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Review of The Hound, Brienne - Game of Thrones figures

Dark Horse Comics
Date Published:
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Overall Average Rating: 3 out of 4

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Game of Thrones Hound, Brienne figures by Dark Horse

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Introduction

With all the Star Wars excitement - I get goosebumps every time I see the new logo - it's easy to forget about some of our other favorite licenses. Tonight I take a little sidestep over to the Game of Thrones, where Dark Horse Comics is releasing the next two figures in their on-going series.

These are not 'action' figures in the true sense.  Funko was doing those, but Funko stopped and it looks unlikely that they'll begin again. Dark Horse has been producing these larger scale (approximately 8") figures, all plastic, but with no articulation.

The newest are the Hound and Brienne, a fitting pair to be released together. These are also two big people on the show, and the size of the figures is intended to reflect that, with the Hound coming in at about 8 3/4" and Brienne at 8 1/2", with the small bases. They are both slightly crouched, so the height seems about right.

Expect to pay around $22 - $23 for these, depending on the retailer. They should be shipping any day.

Click on the image below for a Life Size version
Game of Thrones Hound, Brienne figures by Dark Horse

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Packaging - ***
It's a box with a window, which allows you to see the figure you're getting before you plunk down your cold hard cash, which is always a plus.  The graphics are decent, and while the cardboard could be a little thicker, it's not a major issue.

The biggest problem is the damn twisty ties. There's four or five per figure, which is at least three or four too many.

Game of Thrones Hound, Brienne figures by Dark Horse

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Sculpting - Brienne **1/2; Hound ***
As I mentioned earlier, the scale on both figures seems about right when compared to other releases in the series. While Brienne and the Hound are similar in size, she is a bit thinner and lankier, matching the on screen look pretty well.

On both of these figures, it's the outstanding sculpting on the armor and clothing that nets them a good score. In fact, if I were only grading either of them from the neck down, this would have easily been a ***1/2 star rating. The intricate detail work on the small buttons, rivets and buckles is quite impressive, and they were able to capture the various textures of cloth and metal nicely.

But then there is the above the neck situation. The helmet on the Hound looks terrific, and you can't see much of his face. That's probably a good thing, and if you get a bright light and shine it in there, you can see it - but then it's hard to judge when it's washed out with all that light. I prefer to judge it based on what you can see in normal conditions, and that's mostly his beard and mustache.  There's simply not enough detail in the facial hair, and it hurts the overall look when compared to the realism of the outfit. Thankfully, his helmet covers up most of this, and helps counter the effect, resulting in a decent score.

11/18 EDIT: Hey, guess what I figured out after playing around with the Hound a bit more - the helmet opens!  Mine was just painted stuck, but with a little work I was able to get it to flip back to better reveal the face. It doesn't change the score here any, since the sculpt is decent enough, but it's worth noting.

Brienne has no such helmet, of course, Her head sculpt is bare for all the world to see, and I fear it will be all they can see. If you compare the final photo in this review to this screen shot from the show, you'll see what they are going for. It's not an easy portrait to do, because she doesn't have anything too extreme about her look for the sculptor to latch on to and build around. For a second example, compare the photo in the Paint category to this one, where she's not mid-battle. I do see some of the character in this portrait, but it's not enough for immediate recognition without the outfit for context. I have to say that the first person I thought of when I opened the box was Thomas Haden Church...and now you'll never be able to unsee it. Add in some tootsie roll hair and a weird mold line on the head, and you end up with a lower score.

Game of Thrones Hound, Brienne figures by Dark Horse

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Paint - ***1/2
Fortunately, the paint makes up for some of the problems with the Sculpt. The paint work is quite clean, especially on those great looking outfits. They've created a very realistic looking metal and cloth armor set, and given every little detail its own paint operation.

The work on the faces, hair and beard (for the Hound, of course), is solid as well.  Without a lot of sculpt detail on the Hound's beard there's not much the paint can do, but at least it's clean and neat. The eyes are straight, the lips are well defined but not too dark, and the skin tone is consistent.

Game of Thrones Hound, Brienne figures by Dark Horse

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Articulation - Bupkis
This is an informational only category this time around - these are truly statues. There's nothing moving anywhere, and they are permanently attached to the base.  As I mentioned, there's some assembly with the swords, but that's it.

11/18 EDIT: As I mentioned earlier, the helmet on the Hound does flip back, giving him that one point of articulation. I'm sticking with the informational only aspect here, since these are truly statues.

Game of Thrones Hound, Brienne figures by Dark Horse

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Accessories - Bupkis
While the swords are technically 'extras', since you have to attach them to the figure, I'm not counting them as accessories. They'd look pretty silly without them, so it's more of an issue of assembly, not accessory.

That being said, I won't be deducting off my personal Overall for this either.  I don't expect accessories with a statue, and that's how these should be viewed.

Game of Thrones Hound, Brienne figures by Dark Horse

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Value - ***
Considering the price for most 'collector' action figures in a 6" scale is running $20 these days, I'd say these larger figures are well worth the $23 each they'll cost you. I do wish the likenesses were better, but the quality of the rest of the work, especially in the sculpted armor and clothes, is well above the price point.

Game of Thrones Hound, Brienne figures by Dark Horse

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Things to Watch Out For -
The swords and scabbards are designed to fit one way - don't force them.

Overall - ***
I love the work on all the outfits and weapons across the entire Dark Horse line so far.  The amount of detailing and texturing is impressive, and certainly well above the price point.

But the work on the portraits is not where it needs to be.  Granted, at just north of $20 the accuracy (or lack thereof) is probably not a huge surprise, but it's the one area where these tend to fall short.  If the portraits had just been *slightly* better, a higher score would have been in the cards for both of them.

Score Recap (out of ****):
Packaging - ***
Sculpting - Brienne **1/2; Hound ***
Paint - ***1/2
Articulation - Bupkis
Accessories - Bupkis
Value - ***
Overall - ***

Game of Thrones Hound, Brienne figures by Dark Horse

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Where to Buy 
Online options include these site sponsors:

- has them both at $23 each.

- Entertainment Earth has these for $23 each.

- or you can search ebay for a deal.

Related Links -
I've covered a number of the Game of Thrones figures from Dark Horse, including the recent Bran and Hodor, Joffrey, Tywin and Petyr; in this Dark Horse series, I've covered Cersei, Jaime, the White Walker, Robb and Arya, as well as their Daenerys, Drogo, Ned Stark, and Tyrion Lannister. They've also done Jon Snow, but I don't have a review of him.

Funko has also done Jaime and BrienneArya and Robb, and the second release of Danaerys, along with her beau Drogo. Before that we had the Walgreen's exclusive Tyrion, Daenerys, and I reviewed the first wave of figures in three sets, here, here and here.

Perhaps the best of the bunch is the new sixth scale Tyrion and Ned Stark from ThreeZero. They have Jon Snow coming next.

Other Game of Thrones collectibles I've covered include the Daeny bust from Dark Horse, the Hand of the King pin, and the Catspaw Blade from Valyrian Steel.

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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This product was provided for the review by the manufacturer. Photos and text by Michael Crawford.

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