–Review and photos by Scott Rubin
When it comes to mass market 6 inch scale action figures, Hasbro is the king of the hill. Whether it’s Marvel Legends, Star Wars Black Series, the new G.I. Joe Classified Series, and more, you know you’re going to get a good sculpt and paint job, accurate likeness and accessories, and lots of articulation. Of course, there’s way more to Hasbro than just those licenses, so what happens when they put their considerable skill and production pipeline to work on another popular brand? Watch out, because here comes Dungeons & Dragons! D&D has been around for a long time, over 45 years, and in its current incarnation is published by Hasbro subsidiary Wizards of the Coast. Now, while the RPG has inspired players to create countless memorable characters in that time, the company has introduced some pretty cool ones as well from Count Strahd von Zarovich to the Dragon Highlord Kitiara Uth Matar to Elminster, and beyond. Now, finally, D&D is getting some action figure love thanks to the Hasbro Pulse Exclusive Dungeons & Dragons Forgotten Realms Drizzt & Guenhwyvar two-pack capturing the drow hero and his wondrous companion!
Who is this Drizzt guy? If you’re asking, first off, welcome to the world of Forgotten Realms! Dungeons & Dragons is not monolithic, but comprises a multitude of fantasy worlds and realms, each with its specific and distinctive flavor and characters. Most Forgotten Realms tales take place on the continent known as Faerûn, a magical land chock full of elves, dwarves, orcs, dragons, wizards, undead, and more. Many iconic heroes and villains originated here, including Drizzt Do’Urden. Created by author R. A. Salvatore, Drizzt first appeared in the novel The Crystal Shard in 1988, and he’s gone on to star in over 35 more books, graphic novels, video games, RPG supplements, and more. He belongs to the race of drow, dark elves who live in the world’s Underdark. Drow are almost universally evil, scheming creatures fighting as much among themselves as against others. However, Drizzt broke the mold.
He grew up not understanding the wickedness around him in Menzoberranzan and ultimately escaped, moving to the surface world. With a true heart of goodness, he found lifelong friends… and defeated a huge number of bad guys and evil creatures! Drizzt is an exemplary warrior, usually depicted as a high level fighter with some levels of ranger (and sometimes barbarian – see his “Hunter” persona). He also fights with his best friend, the magical black panther Guenhwyvar. She is a magical entity summonable onto this plane via a small statuette, otherwise known as a Figurine of Wondrous Power.
With a brand new figure series Hasbro had a blank slate when it came to the toy’s packaging, and they came up with something pretty cool. First off, the box has an outer, protective sleeve with no windows. The front panel is dominated by a huge image of Drizzt and Guenhwyvar, with logos and text with their names, Forgotten Realms, and Dungeons & Dragons above and below them. Meanwhile, the artwork is bracketed by a really neat graphic in black and reflective silver depicting the Underdark with monstrous spiders, caverns, spires, panther heads, and more. The back panel of the sleeve has a subtle, raised image of the heroes fighting a dragon, but we’ll talk about this more in a moment. There’s also a list of the set’s contents in a bunch of different languages.
