12" Viking Bowman 

Ignite has just released the latest in their museum quality sixth scale ancient warriors - the Viking Bowman. Eagle eyed readers...actually, just anyone with vision that paid even the slightest bit of attention - noticed that he has already shown up as a scale comparison figure in my recent review of the Alien Signature Series statue

If you've purchased any of Ignite's past product, like the German Knight or the Knight of Outremer, you know that quality and historical accuracy is job one. The Viking Bowman follows in their footsteps, and fortunately, he doesn't have a large farm animal on his head. (see the German Knight review if that doesn't make sense).

I'll spend the review explaining the figure, but I wanted to mention here the "Weekend of Heroes", a show in June that is being sponsored by Ignite (along with bbi, DiD, Dusty Trails and others). It's in Ontario, California, and sounds like an interesting show. No, I won't be able to make it, but if you do go, I'd love to hear how it turns out!

Packaging - ***1/2
Ignite continues to do a nice job with the packaging, which has gotten sturdier than their early releases. There's tons of text - you'll think you just picked up a college history text. The packaging is also collector friendly, and you can easily return the figure without damage if you're so inclined.

Sculpting - ***
Remember the Toybiz Legolas? Here's your chance to have a better version. Yes, that's right, when Ignite went looking for the perfect head sculpt for their 'generic' bowman, they picked one that looks suspiciously like Orlando Bloom. Now, I'm sure that's just a coincidence, even though this version looks more like him than the Toybiz or NECA versions did.

He has the high cheekbones and well defined jaw line we expect in our Nordic heroes, and doesn't suffer from the usual zombie face. The expression is stern, with the eybrows furrowed in concentration, but not constipated or over exaggerated.

His hair is rooted, and very long. There are a couple braids, but most of the hair hangs loose down his back. While I'm usually not a huge fan of rooted hair, it works extremely well this time, and looks great on the character. If you're looking to do a Legolas custom, it would work as well.

The hands are basic sculpts that hold the accessories fine, including the bow with an arrow slotted and ready to go. His stature and scale are slightly smaller than other 12" figures, including the Sideshow and Toybiz figures, but he looks great with the other Ignite warriors. His smaller size also works well with the Legolas character...

You could swap heads I suppose with the Toybiz body, or give a shot at getting the Toybiz clothes to fit on this figure.  Seems like a might expensive swap though.

Paint - ***1/2
Remember the Toybiz Legolas? He had such a shiny paint job that it looked like he was bathing in Vaseline. Don't believe me? Check out the comparison photo. He practically blinded me!

The Bowman doesn't suffer from such an awful finish, and looks much better under bright light. He does seem to be wearing a little too much blush though, or he just has rosy cheeks from that brisk Nordic weather.

The paint ops are very clean, especially in the eyes and mouth, and with the rooted hair, he has no worries around his hair line.

Articulation - ***1/2
The standard Ignite body is in use once again. There's all the joints you expect in a high end sixth scale figure, including cut biceps and thighs, and double jointed knees and elbows, and an excellent ball jointed neck with a very wide range of movement.

On some of the previous Ignite figures, the weapons, armor and helms were quite heavy. This meant that holding them steady, or standing without tipping, was often quite the trick. The Bowman doesn't suffer from these issues because his layers of clothing are lighter, and none of his weapons have the kind of bulk that will cause an issue.

The joints were tight enough to hold a variety of poses, and the articulation works well across the board. It's nice to know that even though a display stand is included, it won't be something you have to use if you don't want to.

Accessories - ****
Legola...uh, the Bowman, comes with a nice assortment of accessories.  There's the working bow, the small axe (with metal head), large 'sax' or knife (also die cast metal) and sheath, drinking horn, 4 all metal arrows, quiver, and belt pouch.

The bow and arrows are well done, with lots of detail.  Don't expect the arrows to go too far though, since they are metal and somewhat heavy for their size.

The knife and axe are great sculpts, and very realistic.  The knife fits nicely in the sheath, and the sheath attaches easily to the belt, as does the leather pouch, horn and quiver.

The horn is carved and stained to resemble an ox horn, and I assumed it was for blowing.  Nope, this is a drinking horn, sort of his own personal stein.  What's as important as your weapons? Having something handy for drinking ale!

The quiver and pouch are well stitched and made from sturdy material.  The pouch opens as well, for storing little items.  It has an authentic clasp, made from plastic bone, and detailed carving on the leather flap.

Outfit - ****
Another area that is always a standout for Ignite is the historical costume.  This one is particularly nice, since it has a wide variety of materials and colors.  It will certainly stand out on the shelf!

The suede vest is trimmed in a lambskin-like material, with accurately designed clasps down the front.  It covers his blue tunic, which in turn hangs down over the tops of his plaid pants.  These were some stylin' folks.

The blue tunic matches the blue hat, trimmed in fur.  While the hat looks good, I had a very tough time getting it to stay in place.  The rooted hair is a lot to cover, and it tends to pop off.

The boots finish off his ensemble, with real laces on the side.  Yep, that's right - those are real working laces on the side of the boots!

Fun Factor - **
If it wasn't for the minor issue of poking out an eye with one of the metal weapons, these would be great toys for kids. As it is, you probably want to stick with older kids only, especially with such sharply tipped arrows.

Value - **
Suggested retail on this puppy is a whopping $80. That's a hell of a steep price to pay, even with the metal accessories and uber-cool outfit. I suspect you can find these for closer to $60 if you shop around though, but I'm grading on the worst case scenario.

Things to watch out for - 
This is a very sturdy figure, and is unlikely to have any issues.  I'd be careful with the arrows though, since they can bend easily, and you might damage them if you don't take basic care.

Overall - ***1/2
Another impressive if expensive entry from Ignite.  He makes a very nice addition to the Knights and Gladiators, adding some color and variety to the costumes and weapons.  I'm looking forward to the Greek warrior scheduled for release next.

Packaging - ***1/2
Sculpt/Design - ***
Paint - ***1/2
Articulation - ***1/2
Accessories - ****
Outfit - ****
Fun Factor - **
Value - **
Overall - ***1/2

Where to Buy - 
You can get these directly from Ignite, along with several of their past releases and their upcoming figures.

Related Links:
I've reviewed quite a few of the past Ignite figures:

- Here's reviews of the Knight of Outremer, German Knight, Viking and Crusader, Gladiator, and one of my favs, the Imperial Guard.

- Ignite has spiffed up their website, adding many new features and offering their products direct.

- and let's not forget that Weekend of Warriors show, where you can see lots of new product from Ignite, bbi and other military figure manufacturers.

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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