Monday, May 12, 2014

Toy Review – Game of Thrones Legacy Ned Stark from Funko

I can’t claim any sort of relevance whatsoever for this final Wave 1 figure because this guy

***SPOILER***
got his noggin lopped off three seasons ago.

And no – the figure does not feature a removable head.

I don’t know that TV (it’s not TV, it’s HBO) has ever broken my heart so much as it did the day that I saw Ned Stark’s noble, fool head part ways with his broad, manly shoulders. I mean, it just wasn’t even possible. He was the main character of the show, for fuck’s sake. It was at that moment that I truly understood what my wife meant when she told me she fell in love with me the first time I told her, “No”. Game of Thrones told me “no” and I fell in love. That was the single greatest moment I have ever witnessed on television. Because there was no way it could happen. Even the Red Wedding wasn’t as impactful (though it was close) because we had already been told over and over to be ready for anything.

I felt kind of weird about this figure. Not the weird feelings I was talking about above, but weird because Ned is dead and long gone and hardly relevant to a current action figure line. I’m not saying there shouldn’t be a Ned Stark figure, but maybe he shouldn’t have taken up a slot in the first wave.

This is purely speculative and possibly foolish, but it might have been a good idea for Funko to focus on the current season (or at least the third season, since they were waiting on the Blu-Ray release to launch the figures) in the first wave. I don’t care that much and I’m sure most people buying these figures don’t really care at all, but I think if I were planning things I might’ve put four figures from the current episodes in each wave with two figures from the past. Or something. I dunno. It probably doesn’t matter because the show is awesome and we will buy EVERYTHING.

UPDATE!: I noticed something in last week’s episode – when Bronn gave Podrick Tyrion’s ax it had those plus sign-looking markings on it. So the accessory with the Tyrion figure is, indeed, correct. I had assumed as much, but those markings just looked so odd.

Eddard Stark is my hero. As much as I love Tyrion, Ned’s infallible moral compass is something I can’t help but admire. The fact that it led to his demise still crushes my soul. And with the revelation from last week’s episode that 
 
***SPOILER***

Baelish is the one that set Ned up to die, I just want to see that fucker burn.

Littlefinger’s character growth has been fascinating, as he hasn’t so much grown as been revealed. He is the one character that has become more irredeemably evil with each passing season. I actually liked him quite a bit for the first two seasons, but as more and more of his machinations have been revealed in the narrative I have grown more eager to see come-uppance. When one of his many secrets turned out to be that he had Lysa Arryn poison her husband in order to set Ned Stark up for failure that was it for me. Littlefinger must die. Badly.

And now they want poor Sansa to marry that grotesque little freak, Robin.
Dammit, Ned.

FIRST GLANCE

This is a tall, noble looking action figure. Ned’s profile is a powerful one and Funko has definitely done the man justice. All I want to do is stick him on the Grayskull throne.

PACKAGING

This package is nice
Designer deserves a raise
Good looking box, man

LOOKS

The shape of the face is spot-on. The eyes are a bit wide (height-wise, not length-wise), but that could be the paint. The facial hair could be applied a bit better, but it’s not bad. The thing is, the sculpt just needs more lines in it. Sean Bean’s face is like a roadmap. A handsome, handsome road map. This figure’s face is super-smooth, which is funny because that makes it look exactly like Arya Stark. It wasn’t until I had this figure in hand that I realized just how good that casting was. Now every time I see Arya in the show I am haunted by Ned Stark’s visage. 
 
So the likeness is good, but the fine detail isn’t quite there.

The hair looks great, as it tends to on these figures. Similar to Jon Snow, Ned has a flat base color with glossy highlights. This gives the hair a texture and definition that a lot of figures lack. The eyebrows are a tad off-center and a tad high. But this is all nitpicky stuff. Overall this head looks good and there’s no doubting it’s Eddard Stark.

His torso is covered by a leather mail piece that looks absolutely fantastic. The sculpt and the paint combine to create a look so worn and lifelike you can practically smell it. The King’s Hand pin is prominent on the left side and is a nicely detailed little sculpt. The gold paint is clean and tight. The leather armor is divided at the waist by a sculpted belt with an attached scabbard and hanging end. The illusion created is so good that at first I thought that the leather armor was one piece.

The scabbard has some nice detailing and hangs well, but after what happened with the Hound I’m a little worried about it. The belt looks fantastic and the molded and painted grommets add a lot to the look.

Ned has a padded shirt on under the armor. It has a molded design with a wash that makes it look lived-in. 
 
The trousers and boots are unremarkable aside from the fact that the dirt on his boots stops at the ankle, just like the snow on Jon Snow’s boots. I get it. It’s a cost-saving measure. It doesn’t look bad, just noticeable.

This figure is Ned Stark. There’s nothing wrong, just a few things that aren’t right; if that makes any sense. But it looks very good and has the right profile to be the man.

ACCESSORIES

Ned comes with two swords – the massive Stark blade and his own sword that is also pretty friggin’ huge.

I can’t talk about the Stark blade without mentioning how much it tore me up when Tywin Lannister had it melted down. This was another of those amazing moments where I knew exactly what was going on without it being spelled out for me. At first I thought he was adding it to the Throne, but then when the smith poured it into the mold I knew what was going on.

The toy version of that Valyrian steel blade has all the details of the crosspiece and pommel, as well as the distinctive gutters on the blade. It fits into either hand with a little careful prying, but I couldn’t get my figure to hold it with both hands.

The smaller sword slides perfectly into the scabbard and can fit in either hand. It has a little more detail on the lower portion than the big sword does. That’s called compensation. 
 
FUN

Ned has a heck of a lot of articulation – pretty much everything you’ve come to expect from a figure this scale. The bottom portion of the leather mail is soft and doesn’t really interfere with posing too much. Once you start trying to move the hips it does restrict things a bit, though. Definitely not as much as you might think.

While this figure does look very good and has lots of joints, I can’t say I had a whole lot of fun playing with it. Maybe Ned Stark is just too somber to be enjoyed in action figure form.
Oh, and I did try – very gently – to take the head off. It is not removable. 
 
OVERALL

I didn’t exactly have a blast playing with it, but this Ned Stark figure does everything that you might need a Ned Stark to do aside from being decapitate-able. It can be posed to fence or simply stand there, looking disapproving and judgy. 
With the way the armor is slit it’s possible he might even be able to sit on a horse if Funko ever sees fit to pursue the tween-girl-Game-of-Thrones-fan market.

4 out of 5

If Funko ever revisits Ned and offers a more detailed head sculpt I’d buy it. If not I’ll still be pretty okay with this one. You should buy one from Amazon and be pretty okay with it, too:


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