Sideshow Premium Format Lurtz


When you think of the Lord of the Rings, you tend to think of characters like Bilbo, Frodo, Aragorn, Gandalf, Sam, Gimli, Legolas...rarely is the first name to pop into your head "Lurtz". Part of that is simply due to the fact that he's not part of the books, and was created specifically for the Fellowship of the Ring film. Part of that is because even amongst the bad guys, he's not someone you'll think of before Saruman, Sauron or Gollum. And yet, Sideshow selected him for their Premium Format release.

While this might seem a bit odd at first, considering all I've just said, he actually makes an excellent choice. While not a main character, he has already started to build a loyal fan base, much like Boba Fett of many years before. He also has the advantage of a very monstrous visage, easier to capture and sculpt that the tricky human likenesses. And finally, again like Boba Fett before him, he sports a great outfit with cool accessories, adding to his overall visual appeal.

Lurtz comes in the usual two versions. The regular version comes in an edition of 1250 and he is carrying a sword and shield, while the exclusive version (limited to just 750) comes with two sets of hands and weapons, so that you can pose him with bow, shield and sword as the mood requires. Both versions retail for $350 through Sideshow, and while the exclusive is wait listed, the regular is currently on a second chance offer ().

Packaging - ***1/2
It's a damn big box. Not as big as you might think though, because there's very little wasted space. The interior foam is nicely engineered to keep him safe while taking up as little room as possible.

The graphics on the box are nice as well, showing off the huge statue, but as you'd expect, you can't actually see what you're buying without opening him up. Once you do though, it's completely collector friendly like most statue and bust packaging, and he can always be returned to his foam home for storage.

Sculpting - ****
Wow.  Just wow. I don't know who Steve West is, but Sideshow has found themselves another amazing sculptor in this guy.  He's done a fantastic job here (of course, with some help from Greg Mowry over at Gepetto Productions, but more on that in the Outfit section).

The amount of realistic detail in this sculpt is quite amazing.  The wrinkles of the face and the texture gums inside the mouth, along with the fine detail work on the lower eyelids, make this guy seem like he just stepped off the screen. Hell, this guy probably looks more real in person than the actual actor in makeup did.

The use of textures to distinguish between the various parts of the statue continues throughout the body and the sculpted armor.  The skin has a wrinkled look like the face, and even the elbows have a rougher, more wrinkled look than the rest of the arm.  The detail work on the hair is nothing short of outstanding, and there's even a slight lack of symmetry to the combed appearance, which is much more realistic than if it was perfectly coiffed on either side.

All of the 'metal' parts - armor, sheild, weapons, etc. - are made of polystone, but look just like iron.  And not just any iron, but iron that's been forged in evil fires by rough men with crude tools and cruder language.  The pitted marks consistent with the iron works of days gone by are there, deeper on something like the forged sword or calf guards, but lighter on his shield.

If you thought that Batman was big in the last review, then you ain't seen nothing.  This guy is huge, standing 20 inches tall without the 2.5" base.  Batman hoisted Connor up on his shoulders, and they still couldn't reach the top of his head.  Although if they had, there'd have been a limb lost most likely.

Paint - ****
Great paint accentuates a great sculpt, and this figure is hitting on all cylinders.

You know that cool pitted texture on the armor?  There's paint detailing added to make it appear as though rust is beginning to form in the pits.  And while you wouldn't think there'd be too many colors on a guy like Lurtz, it turns out there really is quite a wide range.

Even when colors are similar, like skin, hair and armor, there's enough differences in the paint and the application to make him visually pop.  And the brighter unique colors, like the eye, gums, teeth and face paint, are done with such accuracy that you'd swear he was real.

If you're looking for the level of quality in this paint job, then look no further than those amazing teeth.  Okay, so Lurtz has clearly never heard of dental floss.  But the paint work has not only implied poor dental hygiene, but made it come to life.

Articulation - Bupkis
This category carries no weight for the overall score, but I wanted to include it since *some* early PF figures did have limited movement in their arms and necks. That's not the case here, and it's worth pointing out if you were expecting it. 

Outfit - ****
Greg Mowry at Gepetto Productions was involved in the costuming, as he generally is on all the PF's.  And while there have been some in the various licenses that have had less than perfect sculpts or paint jobs, the clothing has always been a consistent bright spot.

The work here is the best we've seen so far on any PF.  Unlike most sixth scale figures, the leather here is leather, not cheap, thick pleather. It's weathered and painted to appear aged, and tailored to fit perfectly.

