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Which Hobbit set are you most looking forward to?


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Poll: Which Hobbit set are you most looking forward to? (123 member(s) have cast votes)

Which Hobbit set are you most looking forward to?

  1. 79000 Riddles for the Ring (1 votes [1.12%])

    Percentage of vote: 1.12%

  2. 79001 Escape from Mirkwood Spiders (14 votes [15.73%])

    Percentage of vote: 15.73%

  3. 79002 Attack of the Wargs (21 votes [23.60%])

    Percentage of vote: 23.60%

  4. 79003 An Unexpected Gathering (33 votes [37.08%])

    Percentage of vote: 37.08%

  5. 79004 Barrel Escape (8 votes [8.99%])

    Percentage of vote: 8.99%

  6. 79010 The Goblin King Battle (12 votes [13.48%])

    Percentage of vote: 13.48%

What is the main reason you chose that set?

  1. The parts (8 votes [9.41%])

    Percentage of vote: 9.41%

  2. The minifigures (38 votes [44.71%])

    Percentage of vote: 44.71%

  3. The set itself (39 votes [45.88%])

    Percentage of vote: 45.88%

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#76 Endeavour

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Posted 07 November 2012 - 05:01 PM

I voted for Bag end, a really spectacular looking set, one that i've been looking forward to all year. :blush:
If i could vote twice i would vote for Mirkwood Spiders also; those little web baggies are neat! :grin: The trees and the minifig collection are also really cool.

Edited by Endeavour, 07 November 2012 - 10:01 PM.


#77 ShaydDeGrai

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Posted 07 November 2012 - 06:34 PM

I've been a big fan of Tolkien's work since I first read the books some 40+ years ago and a collector of Middle Earth memorabilia for decades, so I expect I'll eventually be picking up at least one of each.   That said, I can't really say that I'm "looking forward" to any of these sets in particular (in the way I couldn't wait to get my hands on kits like the Emerald Night, The Robie House, The Super Star Destroyer, The Taj Mahal, etc.).  These kits sort of quietly saunter over to me and say, "You know you're going to buy me eventually, let's just get it over with."  As opposed to some kits that wake you in the night and say "The LEGO Store is only ten miles away and it will be open in three hours!!! Don't forget your credit card!!! They may only have 10,000 of me in stock so you'd better hurry up!!!"

I do like the look of these sets and think TLG did a better job with the initial release of Hobbit offerings than they did with their LOTR kits  - then again maybe my expectations were different because I think of the Hobbit as more fitting fare for pre-teen boys so I'm more forgiving of some of the design choices.  Still, I don't find any of them particularly compelling beyond the basic appeal of the theme.

I appreciate (and agree with) the points made and seconded by several people regarding the lack of "completeness" for a number of the Middle Earth sets announced and shipped to date.  I like the look of the Barrel Escape but at the same time it seems to have a lot in common with the Mines of Moria set (my personal choice for "most disappointing set" in the LotR line - could have been great, but wasn't) It _feels_ piecemeal, it's not a big build; it looks like a bunch of small builds packaged together in a common box (I think the Goblin King shares this weakness), a bit like a LEGO Advent Calendar on steroids.

I understand marketing and appreciate why poly bags and, what I consider "stocking stuffer," sets exist - hey, I _WAS_ one of these kids who couldn't afford most of the kits I lusted after as a child and considered myself lucky when I got one of those low end, few-thrills sets.  I know I've been critical of things like Gandalf Arrives (mostly because the cart is too small for Frodo and Gandalf to sit in side by side) but if someone had given me that kit 40 years ago I would have been overjoyed.

