While the Lord of the Rings LEGO line has only been out for a couple of years at this point, it’s still surprising to think that the movies they’re based on are twelve years (Fellowship was released in 2001) old at this point. There’s a lot that’s changed in the years since then, both for LEGO (having more than one licensed line) and the actors involved (remember when people thought Elijah Wood was going to be in everything after these movies).
I remember being in the theater, not yet awed by Fellowship and bought in to the setting that was going on, and thinking about the actors that I knew from other films. Frodo was in that gawd-awful Rob Reiner movie, North. Gimli played Leonardo Di Vinci on Star Trek Voyager (he may have also had some small role in some independent film about an archeologist). Aragorn was in love with Steven Tyler’s daughter… I can distinctly remember seeing her and just waiting for some Aerosmith ballad to start playing in the background (Armageddon ruined that band).
But more than that, when the council scene started, it was Agent Smith walking out in a rare break in all the walking that made me snicker. By the end of the movie, I would associate all of the actors with their characters in the film, but for a brief, happy moment, I was just waiting for him to go flying through the air on some wire stunts.
This set sets up a lot of the rest of the movie, and introduces two of the lesser (yet important) characters from Lord of the Rings, Elrond and Arwen, along with giving us another Gimli and Frodo. It also comes in at $25, which means it’s obviously not going to have the size/scope of the council scene in either movie (which featured a lot of people in both). I was suitably impressed with the Wizard Battle, the smaller set in the new line, so I’m curious how this stacks up in comparison.
The Wizard Battle addresses one of the biggest gaps in the Lord of the Rings sets (Eowyn and Faramir are both still MIA) by giving us Saruman, as well as some hair for Gandalf. This is the iconic scene from the first film where we learn that the greatest of all wizards has basically turned to the dark side (this was before we knew that he was also responsible for setting up the Clone Wars). It also features the Palantír, and gives us an excuse to have wizard battles while making little sound effects.
And to top it off, it’s only $13, the least-expensive set from the summer Lord of the Rings wave, and we have to ask, can it live up to the first impression we get after seeing all that Christopher Lee goodness?
While I was fairly hard on the The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey in my review of the movie, and wasn’t particularly nice to the the last set I reviewed, Escape from the Mirkwood Spiders… An Unexpected Gathering and it’s feature of Bag End wowed me when I first saw pictures of the set from Toy Fair early last year.
More than that, this scene, along with the interaction between Bilbo and Gollum, that actually felt like Hobbit movie should feel. Instead of wide-eyed adventure and way too much action, we have a hobbit that’s turned upside down trying to figure out why a bunch of dwarves are eating all his food and playing with his knives. It was a good enough that a mini version was turned in to a San Diego Comic Con exclusive this year, for people with more money than good sense.
Make no mistake, the bar was set extremely high for The Hobbit sets when this set was first revealed. It’s visually striking, has a bevy of unique parts, and finally gives us something other than a mess of light grey or black parts. It’s not a cheap set, coming in $69.99, the second highest in the line.
So the question remains, does it live up to its promise? (more…)
Have I made a joke lately about my proud history of timely reviews? Probably, given the sheer numbers of reviews that I have done well after the set was brand new and the movie in an out of theaters (or DVD), I probably have. To make matters worse, I often take the pictures right away, and then get busy before writing the review.
Case in point, Escape from Mirkwood Spiders, a set of pictures I took last year and uploaded to Flickr for comments. In the run of Hobbit sets, this set, along with Barrel Escape, stand out simply because they aren’t in the first movie, they appear somewhere later in the whole thing. Presumably, as this set includes Legolas, and he’s been shoehorned in to the second (and third) movies, it will probably show up in the upcoming “The Desolation of Smaug.”
Given that spider attacks are something of a thing in the series in general, it wasn’t surprising that they’d show up here. Though somehow, I doubt they’re the high fantasy, talking sort that Bilbo ran in to. All of that being said, how does this $30 set stack up in a world where the $30 sets often have been the stars of their line? (more…)
If you aren’t a member LEGO’s VIP program, and I don’t see any reason why you wouldn’t be, you weren’t able to take advantage of the early bird sale of 10237 Tower of Orthanc that we reported on a few weeks ago. But the good news now is that you can purchase the tower without restriction. It’ll cost you $199.99 for 2,359 pieces of black tower goodness.
Also, LEGO Shop@Home’s July promotion has already been plugged into the leaderboard position of the site. Spend $75 dollars or more and get a free Hot Dog Cart and free shipping! This offer is good from July 1-31 or while supplies last. Note that you have to be a VIP member to score the Hot Dog Cart, but the free shipping is available for everyone. Not a member? You can join upon checkout.
