Your Home for Toy News and Action Figure Discussion!

First Look – The Hobbit Legolas Greenleaf and Tauriel

I am trying to keep myself in check, I really am. I have been waiting since December 2003 for this to happen, and now that we are only a couple of months away, I feel I might finally lose it after keeping myself so composed for so long. I am, of course, referring to the release of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, the first of three parts of JRR Tolkien and Peter Jackson’s adventure prequel to The Lord of the Rings. Set for a December 14th release (I’ll be there at midnight!), I find that my concentration is being shaken as any opportunity to drift into the “hows” and “whats” of the story is being taken. I simply cannot wait.

The good news is, I am also an ardent action figure collector, and it just so happens that the release date for all merchandise for all things Hobbit-related was this past Monday. So, you better believe that I took advantage of grabbing up anything I could right away, and the first spoils of my unleashed wallet arrived in the mail yesterday in the form of the 1:12 scale Legolas Greenleaf and Tauriel collector figures from The Bridge Direct. There is a lot riding on this line for me personally, but it is also a chance for TBD (how I will refer to The Bridge Direct for the remainder of this article) to prove that they can hang with the big boys as manufacturers of great action figures based off of an awesome and high-potential movie franchise. The verdict? Well, let’s just take a look…

I will admit, I was a skeptical fan when I heard that TBD got The Hobbit master toy license. I had to look them up to see what they had done before, and a quick look around their website left me with raised eyebrows, and, for the first and only time in my life, Justin Beiber on the brain. Well, I have been dazzled by unsung toy companies before, and since TBD was relatively new, I decided to hold out and wait to see what would come. As some written details started to leak out, I was relieved to learn that they would be supporting the 6-inch “collector” scale with the likes of Thorin, Bilbo, and Gandalf, but it was clear that the primary scale focus would be on 3¾-inch figures. Well, I can tell you that my Toy Biz Lord of the Rings collection is something that I truly cherish, so congruency between that movie property and The Hobbit line is my top priority, but, well, it looks like for the first time ever, I will be a collector of a full 3¾ line as well.

I got to see a lot of the first few series of product at the Gentle Giant (TBD’s partnering design house of the line, so you can be relieved) booth at SDCC, and I even picked up the exclusive Invisible Bilbo figure while I was there. I did get to take a few minutes to talk to some of the nice people from TBD while I was there, but they had to be mum on a lot of the further details of the line due to the information embargo set by Warner Brothers. I am hoping to hear more details in the coming weeks and months, but I REALLY hope they go all out for both of these scales. I think it is of UTMOST importance for them to support the 6-inch line for the collector sect, and I mean I will settle for nothing less than getting AT LEAST all 13 dwarves and the other key players like Radagast, Thranduil, Bard, and Beorn. So here is my plea: PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE MAKE ALL OF THE DWARVES OF THORIN AND COMPANY IN THE 6-INCH SCALE. Please. I will be your best friend. Also, go deep in terms of variety and selection for the 3¾ line, the potential is there to be a substantial line for years to come and hitting all of the important guys (see” DWARVES!) in the 6-inch and covering the entire universe in 3¾ is what a master toy license is all about. I will buy it all. I will have a line to connect to my LotR figures and a new one all on its own. Okay, I have said my piece for this, you are making a believer of me, TBD, now please hit a grand slam for every movie. And beyond.

Anyway, seeing a lot of these figures in person for the first time at SDCC, I was pretty impressed. I did not know what to expect in terms of quality and execution, but I think the smaller stuff looks great overall (there are some highs and lows I will get to in future looks). The 6-inch stuff is going to give me that cohesion I want (for the most part), so my new Hobbit figures can interact with the LotR cast. Like I said, I have only gotten these two figures so far, but I am really looking forward to getting the 6-inch Thorin Oakenshield and Bilbo Baggins, as well as the Great Goblin, Balin and Dwalin and warg from the smaller scale, so  you can certainly expect to see them here as soon as possible (I am hitting Toys R Us again today). But let’s start with what we have so far and look at Legolas and Tauriel.

Legolas Greenleaf

The son of Thranduil, the Elven King of Mirkwood (whom we finally get to meet in the Hobbit films), Legolas certainly did not appear in name in the actual Hobbit text, but it is certainly not a stretch to imagine that he would most certainly be present in the halls of his father during the time of the Quest of Erebor. I think he will play an important (but not overly large) role in The Hobbit films, and as he is an exciting fan-favorite character, so you just knew he would show up in this line eventually. I am actually a bit surprised that he is in the first series of figures since the reconfiguration of two movies into three likely moves him out of the first installment, but perhaps we will be seeing him briefly in An Unexpected Journey.

