Harry Potter Mini-bust
Bellatrix Lestrange

 Bellatrix Lestrange Harry Potter mini-bust by Gentle Giant

Lost in the hubbub of all the huge summer movie releases are some of the other big blockbusters coming out later in the fall. One of these is Harry Potter and the Half Blood prince, the sixth film in the series. As we get closer to the November release, I'm sure we'll see more product.

But my favorite schizophrenic, multiple personality collectibles company, Gentle Giant, has just released another in their generally outstanding line of Harry Potter busts. This time its the very attractive, very dangerous and very nuts Bellatrix Lestrange, played by the lovely Helena Bonham Carter.

This bust is a limited edition of 2500, and is shipping now. Expect to pay around $45, the usual rate these days for most of the GG minibusts. As always, I have some great online buying suggestions at the end of the review as well.

Packaging - ***1/2
The packaging follows the general look and design of the previous GG HP busts, and thankfully, this one has the window allowing you to see the bust before you buy. Well, that's if you're lucky enough to find this on a shelf someplace near you, rather than having to buy it online.

There's also the usual cool baseball card style Certificate of Authenticity, and there are actually folks that collect these independently of the busts - really!

Bellatrix Lestrange Harry Potter mini-bust by Gentle Giant

Bellatrix Lestrange Harry Potter mini-bust by Gentle Giant
Bellatrix Lestrange Harry Potter mini-bust by Gentle Giant
Bellatrix Lestrange Harry Potter mini-bust by Gentle Giant

Sculpting - ****
Regular readers know I was just disappointed recently by GG's mediocre work on Tonks, another lovely lady from the Harry Potter universe. Of all the companies out there, Gentle Giant drives me the craziest - one release is fantastic, another looks like it came from a completely different company.

With Bellatrix, GG seems to have broken their bad track record with Harry Potter ladies. Their Hermione, Tonks, Cho, Luna, and even the Merperson have all been in the bottom half of the bust releases, and it seemed that the more attractive the female, the more likely their version would be poor.

It's not unusual for companies to have difficulty sculpting the beautiful people. I'm going to do a feature article on why very soon, but it's a combination of the lack of 'personality' (all those recognizable features you have that drive friends to describe you by saying "He has a wonderful personality!") and the effects of what is known as the Uncanny Valley. Like I said, I'll be doing a full feature on my theory, but suffice to say that getting a beautiful woman sculpted perfectly is a huge challenge.

This time I'm happy to report that GG comes through in spades. Ms. Carter is clearly a beautiful woman, but you will recognize both her AND the character she's playing when you see this bust. The shape of the face, nose and eyes are perfect, and while the lips are a *little* full, the overall effect is outstanding.

Now, you do have to admit that a character like Bellatrix does have some unique features to make it more possible to get the look right, and they exploit those here. The crazy eyes, wild hair, and dynamic pose all go a long way to making this the best HP female bust they've produced.

Paint - ***1/2
The paint is excellent as well, although I'm not going quite as gaa-gaa over it due to a couple minor issues.

For the most part, the quality is extremly high, with almost no slop and very clean cut lines. The eyes are straight and even, with properly placed eyebrows and a perfect hairline. They've used various finishes on the clothing to give the all black outfit more pop, which is most apparent with the high gloss girdle/wand holster section.

They did a lot of work on the eyes, work that could have gone terribly wrong but managed to be mostly right. There's the darkened circles around her eyes, not too much but just about right. The eyes are also glossy, which is a great thing, but the gloss extends a bit too much onto the skin around her eyes, making it look like the face itself is wet. Not so good.

Both the wild hair and costume have been highlighted with a gray color, and the quality of these and all the paint ops is quite high.

Design - ***1/2
You can't give Gentle Giant too much credit for the design, since the pose they used is pretty much the one and only Bellatrix standard. We saw it with NECA's smaller figure, and it wasn't a surprise to see GG choose it for the bust. It's a very dynamic pose, and it's also right out of the last film.

Still, they hit it dead on. The proportions are perfect, the expression is excellent, and even the way they melded her body/costume into the brick was brilliant. Rather than having a distinct break between the two, like they did with the recent Tonks, they took advantage of the similarity of texture and color between the clothing and rocks, and allowed one to flow into the other in a much smoother transition. Brilliant!

Value - ***
At $40 - $50, she runs pretty much in line with other recent GG busts. In fact, that's been close to the cost for quite some time now. You're getting your money's worth here, and I'm bumping this one up slightly from average in this category because the quality is so good.

Things to Watch Out For - 
Other than the obvious (don't throw it at your cheating spouse), there isn't anything in specific to watch out for.

Overall - ***1/2
It's nice to finally get a Harry Potter female bust that's as nice as the male counterparts. The sculpt and paint ops are excellent, and the design is dynamic and visually interesting. Next up will be Lupin and Mcgonagle, and the release of Bella has me all the more excited about the future releases.

And don't forget that GG is also doing a convention exclusive for this year of the Weasley twins. I was fortunate enough to have a friend pick them up for me at NYCC, but you can also get them later this year at SDCC.

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

Where to Buy -
There are plenty of online options, including these excellent sponsors:

- Fireside Collectibles has an excellent price at $40.

- Dark Shadow Collectibles has her at just $42.

- Urban Collectors has her at $45.

- Things From Another World has her at $45.

- Alter Ego Comics has her for $46.75.

- Andrew's Toyz has her at $49.

- for the UK folks, Forbidden Planet has her for 29 GBP.

Related Links -
If your a GG HP mini-bust fan:

- the other mini-busts, including light up Harry, Cho Chang, Luna Lovegood, Draco Malfoy, Merperson mini-bust, Voldemort, Hagrid and Mad Eye Moody, Ron and Hermione, Snape and Dumbledore, Dobby and Dementor, and a guest review of Harry and Sirius.

- and if you're a Bellatrix fan, check out the NECA action figure.

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Bellatrix Lestrange Harry Potter mini-bust by Gentle Giant

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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