Another day, another killer LOTR diorama, this time the perpetrator is -infomaniac- and the subject matter is the Golden Hall of Meduseld from Rohan’s capital city Edoras. This diorama would make a great companion piece to The Council of Elrond featured by Sister Caylin earlier this week. Enjoy tonight’s single-serving of Tolkienian boilerplate with details so accurate you can almost smell the horse manure….wait, that didn’t come out right. Any hint of manure should be attributed to this foul write-up and not the delightful model. My love of the halfling leave has clearly slowed my mind…
I could talk about the literary impact of the scene depicted from Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. I could write about the technical pieces about the sculpting, the curvature and natural look of the build, and excellent manner Paul (Disco86) has captured just a small portion of Rivendell.
But really, just look at it:
I highly recommend looking around his photostream; for more Lord of the Rings themed builds, you can check out this gallery.
Resident mad genius and meme chaser Iain Heath has just put out a crazy video explaining how to dye your bricks. All you purists out there can put your pitchforks down and simply skip over this one, but for everyone else, it’s some pretty cool stuff whether you’re into LEGO mutilation or not. In this video Iain explains how he achieved the flesh tones used in his large-scale Gollum character. And for those of you who haven’t seen it, Iain’s previous video describing his design process for the accompanying Bilbo is also well worth a watch.
Russell Crowe was on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon promoting Man of Steel a couple nights ago, and Jimmy brought out some of the recent Jor-El toys depicting Russell Crowe in the movie role. Russell Crowe said that his son’s favorite toy in the whole world is the LEGO minifig, and he’s very happy to have a minifig version of his dad now.
Of course, the Jor-El minifig doesn’t actually come in any sets, but you can get it for free. The LEGO Shop’s June promotion is a free Jor-El minifig for orders over $75 or £50. LEGO is also introducing free shipping “every day” on all orders over $75/£50.
But first, all of the summer 2013 LEGO Lord of the Rings sets are out on both the LEGO Shop website and Amazon.com (links below go to Amazon, where buying anything goes to support TBB; scroll to the bottom of the post if you want to get them from the LEGO Shop, with the Jor-El minifig).
79006 The Council of Elrond includes Elrond, Arwen, Frodo, and Gimli, with 243 pieces for $30.
79007 Battle at the Black Gate includes Aragorn, Gandalf the White (previously only available as Gandalf the Grey), the Mouth of Sauron, two orcs, an eagle, and 656 pieces for $60.
The big set from this batch of new LEGO Lord of the Rings sets is LEGO LOTR 79008 Pirate Ship Ambush with Aragorn, Legolas, Gimli, the King of the Dead, two Dead Men of Dunharrow, a Corsair pirate, and two orcs. For $100, you get 756 pieces.
Finally, LEGO LOTR 79005 The Wizard Battle includes Gandalf the Grey and Saruman for $13 — a nice little set for two such major characters.
UPDATE: Presumably to make room for all the new Lord of the Rings sets (in their enormous warehouses, ha!), Amazon.com has discounted a number of sets from The Hobbit as well:
- 20% off 79003 An Unexpected Gathering (My review: Best. LEGO set. OF ALL TIIIMMMEEE!!!)
- 24% off 79010 The Goblin King Battle (Josh’s review)
- 22% off 9473 The Mines of Moria
- 13% off 9474 The Battle of Helm’s Deep
(Watch to make sure you’re not getting ripped off when the prices change, or when the sales start going to third party sellers on the same page, for a much higher price.)
With apologies for the visual repetition and a reminder that clicking through from TBB goes to support the site, here are the Jor-El links:
This sculpture of the Fell Beast by captainsmog captured the ferocity of this menacing creature from The Lord of the Rings. Having the creature pose on the sharp rock formation gave the model a much more dynamic appearance.
Here’s Jonas’ (Legopard) take on Weathertop. I always enjoy seeing a fan’s version of a movie/book location that LEGO has already made into a set. For obvious reasons, it’s unfair to expect LEGO to produce a decently priced set that can match the complexity of what fans build, but nevertheless, it would have been fantastic if the official set had been anywhere near as cool as this one.
EDIT (AB): Yes, yes, we blogged this last week, too — but I like Chris’ contrast with the official set, so enjoy this one twice, at no extra cost to you!
Jonas (Legopard), this month’s cover photo artist on our Facebook page, has just posted a beautiful rendition of Weathertop from The Lord of the Rings. Jonas says he wanted to “improve my skills in Rock-Building and also try my hands on a bigger ruin.” I’d say he succeeded rather nicely.
The campsite looks a little underpopulated in the main photo above, but there’s action aplenty on the summit as Strider battles the Ringwraiths.
See more photos on MOCPages.
The summer wave of sets is here, and LEGO has focused its Tolkien license back onto the Lord of the Rings trilogy, while we wait on the new Hobbit movies. The Council of Elrond is the medium sized set in this wave at $29.99 USD, with 243 pieces.
