I was quite surprised when Hasbro unveiled a deluxe action figure set starring the Forgotten Realms hero, Drizzt Do’Urden. Drizzt was a character I was familiar with going back into my middle school days when I traded Star Wars novels for Dragonlance. Even though my nose was buried in stories about Raistlin Majere and Tanis Half-Elven, a lot of the other kids around me were reading the latest from R.A. Salvatore. Drizzt was an instant hit, a dark elf warrior exiled from his subterranean home turned good guy. He was armed with a pair of magic scimitars, had a magic panther as a sidekick, and was basically unbeatable in combat. When I had exhausted Dragonlance, a campaign setting for the game Dungeons & Dragons that saw its peak in the 80s, I finally checked out what was coming out of the Forgotten Realms setting and would eventually read several books starring the legendary drow.
Hasbro has owned Dungeons & Dragons through subsidiary Wizards of the Coast for over two decades now, but few knew if the company really planned on doing action figures. Plenty of 80s kids have longed for stuff based on the old cartoon series, while folks like me who grew up with the novels published by TSR have wanted to see some of those characters captured in plastic. Drizzt kind of came out no where though and Hasbro elected to sell the set, which includes his panther, Guenhwyvar (who I am just going to call Guen from now on because that name is ridiculous), through its Pulse storefront. This generally means collectors could pre-order the figure and expect delivery months later. Hasbro was likely skittish about going straight to retail with the figure because it was an untested character at a premium price ($40), though there are plans to distribute it through other retailers in the future (I think).
For me, I liked Drizzt well enough when I was reading the books decades ago. He’s cool, though his stories got very repetitive for me so I would never call him one of my favorite literary characters. I won’t deny though that he’s perfect for an action figure and his popularity makes him a great first choice for a figure. I saw it, and I thought it looked cool, and eventually placed a pre-order. My decision to buy this figure was one part enjoyment of the actual piece, and one part a desire to just support the brand in hopes of getting a Raistlin down the road. That property, Dragonlance, has some legal troubles though that will probably make it difficult for me to get what I want, but I can dream, can’t I?
Drizzt arrived after a delay of about a month. All kinds of shipping problems in December threw things into disarray, but thankfully Drizzt wasn’t on that ship that lost a ton of cargo in a storm. The figure comes packaged in a very nice box with an unusual shape. The front is curved and embossed with a dynamic illustration of Drizzt and Guen. Sliding that off produces a window box with the figure itself and a nice, wintery, backdrop. It’s easy to reseal, which is always a plus with figures that come with a bunch of extra stuff, and would be attractive for mint-in-box collectors, though to display with or without the slipcover would be a tough call.
Drizzt is a little tricky to extricate from the plastic bubble inside as he has this big cloak that slips through the plastic, plus his scabbards go through it as well. Once removed he’s a pretty sturdy figure with a fair amount of heft to him due to that cloak. He stands right at six inches and seems like the kind of figure that could slip into other displays fairly easily. His armor is incredibly detailed with lots of little paint flourishes through out. My figure is pretty much devoid of any signs of paint slop or quality control issues of any kind. His joints were all free and easy out of the box and there are no defects I can spot. This is a very well made figure, though also still pretty familiar to anyone who collects stuff from Hasbro. I really like the gray-purple of his flesh and you can see the purple in his eyes. He has an angry facial expression with windswept hair perfect for a battle pose. He has a pair of gripping hands with vertical hinges (finally, Hasbro!) that have just enough of an opening in them that it’s fairly easy to slip one of his two swords into each hand. He looks great, and this is a later version of Drizzt as opposed to a first appearance. It reminds me of the look the character sported in the artwork for The Hunter’s Blades Trilogy. There’s a lot of black, green, and gold and the leather portions of his armor have a touch of blue. It’s textured really well too and looks like worn leather, though the armor is so pristine that it doesn’t look like something he’s ever actually battled in. The fur lining on the cloak is well done and there’s a hood sculpted into the back of it that’s been pushed back. This is just really nice and it’s good to see Hasbro sink a little more money into this release than it would a mass market figure for Walmart or Target. As they should, since they’re charging a premium for it.
If you’ve had a Hasbro figure recently, then you should know what to expect in terms of articulation. Drizzt’s head sits on a ball peg so he can look around, but his cloak plus his hair will severely limit that head articulation. Of course, you can remove the cloak and get better articulation, if you wish. The base of the neck is also on a ball peg which aids him in looking up and down when the cloak is not an issue. The shoulders are ball-hinges with a slight butterfly joint as well. The pauldrons on his shoulders can be manipulated a bit to get them out of the way when posing. He has swivels at the shoulders, double-jointed elbows, wrist swivels, and the previously mentioned vertical hinges. In the torso he foregoes a diaphragm joint in favor of an ab crunch. I am on record as not caring for ab crunches, but this one at least looks fine. He can also twist at the waist and swivel at the thigh, which are ball-hinged. He has double-jointed knees and can swivel at the foot. He also has hinges at the ankle and a generous rocker. It’s a solid assortment of articulation and Hasbro did a good job of working with the intricate armor on this figure to get as much articulation into it without disrupting that sculpt. The skirt pieces of the armor are very flexible so they only interfere a bit. I would have preferred a diaphragm joint in place of the ab crunch, but it’s fine.
Drizzt comes packaged with quite the assortment of accessories and optional parts. He has two heads: an angry one and a smug one. I really like both, but I tend to prefer that cocky look to the yelling one. He also has two hairstyles which you can swap between the two heads. One is windswept and the other is static. I had a hard time getting the static hair to work in tandem with the cloak, but others may have better luck than me. The cloak can be removed by popping off the head, but be careful when doing do as sometimes his neck will release which is kind of a pain. Try to hold the neck in place as best you can. He also has an extra set of hands which include a fist and an open left hand. The fist is kind of useless and I would have preferred two style hands, but oh well. The open hand works with his little, black, kitty statue which is supposed to be Guen. That’s what the cat is when not in the material world. There’s also a D20 die done in a sparkly, black, green color that’s pretty neat for people who play D&D. Drizzt also has a necklace he can wear which features a little unicorn head. This is the symbol of the goddess he worships or identifies with. It fits over his head fine, but gets lost when the cloak is on too. It’s also too light to have a natural hang and I find I prefer the character without it, but it’s there if you like it. There are also monster cards hidden behind the cardboard insert in the box. I know some of them, like the beholder and ice dragon, but some I don’t know what they are. I wish they had a little bio or something on them instead of some fake language.
Of course, Drizzt also comes with his prized, twin, scimitars: Twinkle and Icingdeath. They’re well sculpted and painted and look terrific whether in-hand or sheathed. I find they don’t necessarily match up with the descriptions given for each in the books, but there have been prop Drizzt swords made over the years and these seem to match those. I think it’s Twinkle that has this neat metallic, blue, finish on the pommel that’s especially nice looking. The vertical hinges of his hands help in wielding them properly and Drizzt just looks cool with a blade in each hand. He also has two effects pieces for the blades that looks like ice magic, or something. They slide onto the blade and lend themselves well to dynamic poses. The only drawback is they add considerable heft to the swords. If there is one issue I have, it’s that Drizzt’s arms are a little loose for his swords. I still was able to get him into some interesting poses, but I’m concerned if I leave him on a shelf with these things on the blades his shoulders may weaken until he can’t keep his arm up. In particular, the left arm is the one I have the most concern with. I suspect this may vary from unit to unit.
Lastly, Drizzt is accompanied by his good pal, Guenwhyvar. I don’t know why Salvatore settled on such an obnoxious spelling, but he has a tendency to do that with a lot of stuff in his novels. The panther is about six inches long and quite sleek with a lustrous black coat with maybe a hint of purple in some places. There’s a lot of points of articulation on this cat too. There’s a ball-joint in the torso that provides some ability to pivot, a ball-joint at the base of the neck, and a ball-joint at the base of the head with a hinged jaw. The legs appear to be ball-jointed at the base, but can’t do much other than move forward and back a little. The rear, right, leg is pretty tight on mine too. Each knee can swivel and bend and there’s another hinge past that and a third hinge at the foot. That’s on the hind legs, the front legs have one less hinge. The feet can also rock side to side. The tail pegs into a ball joint and kind of just hangs out. It’s a lot, but it’s not all functional. I can’t, for instance, get the kitty to sit in a convincing fashion. She can get into a pounce position, but for the most part I think people will just pose her in a fairly neutral position looking a bit menacing with that mouth open.
That’s a lot of stuff for one figure release, and I think this is a great value at $40. Of course, since it is a mail away situation you’ll have to pay shipping to acquire Drizzt so his real cost is more like $50, but it’s still pretty good considering a Lightning Collection Power Ranger is about $20 and of lower quality. For your money, you get a really nice looking and functional action figure plus a fully realized panther figure. That’s not to say it doesn’t have a few shortcomings. I wish the engineering on the panther was a bit better, and I find myself really surprised that Drizzt didn’t come with one more hairpiece that included his hood. Maybe they couldn’t figure out a way to get a hood to fit over the existing hood and didn’t want to turn that into a separate, floating, piece like they have done with the masks on some of the Marvel Legends. Otherwise though, there’s nothing really missing or that I wish the figure came with. I mentioned wanting a second open hand in place of the fist, but I don’t know if I can resist posing him with both blades drawn anyway.
If this is the start of Hasbro’s descent into the old TSR portfolio, then this a great way to kick off a line. I suspect Dungeons & Dragons will never be a huge part of the Hasbro figure lineup, but if they can get a couple figures out a year that would be better than what came before it. My hope is for them to head to Dragonlance, but I’d be pretty surprised if the company didn’t hang around Forgotten Realms for awhile and fill out Drizzt’s allies. They may also look to the iconic Monster Manual for some creature ideas in place of characters from the various novels. Unless this figure fails to sell, but I’m pretty optimistic that it will attract enough attention to warrant more figures. If you like what you see here and want Hasbro to do more, you can head over to their website now and order your own Drizzt. I think you’ll be pleased with what you receive.
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