While shopping at Target the other day, I came across this little Playmobil set as part of what seemed to be a general stocking-stuffer section. There were a few other toys too, ranging from Transformers figurines to the usual Hot Wheels cars and so forth. Since I remember back when pretty much any toy you found in such a section was cheap crap, I was pleasantly surprised by the selection. This set cost $3.
Packaging: Exactly how many countries are Playmobil toys sold in? Judging from the number of languages the child safety warning is written in on the back, about a kajillion! Or maybe thirty.
Anyway, it’s a fairly standard blister card, though I do like the color scheme.
Design & Sculpt: Playmobil is a German company, and this is clearly not your traditional American Santa Claus. The beard and the red clothes with the white trim are familiar, but the cape and the stick/staff are not accoutrement I normally associate with Old Saint Nick. The overall look of the figure reinforces his possible origins in Germanic paganism (for instance, Odin was known to fly across the night sky in a sleigh pulled by an eight-legged horse).
It’s an interesting take on Santa for an American like myself, which makes him a welcome addition to my Christmas figure collection. And the elf is a nice bonus too. When did green and yellow become the traditional Christmas elf colors, though?
Plastic & Paint: You don’t get a lot of intricate paint work on toys like these, but what there is has been reliably executed.
Articulation: Both figures have swivels at the arms, wrists, and neck, and hinges at the waist.
Accessories: Your figures get a nice pile of loot: Santa has his stick, while the elf has some sort of candle-in-a-star thing (anyone know what it is?). There’s also a car and a football–both probably reused from previous sets–and a cardboard Christmas present.
Quality Control: No problems.
Overall: Not a bad set at all for $3! A nice addition to my Christmas toy collection, and it’s perfect for my desk at work, where it’s already set up. There’s also a second set with a more “casual Santa” and a Snowman, which I kind of want too…