Review – Sideshow 12″ Aragorn As Strider The Ranger (Exclusive Version)

31 12 2006

It’s the last day of 2006 and I’m cranking out the last review of the year here at SWFToys! And we are looking at my favourite character from JRR Tolkien’s iconic The Lord of the Rings series. It helped that Peter Jackson did an excellent work to bring the world of Middle-earth alive for all to see! Viggo Mortensen was a perfect cast for Aragorn with his rugged looks. He is not all-out handsome like Brad Pitt or Brandon Routh but he has that intensity and rough edge that makes women swoon.

Well, I for one was not captivated by his looks! It was the portrayal of Aragorn as a dedicated and loyal friend that won me over. There are many more adjectives that should be used on Aragorn. He was also fearless as he swore to protect Frodo for the perilour journey to Mount Doom in The Fellowship of the Ring. He resisted the temptation of the Ring in Amon Hen and followed up with a one man battle with scores of Saruman’s Uruk Hai. And along the way, he won over Boromir with his character. He also refused to abandon Merry and Pippin although they did not carry the Ring. And all these was just the first film! It sheds some light on how friendships should be these days.

Well, this review has also strengthened my belief that another Aragorn figure would be released by Sideshow down the line. This is because Sideshow’s attention to details for this Aragorn’s accessories points to the necessity for the Narsil or Anduril to be made. Some figure would be created to carry this prominent weapon. While a Elendil figure would be also good, my money is on an ‘Aragorn As King of Gondor’ figure!

Now on to the review…

Bottomline:

The main problem to this figure is the eyes! It takes away the intense nature of Aragorn as seen in the movie. The eyes aside, this is a really fantastic figure from Sideshow. It’s wonderfully implemented with good use of costume material and a set of unique accessories. A dream for any The Lord of the Rings fans. Well… the head can be swopped for a better one someday.

What’s good:

  • Good overall headsculpt except for the eyes.
  • Fantastic array of accessories.
  • Realistic weathering of Aragorn’s ‘poor’ cloth.
  • Beautiful costume with the right materials used.

What could be better:

  • Eyes look off.
  • Quiver sling comes off easily.
  • Not the most stable figure.

Review Details

Packaging

Sideshow improves on their packaging since their Star Wars 12″ line by introducing a die-cut flap for Aragorn’s box. Good box art. Very collector friendly. You would only need to slit several adhesive tapes that hold the plastic trays together. The exclusive version’s box is the same as the standard version. The difference is an ‘exclusive’ sticker pasted on it. See more of the packaging here!

Headsculpt/Resemblance

Prior to my personal review of Sideshow’s Aragorn, I had already seen and heard much grumbling from collectors of the face sculpt. It’s off. Well, I must say that it is not entirely true. From the photoshoot, I found that the shape and hair sculpt was pretty close to Viggo Mortensen’s Aragorn. With my shots as thumbnails on my PC, they do look accurate.

Therefore, the main problem had to do with the look of the face. It’s the eyes! They are reminiscient of Sideshow’s Luke Skywalker! Oh no, those blur eyes have resurfaced! They just stare blankly into emptiness. I would still be able to accept it if this Aragorn was ‘Aragorn As Gondor Heir About To Be Stomped By A Troll’ as seen in the battle in The Return of the King prior to Barad-dur collapsing.

I am ok with the sculpt of the hair. Some do find the long fringe over Aragorn’s face look like noodles poured over his head. However, I find it a good design as it does it’s effect when viewing the figure from a short distance away. With my Aragorn in my display cabinet, the hair helps to convey the dishevelled nature of a Ranger in the wild.

So yes, the eyes are off. Viewing Sideshow’s Aragorn from other angles does yield a considerable likeness to the movie version however. As such, there is no need to despair and pass over this figure because of the stunned look.

Quality of Product

Sideshow’s Aragorn is really a fantastic figure… except for the eyes. Ok, enough of that. Anyway, I find the design and choice of materials used for the costume commendable. The outer trenchcoat is tailored with a leathery material similar as seen in the movie. It has the signature V-shaped cuffs. And this garment is really green in colour although it seemed black as seen in Sideshow’s website.

 

Then there is the brown inner shirt made from velvet I believe. And under that is a black suit. When put together, you get Strider the Dunedain Ranger as seen at Weathertop. The Exclusive Version would see the Ranger cloak thrown into the package. Putting the cloak on is just securing a simple clasp at the neck level. Now with the cloak, you would get Strider as seen in that dark corner of The Prancing Pony. Awesome!

