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Captain Toy/Michael's Review of the Week

Review of the Mouth of Sauron - Lord of the Rings
Sixth Scale Action Figure

Asmus Toys
Date Published: 2016-07-13
Written By: Michael Crawford
Overall Average Rating: 3.5 out of 4

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Lord of the Rings Mouth of Sauron 1/6th action figure by Asmus Toys

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Introduction

The Lord of the Rings trilogy was unique for many reasons. For example, the trilogy is one of the few of its kind to actually maintain the quality and consistency across all three films, a real rarity. It's also unique because the extended editions have actual value, including some great scenes and worthwhile additional content.

Of course, not all of that extra material is important. There's often a good reason something was left on the cutting room floor, and it's not always just a time constraint.  One example of this is the scene in Return of the King involving the Mouth of Sauron, an emissary of Sauron as implied by his name. The scene doesn't end up having much effect on the film overall, and was edited out of the theatrical release...but the character design was just so damn cool!  If you haven't watched the EE of Return of the King, do so - and watch for this damned creature.

Asmus Toys has been doing an excellent job with their Lord of the Rings/Hobbit sixth scale series, improving with each release over the last few months. Their latest pays homage to this uber creepy minion of Sauron, and includes a demonic stallion.  This set is just starting to ship, and will run you around $280 - $300 for the pair.

Click on the image below for a Life Size version
Lord of the Rings Mouth of Sauron 1/6th action figure by Asmus Toys

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Packaging - ***
The exterior cover is quite attractive, and the box is large enough to easily accommodate the figure and horse. Each comes in their own plastic tray, one layer on top of the other.  The plastic wraps used to protect the feet, hands, and other extremities are a little annoying, since they are wrapped tight enough to require cutting in some cases, but it's a minor issue if you're careful. Be particularly mindful of the plastic wrap on the thin leather reins, since it's a dangerous combination - the wrapping is very tight, and the reins are very thin.

It's all collector friendly of course, but the plastic trays do seem a little thin and wobbly. Again, nothing major but less sturdy than I like to see, particularly when these packages have to make a very long trip go get to your door.

Lord of the Rings Mouth of Sauron 1/6th action figure by Asmus Toys

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Sculpting - Horse ***; Mouth ****
When discussing the horse, it's worth noting that we've seen a Hell beast such as this already from Asmus - their Nazgul Steed. I was not happy with that one, but I am happy to report that things have improved considerably.

Much of the horse is covered by armor and cloth, which I'll discuss in the Outfit section. The head sculpt is realistic, and lacks the gnarly smile that the earlier beast exhibited. That's probably a very wise choice, since having the horse showing his teeth AND the Mouth showing his at the same time would look less intimidating, and more like Sauron just said 'duty'.

The scale is excellent as well, with the horse large enough to work with the figure nicely. Unlike the earlier horse, the sculpt and articulation work very well together, allowing you to get some good poses and easily keep the horse standing, even with the rider on his back. That in itself is a huge improvement over the Nazgul Steed, and I applaud Asmus for making the necessary adjustments.

The hooves are still less detailed than I'd like, but they are largely hidden this time by the leg armor, making it far less of an issue than it was with the first horse.

Lord of the Rings Mouth of Sauron 1/6th action figure by Asmus Toys

The Mouth of Sauron gets several looks, thanks to a swappable lower face. These face pieces are held tightly in place with a strong magnet, but be careful - I had one of mine get pulled out, and had to re-glue it. No big deal, but I could have lost it had I not noticed.

The figure comes wearing a gritted, evil smile.  The skin below is split along the chin, revealing the underlying flesh. It's a pretty disturbing look, and is likely to be the go to for many displays.

He also has a screaming, open mouth, which is perhaps my favorite. The teeth, lips, and inner mouth look fantastic, and this sculpt is the best for showing just how much this guy needs a tube of Chapstick.

The other two mouth expressions might seem odd at first, but he did make them. For example, here's a screen shot of him doing the slightly odd half smirk. The actor only had his mouth to work with, so he had to be pretty expressive with it to make his point.  All four faces swap easily, and the work on the teeth, skin, and damage is excellent across the set.

The rest of the head is a huge, oversized helmet, which is dead on accurate to the screen scale. God only knows what has happened to the head of this character, but it can't be good, and that's obvious from the massive size of the helmet necessary to hide whatever atrocity is underneath. One of the things I really like about this design is how much it reminds me of something from the Hellraiser universe, sort of a Clive Barker interpretation of Tolkein. Asmus has captured that feel perfectly with this figure.