I'm less sympathetic to supposedly "big build" high end kits that pander to short attention spans.  I was pleasantly surprised by Weathertop, still a bit pricey and I have no idea why there are gratuitous flick fire missiles, but a good build for the part count.  I expect Bag End will be similar (though I've seen better (more organic) looking MOCs of the same subject).  Several of other kits, however, seem to up the piece count without increasing the size of complexity of the item(s) being built.  Like the Mines of Moria, it's "build this stand-alone item, now build this bit of scenery, now build this other prop, now link them all together with a common table top..." They just _feel_ like backdrops for a play, not a coherent model like the Monster Fighters Haunted House, PotC's Queen Anne's Revenge or something from the Modular Buildings line.

As for battle packs, I'll let that slide for this initial line-up, but as we near the point in the narrative for the Battle of Five Armies, I want to be able to stage the BATTLE of five ARMIES not the "Mild Disagreement of Five Guys, a Warg and a Horse".  Perhaps, as part of the battle packs, they could each include a few gold pieces (chalices, swords, coins, etc.) so as you build up your armies, you also can build up the size of the treasure hoard they're fighting over.


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#78 The Joker1

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Posted 07 November 2012 - 06:54 PM

I went for mirkwood spiders, It looks like a good all round set with some decent parts and figures. I just hope the UK price is reasonable.
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#79 Deathleech

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Posted 07 November 2012 - 10:14 PM

View PostShaydDeGrai, on 07 November 2012 - 06:34 PM, said:

I appreciate (and agree with) the points made and seconded by several people regarding the lack of "completeness" for a number of the Middle Earth sets announced and shipped to date.  I like the look of the Barrel Escape but at the same time it seems to have a lot in common with the Mines of Moria set (my personal choice for "most disappointing set" in the LotR line - could have been great, but wasn't) It _feels_ piecemeal, it's not a big build; it looks like a bunch of small builds packaged together in a common box (I think the Goblin King shares this weakness), a bit like a LEGO Advent Calendar on steroids.

I know a number of people feel the same way you do in that they are unhappy with the sets because they don't feel "complete".  Out of curiosity, what would you (or anyone else with this same issue over the new sets) realistically suggest Lego do to fix it?  Obviously they can't make every set $400 and they can't pack 2000 pieces into a $30 set.  I know it's been mentioned adding a base plate to give the set pieces something to connect them all together.  That's a simple enough fix anyone can do on their own if they so wish and keeps the set $5-15 cheaper for those who don't want to.  What else could they do to make the sets feel "whole" though?


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I'm less sympathetic to supposedly "big build" high end kits that pander to short attention spans.  I was pleasantly surprised by Weathertop, still a bit pricey and I have no idea why there are gratuitous flick fire missiles, but a good build for the part count.  I expect Bag End will be similar (though I've seen better (more organic) looking MOCs of the same subject).  Several of other kits, however, seem to up the piece count without increasing the size of complexity of the item(s) being built.  Like the Mines of Moria, it's "build this stand-alone item, now build this bit of scenery, now build this other prop, now link them all together with a common table top..." They just _feel_ like backdrops for a play, not a coherent model like the Monster Fighters Haunted House, PotC's Queen Anne's Revenge or something from the Modular Buildings line.

Weathertop was actually one of my least favorite sets from the first wave, only being trumped by Gandalf Arrives.  Sure the set looks "complete", but it's also scaled down a ridiculous amount.  Meanwhile Mines of Moria may be missing a wall or two, but at least everything is done to scale with the minifigures.  Keep in mind these sets are made for kids so not everything is created to look fantastic displayed sitting on a shelf.  They have to have play features and such (hence the trap door and flick fire missiles in Weathertop which weren't in the movie).  The great part about Lego is it's super easy to fix a set if you don't like the way it looks by MODing it and adding your own base plate or adding an additional wall or two.


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As for battle packs, I'll let that slide for this initial line-up, but as we near the point in the narrative for the Battle of Five Armies, I want to be able to stage the BATTLE of five ARMIES not the "Mild Disagreement of Five Guys, a Warg and a Horse".  Perhaps, as part of the battle packs, they could each include a few gold pieces (chalices, swords, coins, etc.) so as you build up your armies, you also can build up the size of the treasure hoard they're fighting over.

