Limited edition nature
The Bad: Expensive
The Basics: Cute, well-detailed and clever for the concept, the Spike Puppet doll from Diamond Select Toys is a pricey addition to anyone’s Spike collection!

Concept figures are nothing new to collectors of toys. For some reason action figures seem to be a medium where artists may express theoretical possibilities only hinted at in the native medium – book, television or film – and have the idea be well-received. I suppose the idea is that if you’re enough of a fan to collect toys for a series anyway, odds are you’ll want all you can get your hands on. Ironically, in the case of the Spike Puppet plush doll, the puppet preceded the writing about the character. As a result, fans of the “Buffyverse” might be surprised by the quality of the Diamond Select 21” Spike Puppet doll.

Others, more casual fans and those who are not fans of Angel, are likely to be bewildered by even the concept of a Spike Puppet doll. In the fifth season of Angel (reviewed here!), there was a very popular episode called “Smile Time.” In that episode, a demon turned Angel into a, as Spike called him, “wee little puppet man.” Angel was essentially transformed into a muppet. What the packaging of the Spike Puppet doll asks fans to consider is “What if Spike had been transformed instead?” This question forms the basis for the Spike Puppet doll and was actually the subject of the graphic novel Shadow Puppets (reviewed here!)


Cashing in on the popularity of the Angel dolls that Diamond Select Toys created to mimic the puppet Angel from “Smile Time” (including an Angel Puppet, Vampire Angel Puppet and Wounded Angel Puppet dolls), Diamond Select decided to toy with arguably the most popular character in the Buffyverse by making a concept doll of the Spike Puppet. Following the production design of the Angel Puppet, the Spike Puppet arrives as a giant plush collectible intended for the die-hard fans and those who gush over Spike.

The Spike Puppet is a 19 ½” tall felt and leather creation that looks and feels like what one might expect a muppet to. It features the leather coat and leather boots (not slip resistant!) that are trademark to the character and they look amazing. If Spike were a puppet, this is how he would appear, with his slightly purple felt skin, cartoon eyes and only four fingers, the master toymakers at Diamond Select Toys really nailed the concept on this one. Of course, the puppet is not anatomically correct – my partner checked – but it is very much the style of the “Smile Time” Angel and looks just like the Puppet Spike from “Shadow Puppets.”

What the Spike Puppet in the box fails to wow many collectors with is the hair. Spike is known for his bleached blonde hair and in virtually every box of these puppets I have seen, the fur-like hair is going every which way (like some twisted Don King puppet!). But out of the box, that hair may be brushed back and the result is that Spike looks extraordinary and perfectly like what one would expect if James Marsters’s character were made into a muppet! In fact, one wonders where the cigarette for the puppet is!


Despite the toy being marketed toward adults and serious collectors only, the Spike Puppet does not come with a plush cigarette. Instead, he comes with nothing. The jacket is removable, but the boots are not (I discovered this the hard way) and the Spike Puppet has only his wits to rely upon for fighting demons . . . or dust.


Because the Spike Puppet is intended for collectors, it is more at home on a doll stand than in the hands of anyone who might play with it. While it is cute and snuggly (my wife has already asked if she can bring this pricey doll to bed . . . grumble), it does not do much of anything. It does not stand up on its own. The Spike Puppet falls over if one tries to stand it up without the aid of a hand, wall or doll stand. And the Spike Puppet lacks any way to actually use the doll as an actual puppet. No, there are no points of entry by which fans may place their hands inside Spike and use him as a ventriloquist prop.

The baffling aspect of this is in Spike Puppet’s mouth. The Spike Puppet has a magnetized mouth so it may close its mouth and keep it closed. This seems especially smart if one has a way to articulate the doll from inside, but because there is no place to put the hand inside this stuffed Spike, collectors must manually close Spike’s mouth and that just seems weird then that the one real posing option would be “open mouth” or “closed mouth!”


Diamond Select Toys has a way of making very collectible toys and the Spike Puppet is strictly limited to 5000 pieces, as is evidenced by a certificate of authenticity within the package (my wife’s Spike Puppet is #4919/5000, for example). Diamond Select Toys made only one batch of these, which is why they continue to appreciate at very fast rates. When I purchased the doll for my wife in February (2009) the price was in the $50 - $75 range. Now, these cannot be found for less than $200, when they may be found at all. Fans continue to hunt these and they seem to like the concept enough to keep paying the increased prices. As a result, this is a great investment piece and all indicators point to the idea that it will continue to be for the foreseeable future!


The Spike Puppet may be expensive, but those who love the character of Spike from Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Angel and are the type who would go to a convention to scream of their adoration of James Marsters are likely to love this toy. I know my partner does!

For other Buffyverse toys, please be sure to check out my reviews of:
Pylean Princess Cordelia
"Fear Itself" Anya
Anya from Season 5


For other toy reviews, please visit my index page by clicking here!

© 2011, 2009 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
| | |

No comments:

Post a Comment