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Tyrion Lannister

Game of Thrones
by Monkey Boy

Brace Yourselves. Variants are coming.

Funko's Game of Thrones figures, based on the hugely popular HBO series, which is based on a series of books called A Song of Ice and Fire, are kind of a mixed bag. While many were just happy that the GoT universe was finally getting proper action figures (that flagrantly ape all the best attributes of Hasbro's 6" Star Wars Black Series), others were rightfully skeptical that Funko, previously known for making poorly-painted, soft-sculpted stylized vinyl figures, would be able to pull of a detailed, highly articulated 6" line of figures.

The results were about what you might expect. The sculpts are decent, the figures fit right in with your other 6"-scale lines, the accessories are appropriate... but quality control issues have plagued the line, from sloppy paint to stuck joints to clear plastic pegs that are prone to breakage. Funko says it has reined in the breakage issues, and offered free replacements in the first batch of figures, but whether the newer run is sufficiently durable will only be revealed in time.

Still, it's evident that Funko is serious about breaking into the action figure game, and for all its flaws, it's still a very admirable first attempt at action figures. I imagine, as the line goes on, things will continue to improve. Take, for example, Tyrion Lannister.

Youngest son of Tywin, patriarch of House Lannister, Tyrion's life has been a constant struggle. He is resented by both members of his family, and by complete strangers; the latter due to his Dwarfism, and the former due to his mother dying while giving birth to him. Despite his physical limitations, Tyrion is nearly unmatched in his cunning and intellect, and has a healthy appetite for books, wine, and women.

This is the third Tyrion figure Funko has released in its Legacy line. The first was part of the initial series of figures, and featured Tyrion in armor from the Battle of Blackwater. The second, an SDCC exclusive figure from 2014, features Tyrion in the same outfit, but with a wounded face sculpt and a new Lannister helmet accessory. The third, a Walgreens exclusive, features Tyrion in his most iconic outfit thus far: that of Hand of the King.

That's right, a Walgreens exclusive. You might recall a recent announcement that Walgreens would be carrying some exclusive McFarlane figures, from their lines like The Walking Dead. Or more likely you don't remember that, since like many you probably stopped collecting McFarlane Toys some time ago. But recently, there have been some pretty serious exclusives tied to the ubiquitous drugstore chain; in addition to this Tyrion figure, Hasbro has announced WG-exclusive Marvel Legends and Star Wars figures.

Thankfully, so far none of the Walgreens releases have been terribly hard to find. Their McFarlane stuff was plentiful, and it would seem the same could be said of Tyrion. Hopefully the Hasbro offerings follow suit, but if you don't want to worry about it, you could always pre-order them from the Walgreens website.

Funko's first series of Legacy GoT figures had a lot of heavy-hitting characters, and though it'll be a long time before they run out of options (there are like a billion characters in the series), some wondered if they were making a mistake putting so many central characters in the first batch. Now we know at least some of their plan: variants. Some, like this Tyrion, will be based on different outfits from the show. Others, like the SDCC/Barnes & Noble exclusive Glow-in-the-Dark White Walker, will just be gimmicky repaints, apparently.

Tyrion is no repaint, though. At least not entirely. Everything between the waist and neck is new, featuring his elaborately tailored Hand of the King tunic, complete with tiny Hand pin. Edward Mosqueda's sculpt has some nice details, particularly in the raised filigree pattern around the upper body, an element that other toy companies with far more experience might have opted to cut corners and just paint on instead.

There's some nice differentiation between the materials the sculpt is supposed to represent, particularly if you look at his waist coat with its pitted leather look, as opposed to his smoother vest. The fabric is sculpted to be wrinkled, but not overly so. All in all, a nice attention to detail. He's even got tiny rings sculpted on his fingers. They're too small to really discern anything specific, but at this scale that's not surprising.

At first look, his head appears to be a new sculpt. After comparing him with the original Tyrion, however, the tooling looks to be the same. His hair appears to fit a bit tighter onto the head, but all the strands are sculpted in exactly the same spots. It's possible the tooling was shrunk ever so slightly on purpose, but more than likely it was just a different factory doing a different thing (like the two versions of Ned Stark's hair). In any event, it looks better on the newer figure.

On the other hand, his legs appear to be reused, but in fact are mostly new. His upper legs are probably the same, but above his boot tops the fabric is sculpted with a different arrangement of wrinkles, and the straps on his boots lack the tied knot on the rear side that was present in the armored Tyrion. It's a strangely minor move, but we always appreciate when a toy company is willing to pay attention to those tiny differences.

Going back to the face, it certainly looks much better, and more like actor Peter Dinklage, than the previous Tyrion (which wasn't "bad" by any means)... but how is this possible if it's the same sculpt? The answer lies in the paint. The original Tyrion figure had a very pale skintone, which isn't necessarily wrong, but just looks a bit exaggerated in such a small scale. This newer version gets a more tan complexion that helps bring out some details in the sculpt.

His hair also gets a nice black wash, something the earlier Tyrion lacked (though Tyrion is a Lannister, famous for their golden locks, his on-screen hair hasn't really been "blonde" since the first season). The biggest difference, though, is the eyes. HotK Tyrion's eyes are much darker and fuller, with larger pupils, than the BotB Tyrion's, and it looks much more accurate to how they look on screen.

The rest of his paint is decent if not spectacular. His red vest gets a nice brown wash, and there's a bit of blue undershirt poking out of his collar. His Hand pin is covered in goopy gold, just as Ned Stark's was, rendering it pretty featureless. His rings are much the same, though there is a nice tiny drop of ruby red on the ring of his right hand. The filigree on his vest gets a nice brushing of goldenrod paint, and it matches up with the sculpt very well. The rest is a bit drab, with the arms and legs being mostly a flat grayish brown. As a whole, it's not bad.

His articulation is much the same as the rest of this line, with all the good and bad points. The good? He's got a lot of it: balljointed neck and shoulders, peg and hinge elbows and wrists, balljointed torso and hips, peg and hinge knees and ankles, plus pegs at the boot tops. It all works reasonably well, but then there's the bad: many of the joints were kinda stuck out of the package. I freed them up fairly well, but they're made of the same clear plastic, which doesn't instill a lot of confidence. Also, much like the previous Hand of the King, Ned Stark, this figure's elbow hinges have a severely limited range of motion. The previous Tyrions didn't have this problem, so it's a bit annoying.

Tyrion's only accessory is a small dagger that fits in a scabbard on his left hip. It's well sculpted, reasonably well painted, and fits well in its sheath or either of Tyrion's hands (his finger and thumb aren't glued together at the points like some other figures in the line). It feels a little light, since he's about half the size of the other figures, some of whom get much more. Would it have been too much to ask that we get a wine chalice? Or perhaps a book? Or a map?

Despite being light on accessories, I really dig this figure and think it's a marked improvement over the first Tyrion figure. If you're like me and you want to collect every figure in this line, there's still enough to set this guy apart that you won't feel cheated. If you're like yo and you didn't get Blackwater Tyrion because you felt this version was a better representation of the character, you won't be disappointed.

-- 08/10/14

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