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Funko Rant: New Wobblers Review

I’m old.  

Or maybe just ‘old school’. 

I’ve been collecting Funko for over a decade. I started with Spastik Plastiks and Wacky Wobblers.  I dabbled in Blox.  I had a few Funko Force.  I collect Peek-a-Boo Pop Ups when I can find them.  I have protos and Freddys and Minis.  I think Pops are okay, but I’m more excited about Dorbz.

And now that I have one, I’m all over Wacky Wobblers all over again.

That’s right, baby. They’re back and they’re pretty damn cool.

‘Back’ isn’t quite right.  They never really went away.  Funko might started with wobblers (Big Boy), but since Pop blew up, Wobblers have slowly receded into the background.  Yes, there are Wobblers for the new Star Wars and Marvel films, but they’re not Funko’s bread and butter anymore. 

Life moves on.

This spring, at ECCC, Funko announced that they were redesigning Wacky Wobblers to better fit with the company’s other lines and they showed off a few Star Wars designs and, weirdly, NFL players.  I say weirdly because, well, don’t you think it’s kind of weird to release Aaron Rogers and Dez Bryant instead of the cast of Civil War or Suicide Squad?  No you don’t?  Well, you’re kind of weird, too.

From the glam shots Funko provided, my first thought was that they stuck a Pop head on a Popeye body, you know, with oversized shins and forearms. They looked kind of cool, but hard to say, really.  I’m going of a photograph after all.  All you could say for sure was that people who collected Wobblers because of the detail and how realistic they looked were shit out of luck.  People like me, who prefer a more cartoony look to their toys, had reason to collect another line.

And I would have collected them if they had actually released some product six months ago.  

The first of the new Wobblers are only now starting to show up, and weirdly again, It’s NFL players.  I finally got a chance to pick one up last week, Houston’s very own JJ Watt.  I bought him for a friend who’s a big Texans fan (and lives in Canada?).  Turns out he already had one so I kept him. 

He’s pretty fantastic.

And here’s why.
(images attached below)

First of all, he’s from Texas so he’s naturally bigger than your average Pop figure.  It’s probably safe to say that ALL wobblers are going to be bigger, not just the ones from Texas, but let’s pretend for a moment that it’s just Texas.  I happen to like the bigger size.  It feels and looks more substantial, which is a silly thing to say considering it’s taller therefore it is more substantial, but there’s something about this size that makes it more desirable to me.  For out of box collectors, it makes you want to pick it up and look at it.  Kind of like a trophy.  If food can have a good ‘mouth feel’ then these Wobblers have a good ‘eye feel’ to them. 

The oversized forearms and lower legs are not distracting and add to the eye feel.  They give the skinny bodies the visual heft they need not to look like stick people.  They also provide a solid base for the figure to stand, even though they come with pegged stands.  Generously pegged.  These wobblers are not falling over. Ever.  Thinking about female Pops, Funko would do well to incorporate the oversized feet into those designs as well.  Poor heavy headed bimbos just keep tipping over on their faces. My only concern for future figures is how they’re going to make fat ones.  The current design looks great on football players, Boba Fett and Princess Leia, but they’re all tall, skinny characters.  Jek Porkins could be a proportional disaster.  Fat body, tiny hands and feet, like a balloon at Macy’s.  Bleah.

Paint scheme is what it is, a football uniform, not a lot of detail to screw up. As us ‘old school’ collectors know, quality control could have used a little more Q when Pops rolled out.  I’ll be interested to see how Boba turns out before passing any judgements on finishes.  Packaging is a nice window box that should make in-box collectors happy…if that can truly ever happen.

Which leaves us with the head. 

As much as I like the new wobblers, I can already tell that the heads are going to bug me.  Maybe more the eyes than anything else.  JJ is currently sitting to my left, staring at me, obviously he’s going to rush me if I don’t get a second body in here to slow him down.  But then I look into his big brown doe-eyes and know that JJ will never hurt me.  It’s obvious that Funko was trying to freshen up the dead, black dot eyes of Pops, but the perfectly round iris, pupil and reflection look of these new Wobblers is kind of creeping me out.  JJ is frowning and supposed to look intense, but all I can see is Precious Moments.  Even when thrown at your head Precious Moment figurines can’t hurt you.  They’re made of sugar spun hopes and candy dipped dreams.  

Yeah, I really don’t like the eyes.

The rest of head, however is fairly well done, even with the creepy eyes.  I wonder if it’s not pad printed like Dorbz.  JJ’s hair is aggressively sculpted, with deep waves and grooves to capture his spikey mane.  I like that look, it lends itself to the cartoony/caricature style of these new Wobblers, a refreshing upgrade over current Wobblers.   I have not been as big a fan of Wobbler design since Pop came out.  Funko’s tried too hard to make them look exactly like what they’re supposed to be.  Some of the protos look spot on, but once you cover up the fine detail with paint, they look a little Kabuki, and maybe just a touch soul-dead.  These new Wobblers are a HUGE improvement.

All in all, I think most Wobbler fans are going to be happy with the new design.  They have a clean look, great eye-feel, and if they can improve the faces, won’t make you think you’re collecting Precious Moments.  I need to see more of them before I commit to calling them a hit or miss, but I’m optimistic.  I think they might even attract some cross-over Pop fans and they almost NEVER collect anything that’s not a Pop.  

Good job, Funko.  Everything old is new again. 


PS:  Since I wrote this last week, I have received my Boba Fett Wobbler.  It rocks.  Sculpting is nice and clean.  I like the cartoony feel.  If you’ve been around and remember the Vans Star Wars figures Funko made a few years ago, they seem to push that aesthetic even further.  Great looking figure with that grab and touch it eye-feel.  Also, no eyes so big improvement right there.  I really want to see Vader now.


PPS:  More thoughts on the eyes. There used to be a customizer who painted the eyes to look more like eyes and less like dots.  They looked pretty good.  It could be an influence, probably not.  Personally, I think it’s part of a concerted effort to give all their lines a more unified look.  Rock Candy has oversized cat eyes and some of the new Mystery Minis from DC and Disney also have bigger eyes than their predecessors.  It might be time for a new focus group.  They’re not seeing the same Precious Moments cuteness that I’m seeing and now can’t unsee.

Posted in: Lifestyle