X-MEN (TOY BIZ)
“Sauron is the most terrifying Evil Mutant. Sauron loves to silently swoop down and use his mutant power to hypnotize and drain the energy out of his victim! Then in the blink of an eye, he flies away ready to strike again! The more energy he drains, the more powerful he becomes. Because he can drain the energy from anyone, even another Evil Mutant, even Magneto, the leader of the Evil Mutants, fears him!”
Not to be confused with the evil ruler of Mordor, Sauron is one of the X-Men’s older foes, predating quite a few of the team’s more popular members–Wait a minute…didn’t I review this figure already? well, hypothetical reader, the answer to that question is…not technically. And, technically is what really matters here. Why? Because it’s my site, that’s why. Okay, maybe I should actually explain what the heck I’m reviewing this guy again. It’s quite simple: early in the days of their X-Men line, Toy Biz liked to justify the re-releases of figures they’d already done by doing minor tweaks to their color schemes, in dedicated “Repaint” series, in order to not only keep those figures out, but also freshen up the shelves a bit, but without having to actually produce a whole new figure. Generally, I like to bundle those repaints into the main review, but, well, I don’t always own them when I review a figure the first time, so I guess I just have to follow them up this way. How about that?
THE FIGURE ITSELF
Sauron (the repaint) was added to Toy Biz’s X-Men line in 1993-1994, right around the same time as Series 4 and 5 of the line, alongside a whole assortment of repainted figures. Of all the figures present amongst the repaints, his was the oddest choice, given how minor the character was, but perhaps they were looking to tie in with the show’s second season, where he actually had a pretty important role to play. The figure stands about 5 inches tall and he has 10 points of articulation. He’s 100% the same sculpt as the standard release of Sauron. It was a decent sculpt for the time, and honestly holds up pretty alright. Still not sure exactly what he’s wearing, but what are you gonna do? The change to this one’s paint is honestly pretty subtle; instead of orange pants, his are gold with a little bit of black. It’s super minor, but I actually quite like it. It’s nice that they actually added, rather than just doing a straight palette swap. Interestingly, the card back prototype showed him with red shorts, a figure that, to date, no one has any evidence actually existed. As with his original release, Sauron was packed with a big ol’ club. Yay big ol’ club.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
I wound up going back to the toy show where I’d gotten my standard Sauron the next year, in hopes of finding more Toy Biz stuff. I discovered it was rather slim pickings that year, but managed to fish a handful of the repaint figures out of a loose figure bin. Sauron was one of those figures. He’s not a bad figure, but the two offerings do feel slightly redundant when in the same collection together, I suppose.