“The Hobbit” Toyline’s Non-Crappiness in Doubt


(Note: Yes, I used the same pic as Topless Robot, and after he posted his article on it, but I swear I didn’t look at his article until after I’d chosen it.)

It seems that The Bridge Direct, Inc., best known for Zhu-Zhu Pets and the Justin Bieber doll, outbid everyone else for the toy license for The Hobbit (or no one else was interested…I find that hard to believe, though).

Does that mean collectors are doomed to subpar action figures? I’d say that’s more likely than not, yes. It’s rare for a company doing action figures for the first time to do them well right out of the gate. ToyBiz took nearly a decade to make truly amazing superhero figures. Then they used what they learned to create what was arguably their masterpiece, the Lord of the Rings toyline.

I understand Bridge Direct wants to expand into other demographics, but perhaps this was a bit too ambitious a license to go for?


Pic of the Day > Halloween Week 2010 Set – 04 – Mosquitor by (Talyn)


Pic of the Day > Necromorph attack on Meg by sabatomic~


  1. charles

    Popco Did very well with the Harry Potter toys and they did AMAZING work with the Golden Compass license, Having done nothing much else previously.

  2. jesus santillan

    dark sidious picture?.

  3. Motorthing

    I'm not hopeful.

    Obviously we don't know that much yet but this is thie Interweb and I'm not going to let a total absence of fact cloud my judgement.

    It will suck. A lot.

    The sad thing is I actually would love a well done Hobbit line, and somehow I don't think this means I'm going to get one. Ah wel…….

  4. Now that I've had a couple of days to process this, I think I can put some thoughts into words.

    First of all, I'm glad to see that after this many years, people still fondly remember Toy Biz's LOTR line, because basically, that line ended for good in early 2005. The first series was far from perfect, but once they got into the swing of things, the ended up producing one of the best movie tie-in toy lines of all time.

    Having said that, movie tie-ins are often times a HUMONGOUS gamble. Yes, we have Hasbro doing all of the Marvel movies and Mattel doing all of the DC movies…but that's more about their licensing agreements with Marvel and DC and not the individual studios. To spend lots of money in advance to just get the rights to produce toys is a HUGE risk, and even if the movie succeeds, it doesn't necessarily pay off. I remember when Kenner used to produce a bunch of movie tie-ins. Figures for movies like The Shadow, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, and Waterworld clogged pegs at deep discounts long after the movies were even relevant. Playmates (which was once a GREAT toy company…in the early and mid 1990s) got taken to the cleaners with Star Trek and Terminator: Salvation. The quality of the figures was bad, but those licenses were expensive, and the Terminator movie did not perform as well as the studio had hoped, so even if the toys had been better, they might not have sold as well. McFarlane's Prince of Persia toy line was not bad, but the movie was a flop, and the toys lingered on shelves for a while.

    Look at some of the toy companies that have scooped up non-superhero licenses lately:

    – Tron = Spinmaster
    – A-Team = Jazwares
    – Pirates of the Carribean 2 & 3 = Zizzle

    These smaller companies produced pretty decent toy lines for these properties given the resources they had. They also learned quickly. The Pirates stuff improved tremendously from Dead Man's Chest to At World's End.

    Given the trends in action figures today, I have no doubt these will be 3-3/4" scale. They almost have to be. Remember, when the Toy Biz figures were new in 2001 or so, they were $8 or $9 each at Wal-Mart and Target. There is probably no way they would cost less than $15 a figure at retail today, and for a universe as rich with characters at LOTR and The Hobbit (fans are going to be pissed if whatever happens with the line for some reason does not include all 13 dwarves), they need to be affordable to be collectible. While they will inevitably be compared to the Toy Biz line, if they at least attempt a different scale, there won't be as direct a comparison.

    However, we might end up with another Armies of Middle Earth line. It was not a bad line AT ALL, but it just didn't connect with collectors or kids, and it was kind of expensive for the scale and severe lack of articulation. Many items never saw the light of day because the line did not succeed. So while Toy Biz's line was great and must have sold well to warrant production 2 years after the final movie was released in 2003, the LOTR license is not an absolute money maker for companies in the same way that Star Wars is.

    I'm sure there are decent people working at The Bridge Direct who are extremely excited to have snagged the license, and I hope they pull off something that at least most collectors will respond positively to.

  5. Braystreet

    I say to all of you; Thinkway Toys.

    Who made the best Spider-Man 3 figures? Not Hasbro, not even close. The best Spider-Man 3 figures came from… Thinkway Toys. A totally unheard of company that didn't even make toys, They made room guards that were better action figures than anything Hasbro put out.

    Yes, they're not going to fit in with the current collections. There's now way they'd go without playsets or horses, but there's always a chance of them being good. Earnestly, even if Hasbro had won the rights, they still wouldn't have fit together for the same reasons. 1:18 is the scale of movie merchandise at this point in the game, they can't do enough to attract people with bigger scales.

  6. nipnop

    Oh I don't know what the fuss is about – those Bieber toys kick ass!!!

    Well, they do something to an ass…

  7. Newton Gimmick

    I bet they'll just repackage those Kung-Zhu figures that are overstocked everywhere on the planet and can't even be given away.

  8. Oh, thank god. I was sure the Hobbit movies would cost me a fortune. I just saved, like, three hundred bucks easy. Thanks, The Bridge!

  9. jackstatic

    Lol, I doubt we'll see anything good of this, but who knows. Could be worse sure, could be better definitely. Personally, if it was handled by mattel's fisher price division we'd have some bad ass imaginext hobbit sets. I also think hasbro coulda done a fairly good job with it, but then again, who knows, maybe this company will blow us away, or maybe they'll just blow. One thing is for sure, the toybiz lotr line has set a standard.

  10. Snarf! Snarf!

    Let me try to put a positive spin on this:
    At least it wasn't Mattel:
    Everyone would share the same buck, backwards shoulders, thigh pegs stuck and breakable if moved. Plus a million Bilbos (and whatever spare Hal Jordan toys Mattel may have… The Hobbit vs DCUC will be a huge hit!)
    At least it wasn't Hasbro: 3 3/4", available, but the most sought figure would be that year's SDCC exclusive and unavailable to buy at hasbro's page… If for some reason they made 6" figures, expect random articulation on the figures.
    At least it wasn't Playmates: Ninja Turtles dressed as characters from The Hobbit… those would be the only figures that would sell… everything else straight to the clearance bin…
    At least it wasn't McFarlane: STATUES!!
    At least it wasn't NECA: 1 wave and they're done… 2 if lucky… expect all the articulation from the waist down to be gone…

    • Snarf! Snarf!

      Forgot BANDAI! all joints will have SCREWS!!!

    • toyman

      Wow, LOL! This does put it in perspective a bit. Maybe we should count our blessings, haha!

  11. Dead Man Walking

    First crappy Thundercats figures…now this.

  12. ToyBiz's Lord of the Rings line is directly responsible for me having become a toy collector, and I think it was a truly superior line in every way. For any company to match it with The Hobbit would've been a challenge, but for this outfit to even be in the ballpark….well, I'd be shocked.

    • Same with me, I got into action figures thanks to that toyline, and what a place to start! Now I find it doubtful I'll be buying any Hobbit toys. Unless Kaiyodo ends up making Revoltechs of the movie, that is.

  13. toyman

    There goes my hopes of putting awesome Hobbit figures next to my extensive and beautiful Toy Biz LOTR collection…

  14. Mario

    Just checked out their website… not looking good for hobbit fans.

    Then again, I was pessimistic that Bandai America would handle Thundercats Classics properly.

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén