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#1594: Boromir & Merry

Posted: 03 Mar 2018 09:00 PM PST

BOROMIR & MERRY

LORD OF THE RINGS MINIMATES

“One does not simply review a Boromir Minimate without referencing a Boromir meme”

Boromir (probably)

After the success of Marvel Minimates, the brand had big dreams.  In conjunction with Play Along Toys, they were able to snag the rights to Marvel’s distinguished competition (well, in a loop-hole-y sort of a way), as well as the rights to one of the hugest hits of the early ’00s, the Lord of the Rings trilogy.  Unfortunately, the line didn’t launch until after Return of the King‘s exit from theatres, meaning we only got two series of two packs before the line ultimately failed.  A lot of this had to do with the somewhat baffling decision to double release one half of each series two-pack.  Fortunately, by the second series, we were finally starting to get all-new packs, including today’s focus, Boromir and Merry!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Boromir and Merry were one of the five two-packs in Series 2 of the Lord of the Rings Minimates line.

BOROMIR

You know Sean Bean had to have a good laugh when he got cast as Boromir, the only member of the Fellowship that dies over the course of the story.  I mean, Bean’s sort of the quintessential dead guy of Hollywood, so it’s really perfect casting.  Boromir and Faramir were two of my favorite characters from Lord of the Rings, and since Faramir never got a Minimate, I guess Boromir’s my guy.  As with all of the human sized characters, Boromir was built on LotR‘s new medium-sized base body, meaning he's closer to the 3-inch mark than the standard 'mate.  He's still got the usual 14 points of articulation, albeit somewhat restricted by some of his add-ons.  Speaking of add-ons, Boromir has five of them for his hair, cloak, wrist bracers, and the bottom of his tunic.  All of these were unique to this particular 'mate.  They display a simpler era of 'mates, being without the texture work and dynamicism that newer 'mates tend to have.  It certainly gets all of the important details, though, and Boromir is well-captured.  The paint follows the sculpt's trend, erring on the side of simplicity.  I don't know that his face looks all that much like Sean Bean, but it's not as if it looks unlike him, either.  Boromir is quite well accessorized, including his sword (with scabbard), shield, horn, and a display stand.

MERRY

Its a little weird to be looking at only one half of a duo, especially since it's a two-pack based line and all, but here we are.  At least they were good enough to put Merry and Pippin both in the same series.  As a Hobbit, Merry was built just on the standard Marvel-style body.  He had add-one for his hair, cloak, and jacket.  His pieces are obviously more in line with Boromir, but the lessened detailing isn't quite as noticeable at the smaller scale. I quite like how they've gotten the proper shaping to his hair; Frodo didn't really look like the real person, but Merry is definitely closer, albeit in a cartoonish fashion.  The paint on Merry is pretty solid stuff, and I like the likeness on the face a lot, as well as the very slight way they've livened up his color scheme.  He definitely pops.  Merry is packed with his own sword (technically a dagger) and a sheath for it, as well as a clear display stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Series 2 of this line was pretty scarce, so I didn’t get any of them new.  I was able to finally secure this set just this past November, via Luke’s Toy Store’s special buy collection.  I’ve really picked up an appreciation for Boromir, and Merry was my favorite hobbit, so this set was a pretty cool find.  It’s reminded me of how much I loved those earlier ‘mates, as well.  Now, I just need to find myself a Pippin!

The Blaster In Question #0046: Dauntless

Posted: 03 Mar 2018 09:00 AM PST

BlasterInQuestion1

DAUNTLESS

REBELLE (CHARMED)

dauntless1For those who are familiar with the typical catalog of Nerf blasters over the years, it's clear that they aren't strangers to the idea of repackaging old ideas. Oftentimes this becomes pretty tiresome after seeing the same design rehashed with countless iterations (I'm looking at you, Jolt), but every so often, the redesign is significant enough that it warrants buying the new blaster. This week's case in point is the Rebelle Dauntless pistol. Let's see what makes this blaster so special.

THE BLASTER ITSELF

dauntless2The Dauntless was released in 2015 as part of the Charmed set of Rebelle blasters. It uses a 3-shot inline smart AR system, just like the Lumanate or Messenger blasters, also from the Rebelle line. Nothing new with the mechanics of the blaster, but what really stands out is the design. Using a lot of the same elements as the Fair Fortune Crossbow, the Dauntless has a slightly regal but also vaguely piratical feel to it. The profile is definitely evocative of an old flintlock, albeit far more streamlined. The gold filigree pattern on the side lends itself to the highly decorative nature of the blaster and is echoed in the truss along the underside of the barrel. This truss also contains a hook by which you can attach the included charm bracelet, connecting the other end to the butt of the grip. I raved just a little bit in my review of the Fair Fortune Crossbow about how much I dauntless4enjoyed the inclusion of the charm bracelet and the same is true here. While it's far too small for adult wrists, it is a satisfying little accessory to have hanging from the blaster. Paired with the d├ęcor of the blaster itself, when combined, the full kit feels like it was pulled right out of one of the Bayonetta games. I've not seen it, but I really hope someone else noticed this and made a pair of heels out of a couple Dauntlesses. While the aesthetics are certainly very strong, ergonomics take a bit of a hit. The grip is quite wide and the way it curves forward, while very elegant looking, makes it rather hard to get a firm grip. It's also pretty short for a pistol grip which isn't unheard of, especially in Rebelle blasters, but it does raise another issue. In order to try and get better purchase on the grip, I tend to place my hand further up toward the rear of the blaster. The problem is that there's no scoop or beavertail to catch the webbing of your hand between your thumb and forefinger, so it's pretty easy to get pinched if your skin is in contact with the priming bar when you fire the blaster. There are sights along the top of the blaster, I guess to make you think it'll help with aim. As much as sights can ever be useful on a Nerf blaster, these ones are especially no good as the Dauntless doesn't have the same power that many other Nerf blasters have. It's certainly usable, but shots definitely hit softer and don't travel as far. You do feel pretty cool looking down the sights at your younger dauntless3sibling after you've just burst into their room announcing that ye be takin' none o' them landlubbers as prisoners, rather ye be here to demand this week's allowance. So I suppose there's that. The Dauntless comes packaged with 3 of the collectible Rebelle darts and the charm bracelet in an old bronze kind of finish.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

After initially buying the Fair Fortune Crossbow, I was pretty much sold on the Charmed series of blasters. Not long after that, I found the Dauntless at a local Target. It may not be the most effective blaster out there, but as a prop for playing pretend that actually shoots, I'd say it's way ahead of the other blasters on the market.