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Review of The Goblin King - The Hobbit mini-bust

Gentle Giant
Date Published:
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Overall Average Rating: 3.5 out of 4

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The Hobbit Goblin King mini-bust by Gentle Giant

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Introduction

Gentle Giant has been doing mini-busts based on the characters of Middle Earth for many years, so the transition to the Hobbit license was no big surprise. Last week, I checked out their recent release of Azog, and tonight I'm following up with a look at the Goblin King.

When I watched the film in the theaters, I enjoyed the character of the Goblin King, certainly more so than Azog. He added the right amount of levity without being too ridiculous.

When I watched the extended edition at home, I have to say that I really enjoyed all of the additions...except for the Goblin King scenes. The extra footage ended up taking him over the top into a silly parody that didn't sit right with the rest of the film.

Still, in either case he's one Hell of a cool design. Gentle Giant's bust captures his enormous girth, and stands a solid 9" tall. He's currently shipping, is a limited edition of just 620 and will run you around $85 - $90 at most retailers.

Gentle Giant produced a second version that includes a Goblin scribe, which was available only through their website. Sadly, I missed that one somehow, and it's now sold out.

Click on the image below for a Life Size version
The Hobbit Goblin King mini-bust by Gentle Giant

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Packaging - ***1/2
The box is attractive, and I particularly like the lighter color scheme. The bust is clearly well protected, but it's the cool baseball card style Certificate of Authenticity that really sets their packaging apart.

By the way, the edition size and number is also on the bottom of the bust and the bottom of the box, so you know when all three match.

The Hobbit Goblin King mini-bust by Gentle Giant

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Sculpting - ****
As I mentioned earlier, this is a large mini-bust. Standing 9" tall at the tip of his crown, he towers over the much smaller dwarves and hobbits. I included a photo that shows the King with Azog and Dwalin for comparison.

Most of the time, Gentle Giant uses a solid resin construction, but because this bust is so large (and not just in height but also in girth and volume), that they went with a hollow design. The material feels much more like a ceramic than a resin or polystone.

However, that change is only obvious when you pick it up. The different materials didn't detract from the sculpt detail or paint work.

While the nasty, oozing skin has plenty of detail to go around, it's really the terrific work on the face, teeth and eyes that sets this guy apart. He is one ugly, nasty, pustule covered dude, and they've captured every gruesome nuance.

This is also one of those cases where I really like how they incorporated the standardized base with the actual bust, with his big belly and leather skirt flowing over the edges.

They incorporated a little bit of mixed media here as well, using real leather straps to attach the smaller skulls to his antlered staff.

The Hobbit Goblin King mini-bust by Gentle Giant

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Paint - ***1/2
Once again, it's really the work on the face that makes this category pop. The painted eyes look fantastic, and the use of a gloss coat on the oozing boils and sores makes they stand out against the more matte skin tone.

All of the detail work is very clean, with no slop along the edges of the hair, eyes, eyebrows or crown. Some of the work on the cankerous areas is a bit over the top, especially on the stomach, but when you back up and take in the overall effect, it's really quite arresting. This guy really needs to see a dermatologist.

There's also a wonderful variation in the skin tone, done with a subtle hand. It adds another layer of realism to an already very realistic bust.

The Hobbit Goblin King mini-bust by Gentle Giant

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Value - **1/2
I'm assuming you'll pay around $85 - $90 for this guy, although you can find him cheaper...and more expensive. At that price, considering the larger size, he's an average value. The limited nature really helps here, especially with less than 1000 being produced.

The Hobbit Goblin King mini-bust by Gentle Giant

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Things to Watch Out For -
Not a thing.

The Hobbit Goblin King mini-bust by Gentle Giant

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Overall - ***1/2
Gentle Giant continues to crank out some exceptional mini-busts, especially for their Hobbit series. I certainly hope we'll see a few more of the dwarves and other main characters before we get too many of the B-listers, but I understand their desire to work with monsters like the Goblin King and Azog. They are visually interesting, and certainly memorable, even if they aren't as critical to the overall story line.

And while they'd have to make him huge, and he'll cost an arm and a leg, I have my fingers crossed that demand will be strong enough to get a Smaug.

If you happen to know someone selling the exclusive with the Goblin scribe, point me towards them. I can't believe I managed to miss that one...

Score Recap (out of ****):
Packaging - ***1/2
Sculpting - ****
Paint - ***1/2
Value - **1/2
Overall - ***1/2

The Hobbit Goblin King mini-bust by Gentle Giant

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Where to Buy 
Online options include these site sponsors:

- is at $89.

- has him at $90.

- is at $96.

- Entertainment Earth will run you $98.

- or you can search ebay for a deal.

Related Links -
I just covered Azog last week, along with Dwalin, and other recent Hobbit goodies include the Key to Erebor replica, and the 4" scale action figures.

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

Discussion:
Want to chat about this review?  Try out one of these terrific forums where I'll be discussing it!

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The Hobbit Goblin King mini-bust by Gentle Giant

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

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