Lord of the Rings:
The Two Towers
Just as every saga has a beginning, it also has a middle and the saga of The Lord of The Rings (LOTR) is no different. For the centerpiece of the trilogy there is The Two Towers, which is part two (or parts three and four of six, depending on how you look at it) of the triad. What better way to package figures for the movie about two towers than to make two packs, with a pair of figures that mirror the good and evil towers by having a good and evil character in each?
The Two Towers picks up where Fellowship of the Ring left off, with Merry and Pippin (half of a quartet of adventuring hobbits) in the hands of foul orcs. The other half of their foursome (Samwise and Frodo) is on the road to Mordor (and without Bob Hope) with the remaining members of the fellowship in hot pursuit of Merry and Pippin. The Two Towers moves the quest along and the main sequence of the film will be the battle of Helm's Deep, which is where an army of orcs will attack a fortress defended by humans, elves and a stout dwarf. If you want to know more, go see the movie or better yet - read the book then see the movie.
Multi-pack figure sets are nothing new, and Toy Biz created several for the first film in the LOTR series. For the second film they have placed perennial multi-pack characters like orcs and Merry and Pippin together again. There are three two packs which each have an orc and a heroic character, and the two packs were released concurrently with the first assortment, with the second assortment to follow shortly thereafter.
The first assortment was fully covered in the RTM Spotlight previously, as was the second assortment. The figures included in the two packs are an Elven Archer vs a berserker Uruk Hai, Merry vs Grishnakh and Pippin vs Ugluk. The archer and berserker is the set that could be used as an army builder, and it also is the only one with two full sized figures, with the other two being more of one and a half with the hobbits. The figures are packaged together in the same type of semi-cylinder packaging used for the prior film's toys as well as assortment one for The Two Towers. It takes a bit of work to get them open and the background for the cardback is a map of Rohan and Gondor, both of which are the setting for The Two Towers.
All the human sized figures have plenty of articulation while the poor hobbits are lacking when compared to their larger companions. Compared to the larger figures though, most toy lines are lacking in articulation. All of the figures have action features built into them, and they are all armed. The figures are built around a six inch scale, so one inch is roughly equivalent to one foot of height. The elf is about six and a half inches tall, while Ugluk and the Berserker are a full seven inches. Grishnakh is right at six inches and the two hobbits top out at four and a half inches tall. The figures are meticulously scaled to each other, and the hobbits fit perfectly with the larger figures, and the line itself fits well with other six and seven inch figures.
Click on a picture below to see more pictures of that action figure.
The elves are the favored race of not only Middle Earth, but also author JRR Tolkien. They were the second race created for Middle Earth, but the first allowed to walk it (since the Dwarves were technically first but not allowed to live until after the elves were created). Elves are imbued with immortality, agility and superhuman fighting skills and pointy ears. During the battle of Helm's Deep, elves from Lothlorien (the home of Galadriel) are sent to aid in the defense from the army of Saruman, and this archer is one of their company. The elf could also double for one of the archers seen in the prologue of the first film, because it seems Elvish fashion is very static (or stale as the Dwarves say). The helmet and armor is slightly different in design that that worn by Elrond's troops from the prologue, but it could still fill in in times of need.
The Elven Archer figure is anything but static, having both ample articulation and a built-in action feature. The action feature is similar to that of Lurtz from the Fellowship of the Ring action figures where when a button is pressed on his back his arm pulls back at the shoulder. When he is positioned properly with his bow, it causes him to pull back the arrow and release it, whereby it flies off to stop some orc or dangerous pet that is attacking him. The action feature works very well, though it may take some time to get the arrow notched correctly.
The articulation includes ball-jointed thighs, and the left shoulder has a ball-joint, bending elbows and knees and a twisting waist. The left shoulder can twist but due to the action feature, it doesn't have as mush poseability at the other. The neck is designed to allow the head to twist and look up and down. The mid-calves have twists that are artfully hidden by the boot cuffs, and the ankles can bend and move from side-to-side. He has several layers of soft plastic armor and clothing, and the quiver, helmet and cape can be removed. The helmet is slightly too large for the head and is very loose on the figure, so you should take care not to lose it. The archer comes with a bow, four arrows and an Elvish sword. He has a quiver to store the arrows on his back and a sheath for the sword on the lower back.
The head was laser-scanned by Gentle Giant Studios, and the subject for this figure is none other than Toy Biz product manager Jesse Falcon. Little Jesse (as we call him) differs from the regular Jesse in size, ears and hair. The picture on the card isn't of Jesse, but a generic actor in Elven garb as Jesse doesn't appear in the film to our knowledge. This figure should answer the simple question of how to get your face on an action figure - by working your way through the industry, having your parent company get the license to a big-budget film where you are a product manager and then have yourself scanned when they scan the rest of the cast and then finding a generic character not played by a specific actor that you could have your face used for. Simple as that.
The Uruk Hai are the elite of the orcs, and the meanest of their ranks are the berserkers. The berserkers are shaved bald, and then thrown into battle with no armor to kill, maim and get hurt during battles. During the Helm's Deep attack, rumor has it they are catapulted over the walls to fight inside the keep, which doesn't give many frequent flyer miles. While the berserkers are crazy they seem to be insecure because they have huge swords to fight with and wear no armor but a simple loincloth. Sounds like they might be a tiny bit embarrassed about a tiny bit (which explains why they have so much rage).
The berserker figure is possibly the best of this assortment because he has the best articulation of the series. He has ball-jointed shoulders and thighs, mid-thigh and mid-bicep twists and a head that can twist and look up and down slightly. The waist twists and elbows and knees can all bend and the wrists twist. The ankles can bend and move side-to-side and the figure can even balance on one foot with some work.
