LEGO Lord of the Rings Review: Shelob Attacks #9470

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The LEGO Lord of the Rings sets are making the most of the license by drawing from all three of the movies. So while the smallest set is based off The Fellowship of the Ring, the second smallest comes right from Return of the King (provided we’re going by the movies and not the books).

Plotting to reclaim The One Ring, Gollum lures Frodo into the lair of the ancient giant spider, Shelob. Will Shelob cast her web and capture poor Frodo or can Frodo’s brave hobbit friend Samwise Gamgee use the Elven sword Sting and rescue him in time?

Frodo Baggins is back again, but has changed since getting the One Ring. Wearing his traveling clothes of a brown suit, red vest and linen shirt, I love how well the hobbits’ attire translated into LEGO designs. The little touches like ensuring the waist is painted on the torso really help sell the sense of scale LEGO is working on. Even more absurd is when you realize Frodo’s back is painted, even though you’ll never see it.

Frodo’s face is worn and weary. Gone is the smile of his first figure and it’s been replaced by a cold, distant stare. The opposite side shows Frodo poisoned with a screaming mouth and bulging white eyes. It’s unsettling. Frodo’s hair is at leas the same and looks incredible.

For accessories, Frodo comes with his elven cloak in grayish green, Sting and the One Ring. Two copies of Sting are included but sadly it is cast in just silver plastic and not translucent blue and airbrushed. The sculpt is great but simplified.

The final accessory is the One Ring! Three of these unique pieces are actually included. Vac metalized with gold, the Ring is slightly out of scale. Frodo is able to hold it in his hand and fit it around his wrist if you remove his hand. But what are most exciting are the building opportunities it presents. The One Ring is just the right size to fix two studs TOGETHER. I can’t wait to see what some AFOL do with this knowledge.

Traveling alongside Frodo into Mordor is Samwise Gamgee! The second hobbit in the mix, Sam continues the perfect paint applications. The plain shirt with a satchel over his shoulder (probably full of spices), suspenders and a belt all look great. Another double-sided head, Sam’s main face is him looking angry, so probably looking at Gollum. The second side shows him looking concerned. The faces are good, but don’t quite capture how I imagine a LEGO Samwise should look. Sam has the same hair as Frodo but in a lighter shade.

Sadly, Sam doesn’t come with his classic backpack and frying pan since LEGO capes don’t work that way. Instead Sam includes his elven cloak, a short sword and the Light of Earendil. The Light of Earnedil is actually just a clear LEGO gem held upside down but it works very well.

The final figure is a completely new assembly – Gollum! Once a river dwelling hobbit, Gollum was consumed by the One Ring and turned into a treacherous, cave-dwelling creature. His spindly shape made it impossible to work as a LEGO figure, so LEGO created a whole new one.

Consisting of three parts (two arms and everything else); Gollum isn’t the most articulate figure since his long, spindly arms get stuck thanks to his ears. Made of tan plastic, the hunched pose works fairly well but there is something very unsettling about his sunken face. Gollum’s feet attach to pegs without issues, and he has a single peg on his back.

The paint is amazing with the large blue eyes, receding hair and a smattering of teeth. It certainly looks like a LEGO Gollum. Gollum doesn’t come with much for accessories. All he has is a single gray fish.
There is a set piece “build” that is supposed to be the cave entrance to Cirith Ungol, but in the end it just looks like a smattering of gray bricks that LEGO felt like they had to include to make this set feel complete. But since it is so small, it feels very out of place.

At less than 30 pieces, this small cave opening is just large enough for Gollum to crawl out of. Sam and Frodo are both too tall for it! Off to the side is a catapult launcher that is decent for a firing Gollum, but the whole thing just feels out of place.

The rest of the set is spent on Shelob though! This massive spider creature is huge. Aragog looks tiny and amateurish in comparison to this eight-legged monstrosity. At 7 inches (17 cm) long, Shelob is a little smaller than a dinner plate and infinitely more terrifying.

Utilizing brown and black bricks with the most efficiency I’ve seen out of LEGO in a while, Shelob really works. For people who worry about stickers on LEGO sets, you’ll be happy to know that her seven-eye piece is screened on!

What is even more amazing is the amount of articulation on this build. Each leg has ratcheted vertical hinges at three points and a horizontal hinge at the body. The thorax is hinged, along with the head and teeth! It’s an amazing amount that really allows Shelob to look terrifying as she hunts her prey.

Inside her large thorax is a hook and string mechanism allowing her to capture a hobbit in her webbing. Thanks to some creative gear work, the webbing can be controlled allow Shelob to be displayed hanging from her own web without crashing to the ground.

Thanks to some ingeniously insidious marketers at LEGO, the only way to complete the full nine members of the Fellowship is by buying each set (except Helm’s Deep). So this set is the only way to get Gollum and Sam. But even with that caveat, I still really like this set for Shelob. I’m amazed at how much of an improvement she is over giant LEGO spiders from just a few years ago. While the rocking outcrop doesn’t make much sense, this set is still excellent.

LEGO Lord of the Rings

Gandalf’s Arrival #9469
includes Frodo Baggins and Gandalf the Gray

Shelob Attacks #9470
includes Frodo Baggins, Samwise Gamgee, Gollum and Shelob

Written by jestergoblin

June 11th, 2012 at 8:00 am

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