Sunday, October 2, 2016

Ornament Debut Weekend's Surprise Disappointment: The 2016 Rick Grimes The Walking Dead Ornament Underwhelms!

The Good: Good basic sculpt, Coloring on the pants, Affordable
The Bad: Slightly backheavy, Facial sculpt, Coloring issues, Clean coloring on clothes and arms
The Basics: With a year to get it right, it is intensely disappointing that the 2016 Rick Grimes The Walking Dead ornament gets so many details unfortunately wrong.

Last year, when Hallmark released the Daryl Dixon Hallmark ornament (reviewed here!) to kick off the The Walking Dead ornament line, the results of Hallmark's efforts were decidedly mixed. At the various huge conventions - ComicCons in San Diego and New York City - Hallmark teased much of the 2016 ornament line. So, for at least a year, fans of Hallmark ornaments knew that the 2016 Hallmark ornament from The Walking Dead would be Rick Grimes. Sadly, with the whole year to get the ornament right, the Rick Grimes ornament vastly overwhelms fans.

Hallmark based their ornament for Rick Grimes from The Walking Dead on the iconic look and feel of the character, with his pistol drawn and at his side. For those not familiar with The Walking Dead (Season One is reviewed here!), the survivors of the zombie apocalypse in Atlanta start to follow former-sheriff Rick Grimes after he meets up with them. Up until this point in both the television series and the comic book series, the common element and the character who is most-consistently focused upon is Rick Grimes. Rick has led his survivors to safety (for as long as it ever lasts) in a prison, the Greene's farm, Alexandria, and in extricating his newfound family from Terminus and cannibals who survived that bloodbath. Rick Grimes is, essentially, the protagonist of The Walking Dead.

It is Rick Grimes, holding his pistol, in his sheriff's outfit, that is the subject of the 2016 Rick Grimes Hallmark ornament.


The 2016 Rick Grimes ornament recreates Rick Grimes, as played by Andrew Lincoln, with a fair amount of fidelity to the character's frame, if not his face. The ornament, released in 2016, is poor for an ornament based upon the character as he appeared early in The Walking Dead. Hallmark made the facial sculpt of the ornament far too round for the character - Rick Grimes is much more gaunt at all parts of The Walking Dead. The facial sculpt looks far more like Joshua Jackson than Andrew Lincoln. The coloring of Rick Grimes's beard is far too dark for the character . . . at least when the ornament has him sculpted to appear to have stuble, as opposed to a full, bushy, unkempt beard like he had when his group reached Alexandria.

Measuring four and one-half inches tall by one and seven-eighths inches wide by two and one inch deep, the Rick Grimes ornament is the only The Walking Dead ornament released by Hallmark in stores in 2016 and was released at Gold Crown Hallmark stores on Ornament Debut Weekend in October. The Rick Grimes ornament came with an original retail price of $17.95 and did not sell out at any of the Hallmark shops I visited.

The Hallmark Rick Grimes ornament is made of durable plastic. Rick Grimes’s costume is simple, but fairly accurately detailed. Rick Grimes is dressed in his sheriff's outfit, with the sleeves rolled up and his holster on is belt. He has his pistol drawn and at his side, and he is in a stance like he is bracing for trouble - either with Walkers or Shane! The pistol and Rick Grimes's hands are sculpted better than the character's face.

The Rick Grimes ornament features a version of Rick Grimes who looks more like Joshua Jackson than it does Andrew Lincoln from any point in The Walking Dead. The skin tones have a almost no depth and shading compared to the actor. Similarly, the costume is clean and simplistic, despite having minor shading to it and good sculpted details. The Rick Grimes ornament is unsettling for having over-dark stubble on the face that makes it look like he has a ridiculous beard that is colored, but not sculpted on. Furthermore, for a world that is so very dark and dirty, the fact that Rick Grimes's exposed forearms are so clean and unscarred for the Rick Grimes ornament is unsettling.


As a Hallmark Keepsake ornament, Rick Grimes could have a sound chip. Given how many good lines Rick Grimes 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 Rick Grimes ornament is to be hung on a Christmas Tree. For those creating the ultimate pop culture Christmas Tree, the Rick Grimes ornament is a theoretically essential addition, with an awkward execution. The ornament has the standard steel hook loop embedded into the top, center of the back of Rick Grimes’s head at a pretty obvious position. From there, the ornament, when affixed to a tree with a hook, is slightly back-heavy. It is not extremely unbalanced, but it is noticeably off from a stance that would make the ornament look like he was standing straight up.


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 Rick Grimes 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 Rick Grimes. Because there are action figures that are at least as well-detailed in the marketplace, the Rick Grimes ornament is a tough sell to collectors.


Fans of Rick Grimes, Andrew Lincoln, and The Walking Dead are likely to be a bit disappointed by the Rick Grimes ornament. For $17.95 and with at least a year to get it right, the Rick Grimes ornament is off on enough details to make collectors a bit disappointed by it.

For other genre-themed character Hallmark ornaments, please check out my reviews of:
2016 Ollivanders Wand Shop Harry Potter ornament
2016 Alien Queen Aliens ornament
2016 U.S.S. Enterprise Star Trek 50th Anniversary ornament


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

© 2016 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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