Posted Tue, Jan 12, 2010 by Xerin
Pandarens are renowned in the WarCraft universe for their silly designs, brewing skills, and tenacity in battle. There are two major Pandarens in the canon WarCraft lore. The first is the well known Mojo Stormstout who catalogued all of the living creatures in both Azeroth and Outland along with providing battle strategies to the Scourge, the Alliance, and the Horde. The other Pandaren is known as Chen Stormstout who was a playable hero in WarCraft III’s bonus campaign and the current representative of the Pandarens in Blizzard’s collectable market. We’ve been lucky enough to get our hands on one of the limited edition figures of Chen Stormstout and have a full review of this fine figure.
First let’s talk about who Chen is. Chen was a playable hero in the bonus campaign in WarCraft III: The Frozen Throne. You could get Chen to join your party by obtaining a barrel of Thunderwater, an egg of a thunder phoenix, and a sprig of thunderbloom. When you return with the ingredients Chen gives Rexxar a sample that knocks him straight off his feet and then joins the party. He can remain in your party all the way up and into the conclusion which involves the founding of Orgrimmar and the death of Grand Admiral Proudmoore.
Chen returns in World of Warcraft as the focus of the quest “Chen’s Empty Keg.” After finding one of Chen’s kegs you can speak with Brewmaster Drohn who will allow you to get some of the raw materials to remake Chen’s Thunderbrew. Chen also sends the mail containing the Pandaren Monk after it has been purchased, which is part of his now infamous role as the Pandaren representative in various collectables.
Chen has been featured in the collectable card game and has now also moved into their line of figures. Those that have attended BlizzCon or know friends with these figures know that Blizzard doesn’t play around when it comes to their collectable figure line. Not only are the figures reasonably priced but the attention to detail is astonishing. For example, looking at Chen’s teeth I can see each single one with each of them sized differently and colored in a way that makes them look almost lifelike.
Chen’s flowing hair, the tuft of fur that blows out of his Taoist-esq outfit, to the mud around his sandals are all delicately crafted. The shield around his back was the most surprising piece of attire. It boasts exceptional quality even if it’s one of the pieces you do not often see. His lower belt is also of interest. It carries some of the supplies you gathered in the game to make his Thunderbrew which is a nice touch for the fans that know a bit of his background.
I do have complaints about this figure, though, even given its quality. The feet are not particularly flat in order to give an anatomically correct stance and the figure suffers balance issues due to that. The wooden staff is difficult to properly assemble and align in his hands. There looks to be some green plastic bracelets that he wears that I feel don’t fit with the rest of the figure.
Additionally, he is very wide and will take up a lot of shelf space. When they say this is big they mean it. You get a very large figure that measures a good 9” tall and if you count the staff almost a foot wide (the base figure is only about 8~” or so). This is only a problem if you consider shelf space at a premium. The box, for the collectors that don’t want to ruin any future value, is quite big too.
These problems are all soothed away once you realize this fantastic collectable is only $49.99. For its size and its price you can be quite forgiving on any minor details. The entire line of collectables featuring Gnoll Warlords, Lady Vashj, and more lore characters all carry the similar quality and vary in prices, even for the budget minded collectors. One of my favorites is Human Priestess: Sister Benedron which comes in at $16.99 and is roughly 7” tall.
If you were to ask me if you should pick up this collectable I would say yes, but only if you’re a collector of figures or wanted something that’s WoW related but doesn’t instantly scream “WARCRAFT”. I would say a huge benefit to this figure is that it’s easy to place on a shelf without drawing too much nerdy attention. Many people like pandas or Japanese/Chinese styled things and this fits right in.
For those of you wanting to know a little bit more about Pandarens, we have an excellent article about the lore in one of our previous issues of the Overpull, Ten Ton Hammer’s weekly World of Warcraft newsletter.
The Blizzard Store is where you'd want to go to in order to purchase an action figure like this.