Get that sleeve out of there and we come to the main event. The inner package is a wide, flat window box giving you a fantastic view of Drizzt and Guenhwyvar, all of their accessories, and the included d20 in front of an Icewind Dale background. It repeats the same text and graphics from the outer sleeve, but the latter is much more subdued without the shiny silver (the panther head motif also continues on the narrow side panels). On the back of the main package is a huge splash illustration, this time capturing the iconic fight between the heroes and the white dragon Ingeloakastimizilian, also known as “Icingdeath” (note that in the actual battle Drizzt’s ally Wulfgar played a large role as well). This is the same image on the back of the sleeve, lacking color and featuring the raised linework; both of those, and the sleeve cover image were drawn by comic book and concept artist Max Dunbar. Overall, it’s a great example of sophisticated, display-worthy packaging, perfect for those of you who don’t open your toys. But for the rest of us…
As you can tell by now, I’m a big fan of Drizzt Do’Urden. I’ve been reading about his adventures for decades, and I have a few collectibles of him in the form of the Hasbro Kreon and various miniatures. In turn, I’m pretty excited to be holding an actual action figure of the renegade drow. So, what do I think? He looks great! This is obviously a premiere toy (and again, hopefully the launch of a new line) and it shows. Drizzt stands a little over 6 inches tall, appropriate as the drow isn’t typically depicted as being very tall. As a two-weapon fighter/ranger he eschews something like heavy plate in favor of lighter, more flexible armor that allow him a greater range of motion in battle. I don’t know much about the game but apparently this specific version of Drizzt is based on his appearance in the Dungeons & Dragons: Dark Alliance video game. I confess I’m not 100% sure what exactly you’d call this armor; the character is usually depicted/described as wearing some form of leather armor with added protection from mithral chainmail and a spider silk shirt. Meanwhile, a fur-lined cloak is a separate piece that fits over the figure’s neck.
Let’s take a closer look at the sculpt. And yeah, it’s really nice. Drizzt’s outfit/armor is highly detailed with layers, different textures, spikes, belts, straps, fasteners, and much more. Check out the photos; there’s something going on across every inch of this figure! Even on areas that don’t at first glance appear to be highly detailed there are subtle notes, like fabric textures, seams, and lots of creases. There’s also a nice contrast between the textured clothing and the smoother surfaces of the armor and decorative panels. That armor shows up mostly at the shoulders, forearms, chest, waist, and lower legs. The straps around the torso are really well done too, along with their buckles, rings, and decorative belt (I see stylized panthers there, but your experience may vary). The cloak is a bit less detailed but it’s still a nice piece, with its own texture, a scalloped edge, and of course the furry collar piece.
And then there are the heads! Drizzt comes with two unique heads, featuring a fierce grimace and a closed mouth, slight smile/smirk respectively. I think that together they capture a nice range of the character’s emotions, and those you’d want in cool battle poses. I also really like the design of the faces, elegant and not too youthful but not as aged as some of the more striking cover art we’ve seen over the years. Both heads have large, pointed ears that fit through holes in the two long hair pieces, one falling down on the sides and behind Drizzt’s head and the other streaming out to the side in an unseen wind.
So how does the paint work stack up in comparison to the sculpt? It’s also quite nice, with a really good contrast of light and dark colors that draw the eye to all the right places. Drizzt’s outfit is mostly dark, with dark blue clothing and panels edged in gold. Moving up from the waist we’ve got leather, straps, and armor panels in brown, and all of those nice metal parts are picked out in silver and gold, really standing out from the darker colors. That big cloak is uniformly a forest green, with the fur fringe in white; both could’ve used a bit of a wash to emphasize the details, but again the brighter colors do pop.
But now let’s get to the controversial part: Drizzt’s skin tone. Over the years, drow have been described differently in the novels and role-playing games, sometimes having jet black skin while at others being merely “dusky,” blue, or gray. Hasbro went with the latter here, and while it may not have been my first choice, I do think it works. Super dark skin colors are surprisingly hard to pull off, and take a lot of extra paint accenting so they don’t look flat. Of course, there’s also the chance they can look out of place or even inappropriate. With all of that in mind I think this purplish hue is fine; it doesn’t get in the way, and if there are more traditional elves in the works, I’m sure they’ll contrast nicely with Drizzt. Meanwhile, the drow hero has pearly white teeth, eyebrows, and hair, and of course his iconic lavender eyes.
As noted above, when it comes to 6 inch scale figures and Hasbro says “highly poseable and fully articulated,” they mean it. Drizzt is outfitted for posing just like a Marvel Legends toy, with multiple joints at the neck, shoulders, elbows, thighs, and knees, and even more single joints at the wrists, ab crunch, waist, and rocker ankles which are super important for this character. Overall, I was able to get Drizzt into a bunch of cool poses, especially with his scimitars but also standing with his arms at his hips or crossed in front of him. The figure does lean a bit to the back so do be careful when posing, especially with the cloak on.
