Packaging - ****
Sideshow continues to look for ways to do the very best packaging on the
market, and there's a couple more improvements here.
Of course, we get the uber-cool wide, flat box with the double gate fold
die cut front. The velcro they've used this time (magnets seem to be
reserved for the Star Wars packages) are extremely sticky, and also appear to
be well attached to the box. Still, be very careful whenever you open
this guy up, because the tight fitting velcro could still pull off the box.
Inside, all the parts are in the tray, and there's NO twisties, tape or
dental floss holding anything in. Bravo! They've protected the paint on
the head with a non-stick piece of plastic in back and a neck restraint, while
the hands and feet are protected with plastic wrapping. It's all
collector friendly in every way, and it will keep the paint job in original
condition while it wings its way to you.
There is still tape on the outer flap of the box, but this isn't a big
deal. I expect we'll eventually see that go away as well, but for now, I
can certainly live with it. The only thing missing was the foam inserts
inside the outer box, like what we've seen with recent Star Wars
releases. The outer box fits tight against the actual figure packaging,
which means any severe damage to the outer box is translated to the inner.
Sculpting - ***1/2
I was concerned that the sculpt was going to be weak...but that's not the
case, if you can find your way past the paint.
Now, David Wenham doesn't have any extremely unique facial features, but
there are certain proportions to his face (and hisbig nose) that make him
somewhat distinctive. Comparing the likeness to stills from the film, I
have to say I think they did do an extremely good job with this one, certainly
as good as Boromir, much better than Legolas, and miles better than Aragorn.
There's also a very good proportion between this head and the fully clothed
body. He's wearing a lot of clothes, but they're well tailored for the
most part, and the size of the head matches up extremely well with the
appearance of the clothed body. There's no bobble or pin head here.
The sculpted hair is the right style, and it flows pretty well.
There's enough detail in the strands, and there's no tootsie roll issues.
Both sets of included hands are also very well sculpted, and we actually have
a set designed specifically to hold the bow and arrow that work perfectly.
Now, that's not to say there's some minor issues. The jaw seems
slightly off, and the sculpted beard is heavier than what he had in the
films. These are minor issues though, and I think that in the hands of a
master painter, this head sculpt would really shine.
Paint - *1/2
Unfortunately, the paint doesn't do the figure justice.
Let's start with the hair. It's all one solid color, which isn't too
big of an issue, since trying to do a wash or highlights on the hair can often
backfire. But that one single color is something I've never seen on any
human's head, sort of a clay or slate color. It looks nothing like the
blonde color in the film, or even the blonde color of the prototype. I
can completely understand a final production figure not having the same number
or even quality of paint ops - but color? Lowe's can match the color of
paint off just about anything with their equipment, and I'd expect any Asian
manufacturer to do the same.
The hair also suffers from a gloss finish, but it's not as glossy as the
face and beard. The beard is down right shiny, and it's also painted a
dark brown, quite different from the hair. Hey, at least the beard and
It looks like they tried to lighten up the heavy beard about by rubbing off
the high spots. Clearly, this beard is thicker and darker than anything
the character ever had in the movie. On top of that, it's very
sloppy. There's overspray up onto the chin around the mouth on one side
but not on the other, making it appear like there's a bare spot. The
moustache is crooked, and even the eyebrows have small gaps in the paint.
The skin tone is good, but has the same gloss finish. It's not as bad
on the face as the beard (or as bad as we've seen on some past figures), but
it's clearly noticeable.
I've heard reports of bad eyes as well, but fortunately I didn't have much
trouble there. Mine have clean edges, and both are fairly straight and
even. One pupil is a bit bigger than the other, but it's fairly minor,
especially after being overwhelmed by the rest of the face issues.
Worse, from photos it looks like I got one of the better versions, and a lot
of folks are far more upset with the paint job on this figure than usual.
However, had I merely judged this score on the face I would have added
another half star. While the face paint is annoying, it wasn't nearly as
bad (at least in terms of gloss) as I'd been hearing. For me, the boots
are even worse, with a muddy effect that doesn't work at all. It ruins
what looks like is a very good boot sculpt, and feels tacky to the
touch. In my experience, that's never a good sign.
Articulation - ***1/2
I don't know what they're up to at Sideshow, but it sure seems like they've
taken people's comments into account on the articulation. They still
have a way to go to catch up to Hot Toys and Medicom, but I swear that there
have been subtle improvements in the joints of their standard body.
I was able to pose this guy in all kinds of natural ways, especially the
legs and arms. The hips also seem to have a better flow, and the ball
jointed neck worked great.
Simply handle this figure side by side with a Sideshow figure from a year
ago, and you'll feel the difference. There's still a few issues, like
the looseness of the shoulders (I had a hard time getting the arms to stay
above the chest), but Sideshow should be commended for the improvements.
Accessories - ****
The regular version comes with his long bow, arrows, a quiver, his long sword and scabbard, and and
am extra set of hands. Of course there's also the black display base, emblazoned with the LOTR logo.
The long bow is fairly basic, but that's not inaccurate. The bow string is
much more in scale than Boromir's, and you'll want to be careful when posing
him with the bow drawn. It will fire that arrow, and you don't want to
explain that one to the emergency room doctor.
