Kentucky Fried Chicken
Battle for Middle-earth Toy Series
KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken) in the UK and Australia distributed a total of 10 action toys from The Return of the King. These “Battle for Middle-earth” busts of heroes and villains are approximately 3 inches tall and have moveable arms and weapons. The toys were issued in pairs with Kids Meals, in sets of one hero and one villain. There is a visual instruction sheet with each pair of “battling partners,” showing how to make each character move.
The toys in this set are:
- Frodo vs. Gollum
- Gandalf vs. Saruman
- Aragorn vs. Uruk-hai
- Éowyn vs. Nazgûl
- Legolas vs. Orc
An additional Gollum toy was available by mail-in purchase. It is significantly larger than the others, has a full body, and sits 4″ high. It is advertised as having a magnet and sound. I was fortunate enough to get one from the UK, along with the counter display card. However, the battery needs replacing, so I don’t know exactly what this Gollum figure does with the magnet, or what it says. It does have a moveable arms, so it be posed either sitting or squatting, and a movable head that can twist in a 180-degree arc from left to right.
Rarity and Value. These toys were premiums as part of KFC’s Kids Meals, and they were for The Return of the King – so the films had developed a strong worldwide following by the release of ROTK, and the toys would be relatively widespread in their countries of their origin. Thus, the basic set of 10 is not overly difficult to find on eBay in the UK and Australia, either the entire set all together or to piece together. Individual pieces, pairs, or the full set is available in the US and Canada much less frequently. Individual pairs may run $3-$5, and the full set (which I’ve only seen a few times in the past 6 months) seems to go for $20-$30.
The mail-order Gollum toy seems to be quite a bit more rare. I only recall seeing it listed on eBay UK or US a few times over the last several years (but I wasn’t watching specifically for it until more recently, so I may have missed some eBay auctions of it). The original list price was £2.49. As it was part of a complete lot that I purchased, I don’t have a firm idea on its individual value.