MORGUL LORD WITCH-KING
THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE RETURN OF THE KING (TOY BIZ)
My fandom of Lord of the Rings is something that can be described as “moderate” at best. I’ve seen and enjoyed all three of the films, but never anything but the theatrical cuts (because I though 9 hours for the whole story was enough of my time). I’ve read The Hobbit (and wasn’t that into it, to be totally honest), but none of the other books. I enjoy the franchise as a whole and can really appreciate some of the characters and concepts therein, but you start to lose me if you get into the real nitty gritty stuff. That being said, I did like the movies a lot, especially when they were new, and for me, that usually means a few action figures. Fortunately, Toy Biz was there for me, producing a rather expansive line of figures based on the three films. Today, I’ll be looking at one of my favorite designs from the movies, the Witch-King of Angmar, leader of the Ringwraiths, and one of the primary antagonists of the films.
THE FIGURE ITSELF
The Morgul Lord Witch-King (as he’s dubbed on the box) was released in the second series of Toy Biz’s Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King line. This was the point in the line where they had switched to the smaller packaging style, and were releasing figures from the entirety of the trilogy, but the Return of the King figures were still off on their own. The Witch-King is based on his appearance in the third film in the trilogy, after he’s taken on a more unique, armor-clad look in order to lead the Morgul forces into battle. It’s definitely an imposing look, and possibly my favorite from the whole trilogy. The figure stands just shy of 7 inches tall (going to the top of his actual head; the tallest spike on his crown adds about an inch more) and he has 18 points of articulation. Though Toy Biz were articulation nuts when it came to the concurrently running Marvel Legends, the LotR figures were a little more reserved. The Witch-King has a decent selection of joints, but is admittedly a little hard to pose, mostly due to the heavy robes covering him. You can still get some decent poses out of him, and it’s worth noting that he’s very steady on his feet, which is more than can be said for a lot of Toy Biz’s figures from the time. He can also move his head, which puts him above any of the other Ringwraiths the line released. The sculpt on this figure is very impressive. There’s a lot of truly phenomenal detailing and texturing, just all throughout. This guy really looks like a 4000 year old undead warrior. He’s very imposing, which is what he should be. Even the interior of his (hollow) hood is fully detailed! The scabbard for his sword is permanently affixed to this figure, and it’s a little thicker than such a piece would be in this day and age. Of course, after the issues with the fragility of similar pieces on Funko’s Legacy Collection Game of Thrones figures, I can’t really say I mind. Perhaps the only real nit on the sculpt is the crown. Due to safety standards, the points of his crown had to be rounded off, resulting in something that looks more like a deer’s antlers than it does the menacing helm of the Witch-King. Not their fault, of course, but disappointing nonetheless. The paint on the Witch-King is quite good, far better than you might think at first glance. The whole figure has various washes and dry brushing, to help bring out the smaller details of the sculpt. The end result is a quite realistic looking figure. Definitely some of Toy Biz’s better work from this period. The Witch-King included a sword and a mace, based on the weapons he had own the film. He also had an action feature; when the button on his back (which is quite well hidden, it should be noted) is pressed, his right arm swings up and down, to either flail the mace or slash the sword, depending on how you have him armed. I myself would have preferred for the feature to have been left out to facilitate better movement on the right shoulder, but the effect is decent.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
I always wanted the Witch-King when these figures were new, but he was one of the harder to find figures in the line. All I could ever find was his less-cool look from Fellowship, which just wasn’t the same. Ultimately, I ended up selling off pretty much all of the figures in my (admittedly pretty small) Lord of the Rings collection, so I didn’t really think much of it. This summer, I ended up finding this guy at Yesterday’s Fun, and couldn’t bring myself to put him back, despite no longer owning any of his companions. He’s actually a really awesome figure, and was definitely worth the wait. Of course, now I want more figures to go with him…