Thursday, April 06, 2006

2005 Oz Collectible Review Figurines

For those not familiar with Charming Tails, they are Fitz and Floyd's adorable line of figurines of mice and other forest dwelling critters inspired by the area artist Dean Griff grew up in. Mice played a pivotal role in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz so I guess a mouse Oz figurine is more than appropriate. "May Your Shoes Bring You Home Again" is a part of the Charming Tails with Sole collection which has mice and ladybugs with various footwear. These darling figurines are hand painted resin and 3 inches high. The ruby slipper is encrusted with little red "jewels". The little mouse is holding a basket with a gingham cloth inside. This piece is such a delightful homage to Oz.

Dept. 56 is a company that truly has something for everyone. They are probably best known for their resin and ceramic miniature buildings that make up their Christmas villages. Many pieces illuminate and are animated in one way or another. Dept. 56 also offers an extensive Halloween line, national landmarks, and hot licenses such as Disney, M & M's, Peanuts, Coca Cola, and the Wizard of Oz. The Dept. 56 Oz pieces seem to be some of the must haves of 2005.

"We're Not in Kansas Anymore" shows Dorothy's tornado battered farmhouse with the ruby slippered feet of the Wicked Witch of the East jutting out from underneath. The house lights up and is accompanied by 3 figurines of curious munchkins. It's companion piece is "Follow the Yellow Brick Road", a figurine of Glinda and the Munchkins bidding Dorothy farewell as she and Toto start off on their journey.

"Want to Play, Scarecrow?" makes a unique scene not often seen in collectibles. The Wicked Witch makes a menacing figure on the roof of the Tin Man's cabin as she prepares to hurl a ball of fire at the frightened trio of the Tin Man, Dorothy holding Toto, and the Scarecrow while a fighting apple tree looks on. The Tin Man's cabin is also a light up piece.

Next we have "The Spooky Forest", a scene depicting the fearful foursome and Toto as they plod through the Haunted Forest to do battle with the Wicked Witch. Toto is standing at the base of the Haunted Forest sign looking up at the gnarled tree where vultures and owls are perched. Dorothy is looking at her three jittery companions; the Tin Man holding his trusty axe and shouldering a large wrench, the Cowardly Lion holds tight to his net and witch remover while being held in mid-air by his two friends, and the Scarecrow is holding a staff. It's companion piece is the formidable castle of the Wicked Witch of the West. A Winkie stands on the drawbridge guarding the entryway to the castle. The Witch, in all her beautiful wickedness, stands high up in a turret commanding the winged monkeys that are hovering overhead. The castle lights up and the monkeys actually rotate. 

All of the pieces have the quality you can expect from Dept. 56. Recently, a figurine entitled "We're Off to See the Wizard" was added to this collection and I hope to see more releases later this year. 

Westland Giftware has been producing a wide range of Oz collectibles. Some of their best is their new Wizard of Oz alphabet series. They are 3 to 4 inches tall yellow brick road letters outlined in red with a character or object representative of each letter. There is also a 23 inch tall display shelf to showcase your entire alphabet. This is a very cute item to teach little Oz lovers their A-B-C's or something a teacher may want for the classroom. You could get your initials, spell your or your favorite character's name. An Oz fan could have a lot of fun with this set.

Some of my very favorite Oz collectibles are of other established popular characters putting their own lovable spin on the wonderful characters of Oz. These pieces really add a touch of whimsy to the Oz collection. Hello Kitty, Betty Boop, Jessica Rabbit, Precious Moments, and the Muppets are just a few well loved figures who have taken a detour down the yellow brick road. Now the Hamilton Collection brings us "There's No Place Like Springfield."

In lieu of the Emerald City, Springfield's nuclear power plant serves as the base to this set. Monty Burns peers ominously from the smoke billowing from the stacks. Bart is the Scarecrow, Homer is the Cowardly Lion, Marge is Dorothy, Maggie is Toto, and Lisa is the Tin Man. This is wonderful for Simpsons fans, Oz fans, or anyone with a great sense of fun. I don't have this piece myself just yet, but it looks hilarioz and I want to add it to my collection soon and I hope many of you will consider doing the same.

Lenox usually produces fine Ivory china figurines with 24 K gold accents bearing little to no color. They started the Oz series in 2003 with Dorothy produced in muted tones. However they would have chosen to issue this series, I was very much looking forward to adding a Lenox piece to my collection, but I am very glad they opted for some color. Without a hint of hues the pieces would have appeared more suited to the drabness of Kansas than the vibrant land of Oz.
Dorothy was followed by the Scarecrow, the Wicked Witch, the Tin Man, and the Cowardly Lion. In 2005, Lenox continued their superb line with Glinda.