Collecting The Precious: Weta Collectibles
As you know the digital effects wizards at Weta Workshop are not just a company that makes some of the most fantastic images, props, costumes, etc that you see on-screen. They also make collectibles based on some of the stories they help produce. During The Lord of the Rings trilogy their statues, busts, weapons, medallions and environments were integral parts of collecting from those films. In 2005 this line of collectibles came to an end leaving Tolkien collectors with a very impressive collection representing these films.
Well, two years ago Weta came back to making product from The Lord of the Rings trilogy with more environments, a new shield line, swords, and prop replica pieces. One big difference: Weta is now making these pieces under their own collectibles company – Weta Workshop. These new items, allow collectors to continue to build on the previous The Lord of the Rings collection. That’s great news for us!
The prop replica and swords coming from Weta Workshop are quite impressive. I’ve a chance to see them at Comic-Con during my last two visits to the Weta Booth at the world’s largest pop-culture show. The prop pieces include items such as Hobbit Ears, a Hobbit Scarf, and Gandalf The Grey’s cloak (the latter two by Stansborough). The swords by Weta Workshop are some of the coolest prop replica items I’ve seen related to a films, because the very swordsmith that worked on the movie prop made the collectible. They are well worth the cost to own essentially an exact replica of what you see in the films. So far, Weta has created three swords: Strider’s Ranger Sword with an edition size of 10; Glamdring, the sword of Gandalf The Grey with an edition size of 15; and Anduril (Flame Of The West) the sword of King Elessar with an edition size of 10. Hopefully, in the future, Weta Workshop will be able to go back and produce other swords, including ones that would appear in The Hobbit: Orcist and Sting among others..
A line of collectibles from The Lord of the Rings trilogy that were not previously produced are some of the shields we saw during these films. Weta Workshop fixed that hole when they started back up in 2009 with three initial shield offerings: the Numenorean shield, Gil-Galads shield, and the Easterlings shield. Each had an edition size of 2000 pieces. Last year we finally got a new shield in this line covering the race of the Rohirrim with the Royal Guard shield. Whats great about these shields is that you can leave them on the base, which looks very similar to the old The Lord of the Rings line, or you can wear it as a pin. The price point on these shields also make it quite easy to be a completest. Pricing comes in around forty dollars (US).
Next, we have the environment line which blends just beautifully with the different environments previously released in the early 2000′s. The first environment that Weta Workshop put up for collectors to grab was the Argonath, which you see during The Fellowship of the Ring. Now, we have already received a small version of this environment when the FOTR Extended Edition hit DVD in 2002. However, it was great of Weta Workshop to revisit the piece and give collectors a full version of a short but fantastic sequence from this trilogy. The Argonath was then followed by the Prancing Pony, a stunningly detailed piece.
Early in the environment line Weta Workshop made sure to put out one of the most demanded places in Middle-earth: Bag End. The home of Bilbo Baggins, Frodo Baggins, and eventually Samwise Gamgee, Bag End has always been high on the list for the collecting community. There are two versions of this particular piece: A Collector’s Edition and an Open Edition. With the Collector’s Edition you get to see inside Bag End on the reverse side of the environment, which is really great looking in person. The Collector’s Edition costs US$250 with an edition size of 1,111. The Open Edition comes in at US$125 but does not have the various rooms of Bag End on the back side.
I am proud to report there is a new environment coming, and that piece will be none other than… Rivendell home of Elrond Half-Elven. The sheer size of this piece will be amazing! Here are some details, courtesy of Weta Workshop: This piece consists of 6 bridges and suspended walkways, 9 towers and turrets, 16 larger columns holding up suspended walkways, 75 trees, 94 pillars of about 3/8 in (9mm), 283 shrubs, 963 steps spread over about 80 individual staircases, and 2,350 individual bricks. So as you can see this piece will be extremely detailed and take up a rather large chunk of real estate in your collection. Not to mention like the other items you can get from Weta Workshop, this piece will be sculpted and detailed by the same people that worked on the sets. (And are currently rebuilding it for The Hobbit!) This makes the upcoming Rivendell piece a must own for any collector!
Finally, I am able to share a rumor that Rivendell should be launching on their website very soon! So you will want to stay tuned for when this amazing piece drops, and be among the first to place your order. Join their newsletter and check out Weta’s official website (http://www.wetanz.com) for all their collectible offerings.
Elessar (aka Josh)