Saturday, October 3, 2015

HAPPY ORNAMENT RELEASE WEEKEND! An Odd Mix Of Amazing Detailing And Simplicity Mars The Daryl Dixon Ornament!

The Good: Good sculpt, Coloring on the pants, Affordable, Incredible sculpted detailing on the crossbow
The Bad: Odd foot position, Clean coloring
The Basics: The Hallmark debut of their The Walking Dead ornament line comes with Daryl Dixon, who proves too tough to render for the ornament company.

It is Hallmark Ornament Release Weekend, which means I've spent the day going hither and yon picking up Hallmark ornaments and evaluating some of the others for review. One of the ornaments I was most excited about with November Release was the Daryl Dixon ornament. It is telling of the popularity of Daryl Dixon that the first ornament Hallmark would release from their ornament line focused on The Walking Dead would be Daryl and not Rick Grimes (he'll be making his appearance next year!). From the moment Daryl Dixon was announced as a Hallmark ornament, I had a mix of excitement and wariness. As little as they want to acknowledge it, Hallmark is competing in a market where perfection in such a small scale is possible. Hallmark seldom attains perfection with its character ornaments because they are not utilizing the same technology as the companies manufacturing action figures in the 4" scale. Sadly, my feelings of trepidation won out when I finally saw the "live" version of the Daryl Dixon Hallmark ornament today.

Hallmark based their ornament for Daryl Dixon from The Walking Dead on pretty much the iconic look and feel of the character, with his crossbow. For those not familiar with The Walking Dead (Season One is reviewed here!), the survivors of the zombie apocalypse in Atlanta are initially fed by Daryl Dixon. While his brother pisses off everyone in the group, Daryl is out hunting to feed the group. Throughout the series, Daryl becomes an indispensable defender of the group, executing the will of Rick Grimes when such things are necessary.

It is Daryl Dixon, holding his crossbow, that is the subject of the 2015 Daryl Dixon Hallmark ornament.


The 2015 Daryl Dixon ornament recreates Daryl Dixon, as played by Norman Reedus, with a fair amount of fidelity. Rather amazingly, Hallmark gets the antiheroes crossbow perfectly right, while Daryl himself is executed as more of a mixed bag. The ornament, released in 2015, is fair for an ornament based upon the character as he appeared early in The Walking Dead. Measuring four and one-quarter inches tall by one and three-quarter inches wide by two and one-half inches deep, the Daryl Dixon ornament is the only The Walking Dead ornament released by Hallmark in stores in 2015 and was released at Gold Crown Hallmark stores on Ornament Release Weekend in November. The Daryl Dixon ornament came with an original retail price of $17.95 and it seems unlikely that it will sell out at that price.

The Hallmark Daryl Dixon ornament is made of durable plastic. Daryl Dixon’s costume is simple, but accurately detailed. Daryl Dixon is dressed in a simple sleeveless shirt and pants that look like leather and are filthy. He is fairly well-muscled and he is holding his crossbow in a two handed grip. Daryl Dixon stands in a weird way. Daryl Dixon's feet have him standing like he is in the process of moving or standing on unlevel ground, which is a little awkward. The crossbow is immaculately sculpted, with the string sculpted into it, making it look like it is locked and loaded with a bolt ready to shoot!

The Daryl Dixon ornament features a version of Daryl Dixon who looks more like an animated version of the character than the live-action one based on the actor from The Walking Dead. The skin tones have a almost no depth and shading compared to the actor. Similarly, the costume is clean and simplistic and it seems incongruent with the character's pants. The amazing thing about the Daryl Dixon ornament is that his pants are colored with subtle browns and blacks that make them look filthy, which is perfectly appropriate for the character. But the fletchings on his crossbow bolts are painted bright green and his skin and leather-looking shirt are cleanly colored. For a character who usually has an oily looking skin the fact that his cheeks are not even minorly dirty is problematic. Given that there is an action figure in a similar scale that has the coloring right, the Hallmark Daryl Dixon underwhelms some.


As a Hallmark Keepsake ornament, Daryl Dixon could have a sound chip or light-up function. Given how many good lines Daryl Dixon has in The Walking Dead, it is surprising that Hallmark opted against doing a sound clip for the ornament.


As with all ornaments, the intent of the Hallmark Keepsake Daryl Dixon ornament is to be hung on a Christmas Tree. For those creating the ultimate pop culture Christmas Tree, the Daryl Dixon ornament is a hit or miss addition. Oddly, the ornament is well-balanced, but because of his weird foot position, it looks like he is doing some weird ho-down dance foot move. The ornament has the standard steel hook loop embedded into the top, center of the back of Daryl Dixon’s head at a pretty obvious position. From there, the ornament, when affixed to a tree with a hook, swings very easily and is well-balanced.


Hallmark Keepsake began delving into the collectibles market in 1991 with Star Trek when it introduced the exceptionally limited edition U.S.S. Enterprise ornament (reviewed here!). Since then, they have made ornament replicas of almost all major franchises like DC comics, The Wizard Of Oz and Harry Potter. The Daryl Dixon ornament would be a real surprise if it sold out and/or appreciated significantly, especially because fans of The Walking Dead have a lot of merchandise available focused on Daryl Dixon. In other words, fans can afford to be choosy and it is hard to believe a lot of them will choose this ornament up front.


Fans of Daryl Dixon, Norman Reedus, and The Walking Dead are likely to be somewhat underwhelmed by the Daryl Dixon ornament. It is not bad, but fans might have wanted better, especially for the initial price of $17.95.

For other genre-themed character Hallmark ornaments, please check out my reviews of:
2015 Lynda Carter As Wonder Woman ornament
2015 Star Wars Admiral Ackbar ornament
2015 Legends Of Star Trek Lieutenant Nyota Uhura ornament


For other ornament reviews, please visit my Ornament Review Index Page for an organized listing!

© 2015 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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