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Captain Toy/Michael's Review of the Week

Review of Jon Snow, Ghost - Game of Thrones
Exclusive Sixth Scale Action Figure

ThreeZero
Date Published: 2016-02-08
Written By: Michael Crawford
Overall Average Rating: 3 out of 4

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Game of Thrones Jon Snow, Ghost sixth scale figure by ThreeZero

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Introduction

Game of Thrones fans are starting their annual winter ritual - re-watching the past season, dissecting the minutia, arguing over the meaning of every facial expression, and prognosticating the fate of their favorite characters - as they prepare of the start of the next season.

If you're a GoT fan and a sixth scale collector, you have a whole 'nother reason to celebrate - ThreeZero has just released their third figure under the license, Jon Snow. Following up on their successful renditions of Tyrion and Ned Stark, they produced two versions of the bastard Stark, one regular that sells for around $150 depending on the retailer, and one that was exclusive to ThreeZero's online store and sold for $190. That's quite a big jump for an exclusive that includes just one additional accessory, but it's a big additional accessory: Ghost!  I'm covering the exclusive tonight, but everything I discuss, other than Ghost, applies to the regular release as well.

Click on the image below for a Life Size version
Game of Thrones Jon Snow, Ghost sixth scale figure by ThreeZero

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Packaging - ***1/2
Jon and Ghost each come in their own box.  Jon's has a window to see the figure, but Ghost is wrapped up tight inside his box in several layers of very high quality foam.  This was necessary because he is a polyresin, not PVC, statue and because he is very, very heavy.

To keep these two independent boxes together, ThreeZero included a double wide slip cover. On this slip cover is embossed the oath of the Night's Watch, very attractively done.  Everything is collector friendly of course, and easy enough to work with. The slip cover can be a little annoying, since the heavier Ghost box will drop out on its own if you're not careful, and getting the cover back over the two boxes can be frustrating, but it's a minor nit in an otherwise nice package.

Game of Thrones Jon Snow, Ghost sixth scale figure by ThreeZero

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Sculpting - ***
I'm going to be including the sculpting on both Jon and Ghost in this category. I realize that Ghost is caught somewhere between accessory and figure himself, but he's important enough to be part of this category - and the next.

Jon Snow is played by Kit Harrington, and there is no shortage of good close ups of the actor in character. I used this one, this one, and this one when judging the quality of this sculpt. The third one was particularly useful - open it up, put it in a window side by side with the photo below, and you can easily compare.

When I first pulled this guy out of the box, I was a little disappointed. He didn't look as good as either Tyrion or Ned, although that was mostly from an aspect of accuracy.  He still was quite realistic, and I liked the life-like qualities of the expression.  He wasn't merely a mannequin, like all too many figures lately, and he did have the slight texturing and skin work to give him a flesh and blood appearance. But was it Jon?

After comparing with the three stills above, I came to the conclusion that my initial impression was wrong. It was much, much closer than I had thought, especially in the nose and lips. Look at the second photo and you can see they nailed the lips, and in the third, the nose is almost identical. The jawline is a little off, but it's fairly minor, and I think the hair here is still a little rough, much like what we saw with Ned. If those were the only two issues, he'd be a ***1/2 star sculpt easy.

But there is one other area that looks off to me, and it's so critical that it's difficult for the observers eye to notice much else.  We are instantly drawn to the eyes on any character, and it's why a figure like the recent Pepper Potts draws criticism for looking too lifeless. As I said, life-like isn't a problem here, and the slight squint to the eye and worried expression give him all the humanity he needs. But the eyes appeared to have a slight tilt, rising upward from the outside to the inside. This tilt is accented by the same tilt of the eyebrows, part of that worried look I mentioned. I couldn't find any images where his eyes looked quite like this, even when the eyebrows did. For me, it's this shape of the eye on the face that's throwing it off, even if it is a slight thing.

Still, I'm picking nits. It's solid work, and really the only reason it probably won't get as much love as Ned is because Kit doesn't have the age and weathering to his face that allows the sculpt to go nuts.

Even with the eye problem, I might have ended up going with another half star here (like I said, I think I'm getting pretty nit picky in my old age), but there's still Ghost to discuss. And Ghost, while very cool to get, isn't quite doing it for me. Scale still seems a little small - he's about 5 1'2" inches tall at the shoulder and 12 inches long nose to butt, while Jon is 11 5/8" tall - and while they upped his size from the very first prototype, he could still stand to be a little bigger. His internal scale seems off as well, with a head too large for his body.  If you look at him from the show in profile, you'll see what I mean.

Along with seeming to large for the body, the head itself seems off a bit when it comes to shape.  The eyes are too round, the snout is too long, and even snarling, I think the snout should be dipped downward a bit. While Ghost isn't awful - and I think he was a very cool edition to this figure - his sculpt isn't at the same level of quality as the rest of the figures in this series.

