Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Toy Review – Game of Thrones Legacy – The Hound from Funko

It appears that Funko is doing things right.

Here’s the deal – I’ve gone over Funko’s impressive entry into the action figure business. I would imagine most of you are familiar with the quality control issues that have been popping up with their first line; the Game of Thrones Legacy figures. People have complained about joints stuck by paint, fragile joints, and construction issues. I am going to address those things now because the first two figures I have reviewed from the line – Daenerys Targaryen and today’s subject, The Hound – have suffered from severe problems.
I gave Daenerys a 4 out of 5 in anticipation of being able to fix her elbow swivels, which had been frozen by paint. The figure is fantastic and well-executed and I did not think those joints would be a problem because I collect Mattel figures and as a result have dealt with the problem countless times in the past. But this happened:
Shit.

I used a hair dryer, ran the figure under hot water, and kept her in the freezer overnight. But because the pegs are so tiny they just couldn’t take the stress of trying to loosen the paint and tore right off.

The Hound, too spent the night in the freezer to loosen his right ankle and right elbow. It worked like a charm and I was able to move those joints with a little careful wiggling. But then the big guy fell over while I was taking pictures for the review and this happened:
Shit.

Thanks to the magic of the internet I was able to discover that Funko is taking care of these problems directly. I shot an e-mail to Allison@Funko.com and very quickly received a reply and a solution. I’m mailing the figures to Funko and they will replace them with figures from a new batch that has been corrected at the factory. I am not writing the word “supposedly” in there because I believe that Funko is operating on good faith and genuinely wants to produce great action figures for their customers.

So here’s the deal – I am not going to let the problems with these figures’ construction affect the scores. Yet. I am basing the scores on how well the figures are designed, articulated, and painted. I am giving Funko the benefit of the doubt. So Daenerys’ current 4 out of 5 stands and whatever The Hound gets today does not take into account his broken leg and scabbard (mostly).

Once the new figures arrive – sometime in April – I will update with a separate post and reevaluate these reviews if it is necessary. I hope that it won’t be.

And now onto normal intro stuff!

Sandor Clegane – or “The Hound” – is my second favorite character in Game of Thrones. He’s vicious and disgusting, but he has a moral code and I’m always fascinated by the anti-hero types that are just awful but adhere to some form of honor. He has put conscious effort into saving both Sansa and Arya Stark in situations that could have gone horribly. Well, in Arya’s case it was still pretty horrible, but it could have been even worse for her. And she still has those brown, green, and blue eyes to take care of.

Side Note: I only know that last from watching the show and Melisandre’s prophesizing when she met Arya. I have avoided reading the books because I fucking love this show and don’t want that disappointment when I find out the books are so much better. This happened to me with Harry Potter before the movies were done.

I was stoked that The Hound was part of this first series, as he could have easily been pushed back to a much later one. It gives me hope that we’ll see Tyrion’s pal, Bronn, sooner than later.

FIRST GLANCE

It was great to open The Hound right after Daenerys because it really illustrated the scaling of this line. The Hound is huge, and rightfully so. Overall the figure looks great, though the paint on the face seems a little off somehow.
PACKAGING

These window boxes are very similar to the packaging for Hasbro’s Star Wars Black 6” figures, but classier because they look like books:
I like the various glosses used in the graphics, the affiliation crests on the sides, and Funko’s fancy-pants foil stamp. Unfortunately the plastic is so shiny that it’s a pain to take a decent picture of these things.
LOOKS

The Hound is – like every other figure in this wave (and likely the entire line) – a 100% new sculpt. The amount of detail in his armor alone is mind-boggling, but once you get down to inspecting the individual parts this figure is even more impressive.

As far as likeness goes the face sculpt is very good, but I think the scar tissue should have been a little thicker and better defined. Or the hair on the right side could be hanging over it a little more, as that’s typically how he looks in the show. The sagging right brow is present and the beard is sculpted rather than just being paint. They even went so far as to speckle the neck with unsightly neck stubble. It looks really good. The hair is sculpted to look lanky and matted, but there's a bit too much of it.

The paint on the head is great except for the eyes. They just look odd somehow and I’m honestly not sure what it is, but they still look better than 70% of NECA’s eyes. The paint placement is great and there’s plenty of detail. I do particularly like how they used brush strokes on the beard and eyebrows to create a look that resembles hair.
The Hound’s armor looks phenomenal. His tunic… I don’t know what the heck the actual tunic is, but the figure’s has a ton of detail. It kind of looks like studded leather strips. All of the various armored parts are distinct and well-defined. The plating and chain mail don’t get sloppy around the edges. The plating is smooth and has hard edges, so it looks great. The plates on the elbows and shoulders are actually a very flexible but tough rubber so as not to interfere with posing. The same goes for the bottom of the tunic. It looks thick, but it actually bends quite nicely.
The paint on all of these parts is excellent. The chain and plate are metallic, but still look worn. The eyelets and buckle on the belt for The Hound’s back scabbard are painted precisely. That scabbard is permanently attached to the figure and I kind of wish it weren’t. But I will take that over him having a big peg hole in the center of his back. The paint on the scabbard is great. It really looks like leather.