I find it interesting that LEGO chose to capture this moment from the series in playset form, because although the Council of Elrond is of paramount importance in the ultimate narrative, it’s basically a glorified committee meeting. Not exactly the stuff of Saturday morning cartoon action on which LEGO playsets generally focus. Nevertheless, LEGO has managed to fit in some play features here. The boxes for this summer wave have been redesigned from last year’s Lord of the Rings sets, and I love the new look. The right end of the boxes features a orange-tinted map of Middle Earth, which extends onto the closed flaps. This gives the boxes quite a striking look on the shelf.
Now down to the set itself. Opening the box will dump out two numbered bags, the instruction manual, and that ever-present sheet of stickers. Fortunately my sheet wasn’t crumpled, but I’ll say yet again that LEGO needs to be putting sticker sheets in some sort of protective material. The stickers are for the 3 chair backs, and the Eye of Sauron. The Council of Elrond builds two small structures from Rivendell, the home of Elf-lord Elrond, and his daughter Arwen. The first bag builds the council room, which in the nature of the elves, is more of a patio than a room, being open to the air and shaded by a tree. It includes 3 chairs around a central plinth, where the One Ring resides during the council. The only action feature in the set is also built here. It’s a minifig flinger located in the floor next to the plinth. It’s used to recreate the scene from the film where Gimli brashly gives the One Ring a good whack with his axe, and is sent sprawling backwards. If you’ve watched The Fellowship of the Ring recently, you may also recall that the screen flashes to the Eye of Sauron for a split-second as Gimli hits the ring. In the floor when the fig-flinger lifts up, there’s a red slope that’s stickered with the Eye of Sauron, so you can briefly glimpse it before the floor shuts again. It’s more than a little corny, but also an amusing interpretation of the film into a playset. I tried it, and it actually flings Gimli quite effectively.
The second bag builds the remainder of the set, which is a small segment of a roofed structure. It contains a removable weapon rack for holding Arwen’s bow and Elrond’s spear. This part looks really lovely, using a mixture of white, dark tan, and light grey. It includes another tree, and this segment clips into the adjoining council room segment with two Technic pins. This building also features the first ever appearance of the new Gothic half-arches, which are a long yearned-for piece for Castle builders everywhere. Sadly, this new piece follows suit with the newer design of the full arches, and uses thin walls that disallow studs being placed on the underside, a common fan technique. Other interesting pieces in this set include the first appearance of dark orange large leaves, which in combination with the recently released dark red leaves puts fans well on their way to making an autumnal forest. There are also olive green small leaves here, which aren’t new, but are still hard to find. All told, there are 4 white half-arches, 3 dark orange large leaves, and 5 olive green small leaves. Personally, I’ll be buying this set in droves, just for the leaves and arches.
There are 4 minifigs in this set: Elrond, Arwen, Gimli, and Frodo. This seems a very logical selection of minifigs. Elrond must be present–it is the Council of Elrond, after all. And Frodo has to bring the ring. And Gimli’s got to go flying to give the discussions some play value. Arwen might be the odd character out, but given her limited role in the series, this is probably about the most logical place for her to show up, short of a Black Rider chase set or the Coronation of Aragorn. The figs are all high quality with front and back printing. Gimli and Frodo are identical to those found in previous sets, so I’ll skip over them. Arwen is a fantastic addition to the female medieval population, and her dress is generic enough to pass for any lady in a Castle setting. Both Arwen and Elrond have rubbery hair, with painted ears. Elrond has a meticulously detailed gold printing, and a terrific double-sided cape. The outside of the cap is dark red, with a painted tan inside. I don’t even remember the last time a set included a two-sided cape, though I know it’s been done before.
All in all, this a good set for fans, or parts collectors. I can’t imagine that there’s a lot here to be excited about for kids who aren’t major fans of the movie, since the structure isn’t even defensible. Still, each of the weapons in the set (except Gimli’s axe) have an extra included, so it’s not a bad weapons pack, plus there are 2 extras of the 1 Ring (good thing Sauron didn’t have backups). It seems like a big opportunity missed not to include a statue with Narsil and maybe a shield inside the building, though. Still, I expect most of the lovers of this set will be people like me looking for those new arches and leaves.
I can’t think of another licensed theme that has inspired more epic dioramas than Lord of the Rings. You can add one more to the list with GOEL KIM’s interpretation of the battle of Helm’s Deep. The builder doesn’t have much to say, other than the diorama is 90% finished and contains 1700 minifigs. I deliberately selected this photo because although many of the others show the grandeur of the diorama, they also show the garage. It’s a nice garage, I have nothing against it, but it does detract from the grandeur of some of the long-shots. The size of the project makes it inherently difficult to photograph, and I’m sure the final presentation will be improved, but fans of LOTR should enjoy the rough-cut nonetheless.
UPDATE: 10237 The Tower of Orthanc is now available!
I just received word from LEGO direct that they unveiled this new set in Portugal, yesterday. I’ve looked through the official photos, and I have to say, it looks pretty cool to me. There seems to be a lot of detail, and the brick-built Ent is a great addition. I also know that I, for one, am pretty excited about the shields and armor with white hand-prints on them, though I also must confess that I don’t actually know if they’re new for this set. Here’s the press release from LEGO:
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
Here’s the designer interview video:
Finally, if you like this 2-foot-tall official set, don’t miss the fan-built 7-foot-tall LEGO Orthanc.