“By my beard. You are shorter and wider than last we met.” — Dwalin to Balin as they meet up for the meeting at Bag End
Our friends at Gentle Giant have a program known as their Premiere Guild Membership (PGM), which allows fans to get discounts, early access, and other exclusives for the many products they produce. When Gentle Giant announced their PGM gifts for this year, an exciting collectible from The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey was on the list: the Dwalin Mini-Bust! Fans of one of the baddest dwarves in Middle-earth can now select Dwalin, representing The Hobbit for 2012/13. Dwalin of course follows up Thorin who was the first bust released in this line and could be had during Comic-Con 2012.
In Peter Jackson’s adaptation of The Hobbit, Dwalin is one of the many dwarves of the Lonely Mountain driven into exile by the dragon, Smaug. Dwalin joined his brother Balin, and Thorin’s father Thrain, in the group of dwarves who tried to take back Erebor in 2841 of the Third Age and was also one of the company who, 100 years later, joined Thorin in retakig Erebor from the dragon. After the mountain was retaken Dwalin, and his brother Balin, went on to be very successful. Dwalin lived to be one of the oldest Dwarves on record.
The graphics used for Dwalin represent our first glance at what Gentle Giant will be doing in the future with The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. One noticeable difference is a change from the box used for Thorin at Comic-Con. Dwalin’s box is very colorful and has a more of a distinct feel of Middle-earth. The color mixing that almost feels like it’s the dawn of a new day, with a great shot of a mountain range in the background. The coloring and style used is the same styling used for the figures from The Bridge Direct, which makes me think this is the style that we will see going forward for many of the products from The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. The sides of the box are similar to what we’ve seen from other companies with great looks of the Mini-Bust. While the back of the box gives the summation of the story of The Hobbit. Inside the Styrofoam gives the protection required to make sure this makes it to your home.
Gentle Giant has once again produced a really solid sculpt, continuing the momentum they started with the Thorin Mini-Bust. Regarding likeness, Gentle Giant did a solid job of capturing Graham McTavish in his portrayal of Dwalin. The only minor issue is the face is a little longer in the jaw area. His outfit is very well done with bits of fur that look like fur, leather looking like leather, and the proper Dwarvish look to his clothing. His weapons are also sculpted in delightful detail, including each of the axes having their names sculpted into the blades. The Mini-Bust also gives you something we’ve not seen before with Dwalin in that we get the large hammer he is also known to carry with him; it rivals the detail of his axes and adds a nice touch to the character we’ve not seen before. As I mentioned in another review for a product for Dwalin, the guards on the hands are also very well done. The base of this bust is also well done with little cracks all over giving it a great sculpted from stone appearance.
Gentle Giant really nailed the paint job with this bust. Everything comes together to help make this one of the best products I’ve acquired from them. The skin tone on Dwalin is really outstanding and is very natural. Another solid job by Gentle Giant is the paint job done on the outfit, armor, and axes. All of these have great detail, which is not lost with the paint, but rather enhanced with the job done on the production level. The outfit has great shading for the fur that accurately reflect many of the production stills and scenes we see during the course of the movie. The leather-work also has the proper look, better than what you’d expect of leather on a polystone product. The weapons all have a great metal look to them and very much give you the feel that they’ve been used in many battles. Dwalin, of course, has tattoos representing his heritage. Gentle Giant appears to have used a printing process for the ones on his head and hands and did a really nice job of making sure these came out well.
Dwalin retails for $70 with the purchase of the Premiere Guild Membership and, after discount, you only pay the shipping. If you also you choose another one of the PGM gifts, you will still only pay $70 for Dwalin. Gentle Giant did a really fantastic job with Dwalin and, as good as I think the Thorin figure is, Dwalin is even better. Dwalin is my favorite Dwarf and I am thankful that Gentle Giant did such a good job of capturing the look of the warrior we saw on screen. I recommend getting this great follow up Mini-Bust and I can’t wait until we get Gandalf and Gollum.
The edition size of the Dwalin Mini-Bust is only 300 pieces worldwide with a retail price of only $70.