Toy Review: Diamond Select Lord of the Rings Series 2 and 3

With the release of Diamond Select‘s The Lord of the Rings series 2 and 3 figures, fans can now finally build Sauron, the impressive, fully poseable 13-inch build-a-figure. It’s hard to top the old Toy Biz version, with its removable fingers, easily lost One Ring, and light and sound, on top of a cloth cape and fully articulated body. Diamond hasn’t replicated the electronics, but otherwise, this larger version is equally detailed and imposing. Cast in a dark gun-metal gray, with a light wash accentuating the details and only the gold ring differing in color, he’s a beast. And he’s even the right size to play Barbie’s medieval cosplaying friend.

One thing to be careful of is attaching the cape. Any initial impulse to slip it over his neck peg before attaching the head is wrong. There’s actually a clip that pulls off from his back. Remove it, and put the pegs on it through the cape’s three holes at the top Then attach it securely into the back slot again.

If you’ve done it right, the cape drapes down to the bottom of his legs.

It’s not hard to notice that the shoulder pads come off a lot. Held on by tab-and-slot connection, they likely won’t fall if the figure is kept displayed in the same pose. But move the arms around much, and off the pads pop. Some may choose to glue them in place, which shouldn’t hurt the articulation any. Said articulation, slightly less than the regular figures, includes ball-jointed neck, mid torso, and hips. Disc-and pin ball shoulders, elbows, and wrists. Upper thigh cuts, single hinge knees, and hinge/rocker ankles. His feet soles curve upward, so a doll clip or foot peg stand helps immensely.

His mace comes slightly bent, but at the right angle it’s unnoticeable.

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The now-standard Diamond boxes remain mostly collector-friendly, with mild exceptions. Yes, there’s some tape to cut or peel off. But this time, the internal plastic “sandwich” is held together in some cases by plastic ties that require cutting. This can work without ruining the plastic trays, so yes, these figures can be restored to their poses inside the plastic, and the plastic placed back inside the box. It just won’t be perfectly the same as sold new.

Each figure runs $24.99, which starts to seem more and more reasonable in the current environment as even some 6-inch Star Wars figures break the $30 mark these days. If one takes the Todd McFarlane “lots of plastic!” view regarding a figure’s value, some come with much less bulk than others. The Sauron parts seem meant to equalize that, although it’s notable that the main army builder figure, the Moria Orc, comes with the least essential Sauron part — the mace. It’s also the most reusable with other figures, of course.

The Moria Orc includes a bonus helmeted head, and that chainmail collar is loose and fully detachable. Plus two different weapons, not counting Sauron’s mace. Army building on a high-end line like this can get expensive, but for those who want to, a few variations here are possible.

The multi-hued rusted metal deco on the helmet head sports some especially impressive paint work.

The other potential army builder is the Nazgul, also known as Ringwraith or Black Rider. This shrouded figure comes with three weapons: a sword and dagger with sheath, and one sword with no sheath. Since only one of his hands can actually hold a weapon, he has a choice. The sheaths feature loops that look like they might attach to something, but nothing on his body fits the bill. Still, with all the layers of tight-fitting robes, they can just stick in between the folds and will generally stay put.

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Because the Nazgul robes are all sculpted plastic, however, only a few poses look natural. He can’t exactly flail the arms about without the sleeves seriously defying gravity. Diamond does not often do soft goods, though the multi-layered cape on Sauron is really nice. (No posing wires, but we can’t have it all at once.)

Under the robes, the legs do feature some nifty detailing.

Also coming with an alternate sword and sheath is Aragorn, though there’s no way to detach his current sheath and replace it. A touch more engineering might have helped that, though it also might have made the sheath more likely to fall off. As is, customizers can go to town. Aragorn also wears a dagger sheath, with removable curved-blade weapon.

As with Legolas and Gimli, a highlight on these figures is the fine detail in variety of different textures. Aragorn in particular wears multiple different layers.

The torch with translucent flames suits his wide-eyed look the best.

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When it comes to likeness, some reviewers disagree, but judge for yourself. They look to have some digital printing involved, and also appear to these eyes like Viggo Mortensen and Elijah Wood.

Frodo comes with his sword, sheath attached to his body, and Phial of Galadriel (which is small and easy to lose.) He does not include the Lorien cloak or the one ring around his neck — possible exclusive version later? And even though the figure’s super-small, Sauron’s cloak and shoulders no doubt fill out the cost distribution.

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To get Tolkien’s point about how even the smallest creature makes a difference, just compare Frodo to Sauron, considering they’re in the same scale.

The scale matches other similar figures. Compare, for example, to McFarlane DC, settling at least one debate. (Sauron IS bigger than Darkseid.)

The Lord of the Rings series 2, featuring Frodo and Nazgul, should arrive now-ish at most retailers. Wave 3, with Aragorn and Moria Orc, has preorders starting to get filled. (Note: Superhero Hype is part of the Entertainment Earth affiliate network and may earn fees on purchases made through site links.) Note that Aragorn no longer comes with the quiver of arrows shown on the prototype. But his swords and torches serve as more than adequate compensation.

So far Diamond has come up aces on this line. At current price points, they’ll never get into the depth and breadth Toy Biz could back when figures cost around seven bucks a pop. But at current figure standards, assuming they mainly only tackle the most iconic characters, they should prove pleasing to fans and casuals alike.

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Take a look through the gallery below for many more pictures. Then let us know what you think in comments.

Recommended Reading: J.R.R. Tolkien 4-Book Boxed Set: The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings

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