Mcfarlane Deluxe Dragon Series 7
Hydra Clan

I've reviewed quite a few of Mcfarlane's successful Dragon line, but those I purchased were generally only for reviews.  Dragons, while cool, aren't really my thing.

But I've had a recent fascination with Hydras, so although this figure has been out for awhile, this recent fascination drove me to pick him...her...up.  This Hydra only has three heads (whereas the traditional version, like the one Hercules battled, had five), but three's better than one.  This Hydra was the Deluxe Boxed Set for Series 7 of the Dragons line.

You can pick this guy up at your LCS, or hit one of the sponsor links I have below.  This guy is one of the large (in fact the largest) of the Dragons line, and costs around $35 - $50, depending on the source.

Packaging - **1/2
Figures this large are often tough to box.  They want you to see them on the shelf, since this item was intended to sell at LCS and some retailers, but trying to do that often results in a flimsier box.  

And I truly recommend having wire cutters handy.  There's a couple twisty ties holding this thing together that could be used to repair a suspension bridge.

You'll also notice in the packaged photo that one of the heads had fallen off inside. What you can't see is that the tail had come loose as well. Even with all the twisties, things were bopping around in there loose pretty well on their own.

Sculpting - ****
The Dragons line has had not only some of the best but some of the most creative sculpting that Mcfarlane Toys has ever done. That is due in part to the theme, which allowed for quite a bit of creativity within very broadly defined terms. Yea, they had to be dragon-like, and they had to fulfill one of the dragon 'families' or clans. However, while the clans started out somewhat defined, new clans were added over the course of the eight waves, including this 'Hydra' clan.

This guy is huge, particularly compared to most regular release dragons. The only one that compares is the Fire Clan Deluxe Dragon from series 5, and he's actually a larger scale (the head sticking up from the lava is larger) he isn't a larger figure overall. He stands just under 10" tall up to the tip of the center head's horns, is about 12" deep, and about 10" across depending on how you pose him. Depending on how big you expect your dragons to be, this guy could be used in a display with figures up to 4" tall, and I've included a couple photos of him with a 4" figure from the new Narnia line.

The detail work is amazing, particularly on the scaled skin texture. There's a tremendous amount of visual variety here, from the plates on his exposed neck, to the hard spikes on the back, to the leathery looking wings. He's made from a very hard plastic, so the wings should retain their appearance over time and not droop.

The heads and mouths on all three are extremely menacing, ready to rip your face off and eat it for breakfast. This is the way you want your dragons to look, at least if they aren't actually standing in front of you.

I did find the design and placement of the three necks a tad annoying, however. The center neck and head are fine of course, but the other two are really designed to only look good one way, and only from the left side of the figure. The right most head bends around a bit toward the front (which works and looks fine), but the left most head is posed too close to the center head to make a direct facing view look cumbersome. It's a minor issue, but if they'd brought the left most head over just a bit, perhaps by curving the neck a little outward (rather than the stock straight way it is now), it would have appeared a bit more natural and less forced.

Overall though, the sculpting is outstanding, and it was the feature that most sold me on the figure. After the simple fact that it has three heads, of course.

Paint - ***1/2
All the dragons have sported excellent paint jobs as well, with a very wide variety and the colors and styles over the course of the series.

The Hydra has one of the more colorful, brighter paint jobs. Some of the dragons stick with the slightly plainer brown/tan/green palette, but the Hydra incorporates plenty of blue and red, giving him a very bright, bird-like appearance. I prefer that, and given the connection between flying dinos and birds, it would make sense that there'd be a connection with mythical dragons as well.

The paint work is particularly impressive on the face, where the tongue, eyes and interior of the mouth is extremely realistic and detailed. One of my favorite details is the horns, which are colored bone gray but given a black wash. This effect works extremely well, giving the detail depth and adding a very realistic look to the bone.

