The Bridge Direct have released the first figures from their Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug series, and while the assortment is definitely smaller than the first movie line, it’s still full of some cool new toys. The 3.75″ scale collection gets a new five pack, dubbed the Mirkwood Hero pack, and true to its name, it is an elf-based set.
The Mirkwood Hero pack includes five figures– Legolas, Tauriel, Kili, Fili and the solitary all-new figure, Thranduil. The king of the woodland elves is a great new addition to the series, with the same sculpted detail as his predecessors. Even in this scale, the intricacy of his elvish tunic and crown of sticks are phenomenal, and he bears a good resemblance to actor Lee Pace.
Thranduil could have been cheaped out on– with his long robes it would have been easy to not give him any articulation below the waist, but he still gets fully articulated legs and a waist swivel, which go a long way in helping to balance him. His upper body features full articulation, with a ball joint neck, ball shoulders, injection ball elbows and wrists. This allows for plenty of posing options, which are enhanced by his sword and staff.
The other four figures here are reissues from the Unexpected Journey series. The two elves make sense– Bridge Direct released Legolas and Tauriel early, back when they were to appear in what was part one of two of the films. They stayed in the launch assortment after Peter Jackson reworked his movies into a trilogy, so these new releases of the two heroic elves will see release alongside their big screen debut.
I’m actually okay with this– of course, I would rather have seen two all new characters added to this fantastic line in their place, but Legolas has proven to be one of the more popular heroes of Middle Earth, and a re-release of his Hobbit toy alongside his feature film appearance seems like a wise move. The same applies for the less-proven Tauriel, who it appears will have a somewhat significant role in the second movie.
The set is rounded out by two of the dwarves we’ve already seen, Kili and Fili. The brothers remain great, unique sculpts, and overall fantastic little figures. I can only assume they are included here as another family-reaching strategy (being two of the more action-oriented of the Company of 13), and the fact that the figures were fully tooled and ready to re-release probably saved some production costs as well.
Overall, the Mirkwood Heroes set is a solid release, one wisely targeted at reaching a larger audience than the first lineup of toys did. That’s exactly what Bridge Direct needs for their toy line. While the Unexpected Journey series contained many amazing toys, they did not connect as well at retail as they should have. The more conservative approach with Desolation of Smaug— which are exclusive to Toys R Us, and feature only this five pack and a set of three 6″ figures– seems like a safe tactic.
If these figures sell well, the line will continue with the other exciting toys shown at Toy Fair and Comic Con. These future assortments would deliver more orcs in both scales, and complete the Company of 13, so there’s lots of very cool stuff on the horizon. If you want to see those come to be, it’s very important that you support the Desolation of Smaug line right now. The Mirkwood Heroes and the new 6″ figures are all great toys, so enjoy these great new Hobbit items and help keep this great series going strong.