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Review of Tauriel - The Hobbit
Sixth Scale Action Figure

Asmus Toys
Date Published:
Written By:
Overall Average Rating: 2.5 out of 4

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The Hobbit Tauriel sixth scale action figure by Asmus

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Introduction

Ask any fan - really, right now, I dare you - if the Hobbit Trilogy was as good as the Lord of the Rings trilogy, and they'll laugh. It's not that it was awful (although some people will claim it), but that it was missing something the earlier series had - heart, emotion, depth...something. Or perhaps it was merely the amazing grandeur that the first pulled off. In any case and for whatever reason, it is generally accepted as the lesser of the Middle Earth trilogies.

But there are highlights in the films, dialog and scenes, actors and roles, that stand out. One of those, at least for me, was Tauriel, a creation of the films with no real counterpart in the books. A bad ass elf, she was played by the lovely Evangeline Lilly, and was one of my favorites.

Asmus has been producing a line of sixth scale action figures based on both trilogies, and the latest release is a figure based on the butt kicking pointy eared warrior.  She has just started to ship, and will run you around $170 - $190, depending on the retailer.

Click on the image below for a Life Size version
The Hobbit Tauriel sixth scale action figure by Asmus

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Packaging - ***1/2
It's attractive, well made and sturdy. The best part is the high quality foam trays used to hold the accessories and figure inside, which are less likely to rub or damage the pieces, and look damn high class to boot. It's all collector friendly of course, although this time they wrapped the head and hair extensions very tightly in plastic wrap, so much so that you may need to cut them free.

The Hobbit Tauriel sixth scale action figure by Asmus

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Sculpting - **
When Asmus did their Gandalf, something happened. What started out as a pretty good sculpt was mangled in the production process, stretching out the portrait to cartoony proportions.  But with releases like Aragorn and Bard, it seemed like realism - and quality production - was back in place.

Unfortunately, something happened to poor Tauriel as well. I'm thinking it's another situation with the production process, because it seems highly unlikely that the sculptor created something quite like this.  If you look closely, you'll notice that her jawline is not even. It appears as though she has her lower jaw cocked towards her left - your right in the photo below. In fact, the entire left side of her face seems slightly lower, pulled downward in a slack expression. It's most noticeable at the jaw (and believe me, it's obvious in hand as well - this isn't a macro photo only problem), but if you place your hand below her nose, you can see that the cheek and eye also appear slightly lower.

This twisted, uneven look hurts what might have been a much better sculpt.  If you look past this issue, you can see a very fine skin texture, something that makes her less doll-like than Asmus' previous female figure (Eowyn), and I really like the blending of the sculpted and rooted hair. I think we'll see something like this with the upcoming 'ball gown' Hermione from Star Ace, and with this type of hair style it's an excellent choice.

So they lose big on the realistic points, but make up for it a bit on the life-like points. Sadly, the accuracy points take another dip. Here's a useful screen shot of Tauriel - here's another.

Obviously, the twisted face doesn't help here either, since even if it was a perfect Lilly as Tauriel likeness, it would still look like she had suffered a mild stroke. But take away the weird shape and you still don't get a great reproduction of the actress or character. The cheeks are too pronounced, or you can say the eyes are too deep set. Either way, the result is the same. The eyes end up too deep, the chin too far forward. Likewise, the down turned mouth makes her sad, not determined, and the end result is a miss in the third category as well.

It is close enough though to make you wonder what might have been. Had the face not gotten warped in manufacturing, would this have been a much better portrait all around?

BTW, scale is about where you'd expect it, with Tauriel coming in at just under 11 1/2".

The Hobbit Tauriel sixth scale action figure by Asmus

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Paint - ***1/2
It's hard to appreciate the paint, because the weird outcome with the head sculpt gets in the way. But if you can pretend this isn't Tauriel, just some redhead with pointy ears, you have a shot at recognizing the nice work they did on the paint operations.

The eyebrows, lips, and eyes are the most impressive, but even the hair line has been given a soft fade from the skin into the hair. They went with the star like pattern for the iris', and while it's noticeable in macro photos, it actually works quite well in person. The color is about right too, and the eyes are straight and clean. The eyebrows are particularly well done, something you really don't fully appreciate until you see them in close up shots.

The makeup is a little too heavy though, giving the eyes a darker look than she had on screen. Of course, it doesn't help that those eyes are too deeply set as well, making shadows a bigger problem. Even ignoring the shadows, she could really do with less eyeliner, particularly around the lower lid.

The Hobbit Tauriel sixth scale action figure by Asmus

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Articulation - ***
The underlying body that Asmus is using for both the recent (Aragorn) male figures and Tauriel is really quite good. It has plenty of articulation, and the joints are tight and solid. Buck nekkid, these bodies will pose in just about any natural, flowing style you'd like.

But of course, they aren't buck nekkid. Tauriel loses points for the restrictions put on her by a couple of the costume pieces, as well as another of those manufacturing gotchas.

The torso is covered in a rubbery skin. I didn't strip her down, but I don't think it covers the shoulders, because I had no trouble getting them into any pose, including some with the arm quite high, and maintaining those poses. It looks like the skin only covers the torsos, and I did look to see that it does not cover the hips.

I suspect they included it to make the long, lovely neck of Ms. Lilly free of ugly joints, and it works. But the really useful double ball gets is a bit less useful, getting pushed back to center by the rubber.

That's not as restrictive as the hard rubber boots, however. You won't be able to get any decent deep or walking stances here (unless you use the stand), because the boots aren't going to allow it. Even weirder, there's no ankle ball joints, at least not on mine. The boots fit tightly up on the leg and pants, so they don't fall off easily, but I pulled one off to see what the ankle looked like...and no ball/pin was there at all! I thought it might be a fluke, so I pulled off the other...same result. There simply isn't the double ball and post piece that is normally there.

