Toybiz - Lord of the Rings Action Figures

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ive been a tolkien fan since i read the lord of the rings and the silmarillion as a kid in the 80's!

the films took way too many liberties imo, and borrowed all the worst elements from the awesome bakshi cartoon. that said, the costume designs and visuals were outstanding.

i collected the toybiz line, but the scale was too big and made for awkward army building. with the number of characters in that movie, it really shouldve been done in 3 3/4.
I don't know, I mean I've always argued that The Lord of the Rings is impossible to directly translate to film. Tolkien infamous did things that writing courses at that time would directly advise you not to do. Some good example:

- The Departure of Boromir is the first chapter in the The Two Towers, but that's immensely anti-climactic for cinema. I get why Jackson chose to end Fellowship of the Ring with the death rather than open the next with it. If or when you view the timeline as just one large story rather than how the books are numerically structured, it's rather trivial. Like Shelob being the climax of The Two Towers novel, Jackson isn't incorrect. It is occurring at the same time as the Siege of Mina's Tirith.

- Immensely important developments in the novels plot are told retrospectively through mere accounts and dialogue. We're told of Saruman imprisoning Gandalf at Orthanc and the Ents causing the fall of Isengard and subsequently capturing Saruman, for instance, without ever actually witnessing the events as they unfolded. Perhaps that can work in a novel, but it's incredibly unsatisfying on film. Can you imagine how disappointing it would be to go to see Isengard flooded and Merry and Pippin just say "Yeah the Ents did this" and just...that's it? That sort of thing doesn't work in a visual medium. You can't just say it happened and show the after effects, you need to show it as it's happening. It's the same with the whole film prologue, it sets up the world by showing it rather than telling it.

- I completely understand some of the omissions and alterations. I'm one of the few who seems to get the purpose of Tom Bombadil and even enjoy those segments, but even I can't deny...it's not required. Glorfindel is wonderful and adds to the world building...but he never appears again. I can understand just why they'd rather alter that role to one that's got slightly more significance, though I feel bad that he's been screwed over two times now: Legolas in the Bakshi cartoon, Arwen in the live-action. I get its thematic purpose, that war effects all lands eventually, but even I didn't really miss the Scouring of the Shire. It's just so depressing. Plus some things are really debatable as to whether or not they even are an alteration.
I never saw it as Theoden was under a literal spell from Wormtongue and Saruman. I never interpreted the Helms Deep wall breach as a "bomb," but view the description I suppose it could be. Just interpretation.

- I think, visually, they really nailed Tolkien better than any other interpretation. I'd always seen pre-movie versions of hobbits that looks so...Oompa Loompa silly. I liked seeing a more serious take, where they're proportionate...just small. Some of the films designs I will never un-see, they're so spot on for me. I had no idea how they'd pull off Ents without people laughing...but by God, they pulled it off and in a serious way.

Overall, I think the films did the best they could with what Tolkien wrote. I feel they really nail the heart and spirit of the books. But with that said, that doesn't mean there weren't things I disliked. I never cared for Galadriel going nuclear, it's too campy. I hated Faramir's temporary heel turn on Frodo, so betrays the character. Thankfully he begins to act more like book Faramir again by Return of the King. I'm not a fan of the Warg battle filler sequence. Elves at Helms Deep always irked me because this is a battle for men, it makes men look weak by proxy, as if they need help. Also was always disappointed by the omission of Eomer from the ENTIRE battle. I always argued, really, he's Boromir's "replacement," so to speak. I still hate Legolas managing to kill a Mumikil all by himself. Is he Spider-Man? These films were largely so serious, but that was the obligatory over-the-top Hollywood moment. I suppose I understand why this was done...but...I also hate that they used the Army of the Dead to just quickly wrap up the Siege of Gondor. Duex Ex Army of the Dead! I get it, how else are you gonna end it quickly considering...film...but it'll always irk me.

I mean they're not perfect, but I think they're darn fine films over-all and deserved the praise they recieved..

But as for, say, the toylines sustainability...it seems a niche audience. Perhaps it wasn't when they were coming out, but seems so now. Like if SW is the big commercial property of science-fiction, Star Trek was always sort of the second fiddle niche one. Smaller amount of collectors, smaller amount of merch. Well, it's sort of the same for Harry Potter vs. LOTR but for fantasy. I just don't think it has as much sustainability to go on and on and on and on with army builders. One issue is, when it comes to a lot of troops in the LOTR films, there's not really much uniformity. Every Mordor Orc is armored differently, a large amount of Rohirrim are armored uniquely, Gondorian Rangers are different, Haradrim are predominately individual, etc. I mean, there's even tons of different Uruks. You've got Captains, Pikeman, Crossbowman, Swordsman, Berzerkers, Amon Hen Uruk's, etc. I mean...I just don't know. I'd be IN LOVE with it, but I just can't see it being successful enough these days to ever really get that far.

I will say though, there are so many STUNNING armors in this franchise. Some of my favorites are the Prologue Elves, the Rohirrim Royal Guard, Eomer's armor, Theoden's armor...I mean it goes on and on.
 
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Great analysis ^^^

One figure of the multitudes I would love to have seen produced by The Bridge Direct (who failed miserably to deliver beyond the first wave(s) ) would be a Dain Ironfoot figure from BoTFAs - with both his armour, helm, warhammer, and unused red battle axe (of which an unused prop was built, Initially filmed - but then removed and replaced with the digital warhammer prop).

