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Review of Aragorn - Lord of the Rings sixth scale action figure

ACI Toys
Date Published:
Written By:
Overall Average Rating: 3.5 out of 4

Lord of the Rings Aragorn sixth scale action figure by ACI

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Introduction

There's currently two players in the sixth scale market that are doing Lord of the Rings figures - Asmus and ACI. I've checked out a number of the Asmus releases, but Aragorn is the first I've had the chance to review from ACI.

While there's a number of key attributes to this figure, the most striking feature and design choice is going to be the use of rooted hair.  I've said before that I think getting rooted hair to work properly is going to be the next big step in the evolution of the market, and both Hot Toys and now ACI are doing what they can to move forward in that direction.

Aragorn has been shipping for awhile, but it was one that got delayed for many of us in the U.S. There were two versions, a regular and a 'special edition'. I'm reviewing the latter tonight, which has one additional accessory. I paid $250 for this edition, but before BBTS sold out, they were getting $550 for it! The figure ran $200 - $250 at original retail, depending on the seller, and that's where I'll be judging it, but it appears that current prices have jumped quite a bit.

Click on the image below for a Life Size version
Lord of the Rings Aragorn sixth scale action figure by ACI

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Packaging - ****
This is a wrap around five panel box, not too unusual these days. There's the expected magnetic closures, and the colors and text are vibrant and sharp.

To be honest, this package is getting extra love because it was done by a friend of mine: Eamon O'Donoghue. if you've listened to the HotToyCast, then you've heard Eamon. And yes, he's a terrific artist who does work for a number of companies in the industry.  While the box design itself is good, it's really the inner cover with his rendition of Aragorn that sets this box apart.

It's all collector friendly too, although you will have to tear off some pretty sticky tape to get to some of the accessories in the tray. There's no instructions, which is becoming one of my major pet peeves - why can I get instructions with a $10 Hasbro toy, but a $250 figure that requires assembly skips them? I know that what you need to do isn't that complicated, but even reference photos would be nice to avoid making mistakes that add to the frustration.

Lord of the Rings Aragorn sixth scale action figure by ACI

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Sculpting - ***
I'm really torn on this one - there are some very, very good aspects, and some that really drive me nuts.  The long rooted hair is both.

It is important to realize that his hair was very long, and was very wild, through out most of the films. Here's a good reference photo, wearing this same outfit. Sculpting this sort of long hair is a major issue as well, and never comes out quite right.

ACI has made sure there's enough hair - no bald spots here. It's attached in very tight groups, so it covers the scalp extremely well. This also makes it quite thick, which can be a problem. It lacks any natural wispy-ness, and there's so much hair that it can be difficult to get right with any amount of futzing.

I have seen people cutting the hair. I've seen them using lots of gel or very little. I went with a water treatment, trying to get something that I liked. I never did quite get to where I wanted to be, and I have to admit that I've never seen any photos of this guy where I thought the hair really looked quite right. Rooted hair has improved, but it still has a way to go before it is truly life-like and realistic.

Of course, there will always be some people that won't like it. They'll say it's too 'doll-like', and they don't collect 'dolls'. But given time, I think ACI (and Hot Toys) will get the technique down well enough that the average collector will be quite pleased.

Once you get past the hair, the rest of the sculpt really shines.  While the forehead might look like a fivehead, he really did have a big face in the movie.  They've wrinkled up the forehead a bit more than I'd like, but that's more obvious in macro photos than in person.  From the eyebrows down, it's an extremely good portrait, perhaps the best we've seen at capturing the look of Viggo as Aragorn in plastic.

The hands are sculpted to work with the accessories, and all of the lefts include the silver ring. All of the rights are sculpted in the glove.

Lord of the Rings Aragorn sixth scale action figure by ACI

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Paint - ***1/2
The overall quality of the paint is extremely good, with a varied skin tone, perfect glass eyes, and just the right touch on the facial hair.

I'm particularly taken by the eyes, which have a steely blue look that's quite arresting. The tanned skin is very realistic, and the soft color variation on the lips works well.

Lord of the Rings Aragorn sixth scale action figure by ACI

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Articulation - ***
The underlying body is very well articulated, and can take proper stances with ease. I particularly like the range of movement in the chest and waist, as well as the neck.

The multiple layers of clothing do restrict the arms and shoulders a bit, although you should be able to fine a good upper body pose with a little effort. The solid boots makes there's really no ankle articulation, and is the one big area where they need to improve. You won't get any super dynamic or deep stances, due in large part to these stiff boots.

The joints are all tight and solid, with good quality materials being used for the body and joints. The hands swap easily, with little fear of breakage. That's good because they didn't supply any extra wrist pegs.

Lord of the Rings Aragorn sixth scale action figure by ACI

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Accessories - ****
Aragorn come extremely well fitted, with plenty of weapons to defeat his enemies.

The regular release included his sword and scabbard, the curved knife and scabbard, a small dagger that fits in a sheath on the front of the larger sword scabbard, three arrows, and a bow. The bow string comes wrapped around it, but can easily be unwrapped and tied off at either end.