Check your inbox VIPs, LEGO wants you to be the first to get your hands on the massive 10237 The Tower of Orthanc set and all you need is your LEGO ID… and a wad of cash, of course. Offer is good online and in store until June 30th and you’ll even get the sweet poster pictured in the ad (plus the Jor-El poly that is also being offered), so if you’ve been drooling over this set like I have, now’s your chance. Click the picture below and start your shopping! Oh, and don’t forget the shipping on this will be free as well.
This Fell Beast from captainsmog isn’t just an obvious upgrade from the retrospectively inferior horses the Nazgul stole from Rohan, but a great MOC in any case. I personally far prefer the LotR sets over the Hobbit ones (with the exception of An Unexpected Gathering which is also featured in those films), so with the eagles now appearing in two sets from the line I think we really need another set featuring the black riders. Let me be more specific. How about a Battle of the Witch-King set complete with “I am no Man!” Éowyn and the King of Angmar’s trusty flying, smelly… thing.
Amazon has discounted the very excellent Hobbit set 79003 An Unexpected Gathering by a nice 20% margin. It now sits at $56.04, down from MSRP of $69.99. And remember, there’s Free Super Saver Shipping and no tax to most states.
Update: Video has been added below the picture thumbnails.
LEGO officially unveils their latest UCS set, 10237 Tower of Orthanc. The set sees an additional Great Eagle which was thought to be only available in 79007 Battle At The Black Gate. An Ent is also included, though he is not named, which begs the question, where are the Ent battle packs? It may not be as grandiose as OneLUG’s The Last March of the Ents, but given the price, the scale, the detailed interior, and play features, it looks to be a GREAT set. Plus, I think it’s kinda cute. More images and official press release below. Video will be added as soon as I get it.
10237 Tower of Orthanc
Ages 14+. 2,359 pieces.
Build the The Lord of the Rings™ trilogy must-have model!
US $199.99 CA $249.99 DE 199.99€ UK 169.99 £ DK 1699.00 DKK
Finally, collect one of the most instantly recognizable and iconic buildings of The Lord of the Rings trilogy: The Tower of Orthanc! Build all 6 highly detailed floors filled with fascinating movie-related details including the attic, library, alchemy room, Saruman’s throne room, entrance hall and dungeon. This exclusive model stars in some of the most iconic scenes from The Lord of the Rings movies. Swoop down with the Great Eagle and rescue stranded Gandalf the Grey from his tower-top prison after his defeat at the hands of the white wizard, Saruman. Build the powerful, tree-like Ent, with poseable limbs and cool swinging arm function, then attack the Uruk-hai and Orc Pitmaster while Saruman and his servant Grima Wormtongue take refuge high in the tower. The Tower of Orthanc is a must-have model for any The Lord of the Rings collection! Includes a Great Eagle, buildable Ent figure and 5 minifigures with weapons: Saruman with kirtle outfit, Grima Wormtongue, Gandalf the Grey, an Uruk-hai and the Orc Pitmaster.
• Includes a Great Eagle, buildable Ent figure and 5 minifigures with weapons: Saruman with kirtle outfit, Grima Wormtongue, Gandalf™ the Grey, an Uruk-hai™ and the Orc Pitmaster
• Features 6 highly detailed floors with lots of functions, including a folding staircase, LEGO® light brick palantir, opening entrance doors and a trap door
• Weapons include 5 staffs, knife, sword, shield and a long axe
• The attic features a folding staircase, the 3 staffs of the missing wizards, the 2 keys of the Two Towers, 2 maps and an Uruk-hai helmet, shield and sword
• The library features 2 books, 2 torches, 2 maps and 2 skulls
• The alchemy room features 2 torches, a bomb (being produced for the Battle of Helm’s Deep™), 2 potions, bottle, skull, gunpowder keg, pot, cauldron and a long axe
• Saruman’s throne room features lamps, 2 bookcases with 3 potions, map, letter and the powerful palantir with a LEGO light brick
• The entrance hall features opening doors, trap door, 2 large banners, chandelier, statue and 2 axes
• The creepy dungeon features a chain, 2 bones, 2 skulls and a rat
• Buildable Ent features poseable limbs for holding a minifigure and a cool swinging arm function
• Attack the tower with the cool buildable and poseable Ent!
• Swoop to the rescue with the Great Eagle!
• Activate the LEGO light brick and make the palantir glow!
• Set the trap door and banish unwanted guests to the dungeon!
• Prepare the bomb for the Battle of Helm’s DeepTM!
• Swing the Ent’s arms to smash or grab things with the poseable fingers!
• Measures over 28″ (73cm) high, 8″ (21cm) wide and 6″ (16cm) deep
• Ent stands over 9″ (23cm) tall
Available for sale directly through LEGO® beginning
July 2013 via shop.LEGO.com, LEGO® Stores or via phone:
US Contact Center 1-800-453-4652
CA (English) Contact Center 1-800-453-4652
CA (French) Contact Center 1-877-518-5346
European Contact Center 00-800-5346-1111