Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Hobbit's New Leading Lady: TAURIEL!

Two Versions of the New Elven Warrior from Bridge Direct, Inc 2012

Oooh I love a good scandal.  It's even better when it's a nerdy scandal.  Some people view the works of Tolkien to be untouchable; subjecting them to the highest levels of scrutiny and smiling smugly as the books emerge unscathed every time.  There was a mild uproar earlier this year when news broke that Evangeline Lilly was cast a "new elven character" in the upcoming The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey film. Who needs new characters in a perfect story, right?  One of the many rumors floating around was that she was added to balance out the lack of female characters in the story.  Which I could definitely see a need for.  I was secretly thrilled at her casting.. especially since she looks like she could be a sister or cousin to Liv Tyler who now epitomizes the Middle-Earth elf look for most of geek culture.  At the same time, I completely understand how adding random characters to a classic story could seriously mess things up.

People hushed down about this argument pretty quickly when further announcements about the Hobbit film(s) were announced.  First of all, it's now a trilogy!  That's a lot of story, and it's only one book.  If the Lord of the Rings film series took that approach, we would have nine films already.  Then came the slow trickle of news about tons of LOTR stars signing up to reprise their roles, nevermind the fact that Legolas, Galadriel, Frodo, etc are not supposed to be in the Hobbit.  Blasphemy, right?  Kind of, but most fans are just excited to see these characters again, whether in flashback(forward) or maybe in some of Gandalf's mysterious side adventures, that they are seemingly done griping about the new girl.

Since we don't know much about the character yet beyond a brief bio on the cardbacks (I typed it up below), let's dive right into the toy review. We'll start with the 6" scale figure (she's 5.5").

I love the packaging.  It's simple, cinematic, with great color and a real fantasy quality to it.

Here is the character information about Tauriel from the cardback (Identical on both versions)

"A Sylvan Elf, this Daughter of Mirkwood is as deadly as she is beautiful.  A favorite of King Thrandull and Captain of the Woodland Guard, Tauriel's job is to follow the orders of the King without question.  However, Tauriel has a strong will and unyielding passion for what she believes is right.  An expert fighter, she carries signature weapons including twin daggers and a bow and arrow.  Like Legolas, Tauriel is extremely fast and agile in battle.  Although she has lived for many hundreds of years in Middle-earth, she remains one of the youngest of the Elven folk, and has rarely ventured beyond the borders of the great forest."

I love this figure.  She's dynamic, well-articulated, the likeness to Lilly is very good, and she just looks like she belongs in Middle-Earth.  Her flyaway braids will tame over time I think.  It not, I'll make them conform with my trusty hairdryer.  Also, where her braids meet her face is the sloppiest part of her paint job.  Keep that in mind when you're trying to pick the best one on your next trip to TRU.

Tauriel has a Ball-Jointed neck, Ball-and-Hinge shoulders, elbows, and knees, Swivel-and-Hinge ankles, Swivel wrists and waist, and seemingly Ball-and-Hinge hips although it's really hard to tell with the skirt.  The skirt is made of a softer rubbery plastic, but it still severely limits her upper leg articulation.  The hair also greatly limits the range of the head.

Tauriel comes with a Bow, a Quiver of Arrows (I think they're all removable, but some seem really stuck in there), and her Twin Daggers.

Here she is posing with some weapons.  I wish her wrists were ball-jointed.  All archers should have ball-jointed wrists period.

I want to take a moment here to give a round of applause for Bridge Direct, Inc.  When I heard that this relatively unknown company was awarded the toy license for the film, I admittedly groaned a little.  I had to look up what they had done before.  Mostly plush, some pop culture novelty-type toys (like those annoying Orange things), and some simple action figures lines like Arthur Christmas (which was very good, but unfortunately relegated to a niche market that collectors often overlook).   I think this Hobbit line will elevate them to major player status.  In my mind they're already up there with NECA, Mezco,and Diamond.  Way to go, I can't wait to see what else you can do.

Now we'll touch on the 4" version of Tauriel

Basically the same packaging.  I personally think the larger, single figures are more aesthetically pleasing, but the small ones are pretty great, too.

This version is very nice as well.  She looks less like Evangeline Lilly, but that's to be expected with the scale.  Her articulation is great and very similar to the 6" version with the main exception that these ankles are just swivel joints.  If they could move more freely, she could stand a lot better (her hair makes her want to fall backward).  In person, her shoulder joints seem bulbous and out of place, but it's not that noticeable.

She comes with the same arsenal, just miniaturized (and the arrows definitely do not come out of this quiver).

Time for some Comparison pics!


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