Until the announcement late last year that The Bridge Direct had received the master toy license for the upcoming Hobbit movies, I had never heard of the company and was a little skeptical about what kind of product they would be able to produce. After all, they had some rather big shoes to fill if they were going to match the quality of Toy Biz’ Lord of the Rings line. Nevertheless, we were excited to see what Bridge Direct could offer. Our interest peaked when we heard that 3.75” figures would be offered with the expected 6” figures.
Today, we take a detailed look at The Bridge Direct’s new 3.75” Goblin King & Thorin Oakenshield Battle Pack to see if these new figures deliver.
Check out a full GALLERY of hi-res images of this product below.
The packaging design for “The Hobbit: The Unexpected Journey” toyline is fairly basic and incorporates a brown/yellowish color scheme with a Renaissance feel that is eye catching on the toy shelves.
For this Battle Pack, they use a standard box packaging with windows on the front, sides and top allowing you to see both figures from multiple angles before purchasing and opening. The front of the box includes the Hobbit title, the names of the figures, an image of Thorin Oakenshield from the movie, and a little blurb that says “Let the Journey begin!” In addition to the side windows offering a view of the figures, pictures and biographies of the figures are on the back as well as as well as a brief synopsis of the movie.
I really like the elegant feel of the packaging which suggests quality. Too many times, cheap-looking packaging leaves a bad impression about overall figure quality. G.I. Joe Retaliation comes to mind as an example.
The sculpting on these figures is fantastic. The detail in the clothing and facial expressions is unexpected in a small scale line.
The Goblin King is quite hideous looking, but hideous in a good way. The Bridge Direct went all out on this one with the details of sculpted warts, sores, and overlapping blubber. I believe this might be the first figure I’ve owned with man-boobs. The detail is incredible for a mainstream movie based figure. They even included overgrown sculpted toenails in addition to nicely detailed sculpting on the King’s tribal staff. The skirt the Goblin King wears is sculpted on the figure with a soft plastic to give it the look and feel of clothing. He also has some hair stands sculpted on the back of his head.
Thorin Oakenshield also has a bit of detail from the sculpted chain-mail to the belt buckles on his boots. They even incorporated little braids in his long hair. The likeness to the actor in the movie is pretty dead on. The scale also seems to be accurate. Obviously I haven’t seen the movie yet but based on pictures I have seen, it looks like Oakenshield reaches Gandalf’s shoulders in height which is about where the Oakenshield figure compares to the Gandalf figure.
This is another area where The Bridge Direct shines. The paint details on both the Goblin King and Oakenshield are near perfect.
The Goblin King, essentially a doughy white-looking fat guy, has a nice wash to him as well as some reddish coloring mixed in on portions of his body. This is most noticeable around his eyes and nose. He definitely looks like he had a few rough nights.
Oakenshield has a lot of detail meshing in dark colors for items like his boots and tunic with a shinier metallic silver for the chain-mail on his arms. If you look closely at his hair, he also has what appear to be gray strands of hair mixed in with the brown.
Articulation is the area where the Bridge Direct figures are the weakest. While not terrible, the articulation does not compare to other 3.75” lines like G.I. Joe or Marvel Universe.
The Goblin King has ball-hinged shoulders and a swivel bicep joint allowing him to move those man-boobs in multiple positions. He has no neck articulation, swivel-hinged elbow joints and swivel wrists. I don’t like how they cut the elbow joints. The top portion of the arm has plastic that actually covers the joint to better hide the joint for appearance. While a nice feature, it hinders the figure’s arm movement and he can’t bend his elbows upward very far. The knees, also swivel-hinged joints, suffer some from this same problem. The figure has no articulation at the waist, and the thighs which aren’t ball-jointed can only go back and forth at the waist. This is a really big fat dude, so you probably wouldn’t really expect him to have a wide range of movement. Even though the articulation is a little lacking, I don’t think it really takes a lot away from the figure.
Oakenshield’s head is attached with a ball-joint. However, his long sculpted hair restricts the head’s movements somewhat. If you try to move the head too much to the left or right, it tends to pop off. He also doesn’t have much up or down movement. He has hinged-swivel elbows and swivel wrists but no bicep or waist articulation. His legs are attached with what looks like swivel-hinged joints but their movement is a bit restricted by the soft-plastic tunic that comes down almost to the figures knees. Finally, the figure has swivel-hinged knee joints but no ankle articulation.
Both figures come with a fair number of accessories. The Goblin King comes with a very detailed staff and a crown with a little peg that fits in a small hole on the back of the figure’s head. The staff uses some soft plastic strands to represent hair coming out of the skull on top of it.
Oakenshield comes with two swords, one removable sword sheath the fits on his back, and a second sheath for the smaller sword on his waist. He also has some type of arm shield that attaches on his wrist with a little peg. The accessories are nice and give the figure lots of playability. The only down side is that both the sheath on his back and the arm shield fall off very easily.
These figures are great to look at and with the accessories you can place them in a lot of cool-looking battle scenes. Since I haven’t seen the movie and it’s been a very long time since I read the book, I don’t really know how the interaction between these two characters plays out but I have to expect you will be able to re-create scenes in the movie quite nicely if that is your thing.
Quality Control -
I didn’t come across any real quality control issues with these figures.
For a company that seems to be fairly new to the action figure/collector scene, I think The Bridge Direct has done a great job with these initial offerings of Hobbit figures. The details with the sculpting and paint are awesome and although I wouldn’t mind seeing a bit more articulation added to their figures down the road, I think they still manage to do a fair job. Add to that the amount of accessories included and I think you end up with a line that has a lot of potential.
Look for The Bridge Direct’s “The Hobbit Figures: The Unexpected Journey” figures out on retail shelves now.
Final Score: 4/5