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 containing Gollum, Gandalf the White, Frodo and a hidden figure of the Beserker Uruk-Hai, the second set containing Aragorn, Saruman, Legolas and a hidden figure of Twilight Frodo.



The packaging is very different from the Marvel Minimates, and is a lot more colourful than the monochrome effects on Sauron’s box. Whilst the Marvel Minimates went from being in a bubble to being in a windowless box, the LOTR Minimates start off in a windowed box, which shows off the figures well. It is bright and colourful and looks a lot better than the Marvel TRU packs.

The back of the box shows the 2 4-packs sets available so far.


The figures are packed in a tray, and have at least one twist-tie holding them in. The human-sized figures have a terrible dual-action twist-tie ensemble which wrap around each arm and then round each other. Ugh. As well as the return of the twist ties, we also have the return of the clear elastic bands. The hidden figures are done in the same style as the Marvel 5-pack hidden figures, meaning they are not visable at all in the packaging and have a black cover piece over them. Thankfully the hidden figure has no twist ties and as such is the easiest one to remove from the package. The cardboard insert for the tray piece has been done very well, as it is a map of Middle Earth. Toybiz also used this idea for their Lord of the Rings figures.


Overall, the packaging is very good, different enough from the Marvel style but still fitting in well. It will be interesting to see how the 2-pack sets differ from this.


The Figures



The wretched, broken Gollum, former holder of the Ring of Power, is the first figure in this set. As one of the smaller characters in the films, he is represented here as a 2″ Minimate. The first thing that strikes you about this figure is how well they have captured his haunted, mournful look on a simple block head. It’s an amazing ask to convey the character with just a few lines, but they nailed it perfectly. Strands of hair are drawn on from the top of the head, completing the look.


Elsewhere, there isn’t a lot of detail on Gollum, but what there is has been well done. He was a scrawny, pathetic husk of a creature, and so he has a body that’s lined with malnutrition, and on his back, very visable scarring – possibly from his time being tortured in Mordor.

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He has a fish as an accessory, which makes sense if you’ve seen the Two Towers and heard Gollum’s fantastic fish song.


Overall, Gollum is a great start for the Lord of the Rings 2 inch Minimate size. A character like him was always going to be sparse on detail, which made it absolutely vital for his look to be spot on, and it is. Possibly his only flaw is that the articulation, which is still brilliant for a figure of its size, cannot make him be put in a real scampering position that he adopts a lot in the films.

MMC Score – 7 out of 10



Gandalf the White


The second figure in the set is Gandalf the White, who appeared in the Two Towers. This is one of the first figures to utilise the new 2 and a half inch Minimate body.


The face is very recognisable as Ian McKellen, so much so that if it was the same scale as the Marvel Minimates it would make a great base for an X-Men movie Magneto custom. The hairpiece/beard combination hinders the head and neck movement completely, which is a shame. The clothes Gandalf wears, namely his cloak and long smock, also restrict some arm and leg movement.

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The paint applications are pretty good, the lines are clear and clean, but there are a few dings on the hairpiece which detract from the figure.

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Gandalf comes with two great accessories. First he has his staff, sadly mine was a bit warped in the package and has a noticable curve to it, but it does look the part. Secondly he has a sword and scabbard. The scabbard clips to a hole in his belt via a peg. This is a system used for most of the figures with scabbards and it does seem to work very well.

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Overall, Gandalf is again a very solid start to the Lord of the Rings line, managing to look very much like its source material. The only faults are the restrictive clothing and some slightly sloppy paint, but that’s having a minor gripe at a good figure.



MMC Score – 7 out of 10





The third figure in the set is the real hero of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, Frodo Baggins. Like Gollum, as a smaller character from the films he is represented here as a 2 inch Minimate.


As with Gollum and Gandalf, the expression on Frodo’s face is about as reminiscent of Elijah Wood as you can get on a block figure. It’s very fresh-faced and slightly feminine.

Because he’s actually wearing proper clothes, Frodo has the most paint detailing on him out of all the figures in this set, and it’s done superbly with not a line out of place. The sloppiest area, much like some of the Marvel Minimates (particularly in wave 4), is the line that separates the ankle from the rest of the leg, it’s noticibly uneven.


Just a note here about the new feet. Yes, the 2 inch figures in this set have smaller than usual feet, certainly smaller than the previous 2 inch Marvel Minimates. This doesn’t affect Gollum as much, due to his lack of accessories, but Frodo is very hard to stand up properly due to the weight of his cloak overbalancing him. The feet have holes in to go with the stands included in the set, but this still doesn’t explain why they are shorter.


Frodo has some awesome accessories. As well as his sword Sting, and a scabbard, Frodo also comes with the One Ring, which is clearly visible on a chain-like loop. As well as holding it, if you wrap most of the length around his neck then put the cloak over the top, you can make it hang around his neck at a more natural level.


Overall, Frodo is a very well done Minimate with nice accessories.


MMC Score – 7 out of 10


Beserker Uruk-Hai


The bonus hidden figure in the set is a bad guy, a beserker Uruk-Hai, used by Saruman in great numbers to break the defenses of Helms Deep due to their strength and brutality. Straight from the off, you know you have a great Minimate when the helmet is so well sculpted. The figure looks very close to how they looked in the film, with a fantastic snarling expression on his face, and if you look carefully you can see the eyes through the holes in the helmet. It is removable to reveal more of the Uruk-Hai’s grizzled features. Overall, the head has been very well done.

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The Beserker is quite simply detailed, with mainly lines conveying musculature painted on, but it had to be done right, and it is. The White Hand of Saruman is very clean and clear wherever it appears on the figure, and adds a welcome contrast to the muddy brown appearance.

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The Beserker also comes with a vile weapon, the sword with twin blades on the top, all the better for rending skin. It’s a great looking weapon and adds a whole new dimension of playability to the figure.


Overall, the Beserker looks amazing, managing to ooze hostility even at this scale, and will be a worthy foe for the heroes of Middle Earth to battle.



MMC Score – 8 out of 10


Review and pictures by Danny Mills

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