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Gandalf the Grey Premium Format Statue
Sideshow Collectibles

Gandalf the Grey Premium Format statue by Sideshow Collectibles


Sideshow Collectibles might not be the leaders in the licensed sixth scale world they once were, but they are still putting out some of the finest large scale statues on the market today. Their Premium Format series, which is a 'mixed media' style (with cloth, plastic, metal, leather and other materials augmenting the sculpted polystone), is always a big winner in the Best Overall Statue category of the Poppies.

The latest release is from the Lord of the Rings trilogy - Gandalf. They already produced a Gandalf in this series, but that was Gandalf the White. Many of us LOTR fans prefer our Gandalf in gray, and Sideshow has answered our call.

Posed as he was in the battle with the Balrog, complete with light up staff, Gandalf is a limited edition of 1000. (EDIT: yes, this is actually the scene earlier as he's looking upward on the stairs, lighitng the way, but you get the point). There's also an exclusive (which is the version I'll be reviewing) that includes the hatless portrait. This version was limited to just 650 - and that you can call a 'limited edition'.

He's not cheap of course, and the regular is $290, while the exclusive is $300. However, I have some options at the end of the review in the Where to Buy section that have the regular version significantly cheaper than SRP.

Packaging - ***
You know the drill when it comes to Sideshow's PF's - big box, hard Styrofoam trays, photos of the statue on the exterior, but no Certificate of Authenticity. The edition size and individual number is printed on the bottom of the box however, as well as on the base of the statue itself.
Gandalf the Grey Premium Format statue by Sideshow Collectibles
Gandalf the Grey Premium Format statue by Sideshow Collectibles
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Gandalf the Grey Premium Format statue by Sideshow Collectibles
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Gandalf the Grey Premium Format statue by Sideshow Collectibles
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Gandalf the Grey Premium Format statue by Sideshow Collectibles
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Gandalf the Grey Premium Format statue by Sideshow Collectibles
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Sculpting - ***1/2
The sixth scale Gandalf that Sideshow produced was great - this one is even better.

The wizened visage of the elderly Gandalf is extremely detailed, and a very realistic sculpt. It's not *quite* as realistic and textured as what we've seen produced by Hot Toys, but this style fits the film extremely well.

The hair is a separate piece, which is fairly apparent, and probably my only real complaint. He's been caught mid speech, with the slightly open mouth and intent expression. He's looking upward, focused intently on the area illuminated by the staff.

One of the unique features is the rubbery ends to some of the more fragile strands of hair. While the majority of the head sculpt is solid polystone, the longer 'wig' under the hat has a rubbery feel to the ends. That makes it less likely to break, and allows the hair to fit tightly over the shoulders and cloak.

The sculpted hands are properly proportioned, the staff and crystal look great, and the underlying body has been posed and shaped to match the expression and stance from the movie.

The base is very solid and sturdy, designed to look like the interior of the cave. Gandalf is on two steps, and there's a name plate just in case you are one of those people that get him confused with Dumbledore.

The base is also just about the right size. I own about three dozen PF's, and I've found that displaying those with the excessively large bases can be a challenge. This base is large enough to add visual interest to the overall statue, but not so large as to take away your focus.

Paint - ***1/2
Excellent work all around. The paint ops are clean, with sharp corners and even tones. The skin tone is tanned, and the hair has the right amount of highlighting. You'd never be able to tell that some of the hair is made from a different material, at least not based on the appearance of the paint.

The eyes are particularly well done, with a nice gloss and even stare. He's looking upward, and there is less bleed and discoloration than we've seen with some past Premium Format releases. That's been a common complaint from me, and I'm glad to see less of an issue with it this time around.

The only thing holding it back from a perfect score is the slightly waxy look to the face. It doesn't come across as much in photos, particularly with just the right lighting, but in person I felt that the skin tone wasn't quite as realistic as I'd like to see at this price point.

The base looks great though, and there's a very detailed, attractive logo and design on the bottom. Considering how rarely anyone will see it, that extra detail is a nice touch.

Accessories - Regular Bupkis; Exclusive ***
The regular statue doesn't come with any extras, at least not by my definition. Of course the hatted head and right arm are separate pieces, as is the base, but without them he'd look pretty silly, so I'm not counting them.

