A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to review the first three busts in Valyrian Resin’s series of collectibles based on George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire fantasy novels. The characters featured are Eddard Stark, Sandor “The Hound” Clegane, and Daenerys Targaryen. Each of the busts has been released with a standard edition, as well as a more limited variant, and this week I’m taking a look at the variant versions. The variant busts are in stock and shipping now. In the US, they are exclusively available directly from Valyrian Resin. If you’re in Europe, you can get the variants exclusively through Abysse Corp. Here’s a look at all three and what’s changed from the standard to the variants.
The variant Eddard Stark bust is largely unchanged from the standard edition. The variant retains the outstanding and regal sculpt and paints of the original edition, and he comes posed on the same base with the shield of the Stark house at the front. The difference between the busts is in Eddard’s right hand. In the standard edition, his right hand is turned downward as he leans on the hilt of his sword, Ice. The variant has his hand turned upward and holding the silver necklace of the Hand of the King.
The Hand necklace is appropriately proportioned and dangles from Eddard’s hand by a silver chain. Given that Eddard largely remains unchanged in appearance in the series (aside from perhaps looking dirty and thinner at one point), changing out his accessories is a very logical way to handle the variant. As Ice and the Hand necklace are the two most iconic items associated with Eddard in the novels, it seems logical that those would be the ones chosen for the busts.
In reading A Song of Ice and Fire, I found that the weaponry tends to become as much characters in the story as the people of the kingdoms. As such, I became attached to Ice, so the standard edition with Eddard holding the sword is my favorite of the two. Both busts are outstanding, pieces, though, and are welcome additions to my own collection.
Dani goes through many changes during the course of the novels, so having a variant edition for her almost is a necessity. The standard version of the bust shows her in a purple dress and wearing her dragon crown. This new variant edition has her in a green dress and wearing a simple headdress in place of the crown. Aside from the headdress / crown, the sculpting is identical between the two editions. Daenerys maintains her pose and facial sculpt, as well as the jewelry and ornately pillowed base.
The paint variations between the two pieces makes a remarkable difference. The standard edition presents Dani as the regal and confident queen, head held high wearing her crown, and royal purple covering her. The green dressed version has basically the same sculpt, but here she appears more innocent but still defiant and strong. Both editions of this bust are outstanding in their own ways, and I really couldn’t pick a favorite between them.
I left The Hound for last, because his variant edition is the one I most eagerly awaited after I got the original standard versions of the busts. The basic Sandor bust comes with his head revealed and his scarred visage appropriately on grotesque display. The variant, on the other hand, bears the Hound helm that earns Sandor his nickname in the novels. The helm is expertly crafted and looks just as I imagined from the books. You still can see part of his burned face through the eyeholes in the helmet, something I think is a very nice touch.
The changed head is not the only different between the regular and variant busts, though. Whereas the original Sandor bust looks ready for battle in his dirty and loose-fitting chainmail, the variant edition looks like he’s in the midst of the fray with blood splashed across his right arm and hand and the right side of his head. The bloody marks are most effective on his shoulder plates and the helm, really bringing out the savagery of the character. I have nothing but good things to say about both versions of the Hound bust, but the variant with his trademark helmet definitely is my favorite of the two.
If you want to know more about the A Song of Ice and Fire collectibles, be sure to check out the interview I did last week with Valyrian Resin.