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Morgul Lord - Lord of the Rings
Sideshow Collectibles Premium Format

Morgul Lord Ringwraith Lord of the Rings Premium Format statue by Sideshow Collectibles


The Lord of the Rings might not be the hot property right now, but there are still plenty of us out there that are huge fans, both of the books and films. Our numbers will only increase again as the work on the Hobbit films progresses.

There's not a ton of collectibles out there these days for the property, however. Where once you'd hit a hobbit every time you threw a snowball (or maybe those were just neighborhood kids), now it's a pretty desolate landscape.

Sideshow has kept the flames of collector obsession burning with their Premium Format series of statues. Hot on the heels of their Gandalf the Gray release is the subject of tonight's review - the Morgul Lord. Next up is Gollum, and we can only hope that we'll eventually see Gimli.

The dread Morgul Lord comes in two varieties, per usual. There's the regular edition with a run of 1000, which you can pick up at a number of online retailers for around $260 - $280. Then there's the exclusive version that was initially only available through Sideshow. His run is just 500, and he includes the additional flaming sword. He could originally be had for $300, and I'll be reviewing him tonight. However, keep in mind that other than adding in the extra sword, he's identical to the regular edition.
Morgul Lord Ringwraith Lord of the Rings Premium Format statue by Sideshow Collectibles
Morgul Lord Ringwraith Lord of the Rings Premium Format statue by Sideshow Collectibles
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Morgul Lord Ringwraith Lord of the Rings Premium Format statue by Sideshow Collectibles
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Morgul Lord Ringwraith Lord of the Rings Premium Format statue by Sideshow Collectibles
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Morgul Lord Ringwraith Lord of the Rings Premium Format statue by Sideshow Collectibles
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Morgul Lord Ringwraith Lord of the Rings Premium Format statue by Sideshow Collectibles
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Morgul Lord Ringwraith Lord of the Rings Premium Format statue by Sideshow Collectibles
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Packaging - ***
The big box and dense foam inserts will keep your minion of Sauron happy and safe on his trip to your house. There's nothing particularly ground breaking here, but the package will do the most important job it has, and it will do it well.

If you haven't bought PF's before, be aware that the do not come with a Certificate of Authenticity, but the edition number and size is printed on the bottom of the box and bottom of the statue base.

Sculpting - ***
The Ringwraiths have no face - they are empty shells, souls entrapped in service. Under the clothes and armor, there's nothing to see.

Cool as that is, it means there's less to the sculpting this time around. Thankfully, the armor looks amazing, especially the helm. While it's merely polystone, it looks like forged iron, with a texture that looks like the smithy pounded it into shape.

The scale is great too, and the armor on the shoulders and legs mirrors the overall quality. Lots of detail, lots of surface mottling, and a tremendous amount of attention paid to the realism of the sculpt.

The top of the base is dirty, rocky ground. The lower base has one of the annoying name plates, but at this point it's necessary to remain consistent with the rest of the Lord of the Rings Premium Format statues.

So if it's so well done, why the B score? For me, it's all about the pose. The more I looked at in person, the more I turned it and shot it, the more awkward the overall pose seemed. The arms and torso aren't bad, but the head is at an odd angle to the body, and the legs appear even more uncomfortable. And while the mace is a cool weapon, there really isn't a good place to put it to make it look right. It's not an extreme issue, it's more subtle than that, and really more of a personal taste situation.

Paint - ***1/2
To give the perfect look to the armor, you need excellent paint. Bad paint can make the nicest sculpt look cheap and unrealistic, but great paint can allow an amazing sculpt to shine.

That's the case here, where the subtle iron-like appearance of the paint brings out the texture. There's a weathered effect that completes the look, and really sells the statue.

Some folks may find that there's a bit too much mud on the boots, but I was good with it. My only complaint is that on the forward leg, on the side of the thigh, there was a pretty deep scratch. When the statue was getting packed, someone damaged it, and while it's not in an obvious spot, that sort of quality slip shouldn't happen at this price point.

Articulation - Bupkis
This doesn't effect the overall score in any way, but is rather just informative for those that haven't purchased a premium format statue from Sideshow before - it really is a statue, there's no articulation.

Accessories - Exclusive ***; Regular Bupkis
We have grown accustomed to getting swappable hands and heads with even the regular release statues, making it a tougher sell when there's nothing like that with the regular edition. The sword blade is a separate piece, as is the left hand holding the mace, but these aren't technically 'accessories' since without them the statue is incomplete.

The exclusive does have the one extra item - the flaming sword. It looks exceptionally cool, er...hot, with very realistic translucent flames. Be very careful with this piece though, as the flames are quite delicate.

Outfit - ***1/2
I've already talked about the armor, but this is a Premium Format statue, which means there's going to be some cloth clothing as well. His black robes are layered and smudged, with a heavy amount of dirt and mud around the bottom edge. Again, some folks may find the mud excessive, but I was good with it.

There's also a lot of loose threads and unhemmed edges, but that fits this character as well. There's a very well done leather belt that holds the scabbardl, and you can adjust the scabbard location to your taste.

Value - *1/2
In the end, here's where the biggest rub is. At 3 bills, you're putting out quite a bit of cash for this statue. While it's nice, there is a decided lack of features. No sound, no lights, and no swappable parts on the regular edition. The flaming sword is nice, but not really worth the extra $40 or more that you could conceivable pay for it. And let's be honest - while the sculpted armor is nice, this guy doesn't even have a face. I'm not saying that his not having a face is a problem - that's his character. But it does mean that it's harder to convince me that the overall work is really worth the same amount as something like the recent Gandalf, who had two head sculpts and a light feature.

Things to Watch Out For -
That flaming sword is very delicate - be particularly careful when removing it from the packaging or putting it back.

Overall - ***
While I'm not a huge fan of the somewhat gangly pose, that's not my biggest issue. This is one of price and value, and having paid the same amount for Gandalf that this guy costs, I can't quite justify it.

Still, I'm thrilled that Sideshow continues to produce PF's for this license, and I'm looking forward to Gollum. Now where's my Gimli?

Score Recap:
Packaging - ***
Sculpting - ***
Paint - ***1/2
Articulation - Bupkis
Accessories - Exclusive ***; Regular Bupkis
Outfit - ***1/2
Value - *1/2
Overall - ***

Where to Buy -
Sideshow had a regular and exclusive version, but both are sold out there. Other online options include these site sponsors:

- Capstone Comics has the regular at $261.

- Fanboy Collectibles has the regular version on pre-order for $261.

- Big Bad Toy Store has the regular at $280.

- or you can search ebay for a deal.

Related Links -
They've done their fair share of Lord of the Ring PF's, but without a Gimli, we'll all be sad. Here's some of the previous releases:

- most recent was Gandalf the Gray.

- other LOTR PF's include the Berserker and Lurtz.

- other Sideshow sixth scale LOTR figures include Sam and FrodoAragorn, Faramir, Boromir and Legolas.

- NECA also did a 20" Aragorn.

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

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Morgul Lord Ringwraith Lord of the Rings Premium Format statue by Sideshow Collectibles


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

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