Here we have our first real look (apart from the Tower Records exclusive Sauron) at the Lord of the Rings Minimates. The US Toys R Us exclusive 4-packs started appearing on the shelves in June 2004. There were 2 sets, one set which I review here, containing Aragorn, Saruman, Legolas and a hidden figure of Twilight Frodo, the second set containing Gollum, Gandalf the White, Frodo and a hidden figure of the Beserker Uruk-Hai, which is reviewed here.



The packaging for both 4-packs is identical, bar the names on the front. For a more detailed analysis and a picture of the back of the packaging check out the first LOTR 4-pack review here.


Suffice to say, it appears the packaging has been well received by fans. It will be interesting to see how the 2-pack sets differ from this, as an AA representive is quoted as saying “The packaging on the 2 and 4 packs was illustrated in a similar style but substantially distinctive from one another”.



The Figures



The reluctant hero Aragorn, in an outfit from the Two Towers, is the first figure in this set. As a human character in the films, he appears here as a 2 and a half inch Minimate. In the past, the likeness of Viggo Mortensen has been hard for many action figure companies to capture, but here, with a few strokes and some stubble, he is captured quite brilliantly. The piercing eyes, the determined mouth, it’s all there, it’s all Aragorn, topped off with one of the best-looking hair pieces around.


Even though Aragorn is wearing a simple tunic and “skirt”, there is a lot of detail, mainly on the tops of the arms, where chainmail effect detailing has been picked out and looks fantastic. Overall the paint apps are very clean on this figure, no slop anywhere.


For accessories, Aragorn has his sword, and a scabbard, which clips into the side of his “skirt” piece in the same way that Gandalf’s did. He also has 2 wrist pieces that he wears. Both of them are cut the same way, they aren’t different for left or right. I’ll have to check that out against the source material as it just strikes me as strange.


Overall, Aragorn was one of my most anticipated Minimates, and he doesn’t disappoint. Great expression, nice detailing, good accessories.


MMC Score – 8 out of 10





The second figure in the set is Saruman, who appeared first in Fellowship of the Ring. Again, as a human wizard Saruman is made using the new 2 and a half inch Minimate body.


I won’t beat around the bush; Saruman is the worst figure in the set. It has problems from the off: the face is not recognisable as Christopher Lee, even when the beard/hairpice is removed. In addition, the hairpiece/beard combination not only completely restricts the head and neck movement, but is also painted quite poorly, with noticable bleeding between the white and grey areas of the beard.


The cream-coloured robe that Saruman wears means that the legs cannot move, however, it is nicely detailed and the paint on the clothing has been well done.


Saruman comes with one accessory, his staff, which, much like Gandalf’s staff, is quite bent. The other problem with this accessory is that due to his voluminous sleeves, he cannot hold it the same way Gandalf does because the sleeve restricts it.


Overall, the fact that I’ve had to use the word “restricts” so much in this review is damning evidence of how many problems this figure has. Gandalf, being a similar type of figure, has many of the same problems but to a much lesser degree. Saruman just amplifies all his faults to a higher level. Not one of the best figures by any stretch of the imagination. 

MMC Score – 3 out of 10





The third figure in the set is the crowd pleasing hero Legolas, the “can-do” Elf, ulitlising the 2 and a half inch Minimate body.


The face is very good. Using very little detail, they have captured Legolas’s confident, knowing look and the expression on his face is perfect. The hairpiece also rather surprisingly doesn’t restrict movement, due to the long hair being quite bendable and flexible, allowing the head to turn freely.


Legolas has the most painted detail of all the figures in this set, and like Aragorn, there is not a line out of place or a smear anywhere to be seen, even in some of the more tricky areas like his tunic and boots. The amount of sculpted detail is great too. The cloak, with its clasp and shoulder pads on one side, and quiver on the other, is particularly well done, and is the sort of detail missing from the Marvel Minimate line.


Legolas has the most amount of weaponry of any Lord of the Rings Minimate thus far. As well as a short sword and scabbard, Legolas has a bow, with plasticy string. Sadly he has no arrows to fire. Even if AA could not come up with a workable firing bow, it would have been nice to have a couple of arrows for him to hold or store in a quiver, but this is more wishful thinking than a complaint.


Overall, this is a great representation of Legolas, with a great amount of detail and some nice accessories. 


MMC Score – 8 out of 10



Twilight Frodo


The bonus hidden figure in the set is the first variant of the Lord of the Rings line, another Frodo. This Frodo has been made out of clear plastic to convey the effect of when Frodo puts on the One Ring and becomes invisible.


Apart from the clear plastic, the figure’s detailing is identical to the first Frodo, apart from in two key areas. The left hand has the One Ring drawn on the finger, and his expression is one of fear rather than the more tranquil expression on the first Frodo. Both of these are great touches and add a lot to the figure.


As a clear figure, there is very little paint detail. The lines of the suit and the hairy feet are still picked out, and again the lines are very clear. The detail on the face seems to be a lot lower than the original Frodo – the bottom of the mouth is right at the bottom of the head block – but that might just be my figure.


Twilight Frodo comes with a clear scabbard and a clear Sting sword. The detailing on both comes out well in the see-through format.


Overall, Twilight Frodo is a great little figure. The variant has a reason for its existance, and it has been executed very well. The only drawback mine has is that the right fist comes out of the wrist hole very easily. I’m sure I’ll lose it eventually. 


MMC Score – 7 out of 10

Overall Thoughts

More headliners in this set than the other one, but more variance in quality. Another highly recommended set.


Review and pictures by Danny Mills

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User Rating for Minimate #1:
Rating: 10.0/10 (3 votes cast)
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User Rating for Minimate #2:
Rating: 8.0/10 (3 votes cast)
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User Rating for Minimate #3:
Rating: 10.0/10 (3 votes cast)
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User Rating for Minimate #4:
Rating: 10.0/10 (3 votes cast)