The belt on the figure’s waist is cleverly done – it’s the top of the bottom of the tunic and has a loop on the left side for the included second scabbard to slide into.
The Hound’s trousers are very plain, but that’s fine. The greaves are as finely detailed as the armor plate on the figure’s torso. The lines are clean and sharp and the clasps on the outside look so good you could almost believe they’re functional. The boots underneath have a wash of brown so they look dirty and worn.
ACCESSORIES

Sandor Clegane comes with his helm, a scabbard, a giant sword, and an even more giant sword.
The helm is amazing. It’s the same soft, durable plastic as the plates on the figure’s elbows, but you’d never know to look at it. The visor is articulated and goes up and down, just like in the show. The helm fits perfectly over the figure’s head and seats lined up with the plate around the neck. 
This thing really just looks fantastic.
The scabbard is a hard plastic and is painted to look like leather just like the one on The Hound’s back. It slides easily into the loop on the belt, but I would caution you to be careful doing this. 
 
The swords are a hard but sturdy plastic. They’re immaculately sculpted and painted. These are truly some of the best looking weapons I’ve seen at this scale. The lines are so clean and the paint apps are perfect. Each sword fits perfectly into its corresponding scabbard. The only issue here is that The Hound’s hands are closed. They aren’t fists, but the thumbs are connected to the fingers. I think this is an oversight. The larger sword can slide into either hand with a little effort, but the small sword has that large round piece on the pommel and it isn’t going to fit. I was about to use an X-Acto knife to separate the thumbs when the figure fell over and the calamity occurred.
FUN

Since The Hound is completely new I’m going to run down the joints:

Head, shoulders, hips – ball joints

Elbows – pivots

Wrists – peg joints

Knees – double pivots

Ankles – swivel/pivots

I like that Funko is articulating these individually based on the shape of the figure rather than sticking to a formula. What's on this figure works very well. Despite all the armor I had fun posing this guy and taking pictures. Especially with that awesome helmet.

It's the weirdest thing, I gave this figure a pretty good workout – posing, taking the helmet on and off, removing the swords and putting them back – and it showed no signs of breaking. And I don't handle figures particularly gingerly because that's part of what I'm judging. But that one little fall snapped that leg clean off and broke the little scabbard strap. It was so odd.
OVERALL

This is a tough one. From the neck down this is a fantastic figure. But I feel like they really didn’t get the head right. The likeness isn't bad as far as it looking like the actor, but the hair and the scarring just aren't up to snuff. Between that and the mysteriously closed thumbs I've got to score this lower than I'd like because interaction with accessories and likeness are two pretty important aspects of a figure. If it weren't for the breakage I probably would have been a bit more forgiving, but remember – I'm still not scoring the breakage. I'll revisit this one when the replacement comes. I sent the broken figure out Tuesday and the new one should be back in April.

3 out of 5
Barnes & Noble is still stocking these, but Amazon has them, as well. Just not for the MSRP. I think your best bet is just to visit your local B&N.


7 comments:

  1. The hilt on my one handed sword cracked into when i tried putting it in one of his hands. emailed the the company with the link I found here in your blog. Hopefully I can at least buy a replacement sword :<

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    1. Funko was absolutely great. The new figures arrived and are sturdier. I'll be posting updates soon.

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    2. My hounds right foot peg snapped off, and the plastic scabbard frog on the waist fell off, all of this while unboxing. Funko told me they don't do refunds or exchanges, and they even told my supplier that any breakages are on them. This makes me wary of buying any more funko items.

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    3. That's strange, as it's the exact opposite experience I had with them. They replaced my broken figures with no problem.

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  2. I just started collecting these, and all of the figures I've bought from barnes and noble have the clear plastic joints, which I'm assuming are the old production run and not the corrected versions. I've purchased from several stores - all clear plastic. Not sure if B&N didn't get the new ones in, these are old stock, etc. I emailed Allison at Funko and she said the same thing, that they don't do exchanges directly and that I'd have to return them to the store. Since it looks like they're all from the initial production run, I guess I'll have to deal with it and hope they don't break.

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    1. My replacement figures still had clear plastic pegs, but none of the joints were stuck and they felt sturdier. I haven't had any further problems with them.
      I do hate to hear that Funko has apparently given up on their excellent customer service. I was so happy with how they handled the issues with my figures, but I've heard again and again that they aren't doing it anymore. That's a shame.

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