It turns out that one of the benefits of being a world-famous toy company with a leading edge in the toy market and ownership of the world’s most successful tabletop role-playing game is that you get to just…make action figures from that game!
Honestly, I cannot begin to explain how excited I am that this figure exists. Not because of who it is—look, there was a time when I was super into Drizzt, but I am now nearly forty years old and I’ve moved on, okay—but because of the possibility he represents.
Hasbro’s Wizards of the Coast’s Dungeons and Dragons’ Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting has had a series of associated fiction novels since 1987, with the first release being Douglas Niles’ Darkwalker on Moonshae, and the second release being the first book of the Icewind Dale trilogy, The Crystal Shard, by R.A. Salvatore. That book, released in early 1988, introduced the world to one Drizzt Do’Urden, a drow (dark [the dark, in this case, means subterranean but also eeeeevil]) elf who is the only one of his kind to reject his society’s evil ways (coincidentally a matriarchy…I see you, Mr. Salvatore) and join the surface world, adventuring with his companions and doing good deeds. Drizzt is, as you might imagine, a special drow, with lavender eyes and twin scimitars named Twinkle and Icingdeath. He’s also in possession of a small, polished carving of a panther that is enchanted, and that he can use to summon his traveling companion, an actual, life-size, extradimensional panther named Guenhwyvar. He was, as you might imagine, beloved by twelve-year-olds the world over.
Drizzt’s trusty panther companion is included in this set, as is the small statue he uses to summon her. In addition, he has two different interchangeable heads, two interchangeable hair sculpts, and an extra set of swappable hands. One pair is sculpted to hold his included swords, the other is a fist and an open palm. His swords also include some removable energy effects to reflect their enchanted nature, which is translucent and purple, and on top of all that, he’s got the green fur-lined cloak given to him by the Weeping Friars (don’t ask), and a necklace featuring a small carving of a unicorn head, this symbol of the nature goddess he worships, Mielikki. As if all this weren’t enough, Drizzt includes a large, polyhedral artifact; I assume it’s an enemy construct of some sort for him to fight.
Okay, fine, it’s a sparkly d20. It’s oversized, colored in tones that match the rest of this set and features the stylized dragon ampersand from the D&D logo in place of the 20. My husband stole it immediately after I finished taking pictures, and it’s his now.
The hair, though. The hair is wild. See, hair sculpts are usually glued to head sculpts on figures. They’re not generally meant to be removable, and when I saw promo photos of just that, I was sure it had to be an error of some kind. I was wrong! One is styled, perfect for calmer moments, and the other is wind-blown.
As a deluxe figure, Drizzt has a lot of articulation. From the top, he’s got a ball-and-hinge joint where the head meets the neck, another ball joint at the base of the neck, ball-and-hinge shoulders, swivel biceps, double-hinged elbows, and each of his interchangeable hands has a hinge in addition to the standard wrist peg. From there, he’s got an ab crunch, a swivel waist, ball-joined hips, swivel thighs, double-jointed knees, and hinge-and-peg ankles, with an extra swivel above each ankle as well. Most of this is Hasbro standard these days, but the ball joint at the base of the neck is incredible to me—typically the only joint on a figure’s neck is where it meets the head. This can usually be enough, but can sometimes look a little stiff in posing. The extra range of motion added to the base of the neck really helps with the figure’s expressiveness.
Generally, when you have a figure with this level of articulation and unique sculpt-work, any pack-ins you get with that figure are non-articulated; think Jeff the Land Shark, who came with the Marvel Legends Shiklah. But because of the nature of this set, Guenhwyvar is also super-articulated, giving us our first big cat sculpt from Hasbro since (I think) the G.I. Joe Sigma 6 line, an old 8″ scale line that produced animal companions such as tigers and wolves. The tiger from that line was retooled into Zabu for a Ka-Zar and Shanna set some…thirteen years ago? Fourteen? There hasn’t been a big cat since then, is my point. Guen is sculpted with care, and given a coat of iridescent purple over her black fur to reflect her extradimensional nature.
Guen has a hinged jaw, a ball-and-peg at the base of the head, another at the base of the neck, another at the ribs, and a peg-and-hinge at the base of the tail. She’s got ball-jointed hips and shoulders (are they still called that on cats?), which are limited in range by the nature of the sculpt, peg-and-hinge elbows and knees (same question), and peg-and-hinge paws. It’s solid articulation, if not quite as impressive as Drizzt’s—she can handle most prowling poses, but can’t really be put into a good looking sitting or pouncing pose, both of which seem like shortcomings when one wants to pose a cat doing…well, cat things. Still, I’m really glad to see this sculpt happen, and I’m hoping Hasbro leans into this license more. Imagine the animal companions we could get! Not to mention, my husband immediately stole Guen too, so it’d be nice to get…y’know, something. For me.
Dungeons and Dragons figures are the sort of thing I’ve wanted for years. Years and years! In fact, given how long Hasbro has owned Wizards of the Coast (twenty-one years), I’m shocked that this is only the first figure they’ve produced! It makes sense that, being the first, they’d go with one of the more popular and classic characters—as of November this year, there are thirty-six novels starring Drizzt Do’Urden, and he is easily the most famous Dungeons and Dragons character owned by Hasbro outright (Perhaps the Critical Role characters might have more exposure by this point, but they are of course owned by…Critical Role). But honestly, the closest feeling I can describe to this is using those old Lego antennas (you know, the translucent neon ones) to stand-in for lightsabers as a kid, because Star Wars Lego didn’t exist yet (I’m old).
Initial preorders for this figure sold out and shipped around Christmas, but he’s back on the Pulse store, and expected to start shipping right away! This is a great set for $39.99, and I’m really hoping we see more famous faces from D&D lore. Dragonlance, anyone?