Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Review: Lord of the Rings Lego: Gandalf Arrives 9469!

Those plucky Danish, genius, super-scientists at Lego are at it again, this time breaking down the entire Lord of the Rings saga into component bricks. This is my first hands-on look at an actual set, namely Gandalf Arrives (9469), the smallest of the series so far and a great way to test the water (perhaps for lurking Watchers?).

If you like wizards, can tolerate hobbits, and love carrots, then this is a very promising set. But let’s not put the cart before the horse! To read my full review... join me after the jump!

Firstly, I apologise for anything stupid that I wrote above the jump. Okay...

So let’s crack this box open and see what’s inside!


Looks like we’re going to have to harness some of that Danish ingenuity and rebuild! We build this horse and cart stronger and better than ever!

And it is a fairly straight-forward build, only taking five to ten minutes, depending on how focused you are. If you’re one of the, “WAAAAAAH modern Lego uses too many uniquely sculpted parts!” crowd of crying, giant babies then dry those big blue eyes. The cart mostly consists of very basic plates and bricks. 

The interest is in its cargo/accessories. There’s a sack/backpack which contains a letter for Frodo (Don’t get too excited - it’s actually just a utility bill) and a barrel containing three fireworks, one of which is a sculpted cobra! There’s also an opening book which you could hide something small in if desired. Oh, and there’s also a carrot which, let’s face it, is about as exciting as hobbits get. Thor has an enchanted hammer, Captain America has a shield, Frodo wields a carrot. 

The One Ring is not included in this set (you need to buy the Gollum/Shelob set for that) and also noticeably absent is Gandalf’s sweet pipe. Not even a wizard can smoke in Lego world!

I’ve never owned a Lego horse in my life (well... I did have some in the late seventies which you had to construct out of regular bricks) but I assume that this is a fine horse. Nay, a lovely horse! I don’t know if this sculpt is new. Does this horse have a name? I know it’s not Shadowfax. Let’s call it Covertemail.

But, as always, the real incentive is the minifigs and this set is a real incentive with two main characters. To date this is the only way to pick up Gandalf (the Grey... no word yet on when a pimped out White version will follow) and this is an easy way to pick up Frodo (although alternate versions of him appear in other sets). 

Gandalf has a fabric cloak, rubber beard, and wizard hat (is this a Harry Potter reuse?). He looks good but sadly his staff is just a brown rod with a knob on the end. I think this would have been better as a uniquely sculpted piece, much like Loki’s staff.

Frodo is simple, using the truncated legs that I think we first saw with Yoda and the ewoks. Sadly there’s no hideous, hairy, sculpted feet. The scale between Frodo and Gandalf is far from movie accurate but it does the job in this style. The real triumph here is Frodo’s uncannily accurate mop of curly hair which sells the character very well. He also has two faces, switching from, “anxious smirk” to “I just crapped my hobbit-pants!”

And Gollum definitely doesn’t come with this set but I have thrown him in just for fun/reference/hijinks/horseplay...

I would like to see a sitcom starring these three characters where they live in a New York apartment/run a pizza place. 

But before we get too carried away, the real test of a Lego set is its future building potential. The cart is nice and all, but what else can be made from these pieces? That's how we identify the real value! Lego used to show pictures of alternate builds on the back of the box, but no such luck here...

Instead we get these exciting scenes from the film, like when Frodo poked around in a barrel and Gandalf fed a horse a carrot. Oh - plus a not-so-subtle plug for the upcoming Lego Lord of the Rings videogame!

So it looks like we're on our own, folks. But don't worry - the Danish aren't the only ones who are super genius engineers. Using my own Australian ingenuity I was able to use the pieces to build this marvel of vehicular technology...

Pretty great, huh? It looks like a model you could buy in the store! I call it the Horse-Jouster Perambulator 5000 DX...

If you guys like I'll upload the blueprints and then you can construct your own version of the - hang on...

Sorry gang! That's Lego on the phone offering me a cushy job on their design team! It's been fun! Thanks for the laughs! Think of me in the land of windmills!

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