Aside from having made my own custom versions of Dain, I still live in hope that one day an official version will be produced - by any company.
 
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I love that this thread is back from the dead! This line definitely helped me solidify (in my mind anyway) that 2000-2009 was the best decade for action figure collecting. Oh how I wish ToyBiz had made just a few more characters, my Billy cases can take it.

Speaking of characters, what's this about a Dain custom? Who else has custom LOTR?

Sent from my Power Sword using the Force
 
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Ugh. Don’t get me started on the disappointment that was the bridge direct. I’m still mad about all the stuff that was shown at toyfair that we never got. Especially that 3.75” gift set that was going to have every dwarf plus gandalf and bilbo. That’s perhaps the most incomplete line ever

But I too think the toybiz LOTR line was incredible!
 
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I had recommended to Blake W., the author of Toys That Time Forgot (Vol 1-2) that Volume 3 needs to find out the real backstory about Bridge Direct and the Hobbit? Was it a problem on their end? Were the big boxes not buying? There's a lot of economics there and would be curious to see what really happened. I was just as disappointed when BD stopped their Hobbit line.

Toybiz did a fantastic line and the price was right. A Toybiz LOTR figure today would cost about $20-25 like the rest? Mythic Legions from Four Horsemen definitely fill the fantasy genre but pricey, obviously based on the niche market.

Popco did a fantastic run on realistic Harry Potter at 3-3/4 scale that was only in the UK. That series ended prematurely as well and so much more was planned for.

BTW - Mysterio Maximus - great analysis.
 
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I don’t know why this is sticking in my head, but I seem to recall some discussion that tbd was asking for too much money from the retailers. I know that was discussed but I don’t remember if that was based on anything or if that was speculation. I remember saying at the time that as a fledgling company they weren’t in a position to ask for so much and they had to build up to that. Plus they didn’t advertise that line at all as far I remember.
 
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The Toybiz line was indeed amazing. I mean it def. went much more in depth than I think anyone expected. It got way more in-depth than I foresaw. I mean, we started getting figures like Theodred...dude is basically on screen for one minute and is half dead or dead. But it made a great figure! Elendil, Gil Galad, Celeborn, Mina's Tirith Citadel Guard, Haradrim Oliphant Driver, Hamma, Gamling. I mean, there's more. The sheer amount of different Orcs we got, from named ones to generic, was impressive. Some figures are sort of reaching SW levels, where SW basically makes ANYONE and ANYTHING! It was pretty impressive.

For my money, I really only have a few on my list of "Wish they made" but never got to.

- Deagol: Strange we got Smeagol pre-ring but not his brother. Sure, if this were a normal line I'd get why, but they went above and beyond with obscure roles.

- Numenorean Soldier: This MIGHT be my biggest disappointment. It's all we needed to really complete the Last Alliance.

- Amon Hen Aragorn: It's really the only Aragorn variant we're missing.

- Snaga: That's the Orc that wants to eat Merry and Pippin, says "Just a mouthful, a bit of the flank," and then gets decapitated. I just really love his almost Nosferatu-like design and I'm ALWAYS for more Orc folk. P.S. He's actually voiced by Andy Serkis.

- Madril: This is the second in command to Faramir of the Ithilian rangers who's eventually impaled by Gothmog. Odd they made Hamma and Gamling but never this guy.

- Coronation Legolas: This one isn't super exciting but just plays off my OCD. We got how many re-releases of boring Legolas, new gimmick or accessory added, but they didn't do this one? Huh? It's irksome because they literally gave us Aragorn, Arwen, Gimli, Eomer, Faramir, and Eowyn in their unique Coronation costumes. Just complete it with Legolas!

- Rider of Rohan: Not Hamma, not the Rohirrim soldier (which in reality is the Royal Guard), not Gamling. I mean a generic rider. My logic is, we got a generic Gondorian ranger and soldier, why not one of these guys?

- Corsair of Umbar: I mean you could even do PJ's cameo character.

- Wildmen of Dunland: Just an interesting army, technically found alongside the Uruks at Helms Deep in the book. Wouldn't mind one.

I was always irked that the folks KNOWN as RIDERS never got horse and rider sets: Theoden, Eomer, and Eowyn/Dernhelm. Like WTF? How DIDN'T they? I also wish, since the super possible figures were so well done, they'd have gotten around to giving us updated super possible figures for basically every major player.

Since to get some exclusive figures (Mouth of Sauron, Haldir and Celeborn, Army of the Dead soldier, etc) you had to buy boxed sets usually filled with figures you already had, I did make a few customs back in the day. I sadly don't think I have them anymore though, I'd have to dig. I made an Erkenbrand (he was who Gandalf lead the charge on Helms Deep with in the novel), Prince Imrahil, Glorfindel, Dane Ironfoot (pre-The Hobbit films), and a few others. I wanted to do "What if" style figures for book characters that didn't make the films, just what I'd imagine they would have looked like.

I do enjoy seeing those roles done in a film style aesthetic. I'd like to do either new versions of and all of these: Fatty Bolger and Farmer Maggot, Gildor Inglorion, Tom Bombadi and Goldberry, the Barrow Wight, Glorfindel, Erkenbrand, Prince Imrahil and the Knights of Dol Amroth, Ghan Buri Ghan, Halbarad, the sons of Elrond (Elladan and Elrohir), Beregond, Quickbeam (though...maybe he is in the film just never mentioned?) would be immensely awesome.

