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Review of Ned Stark - Game of Thrones action figure

ThreeZero
Date Published:
Written By:
Overall Average Rating: 4 out of 4

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Ned Stark Game of Thrones sixth scale figure by ThreeZero

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Introduction

Game of Thrones remains one of my favorite shows on television, and when ThreeZero announced they were producing sixth scale figures based on the license, I was thrilled. Anyone that pays attention to the market knows how strong their products are, and what amazing things they've produced in conjunction wth 3A Toys.  Here was a license that would push them to the next level, beyond robots and art figures, and I had my fingers crossed that they'd be up to the task at hand.

Their first release was a winner - Tyrion Lannister. He had some minor issues, but considering the was the first in this tricky series, they did a remarkable job. They've followed that up with the patriarch of the Stark family, Eddard, or as his friends call him, Ned. There was an exclusive version of Ned, available only direct from ThreeZero, that included his family sword Ice. That exclusive is what I'm reviewing tonight, and is the only figure shipping quite yet. Retailers should start receiving the regular release in the next few weeks.

The Ned exclusive could be had for just $160 - that's right, just $160.  And that's the exclusive! The regular version can be picked up for around $150, depending on the retailer.

They also have their Jon Snow up for pre-order right now, and if you order through the ThreeZero store, you can still get the exclusive version with Ghost.

Click on the image below for a Life Size version
Ned Stark Game of Thrones sixth scale figure by ThreeZero

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Packaging - ***1/2
The packaging is simple yet elegant, with a gray slip cover embossed with the house sigil. The embossed show name is in gold, and they've included an attractive sticker labeling this as the exclusive edition.

Inside is a basic window box with a couple plastic trays holding the figure and accessories. It's largely collector friendly, but I did ding them for using some plastic wrap to hold the swords and hands in place. You'll end up destroying it removing the pieces, and that negates some of the point of collector friendly packaging.

Ned Stark Game of Thrones sixth scale figure by ThreeZero

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Sculpting - ***1/2
I generally grade a human portrait on three key areas - realism, life-like, and accuracy. To best judge, I always check out a few screen captures, rather than simply trust my memory. This one is a bit later, when he is hand of the King, and here he is carrying Ice in this very costume. Finally, here's one when he's out in the bright sun of day, again wearing this costume.

When it comes to realism, they are rivaling the best in the business, including Hot Toys. The textured skin, especially around the eyes, looks amazingly real, and the soft detailing on the facial hair works great in normal lighting. I'm also quite pleased with the level of detail in the hair sculpt, and had ACI gone this route with their Aragorn, I think I would have been more pleased with the final result.

Then there's life-like.  To reach that, the expression has to find its way past the mannequin or zombie look, giving the character life without going over the top into the land of silly. Again, ThreeZero has nailed it. The expression is stern, with the slightly hooded eyes and tight mouth, matching the character's general personality and conveying feeling without getting too extreme.

And finally, there's accuracy.  This is the one area where the sculpt slips slightly, at least to my eye. It's close, and it's clearly Sean Bean staring out at you. I think the work on the eyes, eyebrows (they matched the slant perfectly!), and nose is extremely strong, but the face looks a little too round and pudgy to me. If it were just a little longer or narrower in the cheeks I think they would have nailed it as well.

Still, it's damn close, and certainly close enough considering the price point. If they can continue to produce this level of work in the sub-$200 range, they'll garner a lot of attention from collectors in 2015.

Ned Stark Game of Thrones sixth scale figure by ThreeZero

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Paint - ***1/2
A great sculpt deserves great paint work, and ThreeZero has followed through. The skin tone is life-like and realistic, with piercing eyes and spot on eyebrows.  The facial hair could be a smidge better, and I would love to see this sculpt repainted by one of the many master customizers out there...but then, they can make just about anything better.

The work on the accessories is top notch as well, especially the blades of the weapons and the soft boots. They've added some nice wear and dirt on the boots, and the plastic blades mimic steel.

I'm not sold on the color used for the hilts, particularly on Ice, but it's a minor quibble with an otherwise excellent production paint job.

Ned Stark Game of Thrones sixth scale figure by ThreeZero

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Articulation - ****
Both ThreeZero and Star Ace have excellent underlying bodies, rivaling the TrueType with the nautural flow of the poses. All of the joints work terrific, and while the costume is quite bulky, it didn't overly hamper the key areas of articulation. Perhaps most surprising was how well the ankles work within the soft boots, allowing him to keep his feet flat on the ground even in deeper stances.

The hands swapped easily, with little fear of breakage. Some extra wrist pegs would be a smart move though, just in case.

I've heard rumors that some folks have had loose knees or hips, but I didn't have any such trouble. He could take just about any stance, and maintain it long term. That's good, since ThreeZero doesn't include a display stand.

There is one weirdity here - there's a orange colored rubbery 'skin' over the actual neck. I suspect it's also over some of the torso...and I have no idea why. Perhaps they needed this to fill out the body properly, but thankfully none of it is visible under normal conditions.

Ned Stark Game of Thrones sixth scale figure by ThreeZero

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Accessories - ****
I'm grading the exclusive, which includes Ice. If this were the regular figure, I'd pull a half star here.

Ned comes with three weapons: his regular sword, a dagger, and the humongous Ice. There is a movable sheath for the dirk on his right side, and a scabbard that can not be adjusted on his left. I really like the way they handled the belt, as I'll sing its praises further in the next section, but setting it up with the scabbards already in place was a huge plus.

