Gentle Giant Harry Potter
Voldemort mini-bust, Riddle Grave

With all these blockbusters hitting, I can barely keep up with what's hitting what weekend.  Harry Potter's latest film is right around the corner, right after Shrek 3 and POTC 3.  There's no excuse for them not to hit box office records this year!

Gentle Giant has just released two more Harry Potter items.  First, there's the new Voldemort mini-bust to go with the rest of their popular mini-bust line.  He's a limited edition of course, this time at 2500.  If you're like Dwight Schrute though, you might not want to say his name too much.

Next up is not a bust, but a statue of the Riddle grave site.  This is a smaller scale, but is sure to be high on the list of Potter fans.  This isn't the first statue they've done, since they had already did the dragon.  This statue is a limited edition as well of course, and it's limited to 1500.  You can pick up the bust for around $40 - $45, and the statue for about $50 - $55. I'm covering both tonight.

Packaging - Voldemort ***; Grave **1/2
Both have the usual graphics and text for a Harry Potter high end collectible.  These are pretty dull and unimaginative, but that's largely the licensor's fault.

However, at least Voldie gets himself a window to look out - and you to look in. The statue is sealed up entirely, so you won't be able to see if yours looks good til you get home.

Both also come with the nifty little baseball card sized Certificates of Authenticity.

Sculpting - Voldemort ***1/2; Grave ***
Voldemort has an excellent head sculpt, capturing the appearance of the on screen character extremely well.  There's also some nice sculpt detail that adds realism, especially in the eyes, lips and teeth.  Even up close it's possible to confuse the head sculpt for actual film footage.  Of course, the resin robes give it away, but for a mini-bust, this sculpt is well above average.

The wand looks about right as well, at least from what I've seen with the Noble version.  Proportion is good within this bust and scale to others in the series is decent as well.  The robes have a nice flow to them, and have more texturing than is often usual with Gentle Giant busts.

The Riddle Grave statue is small, which will be the biggest surprise for most folks.  The character on the statue only stands 5 inches tall, but whether that's in scale with the 7" action figures from NECA or not is debatable I suppose.  Often grave statues are not in lifesize, but rather smaller scale, so it might work with those figures.  If not, it should look good with the Cards, Inc figures which are closer to 4" tall.

This statue has a nice stone appearance, with just the right texture on the wings, robes and headstone sections to give them a very realistic look.  Of course the paint work helps here as well. 

Paint - ***1/2
Both the bust and the statue have excellent paint ops.  The bust has a nice, wet appearing gloss on the skin of Voldemort, with the translucent effect achieved by adding in the thin veins beneath the surface.  His eyes are straight and clean, with the lower lids raised up to the center of the eye.  That type of squint is the standard psychotic bad guy gaze, and it works great here.

The statue has less detail work of course, but the paint has been used to achieve the perfect worn stone appearance.  Getting just the right highlighting and shadows is critical to making something like this look like weathered rock, and they pulled it off beautifully. 

There are a few minor slop spots on both, including some rub marks on the statue and some straight paint marks on the bust.  But these only slightly detract from the overall appearance.

Design - ***
Neither design knocks my socks off.  The grave is hurt a bit by the fact that the film version is rather basic as well, and I have to admit that I was pretty surprised by how small it is.  I'm not quite sure what I'm going to do with this guy, at least until I get the Cards Inc. figures.  It's a very odd choice for a statue in this line, since it doesn't really fit in with any other item.

The Voldemort is a bit over dramatized for me, especially with the angle of the neck and arm.  Yes, it does come from the big battle scene between he and Harry, but the flow of the body seems to go against normal human physiology, especially that left arm.  Try getting just that pose with your arm, with the bicep and the elbow turned almost facing the floor but the back of your hand almost flat.  You can do it, but it's certainly not a natural pose.

Value - Voldemort **1/2; Grave **
At around $45, the Voldemort bust is the same price as the rest of the series.  That's obviously fairly average for this stuff, and while Voldie is nice, he's not an exceptional value compared to the rest of the line.

The Graveyard statue is more expensive than the busts, but doesn't have much more in terms of detail or size.  It's not a terrible deal, but $50 or more seems a smidge over the usual.

Things to Watch Out For - 
Each has one minor issue to keep in mind.  For the statue, take some extra care when attaching the right hand to the body.  Mine was a very tight fit, and it would be easy to force it in and damage the poly resin.

On Voldemort, there's the issue of his wand.  Mine came out of the box looking perfect, but I've heard of a number of people getting bent or broken wands.  This is caused by him being placed in the box in not quite the right position, and the styrofoam packaging rubs on the wand.  If yours comes out of the box fine, remember to be careful if you put it back in the box for storage.

Overall - Voldemort ***1/2; Grave ***
Voldemort might have a bit of an odd feel to the pose, but his head sculpt is awfully good, and the excellent paint work gives him the extra boost.  The statue is less impressive, with a small size making it an odd addition to the display.  Hard core fans will be happy with it, but until you find something else to go with it, you might not find the need to pick it up. Gentle Giant was probably smart to limit this one to just 1500.

Score Recap:
Packaging - Voldemort ***; Grave **1/2
Sculpt -  Voldemort ***1/2; Grave ***
Paint - ***1/2;
Design - ***
Value - Voldemort **1/2; Grave **
Overall - Voldemort ***1/2; Grave ***

Where to Buy -
If your LCS doesn't have them, your online options include:

- Fireside Collectibles has the bust for $40, and the statue for $48.

- Alter Ego Comics has the bust for $42.50, and the statue for $51.

- CornerStoreComics has the bust for $43, and the statue  for $53.

- for my British readers, Forbidden Planet has the bust for 30 pounds and the statue for $40.

Related Links -
I've covered all the mini-busts, and the Hungarian Horntail as well:

- most recent was a guest review of the Tonner dolls

- I also reviewed the first series of figures from NECA.

- there's the other mini-busts, including Hagrid and Mad Eye Moody, Ron and Hermione, Snape and Dumbledore, Dobby and Dementor, and a guest review of Harry and Sirius.

- Gentle Giant also did a statue of the Hungarian Horntail.

- the Noble Collection has done some nifty wands.

- just case you forgot how bad some of Mattel's figures were, here's Extreme Quidditch Harry and Dueling Club Harry.

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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