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Lord of the Rings - The Two Towers
Wave 3


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 find them.

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.

Sculpting - 

Galadriel - ***

When 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 moment. 

 

The 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 details.

Prior 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.

 

Now, 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.

 

Aragorn - ***

As far as Iím concerned, none of the Aragorns released to date look much like Viggo Mortensen 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 either.

 

Prologue Elf - ***1/2

In 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.

Two 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.

 

Frodo - ***1/2

Yep. 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 coat.

 

I 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.

Accessories - 
Frodo - **

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 - ***

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 a shortcoming.

 

Galadriel  - ***

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.

 

Prologue Elf ****

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 incredible.

Action Features -

 

Frodo - **

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.

 

Prologue 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.

 

Aragorn - **

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 figures.

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 ToyShop.

 

For the U.S. collectors:

 

- Big Bad Toy Store should have these in very soon!


Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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