I only picked up a few of The Hobbit movie figures, I only went with the 6'' just to match the Toybiz figures. I picked up Thorin, Radaghast, Bilbo, and Gandalf. They're actually surprisingly pretty nice figures, match well too. I'm not a big fan of the second and third Hobbit films, I have MAJOR issues, but I'd have still bought Bard, Thranduil, Beorn and a few others had they made them.
 
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My biggest regret is we never got the mines of Moria giftset they were planning to do. I loved the gift sets they did! I envisioned a display box with them huddled around the tomb maybe with a troll and an orc/goblin.

I also started with the 6” hobbit line to keep it consistent but then I bought the 3.75” line when it became clear that was the only way we were going to get some of those characters.
 
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It looks like at least something else new is coming for LOTR outside of the Diamond Select figures. Apparently a company called the Loyal Subjects (I've heard of but not especially familiar with) is at minimum doing a Gandalf in what they're calling the BST AXN line. Not a clue what that stands for. They're 5'' figures. What's especially bizarre is, the line seems...utterly...random. It's filled with figures of real-world rockstars, anime characters, there's a figure from Big Trouble in Little China, and...Gandalf. No word on whether this is a one and done or they'll do a whole series of LOTR characters, but I'm LIKING the Gandalf thus far. If only Gandalf, that really feels a waste of the licence.

ANX-33__scaled_600.jpg

ANX-34__scaled_600.jpg
 
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It does look good, but will Indeed be a crying shame is that’s the only figure to be released...
Agreed! The concept art for the figure looks great, I love the (seeming) amount of articulation he'll have. I'll def. pick him up, but yeesh if he's one and done...why even bother getting the rights? Still, a Tolkien nerd can dream. I'd love to see an entire series done. I'd KILL for 5'' super articulated Uruk Hai warriors for Helms Deep. Could pack in a pike, sword, shield, swappable head for the captain helmet. Could do the crossbowmen maybe with a pack in bomb and berserkers too with build-able ladder. I'd buy tons. If done right, I think I'd even buy nine Nazgul. Of course do the Fellowship, key Rohan and Gondor players and soldiers, Gollum, Saruman, Mordor Orcs, I mean sky is the limit really.
 
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I saw this yesterday, I like the mock up. And I've always felt 5" is a sweet spot scale that's underused. As long as its not something I don't have to scale hop from 3.75 or 6" for, I'll give them a whirl, price contingent.
I've never been much of a fan of 7", the figures just start seeming a little too lanky- Mcfarlane DC and Diamond's stuff in particular.
 
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I have a four shelf curio cabinet in my bedroom filled completely with LOTR/Hobbit items/figures. I sort of themed each shelf, the top being The Shire/The Hobbit themed, second is the Prologue, third is Helms Deep/Rohan, and last is Moria. Also got out my tub of figures I don't have on display, I think I'm going to take some fun photos later.

There's a few figures I just never really wanted like what I call "radioactive" Galadriel or Transfixed Bilbo, but noticed I'm missing a few more than I thought: I still need Isildur, Gondorian Swordsman, Mordor Orc Lieutenant, Eowyn (Shield-maiden of Rohan), Aragorn (Council of Elrond), Frodo (Super Possible w/ Journal), Mouth of Sauron (the steed), Celeborn, Haldir (Lothlorien), King Theoden (Possessed), and Gamling. Anyone have any for of these for sale by chance?
 
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I don't know, I mean I've always argued that The Lord of the Rings is impossible to directly translate to film. Tolkien infamous did things that writing courses at that time would directly advise you not to do. Some good example:

- The Departure of Boromir is the first chapter in the The Two Towers, but that's immensely anti-climactic for cinema. I get why Jackson chose to end Fellowship of the Ring with the death rather than open the next with it. If or when you view the timeline as just one large story rather than how the books are numerically structured, it's rather trivial. Like Shelob being the climax of The Two Towers novel, Jackson isn't incorrect. It is occurring at the same time as the Siege of Mina's Tirith.

- Immensely important developments in the novels plot are told retrospectively through mere accounts and dialogue. We're told of Saruman imprisoning Gandalf at Orthanc and the Ents causing the fall of Isengard and subsequently capturing Saruman, for instance, without ever actually witnessing the events as they unfolded. Perhaps that can work in a novel, but it's incredibly unsatisfying on film. Can you imagine how disappointing it would be to go to see Isengard flooded and Merry and Pippin just say "Yeah the Ents did this" and just...that's it? That sort of thing doesn't work in a visual medium. You can't just say it happened and show the after effects, you need to show it as it's happening. It's the same with the whole film prologue, it sets up the world by showing it rather than telling it.

- I completely understand some of the omissions and alterations. I'm one of the few who seems to get the purpose of Tom Bombadil and even enjoy those segments, but even I can't deny...it's not required. Glorfindel is wonderful and adds to the world building...but he never appears again. I can understand just why they'd rather alter that role to one that's got slightly more significance, though I feel bad that he's been screwed over two times now: Legolas in the Bakshi cartoon, Arwen in the live-action. I get its thematic purpose, that war effects all lands eventually, but even I didn't really miss the Scouring of the Shire. It's just so depressing. Plus some things are really debatable as to whether or not they even are an alteration.
I never saw it as Theoden was under a literal spell from Wormtongue and Saruman. I never interpreted the Helms Deep wall breach as a "bomb," but view the description I suppose it could be. Just interpretation.

