The Nightmare Before Christmas
Pumpkin King
8 Inch Scale
By: Jun Planning

What is better for our first figure review in the 31 Days of Halloween, than the Pumpkin King himself! This guy is the supposed King of Halloween in Tim Burton’s “The Nightmare Before Christmas”. The film itself is sort of a mystery as it did decent at the box office upon release, but has grown and grown in popularity in the year’s since. Of course I didn’t buy this guy because of his role in the film, which for the record is small.

When the film first came out, I was still of the age where I could get toys, but I was starting to shy away from it. Hasbro made the toys and believe it or not, I owned them all. Not because I liked the film so much, but because I hadn’t seen the movie but just knew it was going to be awesome. Unfortunately when I actually saw the movie, I didn’t care for it and the toys became odd misfits in my collection with no real purpose.

Hasbro’s toys did not do well (remember when I said this film grew in popularity?) and few kids bought them. My complete collection was worth at times, hundreds of dollars, as these toys became sought after items. Unfortunately I was completely oblivious to this and mostly lost them, owing to the fact that I didn’t care for the movie all that much. These toys were so sought after that NECA actually re-made them years later.

Nightmare Before Christmas has become a licensing powerhouse in recent years and these figures from Jun Planning from a few years ago are an example of that. Even though Nightmare Before Christmas does nothing for me as a movie or apparently a toy line, I can still appreciate a cool design. Perhaps if Hasbro would have made this figure, I would have kept better care of those rare toys.

Jun Planning has done some incredible work here with the packaging. There is a lot to like about these clamshells. Starting with their design which is shaped like a coffin. This happens a lot in packages these days, especially when the product is Halloween in nature, but it’s still a lot of fun.

The front of the package is particularly exceptional, with some awesome designed pumpkins around the title card. It really makes this figure pop from the store shelf and it helps recreate the scene in which this character appeared. The back isn’t as exciting, but does show off the other figures in the series.

Perhaps the neatest element of these packages is the peg hook which is in the shape of a Jack-o-Lantern. It’s really cool and just an extra step that puts this packaging above most mass market toys.

Inside there are a fair amount of twist ties, but they’re all easy enough to untwist. There is also an inner liner sheet, with more of the cool pumpkin designs. If you wanted to use this for a diorama for display, it would definitely work. The clamshell itself was a bit difficult to cut open, though.

As I mentioned before, I’m not a huge fan of the movie (although I don’t think I’ve seen it since I was a youngster) and I bought this figure purely for it’s aesthetics. I love the Headless Horsemen, the Real Ghostbuster’s Sam Hain, scarecrows and pretty much anything with a Jack-O-Lantern for a head. Whether you like Burton’s creations or not, you have to admit that this is a pretty frickin’ cool looking character.

That’s what drew me in. Apparently NECA also made a version of this figure, which looks very similar, but I’m told is very fragile and tends to break. This figure looks a bit cooler in my estimation as well, although the NECA version did come with a few more accessories.

The long thin body and surprisingly detailed frame, lead up to this ghoulish pumpkin head that make this guy an instant win in my book. He looks like the perfect icon for Halloween and if you haven’t noticed, he bares a resemblance to the very logo I use for the 31 Days of Halloween. I am a sucker for this sort of design.

After hearing how fragile the NECA version was, I was cautious with this guy. Incredibly I found that the Jun Planning version moves very well and I had no trouble with any of the joints… UNTIL I turned the left hand. I guess the joint was stuck, although it didn’t feel particularly stuck and in a second I had broke it off. Bummer. Thankfully a little super glue put me back in business with not too much of a loss. Personally I’d reccomend putting the hand joints in a nice hot water bath before moving them, just to be on the safe side. I never felt like I was forcing this joint, it just twisted right off.

Everything else moved rather freely and there is an admirable amount of detail throughout the figure. It’s sculpted well and there is a nice little wash on the appropriate areas. It definitely looks good on the shelf and would be a nice starting point for a custom figure of the aforementioned Sam Hain.

He’s very tall and thin, but he has a lot of charm in his design. The only negative aspect would be that his Halloween Town sign is not removable. Although it does seem like it could be “broke” off of his back fairly easily. I didn’t do that, but if I pick up another one for a custom, I probably will.

When Hasbro made these figures back in 1993, the only way they could do these thin limbs and give them articulation was to make them bendable rubber wires. That worked well enough back then, but I’m glad to say that Jun Planning is able to load this guy up pretty well with articulation, but also keep his sculpt where it needs to be.

He has a ton of joints. Obviously mine lost the swivel hinge ability on one wrist.

The level of movement surprised me quite a bit as well. You can get his knees up very high into his chest. I do wish he had a swivel bicep, but it’s passable that he doesn’t.

The toe articulation is an interesting, but largely useless addition. The body is far too top heavy to really pose him on his toes, so while it’s nice to have this hinge, it doesn’t really add many extra posing opportunities.

The Pumpkin King comes with one real accessory and a stand that breaks down into several parts. The stand is probably needed, given his design, but his torch is the more interesting of the two.

I’m not really sure why the stand breaks into so many pieces, but this does technically allow you to use it as a smaller stand or a taller stand. You’ll need all the pieces to grip him around the waist, however.

After breaking the left hand, I was very timid to try and remove the right. However, it felt like I could pop it out and I did with little trouble at all. As you can see the wrist pegs are tiny.

The torch hand is really quite cool, although I do wish the torch itself was removable from the hand. Even without that, I really enjoy the torch’s translucent fire look. It gives him a cool weapon, or you could use it to recreate the famous scene in which it appeared and reveal Jack underneath… Assuming you have a Jack figure.

It would be nice if he had a few more accessories, but there’s not a ton else he could come with. NECA added some pumpkins and those might be okay, but that’s about it.

The stand helps you give him a scarecrow-like display option.

I bought this guy last year and I think I got him for under $15, but you can expect to pay between $15-$20 for him. If you can find him for under $15, I think he’s definitely a good score. Even with the broken wrist, I don’t feel like I got a bad deal on him. He’s got a lot of custom potential and looks neat on his own, even if you know nothing about Nightmare Before Christmas.

Score Recap:
Packaging – 9
Sculpting – 8
Paint – 8
Articulation – 7
Accessories – Torch hand, Stand
Value – 7
Overall – 8 out of 10

“This is Halloween!”

Even though I broke part of this figure, I don’t think he’s a bad toy at all and I still gave him a pretty high score. He’s got a good design and although that same design does make him a bit fragile, he adds some diversity to the toy shelf and looks great on display for Halloween. If you’re looking for a neat pumpkin headed scarecrow, the Pumpkin King figure from Jun Planning is a great version.

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