At last, Spinmaster has given us a line of How to Train Your Dragon toys which feature vikings able to sit neatly astride their dragons (as opposed to awkwardly standing on their backs). The figures can easily dismount, and their somewhat flexible legs make them compatible with all dragons in the line. Best of all? An affordable Astrid (here's hoping Ruffnut and Tuffnut see a future release).
I was pleasantly surprised to find that the human characters were not as "super-deformed" as I had initially feared. Aside from the oversized hands (which exist to hold the removable weapons), they're actually quite evenly-proportioned. They are articulated at the waist, neck, and shoulders (I've heard of some people having trouble with the figures popping apart at the waist joint, but this has not happened to me personally, even after much fiddling). Unfortunately, they cannot stand alone well.
Bottom line: A step in the right direction, this line sees a widely available release of Astrid, as well as a bit more attention put on the human characters in general. I found that the riders are also semi-compatible with the larger Power Dragons line, due to the flexibility of their legs. Fantastic and durable as children's toys, but detailed enough to serve as collectibles--a rare combination.