It's a good thing that Tower Records brings a booth to conventions like SDCC - it gives fans with no regular access to their stores a chance to pick up some of the exclusives that they always seem to land. Last year they brought along their 2" Silver Surfer, a solo addition to the then-new Marvel Minimates. In similar fashion, this year they've got an exclusive Lord of the Rings Minimate, the Dark Lord Sauron.
Sauron, in his big pointy armor, towered over his mortal enemies, so of course he gets a 3" body. In fact, this is the first 3" Minimate sold since before the Marvel set came along. Like all Minimates, he moves at the neck, shoulders, elbows, wrists, waist, hips, ankles and knees. In addition, he's got some articulation in his cape, but we'll get to that later.
Minimate figures typically rely on paint more than add-on pieces to convey the character and costume, and Sauron does just that - to a point. A lot of that ornate armor is re-created by simple black lines painted on the body, but the detail demanded a few extra pieces. His skirt, shoulders and gauntlets are all three-dimensional pieces, as is his huge helmet. Three vertical cape pieces hang from his back, and you can move those however you like. Why Art Asylum went with hard plastic instead of cloth is a bit of a mystery.
Sauron's helmet is removable, but the only thing underneath is ... a surprise. Get one for yourself. His bright red eyes almost look like they've been light-piped, but they're not - they just capture the light very well and seem to glow. The figures includes a 2 5/8" replica of Sauron's mace, which fits perfectly in his hands to whomm his enemies.
The figure is sold in a black and white blind box with a few graphics all around. There's a picture of the figure on the front, info about the figure on the side and the Minimate logo surrounded by Elvish text on the back. It looks like that "one ring to rule them all" spiel from the ring.
[Uh, the Black Speech of Mordor? Duh! --ed.]
Yeah, whatever. The box is very dark, but it suits the depressing environment of Mordor.
The Lord of the Rings line really takes advantage of the Minimate form. The 2" 'mates stand in for the hobbits, the old 3" body will cover the super-sized characters (think Ents, Cave Trolls) and a new 2 1/2" body was created for the humans. The difference really helps sell the characters.
Sauron was available for free with a purchase on the first day that Return of the King was available on DVD, or for $3 with purchase after that. He's also available for $6.99 by himself. Of course, you've gotta have the movie's main villain, and this one is well worth hunting down.
Did you like that they personified Sauron for the movie, or was he better as an empty force? Tell us on our message board, the Loafing Lounge.