The Hobbit LEGO Review: An Unexpected Gathering #79003

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I love Lord of the Rings. When I first read The Hobbit in 4th grade, I was hooked. But while I utterly adore the novels, I was originally reluctant to watch the films. Gradually they grew on me and I’ve come to accept them enough that I’m actually excited for The Hobbit to come out in theaters  But more importantly, this time around I’m ready and willing to buy toys based on it – and LEGO is more than willing to accommodate.

The Hobbit set I was most excited to get without a doubt was Bag End. An Unexpected Gathering may be one of the best LEGO sets I have built ever. I won’t spoil how some structures are assembled, but trying to replicate the roundness of hobbit designs with LEGO bricks is a challenge and this set blew me away with how creative some of the build was.

Once completed, Bag End is massive. Over six inches high, nearly a foot wide and six inches deep, it feels like a complete play and not some framework like many of LEGO’s current offerings. The completed look is quaint and looks like it should be overlooking the Shire. The wooden fence, a small garden (and since this is before Lord of the Rings, the tree above is much smaller). Out of the earth peaks windows and the large green door. It all just feels right.

Inside Bag End has been reduced to a single room. The ceiling is a bit high, but the difference between hobbit height and human height in LEGO isn’t enough to notice. It just means Gandalf can stand inside comfortably. The roof removes with ease as well.

A table seats six and is covered with a bounty of food, like bread, sausages, pretzels, turkey legs, wine, apples and more. An assortment of accessories are hanging on the walls, like a broom, pans, a quill and Bilbo’s book – There and Back Again. Three tile maps are included as well that are perfect replicas of maps of the Shire, Mirkwood and the Lonely Mountain. But Bag End would be nothing without Bilbo Baggins!

Exclusive to this set is Shire Bilbo. Wearing simple linens, Bilbo doesn’t look ready for an adventure. The tan shirt, suspenders and slacks all look close enough to the scenes shown in the film so far, but the clothes are generic enough for many other uses.

Bilbo’s double-sided head is unique as well, with one side having a weary smile and the other showing him sad – like the dwarves ruined his dinner. For hair, Bilbo has the same as all the other hobbits. This set doesn’t include the One Ring oddly enough, but does include Sting for Bilbo.

Gandalf the Gray is a repack in this set, having originally appeared in Gandalf Arrives. His design is still excellent and looks great thanks to the multitude of accessories. The bushy beard, the wizard hat and cloak all add to his appearance. If you don’t already have him, he’s excellent. If you do already have him, the parts and pieces are a strong assortment for custom minifigures. Gandalf comes with his staff, but doesn’t come with Glamdring.

Since LEGO knows people are buying these sets for the dwarves as well, they nefariously divided the group of them up between almost all the sets. This one includes Balin, Dwalin, Bofur and Bombur. Each dwarf is given a completely unique look (but I’m seriously going to need a cheat sheet to remember who is who).

First to arrive at Bag End was Dwalin. This take on him is an amazing looking LEGO dwarf thanks to an absurd amount of unique pieces and excessive levels of detail. Dwalin wears brown and green. His armor has dwarven elements, especially in the geometric designs but most of it is covered by his beard and cloak.

Dwalin’s head is amazing. While only single-sided, the face is strong and weathered with a large scar across it. His temples and back of the head are tattooed with dwarven runes and look fantastic. To finish his look, he gets a unique beard piece that goes around his neck and a special cloak that only has a single hole, allowing his hair to flow over it with ease.

For a weapon, Dwalin comes with his massive war hammer and a knife. It’s a great little build, but sadly, he doesn’t come with his violin.

The older brother of Dwalin is Balin. We’ve actually seen him before – in the Mines of Moria where the fellowship fought the cave troll in his tomb! He’s looking much better now (and suspiciously like Santa Claus). An older dwarf, Balin also has a completely unique look.

Decked out in dark reds and blacks, Balin looks good. His clothes, while almost entirely covered, are ornate with dwarven designs. His dark cloak is great. Unlike most dwarves, you actually see his face through his beard since he has no mustache! One shows a grumpy old dwarf and the other is him with a smirk.

Balin’s hair and beard is a single piece unique to him. It’s well done and gives space for his cloak. For a weapon, Balin comes with a short sword.

If it wasn’t for Bofur’s short legs, you wouldn’t think of him as being a dwarf, he looks like a human with some extra facial hair. Dressed in browns, Bofur comes off as feeling more lithe and limber than other dwarves. You also get the impression he’s a lot younger thanks to the relatively plain design.

The head is double-sided with a smirk on one side and rage on the other. To really help distinguish him, Bofur has an absurd fur-lined hat that stretches out as wide as the figure. Bofur also has a short brown cloak and a pick axe.

The final figure is Bofur’s brother, Bombur! Bombur is unique because he’s the first fat minifigure! Most of Bombur’s look comes from his elaborate hair, beard and chest piece. Small touches like the bald spot and elaborately braided beard make Bombur very unique. But the best touch is how it modifies his torso to make him fat!

 

Remarkably, Bombur is completely painted underneath it all – even including double printing on his head! Talk about excessive for a single figure. The faces show him a bit chubbier than normal. Unlike the other dwarves, Bombur has no cloak or weapons; he comes with a pot and a sausage!

Without a doubt, this is the set to get from the Hobbit LEGO line. Bag End is such a classic design and unique as can be (seriously, the build of this set blows your mind at certain points). The minifigures are great too. Now I really can’t wait to see The Hobbit and go back to Middle-earth again.

Written by jestergoblin

December 9th, 2012 at 8:00 am

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