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Lord of the Rings Set Reviews

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#1 Saber-Scorpion

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Posted 27 May 2012 - 07:25 PM

So there I was, walking into Toys-R-Us because I happened to have a 20% off coupon, when all of a sudden this choir of angels starts singing, and a ray of golden light bursts forth from the heavens, illuminating a single shelf beside me. There they stand in all their majestic glory: The Lord of the Rings LEGO sets! And there was much rejoicing.

Toys-R-Us tends to get new sets in first, but I'm usually reluctant to buy a lot of stuff there because they mark up everything by roughly 20%. My 20% off coupon was like a miracle, since it allowed me to roughly break even. So I picked up every LotR set, one of the new Monster Fighter sets (the werewolf one, duh), a Marvel set, two LEGO minifigure packs, and three blind-bag ponies. :3

Total: just over $400.

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NOTE: They did not have the Orc Forge. :(

Now... on to the set reviews!

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#9469 Gandalf Arrives (MSRP: $12.99)

A set that I predicted in 2003. Except, obviously LEGO did a better job designing the cart. Actually, the cart seems a little excessively bulky to me; I think they could have slimmed it down and made the set cheaper. It's so tall that the harness fits on top of the horse instead of on his "sides" like usual.

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Minifigs: Just Gandalf and Frodo. This is the only source for Gandalf, though his staff is rather lackluster, and I recommend getting the one from BrickForge to replace it. The Frodo minifig in this set is different from the others: he has a sand green shirt with no jacket or cape, and he looks considerably happier, though his head bears a concerned expression on the opposite side. Gandalf's head is one of the few LotR ones that is not double-sided. ALL of the new LotR torsos are printed on the back and the front.

In the end, when you buy this set, you're basically paying $13 for Gandalf. At least it comes with one of the awesome new horses (more on those later).



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#9470 Shelob Attacks (MSRP: $19.99)

Buy one of these for your arachophobe friends to troll them. Because arachophobes deserve to be trolled, the wimps.

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Anyway, this set is awesome. Shelob is the best brick-built spider yet, with a working web-spinner mechanism and a mouth that opens up, as shown above. I do have a few nitpicks about her: she's missing her pedipalps (the two short appendages on either side of the mouth that are not counted as legs) and her "stinger." Real spiders may not have stingers, but Tolkien gave his spider one, and it was there in the movie as well. But hey, at least LEGO left us customizers room to improve!

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The silliest part of the set is the little rock wall that includes a shooter to launch Gollum into the air. Silly LEGO.

Minifigs: Frodo, Sam, and Gollum. This is the only set that includes Sam and Gollum. Frodo here, unlike the one in Gandalf Arrives, is showing the weariness of his long journey, with bags under his eyes. The alternate expression is one of terror, with glazed white eyes. He and Sam both have dark grey, Hobbit-sized capes. There are THREE (3) One Rings and TWO (2) "Sting" swords in this set, which is pretty sweet! Sam has a gladiator sword and a trans-white (clear) gem that he holds upside-down to represent the Phial of Galadriel. Gollum has a fish. He is tan in color and looks pretty darn creepy, though his only joints are his two arms. The set includes one extra Gollum arm.




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#9471 Uruk-hai Army (MSRP: $29.99)

The army-builder set. It includes a section of wall that can be attached to the Helm's Deep playset in order to extend it.

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The Uruk-hai have a ballista, but it's not very impressive, visually or functionally. It can feebly fire a pair of grappling hooks, but neither they nor the ballista itself have any strings on them. Oh well, room for improvement.

The Uruk-hai are pure awesome. Their skin is dark red, and their heads are two-sided as well. All have the same dark brown bodies with printed chest, back, and legs. The design is based on the light leather armor that Lurtz and his Uruk-hai wore when they attacked the Fellowship in the first film. Three of the minifigs have helmets, but for some silly and highly inconvenient reason, only two have breastplates. The fourth orc just has long black hair. There are also two Uruk-hai swords and shields. All of the armor and weapons are in the new dark metallic color, except for the two classic LEGO halberds. They are dark grey.

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The wall section is nicely detailed and features some of the new 2x1 brick wall pieces and, of course, the requisite tiny LEGO catapult. No LEGO castle would be complete without one!