Before I talk about the accessories, let’s look at the other figure in this set: Guenhwyvar! The magical black panther makes for a fun second toy. She’s quite sizeable, about 8 ½ inches from snout to tail tip and over 3 ½ inches to the top of her head when standing normally. Guenhwyvar is sleek and muscled, and entirely covered in fur texture. And instead of a flat black, the designers went with some nice color variation ranging from jet to dark blues and purples, with white teeth in a pink mouth and very lifelike yellow eyes.
Like Drizzt she has a lot of articulation, with no fewer than three joints in each foreleg and four in the hind legs! There are even more joints at the tail, mid-body, base of the neck, head, and jaw for some fun posing possibilities. Guenhwyvar can run, crouch, attack, stand on her hind legs (sorta), and more, and she looks great next to her partner.
What all does Drizzt bring with him into battle? First off, his cloak is removable, ideally when you’re switching out heads, and without it you have more posing options available. The heads pop on and off quite easily, and the hair pieces connect to them in two places to ensure a snug, stable fit. Also requiring the removal of some of those parts is Drizzt’s necklace. It’s a fairly simple piece but you can make out the unicorn head on it, the holy symbol of the hero’s patron goddess Mielikki. As standard the drow comes with two open fists, and included in the pack is a closed right hand and an open left one, the latter being able to hold the diminutive Figurine of Wondrous Power.
Then, of course, there are the scimitars. I won’t go into all the details, but Drizzt traditionally wields these two enchanted blades, Icingdeath and Twinkle. They’re replicated in miniature form with lots of iconic details including the colors and hilt designs, and they fit really well in the figure’s hands as well as the sheaths attached to his waist. [Note: I may have put the swords in the wrong hands, oops.] Lastly, there are two sword “swinging” effects, translucent purple plastic pieces that can be mounted over the blades. These are fun and look, but they’re pretty heavy and cause some balancing challenges. I think the array, choices, and quality of these accessories are pretty phenomenal, and there are even some bonus items for you…
Also included in the pack is an oversized d20 die, done in Icewind Dale colors. It’s beautiful in green with sparkles and multiple colors in its dark depths, with silver inked numbers and D&D logo on the 20 side. It may be a bit on the big side for actual use in games, but I’m certainly going to try because it looks great!
Finally, Drizzt and Guenhwyvar come with a set of six cards. When I heard there were cards in the box, I wondered what these could be, probably not game materials or stats but maybe artwork? Upon seeing them… I’m still not quite sure what they are. Each one features a different creature (or group of creatures) on the front side, and a bunch of text on the other. I don’t recognize the text, though I’m sure D&D experts could identify it as elvish, draconic, or the like. There are goblins, an ice giant, a gnoll, beholder, white dragon, and a hideous monster of some sort. The cards are a bit flimsy, but the art is wonderful and you could certainly use these as props in a game.
I think Hasbro was looking for a big splash with its first Dungeons & Dragons action figure, and Drizzt totally fits the bill. He’s a great character choice for the debut, and the toy is fantastic. He looks perfect, has a ton of detail in both sculpt and paint work, is highly poseable with lots of useful articulation that doesn’t break up the aesthetic, and comes with awesome accessories for both him and you. Oh, and Guenhwyvar is rad too! I sincerely hope that D&D and Forgotten Realms fans get a look at these figures because they are going to love them. They’re fantasy icons translated perfectly from the page/game to physical form, and they’re going to be a beloved centerpiece in the displays of a lot of Dungeons & Dragons fans.
Drizzt and Guenhwyvar are available for pre-order exclusively at Hasbro Pulse. The pack costs $39.99, which seems like quite a good deal for figures of this quality and everything they come with, and there is a limit of two per customer. They start shipping this Friday, 12/18, so get your order in now!
Review and photos by Scott Rubin
Review sample courtesy of Hasbro
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