- I think, visually, they really nailed Tolkien better than any other interpretation. I'd always seen pre-movie versions of hobbits that looks so...Oompa Loompa silly. I liked seeing a more serious take, where they're proportionate...just small. Some of the films designs I will never un-see, they're so spot on for me. I had no idea how they'd pull off Ents without people laughing...but by God, they pulled it off and in a serious way.

Overall, I think the films did the best they could with what Tolkien wrote. I feel they really nail the heart and spirit of the books. But with that said, that doesn't mean there weren't things I disliked. I never cared for Galadriel going nuclear, it's too campy. I hated Faramir's temporary heel turn on Frodo, so betrays the character. Thankfully he begins to act more like book Faramir again by Return of the King. I'm not a fan of the Warg battle filler sequence. Elves at Helms Deep always irked me because this is a battle for men, it makes men look weak by proxy, as if they need help. Also was always disappointed by the omission of Eomer from the ENTIRE battle. I always argued, really, he's Boromir's "replacement," so to speak. I still hate Legolas managing to kill a Mumikil all by himself. Is he Spider-Man? These films were largely so serious, but that was the obligatory over-the-top Hollywood moment. I suppose I understand why this was done...but...I also hate that they used the Army of the Dead to just quickly wrap up the Siege of Gondor. Duex Ex Army of the Dead! I get it, how else are you gonna end it quickly considering...film...but it'll always irk me.

I mean they're not perfect, but I think they're darn fine films over-all and deserved the praise they recieved..

But as for, say, the toylines sustainability...it seems a niche audience. Perhaps it wasn't when they were coming out, but seems so now. Like if SW is the big commercial property of science-fiction, Star Trek was always sort of the second fiddle niche one. Smaller amount of collectors, smaller amount of merch. Well, it's sort of the same for Harry Potter vs. LOTR but for fantasy. I just don't think it has as much sustainability to go on and on and on and on with army builders. One issue is, when it comes to a lot of troops in the LOTR films, there's not really much uniformity. Every Mordor Orc is armored differently, a large amount of Rohirrim are armored uniquely, Gondorian Rangers are different, Haradrim are predominately individual, etc. I mean, there's even tons of different Uruks. You've got Captains, Pikeman, Crossbowman, Swordsman, Berzerkers, Amon Hen Uruk's, etc. I mean...I just don't know. I'd be IN LOVE with it, but I just can't see it being successful enough these days to ever really get that far.

I will say though, there are so many STUNNING armors in this franchise. Some of my favorites are the Prologue Elves, the Rohirrim Royal Guard, Eomer's armor, Theoden's armor...I mean it goes on and on.
lots of great points here, Mysterio Maximus. i agree about Faramir in particular. that heel moment was totally out of character. and i can see why they'd have to move things around to fit the cinematic format. and overall, those films were outstanding.

but if i had to pinpoint what bugged me the most, it would have to be how they took away or maginalized all of boromir's best moments- his journey from gondor to rivendell alone on horseback, the way he blew his horn and charged the balrog while everybody else cowered in fear, the mountain of orcs he killed, etc etc. its like they really went out on a limb to show that aragorn was the better of the two. in the books, aragorn was superior in his ability to resist the temptation of ring, not in his strength, courage, or valor.

i was also bugged by the dismissive manner in which gandalf treated denethor. i didnt see the need for them to do that.

action-star legolas was also somewhat wince-inducing. legolas in the books was much more aloof, and didnt really concern himself with matters of men. i really didnt like that line about "this is the king of gondor! you owe him your allegiance!"

i do realize of course that im nitpicking here. overall, that trilogy was a real achievement.
 
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also, i wasnt a fan of the way Boromir went out. 3 arrows? from an invented super orc? named "Lurtz"? i always pictured him looking like a pincushion from all the orc arrows, while taking out an army of them before going down. instead, they had Aragorn do all the orc killing, before taking out "Lurtz". i think the original version was much more dramatic.
 
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lots of great points here, Mysterio Maximus. i agree about Faramir in particular. that heel moment was totally out of character. and i can see why they'd have to move things around to fit the cinematic format. and overall, those films were outstanding.

but if i had to pinpoint what bugged me the most, it would have to be how they took away or maginalized all of boromir's best moments- his journey from gondor to rivendell alone on horseback, the way he blew his horn and charged the balrog while everybody else cowered in fear, the mountain of orcs he killed, etc etc. its like they really went out on a limb to show that aragorn was the better of the two. in the books, aragorn was superior in his ability to resist the temptation of ring, not in his strength, courage, or valor.

i was also bugged by the dismissive manner in which gandalf treated denethor. i didnt see the need for them to do that.

action-star legolas was also somewhat wince-inducing. legolas in the books was much more aloof, and didnt really concern himself with matters of men. i really didnt like that line about "this is the king of gondor! you owe him your allegiance!"

i do realize of course that im nitpicking here. overall, that trilogy was a real achievement.
Really great points here and thanks man! I mean I loved the LOTR films, but that doesn't mean I love EVERY aspect.