The other areas with a lot of excellent sculpt work are the boots and gauntlets. The fit is great, and there's a ton of detail work in both areas.

He's taller than average thanks to the big helmet, coming in at a full 13" to the very tip of the center spike over his forehead.

Lord of the Rings Mouth of Sauron 1/6th action figure by Asmus Toys

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Paint - Horse ***; Sauron ***1/2
Let's begin with the horse again, since there's very little paint to really discuss.

The Nazgul Steed was flocked - this guy is merely painted. That's fine however, since 90% of his body is covered by some sort of cloth or armor.  He does have a rooted mane and tail, but even those are largely hidden.

The eyes have a little red to them, and the work you can see is generally clean. It's not super detailed, and like the sculpt, the hooves are very plain, but all of this is largely a moot point. The paint work on the armor is critical, and that is well done, very clean, and properly burnished and aged to give it a realistic appearance.

Likewise, the metal appearance of the helm looks great on the MoS, and the realism is enhanced by the quality paint application.  The lower faces are excellent, with an appropriate color to the exposed flesh and dripping blood, as well as a gross but realistic look to the teeth and gums. The paint applications on the gauntlets and boots support the detailed sculpting nicely as well. There's not a ton of operations on either the figure or the horse, but what is here is all well done.

Lord of the Rings Mouth of Sauron 1/6th action figure by Asmus Toys

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Articulation - Horse ***; Sauron ***1/2
The original steed had some serious problems in this category, with trouble merely standing.  Not so this time around, although some of the articulation is a bit encumbered by the armor.

The neck rocks forward and back quite well, with some lean and tilt action as well. The head itself also moves forward and back, and you can turn it...slightly. This allows for expressive positions for the head, and the armor does not get in the way.

The four legs are jointed at the body, knee, and ankle. These joints allow for running, standing, and trotting poses, although you want to be very careful with the ankles. The armor is tightly strapped to the lower leg, and these straps are hard plastic - not rubber or leather. I pulled two of them loose and had to re-glue, thanks to my getting a little too vigorous with the ankle joints.

The MoS is pretty much what you'd expect, at least between the shoulders and the knees.  There's plenty of articulation here, including great torso rotation and bend, and all the joints are nice and tight.

The good is the neck - the bad is the ankles. The neck has much more tilt and lean than I had expected, and you can add just the right head cock to each expression. The ankles, on the other hand, are pretty much completely restricted by the hard boot sculpt.

Lord of the Rings Mouth of Sauron 1/6th action figure by Asmus Toys

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Accessories - ***1/2
The horse really doesn't have any - no big surprise there. Some of the armor is removable, but I really think of the horse as an accessory himself.

The MoS has plenty of other goodies as well. He has three sets of hands in total - a set of fists, a set of relaxed grips, and a set of medium grips, perfect for the reins or sword. The hands swap easily, with little fear of post breakage.

As I mentioned earlier, there are three extra face plates to go with the one he comes wearing, and they are all excellent sculpts and paint jobs. You won't be disappointed with any expression, but do watch out for the magnets. If they fall out, they'd be pretty easy to lose.

I also mentioned his sword, which is metal but very, very thin. This means that while it might be metal, it's not particularly heavy, and he can easily hold it in any pose, and maintain that pose over time.  The sword fits neatly in the provided scabbard, and that scabbard fits neatly in two leather loops on his belt. The pommel is also removable, making it easier to get the sword into his gripping hand.

He also has his necklace, sort of the bolo tie from Hell. It's adjustable, and looks good hanging around his neck.

Finally, there's the basic display stand for the figure, which provides some consistency. I don't expect it to see a lot of use, since most people will have him on his horse, but I'm glad they included it.

Lord of the Rings Mouth of Sauron 1/6th action figure by Asmus Toys

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Light Feature - Bupkis
I won't be deducting anything for this, because there isn't supposed to be a light up feature. But since the earlier Nazgul Steed from Asmus did have light up eyes, and since some of the marketing photos sort of implied red eyes, you might be expecting it here and find yourself disappointed.

Outfit - Horse ***; Mouth ***1/2
The horse is covered nose to tail with a nice combination of cloth and sculpted armor.  The cloth is cut to appear ragged, although there's no dirt or actual wear added. The metallic looking pieces have wear and age added through the paint application, and it works extremely well.  Everything hangs nicely, although the chest armor can require regular adjustment to keep it in place. The stirrups are one piece but loose, allowing them to slide lower and higher on either side, and making it much easier to get him properly positioned in the saddle.

