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Review of Khal Drogo, Ned Stark, Tyrion Lannister
Game of Thrones figures

Dark Horse
Date Published:
Written By:
Overall Average Rating: 3 out of 4

Game of Thrones Drogo, Tyrion, Ned Stark figures by Dark Horse

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Introduction

Tonight we welcome back one of the finest dramas on television - The Game of Thrones. Many who have read the books (five so far) profess their love for the third volume, and this season completes the televised adaptation of that book. There's some seriously jaw dropping moments to come, and I for one can't wait to see how it plays on screen.

The number of collectibles based on the series has started to grow exponentially, as is often the case around the 4th season of any hit show. I recently covered one of the action figures - Daenerys - from Funko, but they aren't the only company doing 'figures'. Dark Horse has been producing their own series, although these are more figural statues than action figures.  They are larger than the Funko line as well, coming in at around 8 - 9" tall.

The current series just started to ship, and includes Khal Drogo, Ned Stark, and Tyrion Lannister. These are three heavy hitters - fan favorites for sure - and all three sell for around $20 - $25, depending on the retailer.

Click on the image below for a Life Size version
Game of Thrones Drogo, Tyrion, Ned Stark figures by Dark Horse

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Packaging - ***1/2
These come in boxes, designed to be collector friendly. There's a couple twisties still, but there's no reason to damage anything when you take out the figure.

The graphics are solid, and I always like it when the company provides actual character photos on the box. It shows they have real confidence in their sculpting, since you can easily compare their work to reality right at the store.

Game of Thrones Drogo, Tyrion, Ned Stark figures by Dark Horse

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Sculpting - Drogo ***1/2; Ned ***; Tyrion **1/2
These guys are large, with Ned standing about 8.5 inches tall, Drogo at 9, and Tyrion at 6. That means they are much, much bigger than the Funko series, so any plans you might have of mixing and matching are out the window. Although if Dark Horse ever produced a dragon in this scale, it might look terrific with the smaller figures as well.

Drogo is my favorite of the three. He's a massive man, and they've captured the bulk pretty well here. He does seem a bit stretched, for lack of a better term, but that might be in part to some of the design choices. For example, the waist belt he's wearing seems to be showing more of his abs than I recall on the show, which would elongate the torso a bit.

Even with that minor nit, the overall appearance matches the actor and character well. There are minor issues - I think the nose is a little too small, for example - but they are just that...minor. You'll recognize him immediately, and the dynamic battle pose and deadly expression serve the character well.

Ned is more thoughtful in his pose, holding his sword in front of his rigid body, stoic expression on his face. It works well enough - and is straight from a scene on the show - but the likeness isn't quite as good. It's bordering on that cosplay appearance, with a nose that's not right and hair that looks more like a helmet than locks.

Finally, there's Tyrion. Peter Dinklage has proved himself an amazing actor, and his character is the favorite among a majority of fans. Unfortunately, this sculpt is the furthest off. While the outfit has some great detailing and the hair is well done, the face is a bit too symmetrical, too perfect. In reality, Tyrion's face is more asymmetrical, and definitely has more personality than this portrait would imply. By the third season, that fact becomes even more apparent as he is scarred deeply in battle. Clearly, this figure is meant to be a pre-battle version, but it's still a tad too far off the mark.

Game of Thrones Drogo, Tyrion, Ned Stark figures by Dark Horse

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Paint - ***
The paint work on all three is solid, with a minimal amount of slop. Most of the cut lines are good, and there's a nice use of detail work on the costumes.

There are slip ups, and areas that fall short of what you'd expect. For example, the white paint on Drogo's teeth obscures any detail in the sculpt, and you can see a sculpted edge to the beard that isn't painted black at one point. There's also some variation in finish - matte to gloss - that doesn't appear intentional because it doesn't really make a lot of sense in the context it is used.

The best work is on Drogo's colorful body paint, and on the map of Westeros that Tyrion is holding. Unfortunately, because Tyrion is reading the map (makes sense), the viewer can't see the interesting detail easily, and is instead presented with the rather boring back view.

