The Lord of the Rings toys keep on cranking,
and Dave is providing a guest review of four of the new figures. Take
it away, Dave!
Hello. Dave here. Some of you may know me as
Ďkadamontagaí on the various discussion forums I frequent. I primarily
collect World of Springfield figures, but Iíve also got a taste for Star
Wars, Marvel Legends and Lord of the Rings too. You can see some images of
my collections here.
Today Iíll be reviewing four of the figures from the third wave of the
Lord of the Rings Ė The Two Towers action figures made by Toybiz: Frodo;
Prologue Elf; Galadriel and Helms Deep Aragorn. The Prologue Elf and
Galadriel are shortpacked at one of each to a case so snap them up if you
Packaging - ***
As more and more toy companies are starting to use ugly Ďclam-shellí
packaging, itís nice to see an innovative use of the traditional
blister-card. The design is detailed and eye-catching and the cardback
includes a wealth of information such as a character bio, action-feature
instructions and so on. The packaging isnít very Ďcollector-friendlyí
in that you have to destroy it to get to the goodies inside, but it resists
shelf-wear admirably. I havenít included a picture because there are a few
in previous reviews.
I first heard of the line-up for this wave I was under whelmed by Toybizís
selection of Galadriel for an action figure, but seeing her in person has
completely turned me around on the subject. Galadriel is a beautifully
sculpted figure, but she does have one major flaw, which I will explain in a
figureís likeness to Cate Blanchett seems quite accurate to me, even down
to her unusually shaped nose, but I do feel that the face-sculpt looks
somewhat sharper than the actressís real face. Thatís not necessarily a
bad thing, but worthy of note nonetheless. Some people have complained that
her hair looks off, but I canít say that I noticed that myself.
Itís sculpted in such a way that it looks pretty good from almost
any angle Ė and thatís a hard thing to do on figures with long hair. The
hair is made of a very flexible material which doesnít limit her neck
articulation too much. The tops of Galadrielís ears stick out through her
hair just like they do in the movie, which is another nice detail. The
detail on Galadrielís dress is also quite outstanding. The folds in the
fabric hang convincingly, and the dress is covered small lace/flower
to seeing her in person, my main concern about this figure was the sculpting
of her hands. A few people have been calling her ĎGollum handsí and
Ďbrick-layer queení on account of her rather manly hands. However, after
seeing her in real-life I donít think her hands are anywhere near as bad
as they look in 2-D. They could have been more delicate and feminine, but
they really arenít too bad, and theyíre posed in a dynamic and powerful
manner that captures her character well.
about that flaw I mentioned... Galadriel has separately sculpted legs, on
the end of which sit two pretty little Elven feet. The problem is that her
feet are too small for her to stand on for any length of time. Sooner of
later she just falls over. So far, the longest Iíve managed to keep her
standing for is 15 minutes, and thatís just not acceptable. If Galadriel
could stand properly, I would have given her four stars for sculpting, but
having a figure that wonít stay upright just isnít good enough. Iíve
yet to devise a good way of keeping her standing, so if you figure one out,
drop me an email here.
One final point Ė her feet do not have any peg-holes, so using a
traditional base is out of the question.
far as Iím concerned, none of the Aragorns released to date look much like
at all. That said, I think this version is the closest yet. The face
and hair are both sculpted well, although I think his head seems a bit too
big for his body. Aragornís armor and clothing are based on how he appears
in the Helms Deep sequence in the move, and I canít remember exactly what
the actor was wearing at that point, but whether the details are accurate or
not, Toybiz have sculpted a very nice figure. Particularly impressive areas
include his gauntlets (the ones he takes from Boromir during the Fellowship
movie), the worn edges of his tunic, his chain mail, and the pouches and
sharpening-stone on his belt. The green and silver ring on his left hand
also looks great, but that might be due to good paintwork rather than
sculpting. Aragorn stands securely, but his feet do not have peg holes
Elf - ***1/2
case you donít know, this figure is based on the Elven warriors seen in
the prologue sequence of the Fellowship movie Ė the ones that go and
attack Sauron and his gang in Mordor. I havenít seen the movie for a while
and I canít remember exactly how the warriors appeared on film, but the
sculpting of the armor looks pretty accurate to me. This figure is
outstandingly well detailed, wearing all sorts of interlocking plates of armor
over chain mail and cloth undergarments. All are cleanly sculpted and
fantastically detailed. I do have a couple of complaints, but they are quite
minor. Firstly, the Elfís boots look sort of plain in comparison to the
rest of the figure. Normally, I wouldnít even notice something like this,
but the figure has so much detail on the rest of his body, causing the boots
to stand out a little. Secondly, the placement of the scabbard for the
Elfís short-sword is quite awkward, meaning that his upper arm will bend
the sword accessory if youíre not careful when posing him.
final points of interest are that the Elf wears a chain mail hood under his
removable helmet that is completely sculpted and painted, and that there
have been reports of people finding the Prologue Elf with and without his
non-removable cloak. I was lucky enough to find the cloaked version.