Éomer is a pretty cool minifig. Although his helmet is just a repaint of Theoden's instead of a unique mold, it's a nice repaint, and his head is two-sided so he can shout "ROHIRRIM!" and "FOR THE KING!" as only Karl Urban can. He features printed legs, while the Rohan soldier does not. The Rohan soldier also has a two-sided head, and an unprinted version of the same helmet. He comes with a bow and quiver, while Éomer has a horse, sword, printed shield, and spear, as well as a dark green cape.

Overall, the price of this set is a bit steep to use as a major army builder, but it's worth getting at least one for the extra Uruk-hai, extended wall, and Rohirrim minifigs. I plan to get at least two, myself.

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About the new horses: They're totally sweet. The head is much more detailed, and the hind legs are attached by a single, nice and sturdy joint, allowing the horse to rear up. Otherwise, the only joint is the neck, as usual. All of your old saddles and horse barding will work with the new design, but sadly, the old horse headgear will not. The new head is a bit too wide and has larger ears. Oh well. :(

I'll continue with the rest of the set reviews soon! But here's a spoiler: they're all going to be positive. I love these sets and can't wait for more!

-Scorp


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#2 Werewolf King

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Posted 27 May 2012 - 08:23 PM

Freak yes! When I first saw these sets I wasn't so sure about them... I'm sold now. I'm definitely getting the Uruk-Hai Army one. Or the Shelob one.
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#3 Kasab

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Posted 27 May 2012 - 08:33 PM

So I picked up every LotR set, one of the new Monster Fighter sets (the werewolf one, duh), a Marvel set, two LEGO minifigure packs, and three blind-bag ponies. :3


I take it the nearby Toys R Us cashiers are no longer surprised at a 25 year old grown man walking in and spending $400 on products aimed at people of more than half his age? I'd love to be as in tune with my own childhood as you are.

Regardless, interesting set reviews. The prices make me shudder, but I do like the look of those new hair pieces. If only the faces were yellow as opposed to hideous flesh colour. Or is flesh colour the new yellow? The first flesh-colour set I bought was a Spiderman 2 set a long, long time ago back when I still bought Lego. I think they were first used in those Basketball sets, and were then used in all the licensed sets.
Checking the Lego store, I've noticed there's a huge, huge variety of new hairpeces, weapons, a misc items that are avaliable. It's great what they can do with plastic that they couldn't do when I was into Lego.

EDIT: Hold on, "Monster Fighters"?
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This set is exactly the same as one Lego made ten years ago; it's that one from the studios theme.
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I wasn't aware Lego regurgitate their older sets so much. I thought it was just Kingdoms and certain licensed ones.
Eh, at least they're keeping the sets similar so younger generations can experience the joy of older sets.

Edited by Kasab, 27 May 2012 - 08:41 PM.

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#4 cheeso194

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Posted 28 May 2012 - 02:01 AM

EDIT: Hold on, "Monster Fighters"?
<solid set>
This set is exactly the same as one Lego made ten years ago; it's that one from the studios theme.
<fantastic set>
I wasn't aware Lego regurgitate their older sets so much. I thought it was just Kingdoms and certain licensed ones.
Eh, at least they're keeping the sets similar so younger generations can experience the joy of older sets.

YOU SHUT YOUR MOUTH THAT SET WAS GREAT RAAAGH
Oh god, did you insult the set with the werewolf?! You let out the beast, you fool!

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#5 Groovemeister

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Posted 28 May 2012 - 02:19 AM

That spider really is fantastic looking. And a working web spinner to boot!
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#6 JarkosofTroy

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Posted 28 May 2012 - 02:25 AM

I feel insulted by you calling arachnophobes wimps and saying that they deserve to be trolled because I am an arachnophobe. Other than that, I enjoyed reading these reviews.

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#7 Trevize

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Posted 28 May 2012 - 06:37 AM

Talking with the LEGO company's Community officer, I discovered that Toys R Us illegally puts the sets up early with raised prices to make up for the fineele that they have to pay to LEGO. Luckily, I have a LEGO store relatively close by so I don't have to shop at TRU.

#8 Jociva Flcol

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Posted 28 May 2012 - 08:11 AM

I work with this really tall muscly dude. I mean, he's a beast. And a tough guy. And rather sexist to boot. He's an arachnophobe. I always call him a wimp. Just cause it's hilarious :lol:

Anyways, sets look amazing, sir. I want to buy all of them. As of late, I've only purchased the Deadpool set. No LotR ones yet. :(

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#9 Prattitude

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Posted 28 May 2012 - 12:25 PM

I'll probably only have money enough to purchase one set right now... and I'm torn between Weathertop, Shelob's Lair, Orc Forge, and The Helms Depp Wall sets. Any advice Skorpikins?

#10 Saber-Scorpion

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Posted 28 May 2012 - 07:03 PM

I take it the nearby Toys R Us cashiers are no longer surprised at a 25 year old grown man walking in and spending $400 on products aimed at people of more than half his age? I'd love to be as in tune with my own childhood as you are.

Regardless, interesting set reviews. The prices make me shudder, but I do like the look of those new hair pieces. If only the faces were yellow as opposed to hideous flesh colour. Or is flesh colour the new yellow? The first flesh-colour set I bought was a Spiderman 2 set a long, long time ago back when I still bought Lego. I think they were first used in those Basketball sets, and were then used in all the licensed sets.
Checking the Lego store, I've noticed there's a huge, huge variety of new hairpeces, weapons, a misc items that are avaliable. It's great what they can do with plastic that they couldn't do when I was into Lego.


I rarely see the same cashier twice, but they're always very nice. :P At least I'm giving them something to talk about while wandeirng the deserted corridors, perhaps - TRU doesn't get much business except over the holiday season. I don't know how they keep the place open...

I've made my peace with the flesh-toned minifigs. As long as they don't completely replace yellow 'figs, I'm okay with them. And yeah, LEGO has been cranking out the specialized minifig parts lately, especially with the collectible minifig blind-bag line.

I feel insulted by you calling arachnophobes wimps and saying that they deserve to be trolled because I am an arachnophobe. Other than that, I enjoyed reading these reviews.


Ah, don't take my arachnophobe jab too seriously. Some of my best friends are wimps arachnophobes. :P

Talking with the LEGO company's Community officer, I discovered that Toys R Us illegally puts the sets up early with raised prices to make up for the fineele that they have to pay to LEGO. Luckily, I have a LEGO store relatively close by so I don't have to shop at TRU.


Really? Well, they mark up absolutely everything, and the LotR sets were up on LEGO.com that day too. At least they bother to put new sets on the shelves quickly. Most other stores are just now getting the Marvel Superhero sets out. Sadly there's no LEGO store nearby. :(

I'll probably only have money enough to purchase one set right now... and I'm torn between Weathertop, Shelob's Lair, Orc Forge, and The Helms Depp Wall sets. Any advice Skorpikins?


Personally I'd lean toward the Helm's Deep Wall because boy do I love those Uruk-hai! Plus it has the Rohirrim and a new horse. No Fellowship characters though.

Weathertop is a bit expensive, although it does come with the Ringwraith horses and a lot of nice weapons and accessories. That's the next one I'll review. I still haven't found the Orc Forge set... I'm planning to order it soon.

-Scorp


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#11 Saber-Scorpion

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Posted 30 May 2012 - 02:41 AM

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#9472 Attack on Weathertop (MSRP: $59.99)

The ruined watchtower on Weathertop comprises the body of this set, but as you can see, LEGO saw fit to include a random little rock! Which is nice. NOTE: The rock is supposed to have some "grass" on it (green flower bases), but those must have gotten knocked off before I took the photo. They can be seen in the third photo.

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The tower opens up to reveal a fairly detailed interior, with torches, a brazier (?), a rat, and a weapon rack. The spear and gladius are both dark metallic. Also included are four blank grey microfigs for architectural detail. All of the 1x2 brickwall pieces in this set are dark tan. It also includes a dark grey spiral staircase. I've never been a fan of the spiral staircase pieces, but at least they are fairly well-secured here so they don't go sliding around quite so much.

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Minifigs: Aragorn, Frodo, and Merry. All have two-sided heads and look great. The Frodo minifig is the same as the one in the Shelob set, with the same terrified white eyes for the alternate face, but his cape is dark green here instead of dark grey. Merry's cape is a sort of olive green. Just like the Shelob set, this one includes THREE (3) One Rings and TWO (2) "Sting" swords... even though Frodo technically should not have Sting yet.

