The reaction to the announcement that Toy Biz's Gollum figure, from the popular Lord of the Rings - The Two Towers line, was going to be a bendy, was a blessed mix. People hated the idea of a fully bendy figure, citing the early Spawn Violator figures as amateurish and problematic, while others thought the idea was nifty, saying such a small thin figure's sculpt from being ruined by lots of articulation points. The final product is a mixed blessing - while the bendy option mostly works well, the figure isn't perfect.
Gollum stands 4" tall, perfectly in scale with the other figures from the line. He's almost the same size as a Hobbit, ala the movies, and a super-creepy sculpt adorns his soft, bendy plastic self. His facial sculpt is scary, with piercing blue eyes and well-highlighted creases, just how he looks when he reaches madly for his Precious. The sculpt on the whole is excellent - his whole body is wonderfully colored and highlighted exactly like the animated onscreen character. Without cuts for articulation, he's even better, and it works well; because Gollum has no clothes to conceal articulation, he would have looked naked and cut up with the points of articulation.
The paint job has some minor mistakes, a few splotches and some general detailing a little out of whack, but it's less noticeable. Even his toes and feet are speckled with what looks like dirt, from walking in the mud, seeking the Precious! The only big problem with Gollum's look is that he has a nasty big molding line through his head, which is barely hidden. A better paint job would have concealed this more, but as it is, it's a major flaw on an otherwise visually awesome figure.
The bendy articulation is something of a mixed bag; his body is light, made from harder plastic than the soft bendy limbs. His arms are seemingly perfect - with the bendiness, you can put them in any position, waving in the air, reaching for the precious, even whacking off a variety of characters. The legs are less effective; although he can stand ok, he can't do much else, and you'll spend more time trying to balance him on his legs than play and pose them. He also can't get into the 'crawling' pose from the movie, which is a disappointment, seeing as though he spends more time crawling than actually walking. On the upside, the bendy rubber-plastic feels highly durable, so it's doubtful that Gollum will fall apart.
To size up the small package, Gollum comes with a tree and rock base, a solid accessory that Gollum stands on. It's nice and heavy, sculpted and painted realistically and good for display. It also features a sound effect, wherein pushing the rock on the front of the base makes it say Gollum's catchphrase "My.... precious..." The sound chip is loud but a little fuzzy - the line itself doesn't sound like its been voiced by the actor behind the animated guy either, which is a little dodgy. I would have preferred a crisper sound and more phrases, but as it is it's a suitable accessory to round out the figure.
In the new Return of the King line from ToyBiz, Gollum returns in two slightly different sculpts; this first is essentially a re-release of the old Gollum figure, where the other is the character's alter ego Smeagol, with a completely different, better facial sculpt. Seeing as though Gollum rarely looks this terrifying in either of the films, the Smeagol facial sculpt seems slightly more suitable, and his base has two separate lines instead of one:
The nice new blue packaging on the new RotK figures is also a blatant turn on, so I would recommend Smeagol over the past TTT Gollum.
- Nice Hobbitses!
- Good Smeagol!
Overall, Gollum is a fine figure, slightly let down by the sculpting lines and less-effective bendy legs. A new Gollum is soon to be released with proper articulation, as seen at the SDCC, but I'd prefer the bendy version better - it's an experiment that's not perfect, but good none-the-less.
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