Right out of the gate, it is easy to make comparisons of this figure to those that the character has had in the past. I mean, Toy Biz made a TON of Legolas figures for their LotR line, but I am pretty sure the philosophy that TBD is taking is not the same. Their 6-inch figures average about twelve points of articulation, and this Legolas figure seems like he is actually more in scale to a true 1:12 line than the super tall Leggys of the past. I think there are things about this new Legolas figure that are more successful than most of the Toy Biz offerings, but some things that don’t stack up quite as well. At any rate, I am sure comparisons between the two lines will be a constant stream of conversation in the days and years to come.

I personally really like the head sculpt on this figure, and the likeness to Orlando Bloom is pretty solid. This figure has a much more rounded face that is closer to Bloom’s than the TB figures that had very elongated faces. You can see that a ton of faithful detail work was done by the design team and the sculptor, and while I think most of that translated through production, there is some softness in some areas. He is wearing his “woodland” outfit that has a more camouflaged, yet stately feel to it than his adventure garb from LotR, and I think we will get an opportunity to see him as the prince that he is. I have always said that paint can make or break an excellent sculpt, and, for the most part, the paint is solid, but I do see some room in both of these characters for opportunity, especially in the faces. I know this is all a process, but I think a bit more pointed paint detail dedicated to the faces of these larger scale figures can go a long way. Don’t get me wrong, this figure looks like Bloom, but clean eyes, brows and hairlines are important to the elves and crisp beards will be essential for the dwarf characters.

Like I said before, these figures boast about 12 points of articulation, which is in the middle of the road for collector figures these days. I think the days of 40+ POAs are mostly behind us (especially for a mass market line), but these are certainly not statues either. They remind me a lot of some of the earlier Hasbro Marvel Legends figures in terms of number and types of points, but I don’t believe this line is being touted at “super articulated.” He does have the ball-jointed elbows and knees common to a lot of Hasbro figures, and they work relatively well for standard posing. His tunic does limit some of the possibilities, though, and, like most attempts at this scale, he is not really able to hold his bow and arrows in a loaded and cocked position. I think that is always something nice to have, but since I am a pretty vanilla poser, it does not scrape me too much.

He does come through quite nicely in the accessories department and he has his trademark bow, six arrows, elven blades and quiver. I know that accessories are almost becoming a lost commodity these days, so to get all of the separate arrows is really nice. The paint and sculpt on all of the items are great and all of the arrows and the blades can be stored in the quiver, which itself snaps on his back via a small peg. His bow does not include a string, but if you collect DC or Masters of the Universe toys, you know that leaving those off has been a safety protocol for a while now. I cannot imagine what else would be essential in terms of accessories for Legolas, so they did a great job getting us what we need.

Tauriel

Now, Legolas might be a Peter Jackson addition to the actual Hobbit story, but his inclusion does make sense and there is a basis for it. Tauriel, on the other hand, is a newly-created character whose contrived status in the narrative is yet to be seen. However, I realize that The Hobbit, like most of Tolkien’s stories, is a male-dominated story, so I am not adverse to the addition of some femininity, as long as it is meaningful to the story and the character is developed to stand with the rest of them. Thus comes Evangeline Lily’s foray into Mirkwood, and I am hoping that as the recognized captain of the Elven Guard she is an interesting character without being overly-impactful to the point of detracting from established characters.

I personally do not think that this figure is as strong as Legolas, her counterpart, but she does have some good things going for her. Of the limited showing we have seen so far, I like the costume design and the motifs of the wood elves more than those that we saw in Rivendell and Lothlorien in LotR. These are elves that, while in court, still exist in the forefront of the Wilderland, and they wear garb suited to the dangerous terrain of Mirkwood.

Tauriel’s costume is quite different from Legolas’, which makes sense since he is royalty, and she has muted greens and brown to help disguise her in the thick forest. Her garb almost forms a forest motif unto itself and the long strands of her tunic are leaf-like in their appearance. Like most all elves, she is an archer and she has the quiver and bracers to support that. I think her costume in the films will be very light and she will be graceful and acrobatic like Legolas, but we will have to wait and see. Will she take part in the dwarves’ escape through the riverways in the barrels? I am not sure, but that was, and should remain, Bilbo’s doing, so hopefully whatever impact she plays will be preserved.

The first think I noticed about the figure itself is that she is quite demure in stature; I mean to say that she is pretty short, even much shorter than Legolas. I don’t think the elves and men and wizards are going to mesh perfectly with the Toy Biz collection (I think the dwarves and hobbits will, though), but even compared to other figures in this line, like Legolas, she is pretty slight. I am not sure if that is how she will be portrayed in the films, but it is something to point out. I appreciate that she was given an auburn, almost deep red hair color, and that Jackson’s crew will continue the diversity of looks amongst the elves in the movies. Her hair is long,and I was initially worried about how her quiver would attach to her back under her hair, but the sculpt allows for it while not making you pose her head in an awkward position.