He also has a removable helmet that fits very snugly, but once off reveals a twisted visage. If that weren't enough, he also has a built-in action feature for sword attacking action when a button is pressed on his back, and this feature doesn't prevent his shoulder from being posed. The face on this orc is a laser scan of Jesse Falcon after an all night bender with sculptor Phil Ramirez. Except for the pointed ears.
Grishnakh comes from the root words 'grish' meaning spoon and 'nahk' meaning ability to do. Together it means absolutely nothing because it's just a name. Grish comes from the land of Mordor (where the shadows lie) and he works for the big man Sauron himself. Grishnakh is part of a group of orcs sent out by Sauron to make sure that Saruman isn't trying to deceive him (basically because that's exactly what Sauron would do to himself if he were Saruman, and the palantir told him so). They join up with the Uruks that have Merry and Pippin prisoner and since some are for Saruman and some for Sauron (and they get it confused because they both start with s) they get into a fight. Can't they just get along?
Grishnakh the action figure comes from the land of China and there his name means a job. He's shorter than the other orcs, and it seems like it bothers him because he has a mean look on his face. He also has on lots of soft plastic armor and skins, to protect and keep him warm. He has a built-in action feature that lets him have sword-slashing action on his left arm when a button is pressed on his back. He does have a sword for the cleverly named sword-slashing action.
He has plenty of articulation hidden under all those clothes, with ball-jointed thighs and shoulders, bending elbows and knees, and a twisting waist. The left should has limited movement due to the action feature, but both arms have mid-bicep twists and twisting wrists. His ankles can bend and the neck is designed to twist and look up and down. His face is designed to be ugly, and it is.
Meriadoc Brandybuck (Merry for short) is not only one of Frodo's best friends, but he's also one of the fellowship who joined him on his quest. He and Pippin were captured by Uruk Hai when they attacked the fellowship at Amon Hen at the conclusion of the first film. They were taken by the orcs because they thought they had the ring, but orcs aren't that bright so they got the wrong guys. When they find out they'll probably drink, party and eat Merry.
The Merry figure included here represents the character towards the beginning of the film. He goes through some changes in the Two Towers and there is a difference in his character's appearance over the course of the film. This early version comes with a green cloak with the leaf clasp that was given to the fellowship by Galadriel. The scene with the gifts was cut from the theatrical release of the film, but has been restored in the DVD special ultimate final awesome edition. He also has a sword, which he carried at the very end of the first film, but which was also probably confiscated by the orcs when he was captures. Maybe not, they aren't that bright.
Merry is the same height as Pippin at four and a half inches and has an action feature that activates sword slashing action when a button is press on his back. He has bending knees, twisting wrists, ankles, waist and neck. He also has ball-jointed shoulders and his thighs can swivel. His cloak can be removed and it doesn't get in the way of his action feature being operated. Merry is played by actor Dominic Monaghan.
Pippin (or Peregrine Took) is the frick to Merry's frack, and he's also a friend and relation of Frodo (on his mother's side). He joins the fellowship and it seems that whatever happens to Merry must also happen to Pippin. If he had chosen the nickname Perry instead of Pippin he could have rhymed with Merry, but alas - it just wasn't meant to be.
Pippin is very similar to the Merry action figure. They are both the same height and Pippin has the same sword-slashing action as Merry when his button is pressed on his back. He has a cloak with the same clasp as Merry's though it is a differently sculpted cloak. He has a sword, and a travel bag flung over his shoulder. He also appears as he would towards the beginning of The Two Towers since he changes the same way Merry does.
The articulation is the same, with ball-jointed shoulders, twisting neck and waist and twisting wrists, His feet also twist, the knees bend and the thighs can swivel. His cloak comes off, as does his traveling bag. Pippin is portrayed by Billy Boyd (who is no relation to Bobbi Boyd, as far as we know).
Ugluk is one of Saruman's Uruk Hai, and he leads the troop that captured Merry and Pippin after Lurtz was killed. That's how you move up in Saruman's army! Ugluk is a no-nonsense kind of guy and when disagreements crop up he settles them. When some Mordor orcs join their band he quickly puts them in their place, which happens to be a very bad place.
Ugluk is a big figure at seven inches tall, but he isn't quite as articulated as the berserker. He has ball-jointed shoulders and thighs and head. His elbows and knees bend and the waist twists. He has ankles that bend and move from side-to-side. He also has some soft plastic armor pieces to finish his outfit.
Ugluk has the ever-popular built in sword slashing action and he also has a whipping action. Both arms are activated by pushing a button on his back, and he has a whip and sword to make his action authentic. He also has very dirty hair because he doesn't use conditioner. Samoan Jay Laga'aia is Ugluk, and he also starred in another part two movie - Star Wars: Attack of the Clones, where he was the Queen's head of security Captain Typho.
Pictures of the Elven Archer
Pictures of the Berserker
Pictures of Grishnakh
Pictures of Merry
Pictures of Pippin
Pictures of Ugluk
|Where to buy Two Towers figures: The Lord of the Rings: the Two Towers action figure 2-packs retail in the $12.99 to $15.99 USD price range and are sold at most mass-market toy retailers, such as Toys'R'Us, Target, and Wal-Mart, as well as specialty and trend stores, and a variety of online toy and collectibles retailers.
Several such online stores are RTM sponsors Big Bad Toy Store, The Outer Reaches, and NHAtoys.com. (Be sure to check the other RTM sponsors, listed on the Shop Center.)