The key take away from all that
is for the completist, four of the
five single pack figures are available in the other double packs with
figures that aren't currently available alone. The only single pack you
have to buy right now is Grinnah, who I'm reviewing tonight with the
large deluxe set of Thorin and the Goblin King.
That's a really
nice touch, since nobody wants to end up buying multiples of the same
character to get a complete set if they can help it.
These are showing up at Toys R
Us first, but should be at just about every major mass market retailer
Packaging - ***
None of this packaging is collector friendly of course, but there's a
few more twisties and rubber bands than I like, even for a mass market
I do really like the graphics
and colors though, matching up with the film designs nicely. These are
dictated by the licensor of course, but they've been well executed.
The text on the back does a nice
job of giving each character's back story, but a mention of the
accessories would have been nice as well.
Sculpting - Goblin
King, Grinnah ***1/2; Thorin ***
Looking across the first wave of figures, it's clear that getting the
human likenesses right is going to be the bane of this series.
is decent as a generic figure, but I'm really not seeing the character
likeness. All the facial hair helps hide some of that though, and you
do get the general impression that this is Thorin.
What saves his
score is the nice work on the armor and clothing. There's lots of
textures here, with different looks to the boots, cloth, leather and
mail. Small details like the buckles look good, and there's some
excellent stranding in the hair.
The Goblin King has some decent
detail - it's just lost without any color. Small touches like the
really creepy smile, beady eyes and long toe nails make him much more
interesting, and they've done a great job creating just the right
expression. It's unfortunate that a solid sculpting job like this is
let down by the paint work.
The same is true for Grinnah. I
the work on the face, especially around the mouth and eyes. The posed
hands look great, and he stands well on his own in even deep stances.
Again, a great sculpt is hiding in there, but with the heavy wash it's
impossible to easily make out the details.
These are done in a 4"
scale, which is about where Grinnah comes in. Thorin is at 3 1/2",
while the Goblin King is about 8" tall.
Paint - Thorin **1/2; Goblin
King, Grinnah *1/2
The area that really hurts this line is the paint, although on some
it's a bigger issue than others.
isn't too bad, although his face work reminds me of some of the stuff
we saw with the first wave of Indiana Jones figures. There's little
real detail, and just broad colors are really applied. The beard and
eyebrows are thick and a bit too much, and make it tough to notice that
the eyes are pretty good considering the scale.
needed a few more details, but there is a buckle here and a
button there. The hair has some interesting gray strands, but they are
almost too slight to notice, especially in person.
And in person
versus photos is really a big difference with these three. This is one
of those VERY rare instances where macro photos make the paint look
better and not worse.
That's particularly true of
person he looks like a hot mess, and it's impossible to make out the
subtle differences between the eyes, hair and filthy skin. In photos,
he looks pretty good because you can see the eyes and teeth clearly,
and tell there's actually hair on his head.
Even so, the wash is
just too much on the body, overpowering the entire look of the figure,
and messing up what is otherwise a really good toy. There's even a few
large splotches of the dirt paint which look like exactly what they are
- splotches of paint, not dirt.
The much larger Goblin King has
the opposite problem - there's almost no paint detail at all, making
him mighty boring to look at. All the cool skin imperfections are lost
in the expanse of consistent skin tone. His big skirt is just solid
brown, and all this solid unbroken color makes it tough to even notice
the cool little teeth and eyes.
They tried to use some of the
wash around the neck and hair, but it ends up looking awful, with a
clear line where it's been rubbed off the main body. It almost looks
like a perfectly round ring around his neck, and the wash within the
stringy hair takes away all the detail.
Like Grinnah, he has a
few weird splotches of color on the otherwise pale skin. When I looked
at the photos I was pretty surprised - the Goblins look much worse in
Articulation - Grinnah ***1/2;
Thorin, Goblin King **1/2;
None of the figures look particularly well articulated, but it turns
out that looks are deceiving, at least in Grinnah's case.
Thorin, the articulation is there but a lot of it is restricted by the
costume and hair. The neck turns a bit from side to side, but not much
else. The ball shoulders can lift to the height of the shoulder but not
above, and the ball hips can turn, but forward/backward and outward
mobility is restricted a bit by the skirt.
The pin/disc ball
elbows and knees work good though, allowing the arms and legs to turn
as well as move forward and back. The wrists and waist are cut joints,
but there's no ankle articulation.
The Goblin King has far less,
with no neck joint at all. He has NECA style shoulders and pin/disc
ball elbows and knees, but the chunky sculpt means there isn't a huge
range of movement with any of these joints.
are cut joints, as are the T hips. The chest has a rolling
but again, the sculpt doesn't allow for much tilting or turning.
is the big winner in this category, with a lot more posability than I
had expected. There's NECA style shoulders, pin/disc ball
hips and knees, cut wrists, cut waist and a cut neck. The sculpt and
clothing (or lack there of) doesn't restrict the joints allowing them
to be much more useful than with either of the other two figures.
