Reviews

Asmus Toys 1/6th Legolas Basic & Luxury Edition

reviews

“He was tall as a young tree, lithe, immensely strong, able swiftly to draw a great war-bow and shoot down a Nazgûl, endowed with the tremendous vitality of Elvish bodies, so hard and resistant to hurt that he went only in light shoes over rock or through snow, the most tireless of all the Fellowship.” ― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Book of Lost Tales, Part Two

Update: The Luxury Version is apparently available from other retailers for $250-$260 so I’m going to be updating the score and recommendations for that version.

The journey of the Fellowship in The Lord of the Rings was filled with strange twists and meandered through unexpected paths. Not unlike our Middle-Earth heroes, Asmus Toys’ journey through the release of LOTR 1/6th scale figures has taken some unusual turns  and gone in interesting directions.

The first figures released in 2013 included Gandalf the White (not seen until The Two Towers) and Eowyn. Strange choices for introductory figures from this series. These were followed by some baddies; the Nazgul and Morgul Lord among them. Not until 2015 did another Fellowship hero make the scene in the form of Aragorn. Whether this was due to likeness rights or some other reason I don’t know, but in 2016 the gates seem to have opened with the release of Gandalf the Grey, Merry, Pippin, Frodo and Samwise with more, including the long-awaited Boromir and Gimley, recently announced.

After perhaps Frodo and Sam, one of the most anticipated figures had been Legolas, the elven archer and Bud Abbot to Gimleys Dwarvish Lou Costello in the films. Asmus has released two versions of the figure; the only difference being the inclusion of a Cave Troll head stand included with the Luxury Edition.

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WHAT’S IN THE BOX

• Legolas figure clad in authentically styled clothing from the film
• Four pairs of hands; relaxed, open grip, closed fist, bow holding/pulling
• Cape with Fellowship leaf pin
• Elvish knives (both full and handles-only that fit into the sheaths)
• Bow of Galadhrim
• Arrows (x10)
• Lórien quiver
• LOTR branded figure stand
• Cave Troll head stand with molded boots (Exclusive to Luxury Edition)

If you do buy the Luxury Edition be warned that the packaging for the troll stand is a nightmare. The container – made of the kind of foam that flakes apart easily – is tightly packed in the box and the second boot is packed beneath the container – I opened it from the top of the box (from the way the type read) and thought it was missing.

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SCULPT – 8/10 (Both Editions)

The sculpts for Asmus’ LOTR series has been a mixed bag. To their credit, they do put the sculpts up on social sites for feedback and have even announced updated replacement sculpts for both the Frodo and Sam figures, which were largely panned.

Legolas – while not a homerun – is one of their better sculpts. It resembles an older Orlando Bloom, from The Hobbit more than his more youthful LOTR look. But the resemblance is there and if a couple of slightly different paint choices had been made, it could be a knockout. Those being lighter, bluer eyes, slightly thicker, darker eyebrows, and lighter, less yellowish hair.

Another understandable, though no less disappointing feature is the sculpted hair. Asmus has recently released Gandalf and re-released Aragorn – both with rooted hair. Characters with long hair are always, in my opinion, better suited to rooted hair. Posing a head with long, sculpted hair is always a pain and with the exception of a few positions, never looks quite right. But rooted hair is obviously more of a production challenge than it’s painted rival. With Legolas, the braiding on both sides of his scalp and in the back would have been a large hurdle for a mass-produced figure and may have brought the cost up too significantly. You never know though – if they can find a way, Asmus may offer a replacement with rooted option down the line.

CLOTHING/ACCESORIES – 9/10 (Both Editions)

Where Asmus’ LOTR figures have shone most brightly is with the clothing. The intricacies of the layers, stitching, pleats, ties, buttons, and decorative designs are a significant challenge and here I think Asmus has done a fantastic job.  The materials are well-chosen to match the finish and the decorative elements; the pattern on the chest, boots and gauntlets are precisely printed or painted. The cape material (common to all the LOTR Fellowship figs) could have been a little “rougher” material, but that may have also made it thicker, which may not drape as well and made it harder to layer with all the rest of the clothing.

The quiver is very well done. The knives are solid and well-detailed, with the blades, while not metal, have a nice, shiny metal finish. The bow looks great and whatever material the bowstring is made of is perfect – you can pose it drawn back and it snaps back into shape when it’s removed (although shelf-life on this might be an issue – I wouldn’t leave it in a drawn position for too long).

