Wednesday, September 28th, 2022 at 1:38am by Jason, BZPower Reporter
Series 23 of the Collectible Minifigures got released earlier this month. I do enjoy that they now sell them in boxes with six unique figs, because ordering online has hurt me with random selection in the past, such as when I got three repeats all at once. The six-packs went on backorder almost immediately, so I only just got the two I ordered. Luckily, the two boxes only contained one repeat between them (the Green Dragon) and I was able to pick up the one I was missing (Sugar Fairy) elsewhere. And since I have a full set, how about a quick review of them!
In case you haven't noticed the CMFs in the last twelve years, the deal is there is a collection of 12 figs that are randomly placed in blind bags. (There used to be 16 per series, but that number has been reduced.) At the moment, the best way to avoid getting dupes (or at least finding the ones you want) is to feel the bags and identify specific pieces. Down below, I've offered my advice for how to discover each fig. Although this technique may not last much longer; rumor has it that future CMF releases will be in blind boxes that cut you off from the feeling method. (Ordering online also makes the feel method useless, and with less stores seemingly carrying them it's gotten harder to collect full sets. Oh well.)
CMF Series 23 appears to be holiday themed, with a focus on Christmas characters and (generally non-spooky) Halloween costumes. In fact, 8 of the characters appear to follow the trend of popular costumed figs with specialized headgear to feature various animals or objects. Each CMF includes an instruction / checklist page and a 3x4 display tile in black, per usual.
Nutcracker & Sugar Fairy
The Nutcracker has a fancy uniform printing that is immediately recognizable. The hat is a new mold, and he also comes with a golden cutlass and two walnut printed 1x1 round tiles. His alt face even has him opening his mouth ready to show off his namesake feature. To feel for him, go for a combo of the tile and cutlass. The hat could easily be mistaken for the Snowman's.
The Sugar Fairy might be one of the least interesting in this batch, because we've had fairy figs similar to this before. She does go all out with a tiara, wings, and a dress. The highlight element is the new candy cane mold. (Alas, the hook on the candy cane is too small to fit a bar into, so it's purely decorative.) To feel for her, the candy cane could help, but it could be confused with other long bar accessories. The wings are a surer bet; they are similar to the Dragon's wings, but the Dragon has a bag within a bag while the Fairy doesn't.
Green Dragon Costume & Knight of the Yellow Castle
The Green Dragon costume is an awesome design, with a detailed tail, wing piece, and head. The female head even has two expressions; smiling and menacing. The main drawback is that it's almost entirely a copy of the Series 18 red Dragon Suit Guy from 2018. Still, it's good enough that I can forgive a recolor four years later. The Dragon is one of two figs with a bag in a bag, the other being the Turkey. Once you feel for the secondary bag, then search for the tail or wing pieces.
We always have a ton of Knights, but this fig still manages to bring something new to the table. This little girl is playing as the Knight of the Yellow Castle, complete with body armor, a helmet, a shield, a sword, and a toy horse pole. (Not often do CMFs get three accessories, more than she can hold at once.) The shield is a new print, the armor is a new print, the medium legs are new in light gray, the sword is new in pearly gold, and the feather is new in dark pink; that's a lot of interesting pieces to build up a new army for Castle. And yet the biggest highlight is the new toy horse head, which is printed like the classic LEGO horse but can fit on the end of a pole. Quite the impressive selection. You could feel for many of the small elements, although the shield would have the most unique shape.
Turkey Costume & Wolf Costume
The Turkey Costume is quite clever and the one real connection to Thanksgiving. (Although since that's not a big holiday outside of North America, maybe it's more fitting as part of Christmas.) He has a new bird head and feather arms and a pumpkin accessory, but the fanciest piece is the giant tail on the back which connects to the hips. (This seems like it's also perfect for a peacock tail too. . . perhaps we'll see that in the near future.) The giant tail is also the piece to feel for, and the rest of the parts are in a bag within a bag.
We've had a handful of werewolf figs before, but this is the first legit Wolf Costume we've seen. The headpiece is new, and the minifig's two facial expressions are "hungry like the wolf" and "I'll huff and I'll puff." The torso printing is someone ordinary; the blue overalls are a little worn over the gray fur. He comes with a bag with some new printing on it; not my favorite piece but it works. Coincidentally, the bag element is also the piece to feel for.
Cardboard Robot & Popcorn Costume & Ferry Captain
This is one of the stranger concepts here; a Cardboard Robot. While I can understand the concept, the medium azure and orange colors don't quite fit with what I'd consider cardboard. (I guess maybe its construction paper glued over the cardboard.) The strange rectangular head almost looks like it's out of Minecraft, and has stud connection points on the sides and top. She does have some printing on her arms, including an on/off button, and two expressions, one smiling and one grimacing. Plus, a pair of scissors for cutting the cardboard. The piece to feel for is obviously the blockish costume element.
The Popcorn Costume continues the fine tradition of dressing up like food stuff. He's kind of boring outside the costume; a plain white torso, two simple expressions, and no accessory. He does come with medium dark red legs, which are new in this color. And the costume element itself is well done with the printing and texture. The costume piece would also be the one to feel for.
I've always enjoyed the vehicle costumes, and now the Ferry Captain takes them to the high seas. The Captain himself has a fairly basic dark blue uniform, but the printing of the arm cuffs is nice. The boat mold is great, with two of the new 2L bars in red for the first time creating the smokestacks. If it isn't obvious, the boat piece is the one to feel for.
Christmas Elf & Snowman & Reindeer Costume
We've seen a lot of elves before, and this Christmas Elf has pretty similar printing on the torso, although the short legs have a bit fancier design than usual. Even better, however, is the introduction of a new elf hat with orange pigtails and yellow elf ears, which allows us to give our elves some more diverse headgear. Still, the snow globe accessory is the real highlight, with the printed 1x1 plates underneath the printed dome looking great for the scale.
We've had a ton of Snowmen builds before, but none quite like this. While the torso's printing is very basic, the new round head is the perfect size for a fig, and connects to a top hat and a new mini carrot piece. (I thought it might be the small drill element but was surprised that it's brand new.) Even more fun is the minifig head on the inside; they could've made the Snowman head a single mold but instead they kept it as a costume. This one feels like a must have! The broom element is probably the best piece to feel for.
The Reindeer Costume makes for another good animal feature, and even includes a new antler element as a separate piece to fit atop the head. She also gets a present box complete with some gingerbread cookie prints on 1x1 heart shaped tiles. The box element would be the one to feel for, but don't mistake the 2x2 tile for the one that also appears with the Cardboard Robot.
All in all, I think this is a very strong wave. In my opinion, the Fairy, Cardboard Robot, and Elf are the weakest of the bunch, while the Turkey, Ferry Captain, and Snowman are among my favorite. (Although the recolored Dragon is good and the Knight has a ridiculous number of unique elements.) I am pleased with this selection, and am glad that twelve years later the Collectible Minifigures Series is still going strong. Which ones are your favorites?
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