I’d always said, even back in Lord of the Rings times, that a 3 3/4″ scale line for LOTR and The Hobbit would be an amazing thing. It makes capturing the scale of a universe with large beasts and epic armies more manageable. I am guessing Bridge Direct believed the same thing and they made their 3 3/4″ scale line the flagship of their Hobbit line. Today we will be taking a look at a two-pack of Balin and Dwalin, part of company of dwarves that go on an adventure with Bilbo.
I’ve been a six-inch scale guy for a while now, ever since I basically bailed on Star Wars. There have been some occasional properties in the smaller scale I grabbed a few of, the new GI Joe 25th Anniversary figures were really great. Also the Marvel Universe has some nice figures sprinkled in, I had a little affair with them for a while and even though they have put out great stuff recently, I have resisted the temptation. The first Hobbit figure in this scale I saw was the Warg and Fimbul two-pack and I thought it looked fantastic, so when the Balin and Dwalin pack showed up I was pretty pumped to see these up close.
My first impression was that these packs come loaded. You get a ton of tiny weapons scaled to the figures. It’s been a while since I have purchased a smaller figure so the softness of the weapons took me by surprise, they are all very bendable and not stiff like I am used to. I understand why they did this as the a lot of the accessories are very small and hard plastic would easily snap. If you don’t like bendy weapons you may want to move to the six-inch scale, but besides being bendy they are extremely detailed and numerous. I’m a big fan of when a toy can carry its weapons on its back or sides when not holding them and Dwalin is able to do both. Balin isn’t able to strap anything to his person, but he only has two weapons so it isn’t too big a deal, he’s also wearing a big gown so that would probably be a bit hard.
With the Hobbit six-inch figures Bridge Direct is making, I felt they could have added additional articulation considering the standards set by lines like Marvel Legends, DCUC, and others. On the other hand the 3 3/4″ figures have great articulation for their scale. Both figures have heads on a ball joint, shoulder balls, elbows, wrists, waist, hip, and knees. The only other point I would really want is a cut at the boot but regardless of that they have a solid articulation scheme. The other important thing they did was put multiple cuts in the dwarves’ skirts so you can actually use that articulation. The guys making Masters of the Universe Classics could really take this advice, especially after their “November to Remember” releases.
I was surprised as to how much detail can be crammed into such a small figure. The textures on their weapons and clothing look incredible. The only place it really suffers is in the face. Balin actually has a really good facial likeness but Dwalin’s is a little soft. A soft face, especially in a 3 3/4″ line, is not as big a deal, especially when you are trying to nail a movie likeness at that size. Sometimes I almost prefer a strong caricature to the actor than a soft likeness at four inches. If you look at the top of Dwalin’s head you will notice they even got his fairly elaborate tattoos printed on there.
There is one glaring error on the package, Balin is spelled “Bwalin.” It is spelled correctly on the back so it must have been an oversight. I hadn’t heard any outrage over it so it’s probably not a big deal, but it does suck to have a pretty obvious spelling error plastered all over your first big release for the film.
I like the Hobbit 3 3/4″ line quite a bit. I think some of the figures are hit and miss, but I feel these two show the upside of what can be done at this scale. If they were a little bit cheaper and easier to find they would be a big hit. The price issue isn’t just a gripe against Bridge Direct’s Hobbit line as all of them have gotten quite pricey of late. You will mostly find the Hobbit toys at Toys “R” Us, which can be a problem if you have one of those stores that set really high prices ($80 NECA Quarter Scale Gollum?). Luckily you also have other avenues online to pick these guys up such as Amazon.
There are all kinds of options with the 3 3/4″ Hobbit line, they have two-packs, single carded, and gift sets. If you are looking to get a nice gift for a young (or old) Hobbit enthusiest I suggest grabbing this gift set which includes Bilbo, Thorin, Balin, Dwalin, Fili, and Kili. It will get you a good majority of the dwarves along with Bilbo. The other set I really like is the Thorin and Goblin King set … the Goblin King looks so lumpy!
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