Packaging - ***
Eye catching, and shows off the figures well. Not particularly collector friendly, however, as you not only have to destroy it to get into it, but it's difficult to open as well. No pics here, as it's the same packaging as in previous reviews.
Sculpting - Faramir, Theoden, Gondorian Ranger ****, Rohirim ***1/2
In general, the sculpting here is unbelievably good, with details that jump out at you yet reward closer inspections. I'm particularly enamored by the way they get all the details on things like bracers, armor, buckles, and chest emblems. The likenesses on Faramir and Theoden are pretty darn close as well - certainly they couldn't be anyone else. The Rohirrim loses half a point because the hair, which appears to be molded as a separate piece, makes his head look goofy with his helmet off. No biggie - just leave it on!
Paint - ****
I just can't find any fault at all with the paint ops on any of these guys, except maybe for that fact that the ranger's hands are a little *too* dirty, but that may actually be accurate to the character. Considering the detail these guys have, it's pretty amazing that the paint ops are so well done.
Articulation - Faramir, Rohirrim, Gondorian Ranger ****, Theoden ***1/2
These guys strike about as perfect a balance between articulation and sculpting as can be imagined. They've all got ball-jointed shoulders, hips and necks, cut biceps, wrists, waist, as well as elbow, knee and ankle joints. Additionally, Faramir has cut joints in his thighs and ankle joints which go side-to-side as well as forward and backwards, the Ranger has similar ankle joints, and the Rohirrim and Theoden have cut joints a the calf (where the boot meets the leg). Theoden loses half a point because his bicep swivel is painfully apparent, whereas it's nicely hidden on the other figs.
Accessories - Gondorian Ranger, Theoden ***, Faramir, Rohirrim ****
Poor Theoden and the Ranger each come with a single accessory - their swords. This isn't a bad thing - I'd much prefer this to the goofy "play environments" Frodo and Sam came with in the first assortment. And the swords look great and fit into their sheaths. Faramir comes with his sword, a longbow, and five arrows. The Rohirrim comes with his sword, a long spear (in two parts) his shield, his cloak, and his helmet. All of the accessories fit *on* the figures - no loose junk to clutter up your toy box.
Action Features - Gondorian Ranger, Rohirrim ****, Faramir, Theoden ***
The Rohirrim and the Ranger both get four stars for have *no* action feature. A well-articulated, well-sculpted figure is it's own action feature - nothing else is
needed. Theoden and Faramir both have a large button in their back which, when pushed, causes their right arm to randomly flail around. This inhibits their ability to pose the right arm at the shoulder, so it screws up the figure IMHO.
Value - ****
For under seven bucks you can get well-articulated, well sculpted figures that look good standing on the shelf or getting involved with battles with each other. Pick up multiples of the entire line to encourage more like this!
Overall - ****
Other than the action features (which I'm willing to overlook this time) this line is about as close to perfect as I've ever seen. If I'd designed it, this is what it'd look like. Now, if we could just get the four hobbits done like the Ranger I'd be a happy man. Personally, I can't wait for the Minas Tirith Pippin figure!
Where to Buy -
I've seen these all over my local Target and Toy R Us, as well as Sam Goody and KayBee (where they're a bit pricier). I suppose the usual online retailers will have them as well, but check out TRU before spending the extra green.