Sculpting - ***
I love the book and the movie, but I sure as Hell can't keep track of
which dwarf is which. Dwalin? Yea, sure, what ever you say - it looks
like one of the dwarfs to me, which is about as much as I can tell
without some help. Looking at a reference photo,
it's clearly who it's supposed to be.
The best thing about the sculpt
is the costume and weapons. The axes and hammer look like their real
forged metal, dangerous and deadly in his hands. The furry costume has
layers and textures, something we rarely get in a Gentle Giant bust.
But there's some other issues
that really hurt the overall look. First, there's the head and beard
sculpt, which is simply too soft. There's almost no detail to the
beard, and the face is too smooth and clean. The scar across his eye
and nose is there, if you really look for it, but it's not the obvious
badge of honor that it is in the actual makeup.
I'm also disappointed in the
size of this bust. Their previous Lord of the Rings busts were their
usual scale - around 1/6th, or just a smidge under. While this is a
dwarf, and therefore should be smaller, he's simply too small at just
5" tall including the large base. I didn't have one of the LOTR busts
handy, but they were the
same scale as other GG busts, so I took a shot of him with the Kreacher
from the Harry Potter line. Kreacher, like Dwalin, should be half the
size of a human, maybe a little bit larger. Dwalin is much smaller than
Kreacher, and it's not just about height - it's about volume. Had
Dwalin been at least 4" tall on his own (the base is quite big), I
think the scale would have been close, but he's tinier than that, and
takes up way too little space overall. While the dwarves are short,
they are stocky and thick, which doesn't translate well into this
Paint - ***
The paint quality isn't super consistent. Some areas, like the hammer
and axes, look terrific, but other spots, notably the beard and skin,
are a bit on the sloppy side.
I mentioned that the beard lacks
detail, and is a bit too chunky and soft in the Sculpting section. The
paint doesn't do anything to highlight any detail or add any depth. The
beard edge is a tad sloppy too, including what looks like some glue or
gloss along the top edge.
The skin is good on the head,
including a rather weird dot-matrix looking tattoo. I didn't remember
him having it in the movie, but he must have - it's not something they
would have made up. After checking out some stills I found that he
certainly did have it, although he was also dirty enough that it was
almost covered up. It's odd looking, since the highly consistent
application looks a but too much like a machine, rather than an organic
design. While it's true that the dwarves are more industrial than much
of the rest of Middle Earth, this still looks too modern to me.
The skin on the hands and
forearms isn't quite as good, with some clumpiness around the fingers
The work on the outfit is good,
with a bit more layers and brushing than we usually see from Gentle
Giant. It's not exceptional, but it's still solid work.
Value - **1/2
While the regular releases are running around $50 or so, this guy is
quite a bit more expensive. A big chunk of that is due to the very
nature, however. When you only produce 300 of a unique bust, it's going
to cost more. It's not a great value, but you aren't getting stiffed
even with the slightly higher price point.
Things to Watch Out For -
Pay special attention here! There are two very small straps handing
down from the buckles on his back. These are tiny, thin, and hard to
see. They are also very easy to break with just a little pressure, so
locate them and handle with care.
Overall - ***
If this were a completely independent series, or the first time anyone
had done Middle Earth busts, I might be a tad easier on them. The
sculpt and paint aren't perfect, but it's decent enough work, and the
extremely limited nature is always a selling point.
But for me, the small size hurts
a lot. I want these to fit in well with Gentle Giant's previous busts,
and I don't think they do. It will be a few weeks before I have my
older busts back out of storage - I'm making progress on the 'barn',
but it's slow - and until then, I can't be 100% on the scale, but
compared to other GG lines, they are definitely tiny.
I'll be interested to see how
that translates to Gollum and Gandalf - will they be too big for these
dwarves, or will they be shrunk down a bit from their previous releases
to fit in better with Thorin and Dwalin?
I'm also hoping that Gentle
Giant has enough success with these for us to see all the dwarves
released, along with Bilbo. If we don't get them, these first two are
going to stick out like a sore thumb on the shelf.
Packaging - ***1/2
Sculpting - ***1/2
Paint - ***
Value - **1/2
Overall - ***
Where to Buy -
Getting this guy directly through Gentle Giant is your best bet, but
you'll need to have a PGM membership as well. Although it's an
exclusive, I wouldn't be surprised if we see a few pop up at other
spots - their SDCC Thorin can be had at Urban
Collector for $95. Of course, there's also
ebay where you might snag a deal.
Other recent Hobbit goodies include the Key
to Erebor replica, and the 4" scale action figures.
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