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Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves
by yo go re

Look at what unchecked political correctness has done to He-Man! Thanks Obama.

Holga is a fierce Barbarian from the Uthgardt Elk Tribe with a surprisingly warm heart.

The Dungeons & Dragons movie was a ton of fun, appealing to both people who have played tabletop RPGs game and to people who know what it's like to kiss another person. It's like if the first Guardians of the Galaxy movie was fantasy, instead of sci-fi. Far fewer people saw it than should have, sadly, and the toys aren't flying off the shelves, either. These are pretty well destined for Ollie's sometime soon, but I wanted to at least try out the awesome barbarian girl before they go.

While the box tells us nearly nothing about the character, Wizards of the Coast actually did one thing right for this movie, releasing character stats via the D&D Beyond website, letting us know things like "why Holga is here" and "if she has a last name."

It's not terribly surprising that the tough lady who seems to be constantly in danger of dying would be played by Michelle Rodriguez - especially once you learn that she grew up a total dork, reading comics, collecting trading cards, the whole thing. And she used to play D&D, so being in the movie makes sense. The toy's likeness is... passable? We've seen Hasbro do better, but this isn't the worst thing we've seen recently. It's not even the worst we've seen this week! Their attempt to re-create the way her hair is pulled up onto the top of her head has left the toy with a giant forehead, which messes up the look.

Holga dresses like a barbarian: lots of fur and leather that all looks like it's been haphazardly stitched together by someone with better things to do. Which it probably has. There's good detail in the sculpting, but it definitely does not make for a very visually arresting toy: it's a mix of brown, tan, beige, bronze, liver, russet, taupe... just a big multi-hued brown lump. The sheer volume of it even makes her skin look pinker than it is by comparison. If you imagine this story as an Actual Play of some friends' campaign, it's easy to imagine Holga's player being the one who is more invested in roleplaying and mechanics than in describing their character.

She's got plenty of articulation, and thankfully the Golden Archive line ("Golden Archive" is their "Black Series" or "Lightning Collection") does not repeat the poor construction of the Cartoon Classics: that is to say, everything moved fine, nothing was stuck in place or broke when I tried to move it. Huge improvement. Holga has swivel/hinge ankles, swivel shins up inside her leg wraps, double-hinged knees, swivel thighs, balljointed hips, a balljointed chest, swivel/hinge wrists, swivel/hinge elbows, swivel/hinge shoulders, and a barbell head. If they could do this well on the movie toys, the second set of animated figures had better show some growth as well! The hair keeps the head from moving much, and the tassets hanging from her belt need to move out of the way if you're going to do very much with the legs at all.

Holga's signature weapon is the darksteel axe she stole from a guard she beat up. Forged by (existing NPC) Ghelryn Foehammer, the axe has a blade on one side and a flat, hammer-like surface on the other, can absorb electrical energy, and its handle can telescope from the size of a single-handed battleaxe to a double-handed greataxe. (To show that, the toy has swappable hafts that pop out of the axe head with a little force.) The bag of accessories also includes a little piece that can plug into the figure's back to hold the axe, as well as a dagger that can sheathe in her belt. Missed opportunity to give us an alternate, molten axehead, though. And also some potatoes.

The DADHAT Series 1 toys have been such slow sellers that we're unlikely to see Series 2 show up anywhere, so if there are any of those characters you were looking forward to, you best order them online before scalpers start taking advantage of their rarity. Holga proves that the toys temselves are good; but the movie was good, too, and nobody paid attention to that, either. You'll probably be able to pick her (and her wave-mates) up on a decent discount pretty soon if you want to build their full team.

-- 07/19/23

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