Gentle Giant Harry Potter mini-busts
Dobby and the Dementor

When the Harry Potter films debuted, there was little in the way of decent merchandise. That's not to say there wasn't a buttload of merchandise - there was. Just not much of it was decent.

This last year, Gentle Giant picked up the license to produce mini-busts. When their first release of Harry and Sirius Black hit, I told you they were excellent, and that you should get in now. When the second set of Dumbledore and Professor Snape hit, I reviewed them and again begged you to get in now, lest you regret it later.

Now the next two are hitting - Dobby the House Elf and a nameless (faceless too) Dementor from Azkaban. Next up for the series is Nearly Headless Nick, and a generic Death Eater. Scheduled for SDCC this year is an exclusive version of Lucius Malfoy as a Deatheater, and we've seen early photos of both Ron and Hermione.

The busts run around $40 - $50, depending on the dealer. As always, I have some sponsor suggestions at the end of the review.

Packaging -  Dobby ***; Dementor **1/2
If you've picked up past Gentle Giant statues, then neither of these boxes will be a big surprise. The graphics are fairly basic, but the Dobby box continues the trend of having a window available to check him out on the shelf.

Unfortunately, due to the Dementor's fragility, there is no window, leaving your decision up to the photos on the box.

These have COA's, like most GG products, but they are continuing to go with the shrunk down, credit card versions.  I much prefer the larger ones that we got with early versions of the SW busts.

Sculpting - ****
I like Gentle Giant's Star Wars line, but I have to admit that they've done it one better with the Harry Potter series. The likenesses to this point have been incredible, and these two continue the tradition.

The detail work on Dobby is extremely impressive. The skin texture, the smooth glasslike eyes, the slightly parted mouth, the internal proportions, all are exceptional. He matches up perfectly to the movie counterpart, but has life and realism that a simple scan wouldn't have created.

His scale is a bit wonky, if that sort of thing bothers you. He's much larger in proportion to busts like Harry or the Dementor than he would be in 'real life', but I can cut them some slack here since making him too small would have greatly reduced the impressiveness of his appearance.

The Dementor is largely sculpted out of a very different material than past busts. Rather than using a polystone or resin for the flowing cloak, they've used a material that is more like acrylic or plastic. This means that it is very sturdy and solid, even in the smaller sections of cloak. It also means that they were able to give it a translucent quality, but more on that in the next section.

The detail work on the cloak is nice, and the flow of the material matches what you would expect in reality. They pulled off an action pose quite well, something that can be quite tricky to do, and it matches up with the feel and personality of the character.

But what is really interesting is what's sculpted under the cloak. As I mentioned, it has a translucence that allows you to see, but just barely, the skeletal creature below. It's done with a little subtlety though, so that you have to look carefully to be sure of what you're really seeing. It's a great effect, and really adds to the basic design.

Paint - ****
There were still a few issues with the paint work on Snape from the previous release, but I'm happy to say that there wasn't a single problem on either of these.

I'm including the actual translucent effect of the black robe in this category, which gives the Dementor a huge boost. It really is very cool, and needs to be seen in person to be truly appreciated. The paint ops on the exposed bony hands are nicely done as well, but it's really the ability to barely see the murky monster beneath that makes this such a stellar bust.

Dobby has his slightly mottled skin, along with just the right amount of false shadowing and shading. The basic colors are clean and consistently, and there was no bleed or poorly cut lines between colors. The lip color is perfect, and the slightly glossy, wet eyes are really amazing.

Design/Quality - ****
Both characters are in classic poses from the film, and both are done on bases that match up well with previous releases.

The Dementor's quality is top notch, and switching to the different material was genius. Not only did it allow for the translucent effect, but it meant that the thin areas of the cloak were still extremely sturdy. The Dementor appears ready to give you a little kiss, just the thing you'd rather he not do.

Dobby's pose is selected from a critical moment in the film. He's just been handed his sock, freeing him from servitude. The look of gratitude and admiration on his face is clear, and is a wonderful definition of the character.

Value - ***
You can find these for $40 - $42 each, and that's a solid value in the current mini-bust market. Whereas others are getting into the fifty dollar range, these seem to be holding pretty steady, and they are some of the best quality currently on the market.

Things to watch out for - 
Not much you can watch for pre-purchase, especially with the Dementor, but once you bring him home, you'll want to be extra careful removing him from the package. Much of his robe is quiet thin, and he's a tight fit within the styrofoam prison.

Overall -  ****
If Gentle Giant continues to produce this kind of quality in this series, this will be THE collectible to have for the entire license. As much as I like my collection of Star Wars mini-busts, I have to be honest and say that only a handful of them - predominately masked characters at that - come close to the quality of the Harry Potter busts so far.

The Dementor is a limited run of just 1500, and Dobby is 2000. The initial Harry bust is already doubled in price on Ebay, running in the $80 - $100 range. If you're a big HP fan, and you skip these, you're going to regret it. Hey, don't say I didn't warn you!

Packaging - Dobby ***; Dementor **1/2
Sculpt - ****
Paint - ****
Design/Quality - ****
Value - ***
Overall -  ****

Where to Buy -
In store options are pretty far and few between, but your LCS might get some in. Your best bet is online, but don't wait long, as these are already selling out at the usual suspects:

- Alter Ego Comics has them in stock for $42.50 each.

Stores like Fireside and Dark Shadow have already sold out of these as pre-orders, so it looks like they'll be gone pretty quick.

Related Links:
I have a handful of reviews related to Gentle Giant:

- there's the last set of Harry Potter busts, which includes Snape and Dumbledore.

- there's the recent release of the Biker and Speederbike.

- and of course, they recently released the first series of Simpsons Bustups.

Oddly enough, although I own an almost complete collection, I don't believe I've ever reviewed a GG Star Wars mini-bust!

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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