2011
01.03

Sauron1 

After the amazing success of their Marvel Minimates line, Art Asylum acquired the rights to make figures based on the immensely popular Lord of the Rings films. These Minimates have been highly anticipated amongst collectors and fans, and finally here we have the first ever Lord of the Rings Minimate, a single-figure pack of the Dark Lord Sauron, which is currently an exclusive to the US Tower Records chain of stores.

Packaging

As this is the first glimpse of the Lord of the Rings Minimates packaging, I thought I’d take a lot of pics here to try and show what it looks like from all sides; front, right side, back, left side:

SauronBoxSide2SauronBoxSide1

SauronBoxFrontSauronBoxBack

The first thing you notice is the lack of colour. I think this is intentional to convey the darkness and evil nature of the character of Sauron, but it does mean that a lot of the very cool artwork loses impact. The top of the box has the only bit of colour, which comes from the Tower Records sticker. This obviously draws your eye straight to the sticker:

SauronBoxTop

The box itself is a lot smaller than the “tubes” that other 3-inch Minimates came in as shown in this comparison shot:

SauronBoxComparison

The figure is packed in a bubble tray, much like the later Marvel Minimates. There are thankfully no twist-ties holding him in, rather, a second clear tray piece fits over the top and then locks in:

SauronBox&Tray

Overall, I really like the packaging, but as this is a single-figure exclusive, and larger than the other Minimates in the line, it’s a fair bet that the packaging will change for the wider-release figures.


 

The Figure

Sauron

Sauron3 

The Dark Lord Sauron, in his armour as seen in the prologue in Fellowship of the Ring, is the only figure in this exclusive pack, but what a figure. Based on the 3-inch Minimate body used for the Star Trek Minimates (among other properties), he really does tower over the Marvel Minimates. For the Lord of the Rings line, big guys like Sauron will use the 3-inch Minimate body, the hobbits (and Gollum) will use the 2-inch body that the Marvel Minimates use, and humans, elves, orcs etc will use a newly-created 2.5-inch Minimate body.

Sauron2

Sauron’s armour in the film was incredibly intricate and so Minimate Sauron has a lot more sculpted detail on him than most of the other Minimates in any size or line. His helmet is huge, and also removable, revealing a blank grey head. The grey head has a hole on the top into where the 3-inch Minimates hair usually plugs in, however the helmet piece has nothing to plug into the hole and keep the helmet on. It’s a good enough fit that this isn’t an issue, though. The detail on the helmet is excellent, all the sharp spikes are present and the long sweeping nose is done superbly. The eyes are red, which is the only real bit of colour on him.

The body of Sauron is very detailed yet still simple. Black lines are used to show the armour pieces, which combined with the actual sculpted pieces like the gauntlets and the shoulder ridges, work really well. He has a dull grey finish, and overall the paint job is exceptionally crisp and clean.

Sauron5

Articulation is good, but hindered slightly by some of the sculpted pieces. His armoured skirt is long enough to prevent his legs moving much, as it surrounds the legs on all sides. Interestingly, if the skirt is removed, Sauron’s pelvic piece is a different shade of grey to the rest of him. The shoulder ridges and cape also restrict arm movement straight up, and some neck movement is lost. However, Sauron looks so great that it isn’t anything more than a minor gripe.

Sauron4

For accessories, Sauron has his huge mace, which is taller than the Marvel Minimates. Sauron looks mean holding it, and the plastic seems to be strong enough to hold in a straight line and not warp. Additionally Sauron’s cape is 2 moveable pieces, meaning you can change how far it billows out behind him.

Sauron6

Overall, this figure is a great taster for the Lord of the Rings line. The level of detail is amazing and the sheer size and presence of the figure means that Sauron is a must-buy.

MMC Score – 9 out of 10

 

 

Review and pictures by Danny Mills

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