Review – Sideshow 12″ Legolas Greenleaf

18 03 2007

If you are still unaware that ‘Greenleaf’ is not Legolas’ surname, then it is about time you understand that it is the interpretation of the name ‘Legolas’. Wikipedia has it that Legolas is the ‘Silvian dialect form of pure Sindarin Laegolas‘ which means Greenleaf. A hero of this stature with a name of a plant? “That’s hardly inspiring!”, you might say. Well, there’s really nothing leafy about this Elf Lord!

 

Peter Jackson’s superb take on The Lord of the Rings in movie-form blew just about every movie-goer(unless you are very much like my colleague who slept through The Fellowship of the Ring…). There were many great instances of spectacular visuals, incredible special effects, epic battle scenes and good cinematic story telling.

But for myself, the moments that left a deep impression on me were those that exuded camaraderie between the characters. Having to live during those extraordinary times, every character from a small Hobbit to a would-be King have to decide for themselves what to do with the time they have been given. And tough times bring out either the best… or worse of a person.

With the breaking of the fellowship after the first movie, 3 of its members began the first steps of a very very long friendship. They were Aragorn, Gimli and Legolas. While they agreed on most occasions, there were times the situation drove them to breaking points…

Legolas: Look at them. They’re frightened. You can see it in their eyes.

Legolas: [in Elvish] And they should be. Three hundred… against ten thousand!

Aragorn: [in Elvish] They have a better chance defending themselves here than at Edoras…

Legolas: [in Elvish] Aragorn… they cannot win this fight. They are all going to die!

Aragorn: [in English] Then I shall die as one of them!

This moment in the Helm’s Deep armoury saw many audiences gasped, “He scolded the oh-so-perfect Elf!” Well, it’s really an eighty plus years old oldie rejecting the negativity of a five hundred plus years old oldie. It was one of the best moments of The Two Towers for myself. It underlined the difficult times of even the best friendships when one has to decide what is right. Some moments later Legolas and Aragorn patched up with no animosity. No grudge to be born. All was forgiven… and it had nothing to do with the impeding seemingly hopeless battle! Now, that’s a hallmark of a great friendship!

Legolas and Gimli parted ways with Aragorn many many years later after the latter’s death…

Onto the review.

Bottomline:

Legolas is the best figure so far from the Lord of the Rings line from Sideshow! Blessed with an excellent facesculpt resembling Orlando Bloom from the Lord of the Rings movies, Sideshow’s Legolas is more readily acceptable than Sideshow’s Aragorn. Negative points of this figure, if any, are largely minute issues.

What’s good:

  • Good Orlando Bloom resemblance.
  • Excellent overall headsculpt.
  • Well tailored movie accurate outfit.
  • Surprisingly stable figure.
  • Surprisingly pose-able.
  • Good details on accesories.

What could be better:

  • Head has limited horizontal articulation.
  • Pseudo Elven blade scabbards.
  • Wearing tights reveal skinny legs.
  • Velcro on the packaging detaches when flaps are opened.

Review Details

Packaging

The packagingfor Sideshow’s Legolas follows after its predecessor, Aragorn, with the same general overal design(background graphics, colour scheme) and die-cut flaps. The only differences are the pictures of the figure, accessories and words.

With this being the second figure from the Lord of the Rings packaging, I have noticed that those black circular velcro pieces that hold the flaps together tend to be detached if the flaps are opened too many times. And I noticed this even though I did not open the flaps more than 3 times!

In terms of usability, it does discourage opening the flaps which render the effort to beautify the interior of the flaps a waste. Maybe, using magnetic strips would had been a better choice. They came up with that innovative design for their Star Wars line didn’t they?

Headsculpt/Resemblance

This is the area where Sideshow scores a first positive point for the Lord of the Rings line. The facesculpt for Aragorn was disappointing. Viggo Mortensen portrayed Aragorn so well in the movie and won over many of the audiences. Yet, we could not really own a figure resembling that honourable warrior!

With Legolas, Sideshow has redeemed themselves… for now. The accuracy of the facesculpt has improved considerably. It’s not a problem to identify Orlando Bloom with the long blond hair in this figure’s face. To nitpick, I would say the resemblance is strongest when viewed from the side of the face. But for now, I am most glad and appreciative of Sideshow for the level of accuracy on this Legoals figure.  

The sculpt of the hair on Legolas is also worth a notable mention. Honestly, the long straight hair and details of braids are very implemented in this finished product. They looked really good. A gripe here is that the two ‘flowing’ hair at the back do restrict the turning of the figure’s head horizontally. The quiver also gets in the way of this ‘back’ hair which does not help Legolas to spot something to his side with his eagle-like sharp eyes.

Quality of Product

If the accuracy of the facesculpt of figures from Sideshow is a variable, then the good quality of each released figure is a constant. And that quality trademark continues to be seen in Sideshow’s Legolas.

The material of the Mirkwood tunic and the silver undershirt have been carefully interpreted to produce a close match to Peter Jackson’s Legolas tunic design. Every curly Elven clothing pattern has been translated into the 1/6 scale and nicely implemented. Check out the gauntlets and boots as well. In fact, there’s the Elven imprint on almost everything from the bow to the blades and the quiver. The attention to detail cannot be denied. For a figure at this price, the level of quality found on Sideshow’s Legoals is really a bonus.

One shame however is that the Sideshow nude body was not able to allow this Legolas to aim with the poise of an archer. I was not able to bring the fletchlings of the arrow anywhere close to the figure’s cheeks when the bowstring is pulled because the arm articulation just could not accomodate that. The picture below demonstrates the closest firing stance.

Stability

Sideshow’s Legolas was surprisingly stable despite having boots with smooth flat soles. While it would be tempting to attribute it to the dexterity of the Elven race that this figure takes after, I believe rather that it is due to the good balance of weight.

Compared to Aragorn, Legolas is considered lightweight without the bedroll, leather jacket and other heavy tunic. This Elf just wear tights for the covering of his legs! Moreover, they are made from stretchable material which allowed easy leg movement. Unfortunately, the tight-fitting nature of these tights did made the legs looked rather skinny. Anyway, with both his Elven blades tucked on his back, there are no clumsy scabbards at his side. Legolas is the personification of the dexterous Elf Lord!

Therefore, it was really an ease to pose this figure. I was able to have go on a knee to ‘check the Uruk tracks’ with his elbow on the other knee and his other hand gesturing towards the ground. I cannot recall another figure that was able to do this with such ease.

Accessories

In the accessories department, we see the following included with Sideshow’s Legolas figure:

  • Mirkwood bow

  • Mirkwood arrows x 5

  • Elven blades x 2

  • Elven blades (sheathed) x 2

  • Quiver

  • Display stand

  • Extra pair of hands(left & right)

Let’s start with the bow. The bow included with this figure is not the Lothlorien bow which was given to Legolas by Galadriel. Rather, this was the bow that accompanied him since the inception of the Fellowship of the Ring at Rivendell. Think of it also as the bow that saw action in the Moria Mines if you are still disappointed at not getting that white bow. For a 1/6 accessory, it’s a beautiful black bow with gold patterns inscribed onto it.

In my attempts to get my Legolas to shoot like a real archer, the bowstring had to be stretched. When I finally released it from this seemingly punishing contortion, I noticed that the string had gone slack. It fell loosely between the tips of the bow. However, as the bow starts to get back to to its curved shape, the strings tightened. Pretty cool Elven magic huh?

Onto the arrows… the 5 arrows included fell readily into the spacious quiver. I believe the quiver could take 20 arrows comfortably. Potential for those who are into customising! One side of each of the straps of the quiver was also painstakingly marked with ‘Elven’ patterns although that side of the strap is really the back. Whatever works, I guess.

The quiver also comes bundled with the Elven blades… erm… or should I call it Elven hilts and scabbards? Reason is because these sheathed blades are really fakes since there is really no blade at the end of each hilt. However, it’s a really interesting solution to a possible problem with manufacturing a scabbard for curved blades. The real blades are the ones resting in the plastic tray with the figure and other accessories. So, you can’t insert the full blade into the scabbard. I would have prefered the real thing but this is a good alternative! If you don’t know what the heck I am talking about, see the picture below for more information!

The Elven blades are also beautifully modelled after the prop from the movie. The gold inscriptions, curved hilt and blade are all in the works. Really good minature versions!

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