SEARCH REVIEWS    LIVING WITH LATE FEES    FEATURES    LINKS    BIO    MISSION    EMAIL    MAIN PAGE 


Morgul Lord - Lord of the Rings
Asmus Toys

Morgul Lord LOTR sixth scale action figure by Asmus


Fans of the Lord of the Rings who also happen to be fans of sixth scale action figures know what frustration is. It's getting figures from your favorite license bled out over years, and yet never getting a full Fellowship. Sideshow came closest, with Frodo, Sam, Gandalf, Legolas, Boromir, and Aragorn. That's just six, and we are still missing a high quality Merry, Pippen and Gimli.

But now Asmus Toys has picked up the license, and fans are hopeful once again. Asmus is starting with some villains though, and I'm not complaining. Their first release is the Morgul Lord, wraith-like servant of Sauron. They'll follow this guy up with Gothmog, and we should hear about other releases soon.

This figure will run about $150 at most retailers, and is shipping now.

Packaging - ***1/2
The box is pretty straight forward, done shoe box style. There's high quality form trays holding everything in place, and it's all collector friendly of course. It's a tad plain, but it does have a bit of sophistication to it as well, with a bit of that Middle Earth style.
Click on the photo below for a life size version
Morgul Lord LOTR sixth scale action figure by Asmus
Morgul Lord LOTR sixth scale action figure by Asmus
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Morgul Lord LOTR sixth scale action figure by Asmus
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Morgul Lord LOTR sixth scale action figure by Asmus
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Morgul Lord LOTR sixth scale action figure by Asmus
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Morgul Lord LOTR sixth scale action figure by Asmus
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Morgul Lord LOTR sixth scale action figure by Asmus
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Morgul Lord LOTR sixth scale action figure by Asmus
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Morgul Lord LOTR sixth scale action figure by Asmus

Sculpting - ****
The Morgul Lord has no face - the helm is empty, just as you'd expect. But they did do it well, with a half head holding the metal crown in place, with the face carved out. The black cloak over this half head hides the interior very nicely, even in person.

The metal crown looks terrific, and the spikes are VERY sharp. It feels like pewter, soft enough to bend under pressure but less likely to break easily.

The other major sculpting work here is on the armor. There's shoulder, bicep, forearm, elbow, knee, thigh, calf and foot armor, and it all looks great. The plastic sculpt looks very much like actual metal, with good texturing and sharp details. Check out the top of the feet for an excellent example of the attention to detail.

This is a big figure, standing at about 13" tall, allowing him to tower over the average 12" figure. That doesn't include the extra 3" of the large front spike on his helm.

Paint - ***1/2
There's not a bunch of small paint details with a figure like this - he's mostly black and gray. Yet, the coloration on the armor and helmet is critical to make it look realistic.

They have just the right wash and highlighting to give the impression of weathered metallic armor. The metal and plastic pieces are consistent in color and style too, so there's no obvious visual difference in the materials they used.

Articulation - ***
The underlying body is by Kaustic Plastic, with all the usual articulation of a standard modern sixth scale figure.

The ball jointed neck is particularly important. Not only does it tilt and lean well, it is stiff enough to hold those poses under the weight of the metal helm.

The rest of the body - ball joints and pin joints galore - is largely quite poseable. I was able to get some deep stances, and he held his stances for long periods. Again, the joints are tight enough to manage the weight of the helmet.

The lower score here is because of the wrists. Swapping the hands was difficult, and worse, the wrist pegs seem weak and easy to break, similar to early Hot Toys wrist posts. They don't include any extras either, making it all the more dangerous. After I'd swapped the hands a couple times, the wrists were very, very loose, and holding the heavier metal weapons above his waist got difficult.

The floppy wrists, with only one set of posts, is the only thing holding this body back from a much higher score here.

I would have actually dropped the score here another half star, but for the addition of the highly articulated hands. There's one set that has multiple joints on each finger and thumb, allowing him to do just about any gesture. While these hands can't hold the weapons, they can do cool gestures and positions that really adds to the posing potential.

Accessories - ***1/2
I just mentioned the extra set of posable hands, and that they can't hold the heavy weapons particularly well. Asmus was smart enough to see that issue in advance, and also provided a set of gripping hands, as well as a set of fists and a set of relaxed pose hands. That's a nice grouping, and just need to be a bit easier to swap. I really think each hand should have had it's own wrist post, which is how Sideshow handles their releases.