I don’t think the figure’s likeness to Lily is as strong as Legolas to Bloom, but I would be willing to bet that this is mostly a paint issue. Her head is cast in the flesh tone and since the plastic is actually pretty shiny, it was a bit difficult to get a good shot to show the likeness. I have seen some pictures of the 3¾ Tauriel and I think the likeness is stronger in that figure, but I think that TBD might be using the same (or VERY similar) sculpts for both the larger and smaller lines, just scaled and articulated accordingly. Again, this goes back to my hope that facial paint applications will get some focus with these figures in subsequent releases because I think that can make all the difference in the world in having a good figure become great.

Finally, like Legolas, she comes with a unique bow, a slew of arrows, her quiver, and two knives. All of her accessories are unique from those of Legolas. I particularly like the bronze knives, and her bow is shorter to reflect her smaller stature, so perhaps Tauriel really will be a shorter elf in the films. That is certainly something that has not been explored before.

Okay, The Bridge Direct, you have my attention, my cautious faith, and my money. While I still think there is some room for improvement in the 1:12 line, I am pretty darn happy with these two figures, especially Legolas. Overall, these are great toys. I would also be remiss to not mention that I REALLY like the packaging too, it is very well done. It feels really nice to be collecting Tolkien figures again, and I like what is being done so much that I am also excited for a 3¾ line for the first time in my life. I REALLY do hope that there is a solid commitment to both scales and that we get ALL OF THE DWARVES in the 6-inch line (see my theme, here?). I can see the smaller scale getting to be Star-Wars like in scale if the commitment (and sales) is there. I am on the hook and since my trip to Toys R Us only got me a couple of the two packs due to fast sells, it looks like others are too, and that is very exciting. I will be bringing you more in the next few days, and I cannot wait for my Goblin King and 6-inch Thorin to arrive. I still need Gandalf in both scales, and my 1:12 Blibo, but I will be happy to be collecting all the while I have to wait for the movie. I am very excited to see what is next for these toys, so keep up the good work, TBD. I think you have a hit on your hands!

*Thanks to the crew at The Bridge Direct for sending Tauriel along for a First Look!

Note: pictured is the TOY BIZ Gandalf figure

Additional Links

11 thoughts on “First Look – The Hobbit Legolas Greenleaf and Tauriel

  1. i have a question what is the safety hazards come with the string on the bows because i had the legless from return of the king with a bow that came with a string. i was like 10 and couldn’t find a way to hurt my self with it so i see no safety hazards with it id like a solid answer

  2. Hey,
    Does anyone have info as to when the other 8 dwarves will be released from The Bridge Direct?

    Thx!

  3. I saw all of the current 6″ figures in Books-A-Million the other day and they looked great in person. I think they look better than the Toy Biz figures, which always had a “cheap” feel to me. The Bridge Direct figures looked more solid and paint app was nicely done. I’ll wait till I see these in Target before I buy any though.
    Lovely lovely article and I look forward to more Hobbit coverage.

  4. i like the bridge direct’s style a bit more than how toy biz made there lotr figures. the toy biz figures had a lot of dynamic poses, hair, and clothing but the tbd hobbit figures have a more “traditional” approach which i find refreshing. toy biz wins in the articulation dept but 12 poa is pretty sweet and i’m happy with that. the sculpting is right there with toy biz if not better, that legolas head sculpt is awesome. the sculpting on the 6′ bilbo figure is pretty great too. btw is there a bilbo review coming up?

  5. I wasn’t trying to be mean. In fact I think I specifically implied that. VB is an adult and I’m sure my comment was taken as it was intended: constructive criticism, nothing more.

  6. been waiting to see what these look like before deciding to buy them mostly the elves and bilbo and now seeing tauriel may add her. though tbd will really have it made with me when they finaly get around to Smaug like making him treebeard size

  7. Hey Lestat easy eh? Leave the guy alone. Could you not tell he is excited about these figures? Don’t read it if you don’t want to…or skim through and scroll down to what you wan’t to read.

    I think this write up was awesome and so are the pictures.

    Awesome awesome looking figures…juuust a little disappointed in that Elven chicks head looking so….shiny and pink 🙁

  8. Excellent article, VeeBee.

    I’m also a huge Tolkien fan and action figure collector, and I’ll buy everything in both scales and support this line as long as it lasts. I agree that this is a great start, and they can only improve from here.

    I’m glad theFwoosh has a Tolkien fan on the staff. I look forward to you keeping us updated on The Hobbit toys!

  9. I really appreciate that you guys do these first looks so please don’t take this the wrong way, but I think it would be helpful if you standardized your format a little (sculpt, articulation etc.). Having to read through five paragraphs before you say anything substantive about the figure is kind of frustrating.

  10. Nice. These look fantastic in your set. I was too distracted by that to read, but I’ll come back for that later.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *