Review – Sideshow 12″ Faramir

30 08 2007

The second son of Denethor the Gondor Steward clocks in as the final review of August on SWFToys! With this fourth figure for Sideshow’s The Lord of the Rings line, it seems certain that Sideshow is cranking out all the good guys from Tolkien’s classic. Already announced are the ‘semi’ wonderful Hobbits. I would expect Merry and Pippin to be next. The last 2 members of The Fellowship of the Ring should be in the pipeline even as we speak. I wonder when the Haradrim, Uruks and Orcs will start to appear. Or for that matter, the militaries of Middle Earth.

I’m sure Gondor and Rohan warriors would certainly also be a draw for all Ring fans. If Sideshow can come up with a 1/6 scale Jabba the Hutt and its throne, I believe it is possible that these guys may attempt a Rohan warhorse! Afterall, I can’t image the Rohirrim without their mares. Nevertheless, things are looking juicy. I can only pray that Sideshow sculpts the faces of these characters accurately. Thankfully, all these guys wear boots! No more funny legs.

Till we hear the announcement of the next Lord of the Rings figure from Sideshow, let’s take a closer look at Faramir! Onto the review…

Bottomline:

The fourth Lord of the Rings figure from Sideshow does not disappoint… too much. The sculpt of the face is off but it can be overlooked if you pull the hood of the cloak over it to transform it into any Ithilien Ranger. Construction and details on this figure is consistent with Sideshow’s other figures in this line. Accessories are impressive in size. The bow is taller than the figure for one. The inclusion of hands dedicated for firing a bow and arrow is another major draw for this figure! If you doubt if Sideshow will ever release a normal Ithilien Ranger, getting Faramir is a good bet. If you want to display an Ithilien Ranger Captain firing a bow, don’t hestitate to get this!

What’s good:

  • Collector friendly box… some extra protection.
  • Best figure so far to pose firing an arrow.
  • Nice details.
  • Big accessories.
  • Stable and poseable figure.

What could be better:

  • Sculpt could be better.
  • The sword grasping hand is molded closed.

Review Details

Packaging

The Sideshow Faramir comes in a green themed box fashioned similarly to its predecessors from this line. Two die-cut flaps open to reveal the figure inside. If you are new to 1/6 collecting, you will be glad that it is collector friendly. No need to tear open anything. I can’t really complain about the box art although I’ve seen variation of this design for the fourth time. In and of itself, it’s really nice!

There’s something extra in the packaging of Faramir that I’ve not noticed in the previous Lord of the Rings figure. It’s a piece of plastic that seems to support the back of the head when the figure is resting in the plastic tray. I believe it is meant to preserve the shape of the molded hair. This plastic piece is molded with details of the hair on it! I guess Sideshow engineers included it for a purpose. For the extra effort to protect the figure, Sideshow gets my gratitude.

Headsculpt/Resemblance

While the sculpt is not all that bad in itself, I do not find it resembling David Wenham. The litmus test would be to put this head on nude and think how you would guess who this sculpt is taking after. I just know that it will take a while… and some hints to make me think of Faramir! One distinct facial feature David Wenham has is his big nose and I must give the sculptor credit for attempting to model that feature accurately. The facial expression probably fits that of disappointment after hearing one of his father’s demoralising lectures!

As for the paintwork on the sculpt, it is generally good and similar to other Sideshow Lord of the Rings products. But in the case of my piece, the brown paint on the beard did not seem uniform. There were patches of flesh colour on the beard. I wonder if it was meant to depict facial hair loss due to a cut or the result of a bad shaving technique.

Compared to the Boromir sculpt, I preferred the older brother much better although both looked off in pictures on Sideshow’s website. This sculpt does the job when you pull the cloak’s hood over the head and expose only that big nose. My advise is to keep that hood on!

Quality of Product

Sideshow does better in this department. After 4 figures from their Lord of the Rings line, I can’t help but imagine the Sideshow ‘armoury’ having the different parts (e.g. gauntlets, cloaks, belts, quivers, boots, armour) strewn all over the work area. I guess they are better at producing accessories that look good. And the details found on the clothes and armour of Faramir is a testament to that.

 

I have always found the Gondorian vambraces in the Lord of the Rings line to be wonderfully etched with beautiful details. The colours used are also bewitching. The white tree emblazoned over Faramir’s surcoat is magnificently done. The surcoat is also designed with the corresponding rings on either sides for straps to secure this piece of clothing to the body. Nicely done.

The hem of the ranger cloak is crudely cut to resemble ‘poor cloth’ rather reminiscent of what Aragorn had… minus all that grime. In terms of grandeur, Faramir’s clothes pale when compared to Boromir’s shiny, smooth royal fabric. It’s not a problem with me as it is true to the outfit of Ithilien Rangers. Wait till you see this fella shoots the bow and arrow!

 

Stability

Sideshow’s Faramir is stable but… not as stable as the Hot Toys Jack Sparrow. It stands reasonably well throughout the photo shoot but it did topple a few times due to change in poses. I had to get the CG right much more often than I did with Jack. I guess I can’t help using the Hot Toys Jack Sparrow as a standard for comparison since it is really excellent.

Once again the rigid tall boots of Faramir restricts ankle articulation which in turns limit the number of knee-bending poses this figure can make. But some of such poses are still possible with some patience.

Accessories

Here is another department the Sideshow Faramir figure won me over. Accessories that come with this Ranger is pretty impressive… size wise. To begin with, here’s the list:

  • Sword and scabbard
  • Long bow
  • Quiver
  • 5 arrows
  • Belt
  • A pair of bow-firing hands

The sword is magnificently long with an equally beautiful scabbard to match. The length of the weapon really brings across the point of the size of a long sword in medieval times. It brings to remembrance the weapons I perused over back in those days when we played RPGs with multi-faceted dices and a good dungeon master! Back then, I could hardly imagine the difference in length between a long sword, a normal sword or a broadsword when they were just words on paper!

The scabbard comes attached to the green belt. You would have to ‘tie’ the belt yourself for it to be secured onto the figure’s waist. Pretty easy stuff.

Once again, Faramir’s bow is the longest in the Lord of the Rings line. It’s about 13″! Yes, taller than Faramir himself. That’s how awesome this weapon is. It’s way longer than Legolas’ and Aragorn’s bows. There is a corresponding quiver of 5 arrows provided as well. The cool thing about this quiver is that it is really made of cloth. But the quiver is slotted into an outer container which has the straps to secure it onto the archer’s back. And this container is nicely sculpted and painted.

To ensure that the Ithilien Ranger is camouflaged at all times and ready to fire multiple salvos of arrows at the enemy, a hole is cut in the cloak to allow the quiver straps to be secured under the cloak while the quiver is strapped neatly over the cloak. All these concepts are well implemented with the quiver secured at a good height for easy arrow access. However I must say that the strap’s buckle is a little loose when it comes to securing the correct length of strap. May the buckle holes can be made narrower for a tighter fit.

One of the coolest aspects of the Sideshow Faramir figure is the provision of a pair of hands dedicated for firing arrows. I must say that they are wonderfully conceived and sculpted. With them replacing the default set of hands, I achieved the most awesome bow firing poses I’ve ever experienced with a 1/6 figure. I remembered the difficulties I had with the Legolas figure to get the bow firing pose right. The Hot Toys Rambo III did not accomplish this task convincingly as well.

 

The problem I guess was that hands required for firing or aiming with a bow were to specialised for normal gun holding or sword wielding hands. They were simply unable to hold the bow string and gently cradle the nock firmly at the same time. Check out the pics of Faramir in bow firing position and you can see the difference! It’s really very cool to see it in ‘action’! I would have Faramir be in this pose if not for the lack of shelf space and the fear of the bow string (which is really a thread) becoming loose! But kudos to the designers at Sideshow for molding this set of hands!

However, I did find something weird with the design of the sword grasping hand. It is actually molded closed at contact between the thumb and fingers. What you get is really a hand with no way to get the sword handle through when the pommel of the sword is so darn big! I had to gently force apart the thumb from the fingers (thereby revealing unpainted areas) to ease the sword handle in. Kinda weird to have to do this!

 

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6 responses

8 09 2007
Kenny

Agreed. The sculpt is pretty off for this one.

8 09 2007
swftoys

Actually, it’s quite an irritating (qian bian) sculpt the more i look at it. I’ll put the hood over it for the long term.

17 09 2007
katherine

How did you put the quiver on. mine has a hole in the end of the strap like legolas but no hook.

17 09 2007
swftoys

Hi Katherine,
One end of the quiver strap has a buckle as seen in the 3rd pic under ‘Quality of Product’ in this blog. I just inserted the other strap through it and wrapped the extra length of strap around the other. It’s pretty loose but if you wrap it around several times round, it holds well enough.

20 09 2007
Katherine

Ah thanks I worked it out now. However the buckle on the swordbelt came off but i can glue that easily.

20 12 2008
Nick Walters

This awesome review really helped me know about the sideshow Faramir. On other reviews there were no close-ups of the quiver and I was wondering what it looked like. You also told me that the sword grasping hand is molded closed before I got the figure from a UPS. I love the accessories that come with the sideshows most of all. I had no idea the bow would be 13″! Thanks for telling me. I agree that from the pictures, they do look like really good bow-firing hands. I also have trouble with my Legolas and Aragorn figures when I try to pose them firing a bow. It was a great review and the best I’ve seen of Faramir!! Thanks a lot!!

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