12" Barbarians from Dragon
Olaf and Attilla

There was a time, not very long ago, when sixth scale collectors had almost nothing to choose from if they were looking for characters from early wars and characters.  'Nam?  Sure.  World War II?  Man, there were billions.  World War I?  Getting sketchy.  Civil War?  Occasionally.  Pre-1865?  Forgetaboutit.

Then, the companies caught on, and figured out that yes - there really was a market for them!  Sideshow really got the ball rolling with their western figures like Wyatt Earp or General Custer.  Other companies like Drastic Plastic jumped in with Custer and others, and smaller companies like Dog Soldiers gave us a variety of early American characters, like the Buffalo Soldier or Apache warrior.

Since these seemed successful, why not earlier periods?  Companies like Ignite jumped in with various early characters like Gladiators and Knights, Sideshow jumped in with the Live by the Sword line that included figures like Vlad the Impaler and Blackbeard, and Fife and Drum Revolutionary War stuff, and the demand seemed to grow.  Collector's went from no choices to a buffet of options from a half dozen different companies.

The latest company to notice is Dragon.  They've just released the first series of 'barbarian' figures, including Olaf the Viking, Attilla the Hun, and Ermanich the Goth Warrior (not reviewed tonight).

Of course, all this cool comes at a price.  Dragon's new figures run the usual $40 or so, depending on the retailer.

Packaging - ***1/2
The beauty of Dragon packaging is that they've got the collector friendly thing down pat.  You can take it all out, put it all back, and never cause any damage.

Unfortunately, the boxes aren't quite as sturdy as others, like Sideshow, but they aren't as flimsy as some.  The text is quite good on both boxes, giving a fairly decent (or at least as decent as a you can on a toy package) recap of the history of each character and period.

Sculpting - ***
Dragon sculpts are generally well done for generic characters.  They aren't super detailed, but there's enough wrinkles and lines to give the figure character and personality.

Both of these figures have the sculpted but removable hair, similar to what we saw with the Timeline figures.  Attilla only has a top knot pony tail, which pops off and on to allow his hat to fit.  The post for the hair doesn't fit particularly well in the hole, and tends to fall off.  Most folks will be displaying him with the hat though.

The long, flowing locks on Olaf are also removable, and also have a tendency to fall off.  This really worked well with the Timeline figures, but I'm less impressed here.  Again, most people will end up just tossing the hair and keeping the helmet on Olaf anyway.

The hand sculpts work okay with the weapons, but not terrific.  The smaller weapons like the bow flop around in the hands, and even though the hilts of the swords are tough to fit into the stiff hands, once in they flop around too much as well.

Paint - ***
The paint ops work nicely with the sculpts, even if they aren't outstanding.  The skin tone is fairly even and consistent, and the eyes and facial hair is relatively clean.  There's a little bleed and a few definition problems on the edges of the beard or moustache, but it's not terrible.

As most Dragon collectors have come to expect, both figures look a tad stoned.  Dilate the pupils a little more, and they'd be busted in a New York minute.

Articulation - ****
The Dragon bodies are up there with my very favorites.  They have tight joints, and hold poses well, but are much more light weight than others.

I remember seeing the first Dragon bodies several years ago at Toy Fair, when they were just in a little display case from an importer.  They were the first to have the double jointed elbows and knees, along with a ton of other joints.  While every other sixth scale collector has managed to catch up in one way or another since, there's something to be said for the original. 

Accessories - ***1/2
Both figures come with a great assortment of nice looking accessories.

Olaf has his sword and scabbard, which fit on the belt with a couple of permanently attached loops.  However, when I was sliding the belt through the loops and positioning the sword, one came open and had to be re-glued.  Not a major problem, but a minor annoyance.

He also has his large Viking shield, similar to ones we've seen with other Viking figures from Dog Soldiers or Ignite, but the belt/loop system on the back used to hold the shield is pretty difficult to manage.  The paint ops and size are good though, so once you do get him holding it, you'll be very happy.

Finally, like all good red-headed Vikings, he has an axe.  It's well sculpted, and fits better in his hands than some of the other accessories.

Attilla comes well prepared for battle too. He has his own sword and scabbard that attaches to his identical belt in an identical way.  These guys must have conquered the same belt manufacturer.

He also has a bow, with an elastic string, and a quiver with several arrows that fits on his back and can be tied off at the bottom.  Overall, the accessories for both figures look good, but can't fit in the hands all that well.  There aren't quite as many as I had expected either, and they would have gotten four stars with just one or two more items.

Outfit - ****
Both of these outfits are fantastic quality, and very complex.  Even though we've seen these type of characters before, Dragon still finds a way to impress.

Attilla comes with pants and shirt, his heavy coat, belt, nifty hat and a great pair of boots.  The boot sculpt is one of my favorites of my recent 12" purchases, and the slightly soft but not too soft plastic works great.  He stands extremely well on his own, in large part to the excellent boot sculpt.

The best part of his outfit though is the heavy coat and hat.  The coat is extremely well tailored, fitting perfectly, although it's very thick.  The strings on the front are a little annoying if you have fat fingers, and I didn't even attempt to tie his hat down.  But overall, it's truly an impressive, and historically accurate, costume.

Olaf has an even more complex outfit.  He comes with his helmet, chain mail cowl and tunic, belt, shirt, fur cape, tights and shoes.  The shoe sculpt isn't as cool as Attilla's boots, but seem pretty accurate nonetheless.  Olaf stands great on his own as well, and the shoes don't cause any issues.

The chain mail tunic and separate cowl are made from rubber, and fit very tightly.  If you picked up any of the knights from Dragon's Timeline figures, you'll know what this stuff is like, and I have to admit, I like it better than any of the cloth material approximations.

As cool as the chain mail is, the best part of Olaf's outfit is his fur cape.  The faux fur lining looks amazing, and is perfectly in scale.  Usually this type of material is way too thick, bulky and out of scale for 12" figures, but Dragon found the perfect stuff.

You'll have to remove the hair on both figures to fit their hats, but that should come as no surprise and works pretty well.  I just tossed their hair in a box anyway, and stuck with the hats for display.

Fun Factor - ***
If you know a kid who loves sixth scale figures, then consider picking these up.  There's a ton of fun possibilities, and you might even trigger some interest in early history.

The only reason they aren't better in this category is the slightly fragile belts, and the small strings used to tie things up.  Even a kid 10 or 11 would get frustrated pretty quick by the strings on Attilla's jacket or hat, and if I had to re-glue Olaf's belt, you can bet a kid will tear it up.

Value - ***
Suggested retail on these is around $40, and that's not cheap considering there's no license costs.  However, the outfits are truly amazing, and with solid accessories and sculpting, you're getting a decent value.  These compare very well to the Ignite figures, which are more expensive but use all die cast metal accessories.

Overall - ***1/2
I'm very impressed with Dragon's move into the realm of ancient warriors.  I'll be looking to pick up any additional figures they release in this series, and I'm very happy that the 'old school warriors' shelf in my toy room is filling up with such exceptional examples.

The price point holds these back slightly from four stars, since I'm getting pretty much what I'm paying for.  They had a few minor issues, but the outfits are truly impressive, and in general these look fantastic next to their Ignite, Sideshow and Dog Soldier counterparts.

Packaging - ***1/2
Sculpt - ***
Paint - ***
Articulation - ****
Accessories - ***1/2
Outfit - ****
Fun Factor - ***
Value - ***
Overall - ***1/2

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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