BTW, it's worth mentioning that the ThreeZero figures are slightly smaller than other lines from other companies in this scale.  Ned was just south of 12", and Jon is about a 1/4" shorter than him at 11 5/8" tall.

Game of Thrones Jon Snow, Ghost sixth scale figure by ThreeZero

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Paint - ***
While ThreeZero is killing it on accessories and outfits, they still have a way to go to reach the top end level of quality on their paint work, particularly with the human portraits.

Jon's eyes look fantastic however, with no bleed and a nice glossy, life-like color. The eye lashes and eyebrows are subtle, and the skin tone, while a little dark, is reasonable and consistent.

The beard is his biggest problem, which appears to have been painted then wiped to give it a lighter appearance.  Unfortunately, this also means that some of the sculpted highlights, particularly on his chin, are wiped clean, coming out closer to the color of his skin. If the hairs of a beard (or mustache or eyebrow) are sculpted, they better be painted.

The paint work on Ghost is pretty standard stuff.  In fact, he looks quite a bit like a wolf statue you'd pick up at the local kitsch store. The white is good, but the claws are sloppy and the black in the ears and on the nose looks sprayed on. It is of course, but it shouldn't look like it if you're going for realism. I do really like the gloss shine they gave both the nose and the eyes, adding some life to the overall look.

Game of Thrones Jon Snow, Ghost sixth scale figure by ThreeZero

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Articulation - ***
The underlying body works extremely well, with all the expected articulation for a modern sixth scale figure, and perhaps more importantly, the fluidity you need to create life-like poses.

The ball neck works great, and while the tunic is a little restrictive on the shoulders, you can still get great arm poses.  The underlying chest and waist joints have some mobility inside the thick suit, and the legs are pretty much unencumbered.

Unfortunately, the ankles have some issues. I pulled a half star off just because of this, not because it's unusual for sixth scale figures wearing boots to have ankle issues, but because ThreeZero did such an amazing job with Ned, wearing almost identical footwear. If you did it before, there's little excuse for it to become an issue with a later release.

The problem is the thick, hard boots, which won't allow for any side to side or front to back movement. I was pretty surprised by this, considering how great the ankles on Ned worked.

The other big problem is the wrists. Unlike Ned, who had two piece gloves to allow the wrists to maintain some mobility, the gloved hands on Jon can really only turn. Gloved hands are always tricky, and companies try different ways to maintain articulation and still get the right look. Hot Toys did something different on their recent Vader, and while some of us really liked it, others complained that it didn't look right.  I think gloved hands are a catch 22 for most companies, and require a case by case assessment. One solution here would have been to supply some non-gloved hands, but ThreeZero didn't go that route either.

Game of Thrones Jon Snow, Ghost sixth scale figure by ThreeZero

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Accessories - ***1/2
This is one area where getting the exclusive certainly has an effect on the score. If you went with the regular release, I'd drop this category a half star.

Jon himself only includes two sets of gloved hands, a long sword, and a short dagger. Even at the bargain price of $150, that's pretty light.

I do really love the sword, done properly with the wolf's head hilt.  It's a smaller sword than Ice of course, intended for actual battle, and both blades are made from plastic. I'm just fine with that, as it allows the figure to hold them with no fear of the pose wilting over time. He can brandish the sword or knife in any position, and the weight doesn't become an issue.

Both blades fit inside sheaths on his belt.  There will be more about that in the Outfit section.  The hands swap quite easily, and a big plus is that all four have their own wrist pegs already in place, much like Sideshow.  I think this is a very good idea, and one more companies should adopt.

There is no stand, and if that's your normal mode of display, you'll need to come up with some generic version. You should also check out Stoney's Stands - he makes some very cool clear acrylic stands for just about every license.

If you picked up the exclusive like me, you get that extra half star in this category. That's because I'm adding in Ghost, and while he has his own set of issues, as an extra he was a terrific idea. It's pretty rare that you get something this substantial as an exclusive extra, and it's worth the extra half star...at least in this category. When we get to Value, that's a slightly different story.

Game of Thrones Jon Snow, Ghost sixth scale figure by ThreeZero

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Game of Thrones Jon Snow, Ghost sixth scale figure by ThreeZero

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Outfit - ***
While there are issues here and there in the other categories for these two figures, it's really the Outfit where I had my only real disappointment. Since I've already discussed both the gloves and the boots in the Articulation section, you can see where this is going.

The quality of the brown undershirt, long gambeson (the padded cloth 'jacket', normally worn under armor), and what they are calling the peascod (although I think of it more as a doublet), is very high.  There are a lot of layers here, yet, they've kept it all in scale AND made it from materials that mimic reality perfectly. I particularly like the peascod/doublet, made from a leather-like material. There is one oddity - two straps under the chin and above the flap.  I don't recall seeing two in any stills, making this not screen accurate. As to how many straps there should be, there should be a whole bunch all the way down the front of the jacket, but all but one were hidden on the show by the flap that wraps across the chest and covers them, making the fit tight and warm. Having this second exposed strap was an error in design.

