Pros: Great sculpting
Cons: Weak play-action; floppy, drab robes; kind of boring
I used to hang out at the McFarlane Toys Message Board a lot, and I remember how upset many members got when Toy Biz got the Lord of the Rings license. At the time, I understood their pain - Toy Biz, while doing a great job with many of their superhero figures (Water Wars Wolverine and all the anniversary "team sets," like the Avengers and Uncanny X-Men are classic examples of action figures) didn't have a great track record with movie-based toys, with one (excellent) exception, Trenchcoat Blade.
So it was with some trepidation that we awaited the release of Toy Biz's Lord of the Rings toys. In the interim, I started to turn away from McFarlane-style figures and become more interested in toys that actually had colors and good articulation. So when I finally cracked open that first toy, I was pleasantly surprised to find a great compromise between sculpting and articulation.
That first toy was Gandalf. The Witch-King was the second, and he wasn't quite as cool.
Most of 6" figures in this line were created using the Real Scan technology, where the actors' faces (and, in some cases, bodies) are scanned with lasers, creating a 3-D image that is used to create a mold. I suspect the Real Scan technology was unnecessary with the Witch-King here, for one important reason: he has no head. In the film, the Ringwraiths' flesh is invisible, so it makes sense. Instead, the toy just has a big hood. Now, an important point: the toy comes with a little clear plastic piece inside the hood. It's made from the same material as the packaging bubble, so I guess they expect you to take it out, but the obvious reason for the plastic piece is to make sure the hood doesn't sag. Therefore, I left mine in. You can't really see it, since it's tucked away inside the hood, and it will prevent the Witch-King from looking like his head is caving in on itself.
The packaging is the same as the other single 6" figures in this line: a large half-circle bubble within a large cardboard casing. The packaging is fairly collector friendly. At least, it's probably intended to be - getting the figure out requires some determination, since most of it is contained within the bubble. The graphics on the package aren't bad - I like the bright green, personally - but they're nothing spectacular.
But on to the figure itself. The black robes aren't cloth, but made from soft plastic. It's a much softer plastic than the one used for the robes of the Saruman figure, so the robes are rather floppy. The sculpting on the robes is pretty good.
The figure's legs are completely encased in robes, but oddly enough the hips are ball-jointed. The legs are sculpted with silver armor, as are the hands/gauntlets. The figure has the aforementioned ball-jointed hips and then joints at the knees, ankles, elbows, wrists, and waist. The shoulders are a bit different. The left shoulder is a ball-joint, but the right shoulder is a cut joint. This is for the figure's "action feature," which is thrusting his sword forward when you push a button on his back. It's a neat concept, but it's not a very forceful thrust. It looks like the Witch-King is just kind of freaking out, or making a lunge for the nacho bowl.
The accessories are a "Morgul-knife" and a sword, with accompanying sheathes. The knife's blade retracts into the hilt, so kids can re-enact that fun scene where the Witch-King stabs poor Frodo. When placed in the sheathe, the hilt of the sword sticks out of the robes a bit. It looks a tad silly and perhaps even scandalous, but if you try hard enough you can push the hilt down out of sight. The sword and knife themselves aren't particularly interesting - no detailed sculpting here.
Overall, I found the Witch-King to be a fairly well-made action figure, but ultimately a little boring. Drab robes and two plain ol' weapons make for a rather uninteresting figure. When you add in the lack of a face, and the Witch-King doesn't have much to distinguish himself. But that's not really Toy Biz's fault - they were just going with what they had from the movie. Still, I wonder if this figure would have been cooler with cloth robes, like the Nazgul that comes with the horse set has.