Welcome to Christmas in Hollywood, our new annual tradition here at InfiniteHollywood.com where we look at all sort of Christmas goodies. Over the next few days and all the way up until Christmas I’ll be shedding some light on my holiday favorites, reviewing some Christmas movies and toys. We’re starting today with the newest addition to my Peanuts Christmas display, Franklin!

I picked up my first Peanuts set for a Charlie Brown Christmas way back in 2003 when these first came out. Back then they were still made by a great little toy company known as Playing Mantis. Sadly Playing Mantis went out of business a short while after these great toys hit the market.

Playing Mantis sold them in large box sets as well as smaller packs as well. These figures really hold up and have become part of my holiday decoration every year. Schroeder’s piano still plays his Beethoven Christmas music. I’ve never changed the batteries! That’s six years going strong!

As cool as those toys are, another company called Forever Fun picked these and a few of the other Playing Mantis Christmas lines up a while back. They’ve been pumping out holiday themed figures ever since. Honestly I don’t think the quality has been quite up to par with the originals, but when I saw Franklin in stores I knew I had to add him to the mix even if he wasn’t a big part of the Charlie Brown Christmas special. So how does he compare to the classics?

I really liked the box packaging of the original Playing Mantis Charlie Brown stuff. So much so that I’ve kept it through the years and repacked the figures neatly inside each year. As you can see I actually got the boxes swapped, but even so they all fit in nicely. The back of the package shows off the other figures in the series and has a nice snow theme to it.

But enough about those classic figures, we’re here to talk about the new addition to the crew, Franklin.

Franklin comes single carded and you can get him in a regular and deluxe set. While the deluxe sets of Charlie Brown and few other characters are repaints of the original figures and come with some nice accessories, Franklin’s deluxe figure comes with a box. It’s silly, so I opted for the regular Franklin.

He comes in a red and green package that definitely has a Christmas feel to it. It seems a bit more high end looking than the other package, but both are good. I particularly like that the inside green part is printed with old Peanuts X-Mas strips. Shame we can’t see more of them.

Despite being a small figure of a cartoon, the articulation is surprisingly useful. These aren’t McFarlane statues. Franklin can get quite a bit of expression out of just the simple cut and swivel joints that he has throughout. He’s not ready for a posedown with a Marvel Legend or anything, but he’s adequate for some good scenes.

Franklin uses the same body sculpt as Charlie Brown. You might think that all of these figure share the same body molds, but actually there are subtle differences throughout. Franklin’s colors are also similar to ol’ Blockhead, but if you notice there are some subtle shade differences.

Franklin’s head sculpt appears to be all new, but there is something about his face that seems familiar. I guess all of Charles Schultz stuff sort of looks alike in 3D format.

I’m not entirely sure what they were going for on his hair, but I don’t quite like it. It’s washed moreso than just painted and it looks a little off. Especially when everyone else just has a flat paint job. Otherwise his paint seems pretty good and not much sloppier than the ones I bought six years ago.

His toboggan hat does seem a tad “too” detailed considering the relatively simple designs of the line, but at least it gives him something that helps him pop. His hat is interesting because the inside isn’t sculpted to fit his hair like the earlier line was. For whatever it’s worth, none of the hats fit on any of these figures except for Charlie Brown. Everyone else’s hat just gently sits on their head, but a sneeze will knock them off.

Believe it or not these guys are known for coming with some pretty cool accessories. Just looking at my original two packs I got a ton of stuff with each figure. Pigpen came with a Snowman, Lucy her stand, etc… As I mentioned before, the deluxe Franklin comes with a strange brown box. It’s pretty lame.

The regular Franklin does get a little though, with his removable hat and a soft goods scarf. The soft good scarf actually looks quite good and I’m pleased to see them implement some soft goods into this line.

Additional Notes:
Whether you get the new figures or the old ones, these are great toys. Kids could actually play with them and they’re pretty sturdy. I like them as decorations and I set up a new scene each year. I love being able to add new characters too. Now we just need that red headed girl with the curls and Peppermint Pattie.

I want to say I paid about $20 for the original sets in 2003, which obviously was a great value. Times have changed quite a bit in the meantime though, so I think $6.99 is a fair price. It’s not a great price by any means and $4.99 would be better. I’m not sure why these cost so much since most the primary tooling was done by Playing Mantis years ago, but things being what they are it’s not a terrible value to add some Peanuts classics to your mantle or shelf.

Score Recap:
Packaging – 7
Sculpting – 7
Articulation – 7
Accessories – Cap, Scarf
Value – 7
Overall – 7 out of 10

Franklin only scores a seven, but he’s a highly recommended seven. Frank is the hardest guy to track down this year, since he’s the newest figure and I’m sure lots of people are trying to add him to their collection. If you like Christmas, than you’re bound to like the Charlie Brown Christmas Special. If you like that, then you’ll like these toys.

4 Responses to Peanuts – Charlie Brown Christmas Franklin Figure Review

  • Bill says:

    The only problem with this figure? Franklin was not even created when the Charlie Brown Christmas special was made! Neither was Woodstock, for that matter. Why didn't they make Violet, or Frieda, or those 2 twin girls with the bobbing heads? That is, characters that are actually on the show.

    These gripes aside, you are right, Newton. These are really fun figures. If any of you out there want these and are cheapskates, go to your local CVS and pick them up the day after Christmas. They are heavily discounted then.

  • Yeah the twin girls would be nice. I don't think Forever Fun is going to stray too far away from the core characters, so it's nice we got Franklin at all. He works alright even if he isn't really a character from that show. Glad you like them too!

  • michelle says:

    I have a peanut figure that has lynus inside the box but the package says it is lucy anyone know what it is worth?

  • kathy says:

    I work at a thrift store in Maryland, and we recently got in a Frieda figure along with others for a great Christmas playset. they are really cute figure, with great accessories. Just thought I would let Bill know she is out there, keep looking 😉

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