So today we’re looking at Dustin. Best friend to Lucas – featured in yesterday’s review – he initially comes off as the token dopey kid in the group, but it becomes apparent over the course of the series that he’s actually quite bright. Stranger Things is a very trope-heavy show that isn’t afraid to wear its influences on its sleeve, but it was entertaining to see the way it would subvert the viewer’s expectations in ways like that.
Of all the Stranger Things POPs, Dustin’s likeness is probably the poorest; actor Gaten Matarzzo was born with a condition known as cleidocranial dysplasia, which affects the development of bones and teeth, and in turn gives him quite a distinctive look which doesn’t necessarily translate as some of the others into POP format.
But another part of it is that the POP just looks a little too neat and clean. Dustin gives off the vibe of being something of a sloppy kid; one who’s still dressing in clothes that most others his age would dismiss as being “kid’s stuff”, and that isn’t quite conveyed here. While I understand that more paint apps = higher production costs, the decision to go neat has left him looking like a 1980s take on Ash from Pokemon. I’m sure we’ll see this head turn up in a custom or two in the future.
That said, the sculpting is well-executed. And he does come equipped with a compass, which is a nice touch given the key role that it plays in the story.
Assuming that these figures sell well (by all indications they are) I strongly suspect that we’ll see a Season 2 take on Dustin somewhere down the line. While this isn’t a terrible POP by any means, I don’t think it quite captures the character. Hopefully the next version will rectify that.