Pros: Nice likeness, good movie memorabilia and play toy, Hedwig the Owl rocks!
Cons: Magic Trick and Casting Stone are useless, price is lightly mad
Harry Potter is the phenomenom that's been sweeping the world, and remains the current big kid craze, with an upcoming 5th book in the hugely read series, a great movie which has broken record books, and all a manner of merchandising which is equally as interesting as it is insane. Harry Potter first began as the lead character in a book by J.K.Rowling called Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, which did wonders in the UK before being renamed to Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone for the US, where it was thought that anything with an educated word like 'philosopher' in the title would detract attention by the kids, who would go back to gunning down each other in the hallways. Nevertheless, the books were loved all around the world by children and adults alike, and three sequels have since been published with a forth in the worths. I've loved each of the books so far, and recommend them all to anyone. Movies have since followed, with the first breaking records for most takings in an opening weekend, and it's a pretty good adaption of the first book, and enough to get people involved with the books. Following this, the marketing boom has ranged from action figures (like I'm reviewing today, yay!) to lollies (including chocolate frogs and Bernie Bott's Every-Flavour Jelly Beans straight from the books, the latter including tomato and horse raddish flavour beans) to spell books to board games to everything else imaginable. Pokemon, eat your heart out, there's a new king in town.
Anyway, today I'm looking at Harry Potter in Griffindor Robes, one of the HP 6" Action Figure series, including three versions of Harry himself (Griffendor Robes, Quiddich Robes, and Invisiblity Cloak), plus renditions of Harry's friends Ron and Hermoine, arch-enemy Draco Malfoy, and potion-master Professor Snape. In addition, there are three impossible to find figures including school headmaster Dumbledore, Draco with the Remembrall, and one secret character whose origin reveals spoilers. Each of these 6" figures contains a magic trick and a Collectible Casting Stone (more on this later). As well as all this, there are a series of three supersized 'monster' figures, including friendly big oaf Hagrid, the enormous three headed dog Fluffy, and my personal favourite, the scary and yet intensely stupid Mountain Troll. The 6" figures retail about $6.50, whereas the monster figures retail about $12.
Harry Potter in Griffendor Robes is a pretty nice little action figure, standing about 4" tall in good scale with the other figures. His sculpt is actually quite good, resembling Harry from the film very nicely, even better than the godawful picture on the back of the packaging. His glasses are plain and not detailed, but they look fine, and his hair and face is exactly as described in the books. Nice job! Something I noticed is that each Harry Potter figure I sorted through in the shop had two different face sculpts; these aren't much noticable, except in the case of Severus Snape, one of whose face sculpts looked ridiculous and the other looked exactly like Alan Rickman. Harry's had a half smile and a sort of mad look. The half smile one is better.
Harry's arms are sculpted to hold his wand in one and have Hedwig, his owl, perched on the other. His clothing is detailed to include his red a yellow tie and stripes, and his robes are detailed well, even with a readable "Griffendor" insignea and crest on the side. Very nice. The robe is made of bendable plastic, which makes him more posable and makes him look very kewl.
Harry is articulated in 10 places; neck, shoulders, wrists, torso, legs, knees. The arm articulation is ok, but could have been better for more poses with an elbow, whereas the leg articulation is wasted. It's hard to find a good way to make his legs stand while he's holding his accesories. Too many action figures have a problem similar to this, to which I suggest that companies should not waste money on unusable leg articulation and just leave the figure's legs in a good standing position, unless there are many poses to be found. McFarlane Toy's Michael Myers is a good example of this; he stands easily and has no leg articulation, which works well for the figure. If you find Harry a nice way to stand, shutting the leg joints might be the way to go.
Harry's accessories are okay, but I have a slight bone to pick. Harry comes with his wand, which is tied to his hand to allow him to hold it easy, and with Hedwig, his owl, who fits into his other hand. Both of these are kewl, and I love Hedwig, but that's it. He also comes with an insanely stupid magic trick, and a Collectible Casting Stone, which is pointless unless you buy the expensive Casting Game, which doesn't interest me much, as a collector. I think both of these should have been scrapped and Harry should have come with his first broom (the Nimbus 2000 comes with Quidditch Harry), plus some gold wizard currency and some other bits pieces. The value doesn't quite fit; the toy is $6.50 and he could do more accessories to fit the price. He'd be better at about $5 or less, so if you can get him on clearance, he's worth another star.
I think Harry Potter in Griffendor Robes is the best from the 6" line, but he has his flaws. I like the fellow and recommend him, especially for kids, who will love to have adventures with the fellow, but collectors will be disappointed. The monster figures, of which I own the set, are far better and collectors will be impressed if they pick them up. Still, Harry is a kewl figure, and Hedwig is absolutely joy, so it's definately a good purchase to be made. Invisible Harry is my other favourite from the 6" line, sculpted from clear plastic and pretty well detailed, he's very kewl and inventive. The line overall shows some thought and creativity, but there's improvement to be made. For now, I'll stop my ramblings and go play Harry Potter and the Collection of Movie Maniacs with Big Axes (heh heh heh....)