Super-Articulate: Dawn of the Dark Elf (Hasbro’s Dungeons & Dragons Drizzt & Guenhwyvar)
Welcome back to Super-Articulate! We’re taking a momentary pause in my running catch-up with a few lines to take a look at the brand new Dungeons & Dragons Forgotten Realms Drizzt & Guenhwyvar two-pack. The Exclusive set is still up for pre-order on Hasbro Pulse (specifically, here) for $39.99, and has a projected shipping date of December 18. We would like to thank Hasbro, as this set was provided free from them for the purposes of review. And since we have it in hand, let’s get to it.
Historical Note: The first thing that I want to say about this is: it’s about time. I’ve been looking forward to the notion of some of D&D’s big characters making it to figure form for years. Yes, I do indeed remember the LJN line fondly and have a number of them in a tub in the basement (that’s right; even with the pictures you’ve seen, I still have stuff that isn’t displayed. Fear me.).But as for the characters based on the novels, this is uncharted territory. I think it’s fair to say that the Drizzt and the Dragonlance crew are the most popular of all of these characters, but Drizzt certainly enjoys the single greatest cult of personality. If Hasbro is exploring D&D in the upscale 6” figure style, he’s absolutely the logical first choice.
It also makes a lot of sense for Hasbro to tap into this audience. They own the property, they know that there are a lot of crossover fans of this material and figure lines they already have, and they have the craftspersons to make it worth while. While I was never the most intense or devoted gamer, I got into it a long time ago (photographic evidence presented), and I’m quite excited to see what else they might come up with in this way.
Literary Note: If you aren’t familiar with Drizzt Do’Urden, here’s a bit of background. D&D originators TSR successfully launched Dragonlance in 1984 as both a new campaign setting AND a series of novels. Ed Greenwood had created his Realms setting in the ‘60s, and it was introduced into D&D as the Forgotten Realms in 1987. That same year, the Realms hit novels with Darkwalker on Moonshae. The publisher decided to dig into another area of the Realms for a new series, and writer R.A. Salvatore elected to set a trilogy in Icewind Dale. In the first book, The Crystal Shard, readers met Drizzt as a supporting character. The ranger soon became wildly popular, playing against the typical presentation of Drow (Dark Elves) as bad guys, instead of becoming an honorable badass with internal conflicts. Drizzt has appeared in 36 books as of this writing.
The Figures: Hasbro rolled a nat 20, kids. First off, the packaging is terrific. It’s got great art including a town backdrop that you could remove and use. There are also cards included depicting familiar D&D monsters, like a Beholder. And Hasbro saw fit to include an oversized 20-sided die. (Assuming that Hasbro makes more D&D figures, and I hope they do, they should include different types of die with each figure offering).
As for the figures themselves, this is some terrific work. Let’s look at Guenhwyvar first. Guenhwyvar is the magic panther that first appears in Homeland from 1990, the first book of The Dark Elf Trilogy. The panther was originally summoned a statuette, which is included as an accessory. The creative team did a nice job of sculpting Guenhwyvar; there are multiple points of articulation on the body, allowing for different poses of the legs and feet, and the tail moves as well. There’s some mobility in the head, and a hinged jaw for open-mouth poses. You see in the photos that there are hairlines sculpted in, showing as a solid attention to detail. This is a great companion for the Drizzt figure.
As for the Drizzt sculpt itself, it’s extremely well done. The figure comes with additional hands and one additional head (the attached head is more of an angry or battle expression; the second is more relaxed, even sardonic). Drizzt’s outfit and armor have a great detail of detail and subtle color. The cape is solid but not so rigid that you can’t pose the figure within it. The figure also comes with his necklace that depicts Mielikki, the goddess of rangers.
Two major accessories are Twinkle and Icingdeath, Drizzt’s scimitars. They look great and were clearly sculpted so that fans could tell them apart, given the different hilts. The swords were also made to work with two other accessories, which are sculpted enchantments that slide down over the two blades. That makes them look, well, awesome.
Altogether, this is a tremendous effort on the part of Hasbro. Everything about the set, from the box art to the accessories to the figures themselves, looks top-notch. If this turns out to be a one-shot deal, I understand. But I hope that this set opens the way for many more D&D characters to make their way to collector shelves. Anything else would be, frankly, cold.