The hobbits have a bag of food: a carrot, chicken leg, and green apple. Merry is angry because there are no tomatoes or nice crispy bacon.

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Also noteworthy is that this set comes with an orange brick separator (above), as do all of the larger sets in this line.

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The Ringwraiths are pretty much exactly what you'd expect. They have new tattered capes with three neck-holes insted of two, so that they work much better on horseback, but sometimes they push the hood off. I was hoping for a new hood mold based on the long, ghostly hoods the Ringwraiths had in the movie, but these are the standard Jedi/Sith style hoods. The wraiths both have awesome new black horses with red eyes, and are armed with dark metallic swords.

Here's hoping for a full-blown Witch King later, complete with crown. The ideal set would be him on his Fell Beast fighting Éowyn in her armor, but I'm trying not to get my hopes up.

Final Thoughts: To be honest, this is probably my least favorite of the new sets. Weathertop itself is the least impressive of the LotR buildings, the Ringwraiths are nice but could have been better, and the price tag is a bit steep for what you get. It might be a set worth skipping, unless you want Merry to complete your Fellowship, since this is the only set to include him so far.

-Scorp


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#12 Maximazed

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Posted 30 May 2012 - 05:04 AM

These sets are pretty cool. Honestly I wish I had that kind of money to drop on things I like, I've been thinking about getting some legos again.

Also a note on the Monster Hunter set, The claws. I know they have the Wolverine claws available in LDD but I guess now that they have that license Lego is finally deciding to utilize new techniques like that.

#13 Prattitude

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Posted 30 May 2012 - 05:18 AM

Honestly I think I'm going to wind up grabbing two of the first three sets you reviewed first. I love that Gandalf :lol:

#14 Burngirl

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Posted 30 May 2012 - 06:28 AM

Thanks for putting up the reviews. I'm glad I didn't get Weathertop. My brothers did point out the ringwraiths' problems with the caps and hoods and all (they also pointed out that in the movie they're wearing chainmail, so they needed to be in dark grey).

I guess I'll head back to the Lego Store at Downtown Disney (they just redid it) and get maybe one or two (love the Gandolf one). For my sake, I'm skipping Shelob, so I don't get jumped on or anything.

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#15 880_ZERO

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Posted 30 May 2012 - 11:20 AM

Man, brick separators have come a long way. I still have my original fatty grey one that came with my LEGO Mindstorms 2.0.
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#16 Werewolf King

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Posted 31 May 2012 - 12:29 AM

Man, brick separators have come a long way. I still have my original fatty grey one that came with my LEGO Mindstorms 2.0.


I do too :D Except to the little holes have gotten so worn out it doesn't even work anymore...
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#17 Saber-Scorpion

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Posted 31 May 2012 - 04:28 AM

Also a note on the Monster Hunter set, The claws. I know they have the Wolverine claws available in LDD but I guess now that they have that license Lego is finally deciding to utilize new techniques like that.

The Monster Fighters sets make use of both the Wolverine claws and Thor's hammer. The werewolf's claws are glow-in-the-dark, however. Wolverine's are just metallic grey.

Thanks for putting up the reviews. I'm glad I didn't get Weathertop. My brothers did point out the ringwraiths' problems with the caps and hoods and all (they also pointed out that in the movie they're wearing chainmail, so they needed to be in dark grey).

I guess I'll head back to the Lego Store at Downtown Disney (they just redid it) and get maybe one or two (love the Gandolf one). For my sake, I'm skipping Shelob, so I don't get jumped on or anything.

Yeah, I thought about that too. The Ringwraiths' hands should be grey, at the very least.

Oh man, the Lego Store in Downtown Disney... I remember buying the first wave of Star Wars Episode 1 sets there. Only, that was the one in Florida.


Anyway, two more sets to review! The big ones! Here's the first...


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#9473 The Mines of Moria (MSRP: $79.99)

"The dwarves delved too greedily and too deep..."

