Vintage Vault: Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Kelek and Ringlerun by LJN

While the dungeons and the dragons may have received top billing in TSR’s roleplaying game, AD&D was just as much about wizards and their crazy magics. Contrary to popular belief at the time, you didn’t have to be an old bearded fart in robes to be a spell-slinger, but it didn’t hurt either and LJN did their best to uphold the stereotype with their wizard figures. There were two wizards released in the 4-inch scale AD&D action figure line, one from each alignment. So you got the Good Wizard Ringlerun and the Evil Wizard Kelek. Actually, to be precise Kelek was termed a Sorcerer and Ringlerun a Wizard. They were available packaged separately, each on their own card back, but today we’re going to take a gander at the pair of them. Suffice it to say, the packaging on this pair is long gone.

Let’s start off with Kelek because, well hot damn, I love this figure. Talk about iconic? I know he made a cameo in the Saturday morning D&D cartoon, but I’d swear this figure is based on cover art from one of the TSR books, I just can’t find the proof. Anyway, much like Strongheart was the epitome of righeous knighthood, if you look up evil wizard bastard in a dictionary, this is probably what you’d see. He looks like he’d be right at home at Alestair Crowley’s Christmas party.
As far as sculpting goes, you don’t see a lot of it on Kelek, because he’s wearing a set of black softgoods robes that covers everything but his head, hands and little upturned feet. It’s a great garment for a figure in this scale, complete with a stitched red border and a high collar behind his head that looks like flames and I’m shocked that it survived the near 30 years in such great condition. I know there’s sculpting underneith the robes, but they’re stitched on good, and quite frankly, I’m not sure I want to go peeking under there.

Nonetheless, what little sculpting you can see, particularly his head, is really amazing. Stare into this guy’s crazy fucking eyes long enough at your own peril, because it just might drive you mad. The contrast between his shiny bald pate and his flowing white beard and mustache is classic, but its those friggin eyes that just creep me out and really make this figure something special. Any figure released today would be proud to have a head sculpt this expressive.

Kelek has only four points of articulation, because his bearded head is sculpted as part his body. He does have ball joints in his shoulders and hips, as is standard for all LJN’s AD&D figures.
Evil Sorcerers need their gear, and Kelek comes with two accessories. You get a long staff and a short wand. Both are molded in this delightfully ethereal neon green plastic that I immediately associate with the slime we used to get in buckets. The sculpt on both pieces is very nice, with snakes coiled around the shafts. The staff has a dragon spreading its wings and a tormented face at the top. Kelek is meant to be able to hold each accessory in each hand. Mine holds the wand just fine, but he tends to drop the staff a lot. Thankfully, I have plenty of blue tack handy.
And then there’s Ringlerun, who is the Yin to Kelek’s Yang. Or vice-versa. The two of these guys could be brothers who at some point went on their separate ways. Ringlerun has the same bald head and flowing beard, but a kinder face that doesn’t give me nightmares if I stare into his eyes. My Ringlerun’s beard has yellowed, which I presume is age and not by design because his bushy eyebrows are white. Nonetheless, the headsculpt is just as good as Kelek’s, particularly for such an old figure. Ringlerun features the same four points of articulation as Kelek. You get ball joints in the shoulers and hips. His head is sculpted as part of his body.
Much like Kelek, Ringlerun sports the softgoods robes. Ringlerun’s are predominantly white with glitter, giving them something of an ethereal quality. Unlike Kelek, Ringlerun’s robes have proper sleeves, but still cover everything except his head, hands, and feet. He has a red sash with black border running down the front and a high collar behind his head. Ringlerun also features the same upturned wizard shoes as his nemesis, Kelek.
Ringlerun gets by with just one accessory. Its a simple staff with a spherical top. Its the quinticential combination of magic staff and walking stick. I actually like the simple, understated quality of this piece a lot, and RInglerun looks great holding it.                         
Kelek and Ringlerun are both great figures, representing the two opposing sides of what is basically the same character class. If I had to choose between the pair of them, I’d say I like Kelek a little more, mainly because he just looks so thoroughly evil, but Ringlerun is no slouch either. The pair of them are still pretty easy to find without breaking the bank, but their predominant softgoods robes make them a little tougher to find in good condition. Case in point, my Kelek looks like he just came out of the package, while my Ringlerun’s robes are a bit on the shabby side.

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