REVIEW: THORIN OAKENSHIELD & BILBO BAGGINS FROM ASMUS COLLECTIBLES

Written by | Featured, Reviews

 

“I am sorry that I made you a part of my perils…”
― Thorin Oakenshield

No! I am glad to have shared in your perils – that is more than any Baggins deserves!
― Bilbo Baggins

I recently rewatched The Hobbit, and as much as the entire series is. let’s say, not as well loved as The LOTR trilogy, this movie is still enjoyable and true to the spirit of the source (if not exact in every respect). The two key characters, Bilbo Baggins and the dwarf king, Thorin Oakenshield, were well cast and well played by Martin Freeman and Richard Armitage, respectively.

Having wrapped up the Fellowship (with the inevitable “slim” versions of Gandalf, Legolas, etc. on the horizon), Asmus Toys has started producing some supporting LOTR characters and recently dove into The Hobbit franchise with these two key characters. Let’s take a look at them…

ReviewWhatsInTheBox

  • Thorin wearing textured fur wrap coat, dark blue vest, long pants with stitched pattern, armored-patterned tunic, patterned vest, a pair of two-piece boots, gauntlets
  • Three pairs of hands; One pair relaxed, One pair weapon holding, One pair of fists
  • Die-cast Orcirst sword with scabbard
  • Dwarf sword
  • Oakenshield
  • Pipe
  • Key to Erebor
  • LOTR logo figure stand

  • Bilbo wearing a white long sleeved shirt, a pair of trousers, green vest, red jacket, neckerchief
  • Three pairs of hands; One pair weapon holding, One pair of fists, One pair of ring hands, document-holding hand, pointing hand
  • Die-Cast Sting sword with scabbard
  • The One Ring
  • Backpack
  • Pipe
  • Contract, self-portrait, Thorin’s map
  • Red Book of Westmarch

reviewsculptpaint

Thorin: 8/10  |  Bilbo: 7/10

Let’s start with the good. Thorin’s sculpt is really nice. Definitely one of the better sculpts from the Tolkien line from Asmus. The paint is good with an accurate complexion. The eyebrows could actually be a little thicker and I would have liked to see a little more detail in his beard paint-wise, but the likeness is very good. The rooted hair is really well done- unruly as hell, but good! The touches of grey streaks are just enough and placed well and the braids are there as well. It’s a bit long as others have been (Boromir for one), but I think that’s just Asmus erring on the side of caution. If you have the guts and the skills you can cut a little, style it a bit with some Dax Wax or something and it could look exceptional. There’s no way in Mordor this could have worked with sculpted hair and I’m glad they didn’t even think about it.

And speaking of that, all the Hobbits in the line have had sculpted hair and Bilbo is no exception. But whereas it worked ok with most of them – the slim versions of Frodo and Sam being the best examples – I’m not thrilled with the result here. t’s nicely detailed but the overall style and how it relates to the sculpt feels heavy-handed.  Martin Freeman’s hair was very whispy and seemed in most scenes to have sort of a main curl and then some smaller “tendrils” on his forehead. There’s not much if any forehead to be seen on the sculpt – just a tiny little part over the right eye. The hair is actually two separate pieces and the gap between the two is somewhat noticeable at some angles especially on the right side.

I think the likeness, however, is pretty good. The jawline is a bit squared off and maybe too “jowly”, and the cheekbones a little pronounced, but he’s there. I think the hairline betrays it and detracts from the adequate likeness though. Paint on the face is good, the hair could have used some highlights, it’s a little flat. RUnderstandibly, rooted hair for figures like this, with layered short hair, is currently too much work to keep the price or the production time reasonable but I would have liked to see a “lighter touch” applied to the sculpted hair.

reviewaccessories

Thorin: 10/10  |  Bilbo: 9/10

I’ve said it before and I will say it again here; Asmus makes some beautiful clothes. Middle Earth duds are no joke – details abound and there are layers of leather, silk, corduroy, fur, chainmail, and capes, not to mention the intricate designs that adorn everything from gauntlets to boots.

Between these two, Thorin’s outfit is obviously far more involved, and so stands to be more impressive. From the fur-wrapped boots to the intricate chain mail shirt, everything looks fantastic. The pants have an embroidered pattern on the knees, the undercoat is patterned and the tunic beneath it is even incredibly adorned with intricate silver piping. The chainmail shirt is patterned perfectly. The belt could use some weathering but is otherwise nicely done. Then there is the fur-collared coat. By the beard of Durin this is nice! The fur color is accurate and it flows and sits just like the real thing. The main coat material looks great and the lower hems are wired to allow for some nice posing. Just overall one of the best sets of clothing since Boromir’s.