This I will wholeheartedly agree with you on.  I think the Hobbit line, and especially the LotR one SCREAMS for battle packs to be made.  The movies have so many grand battles taking place with such diverse armies it's not even funny.  They could do a minimum of 10 different battle packs and STILL have many more they could do that are completely different from any of the others.  Gondor soldiers, Rohirrim, Haradrim, Wild Men, Easternlings, Rangers, Wood Elves, Moria Orcs, Elves, Mordor Orcs, Corsairs... the list goes on.  This isn't even including sets that would be similar like normal Gondor soldiers and Fountain Guards.  They could also make some amazing creature packs as well with Oliphants, Cave Trolls, Eagles, Wargs, etc.  I don't think LotR and the Hobbit are especially well suited to the play set aspect because so many locations take place outside or in huge settings that are hard to recreate with limited pieces and budgets.  The battle pack/army builders though, are where I feel LotR could really excel.

#80 Faefrost

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Posted 08 November 2012 - 08:48 AM

Growing up, back when I would still get my nightly story read to me by my father, we had this big book of nursery stories. The first story in it was "An Unexpected Party" the first chapter of the Hobbit. I learned to read in Bag End. I am so thrilled to finally have a nice representation of it for my office bookshelves.

Of the others, only the Worg set is really catching my eye.
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#81 ShaydDeGrai

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Posted 08 November 2012 - 02:15 PM

View PostDeathleech, on 07 November 2012 - 10:14 PM, said:

I know a number of people feel the same way you do in that they are unhappy with the sets because they don't feel "complete".  Out of curiosity, what would you (or anyone else with this same issue over the new sets) realistically suggest Lego do to fix it?

In the case of the "Mines of Moria" set, I'd start by giving it a different name like "The Tomb of Balin" to downsize expectations as, after all, it's not the MInes, it's one room from the mines (this also opens up the possibility for a "modular" Mines of Moria sub-theme where various sets connect to form a giant play set).  Next, instead of a couple disconnected wall segments with finished tops that make them seem more like exterior ramparts, I'd give the it the "hinged doll house treatment" that we see in sets like the Haunted Mansion, Gringotts, and the buildings of Medieval Market Villiage such that you're building "one big box" not several small builds that were packaged in a big box.  A common baseplate wouldn't suffice, since it's supposed to be an underground chamber, you really need something that implies a ceiling (even if it's just a few large plates angled inwards).  The could unfold to give a similar backdrop to what you have now, but when closed up, it would form a sealed structure that can hold minifigures and props within it.  It doesn't need to be a 5000 piece set, but should be large enough to hold a cave troll when closed.  The kit already sells for 80 USD, at that price point why not make it 99 USD, add another 200 pieces and give it a more "complete" kit that "feels" like an interior space?

A bigger, more to scale, version would be great, but unrealistic with respect to TLG's price points.  The cost of building to Minifigure scale in commercial sets is that their environment will always be unrealistically small or built to scale but trivial.

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Weathertop was actually one of my least favorite sets from the first wave, only being trumped by Gandalf Arrives.  Sure the set looks "complete", but it's also scaled down a ridiculous amount.  

I didn't say I liked Weathertop, I said I was "pleasantly surprised" by it.  I entirely agree that, as a representation of the "real" (progenitor?) Weathertop is is barely passable, mostly due to the issues of scale, but it is an interesting and coherent build  and comes with a couple Nazgul so I'll give credit where credit is due.  I recognize that I'm not the target audience for the kits TLG has released to date for LOTR or is planning to release for The Hobbit and that demographic may not care so much about scale as price and may actually want flick fire missiles.

The Bag End kit falls into this same vein for me.  It's too small to be a "good" Bag End, but it looks like, as a building and play experience, it might be a "good enough" Bag End for its price point.

