Vintage Vault: Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Dragonne by LJN

[As promised, I’m back today with a wee bit of content. I still have no idea whether I’ll be here for the weekend or not, but if I’m still kicking around at home, I’ll probably get some time to do some posting. If not, I’ll be back on Monday to try to wrangle things back to normal at the FigureFan Ranch. -FF]

Its Friday, and that means its time for some more 1980’s AD&D action figure goodness from LJN. Today we’re going to check out our first creature from the line, and no, Strongheart’s Destrier didn’t count! Most of LJN’s AD&D creatures were the non-poseable PVC kind, but there were a couple bonafide action figures based on the beastiary of Gary Gygax’s Monster Manuals. The Dragonne is one of those, so let’s see what he’s all about…

No package shot, but the Dragonne came in a large window box with a backflap on the top. My familiarity with AD&D is a bit rusty, so I had to consult the ratty, dog-eared Monster Manual. Ahem… according to the all-knowing Gygax, the Dragonne is a Neutral Aligned, desert dwelling, magical beast that looks like a cross between a Brass Dragon and a Lion. When I was a young’un I always thought this thing was supposed to be a Griffin, but I guess that’s different. He has wings, but apparently they’re only good for short trips. He can also let out a terrifying roar that renders all creatures fatigued or exhausted unless they can win a saving throw. All in all, this guy probably isn’t the worst thing you could come across while on a campaign, but you probably wouldn’t want to meet it when it was pissed off.
There’s a fair amount of differences between LJN’s toy and many of TSR’s concept drawings, but that having been said, I think LJN really did the Dragonne proud and I really can’t say enough great things about the sculpt here. The head is amazing, both ferocious and majestic with plenty of detail in the mane, the teeth, and even his little beard. Each individual scale is sculpted on the body as well as the segmented plates in his chest. His toes, claws, and even the pads on his feet are all here. The wings, sculpted in separate and detachable pieces have sculpted veins running through them. Clearly a lot of thought and love went into this toy.
As amazing as the sculpt is, the coloring on thsi figure is equally fantastic. The toy is cast in a beige plastic with loads of paint applied all around. The coppery color used for his wings and scales is just perfect. It makes the figure really stand out on the shelf and it holds up so incredibly well. Even after 30 years, this figure still looks so bright and vibrant. There’s plenty of detailed paintwork on the head, both white and copper on his fur and great crimson eyes. The coloring is finished off with a rich orange for his belly, brown for his footpads, and white for his claws.
The Dragonne isn’t one of the most articulated figures out there, but when compared to LJN’s bendy PVC statues, we’ll take what we can get. There are a whopping four points of articulation here. The head turns from side to side, the front arms (legs?) rotate at the shoulders, and the tail rotates at the base. The wings don’t move, but they are removable.
With all the iconic critters to choose from, I can’t quite understand why LJN chose the Dragonne as one of the deluxe, poseable monsters, but in retorspect I’m glad they did. Its hard to deny that this turned out to be one great looking toy. What’s more, while he often turns up for sale missing his wings, it only takes a wee bit of dedication to track down a nice, complete example. He’s a pretty rugged toy so there isn’t much breakage or wear to worry about, and its not uncommon to be able to pick up good examples at toy shows or on Ebay for under $20. There may have been a lot of creatures I would have rather seen produced in this format, but in the absence of any real evil dragons to fight (I never did own Tiamat), this is usually the beast that my noble adventurers had to slay in order to get at the treasure. Thirty years later, he’s still a great looking figure, and I’m proud to have him on my shelf.

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