The exclusive does have the swappable hatless head however, and that's clearly an extra. It's an identical portrait, with the single exception of the hat. It has all the same strengths and weaknesses that I pointed out on the main head in the previous sections.

While it's quite nice, it's unlikely that you'll pose this figure without his iconic hat. He was wearing the hat in the particular scene, although he was hatless during much of the Moria trip. Since there are several places where you can pick up the regular edition for around $260 or so, that means you'd end up spending at least $40 (or even more) just to have this second head sculpt...and then rarely use it. This is one of those occasions where I believe it's really not worth the extra bucks for the exclusive, nice as the portrait might be.

Outfit - ****
While the paint and sculpt are great, right down to the selected pose, I have to say that the costume is my favorite aspect. Each layer is well done, properly tailored, and even aged and weathered in a very realistic way.

You'll actually do more futzing with this outfit than usual. Most PF's have costumes that are pretty well kept in place, but you'll need to work with the cloak, robes and sword to get everything looking just right.

It's easiest to put the cloak on after the right arm is in place, but before you've popped on one or the other head. There are small strings that tie under each arm and at the chest, but I ended up leaving all three untied.

You can play around with the shoulder bag a bit too, which has a flap on one side. The sword does NOT come out of the hilt - it's all one piece - but that's a minor nit.

Light Feature - ****
Sometimes the light up feature on the Premium Format statues is iffy, particularly with light sabers. But this time around it works great, and is clearly visible even in normal room lighting.

The battery pack is on his belly, so you'll need to lift up his shirt and pull down his pants a bit to reach it. While there are two batteries included, you'll need to remove the small piece of plastic keeping them from contacting before the light will work. The button is to his left, also on his lower belly. It's large enough to find easily, although it does look like you're getting a little too personal with the old guy every time you turn it on or off.

When attaching the left arm, make sure you pull the sleeve up past the shoulder so you can get the orientation just right. The metal post must be fully inserted for everything to work properly.

Value - **1/2
Three bills is mighty expensive, but pretty much on par with other Premium Format statues. Figures like Jedi Luke light up, but lack the second head sculpt. And companies like Gentle Giant, who are starting to dabble in this market, are also charging over $250 but lack any swap out pieces or light up feature.

Things to Watch Out For -
I mentioned it earlier, but it's worth repeating - don't try to attach the right arm blind. Pull the sleeve all the way up out of the way so you can see the shoulder.

Overall - ***1/2
This is almost a full four star overall statue, and is actually my favorite so far this year. That's saying a lot too, considering some of Sideshow's releases. But with the slightly waxy, mannequin coloration to the face, I can't quite go all the way.

Still, I doubt anyone will be disappointed by the purchase, especially big Lord of the Rings fans. Now the question is: we didn't get a full Fellowship in sixth scale format, but can we manage one in PF style? I'm not betting on it (I suspect poor Gimli will get screwed again), but it's always nice to dream!

Score Recap:
Packaging - ***
Sculpting - ***1/2
Paint - ***1/2
Accessories - Regular Bupkis; Exclusive ***
Outfit - ****
Light Up Feature - ****
Value - **1/2
Overall - ***1/2

Where to Buy -
If you want the exclusive version, you'll have to get on the Wait List at Sideshow. They still have the regular version available for $290. Online options include these site sponsors (lower than Sideshow's SRP):

- Capstone Comics has him at $261.

- Urban Collector  has him at $261.

- Fanboy Collectibles has him at $265.

- Alter Ego Comics has him at $275.

- Big Bad Toy Store has him for $280.

- for the UK buyers, Forbidden Planet has him at 250 GBP.

- or you can search ebay for a deal.


Related Links -
Related reviews:

- if you're a Gandalf fan, check out the 12" figure from Sideshow, the Gentle Giant mini-bust, or the 1/4 scale NECA version.

- other LOTR PF's include the Berserker and Lurtz.

- other Sideshow sixth scale figures include Sam and FrodoAragorn, Faramir, Boromir and Legolas.

- NECA also did a 20" Aragorn.

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Gandalf the Grey Premium Format statue by Sideshow Collectibles


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

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