But Bilbo’s clothing is no less impressive even in its modesty. The materials are nicely chosen, the cut and tailoring are nice, and buttons accurate in color and shape.

Accessories-wise, Bilbo comes with a good-looking, well-detailed backpack complete with a bedroll, his elven sword, Sting and it’s respective scabbard, his pipe, the Red Book and some paper goods including the contract to join Thorin’s party, a self-portrait and the Map of Thror. Plenty of hand options including one with the ring. The only issue I had with these was getting Sting in the weapon-gripping hands – they don’t open completely and the opening is very tight. It’s possible to get it in, but I’m leaving it in place when I swap out the hands. Not a bad bunch of pieces, but I do wish they had included a walking stick.

Thorin’s cache includes his namesake oaken shield, die-cast Orcist sword, his standard dwarf sword, a pipe, and the Key to Erebor held by and given to him by Gandalf. Only three sets of hands here, but they’re enough for just about any pose you might need.

One note: the strap on the scabbard is a little awkwardly placed and the weight of the die-cast sword (which looks beautiful) tends to pull it down to sit almost horizontally, which is a little annoying.

Both figures come with the same Hobbit logo stand.

ReviewArticulation

Thorin: 8/10  |  Bilbo: 7/10

Thorin’s body is the newly developed DWF 1.0 male body, the same used for Gimli. It’s a very sturdy body with good, tight joints. Due to this low height, his center of gravity is lower and coupled with the boxy, wide boots you can get him into some pretty dynamic poses without a stand.

As with Gimli and Legolas, Thorin’s boots are two-piece allowing for great ankle movement and here, due to the fur-wrapped upper half, the seam isn’t even visible. Knees bend around 90º, elbows are double jointed and have a very good range of movement. There’s a wide range of movement to the head (although once you get that hair in place, you’ll be loathed to touch his head!) Waist movement is there, but as with all these multi-layer clothed figures, you won’t get much.

Bilbo is built on the same standard Hobbit body as the others of his ilk. It’s a good, sturdy, tight body. I believe it’s basically their “teenage” body with different lower legs. The knees have a 90º bend and he can sit easily, Elbows are double jointed and the arms have a good range of motion.

Bilbo’s clothing is far lighter and doesn’t hamper movement like Thorin’s layers do, but the Hobbits come with one glaring deficiency; ankle movement. The large, flat feet look good (even have synthetic hair applied to them) but they do no more than rotate 45º horizontally with the lower leg or a little more with the whole leg.  They’re not pliable either so they are really a little limited for posing purposes. But they look good and ankle movement would come with visible joints. I’d be ok with that but I know many collectors, who’d rather have a good-looking figure on the shelf would disagree.

 

ReviewPricePoint

Thorin: 9/10  |  Bilbo: 8/10

Asmus’ figures have usually come in right around the middle of the price point range. More than the cheaper, more obscure licenses (or unlicensed figures) and less than the higher-priced Hot Toys level. Some, like the recent Gimli, are a veritable bargain for the quality and amount of accessories.

Here, I think Thorin noses out his friend Bilbo in the price category. Thorin, at around $200, is priced the same as the afore-mentioned Gimli (who, if you didn’t know, was the son of Glóin, another one of Bilbo’s traveling companions) and while he doesn’t come with the die-cast armory that figure came with, between the rooted hair, detailed, fur-lined clothing, metal Orcist and the rest – he’s well worth the price.

Bilbo retails for $170 which feels just a bit high for this release. The clothing here is nice, but nowhere near the complexity of Thorin’s garb. The backpack looks great, as does the die-cast sting. There are a good amount of hand choices and the document pieces look nice too, but ultimately they’re just paper. The slim version of Samwise comes with about as much for $110.

ReviewOverallDesign

Thorin: 9/10  |  Bilbo: 7/10

If Thorin had come out last year, he’d have been a strong contender against Gimli for Figure of the Year. Because of his amazing beard and arsenal, The Fellowship dwarf might have just edged him out though. Overall, he looks great. The hair is a challenge to control, but fairly easy to get looking good. The clothes are outstanding.

Conversely, Bilbo is not everything I’d like him to be, but I still like him. The hair is a little bit of a letdown and I think the sculpt is good and deserved better. The clothes are top notch as is usual for Asmus. And who doesn’t want the Hobbit that started it all?

Thanks to Asmus Collectible Toys for providing these figures for review.

For more of the latest reviews from across the toy community, stay tuned to Exclu.

Last modified: January 31, 2019

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