The cloak also makes the figure look like those Gondor rangers that Faramir led in The Return of the King. The hood of the Ranger cloak would need to be adjusted or the pointy end of it will stick out making Aragorn look like a wizard.

Sideshow has also gone to the extent of weathering Aragorn’s trenchcoat, Ranger cloak and boots. I really appreciate that! The weathering was pretty realistic as I mistook it for a water caused defect when I first saw it. Second later, I realised what it was. It’s the kind of effect when cloth is stained with mud in a rainy weather. It’s like the rain water may wash most of the mud away and the cloth looks clean when wet. But when dry, you could still see stubborn mud stains on it. Good implementation on Sideshow’s part.

Stability

Sideshow’s Aragorn has a smooth sole for his boots. There is no sole patterns or a elevated heel like that found on military boots. My experience with such soles is that figures wearing them are likely to be less stable. And it’s proven true again with Aragorn. Although the sole is a one-piece surface area, it does not offer the figure options for balancing. Comparing with the regular military boots, the figure has the option of balancing on the toes or the heels depending on where the emphasis of the figure’s weight is.

However, the stability issue is most present when changing poses for Aragorn. Once you have found a stable pose, the figure stands pretty stable. But it takes a while to get it right.

Accessories

This is another department that Sideshow’s Aragorn impresses. There are quite a bit of accessories in Sideshow’s first Lord of the Rings offering. There are the weapons which includes Aragorn’s long sword, dagger, bow and arrows. A quiver is provided for storage of the arrows… and the bow. It’s pretty neat to be able to slot the bow into a strap( at the side of quiver) and slide one end of it into a hole (at the base of the quiver) to secure it.

One complain about the quiver I had was that the strap was attached to it with some adhesive substance. One end of my quiver strap came off while I was negotiating it over Aragorn’s arm and head. And no force was applied. I had no idea the strap was glued or stuck onto the quiver until this happened. It would have been better if it was tied to it. I wondered if this was actually how Aragorn’s quiver was designed in the movie! Therefore, be careful with it!

A Ranger travels extensively in the wild for days and Sideshow has included Aragorn’s bed roll as well. Well, no bolster or pillow is in sight but it makes for easy deploying and keeping of his bed! Now, the strap for the bed roll is more sure and firm. The mattress and the bed roll strap are made of different cloth material. I imagined that it would had been entirely casted of plastic if the figure was done by one of those companies producing kiddy toys for mass distribution!

The exclusive version of Aragorn also has his smoking pipe included. Although its a small accessory in itself, it goes a long way in bringing back memories of Aragorn’s first appearance in The Fellowship of the Ring at Bree.

Another small accessory included is the Evenstar necklace. Although this minature version is not as exquisitely made as the real jewelry, it is an appreciated inclusion. It all points to Sideshow’s attention to detail and wanting to get it right for a product. Such accessories collectively make Sideshow’s Aragorn a good figure to get!

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5 responses

16 01 2007
Shaun Wong

seems like a bit of durability issues with this figure. been resisting picking it up for fear of starting a new line. My friend actually laughed his head off when he saw the eyes.

16 03 2007
Incoming - Sideshow 12" Legolas Greenleaf « SWFTOYS - Reviews, Showcase and Musings

[…] is the second figure to touch down from the Sideshow Lord of the Rings line! The first being Aragorn as Strider the Ranger. What a joy after such a looooong […]

4 04 2008
Tolkiener

You left out another tiny, but really good detail – the ring of Barahir!!
One of the two tokens of Aragorn’s lineage (the other being the sceptre of Annuminas)

The figure’s got the ring on his left hand, index finger. Thats a really clever detail.

20 01 2013
http://tinyurl.com/mariherd54015

I actually speculate exactly why you labeled this posting,
“Review – Sideshow 12″ Aragorn As Strider The
Ranger (Exclusive Version) SWFTOYS – Reviews, Showcase and Musings”.
Either way I admired it!Thanks a lot-Federico

28 02 2013
Carri

I personally Feel post, “Review – Sideshow 12″
Aragorn As Strider The Ranger (Exclusive Version) | SWFTOYS –
Reviews, Showcase and Musings” blurredbrain.

com was perfect! I personallycan’t agree along with u more! Finally seems like I actuallyidentified a internet site really worth browsing. I appreciate it, Courtney

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