He's also wearing pants, boots, gloves and a belt with a sheath for the dagger and a scabbard for the sword.  The belt looks great, as do both the sheath and scabbard, with lots of nice sculpted and painted details. The belt, like Ned's, is rubber, and I'm perfectly fine with this. It's much easier to work with and less likely to be damaged as you pose and manipulate the figure, and looks just as good as any fake leather would.

The outer cloak looks great, much like Ned's, and I really like the way it was worn with the double straps across the chest buckling in back. It's easy to put on and remove, and it looks great draped over his shoulders.

The overall highlight of the costume is the amazing wear and dirt that ThreeZero has added. It's rare to see this sort of damage applied so skillfully, and it boosts the realism of the costume through the roof.

Ah, but then there's those boots and gloves. They both have one major problem - they are too big. This is a perfect example of how critical even millimeters in difference are at this scale.  I pulled out Ned to compare, and while he's taller than Jon, both his boots and hands are smaller, and much better in scale.

There's really no excuse either. The boots are shorter than Ned's, making the bigger foot look stumpy. They also feel thicker, and posing the feet is impossible, unlike Ned.

The large hands and feet make the figure look silly, and are my biggest issue overall with Jon. I think they should be easy enough to replace, but replace them you must if you want a great looking member of the Night's Watch on your shelf.

Game of Thrones Jon Snow, Ghost sixth scale figure by ThreeZero

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Fun Factor - ***1/2
Lots of posing potential here, with or without the cloak, with our without Ghost, in fighting stances or relaxed. This isn't one of those one pose wonders, and you'll have plenty of fun getting the display just right...and then changing it all up again.

Game of Thrones Jon Snow, Ghost sixth scale figure by ThreeZero

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Value - ***
While $190 isn't cheap, it's certainly less than the $220 - $240 price tag that seems to be the de facto standard in the sixth scale industry right now. Ghost is costing you about $40, considering the average price of $150 that the regular figure is going for at most retailers. That's not bad for a statue his size, as there's a lot more bulk and work than a Batman Black and White release or a DC Bombshells, both of which will cost quite a bit more.

Still, he's not quite all he could be, and it may be hard for some folks to justify that extra cost considering he ended up a little less Ghost and a little more average wolf statue.

If you skipped Ghost and picked up Jon on the secondary market for $145 or less, you can easily add another half star here. While he doesn't have a ton of accessories, the simple reality is that there are NO other licensed sixth scale figures out there of this quality in that price range right now.

Game of Thrones Jon Snow, Ghost sixth scale figure by ThreeZero

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Things to Watch Out For -
Not a thing. You don't want to drop Ghost of course, but there's nothing here that's particularly fragile or requires special consideration.

Game of Thrones Jon Snow, Ghost sixth scale figure by ThreeZero

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Overall - ***
While this is a solid overall release, I can't help but feel just a little disappointed. What was B work could have been A work with just some minor changes.

Let's take Ghost out of the picture for a minute. He's decent enough, but not really anything to get too excited over. He's still a little small, and the sculpt is off in a number of ways.

Instead, let's just consider Jon.  Assuming you paid $150 or less, you got a very good value. While I bet people will rag on the head sculpt - unless it's Hot Toys or Enterbay, they always do - I think most of those complaints are unjustified. You don't need to replace the head, and you don't even need to repaint it. If you have some skills, some simple work on the beard would make a huge difference.

You also don't need to do anything about the underlying body, or 90% of the costume. It all comes down to the boots and the gloves, messing up an otherwise excellent figure. I could almost live without the lack of articulation (although with the boots it's more of an issue than the hands), but the over sized nature throws off the entire look of the figure itself. Replace those with something more in scale, and this becomes a ***1/2 star figure...or at least the non-exclusive does.

Score Recap (out of ****):
Packaging - ***1/2
Sculpting - ***
Paint - ***
Articulation - ***
Accessories - ***1/2
Outfit - ***
Fun Factor - ***1/2
Value - ***
Overall - ***

Game of Thrones Jon Snow, Ghost sixth scale figure by ThreeZero

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Where to Buy 
Online options include these site sponsors:

- is at $145 for the regular release, which does not include Ghost.

- is at just $145 for the regular release as well.

- comes in at $160 for the regular release.

- Entertainment Earth has the regular for $160.

- Sideshow has the regular still up for pre-order at $170.

- or you can search ebay for a deal.

Related Links -
Other recent ThreeZero sixth scale figures include Tyrion and Ned from Game of Thrones, and Heisenberg from Breaking Bad.

You should also hit the Search Reviews page, in case any other applicable reviews were done after this one was published.

Discussion:
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Game of Thrones Jon Snow, Ghost sixth scale figure by ThreeZero

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This product was purchased for the review by the reviewer. Photos and text by Michael Crawford.

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