Accessories - Thorin ***1/2;
Grinnah, Goblin King **1/2
important to note that it appears, at least so far, that any of the
characters that are available both as single packs and in sets get the
same accessories either way. You won't lose out on any extras if you
get the cheaper two packs.
That's true for Thorin, who
comes with two swords, a scabbard that attachs to his back, and forearm
armor for his left arm.
the scabbard and armor attach with a small post. Neither stays in place
particularly well, but it's the armor that's the most frustrating.
After one photo with it, I dumped it in a bag.
The swords both
look good, with nice sculpts considering the scale. They fit in the
hands well, although it can be a little frustrating. The hands are very
stiff and the hilts very soft, so take some care putting them in place.
The Goblin King comes with two
accessories - his very large club-like staff, and his crown.
staff looks good, but could use a bit more texture detail. I love the
look of the dragon skull on top, and it fits well in his let hand.
crown is best not worn, however. It's somewhat small and fits poorly on
his head. I saved him the embarrassment of wearing it, and just had him
hold it in his hand.
Grinnah, comes with three extras
- the two
rope belts that fit around his torso, and the whip-like weapon. None of
these are particularly detailed in either paint or sculpt, and most
kids will probably dump the belts five minutes after they open him up.
Fun Factor - ***
these toys have their issues from a collector's viewpoint, they aren't
bad action figures. The articulation was surprisingly useful,
especially on Grinnah, and out of the package I was much happier with
these than when I first saw them. We didn't see the large Goblin King
at SDCC, and his inclusion makes me hope that we'll get other beasts
(gotta have a Smaug!) as the line progresses.
Value - Grinnah
I'm not too shocked by the $10 price tag on the single figures, since
that's a pretty common price point for 4" figures in major licenses
these days. Picking them up in the two packs for $7.50 each is a much
better value however, and the score in this category will reflect that
when I hit up one or more of those sets very soon.
price point on the Goblin and Thorin is a bit much, however. Assuming
you're not getting any bargain on Thorin, that still means you're
paying $20 for an 8" figure, at least $2 or $3 more than you should.
And if you consider that Thorin really should be around the $7.50 that
the other single figures are in packs, you get a Goblin King
that's even more over priced.
Things to Watch Out For -
The wrists on Grinnah were a bit paint stuck, and you need to be sure
you've broken them loose before you start twisting. Otherwise, you'll
rip a hand right off.
Overall - Thorin ***;
Goblin King **1/2
When I saw these
on the pegs, I was very disappointed. I was instantly transported back
to 1995 and monkey faced Leia...and that was a bad trip.
I had them out of the package, I softened up a bit. The paint work is
particularly awful on Grinnah and the Goblin King, and that tends to
override everything else when the toy is still in its plastic prison.
Out, I could appreciate the articulation and play value a bit more, as
well as the accessories. I could also give the sculpt a much closer
examination, and I realized that under all that slop is some good work.
picked up several of the two packs as well, and I'll be looking at them
later this week. This first wave is suffering from two main issues -
human likenesses (all the monsters and beasts are much better sculpts),
and terrible paint ops. Let's hope that Bridge Direct is taking this
into consideration as they crank out the upcoming waves.
Packaging - ***
Sculpting - Goblin King, Grinnah ***1/2; Thorin ***
Paint - Thorin **1/2; Goblin King, Grinnah *1/2
Articulation - Grinnah ***1/2; Thorin, Goblin King **1/2;
Accessories - Thorin ***1/2; Grinnah, Goblin King **1/2
Fun Factor - ***
Value - Goblin King/Thorin ***; Grinnah **
Overall - Thorin ***; Goblin King, Grinnah **1/2
Where to Buy -
Your best bet right now is Toys R
Us, where these are hitting first. They should start showing up all
over the place within a very short time, however. Expect to pay around
$20 for the Thorin/Goblin King set, and $10 each for the single carded
figures. The two packs are a much better deal at $15 each.
This is the first of several Hobbit reviews, but other Lord of the
Rings reviews include the Morgul
Lord PF statue, the Gandalf
the Gray PF, and the Berserker
and Lurtz, PF's.
In a smaller sixth scale there's
and Frodo, Aragorn,
- NECA also did a 20" Aragorn, and a large
- Gentle Giant did a set of nice
busts, including Saruman,
Sam and Frodo in Goblin Gear, Gandalf,
and the Balrog, Strider
and the Ringwraith.
- and of course, Toybiz did the
fantastic original 6" series of action figures, including this Ringwraith and King of the Dead.
Want to chat about this
review? Try out one of these terrific
forums where I'll be
Enjoyed this review? Be sure to head back to the main page to find
thousands more just like it!
SCROLLING DOWN FOR MORE