There is a generous amount of metal in use, particularly with the sword and knives. They are very light weight though, with a very sharp point - take care. The Elven knife has runes sculpted into the blade that translate to "Foe of the Morgoth's Realm". The scabbards for these weapons are heavy duty, well made, and attach to the belt with leather loops. The loops are a little tricky to work with and prone to come apart - I had to re-glue one but it was a minor hiccup.

To go along with these weapons, he has a lit torch, complete with translucent flames. There's also a small pipe, which he can hold in a couple different hands. Around his neck he has the Evenstar, and he has a quiver that can attach around his shoulders to carry the three arrows. The bow can also be attached to the quiver, thanks to a couple more loops of leather.

Along with all these character specific extras, he has a couple things we've come to expect with any sixth scale release.  There are 3 pairs of hands: fists, gripping, and a pair designed for specific poses (the gloved right is perfect for holding back the bow string). These swap easily enough, but the lack of extra pegs can be worrisome.

Finally, there's a display base and crotch support post.  The base is in two parts: the flat black piece, and a flat stone cover.  It's not particularly fancy, but it does the job and looks reasonably good. Thankfully, you don't have to use the stand to keep him upright, but at this point a stand is a standard expectation for every figure.

The 'special edition' figure you see here also included another sword - the very large Anduril. It has a well made scabbard too, and he can use it on his belt, although I think it's a bit too large and cumbersome for that.  The extra length and trademark hilt set it apart, and it's definitely a two handed weapon.

Lord of the Rings Aragorn sixth scale action figure by ACI

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Outfit - ****
Another area where this guy really shines is his multi-layer costume. It starts with the thin tunic and pants, both nicely tailored. Over that goes the long leather vest, wrapped tight with a long belt. This is the belt that you'll untie and then attach the scabbards.

Next is the long leather jacket and bracers on the forearms. On his feet he has the sculpted boots, which should have been a little softer, to allow for some ankle articulation. Finally, he comes with the Elven cloak, complete with Elven leaf brooch at the throat.

All of these costume pieces have been weathered and dirtied up. They look and feel fantastic, one of the best weathering jobs I've ever seen on a production figure. They've also used very high quality material, and while there are several layers, it all looks in scale and properly tailored.

I did see a couple weird stains on they cloak - not sure if that was intentional or not. I'm not talking about the dirt effects, as that's obviously intended, but there are two dark blotches that seem out of place.

Lord of the Rings Aragorn sixth scale action figure by ACI

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Fun Factor - ***
This figure can be a bit frustrating to work with. Getting the scabbards on the belt, getting the quiver in place, futzing with the hair, only to have something drop off or slip up...that can get to you. I suspect that once you have him kitted up and in a pose you really like, he'll be staying that way for quite some time.

Lord of the Rings Aragorn sixth scale action figure by ACI

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Value - **1/2
This guy varied in price quite a bit, depending not on just whether you bought the regular or special edition, but where and when you bought the figure.  I paid $250 for the special edition, and at that price (clearly a Hot Toys price) I did get a lot of very well done accessories and a fantastic outfit. The sculpt is one that you'll want ot play with a bit, and then sleep on it. I suspect you'll like it quite a bit better after you've had it in hand for awhile.

Lord of the Rings Aragorn sixth scale action figure by ACI

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Things to Watch Out For -
Working with all the little buckles and belts can be trying, and a couple are particularly tricky. When your working with the quiver, be sure the lower half of the belt isn't wrapped around the bottom of the quiver itself - mine was, and that makes the belt too short overall. Unwrap it at that spot, and you'll be able to properly put it around his shoulders.

The tiny loops for the scabbards may come apart on you as you thread the belt through, but fear not, as a dab of super glue will fix that right up.

Lord of the Rings Aragorn sixth scale action figure by ACI

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Overall - ***1/2
I'm not quite sold on the rooted hair for this guy...not quite. It's getting there though, and I certainly want to see companies continue to work on getting it just right. I think that this is an area where they can take sixth scale figures - particularly of female characters - to the next level of realism.

Because I wasn't completely happy with the hair, I almost dropped this guy another half star overall. But the reality is that the costume and accessories are outstanding, far better than what we've been getting lately from other companies in this market. And while it may take me a few more hours of futzing before I get the hair where I'd like it, I can't argue with the underlying Aragorn sculpt and paint.

Asmus has plans for their own Aragorn, and I have one on order. I'll be sure to do a review once he ships, and I'm very interested in seeing how he stacks up against this release.

Score Recap (out of ****):
Packaging - ****
Sculpting - ***
Paint - ****
Articulation - ***
Accessories - ****
Outfit - ****
Fun Factor - ***
Value - **1/2
Overall - ***1/2

Where to Buy 
Finding this guy might be a bit tough at this point, but you can search ebay for a deal.

Related Links -
Other sixth scale LOTR figures include the recent Nazgul Steed from Asmus, as well as their Morgul Lord, Gandalf, Gothmog and Guritz. Other sixth scale figures include these by Sideshow - Gandalf, Sam and FrodoAragorn, Faramir, Boromir and Legolas.

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

Discussion:
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Lord of the Rings Aragorn sixth scale action figure by ACI

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

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