The swords and knife are all plastic, but I'm good with that, especially when it comes to Ice.  Going this route means less trouble posing, since the extra weight of metal can cause issues, and the cost savings, another big plus. If you can make a weapon look this good in plastic, then I'm all for it.

Ice is massive - there was definitely more than enough Valyrian steel here to make multiple swords  This is clearly a two handed weapon, and he has the proper hands to hold it.

Ned  has three pairs of gloves hands altogether, designed to work with the blades. The gripping hands fit the different hilts, and they've even included a perfect hand for a traditional sword stance, with the wrist bent so the hand is thrusting forward. This is an extremely useful hand, and you should try it first with any pose you're attempting with the sword - you'll be surprised how much more natural it looks.

Non-gloved hands would have been a nice addition, and there's no display stand, something collectors have gotten accustomed to.  I don't use stands unless it's absolutely necessary, so it's not a loss to me, and if I have to give up a few hand sculpts to get an outstanding figure for $75 less, I'll be happy to do it.

Ned Stark Game of Thrones sixth scale figure by ThreeZero

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Ned Stark Game of Thrones sixth scale figure by ThreeZero

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Outfit - ****
While there is a lot to like about this figure, it's the costume that is the true stand out. This is because of the perfect combination of quality, in scale materials, excellent tailoring, and perhaps most important, exceptional weathering. From the boots to the pants to the cloak, the weathering and dirt effects that were added give the overall figure it's realistic appearance.

The lowest layer is made up of his leather-like trousers, with wear at the knees just above the boots, and his gambeson. A gambeson is a quilted, long, heavy shirt that provides warmth and protection from any mail or armor worn over it.  Ned didn't wear armor, but instead has a leather vest called a peascod. Again, the materials they've used are very high quality, with excellent stitching and detailing, right down to the slight wear at various edges.

The boots and gloves are sculpted, but in such a way as to make them highly useful. The hands are all sculpted as gloved, and the rolled end of the glove is a separate piece that sits on the arm. This allows you to position the gloves perfectly in any pose.

The boots are not leather - and I'm perfectly fine with that. I believe that a figure should LOOK like the real thing as much as possible, but actually BEING the real thing is not always the best way to accomplish that. Like with the plastic swords, the use of soft rubber boots keeps the cost down and actually looks more realistic than actual leather. It also allows the ankles to have a much greater range of movement.

Over these layers goes the rubber belt, and large overcoat. I'm also pleased that they went with a rubbery material for the belt - it has a little give to it as you wrap it around him, making it quite easy to work with with less fear of damage.  It also shows off their attention to detail in the small wolf's head buttons around the center.

The heavy cloak is fantastic, with pleats sewn in to allow it to hang perfectly off his shoulders. The 'fur' collar looks great, right down to the large wolf tail running down the right side.  Again, there's an appropriate amount of wear and dirt, with more concentrated around the bottom edge.

The cloak is held in place with a wide belt that wraps across the chest and buckles in back. I was concerned when I took it off that getting it back on and in just the right way would be difficult - my concerns were unjustified. It unbuckles easily, and re-wrapping and buckling it was simple.

Ned Stark Game of Thrones sixth scale figure by ThreeZero

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Fun Factor - ****
The figure is sturdy and well made, with no fear of damaging the outfit or accessories with normal handling. Because the articulation works so well, and the costume and swords look so good, you'll spend hours posing and re-posing this figure, looking for just the perfect stance...and then changing it all up again.

Ned Stark Game of Thrones sixth scale figure by ThreeZero

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Value - ****
This exclusive version ran $160 initially, and the regular release is around $150. That's a downright steal in the current market, where Medicom is charging $225 for Kick-Ass in a basic costume with two little sticks, and Hot Toys wants $250 for any release of Iron Man. We hear collectors say "It's just inflation..." but companies like ThreeZero, Asmus and Star Ace are producing exceptional figures in the under $200 range.  And if you think this is a fluke, check out the Jon Snow from ThreeZero, who will also be around $160 without Ghost.

Ned Stark Game of Thrones sixth scale figure by ThreeZero

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Things to Watch Out For -
Almost nothing, another rarity for a modern sixth scale figure. Everything is sturdy and well made, and should be fine under normal handling and posing.  I have heard rumors that some folks have had broken wrist pegs (and which is why ThreeZero should include a couple more), but mine were perfectly fine through plenty of hand swaps.

You will want to take some care inserting some of the weapons in the hands. For example, the dagger is a tight fit in the intended gripping hand, but with a little care you should be fine.

Ned Stark Game of Thrones sixth scale figure by ThreeZero

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Overall - ****
This is going to be a very big year for sixth scale figures, and could be a turning point in the industry.  Hot Toys has left behind the under $200 market, but companies like Asmus, Star Ace, and ThreeZero are producing exceptional figures at a reasonable price point. If they can keep it up, they can create some real shock waves in the market.

Ignoring the big picture, this is an amazing figure at a terrific price.  Tyrion had a few issues...Ned has fewer. With Jon Snow coming next, I expect close to perfection.  Sure, that's a pretty high bar to set, but I think ThreeZero can do it.

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

Ned Stark Game of Thrones sixth scale figure by ThreeZero

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Where to Buy 
Online options include these site sponsors:

- has the regular version for $145.

- Entertainment Earth has the regular for $160.

- Sideshow has him for $170.

- or you can search ebay for a deal.

Related Links -
This is ThreeZero's second Game of Thrones figure - they started with Tyrion Lannister. They have Jon Snow up for pre-order as well, and the exclusive with Ghost is still available.

If you're just a Ned Stark fan, you should check out the smaller 6" action figure from Funko, or the slightly larger statue/figure from Dark Horse.

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

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