Toybiz released another Hobbit to add to the pile of re-sculpts and repacks.
This time thereís a big difference though Ė itís actually pretty darn
good! The likeness to Elijah Wood
is very good, perhaps one of the best likenesses in the LOTR line yet. Frodo
wears a brown waistcoat, which is also very nicely made. Toybiz have cast it
in a flexible rubbery material that looks very convincing, and conceals his
battery-compartment without preventing access to it entirely. A particularly
nice detail is the inclusion of braces (the sort that hold trousers up)
under the waistcoat. These arenít actually visible until you pull back the
do have one problem with Frodo though, the hand that holds his sword, Sting
is far too big. This is probably a necessity for the action-feature to work,
but itís ugly nonetheless.
Paint - ***1/2
Overall, Toybiz have done a great job with the paintwork on these
figures. The amor, clothing and accessories are almost flawless, but the
paint apps on Aragorn and Galadrielís faces do tend to vary from one
figure to the next. My only complaint, and the only thing keeping me from
giving them four stars is that there is a lot of bleed from Stingís hilt
onto Frodoís hand, and vice versa.
Articulation - ***1/2
Again, Toybiz have given these figures much more articulation that they had
to. Iím sure theyíd sell even if they had only the most basic posability,
but Toybiz have gone above and beyond my expectations. I count Frodo as
having 12 points, including a ball-jointed left-shoulder. The Elf has 15,
but I might have missed a few under his armor. I would have been a lot
happier if the elf had mid-shin cuts so that his feet wouldnít have to
point straight forward all of the time, but thatís a minor quibble. Also,
his hip and shoulder joints are quite limited due to his armor. Aragorn has
15 Ė same as the Elf except that his hips are swivel joints rather than
ball-joints. Galadriel has 10, which include ball-joint shoulders.
Frodoís sword is permanently attached to his hand, so I donít count that
as an accessory. He does come with a removable cloak that is very nicely
sculpted and painted, but unfortunately it is far too heavy for such a small
figure. Consequently, he canít stand up straight whilst wearing it.
Aragorn comes with his
sword, and the dagger thing that he is given by Galadriel, or one of her
cohorts. Both accessories are nicely sculpted and painted, and can be stored
in the scabbards on his person. Aragornís hands are sculpted such that he
can only hold one of his weapons securely at a time, which I think is quite
Galadriel comes with a very
nicely made cloak, which uses at least two different materials, and can be
drawn over her head like a hood. I think the cloak can be detached, but if I
do that Iíll never manage to put it back on. She also comes with the jug
that she uses during the Mirror of Galadriel sequence in the Fellowship
movie, although I canít get her to hold it convincingly.
In the movie, there were
three types of warrior, some had short swords and shields, some had long
swords and some had bows and arrows. This guy has the lot. This figureís
accessories are simply fantastic. He comes with: a short sword, a long
sword/spear, a shield (a huge, brilliantly painted and detailed shield), a
longbow, a quiver with three arrows, and a removable helmet. All are quite
Press and hold a button
on Frodoís back and his sword-arm raises and Sting glows bright
blue. This is a fun action-feature and it works fine, but I feel that the
figure would have been better without it. The lack of articulation and
poor paint apps on his right arm are too high a price to pay for an
otherwise fun gimmick. I have read some reports of people finding Stings
that glow green or yellow rather than blue, but I was lucky enough to find
the blue one.
Elf - ***1/2
Excluding light and sound
features, the Elf has my favourite type of action-feature. When you press
the button on his back, his right arm raises. This is great for killing
Orcs, attacking pets, and making the figure do a merry jig. This feature
affects his articulation only very slightly. It is the same feature as
Theodenís from an earlier wave. You can also fire arrows with the bow,
but thatís more of a manual feature than a mechanical one. My longest
shot so far was about seven feet.
When you squeeze
Aragornís legs together, his waist turns and his right arm swings
downwards. Taken for what it is, this is a fun action-feature, but
unfortunately it greatly limits his articulation Ė his waist is
essentially spring-loaded, his right shoulder is very stiff, and his hips
are not ball-jointed. Like Frodo, I would have preferred the extra
articulation over this feature.
Value - ***
Here in the UK, these figures cost around £9 each, which is a lot in US
money, but compared to toys of equal price here I think they represent very
good value. Aragorn and Galadriel are okay, the Elf is excellent value, and
Frodo is pretty poor.
Overall - ***1/2
On balance, I think this is a terrific selection of figures with great
sculpting, paint, accessories and articulation. Galadriel and the Elf might
not appeal to casual buyers too much, but Aragorn and Frodo should sell well
enough. Toybiz still have a way to go in quality control and character
selection, but Iím very happy with the four figures I bought and I eagerly
await the next releases. I strongly recommend having a look at all of these
Where to Buy:
In the UK you can find these for about £8-9 at Woolworths or Toys R Us.
Online you should be able to get them at:
- The SciFi
Warehouse has them, as does
the U.S. collectors:
Big Bad Toy Store should have
these in very soon!
Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.