I mentioned it earlier in the articulation section, but the shin armor does get in the way of the horse's ankle articulation. Since the straps on these are hard plastic, it's possible to pop them off when posing the legs.  I had to re-glue a couple of them, and it was no biggie, but it's worth avoiding if you can.

The outfit on the Mouth is outstanding, with a terrific fit and tailoring. There's pants, an underlying tunic, and the outer robes, all tied up with a nifty leather belt.  The work around the huge helmet is particularly impressive, with proper pleating down both sides. This pleating actually allows you to pose the robes close to the face in just about any position, with no need for wires or extra support. They went with a slightly different color material on the tunic and robes, avoiding too much of the Johnny Cash effect.

There is no weathering on the MoS either, and that's the one area where I was a little disappointed. Both outfits would have garnered another half star from me if they'd managed to pull off appropriate wear, dirt, and damage, but they avoided it all together.

Lord of the Rings Mouth of Sauron 1/6th action figure by Asmus Toys

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Fun Factor - ***1/2
With the horse included, there's a ton of additional poses and display possibilities with this figure. The fact that the horse can stand on his own and easily support the weight of the rider is a big plus, opening up all sorts of potential set ups.

Lord of the Rings Mouth of Sauron 1/6th action figure by Asmus Toys

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Value - ***
These figures are running you around $140 - $150 each. That's well below the $200 - $220 standard that seems to be the current industry norm. The Nazgul Steed, released by himself, was $175!  To be fair, he also has a light up feature and flocking, but this horse is such an overall major improvement as to overshadow those extras. And getting a figure like the Mouth himself for $150? That's a solid deal. While $280 - $300 is a lot of money, getting two high quality figures at that price makes this a slightly better than average value.

Lord of the Rings Mouth of Sauron 1/6th action figure by Asmus Toys

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Things to Watch Out For -
I mentioned the magnets - watch out in case one or more come loose.  You should also pay particular attention to the SUPER sharp edges on the horse's neck armor. As a rider, you definitely wouldn't want to fall forward into those blades, and as a handler, you don't want to get too crazy with the toy. And one other item that I already mentioned more than once, but is well worth mentioning again - take care when working with the horse's ankles to avoid popping the armor straps loose.

Overall - ***1/2
Asmus Toys has diligently worked on improving with every release, and they are hitting on all cylinders with this latest offering.  I was also very happy with Sarumon, Merry, and Pippin, and I can't wait for their new Gandalf the Gray to hit.  The quality I'm seeing here also speaks volumes to what we could see with the Hateful Eight license, and who knows, perhaps now that the hoopla has died down, they could also grab up the license for Django Unchained and finally give us the high quality sixth scale figures we should have gotten originally. They are certainly giving much higher cost companies a run for the money at this point, and fans of the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit license should be very pleased.

Score Recap (out of ****):
Packaging - ***
Sculpting - Horse ***; Mouth ****
Paint - Horse ***; Mouth ***1/2
Articulation - Horse **1/2; Mouth ***
Accessories - ***1/2
Light Feature - Bupkis
Outfit - ***1/2
Fun Factor - ***1/2
Value - ***
Overall - ***1/2

Lord of the Rings Mouth of Sauron 1/6th action figure by Asmus Toys

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Where to Buy 
Online options include these site sponsors:

- has the set at $285.

- has this pair for $300.

- Sideshow also has him at $300.

- you can also order direct from Asmus for $300.

- or you can search ebay for a deal.

Related Links -
I've covered pretty much all of the Asmus releases, including Merry and Pippin, the excellent Saruman the White. Asmus has also released Tauriel, Aragorn, Bard the Bowman, Eowyn, the Nazgul Steed, the Morgul Lord, Gandalf, Gothmog and Guritz. Other sixth scale LOTR figures include these by Sideshow - Gandalf, Sam and FrodoAragorn, Faramir, Boromir and Legolas. And don't forget the Aragorn from ACI.

Toybiz produced some 12" figures as well, including Gimli, Aragorn, Galdriel, Gandalf, Arwen, and Frodo. Dragons in Dreams did several as well, including Gandalf, Aragorn, and Gimli.

You should also hit the Search Reviews page, in case any other applicable reviews were done after this one was published.

Discussion:
Want to chat about this review?  Try out one of these terrific forums where I'll be discussing it!

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Lord of the Rings Mouth of Sauron 1/6th action figure by Asmus Toys

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This product was provided for the review by the manufacturer. Photos and text by Michael Crawford.

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