Chronicles of Narnia
White Witch and Peter

J.R.R. Tolkien an C.S. Lewis were buddies as well as two of the most influential fantasy writers of all time.  With the successful translation of Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, it was no surprise that they were bringing Lewis' tales of Narnia to the big screen.

The first film, based on The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, did well - not fantastic, but well.  Toys were produced for the film by Hasbro, and they actually sold fairly well, considering how poorly some movie licenses have done in recent years.  Oh, you can still find a few on an end cap at your local Toys R Us, but they aren't swimming in them.

However, the quality of the Hasbro toys left something to be desired, especially the human characters.  Like some other recent Disney films, the company decided to do some higher quality action figures for their own stores as well.  Their series includes Peter, Edmund, Lucy, Susan, the White Witch and Aslan.  I picked up Peter and the Witch when I was by the mall last weekend.  Expect to pay around $12.50 each, unless you happen to hit a sale.

Packaging -  ***1/2
I've never been a big fan of Disney's packaging, not because of design but because of wasted space and plastic.  This time though, they avoid that where possible, and give us a striking design as well.

The clamshells are designed to look like the wardrobe, with a nifty backer card inside with some terrific graphics.  The clamshells for the kids are fairly small too, only big enough to hold the figures and accessories.  For the witch and the lion, Aslan, they are much larger, but that's due to the large size of the figures.  Too bad a few extra accessories didn't fill up some of that space!

Sculpting - ***
While not stupendous, both sculpts are certainly superior to the figures from Hasbro (at least the humans).

Peter's likeness is a tad cartoony, and if you saw the head off the body, all by itself, it's unlikely you'd recognize him.  Still, it's a fairly clean sculpt, with enough personality to make the figure interesting.

Peter's body sculpt is better than the face, with lots of detail, particularly in the chain mail. They've also used soft rubber shoulder pads, to allow for a greater range of movement in the shoulders.  His overall body sculpt works better with the articulation than you'd expect.

The White Witch has a more accurate head sculpt, looking very much like the character as portrayed by Tilda Swinton.  I was quite impressed with the work, and there's also wonderful detail work in the hair and ice upon her head.

Unfortunately, her body work didn't do as much for me.  The arms are quite plain and toyish, and the body is hollow and lacks the kind of realistic detail that Peter sports.

The scale on these is pretty big.  The Witch clocks in at 7 inches tall at the top of her head (or 7 3/4 at the tip of the ice), while Peter is 5 3/4".  He seems a little short to me compared to the Witch, but in relation to his siblings and Aslan, he looks pretty good.

Paint - ***
Much like the sculpt, the paint is superior to the Hasbro mass market release, but not really on par with other specialty market work.

The faces suffer the most.  They're are both fairly lifeless and zombie-like, more an issue with the paint than with the sculpt.  Most of the tones are consistent and even, but there's still a bit of slop around the edges, particularly on Peter.

The hair on both was nice though, with a clean hairline and good highlighting.  None of it qualifies as bad work, and is more on par to average or slightly above average mass market paint jobs.

Articulation - Peter ***; Witch **
Peter has a surprising amount of articulation, and is much more posable than I assumed from looking at him in the package.  He has a pin-style neck that allows for turning, and also for the head to tilt back and forward.  It's not as nice as a ball, where you'd also get some tilt action going, but it's better than I had anticipated.

He also has ball jointed shoulders and hips, both of which have a greater range of movement due to softer plastic in the shoulder pads and tunic.  He won't be taking any deep stances, but you can get more out of them than usual. Also, the ball jointed shoulders have a joint at both the torso and arm, allowing the arm to turn.

He has pin elbows, knees, wrists and ankles, along with a cut joint at the top of his calf armor.  Some of these joints are a little restricted by the sculpt, but I was able to find some interesting poses with a little effort.  He can't quite hold the sword in both hands though, which was a little disappointing.  The pins in his wrists are a little weak, so take some care when using them.

The White Witch fairs much worse though.  Instead of a ball jointed neck, here's is simply a cut joint, and while she has ball jointed shoulders, the hard plastic dress makes bringing the arms up or out pretty much impossible.  The balls do have joints on both sides again though, so her lower arms can turn outward.

She also has pin elbows, and wheels on her feet.  The wheels work fine, and add a little play value.

Accessories - Peter ***; Witch **
Peter comes with a fair number, although not all of them work as well as I'd like.

He has a sword and scabbard of course, and the sword fits well in his right hand.  It also fits in the scabbard nicely, but only one way.  The scabbard has pins designed to fit in holes on Peter's side, but this doesn't work well at all.  They'll fit in, but not stay in, which will frustrate kids and adults alike.  If you really think Peter needs his scabbard, I'd suggest a little Super Glue to make it a permanent thing.

Peter also has a shield with the lion crest.  This fits over his left arm, and the hand is sculpted to work with the straps on the back.

The White Witch has two accessories - her snowy shawl and her icy wand.  The sculpts are good, and she can hold the wand in her right hand nicely.  However, at this price point, that's a little light.  How about a fox or beaver to go with her?

Value - Peter **1/2; Witch **
Most specialty market toys are running around $12 - $14 these days, so the price point on these is in the right area.  Considering how expensive everything Disney sells is, I'm surprised they are on the lower end of that range, actually.  However, the witch doesn't sport many accessories, and is a hollow figure.  While her price is average, what you're getting for the green isn't, so she falls a little short.

Fun Factor - ***
Kids that love the movie should enjoy these.  Unfortunately though, they aren't really in scale with the non-human figures produced by Hasbro, so they can't mix and match.  I really wish they'd agreed on a scale, and given the kids a chance to include more figures in their collection that way.  Rumor was that Hasbro was producing these figures for Disney as well, so it shouldn't be a stretch to assume they could all get their act together.

Things to watch out for - 
Be careful with Peter's wrist joints. They were the weakest of the pins, and appeared to be fairly easy to break.

Overall -  Peter ***; Witch **1/2
I wasn't particularly impressed with any of the Narnia figures that Hasbro produced.  While the Minotaur was decent, the other characters left a lot to be desired.

The Disney versions are substantially better, especially for human likenesses.  Of course, the price point is also higher, but not by that much.  This set is particularly good if you're looking for the kids, and the Peter, Edmund and Susan sculpts were all quite nice.  Lucy wasn't quite as well done, but at least scale was fairly decent amongst the siblings.

Aslan is also very nice, with a ton of articulation.  I may end up going back and picking him up as well, especially if I catch a sale.  I really wish they'd produced some of the other animals and mythical beasts to go along with these main characters.

Packaging - ***1/2
Sculpt - ***
Paint - ***
Articulation - Peter ***; Witch **
Accessories - Peter ***; Witch **
Fun Factor - ***
Value - Peter **1/2; Witch **
Overall -  Peter ***; Witch **1/2

Where to Buy -
The Disney store at your local mall is the place to be.  Expect to pay around $12.50, unless you happen to hit them when they're having a two for twenty buck sale.

Related Links:
I didn't review any of the Hasbro figures, but I have reviewed some of the other Disney figures:

- The Incredibles weren't bad, but I didn't think they were as good as some folks did.

- They've produced a number of figures for park attractions, including Pirates of the Caribbean, Haunted Mansion, and Indiana Jones.

- And they have done a variety of versions of their traditional heroes - one line was called Adventurers, and one was Heroes.


Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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