Along with the hands, there's three weapons. He has his Witch-king sword, made of metal, with a removable pommel to allow you to slide it into the gripping hands. It looks great, and it fits nicely in the scabbard as well.

There's also a flaming version of this sword, done in a very nice translucent reddish orange that catches the light. Again, it has the removable pommel.

Finally, he has the massive deadly mace. As with the previous two weapons, the large pommel comes off to allow easier insertion in his hands, and the majority of this weapon is metal. It's heavy, but it looks great on the ground next to him.

That leaves his display stands. Yes, stands, not stand. There's a basic plastic stand, complete with the Lord of the Rings logo, as well as a sandy base that reminds you of Weathertop. This diorama-like base is made from resin, not plastic. The black post and clamp is designed to work with either base, although you won't need it - this guy stands fine on his own.

Outfit - ***
While the armor is probably the most important aspect of the outfit, you can't overlook the handful of cloth pieces as well.

There's an underlying shirt and pants of course, although you won't see much of them. The outer robes cover most of the body, and are ripped, torn and muddy. The wear is just about right, and really adds to the overall impression.

While there were some early advertising photos of the figure showing off the full arm armor, I'm not sure how you can do that with the final figure and get it to look good. The outer robe doesn't appear to be removable, and it covers the arms pretty well. You can fight it to show off more of the armor, but it ends up looking a bit odd, and I preferred just going with the covered appearance.

There's also a belt, with a double loop to hold the scabbard. This belt is what pulls down the Outfit score for me. Neither of these loops is really large enough for the scabbard, but it's particularly a problem for the top loop, which is supposed (according to the instructions) to slip over the silver sculpted decorations on the scabbard. It can't, which means that the loops end up too low on the barrel, allowing it to tip forward when holding the heavy sword.

There's also a third loop on a separate strap at the center of the belt. I'm not sure what this is for, and it's not included in the instructions. This loop is even smaller than the two for the scabbard.

Fun Factor - ***
While no kid under 13 should be messing with this figure - those spikes are actually dangerous - this is still a fun figure. He can take and hold some cool poses, he has metal accessories that look great, and he is a classic villain, always a nice addition to the display.

Value - **
This guy runs around $150. That's getting to be too much of the norm for sixth scale figures, and it's hurting wallets every where. But you are getting metal accessories here, as well as the metal helm. Then again, without a sculpted portrait, they saved some cost, and the weak wrists need to be addressed at this price point for them to get an average score here from me. I'm betting the production run is low though, making it likely that this figure will only rise in cost on the secondary market.

It's hard to believe that the last release from Sideshow, Gandalf, cost just $90...and we thought that was ridiculous.

Things to Watch Out For -
When working with the hands, be very careful with both the elbow armor - any pressure can break it off - and the metal spikes on the helm. The spikes are pretty easy to bend, and you might not even notice. The knee armor is as fragile as the elbow, but you'll have less reason to put pressure on the legs.

Overall - ***
I'm a little torn here. I considered going an extra half star Overall, because after messing with this guy for awhile, I'm quite happy. It's also important to note that this is their first release for this license, and as a starter, it's quite a bit better than you might expect.

On the plus side is the great sculpt and paint, as well as the excellent metal accessories. On the down side is the high price, weak wrist pegs, hard to swap hands, and belt that can't properly hold the scabbard. Extra wrist pegs is also really a requirement at this price, and including one with each hand would have gone a long way to upping my overall impression.

This is one of those situations where there isn't one major issue pulling the Overall score down slightly, but several minor ones adding up.

Still, I'm thrilled to have him, and Gothmog is on order. Please, oh please, oh please, hear my pleas and finish off the Fellowship! A Sarumon sure would be nice, too...

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

Where to Buy -
Online options include these site sponsors:

- Alter Ego Comics has him in stock for $160.

- Big Bad Toy Store also has him at $160.

- or you can search ebay looking for a bargain.

Related Links -
Other sixth scale figures include these by Sideshow - Gandalf, Sam and FrodoAragorn, Faramir, Boromir and Legolas.

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

Enjoyed this review? Be sure to head back to the main page to find thousands more just like it!

KEEP SCROLLING DOWN FOR MORE PHOTOS!



Share this review with others! 
 Google +1
 
Digg it!
 StumbleUpon Toolbar
Stumble It!
 
Reddit

Morgul Lord LOTR sixth scale action figure by Asmus


This product was purchased for the review by the reviewer. Photos and text by Michael Crawford.

This page copyright 2000 - 2013, Michael Crawford. All rights reserved. Click here for copyright permissions!