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by yo go re

Last year Tower Records had an exclusive Minimate of the Dark Lord Sauron, as a sneak preview/kickoff of Art Asylum's Lord of the Rings Minimate line. Only one series of the minis ever reached wide distribution, leaving many fans to conclude that the idea was dead in the water. This year, however, to show collectors that the Fellowship was not yet broken, there's another exclusive available, the elf leader Elrond.

Since the elves are the same general height as the races of man, Elrond gets one of the 2½" bodies designed particularly for this line. He still moves at the same 14 points though: neck, shoulders, elbows, wrists, waist, hips, ankles and knees. It's enough to get the job done.

This is Prologue Elrond, as opposed to Rivendell Elrond, so he's clad in his shiny golden armor. A lot of the detail is suggested by simple paint apps on the body, but he's got several three-dimensional add-ons, as well: based on the same body as the Prologue Elves two-pack soldiers, Elrond has separate shoulderpads/cape and a two-piece hinged skirt. He's more colorful than his troops, however, with a blue cape and green skirt - the previous elves were all in browns.

While the other warrior elves had centurian-style helmets, Elrond went into battle without protection - his brown hair hangs down over his shoulders, limiting how far you can turn his head without things looking out of place. He's got one of those weird elven swords, and a scabbard plugs into his waist. His face is just paint, but this figure doesn't bear as stong a resemblence to the actor who portrayed him as some of the other LotR Minimates do.

While Sauron came in a black and white box, Elrond gets a bit more color. There's a rich, earthy red on the top and bottom, framing an outdoorsy picture of the figure and a black background. The sides of the box have info about the figure and the "one ring to rule them all" speech, while the back has the Minimate logo surrounded by curvy Middle Earth writing.

Elrond is not a convention exclusive, but is available through online retailer Action Figure Xpress. A lot of people have found, upon opening their Elrond, that he's missing his feet. That was the case with mine, but one quick email to AFX and they sent replacement parts out in the mail. When that package got devoured by a sorting machine, they sent out another replacement set. AFX has great customer service, so if you're feeling nervous about buying online, there's no need to when these guys are at the other end of the transaction.

Though a third series of LotR Minimates has been announced, who knows if there will ever be a Series 4 - this may be your only opportunity to get one of the story's major players. Besides, if you got Sauron last year, you need someone to help kick his metal-plated butt from here to Mount Doom, and Elrond is just the one to do it.

-- 09/07/05

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