Our friends over at Sideshow don’t only produce incredible collectibles – they also make some very entertaining videos! One of their shows is a sixth scale figure posing contest, ‘Strike a Pose’.

Often featuring celebrity guests, the show is hosted by ‘Pose Master General’ Terry Smith. Three contestants have a short period of time in which to pose a figure (shipped to them by Sideshow – the show is filmed remotely in these Covid-concious times, which opens it up for participation from people all over the world). Smith then judges the poses; and the best one wins kudos and glory! It’s really all about the banter and fun – check out an episode from a couple of years ago, when actor David Dastmalchian relived one of his earliest movie appearances, in The Dark Knight.

Today Sideshow have let us know about a very exciting episode, coming up later this month, which fans of Middle-earth will not want to miss: Oin, Bombur and Bifur will be taking part! Actors John Callen, Stephen Hunter and William Kircher competed with an entirely suitable figure; here’s a glimpse of the fun in store, in this trailer Sideshow have exclusively shared with TORn:

July 23 is when the episode will air, during San Diego Comic-Con. Our friends at Sideshow will be at the con – if you’re there, be sure to stop by and visit them at Booth #1929. They always have an incredible display; you won’t want to miss it! (After you visit TORN at Booth #1202, of course!) And if you aren’t one of the fortunate folks visiting Comic-Con, why not entertain yourself by watching past episodes of ‘Strike a Pose’? And then catch up with our dwarven friends, and see how they got on when grappling with Gandalf the Grey!

As we work our way through the 20th anniversary period of The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, we can at the same time celebrate the 10th anniversaries of The Hobbit Trilogy. Our friends at Weta Workshop currently have a timed pre-order going for an amazing-looking Smaug statue from The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. This timed pre-order runs until July 6th, which is just next week!  However many fans order this by that cut off date will set the edition size of this collectible. You can snag Smaug right now for $1,299 (USD), or $187.50 a month on a payment plan – allowing you more easily to acquire this piece. If you decide to do the full payment plan you have time to save, with this stunning Smaug not arriving until quarter one of next year.

Last month we had the awesome privilege of sitting down with Daniel Falconer of Weta Workshop. We talked about the last 20 years of collecting Middle-earth, and how things have changed over those years. We also chatted about current stuff like the new Strider Statue; the things to come; and the hopes for items we may see in the next 20 years. You all are going to love this lengthy conversation, as we pick Daniel’s brain and get into all the stuff he’s seen over the last 20 years at Weta Workshop. We at TORn thank Daniel for his time, and Weta Workshop for lending him to us for a couple of hours!

Continue reading “Collecting The Precious: Exclusive Interview with Daniel Falconer of Weta Workshop”

In the early 1990s, Russian director Roman Mitrofanov began working on an animated version of The Hobbit. The effort ultimately fizzled in the dissolution of the Soviet Union, but six minutes of footage survives and can be watched on Youtube to this day.

The footage functions more or less as a prologue that shows not much more than the destruction of Erebor and Dale by Smaug, and was clearly intended to be just the beginning of a complete adaptation.

It’s also full of delightful details such as the bells and the toy-market that Thorin Oakenshield describes to Bilbo during the Unexpected Party.

They built the merry town of Dale there in those days. Kings used to send for our smiths, and reward even the least skilful most richly. Fathers would beg us to take their sons as apprentices, and pay us handsomely, especially in food-supplies, which we never bothered to grow or find for ourselves. […] and the toy-market of Dale was the wonder of the North.

The Hobbit
Treasures under the Mountain, an incomplete Russian adaption of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit from 1991.

The bucolic imagery of Dale also includes a brief view (at approximately 2 mins 12 secs) of several people flying kites over the town square. If one squints just right (the quality is only 360p), one might construe one as having the shape of a dragon even.

Peter Jackson’s rendition of Dale shares many of the same details. Of course, this should not be surprising — they pull from the same source. But an inspection of the text of The Hobbit reveals no mention the people of Dale having kites or gliders. There’s nothing similar in The Lord of the Rings, either, not even when Frodo reminisces with Glóin in Rivendell.

This prompts the question: might Jackson — or one of his crew — have seen the Russian animation, liked the concept, and been inspired to use the kites in a similar fashion as a beautiful and poignant foreshadowing device?

Props to Ringer Raurenkili for the find.

The PJ Dragon kite at Dale from The Hobbit

One of my favorite lines our friends at Weta Workshop produce is the environments line. Why? Well, I’d love to actually visit Middle-earth, but being a fantasy world, that seems unlikely. I’d love to visit New Zealand –  and that may happen someday, but getting there from Missouri isn’t cheap. So collecting these amazingly well done pieces of the places we love is as close as I can get for now; as I’m sure is the case for many of you as well. We now can add three new environment pieces to our collections.

The first is a massive Bag End with that awesome green front door that opens and closes. When you open this door, you’ll be able to peek in and see the main hallway. That’s not all though! It also has a light up feature, giving the feeling that Bilbo or Frodo is at home. You can pre-order this right now through December 22nd for $1,199(USD),  with the edition size being determined by the numbers of orders placed. If you want something Bag End but maybe slightly cheaper, there is a hobbit hole sized piece of Bag End for only $99(USD). Both of these pieces ship during the fourth quarter of next year.

Continue reading “Collecting The Precious – Weta Workshop’s Bag End on The Hill and Doors of Durin Pre-Orders”

Bilbo’s Birthday Speech

Come join the Southern California TORn staff and Tolkien fans on Saturday, September 18, 2021, as we celebrate Bilbo and Frodo Baggins’ shared birthday in Griffith Park. The party will kick off at Noon, and run until about 6 pm. The biggest difference this year will be NO POTLUCK. Please bring enough food and drink for yourself and the group you will be attending with. As always, sunscreen, a hat and sunglasses, and maybe a popup for shade are all good things to bring in order to stay comfortable. We are returning to the Mineral Wells section of Griffith Park, which is near the Harding Golf Course. Please head to the Baggins Birthday Bash Facebook event page for directions and a map. https://www.facebook.com/events/193623342558178/

While this event is scheduled for Saturday, September 18, the dual issues of COVID restrictions and/or Wildfires could become an issue this coming week. Should LA County trigger a restriction of large gatherings or a Wildfire trigger evacuations in the region of Griffith Park, we will post a Cancelation notice to the FB page first, and if there is time, post here on the main website as well.

As for COVID restrictions, the LA County guidelines recommend masking outdoors only in the case of a Mega Event, and that has only happened once. We are recommending everyone have a MASK with them, ready to wear near groups of people and remove when eating and drinking. The outdoor setting should afford us more than enough space to social distance if it makes you feel comfortable. We would PREFER if everyone attending was fully vaccinated, but none of us are qualified to verify the CDC card, so we won’t be asking.