I have always been a fan of fantasy. If it deals with dragons swords and sorcery it has my attention. The Legend of the Knights series was one of the first Chap Mei figure lines I became interested in. This series had it all knights, kings, evil wizards and dragons. Yes dragons, three to be exact a small, medium and large dragon. The knights were by far the most popular and most abundant line of figures that were sold here in the United States. The Battle Front sets were an interesting collection of figures; sold in affordable packaging, their were three in all. I believe they ran for about $9.00 each at Big Lots. The Battle Front set featuring Count Orcus and his beast assortment was the most popular and harder to find.
Let us began with the Wizard Count Orcus. There was actually two main villains in the Legends series. Count Orcus and the evil Knight Magnus. I assume that Magnus had control of the dragon army but Orcus had control over Magnus... Orcus also had the power to control dragons and use them to defeat King Leo. Orcus appears to be based on the Ring Wraths from Lord of the Rings and Skeletor from He-Man. His arms and head are the only thing that move on this figure the waist and legs are just a solid piece of plastic. What is neat about Orcus is he is one of the only figures that has a head that glows in the dark. His hood is removable but he looks plain silly without it. His belt is very sinister look and can also be removed. Chap Mei did an excellent job sculpting this figure I like the intricate detail in the arm and leg armor. The cloak "appears" to be made cloth and worn over the figures body, when it is actually just the sculpting in the plastic. Orcus is painted entirely in black with a little touch of gold on his waist belt and silver splashed on his arms and boots.
Orcus has a very interesting array of accessories. A purple and black staff with a winged serpent carved into it. I assume Orcus has the ability to shoot bolts of dark magic at his enemy's to drive them away. He also comes with a wicked looking black dagger that appears to come out of a fantasy sword and knife catalog. The handle has a skull demon which reminds me of the skull demon seen on Danzig's first album. The dungeon has the same skull demon design and I wonder who designed this line was a Danzig fan. Orcus must love snakes because he comes with two of them in this set. The small teal serpent sits perfectly around his neck or on his arm. Their is a black set of shackles that are used to enslave defeated enemies or hold them captive. These are the same exact shackles that came with Barcode from the Police & Bad Guyz series. Orcus also has a black flag with a red dragon symbol that I seem to have missed placed.
Orcus like I said appears to be an animal lover because he comes with three of them. The second of his pets is a maroon colored cobra. It is one of the few smaller figures that has articulation. The head and neck can rotate 360 degrees. The cobra has very detailed scales on its body. A long forked tongue and a nasty pair of fangs. The cobra has a brown spiked collar and chain. I don't see Orcus walking his pet cobra around the castle. Even though the cobra is huge if it were alive it would easily slide out the collar. The collar makes better sense if it were on the dragon. The cobra is painted with green beaty eyes and a teal mouth. Personally I would have chosen a different color for the body of the cobra but since this is a fantasy line, I'll let that slide. This cobra also appears to be slightly larger then an average living cobra. The King cobra the largest in the family elapidae, can grow to eighteen feet. The Chap Mei cobra if it existed in the real world appears to be well over thirty feet. As we know Chap Mei is known for its well sculpted animals that tend to have over exaggerated sizes. The cobra was first seen in the Wild Quest line and later as a green black version with the Pirates series. When this cobra first appeared, I wanted one to add to my GI Joe collection as a giant pet cobra for the Cobra Commander. When the Adventure Heroes line came out an even larger cobra was introduced based on the Wild Quest/Knights cobra design. It appears Chap Mei is infatuated by cobras because they have 3 versions of this one and an extra large cobra.
