After the incredible success and popularity of the Lords of the Rings films a few years ago, it was pretty much a foregone conclusion that we’d see the Hobbit reaching the big screen at some point. That time has come, with the first installment of the trilogy “An Unexpected Journey” coming in December. What has changed this time around is the source of cool Middle-earth toys. A relative newcomer to the major merchandise scene, The Bridge Direct has already made quite a splash with Hobbit. In major toy stores now you should see their figure lines in both 3 ¾ and 6 inch scales, as well as the requisite role-play weapons. Today we’ll be taking a look at both lineups with Thorin Oakenshield in the 6 inch scale and Bilbo Baggins & Gollum in 3 ¾!
Both the small and medium scale Hobbits come in similar packaging, as you’d expect from a cohesive movie line. The single figures and two-packs come in pretty standard card and bubble configurations, but The Bridge Direct went the extra mile to make these things look good. First off, they’re decorated extravagantly with the stunning vistas we’ve come to expect from Tolkien movies filmed in New Zealand. The overall color scheme has earth tones ranging from browns to yellows and gold with hints of green and red. And while the cardbacks are pretty standard squares and rectangles, the plastic bubbles are curvilinear and accented with tiny braided wreath details. On both Thorin and the two-pack the front panel has the Hobbit logo, thumbnail images of the actors in costume, the names of the characters, and the official tagline “Let the journey begin!”
The back of each card has a standard description of the movie plus photographs of the figures, hefty bios of each character (love these!), and of course some examples of other figures in their respective lines.
As with many properties over the years and especially in recent history, Hobbit has gone beyond the medium-scale figure size and “expanded” to the ever popular 3 ¾ inch scale with standard and deluxe figures, beast packs, and multi-packs. Bilbo Baggins & Gollum are an example of the two-packs in stores now, pairing two major characters in an easy to collect package. Anyone familiar with the Hobbit novel or Lord of the Rings knows both of these diminutive characters, the unlikely Hobbit hero and the tragic lost soul and keeper of the Ring. Both make for fun and unique 3 ¾ inch figures, with very different appearances. Bilbo has a rotund Hobbit form, fancy Shire clothing, and of course bare (and hairy!) feet. Gollum, meanwhile, is skeletally thin with long fingers, a ragged loincloth, and misshapen head with huge leering eyes.
Both figures are diminutive; Bilbo stands just under 3 inches tall and Gollum about 2 ¾. But even on those small canvases there are plenty of cool sculpted details from Gollum’s knobby joints and lean muscle to the buttons, pockets, and seams on Bilbo’s outfit. The Hobbit’s face sculpt is good, while his cave-dwelling companion’s is great with the huge, squinted eyes and perpetual frown that you’ve come to know and love. Colors are appropriately vivid on Bilbo and pale on Gollum; the former layers with orange short pants, a white shirt, green vest, yellow necktie, and maroon jacket while the latter barely wears any clothing with his brief loincloth. The Hobbit’s further accented with painted hair on the tops of his feet as well as his light brown hair and blue eyes. Gollum, meanwhile, has some nice shading/dirt on his body that helps show off the sculpt underneath, and his head is very well painted with stringy hair, big blue eyes, and a pattern of dark markings on his face and ears.
Articulation is always tricky on figures this small, but these are good examples of what’s possible. Bilbo, being thicker, has more opportunities for articulation and shows off with joints at the neck, ball-jointed shoulders, ball-jointed elbows, wrists, waist, ball-jointed hips, and ball-jointed knees. Gollum is more restricted because of his incredibly narrow limbs; he has a ball-jointed neck, ball-jointed shoulders, ball-jointed torso, and ball-jointed hips. Baggins may strictly have more posing options, but what Gollum lacks in joints he makes up for with his dynamically pre-positioned limbs that make posing fun. Living a life of solitude in caves, Gollum doesn’t have a lot of equipment and so comes with no accessories. Bilbo, a prepared adventurer, carries his sword Sting in a non-removable scabbard at his waist and comes with a shoulder bag and dual canteen.
The Hobbit 6 inch figure line is the “Collector Figures,” and The Bridge Direct is aiming it at adult and serious collectors rather than kids (though they’ll love ‘em too). One of the initial releases in this line is the dwarf hero and leader of the Company, Thorin Oakenshield. He appears in the 3 ¾ inch lineup as well, but this is where the character truly shines. Sized correctly in his scale, Thorin stands 5 1/8 inches tall and is stocky but not overly wide. The dwarf warrior has a very impressive sculpt from head to toe that reflects the character’s penchant for wearing layers of armor and heavy clothing.
Starting from the bottom, Thorin has heavy, metal-tipped boots with tons of embellishment like carvings, straps, buckles, and fur. The biggest feature of his garb is his heavy armored shirt that completely covers his torso and descends to his knees; this is recreated as a separate, non-removable piece that’s really impressive. There’s so much going on from the tightly woven armor to the designs on the “skirt,” the buckles and attachments, and more. Thorin’s upper arms continue the armor, while his forearms are equipped with fingerless gloves and bracers. There’s also a heavy scarf-like garment that goes around his neck and drapes down past his knees; this is sculpted in a rich fur texture. Finally, Thorin’s head sculpt captures the character’s typical dwarven stoicism with a relatively flat expression, but features great details in the beard and long braided hair. Complementing all of that sculpted detail is a great paint job. Overall you might say that Thorin is blue, the dominant color in his outfit (and notably described by Tolkien in the novel). The clothing underneath the coat is gray, with brown on the boots and bracers. The exposed armor sections are bright silver, as are accents like buckles, while Thorin’s belt is fronted by a large gold piece. The dwarf’s face and head are very well painted with dark blue eyes and brown hair streaked with gray and decorated with gold fasteners.
Thorin has very good articulation with a ball-jointed neck, ball-jointed shoulders, ball-jointed elbows, wrists, waist, ball-jointed hips, ball-jointed knees, and ball-jointed ankles. Now, a fair amount of those are restricted due to the heavy coat and armor, but you still have plenty of posing options. One thing I found was that with the heavy fur scarf Thorin’s head is pretty much immobile, but remove it and he can look all around. The Company leader also has some pretty cool accessories starting with two swords. One is a decidedly dwarven-looking short sword with hard angles and a unique style. That sword can be stored in the holster-like “frog” that hangs from his belt. The other blade is a long, graceful elven sword known as Orcrist (“Goblin-Cleaver”); it comes with its own scabbard that can be plugged into the figure’s back when he’s not wielding it. Finally, Thorin Oakenshield lives up to his name with a small raw wooden shield that plugs into his left gauntlet.
Thorin, Bilbo, and Gollum are available in stores now, along with the rest of the Hobbit figures and other items. Too often we see cheap toys churned out to capitalize on current movies, but these are very high quality figures in both scales that should appeal to a lot of collectors and kids. The 6 inch figures like Thorin have an MSRP of $14.99 while the 3 ¾ figures are $7.99 each or $14.99 for two-packs like Bilbo & Gollum. With the upcoming release of the film and the next two on the way we’re sure to see both of these lines expand greatly so start your collection now!