I love Lord of the Rings from the books, to the movies, and even the massively multiplayer online role-playing game, Lord of the Rings Online.
In late 2001, right before Fellowship of the Ring hit movie theaters, Lord of the Rings action figures produced by ToyBiz began showing up in stores. I remember seeing these figures in the store and being amazed by how much they actually looked like the characters from the film. That’s because ToyBiz used a new technology at the time to scan the actors so they could get accurate models.
It had been years since I had bought an action figure, but I decided to give the toy line a chance. The first figure I purchased was Legolas, my favorite character. I was impressed by the amount of articulation on Legolas while I admired the little painted details, the quiver containing individual loose arrows, and the fact that his bow was strung. His bow could actually shoot the little arrows for a short distance!
You can continue reading below to see the rest of my collection, or you can check out my video on Youtube where you will also get to see some of the action features of the figures.
Legolas was soon accompanied by the rest of the fellowship.
Then I decided I wanted to buy some of the other characters featured in the films.
Very soon my collection grew. I did my best to only stick to one figure per character, but I made exceptions for characters like Legolas and Eowyn. I also picked up another version of Bilbo and Sam from a flea market for a dollar each.
Action features were huge in this line and several figures have big ugly buttons on their backs that fortunately are hid by the capes on some of them. The button usually moves one of the figure’s arms when pressed to look like he or she is swinging a sword.
One of the coolest things about this toy line is they made mounts! Big glorious horses. I love them. I wish I would have bought the rest when they were out because you don’t see too many 1/12 scale action figure horses any more. In addition to the mounted figures I own, I know Legolas had a horse too and Aragorn had one or two as well.
The mounts also have action features. When a button on their flank is pressed, the horses move their front legs to look like they are running. The warg’s button moves its jaw.
A few characters even had light up features. The crystal on Gandalf’s staff would light up when his elbow is bent. I believe the Ringwraith’s horse’s eyes would glow when the reins are pulled back.
The cave troll may have also had light up eyes and sound, but mine no longer works. The cave troll’s face is a rubbery material that is not going to age well, but it allows the lower jaw of the troll to move when one of the levers on the troll’s back is pulled.
The tallest action figure I own is Treebeard from this line. His eyes light up, he says four different lines from the films, and his mustache (treestashe?) wiggles when he talks.
I can not recall any movie line of action figures going into the variety of characters and sheer number of figures as ToyBiz’s The Lord of the Rings line. I likely do not even own a quarter of all the figures produced if you include all the character variants, but I am extremely happy with all the figures I own.