Orcus also has a dragon. I would not go as far to say it is his pet but is rather controlled by Orcus. The dragon named Arcturus is a medium sized dragon and the best looking dragon Chap Mei has designed. He appears to be almost like a Chinese dragon rather then a medieval dragon. Nereus the smaller dragon is very well sculpted and painted but lacks any articulation. The larger dragon Vulcan is big put is not very intimidating for a dragon and reminds me of a purple, winged Barney. Arcturus has articulation in the legs, wings and in the jaws. A button on the back makes the wings flap and the jaws to move. He has very detailed scales and claws on his body. His head is really detailed with horns spines on the side of his head and a beard. He has big enormous teeth and I love the clear bright orange tongue that appears to flick out when the button on the back is pressed. It also appears he is breathing fire. His wings are bat like and very dragon looking and fit his body size pretty well. The clear orange gives it a membranous look to the wings. A feature most toy companies ignore when designing winged creatures. My only complaint is the tail is to short, like the Dino Valley dinosaurs it suffers from short tailed syndrome. I guess dragons can contract the disease as well. The tail would have looked much better if it were bigger with that scary spiked club at the tip. Color wise Chap Mei did and excellent job with this creature. A dark blue body with splashes of light blue on the scales and clear orange wings. The colors are dead on and ideal for a fantasy dragon. I wish the fore and hind limb claws were painted instead of left blank. A little Testors modeling paint will fix that. Recently Kmart has put out several versions of this dragon in different colors. A red version and a greenish version. This version to me is the better version and I hope it remains that way for future knight and dragon lines to come.
Distribution for Legend of Knights was different in the Netherlands as our Orcus and Dragon packs didn't get the cobra as a bonus figure. It was available, but in another cheaper configuration. Here's the set as distributed by Simba:
It's a fantastic set and every collector should have one! I agree the blue dragon is very striking, but I've seen the red version that was brought out in the US and I'm quite in love with that one too, I must get one!
The large, rideable dragon from Legend of Knights is a great piece! For some mysterious reason, I still don't have one yet, even though it's pretty common. I keep missing it!
This is a great shot of the dragon. It even shows off the electronics inside that give it a light up feature. I'm positive there are versions of this dragon out there that do not light up, as Chap Mei has no qualms removing electronics when it can save cost.
Note the belt on the saddle to hold figures in place. Very reminiscent of the Beast Raider creatures. As I consider those lines to be part of the same universe anyway, this awesome dragon would fit right in!
Post by Ghouldrool on Jul 31, 2011 13:14:48 GMT -5
Here's another strange packaging crossover for Legend of Knights: We all know that wicked dragon, but the knight is from the slightly larger Medieval Knights line. It's not the first time several scales were done in one line, but Chap Mei doesn't seem to have any reservations about it.
This set is the Clawtower, which contains a large crane costructed of wood to lay siege on the castle. One could swap out the large metal ball for a gripping metal claw.
Aside from the crane itself, this set contained very little added value that one couldn't get anywhere else in the Legends of Knights line and as such, it was never a very high priority piece for me to get. It looks good though - but other sets of the same pricepoint, such as the one with the Skull Prison posted above, are better.
I found these four two-packs online. They feature Legends of Knights characters packed alongside the usual suspects of Hercules and Wizard's Magic. But what really throws me is the weapons packaged with the Nocturna set top right - that bow and spear are molded in green plastic and were not originally included in 2005... so I'm guessing that these are actually NEW releases. Also, Orcus's head is completely green, like his Medieval Kingdom version is!
Here's my very own review of Chap Mei's Skull Prison, an often underestimated playset from the Legends of Knights line of 2005.
Here it is in scale with Thun. I must say that when I received the set I was pleasantly surprised at the size of the Skull Prison - it's a little bigger than I had imagined it to be.
Aside from the skull, its main feature are the bone fingers that open and close, and hold a figure prisoner inside indefinitely!
There's no action feature to move the hands. The floor of the prison cell is littered with skulls and bones of previous prisoners. A nice touch, and for those who owned the Jabba the Hutt playset from the vintage Star Wars line, Jabba's throne featured the same sort of detail on the inside.
The back of the playset is interesting as well, as the steps that are carved out from the stone circle around the pinnacle, and lead up to a platform where an action figure can stand. It's also where the battery compartment for the light and sound feature is located. Those holes in the back are from the binders that Chap Mei uses to keep the toys in the box in place.
It's the perfect place for an evil wizard to cast spells from. It's also no coincidence this series was released alongside the Lord of the Rings films.
When the largerst horn on the skull is pressed, its eyes glow red and the skull bellows forth deliciously fiendish laughter!
What better playset for an all-out wizard's duel! And all in glorious 3 3/4 inch scale!