Sunday, January 26, 2014

miWorld: Dairy Queen Starter Set

I came across a display for "miWorld" in Walmart's toy section and was intrigued. These are essentially a modern spin on a doll's house, but instead of building a house, kids are encouraged to build their own miniature malls. To that end, Jakks Pacific has made a bunch of cubes corresponding to actual corporate businesses. Presumably, they're getting a kick-back from these companies (is this the first time we've seen product placement in kids' toys? I'm assuming it isn't, but I can't think of any other examples).

There are also some 5 inch dolls sold separately in this line, but I couldn't care less about those.

Before I go on, I'd like to get the obvious part out of the way: these sets are, on multiple levels, disgusting. They're essentially asking parents to shill out money for advertising aimed at kids. And the companies they're promoting aren't exactly healthy. You can check out some of the other sets on the back of the box.

But I didn't spend $15 on this just to complain about the moral failings of Jakks. As you've probably guessed, I'm not an 8-year old girl. Instead, I'm a member of a demographic that might actually be interested in these things: adult toy collectors.

Because, for whatever reason, these displays are actually scaled pretty close to 1:12, which means they're compatible with six-inch action figures.

The set includes the pieces you need to build the diorama, as well as a few pieces of furniture and some accessories. The floor is composed of a cardboard piece covering plastic: the plastic is pretty sturdy, but the cardboard is a bit warped. Even so, I didn't have much trouble getting figures to stand.

The packaging claims this includes 24 pieces, but that's using a very liberal definition for the word, "piece." To get to 24, they're counting the hot dog bun, roll, and cardboard package as separate pieces. Even so, this is a fairly impressive collection of fast-food-related accessories for the price (I guess it helps that DQ is almost certainly subsidizing their production).

The small accessories are pretty good overall. They do use some cardboard, but only where it's used in real life (the aforementioned hot dog holder, the fries container, and a standing poster).

The ice cream cones and sundaes are pretty great, though the cones won't stand on their own. Fortunately, they'll fit in a lot of figures' grasp.

The chair, table, and counter are all decent, though I'd have liked to get a second chair. 

I should probably mention that these came with some additional stickers. I applied the giant "DQ" to the register, since it'd look pretty dumb without it. I didn't use all the smaller ones, though, in case I want to use the pieces for other purposes. Besides, there's no point in helping DQ's marketing department any more than necessary.

Ultimately, these are pretty awful from a moral standpoint, but really awesome as unusual displays for action figures. Hopefully parents will agree with me on the first point, and I'll be able to grab some of the other sets on clearance.


  1. My daughter and I saw this commercial and immediately wanted them. I am thrilled to hear the quality is questionable so that I dont need to buy them all :P Cheers~cb

  2. I've only seen the dolls, so it is nice to finally see what a set looks like! This reminds me of what Mattel and Barbie used to do in the 80's and 90's, there would be like McDonald's sets or other fast food type play sets for the dolls. For the most part toy companies had gone away from that, so it is odd to see the theme coming back. But the sets look really cool! Great review on this.

  3. Thanks, Michael Lynn P.: I'd forgotten about the McDonald's Barbie sets. I'm extremely torn on this: on one hand, using toys to directly market candy and fast food corporations to kids strikes me as ethically questionable. They're charging parents for marketing unhealthy products to kids: that seems wrong to me. On the other hand, as a collector, these sets are a hell of a lot of fun.