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There are a few gripes though. One that many have – also common to all of the Fellowship – is the vertical orientation of the Lothlórian leaf pin – it should lie horizontally. The strap for the quiver and knives sits too high on the chest and is not adjustable without some major alterations. The full knives themselves do not fit in the scabbards, instead there are two knife handles with short stubs that fit into them, but they do not fit well and it takes some patient work to get them all the way in. The sheaths are also packaged pointing the wrong way – the handles should point inward not out, but this is easily fixed.

The “Luxury Edition” includes a sixth-scale Cave Troll head. Legolas takes down the troll during the battle in the Chamber of Mazarbul when they pass through Moria by climbing on it and shooting it through its skull. The sculpt is nice and the painting is decent if a bit soft/basic. The head comes packed with two hard-molded boots which have pegs that fit in notches in the head. One of the boots – the foremost/top one – is glued in place (although mine must have come loose as it wasn’t). This seems to have been done for stability, but may not make those who’d like to display the head separately very happy.

As a stand, it’s a nice option although it sort of demands that you pose him shooting downward (unless you’re not OCD about these things!). However, whereas Gandalf’s optional (and admittedly less intricate) rock stand was included with the figure for its $199 price, this one will set you back an additional $50-$60 – $250-$260 as opposed to $199 without it. While I’m just factoring the quality of it here into the score, I’ll factor the price difference into the Price Point section below.

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ARTICULATION – 8/10 (Both Editions)

The underlying body is a KP01A+ male body., which is the same fairly well-built, sturdy body they’ve used for most of this line. It has a rubberized upper torso and neck over a hard plastic core.

The knees, despite being double jointed, do not bend further than 90º, which is a bit of a disappointment but not as necessary here as it would be on say a Spider-Man figure. The elbow/arm movement is better and allows for any pose you’d need from an archer. Depending on the position of the head, the molded hair can be a hinderance to vertical shoulder movement though. Upward head movement is very limited as well due to the molded hair. Torso movement is decent side-to-side, but forward-backward is limited – Legolas isn’t doing any decent crunches anytime soon (I don’t know how he’ll keep that six-pack going.)

One complaint I’ve seen floating around is that the hand pegs are slightly too large for the hand openings. While they do seem tighter than say the Gandalf figure, they are not impossible to switch out once you get the hang of it and they do stay in place nicely after that. And if you really don’t like the fit, you can always sand the pegs down a little.

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PRICE POINT  – 10/10 (Basic Edition) – 8/10 (Luxury Edition)

The retail price for the basic Legolas figure is $199. For what you get and the general quality of the figure – it’s a very fair price and I give that version a 10/10.

The price of the Luxury Edition – which again is just the inclusion of the troll stand/statue and molded boots adds an additional $50-$60 to that price. As exclusives go, this one is really a nice-to-have, not a need-to-have. I don’t know how often I’ll use the cave troll; It doesn’t fit in a single Detolf shelf with Legolas on top and unless you remove the glued in boot from the head you can’t display it by itself…er, to boot.

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OVERALL DESIGN – 8/10 (Both Editions)

I’m grading this category on a slight curve; allowing the figure itself – sans Cave Troll stand – to take the glory. The overall figure is very well done; the sculpt – aside from a few paint issues – is definitely recognizable as O. Bloom and the quality of the clothing and weapons is overall exceptional. The faults are as outlined above but are not numerous or grievous enough to keep me from getting – or recommending getting the basic version. But unless you’re a completist – skip the Luxury version.

If you’re a serious futzer and have the skills to repaint the hair and maybe the eyes, this would be great. I have seen the long hair replaced with Tibetan lambs wool and it looks absolutely amazing. I hope Asmus might see their way to release a rooted hair sculpt for a nominal fee somewhere down the line – it would go a long way in making this a definitive Legolas.

Note: the score for the Luxury edition was updated due to new price info and is not reflected in the verdict below the new score is 41.

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wptrevor

Trevor is a New York based Creative Director and owner of The Brand Counselors. He has a growing collection of 75+ 1:6th scale stock and custom figures (and more and more Lego sets). Toy photography melds his childhood dreams of comic book illustration and film directing with his design talents and – in his mind – justifies the money he spends on these things. He has been featured on CNN.com and Spoiler Free Movie Sleuth. When he’s not shooting, he enjoys kayaking with his wife, catching up on good TV and building seemingly endless custom figures.

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