The arrows look terrific, and fit nicely on the bow. In fact, they
are even notched to fit over the string. They fit inside the quiver
nicely, and the quiver is perhaps my favorite ever produced. Instead of
being either all plastic (the most common answer) or all cloth (occasionally
done), the quiver is a combination. There's a hard plastic shell which has the
leather straps attached to it. There's also a cool cloth/leather insert
that actually holds the arrows (and is removable) with drawstrings at the
top. It looks extremely realistic in combination, and fits nicely on his
back. There's a hole cut in the cape to allow the straps to fit
through. The one negative is the buckle, which isn't exactly screen
What would Faramir be without his sword and sheath, attached to the leather
belt. While the hilt of Faramir's sword is a bit more plain than some of
the other characters, I think I like this one better. The plain style, and
perfectly painted blade (there's not a nick or inconsistency anywhere on mine)
makes it look much more realistic.
Unfortunately, there's a downside again. The belt is a bit too short
to get it buckled quite right. This is really due to the fact that the
leather tunic is a looser fitting than it needs to be. If this were
tighter, the belt would probably be just about the right length. Still, an
extra half inch here wouldn't have killed them.
The belt/scabbard is also the one place I had some issues with
damage. The front leather strap pulled apart on the belt on mine, and
I'll have to come up with a way to reglue it.
I already mentioned the excellent sculpt on the extra set of hands, but
it's also worth nothing that these popped on and off smoothly, and stayed on
extremely well. No problems with them dropping off every time you posed
The exclusive comes with one more goodie - the cloven Horn of Gondor. Since the regular Boromir figure included the undamaged horn, including the damaged version that was brought to Faramir after his brother's death was a
good idea, but it's not one of those exclusives you simply can't live without.
Outfit - ****
While I like the color that Boromir's outfit brought to the display, I have to
say that Faramir's is the best of the bunch. And that's without doing
any futzing - no water soaks, no ironing, no steaming - right out of the box.
There's some color inconsistency with the on screen version, but I can live
with that when the quality is this good.
He has his fuzzy pants and a fuzzy shirt, covered by a long vest.
This 'vest' hangs down in strips that look like the skirt you actually
see. The leather tunic covers the upper half, and snaps in the
back. On either shoulder is leather armor, while there are hard plastic gauntlets
on both forearms.
The outfit is all topped off with the cape, done in brown instead of
green. Yea, the color isn't quite right, but it's made from a nice, thin
material, with the usual wire inside the hood for posing. This cape hung
and flowed the best of all four right out of the box.
Oh, I almost forgot - there's those boots. The sculpt is
actually quite good, and includes the buckles on the side.
Unfortunately, as I mentioned in the paint section, the paint work is
awful. They were going for a muddy effect that just didn't work, and on
top of it, the paint left the boots sticky.
While the entire outfit looks excellent (ignoring that nasty paint), it's
the tunic that makes this guy. The imprinted tree looks fantastic, and
the different colors of leather work great. There's tons of detail here,
including the small buckles and threaded string on either side, that in
reality would have been the closures. I do wish the tailoring was a
smidge better - the jerkin is a little looser fitting than I'd like - but it's
a very minor nit.
Some folks might complain there's not enough weathering to the clothing,
but I much prefer this clean appearance than the usual botched attempts at
weathering. Doing realistic damage and dirt at this scale is extremely
difficult, and I'd prefer a great looking clean figure to a goofy looking
Fun Factor - ***
Obviously, these aren't meant to be played with. But that doesn't mean
they aren't fun. Great sixth scale product never forgets its roots in
G.I. Joe and Johnny West. They quality, realism and engineering of these
figures may be light years beyond what we had in the sixties, but they haven't
forgotten those humble beginnings.
If there were fewer paint issues here, he'd get a 3 star score in this category, similar to his brother. You can't deny the excellent costume and accessories, but at $65
the quality of everything, not just some things, has to be above average.
Things to Watch Out For -
There's a couple things to take extra care with. First, don't pull too
hard on those velcro closures when opening the box. They seem much
sturdier than past releases, but there's no reason to test the theory.
Also, take some care with the leather straps. As I mentioned, one of
the straps holding the scabbard in place pulled free on mine, and the quiver
strap is quite thin and easy to break. It's not like there's anything
here that's going to snap when you breathe on it, but you want to keep in mind
that realistic materials like these in such small scales still needs to be
handled with some care.
Overall - ***
This figure was wavering between **1/2 and *** stars. The only reason it
finally got the three was because the overall quality of the other categories
- especially sculpt, outfit and accessories - outweighed the paint. Mine paint
job isn't quite as bad as some of them I've seen either, and had I gotten one
of the worse ones, that extra half star would have been lost.
Of all the things that
go into a figure, my patience has grown the thinnest around paint. If
you're going to produce a high end collectible, the one area that requires
quality is the paint application. Hard to sculpt an exact
likeness? I get that. But hard to get the paint the right color,
applied cleanly, and without the God awful gloss? There really is no
For me personally, this figure is actually my second favorite in the LOTR
line up from Sideshow. Boromir is still the easy winner, and I was too
easy on the Legolas head sculpt. Aragorn is overall my least favorite,
although he scored the same overall as did poor Faramir. How could