The third issue is one borne out of manufacturing. The hands are made from a very hard plastic - I'll talk about this again in the Accessories section - and swapping them on the pegs is quite difficult. The holes in the hands are too small, and there aren't any extra wrist pegs so you'll want to be extra careful.  Either the holes needed to be larger, or the hands needed to be softer - either correction would fix the problem. I'd vote for softer hands, since that also solves problems with...

The Hobbit Tauriel sixth scale action figure by Asmus

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Accessories - ***1/2
...grasping the accessories. There are 7 hands in total: the two relaxed pose she comes wearing, two tight grips, two 'gun' grips, and a special bowstring pulling right. I'm not sure what to do with the gun grips, since there are no guns, but you can get creative.

The difficulty in swapping hands is one issue that I already mentioned, but the hard plastic also makes getting the other accessories into the hands a bit of a challenge. The tight grips work best with the daggers, but have trouble with the larger bow. The gun grips might work better with the bow, but don't really look right. Putting the tighter grips on the bow tends to stretch them out, making it harder to hold the daggers. It's a conundrum.

And yes, there is a nice assortment of weapons for the warrior elf. She has her special bow, sculpted nicely and with the working bowstring.  There are five arrows as well, and these can be carried in her unique quiver. This quiver fits on the back of her belt, more like a sword sheath, and there IS a sword-like large dagger that also fits inside. You can't get all five arrows and the dagger in there at once, but I did manage at least three, and it looks great when you get it all put together in place.

Take some care putting the quiver in place. You must remove the belt, and then I also removed the small leather 'pouch' that they have initially on the left side.  The quiver goes on the left (you have to thread it all the way around, since the clip on the back isn't large enough to allow the buckle to pass through), and I put the pouch back on the right instead.

The large dagger, as well as her two smaller fighting daggers, are made from solid metal, handles and blades. They have some heft, but the body is tight enough to allow her to keep them aloft in just about any arm pose.

The articulation also allows for great bow-shooting poses.  I'm going to go with that look on the shelf, and I suspect most collectors will end up going that route as well. The only question - can the string survive?

Finally, there's her display stand, similar to the others in the series. It's nothing special, but it does mean that you'll get a better number of poses even with the restrictive boots.

The Hobbit Tauriel sixth scale action figure by Asmus

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The Hobbit Tauriel sixth scale action figure by Asmus

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Outfit - ***
The outfit is a step up from Eowyn, but not quite at the same level as Aragorn.

The pants and 'shirt' are well tailored and made from nice quality material.  The vambraces on the arms are a hard plastic with a good sculpt and paint, and are removable. The belt is removable as well, and made from a high quality soft material, but removing the torso armor would be tricky.  It's not necessary, but it would make the outer cloak fit a little better.

Said outer cloak is the nicest item, made from great high quality material. It's a tight fit, and getting it on over the other layers takes a little patience, but once you do the effect is very good.

I mentioned the boots earlier, and their lack of articulation. The sculpt is quite nice however, and if you're going with a short to medium stance, they'll work great.

As I said, this outfit is a step up from Eowyn's, which I thought was lacking in quality, but it's not quite at that same level that we saw with either Bard or Aragorn. Close, but not quite there.

The Hobbit Tauriel sixth scale action figure by Asmus

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Fun Factor - ***
While I had lots of fun working with different bow poses, it was less enjoyable trying to find a good dagger wielding look. I'm not a big fan of display stands, but to get a wider range of poses you'll have to go that route.

The Hobbit Tauriel sixth scale action figure by Asmus

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Value - ***
While this figure has issues with the portrait, you can't beat the value overall.  I have sponsors selling this figure as cheap as $170, which is a solid value considering the costume and accessories. 

The Hobbit Tauriel sixth scale action figure by Asmus

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Things to Watch Out For -
Things are pretty sturdy overall, but I would take extra care when swapping the hands. You don't have any extra pegs, and the hard plastic can be tough to fit over the small post.  Having a hair dryer handy can be quite useful.

Also be careful when threading the belt through the loop on the back of the quiver, or when putting the outer cloak on over her shoulders.  Patience is the key, as is often the way.

The Hobbit Tauriel sixth scale action figure by Asmus

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Overall - **1/2
This head sculpt was never going to pull out a four star score, even had they not pooched the production.  It's not quite at the level of realism that we see with their other recent male figures, or with the best female figures on the market from other companies.  Still, it would have scored much better overall if not for that major failing.

While the Accessories and Paint were quite good, and the Outfit, Articulation and Value are all solid, the portrait is simply too critical with any figure like this to not drag everything else down with it. I'm still glad I got the figure - she does look good with Aragorn and the others - but I'm hoping that Asmus can get these production issues under control permanently.

I'm also hoping they'll get back to the original Fellowship.  I'd love it if we finally had one company produce all nine members in a consistent style and quality. It's probably a lot to ask for, but a kid can dream, can't he?

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

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Where to Buy 
Online options include these site sponsors:

- is at just $170.

- has her at $185.

- or you can search ebay for a deal.

Related Links -
Most recently, I covered Aragorn and Bard the Bowman from Asmus. I've also covered Eowyn, Nazgul Steed, the Morgul Lord, Gandalf, Gothmog and Guritz, all from Asmus.

Other sixth scale LOTR figures include these by Sideshow - Gandalf, Sam and FrodoAragorn, Faramir, Boromir and Legolas.

And don't forget the Aragorn from ACI.

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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