REVIEW: Dark Horse GAME OF THRONES Figure Series 2
Just In Time For Season Four...
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This Sunday - April 6th - Game of Thrones kicks off its fourth season on HBO. Perfectly timed to coincide with this television event, Dark Horse has released their second assortment of Game of Thrones figures. Priced at $22.99 each and available for order at many fine retailers including BigBadToyStore.com, this assortment includes the powerful warlord of the Dothraki people, Khal Drogo, former head of House Stark, Ned Stark, and the quick-witted "Imp", Tyrion Lannister. Daenerys of House Targaryen and Jon Snow, a valiant steward in the Night's Watch, launched this detailed figure series back in January. You can read our review on those figures HERE.
Like series one, Dark Horse's second series of Game of Thrones figures come packaged in collector-friendly closed window boxes. Far more attractive than your standard action figure blister card, each box does an excellent job of selling the character inside. The front (as well as the top) offers an excellent view of the collectible, while the back panel bio adds some much needed background and personality for those unfamiliar with the show.
In a bold display of confidence with their figure sculpt, Dark Horse shows off a live photo of the series character on the sides of the package. Not only are the photos great as reference, but they look wonderful lined up side by side. It's something mint-in-box collectors will appreciate, along with the fact that each figure can be removed and then placed back without any damage to the packaging.
The figure I suspect will appeal to most collectors - fan of the show or not - is Khal Drogo. You just can't go wrong with a savage barbarian warrior decked out in tribal markings and wielding a sickle sword. Drogo's appearance in Game of Thrones' first season was far too brief, but oh so powerful. Who can forget Drogo tearing that guy's tongue out?! Yeah, Drogo was a badass. It's really great to see Drogo getting the figure treatment so soon, not only because he's such a cool character, but he goes great with your Series 1 Daenerys.
Like the hulking character on the show, Drogo is the largest figure in Dark Horse's Game of Thrones series (and will most likely remain that way, except perhaps until "The Hound" comes along). At roughly 12 inches tall from the bottom of his base to the tip of his sickle (about 8 1/2" head to foot), Drogo is a one imposing figure on display. Dark Horse's wise choice in a dynamic action pose also lends the figure strength. Like Daenerys and her chest of dragon eggs, Drogo features one accessory that must be place in his hand: his sickle sword. Cast in a hard plastic, the detailed weapon looks awesome and fits well in his raised hand. In his other hand Drogo grips a dagger, the more pliable plastic weapon permanently part of the sculpt. As mentioned, Drogo also features a sandy base, which like all figures in the Game of Thrones series, comes pre-attached and is not removable.
Sculpt on Drogo is a nice mix of intricate textures (especially his waist and arm bands) and large areas of smooth areas on his bare, muscular upper body. The paint work on this figure further accentuates the two extremes, with leather-like browns used on Drogo's clothing and a life-like bronze tan for his skin. The blue tribal markings on his shoulders really add some visual pop to the earthy color palette. Likeness is undeniably Jason Momoa as Drogo. While my close-up macro photography may reveal an unsightly seam line where Drogo's goatee connects, the effect is not even noticeable in person (unless you look at your figures under a microscope). With his sickle sword raised high and his dagger at the ready, Drogo is by far my favorite Dark Horse Game of Thrones figure to date.
Ned Stark is another Season One character that met his demise way too soon. You have to recall this was way back at the very beginning, before viewers were aware that Game of Thrones had a shocking tendency of ending the lives of main characters. Dark Horse's Ned Stark figure may not feature a detachable head, but the figure does an amazing job of capturing the honorable head (har!) of House Stark while he was still in his prime. Gripping a mighty two-handed sword, Ned Stark is sculpted here strong and reflective, standing tall at 8 1/2 inches. For figures that are non-articulated, I must commend Dark Horse for the display stance chosen - each pose picked does an excellent job of capturing the character's personality.
Like Drogo, Ned includes one accessory that must be attached to the figure: his sword. It's actually not the full weapon, cutting off at the handle, the handle end acting as a peg that slides into Ned Stark's grip where the rest of the sword handle is sculpted on. I found that the slot to insert the sword handle wasn't deep enough on my figure, the lack of depth causing the sword's blade to bow when touching the ground. It was an easy fix, however. I simply trimmed off some more of the sword handle until the correct length was acquired. Sculpting is once again very good, actor Sean Bean as Ned Stark readily apparent (fans may also recognize him as Boromir in The Lord of the Rings). Of course Ned's massive sword and leather attire also helps distinguish him, Dark Horse doing an admirable job sculpting his outfit (love the dead animal pelt around his neck). Stoic and brave, Ned Stark is a nice addition to the series and your collection.
Ah Tyrion, by far my favorite character on Game of Thrones. And oddly enough, the only character in this assortment that is still alive! Brilliantly played by Peter Dinklage, Tyrion, or "The Imp" as he is sometimes called by those that underestimate him, is extremely smart and crafty. He is one of the few characters on the show that is fully aware of all the political backstabbing going on around him. Self-preservation is his middle name.
In-scale with the rest of the series, Tyrion measures in at only 6 inches tall. Drogo absolutely dwarves him (har har!). I'm torn on the pose chosen for this figure. Part of me wishes Dark Horse went with Tyrion dressed up in his battle armor, the same look Dark Horse opted for with their Tyrion Statue. A cool look, for sure, but the other half of me agrees with the final decision of featuring Tyrion plotting and scheming. It really does sum up the character better as he's more prone to fight with words and brains, rather than armor and axes. The detail on Tyrion's outfit is spectacular, and there actually IS an image on the map he's holding. Likeness, however, is a bit off. From certain angles, especially from the side, it looks like Peter Dinklage. Other times his head just appears slightly misshapen - too much of a pronounced brow, me thinks. Still, given his size and attire, fans will instantly recognize this figure as Tyrion, no questions asked. He also looks great on display with the rest of the line, adding some much needed size variety. So while not Dark Horse's best character likeness in the line so far, Tyrion is still a must-have for fans of the show and figure line.
And what a line it's been! Already collectors have been treated to five great characters. While everyone has their favorites, Dark Horse has done an excellent job of getting out the major players - even ones that passed away long time ago. Better yet, fans don't have to wait much longer for even more figures to join their collection. Figures slated for a July 2014 release include Cersei Baratheon, Arya Stark, Robb Stark, Jaime Lannister, and the White Walker (see our story HERE). Winter is coming... are you ready?
Review and Photos by Jeff Saylor
Review Samples Courtesy of Dark Horse