They...REALLY...ran with the Denethor hate train. Like yes, he's not exactly a beloved fan favorite role in books either, but they big-time amped up his pure jackass-ness. Hah! First they removed that really he's gone insane due to exposure to a Palantir, so he doesn't really get that sort of "Oh! Well that explains his behavior more" moment. They really wanted him to just not have any iota of sympathy, they want us to hate him, but then...it's been a while now and ROTK was always the novel I oddly retained the least about for some reason. It's not that I disliked it or consider it my least favorite, just I always seem to have trouble remembering some aspects of it more than the others. But I just don't remember him being THAT loathsome to Faramir. Well...outside of the whole pyre thing. Hah! I do seem to recall he def. showed favoritude to Boromir, but like legitimately saying he'd rather Faramir died over Boromir? Whoa, father of the year here. I always wondered if those were pickup shots done to apologize for making Faramir a jerk for half of The Two Towers, that didn't sit well with many book fans so perhaps a way of making us sympathize with him more. Faramir is at least way more like his book personality by ROTK. But I could even roll with all that Denethor stuff, it still works and Noble is a fantastic actor, but there's one scene I HATED with him: Gandalf whacking Denethor on the head. I don't care how mad he was going...Gandalf would never do that. It's a nitpick because the siege is incredible, but that I always want to cut out.

Now this is just another opinion of mine, but why did they make Galadriel kind of ominous in portions of Fellowship? I can go with it, but it's not how I ever really saw her. Maybe I should re-read. For the most part, she is very haunting through all of the Fellowship film until the gift giving scene when she seems to...lighten-up a bit.
 
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haha yeah the worst part was when gandalf insults denethor with "STEWARD!" like its some kind of menial job. then clocks him with his staff! when its clear that steward is the highest office in gondor. the mutual respect with mutual suspicion displayed in the books is more subtle and nuanced.

i see your point about Galadriel heheh. they turned Boromir's unspoken suspicions about her into an all-out horror show. that worked great for the bilbo/frodo ring scene, but it was much less effective for Galadriel.
 
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i also had issues with the way they used lembas. its supposed to serve as an allegory to the eucharist, and as a way to explain how the company was able to march from rivendell to mordor. in the films they used it as a punchline.
 
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gotta admit though- gondor looked way better in the films than in my imagination. and the scene of pippin singing while senethor stuffs his face as faramir gets cut down was brilliant. and that wasnt from the books.
 
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and the acting was superb. i was genuinely moved when Faramir accepts Denethors orders to retake osgiliath. then says "if i should return, think better if me father" then denethors reply "that depends on the manner if your return" then they cut to Faramir on horseback marching out of minas tirith with his men. great stuff!
 
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But I could even roll with all that Denethor stuff, it still works and Noble is a fantastic actor, but there's one scene I HATED with him: Gandalf whacking Denethor on the head. I don't care how mad he was going...Gandalf would never do that. It's a nitpick because the siege is incredible, but that I always want to cut out.

hahaha
 
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Ugh. Don’t get me started on the disappointment that was the bridge direct. I’m still mad about all the stuff that was shown at toyfair that we never got. Especially that 3.75” gift set that was going to have every dwarf plus gandalf and bilbo. That’s perhaps the most incomplete line ever
I think Playmate's Star trek Line begs to differ! lol
Though I agree TBD Hobbit line had the potential for much more depth beyond just the those movies, and I had so hoped for a few LOTR figures.
 

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Maybe if Gandalf sells well they might make Frodo and the others.
 
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I rewatched the LotR trilogy over my birthday weekend last week and it got me interested in fillingnsome gaps in the colelction. I was only 9 when Fellowship came out so very much had to to rely on presents to get LotR figures. 19 years on I’m working and can afford every bloody Uruk variation lol.
That being said I never realised how diverse this line was until researching it the last week and even then I think I’ve missed stuff as I can’t find a comprehensive list. As a kid I pretty much only knew about the figures I saw in stores, so was unaware of the named uruks they’ve done or the SA figures that came later on.
This week I’ve tracked down and received an SA Helmsdeep Aragorn, Helmsdeep Legolas, Battle Cry Uruk, Gothmog, Uruk Archer, Haradrim Archer, White Hand Uruk from the Uruk vs Gimli fellowship 2 pack, with hopes to acquire more. For 19 year old figures they really hold up and their articulation rivals even modern figures.
My aims are to get definitive or close to definitive versions of characters. Does anyone know if there was SA versions of all the Hobbits? I know I had Sam from a kid, and I’ve found Frodo in his brown jacket as an SA figure but ideally would love an SA jacketless Frodo since they ditched the jackets post Fellowship. Also any SA Merry/ Pippins out there?
Also does anyone have recommendations for the best Gandalf the white? I have the white wizards two pack from a kid but wondering if they uodated Gandalf from that set.

any info is much appreciated!
 
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In their original outfits, I believe the most articulated Merry and Pippin was their 2-pack rerelease of the versions that originally came double packed with orcs (I think). They had some added ankle articulation, maybe more, and they had Lothlorien cloaks instead of Shire ones. Kind of one of the bigger oversights in the line. I remember seeing some good customs, though, but you'd need parts from the There and Back Again 5 pack to make one. The versions in their Rohan/Gondor armor were good. Either those or the TABA versions would technically count as "super-articulated" I suppose, but maybe not in the outfits you'd prefer.

EDIT: Just looked up sample packaged figs on eBay. The original release had Merry & Pippin packed with a Moria Orc for the FOTR line. The better articulated versions came packed respectively with either Ugluk or Grishnakh in the beginning of TTT line, then packed together later in the same.
 
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I rewatched the LotR trilogy over my birthday weekend last week and it got me interested in fillingnsome gaps in the colelction. I was only 9 when Fellowship came out so very much had to to rely on presents to get LotR figures. 19 years on I’m working and can afford every bloody Uruk variation lol.
That being said I never realised how diverse this line was until researching it the last week and even then I think I’ve missed stuff as I can’t find a comprehensive list. As a kid I pretty much only knew about the figures I saw in stores, so was unaware of the named uruks they’ve done or the SA figures that came later on.
This week I’ve tracked down and received an SA Helmsdeep Aragorn, Helmsdeep Legolas, Battle Cry Uruk, Gothmog, Uruk Archer, Haradrim Archer, White Hand Uruk from the Uruk vs Gimli fellowship 2 pack, with hopes to acquire more. For 19 year old figures they really hold up and their articulation rivals even modern figures.
My aims are to get definitive or close to definitive versions of characters. Does anyone know if there was SA versions of all the Hobbits? I know I had Sam from a kid, and I’ve found Frodo in his brown jacket as an SA figure but ideally would love an SA jacketless Frodo since they ditched the jackets post Fellowship. Also any SA Merry/ Pippins out there?
Also does anyone have recommendations for the best Gandalf the white? I have the white wizards two pack from a kid but wondering if they uodated Gandalf from that set.

any info is much appreciated!
If you want I can try and send you the checklist I use for lotr figures. As far as I know it’s got everything on it including variations and such. Can we send documents through pm? If not, pm me your email address and I can email it to you.
 
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I'll try to create a log to help out here. It is rather surprising there really...isn't...a super accurate archive. So here's what I'd deem as the definitive versions of characters:

Aragorn: Due to him having multiple different outfits I'll try to cover the big but best ones here. and

- Strider actually has multiple figures, but some are kind of lousy. The thing that sort of sucks is to really get all of his gear, you'll have to buy most if not all of them. But to get the definitive base body and a decent likeness (some are pretty bad), go with the FOTR Epic Collection "Super-Poseable" Strider. It's by far the most articulated version of this look and the least gimmicky.

- Helms Deep Aragorn only has two versions, but without question TTT Epic Collection "Super-Poseable" Helms Deep Aragorn is the winner. It's actually probably one of the best figures they've ever produced for the line. It's not perfect, but it's a pretty darn good figure.

- Black Gate Aragorn (labeled Super-Poseable Pelennor Fields Aragorn) from the original Return of the King line was pretty much a hit from the get go.

Honorable mentions: King Elessar (labeled Aragorn King of Gondor) and Aragorn Council of Elrond are less necessary costumes, but very solid figures. Amon Hen Aragorn was unfortunately never made, though I don't think he would be difficult to customize. For the majority of his appearance in TTT's, that being basically the Strider appearance with Lorien cloak and Boromir's gauntlets, was only produced in the Horse and Rider series.

Legolas: He's got an absurd amount of re-releases of basically the same former figures just with different accessories or gimmicks, but these I would consider the definitives.

- Mirkwood Legolas from the FOTR Epic Collection is probably the best for his early cloakless appearance and includes his Mirkwood bow and quiver.

- Legolas with Rohan Armor is a phenomenal figure. Go with the original release for TTT's, but try to get the first edition for the sculpted arrows. They're vastly superior to the later rubber tipped arrow releases.

Honorable mentions: So Legolas post-Lothlorien (meaning Amon Hen, the majority of TTT's, and the majority of ROTK) with Lorien cloak, bow, and quiver but w/o Helms Deep armor (Rohan shoulder-gear and sword) has really stumped me. I could have sworn I have this in a Super-Poseable version, but in doing my research I'm not sure if it exists officially. but I can't seem to find it outside of the Horse and Rider set. I found one with "arrow launching" action and one with "knife throwing" action, I even found one that doesn't have the shoulder armor but inaccurately does have the Rohan sword. I'm utterly confused. Legolas does have a Council of Elrond variant, but realistically it's just the Mirkwood figure with a bland poncho. Outside of the Hobbits, Legolas is (regrettably) the only major character to not receive a figure for his Coronation outfit.

Boromir: This is an easy one. No doubt about it, the FOTR Epic Collection Super-Poseable Boromir is one of the best figures they ever made.

Gandalf: This one is more debatable as to which is the best version of.

- Gandalf the Grey: There is a FOTR Epic Collection version that has more articulation (though I hesitate to call it truly Super-Poseable) and scabbard for Glamdring but it's rather confusing as basically this figure is almost a variant than new figure. It's base is the first ever made Gandalf the Grey in the FOTR line, then it was re-released with updated articulation but labeled as having a light-up staff and lacking the scabbard. Then there's Balrog Battle Gandalf in TTT's Epic Collection line. This is an unfortunate figure as it's probably the best Gandalf the Grey body with the most articulation, but the head sculpt is permanently angry. It's a good figure, but a one scene wonder figure. If they'd have put a neutral head on this body and added his hat and cloak it could have been perfect. Oddly, I think The Bridge Connect 6'' Gandalf the Grey released for The Hobbit may actually be the best version, albeit not 100% true to his appearance in FOTR.

- Gandalf the White: I don't think there truly is a definitive version. None really 100% hit the mark for me, but if I had to pick it's probably the Horse and Rider version. However, that does mean terrible legs and cloth goods.

Gimli: This one is also easier. There is sadly no Super-Poseable Gimli in his definitive look (though his Coronation version is), but the one that was first released in the FOTR Two-Pack with an Amon Hen Uruk Hai (while lacking that articulation) is a pretty nice figure and can cover pre and post Lothlorien cloak Gimli. Also the very first Gimli is an odd version, I'm thinking designed before the finalized look in the film was finished. It's not accurate to his appearance at the Council, nor does it have his helmet.

The Hobbits: Sam and Frodo both have fantastic Super-Poseable figures for their appearance in FOTR. You technically can toss on their Shire cloaks from previous versions too to cover that look. They also have fantastic figures for their ROTK Orc disguises and beaten-up Mt. Doom/Mordor versions. However, the in-between versions where they're not wearing their jackets but are wearing their vests aren't covered well...if covered at all. There is a version for Frodo, but it's only with a light-up sting action feature that really kills the figure. There's also a Shelob's lair version where he is covered in webs and wearing the Lorien cloak still but lost the vest now, but it also has a light-up action figure for the Phial. Sam doesn't have his jacketless but vest version at all.

Merry and Pippin really got kind of overlooked. The best versions for their main costumes are in Two-Packs (with Ugluk and Grishnak) released for TTT's and really the only addition is knee articulation. But they are the best versions and you could toss their Shire cloaks onto too for that look. Pippin in Gondorian Armor and Merry in Rohan armor are pretty great figures however.

Then lastly, they all have very nice figures to represent their Grey Havens appearance.
 
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Thanks for the info, really appreciated! I didn’t realise the Merry and Pippin 2 pack versions were upgraded slightly so I’ll have to look for them which is fine since I still want the orc/ uruk from their packs too. Glad I didn’t order their three pack with the Moria Orc yet them since they’re worse figures.

Gandalf is my biggest issue atm. I want him with the cloak rather than the soft goods ‘jacket’ the one I have comes with but I’ve read many comments that say the cloak is terrible and you have to watch out for some having limited arm articulation due to an action figure while other releases of what seems to be the same sculpt doesn’t have the problem. Doe the Two Towers Gandalf the White in the Epic Trilogy packaging have the articulation issue do we know? It might be the closest one I can find to what I wantbeing an all proper white costumed Gandalf and a cape.
 
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If I recall correctly (all my figures are in storage), my favorite Gandalf the Whites were the one that came with Shadowfax - has a very nice softgoods cloak, and the 'Stormcrow' one from late in the Epic line with the gray plastic cloak. I tended to skip figures of repeat characters if there wasn't some obvious improvement or difference.
 
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Thanks for the info, really appreciated! I didn’t realise the Merry and Pippin 2 pack versions were upgraded slightly so I’ll have to look for them which is fine since I still want the orc/ uruk from their packs too. Glad I didn’t order their three pack with the Moria Orc yet them since they’re worse figures.

Gandalf is my biggest issue atm. I want him with the cloak rather than the soft goods ‘jacket’ the one I have comes with but I’ve read many comments that say the cloak is terrible and you have to watch out for some having limited arm articulation due to an action figure while other releases of what seems to be the same sculpt doesn’t have the problem. Doe the Two Towers Gandalf the White in the Epic Trilogy packaging have the articulation issue do we know? It might be the closest one I can find to what I wantbeing an all proper white costumed Gandalf and a cape.
If I recall correctly (all my figures are in storage), my favorite Gandalf the Whites were the one that came with Shadowfax - has a very nice softgoods cloak, and the 'Stormcrow' one from late in the Epic line with the gray plastic cloak. I tended to skip figures of repeat characters if there wasn't some obvious improvement or difference.
I don't own all the Gandalf the White's either, mostly because there seem to be only two base body types. But I've been doing some digging and I'm not 100% on that anymore. Here's what I found:


gandalfthewhite.jpg

Above is the first released Gandalf the White. I believe he was repacked a few times in the epic collection. An easy way to identify this figure (as it can be difficult to tell the articulation ...especially the legs since covered by the tunic) is it'll be labeled on the package as having Staff Extending Action. It's IMO the weaker of the GTW's as the right arm is completely tied to the gimmick and is pretty immobile.


AF-123010_7fcf983e-3019-11df-9b0a-001ee5d7ff66_00.jpg

This version is just the same...just basically bleached. Hah!

gandalfstormcrow(trilogy).jpg

Then for Gandalf Stormcrow, I can't 100% say, but I'm 99% sure it's ALSO a re-release of the same figure just with POSSIBLY a new head (I cannot tell for certain if it's new or just a new paint job) and the cloak he hides under when entering the Golden Hall at Edoras. I do know the cloak is removable, but I too tended to skip figures like this: basically just re-releases with one fairly unnecessary or boring new accessory. They did a LOT of figures like that.

AF-889723_360a5c48-75da-11e2-90d8-bc764e04bf91_00.jpg

This is the version released with Shadowfax. He's different in that both arms have full articulation, he includes a soft goods cloak and lower tunic, and his legs are the rubbery type with a bendy-wire to enable him to ride his steed. The head is the same as the standard first release. The Rider sets are rather nice, but the rubber legs are def. their massive downfall. It renders them nearly useless below the waste when NOT on their horses. They barely stand.

the-lord-of-the-rings---gandalf-the-white---rotk-p-image-347290-grande.jpg

Then I believe this is the last...and most confusing for me...of the GTW's they released in this scale. I don't own it, but figured out what it is. This figure is sort of a Dr. Frankenstein's monster of parts. The body from the head down is...yet again...just the same as the first released GTW body meaning very limited right arm. It has what I believe is the soft goods cloak from the Horse and Rider version. Then lastly, it's got an all new windswept/angry head/face sculpt.

So considering the options, I'd oddly say the Horse and Rider one is the best of. However, realistically...a combo of from torso up of the Horse and Rider version (fully articulated right arm) with the lower torso (articulated sculpted legs/tunic) of the original release would have been the best the most ideal.

-3557101194305953202.jpg

This is the first released GTG, it's got a light-up staff gimmick and it's the only way to get that specific plastic cloak. It's a very...limited....figure.

trilogy-series-lotr-gandalf-the-grey-with-blue-sword.jpg

This is the second release of the same figure but I BELIEVE that's a new headsculpt. It's minus the cloak obviously, but it's kind of a confusing figure because...

original.jpeg

They also release this one and to a keen eye it may look like another re-release. It's actually not...here's a better loose look.

gandalf-1.jpg

This is def. the best way to go for a full Gandalf the Grey. He's got updated arms with VAST superior arm articulation, a newly sculpted staff without the light-up feature, is the first to actually include the scabbard for Glamdring (also newly sculpted), and has a much better and less hindering cloak.

products-tril-tt-balrog-bat-gandalf.jpg

Then lastly, here's the Balrog Battle one. It's got the best articulation of them all (although the rubber sculpted sleeves over the arms limit the mobility of said articulation) but it's really just depicting only that specific scene. It's a great figure, but for the best overall representation of GTG...go with the one above this one.
 

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Now for other characters, just ask if need info on specific ones. There's too much for me to list. But what I do wanna do is a sort of recommendation list for those newer to the line or getting back into it.

One word: Gothmog! Gothmog, Gothmog, Gothmog!

lord_of_the_rings_gothmog_lotr_1597475481_b810219a_progressive.jpg

This is an ABSURDLY good figure and one of my personal favorites. The detail is on point with freaking NECA. Added bonus is, he's super articulated instead of somewhat limited by an action feature. By this point in the line, there were less and less action features. I'd actually go as far as to say, some of the best figures in the entire line are Orcs. I also highly recommend Grishnak, Moria Orc Archer and Swordsman, the duo of Gorbag and Shagrat, and if you can score one go with the Mordor Orc Lieutenant or as I like to call him; Bonehead. He's the one with the skull on top of his helmet. I'm even missing him. He's absurdly rare and I want to say one of...if not the...last figure made for the line.

Unfortunately I think most the Uruks aren't done quite as well though.

TBZ81397.jpg

Now I'm showing my ABSOLUTE bias for Rohan over Gondor, but my God do I love their armors. They're so intricate and detailed. Frankly, beautiful. Now a lot of them do have an action feature, but fortunately most don't really interfere with the sculpts much. I absolutely love Armored Theoden. I mean just LOOK at those colors and details. The browns, reds, and greens highlighted in gold trim and silver detail just really give it this stunning Autumn like pallet. Others I HIGHLY recommend would be Eowyn as Dernhelm, Eomer (he's a bit more dated than others and I really wish he'd have been given a super-articulated version) but awesome nonetheless, and oddly Theodred. It's pretty hysterical they made a figure of a character that's only ever DEAD on screen...but if you consider it a sort of BEFORE he died figure, man is he incredible.

51ZMTXSETBL._AC_.jpg

I absolutely love this Elrond figure. I think it's the best example of how to really do a robed or cloaked character WITHOUT cloth goods but STILL making it have a level of workable articulation that still looks mostly natural.

dd25915807b0ca54ee2ee72b2f4923ed.jpg

I am EXTREMELY fond of this Bilbo figure. While it may not be the best on articulation, the sculpt is wonderful. But for me, it's something more. This figure OOZES charm. Just looking at it puts a smile on my face. It's almost a physical representation of the entire SPIRIT of Tolkien. Plus he's riddled with truly tickling accessories. "The road goes ever on and on...down from the door where it began. Now far ahead the road has gone...and I must follow if I can."

41S5CEQBEKL._AC_.jpg

Now this figure isn't perfect. His articulation is basically useless below the waist. But come on...if you can overlook that...just LOOK at it! It's gorgeous! Plus they did something brilliant with the figure. They gave him accessories to make him the archer version, the lancer version, or the swordsman version. I WISH they did that with the Helms Deep Uruks. Frankly, I recommend all the Last Alliance figures. Gil-Galad, Elendil, Isildur, Sauron, and Prologue Elrond are all super stellar figures. My ONLY regret is we never got a Numenorean Soldier. It and Amon Hen Aragorn are my most wanted that we never got.

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The Easterling figure is just the essence of pure bad***!

lord-rings-toy-figure-set-mumakill_360_a5021894953d204a203f06d086536aaf.jpg

This one is tougher to find as it was only available in a boxed set, but man is he worth picking up. I freaking love this dudes design. He always gave me sort of Temple of Doom vibes.

unnamed (1).jpg

They did a 12'' rotocast line that mostly I skipped, but GET this one. The Armored Mordor Troll is AWESOME. It's weak on articulation, but as I've said with a lot of figures...just look at it! It's freaking art! And it's in scale with the 6'' figure line.

In other news, I've been re-listening to the Howard Shore scores; extended versions too. Man does LOTR have one of the greatest film scores or WHAT? I mean, it's chills worthy every time I listen to it. I'd go as far as to say, the Isengard theme is the ONLY villain theme to even come close to rivaling the Imperial March. I remember back when the films first came out, I was in late High School and some rival school bands would even play it at football games. Same with the Imperial March. THAT'S when you know it's BIG! Autumn always puts me in a LOTR mood.
 
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