Edges that should be ragged, like the strips of cloth in front, are ragged, but areas that should have smooth edges, like the belts, sport smooth edges. The overall quality of the material is top notch, and this figure has set the bar mighty high on all future PF's.

To give you a further idea of the level of quality, the leather straps around the back of the calf on both legs on mine were kind of loose when I got him.  I was concerned that they were glued in place on the buckles, since I figured the buckles weren't 'real' but ornamental.  However, I quickly figured out that no, those buckles work just great, and you can tight up those straps just the way you like them.

Accessories - ***1/2
The regular edition figure has two 'accessories'.  There's his hip bag (you don't want to be using terms like 'fanny pack' or 'purse' around this guy), which contains a number of arrows, and his forest display base.

The bag of arrows is actually sculpted polystone, with a leather strap to go around his waist.  I was surprised the bag was solid, but it was probably a good idea on their part for consistency.  The arrows fit into the sculpted bag about a third of the way in, and you'll want to take some care here, as they can easily be snapped off.

The other main accessory is the display base.  This base has a green, forest-like floor, with a name plate on the front and the edition size on the bottom.  It was a bit of a surprise that it was hollow, but considering how much a solid 2.5" thick piece of polystone would be, I guess it's not really THAT surprising.

There's a square hole to accommodate the long metal peg coming out of his left (front) foot.  My only complaint is that the figure tends to lean to his right on the base, and he's so heavy, that I have fears of him toppling off.  The peg is quite long, and appears to make that impossible, but I'm still a tad nervous.

Some folks are going to not like the name plate on the front.  They don't need anything declaring in large letters that this is "LURTZ!" because they've already figured that out, and assume most of the visitors to their home will know it too.  But it doesn't bother me, and I'm not knocking anything off because of it.

The exclusive version contains an extra left and right hand.  The regular version is carrying the sword and shield, and since I don't own a regular I can't tell you if they are removable or not. But on the exclusive, these pop off and an open right hand and a left hand holding his bow can be put in their place.

These hands fit over fairly long pegs, but since gravity would be working to pull them off, they need something extra to ensure their safety.  That comes in the form of some very strong magnets that pull the hands tightly into place on the pegs. The magnet for the left bow hand seemed a little weaker than the other three, but there was still no chance the hand would fall off under normal conditions.

Which of these accessories are better?  That's a tough call.  My only complaint with any of them is that the bowstring on the bow is extremely thin, more akin to sixth scale than quarter scale.  Considering how minor a nit that is, it should be no wonder that it's a tough decision which to use for the display.

Fun Factor - *
It's a statue. You shouldn't be playing with your statues. Now, I'm sure that if this was the PF Buffy figure, you pervs would find a way to get a couple stars out of this category, but poor Lurtz has a face even a mother couldn't love.

Value - **1/2
There's nothing cheap about $350.  But this is one of those instances of such amazing quality, that you're absolutely getting what you pay for.  Oh, you won't feel like Scrooge McDuck when you walk away with this guy, but you won't wonder why he cost that much once you have him in your hands either.

Things to Watch Out For - 
Getting the arrow belt on can be a bit of a trick. Put it over his left leg first, and move the strap up the leg a bit, before putting it over his back leg.  Work it up slowly from there.

Also take extra care with the items like the shield, sword, bow and arrows, which are quite thin and could easily be snapped.

Overall - ****
I love the PF Vader.  I love the PF Leia.  But this PF blows even those two out of the water for sheer detail and impressiveness.  I do worry about the right lean a bit, and I'd like a thicker string on the bow, but that's absolutely the only two nits I have on this entire figure.

I was seriously considering cancelling this item, but now I'm glad I didn't.  Perhaps someday they'll release a LOTR PF that is pushes this guy aside, but for now, he's the king of the mountain.

Score Recap:
Packaging - ***1/2
Sculpt - ****
Paint - ****
Articulation - Bupkis
Outfit - ****
Accessories - ***1/2
Fun Factor - *
Value -  **1/2
Overall - ****

Where to Buy - 
Online options are of course your best bet:

- Sideshow has the wait list for the exclusive (), or the second chance offer on the regular ()

- Fireside Collectibles has the regular Lurtz listed for $297.

- Alter Ego has the regular Lurtz listed for $297 as well.

Related Links - 
Some other LOTR collectible related reviews:

- if big is you're thing, you won't get bigger than the Balrog from NECA. 

- on the opposite end of the spectrum, there's always the LOTR minimates

- and if you like your LOTR collectibles in sixth scale, don't forget that Sideshow is also releasing Legolas (), Boromir (), and Aragorn () soon in their 12" format.

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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