Collecting The Precious – Weta Workshop’s Azog the Defiler on Warg Review
It’s not very often that the statue of the year comes out so early in the year leaving all the rest to settle for the number two spot. But that is what has happened this year with the arrival last month of the Azog the Defiler on Warg by Weta Workshop. We got our first look at this beast of a statue during Comic-Con 2013. This was the jewel of the Weta booth last year with a steady stream of people drooling all over the glass at how amazing this looked..
The overall graphic layout for Azog’s box stays the same as we’ve seen with previous entries in the line. Per the format we’ve come to know the front of the box gives you a great shot of Azog, graphic work for the title of the movie, and of course the Weta logo. The sides of the box for Azog also present a familiar format with different looks at the statue. While the other side of the box presents some of the various products you can get for The Hobbit line of collectibles. The back of the box contains a great story on Azog as well as information regarding details of the character and statue. The Styrofoam on the inside is what we’ve become used to getting with these statues.
The talent of Lindsey Crummett was back at it with Azog and like previous pieces she just flat out nailed it. This piece is also I think her best work yet, with just how much detail was put into it as well as making sure something with this pose could be turned into a statue. There is no doubt this is the best statue so far in The Hobbit Trilogy line of statues.
Azog as we all know went through many changes before finally becoming a fully digital character. This doesn’t make capturing his likeness any easier because of the amazing detail the folks at Weta Digital were able to put into the character. Ms. Crummett was able to beautifully translate that digital look into a 3D statue. As we know Azog has tons of scars with a certain pattern done with them and those great little details make their way onto the statue. Outfit wise Azog is simple. As simple the amount of stuff he wears compared to any statue before him. However, there is as much detail packed into those items, as you would expect from the other statues. As we saw in the movie he has that brutal metal pieces screwed into his skin, which has been translated very well to his statue counterpart. He also has his leather glove on his right arm and the metal sculpting detail of his boots. The outfit part that impressed me the most was something I did not notice on him until I had seen The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey a couple of times. His leather skirt is made out of the faces fallen Dwarves! That to me is pretty sick and twisted, but also really cool.
That wasn’t the only difficult task in the likeness department with her having to be able to get the look right on Azog’s massive White Warg. She again matched what that creature looked like and gave him a look that should scare just about anyone. The fir details on the Warg are really well done giving off a very real fir look. The fir also has little bends in it to match the twisting angle of the statue another nice subtle touch. Much like his master the Warg also has his own scars and those are as well done along with the perfect look of there being no hair in those areas. Finally, his teeth are brutal! You do not want to be getting caught in those spikes, as you won’t be getting out of them unless he wants to let you go.
Azog doesn’t come with a lot of weapons as compared to the other statues in the line so far. However, the weapons he does come with are sculpted to capture the brutal impact he can do with them. The most massive of his weapons is the mace that we saw him smack Thror with during the Battle of Moria sequence from The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. This has some nice detail in the handle with the leather wrappings holding everything together. The blades are notched just a bit in places giving this a look of something he’s been using for years. Azog also wears to guards on his forearms that have been painfully nailed into his body with each of them having multiple sharp blades on each. Of course he also comes with his weapon that was the location of his left arm. We see him use this as a weapon as he picks up Yazneg and tosses him to the wargs upon getting some bad news. So he has a number of items that you can count as both weaponry and as part of his overall outfit.
The pose on this statue is amazing! The skill it must have taken to get everything leaning and moving in the proper directions shows I think just how good a talent Ms. Crummett is. There is just so much action and flow that is in this that it was a real risk taking adventure by Weta in general. It also helps show the power that is Azog and his Warg, which I think is the overall cherry on top of this piece. The trick that Weta used to help make sure something with this much going on was placing a steal skeleton inside the piece. Thus giving it the body it needed to hold this statue together.
Finally, I want to talk about the base of the statue. You’ve got a lot of detail on this piece alone. The rocks, grass, and pine cones all come with quite a bit of detail and it has a perfectly placed tree that goes partly into the statue giving one more place for the weight to go. The moment that this statue comes from of course if the end sequence of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey in the “Out of the Frying Pan into the Fire” sequence.
Azog continues the streak of very well painted statues from Weta Workshop. The challenge of Azog in his skin tone is it has to make sure it is pale enough but also enough grime on it to match his on screen counterpart. I would say without a doubt the paint department was able to do this without issue. I also love the work done on the eyes of Azog in that they help sell evil determination that he has for Thorin Oakenshield. The pale blue color is both beautiful and creepy on a character like Azog. The scars I mentioned earlier have that great tone to them that real scars have. You get the beautiful difference between the whiteness of his skin color and the pink nature of what a healed scar looks like. I actually compared this to a few of the scars I have just for good measure.
The Warg is also beautifully painted a well. The White Warg as we saw screen looks like an exact replica of that digital creature. As with Azog you get the right balance of white and grime that gives you it lives in a real world look. Also, like Azog you get the great balance in his scars to his fur. I love the job done in the face area of the Warg! The eyes on the Warg with the fire look they’ve been painted to have. They to me remind me of the eye of Sauron, which I’m sure will bother some fans but I love it! The nose and mouth area have a clear coat giving them a wet look that you expect from those areas. Also, I like that the teeth of this Warg have a nasty uncleaned look to them something you would expect from such an evil creature.
The pieces that make up the outfit and weaponry you get with Azog just continue to show how good the production paint apps are with Weta. The metal look needed on something like his mace is achieved to the highest levels. It has the old metal look as a whole but places where it’s lighter from wear and tear. The arm guards have that old metal look as well but also have some funky rust spots where you can see that he’s had these for quite some time. You can say the same for the metal pieces that have been bolted to his mid-section. Of course you also have the weapon that makes up his left arm, which also has the same rusted metal look from being put in his arm so long ago. The other thing I love about that is the irritated look of the skin around it painted to show that his body doesn’t like having it. Then you have the leatherwork done on his skirt area. What I love about the paintwork is it adds to the creepiness that it is actually Dwarven faces that make up this piece of Azog. It just has that perfect balance.
The base is also super well done. I love that they capture the landscape so well from that moment when the traveling company makes it out of Goblin Town. You get the proper dead grass/pine needles look that along with the rocks that dominated that landscape. You also get a few brown pinecones that have fallen from the trees or tossed at the Wargs.
Azog retails for $699, which makes him makes the most expensive statue so far in this line of statues. This is an expensive piece for sure but when people see this in person I believe collectors will feel they’re getting the monies worth. There is just so much detail in this piece, the size of it, and the weight of it really make for a home run piece. I would say without a doubt this is easily one of Weta’s best pieces ever!
Azog is limited to just 500 pieces worldwide but he is sold out from Weta Workshop. You’re going to check out various etailers to make sure you can add this piece to your collection
17.7″ x 25.6″ x 16.1″ (H x W x D)
29 cm x 29 cm x 21 cm
29.4 lbs (2.2 kg)