Monday, October 9, 2023

The ABCs of 31 Days of Toy Terror: I is for Isengard Orc from The Lord of the Rings Trilogy: The Two Towers by Toy Biz


   I love Toy Biz's The Lord of the Rings line. It's rare that any movie based toyline ever goes as deep as Star Wars (well, the Star Wars of the prequels and Clone Wars eras), but Toy Biz's The Lord of the Rings line really delivered and continued on for around two years after the films. The line offered up over 150 figures for three movies and included army builders a plenty. Lots of orcs and Uruk-hai. And, wow, some of them are creepy. Today I'm taking a look at one of the orcs and, since today is our day for the letter "I" we've got the Isengard Orc. That's the official name of the figure and he certainly looks familiar as one of the orcs encountered by scattered members of the Fellowship during the events of The Two Towers. The Isengard Orc came out in 2004 and was one of the later figures on standard blister cards. Ready to check out this scary fellow? Then join me after the break...

The Facts:

Height: 6 inches

Articulation: Hinged ankles w/ rockers, "boot" swivels, hinged knees, thigh swivels, swivel hips, swivel waist, swivel/ hinge shoulders, hinged elbows, swivel wrists, and a balljointed neck.

Accessories: Axe

Year of Release: 2004

Original Retail Price: $7-$9 dollars

The Positives:

* At the time of their release Toy Biz's Lord of the Rings figures were some of the most impressive figures on the market. They really managed to meld some of the highest quality sculpting available with the innovative articulation they were working on in their Marvel Legends line to create some very realistic figures that moved. The Isengard orc is based off of one of the orcs seen running around in The Two Towers. He's not one of the largest, most intimidating orcs, but he's still pretty creepy. His outfit is really nicely captured and is made from a more rubbery material that rests over the torso of the figure. There's a lot of detail, showing how much Toy Biz worked with WETA in order to have access to costumes and models while creating the toys for the films. 

* Every time I watch the films I'm amazed at how frightening and realistic the orcs look. I know the films used CG, yes, but their most convincing effects are just tributes to good old fashioned practical effects. Toy Biz just nailed the look of this guy with menacing eyes, a mouth full of jagged teeth, and the tattoos on his face. He is downright hideous!

* Check out this weird... body art, I guess. Man, the orcs are just all about just messing themselves up, aren't they?

* Here's a closer shot of the Isengard Orc's armor. You can make out the details of different layers, like the mail coat he's wearing and the plated armor on his left shoulder. Everything looks muddy and messy, too, like it could use a good wash. 

* Flip him around to check out more of the paintwork. It's that gritty, late 1990s/ early 2000s McFarlane style of paintwork, but it works really well on these figures. It gives them a very realistic aesthetic, like you can almost feel their grime and smell their sweat and nastiness. The "leather" has an incredibly realistic appearance to it, too. 

* The articulation on the Isengard Orc isn't bad, though it is a weird mix of modern swivel/hinge and balljoints with traditional cut and pin joints. The swivel hips are the weirdest part, as they really do prevent the figure from moving just like you'd expect. At he time, though, those were pretty standard, and the articulation was definitely well above par.

* I like the long axe this guy carries. It's simple, brutal, and has some great paintwork on the blade. Heck, there's even paintwork on the wooden shaft of the axe. Toy Biz didn't skimp at all with the paintwork on these figures. 

The Negatives:

* The ankles were far more articulated than on most other figures out there at the time, but the left ankle has always been really loose and wonky. 

   The Isengard Orc isn't one of the greatest figures from this line that folks still talk about today, but for an army builder orc from late in the line he really was a nice offering. He's a Great figure and showed what Toy Biz was doing at a time when they were likely at the top of their game. He's very realistic and would probably fit in just fine with the modern Diamond Select The Lord of the Rings line, at least in terms of sculpt and paint. He's a creepy guy by himself, but when you get a whole shelf of Toy Biz's various orcs and Uruk-ha together, you've a really creepy scene!

   Looking for more orcs? I've previously reviewed The Hobbit Lego sets Dol Guldur Ambush and Dol Guldur Battle which both came with Gundabad Orcs, the Lego The Lord of the Rings Pirate Ship Ambush which also came with orcs, and the Orc Legion Builder 3 from Mythic Legions.

For more Lord  of the Rings Trilogy reviews check out the following:
The Lord of the Rings Trilogy
The Two Towers
Prince Theodred 
The Return of the King
Electronic Eye of Sauron


  1. That Toybiz LOTR line was freakin amazing. You're right - they went deep.

    1. They sure did. It was incredible how they kept cranking out figures. They went well beyond what anyone could have ever dreamed they would make.

    2. They sure did. It was incredible how they kept cranking out figures. They went well beyond what anyone could have ever dreamed they would make.

  2. If you have more toybiz Lotr figures, it would be awesome to see more reviews! There aren't a lot of reviews of these figures.

    1. I have many more. Almost the entire series. I may try to start sprinkling more older reviews in next year as well as getting back to some theme months.


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