The only thing holding this guy back from his full four stars is the number of paint rubs, especially on highlight areas that have been painted blue or red. It's a fairly minor nit, and isn't noticeable if you stand back from the beast. But on close inspection, it wasn't quite a four star paint application.

Articultion - *1/2
As is too often the case, articulation isn't the strong suit here.

The figure was advertised as having two joints on each neck, one at the top and one at the bottom. That worked for the outer heads, and the neck joint turns on the center head, but the joint at the bottom of the center neck doesn't appear to be designed to turn. I know, since mine came out of the box detached. The connector is oddly shaped, not round, so turning it isn't really an option. I had to glue mine anyway, since it was broken to begin with.

The tail is also advertised as having three joints. Again, mine came detached at the top most joint, and again this one has a connector that is oddly shaped. Perhaps these oddly shaped connectors themselves can turn somehow inside the body, but since I had to glue mine in place, I didn't get to find out. The other two cut joints on the tail worked fine, although they were both paint stuck to start.

The other two joints are at the elbows of the large front legs. One worked fine, but the other broke almost immediately. As I said earlier, the plastic used on this figure is very hard, which has its pluses (like the less likely chance for droopy wings). But it also has its negatives, like brittle posts. I ended up gluing the left leg in place as well, although because of the design this wasn't a huge issue. You aren't going to do much with the leg articulation anyway.

You'll definitely need the neck articulation to get the left and right heads in the sweet spot, and surprisingly, that spot isn't where the sculpt lines match up, particularly on that wonky left head. BTW, when I say left and right, I mean its left and right, not yours.

Accessories - Bupkis
The Hydra is all your getting here.  No charred knights, no little body parts or bones.

Fun Factor - ***
This is actually one of the more fun lines that Mcfarlane has done, at least previous to the Halo series. Kids love dragons and knights, and while the articulation here isn't top notch, there's enough for kids to get imaginative.

Value - **1/2
You can get this guy for $30 - $35 if you look around, and I have some suggestions below where that's possible. At that price range, I'd give this an average value score. Nothing to jump up and down about, but you won't feel ripped off. He's a nice, large figure, very solid, very detailed, and easily worth that kind of price.

However, you could also end up paying closer to $50 for it, and I'd drop at least a half star at that point, perhaps a full star, off this score.

Things to Watch Out For - 
Obviously, if you buy yours in the store, you'll want to get one that isn't broken in the package. I suspect mine ended up that way in the shipment to me, a risk of buying online of course.

Overall - ***1/2
I was very happy with this purchase, and I think he's one of the best dragons in the entire 8 wave series. He has the bulk and dimensions to please those folks that have been disappointed with the smaller scale of most of the other dragons, he has the paint and sculpt detail to please the most particular statue buyer, and kids could even enjoy him as long as they don't bash each other in the face with him.

The biggest plus here is the paint and sculpt of course, while the biggest downside is the joints and the related breakage issues I had.  If the articulation is a big point for you, your overall score is going to be at least another half star lower, maybe even a full star.  I wasn't expecting much beyond a plastic statue, so this particular issue wasn't as much of a factor in my personal Overall.

Score Recap:
Packaging - **1/2
Sculpt - ****
Paint - ***1/2
Articulation - *1/2
Accessories -  Bupkis
Value - **1/2
Fun Factor - ***
Overall - ***1/2

Where to Buy -
Check out these terrific sponsors:

- Amazing Toyz has him for $34.

- CornerStoreComics has him at $34.

- Things from Another World has it in for $37.

- YouBuyNow has him at $45.

- Entertainment Earth has him for $50.

- or you can search ebay with MyAuctionLinks.

- Related Links -
I've reviewed a variety of the Dragons:

- the last was the series 5 Berserker.

- - I did the full set of wave 4, along with the wave 4 deluxe figure.

- I also reviewed the deluxe figure from wave 1, and had a guest review of the rest of wave 1.

- and if you like cool dragons, then you should check out the Hungarian Horntail Dragon from Gentle Giant, based on the Harry Potter film.

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Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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