The battle with the cave troll playset. I'll get my biggest complaint out of the way to begin: I wish all these little bits and pieces of the mines were combined on a baseplate. For some reason, LEGO no longer likes baseplates. They're rarely seen in sets these days. It would have made this set feel a lot bigger when fully built.

Now, on to the other details...

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"Fool of a Took! Throw yourself in next time, and rid us of your stupidity!"

You can pull back a sliding piece on the well to drop in the skeleton with the chain and bucket. Here are Pippin and Boromir's alternate heads. Pippin has an olive green cape like Merry in Weathertop, while Boromir's is dark brown. Boromir is a cool minifig, but his head doesn't resemble Sean Bean very much.

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Poor Balin's sarcophagus has a pop-open action to catapult his skeleton out. It's a shame the skeletons in the set are all normal-sized, considering they're supposed to be dwarves. It's also noteworthy that the skull design is very slightly different from the classic one. Not sure why.

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The goblins are pretty awesome. They have two-sided heads, but there's barely any discernable difference between the two expressions. Their skin is a dark olive green, and one comes with a dark metallic Uruk-hai shield. The cave troll is sand-blue, just like the troll from the old Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets sets. Not the color I would have chosen, but it works I suppose. The troll is also not very well-balanced thanks to his hunched posture.

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The dynamic duo: Gimli and Legolas! It's about time LEGOlas got his own minifig...

Actually though, he's not my favorite minifig from the line. His torso is the same yucky olive green as the Moria goblins, rather than sand green, which I think would look nicer. The hairpiece with the elf ears is cool, but it makes it impossible for him to wear a quiver. It also means his head can't turn very much, so posing him in a bow-shooting position is nearly impossible. He can still wear a cape, but he does not come with one. His bow resembles the classic LEGO bow and arrow, but slightly longer and curved on the ends.

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Gimli is fantastic, and comes with a very detailed beard and printed dark brown helmet. His head is two-sided for some reason, even though you can barely see his expression past the beard.

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A closer look at the Moria bits. Here is the gate. Note the Technic lever on the side, which is used for an entirely useless "break off a bit of wall" action.

NOTE: All of the designs on the scenery pieces are stickers, not prints. The sticker sheet is also rather confusing and doesn't clearly indicate which stickers go where. You have to give it your best guess sometimes.

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The gates don't look quite as good from the "outside." Nevertheless, all of the architecture in the set is tight and detailed. No giant BURPs (Big Ugly Rock Pieces) in the LotR sets, no sir!

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The wall section with pillars. Again, nice architecture, even without the detail stickers. There are a lot of the 1x2 brick wall pieces in dark grey.

A full sprue of those little Heroica weapons is included, along with some bones, skulls, torches, books, a bottle, and a chest of gems. I thought the riches of the dwarves was not in gold or jewels, but mithril?

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Again, there are levers on the back to make the pillars fall down. I'm not sure why LEGO includes these "crumbling" features. I mean, these are LEGO bricks! If you want to destroy something, just destroy it, and then build it back later!

Final thoughts: With its $80 price tag, the Mines of Moria is a tough sell, but I can easily recommend it over Weathertop. There are a lot of unique minifigs here with a ton of accessories and some cool dwarven architecture, though a baseplate would have helped immensely to make the final constructed set appear bigger and more complete. It mostly comes down to whether or not you want the minifigs. But if you're considering skipping this set in order to save up for Helm's Deep, do it, because Helm's Deep is truly awesome. Seriously. It's the next one I'm going to review.

-Scorp


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#18 Jociva Flcol

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Posted 31 May 2012 - 05:45 AM

I demand to see pictures of the Mines of Moria with the entire Fellowship in it.

I mean, erm, uhh, it'd be nice to see pics like that... :unsure:

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#19 Amarok

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Posted 31 May 2012 - 10:26 AM

I only want it for Merry's chest, since I wear scarves all the time; it's a perfect sig-fig chest! 'Course I also want Boromir... I'll most likely skip the set, nap the figs off Bricklink, and but all the Rohan sets... :P

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#20 Werewolf King

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Posted 31 May 2012 - 06:02 PM

Truthfully, I'm a bit disapointed by this set. The Mines of Moria was one of my absolute favorites (the Balrog is so boss)
And then you have ... this.
Gimli and the goblins look pretty awesome, though.
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