Game of Thrones Drogo, Tyrion, Ned Stark figures by Dark Horse

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Articulation - Bupkis
This is an informational only category this time around - it doesn't have any effect on my overall, since I knew going in that these were statues, not actual action figures. There's no articulation of any kind, and they are permanently attached to the bases. Lookup Nerd Hummel in the dictionary, and you'll see a photo of one of these.

That's not necessarily a bad thing - articulation and sculpt are always doing battle. Articulation almost always detracts from the perfect appearance of the sculpt, while a perfect sculpt means you're stuck with a single pose. Whether or not the lack of articulation is a good thing will depend on your personal tastes.

Game of Thrones Drogo, Tyrion, Ned Stark figures by Dark Horse

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Accessories - ***
Likewise, this is also informational. While the sickle blade comes separate from Drogo, as does the blade of Ned's sword, I'm not counting these as traditional 'accessories'. You really need to have them in place for the figure to look right, and there's no swapping them out for an alternate look. Again, not a negative for me, but worth noting as part of the discussion.

Game of Thrones Drogo, Tyrion, Ned Stark figures by Dark Horse

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Value - ***
You can expect to pay around $23 each for these at most retailers, which is just a couple bucks more than for the Funko action figures. These are larger - quite a bit - but lack the articulation and accessories of a true toy, making it pretty much a wash in this category.

The tricky part of looking at the value for these is that they are technically statues - plastic rather than resin or polystone, but statues all the same. And statues tend to cost more because of the implied quality over toys. Finding any sort of statue for less than $40 - $50 these days is rare, making these a better than average value when compared against other products in their style. If you compare them against action figures, it isn't as favorable, but that's not the perception of the market.

Statue collectors will look at these and think "$22? What a deal!" and action figure collectors will look at them and say "$22? Ouch!". I'm grading in this category at some place in between, taking everything into consideration.

Game of Thrones Drogo, Tyrion, Ned Stark figures by Dark Horse

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Things to Watch Out For -
Not a thing to worry about here.

Game of Thrones Drogo, Tyrion, Ned Stark figures by Dark Horse

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Overall - ***
Fans of the show are finally being presented with some choices. Rather than buying the only collectibles available, they can now choose between several different types and several different companies.

I'm going to be covering both the Funko and the Dark Horse figures with some regularity, as they both have their merits and their shortcomings. Whether you go for one or the other is probably not going to be decided by quality, but rather by taste. Do you prefer Nerd Hummels, with no articulation but also no ugly joints? Or do you prefer action figures, with lots of poseability but a less accurate human form? The answer to that question will be the driving force to choose one or the other series.

Because of the scale difference, you can't mix and match, which is a bit of a disappointment but not a surprise. Licensing agreements are almost always built around scale, allowing each company to create their own niche. With both series exhibiting similar overall quality and price, the decision on which to collect will be much simpler. Or you could just admit defeat and buy both - your own personal clash of kings!

Score Recap (out of ****):
Packaging - ***
Sculpting - Drogo ***1/2; Ned ***; Tyrion **1/2
Paint - ***
Articulation - Bupkis
Accessories - Bupkis
Value - **
Overall - ***

Game of Thrones Drogo, Tyrion, Ned Stark figures by Dark Horse

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Where to Buy 
Online options include these site sponsors:

- has these for $22.50.

- has them in stock for $23.

- Entertainment Earth has these - and many of the upcoming pre-orders - at $23 each.

- or you can search ebay for a deal.

Related Links -
I've covered a number of collectibles based on the Game of Thrones license, including the Daenerys action figure from Funko, the Daeny bust from Dark Horse, the Hand of the King pin, and the Catspaw Blade from Valyrian Steel.

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

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Game of Thrones Drogo, Tyrion, Ned Stark figures by Dark Horse

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This product was provided for the review by the manufacturer. Photos and text by Michael Crawford.

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