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This I will wholeheartedly agree with you on.  I think the Hobbit line, and especially the LotR one SCREAMS for battle packs to be made.  The movies have so many grand battles taking place with such diverse armies it's not even funny.  They could do a minimum of 10 different battle packs and STILL have many more they could do that are completely different from any of the others.  Gondor soldiers, Rohirrim, Haradrim, Wild Men, Easternlings, Rangers, Wood Elves, Moria Orcs, Elves, Mordor Orcs, Corsairs... the list goes on.  This isn't even including sets that would be similar like normal Gondor soldiers and Fountain Guards.  They could also make some amazing creature packs as well with Oliphants, Cave Trolls, Eagles, Wargs, etc.  I don't think LotR and the Hobbit are especially well suited to the play set aspect because so many locations take place outside or in huge settings that are hard to recreate with limited pieces and budgets.  The battle pack/army builders though, are where I feel LotR could really excel.

Personally, I like the idea of mixing battle packs with scene builders, like they did with the Helm's Deep expansion set (extra wall segment, siege weapon, figures).  I agree there's lots of opportunity for this in the source material.  For example, Warg riders could be packaged with small brick built trees to build up forrest as well as the army that tears through it; soldiers and horses could come with some terrain elements on a plate like rock outcroppings or shrubs to build up the battle field as well as the corps.   Even interiors lend themselves to this sort of marketing.  Consider a Mines of Moria battle pack that comes with a handful of goblins and a brick built column with base that can be connected via technic pins to other such columns; in addition to building up a goblin army, you can slowly be creating that giant hall of columns where the Fellowship got swarmed just before the Balrog showed up.

I have no idea about the wording of the license agreement, but if it's like the Star Wars one, TLG has to tread carefully about minifigure to parts ratios (with Star Wars, they can't sell "action figures" but can sell "construction toys" that include character representations.  If this is the case with The Hobbit as well then, bundling figures with scene builders keeps things (arguably) in the realm of construction toys while offering a wallet friendly way to build large armies.


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#82 Miles

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Posted 08 November 2012 - 04:10 PM

View PostSirBlake, on 15 October 2012 - 02:16 AM, said:

I don't mean to be a downer here, but these sets don't do that much for me, which is a weird feeling. I love castle stuff and am a major LotR fan, but these sets just don't have enough substance for me. Bag End is beautiful, and I'm sure I'll get it, but the rest are just disconnected elements. I really need a structure. A building. Helms Deep is by far my favorite LotR set, and all my favorite classic castle sets either have a base plate, or connect to a larger one that does. The minifigs are fantastic, so that helps, but I don't think it's enough for me to justify buying all of these sets.

Perhaps I'll feel differently after I see the film.

Actually SirBlake, I totally agree with you. I just don't think the Hobbit lends itself to LEGO as well as Lord of the Rings did/does. It's first and foremost a construction toy, and in my opinion, it builds 2 things really well: buildings and vehicles. That's why I've always loved it. Granted, I'm more of a 'playset' kind of guy than a 'vehicle' kind of guy, but the point still stands.

The Hobbit really doesn't have any of these. I mean it's essentially a journey across the realm to steal back treasure from a dragon. Building wise, we have what - Bag-End, Rivendell, the Elves of Mirkwood Forest, Laketown and the remains of a Dwarven civilization in the mountains? That's pretty much it, right? I just don't see much 'meat' there in terms of man-made structures to build out of LEGO. I think it's why were getting all of these brick-built 'scenes' for this line. I was initially overly excited when the License was announced, but after seeing the sets and coming to this realization, I can't say I'm all that thrilled any more. :hmpf_bad:

Edited by Miles, 08 November 2012 - 04:10 PM.


#83 Deathleech

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Posted 08 November 2012 - 06:41 PM

View PostShaydDeGrai, on 08 November 2012 - 02:15 PM, said:

In the case of the "Mines of Moria" set, I'd start by giving it a different name like "The Tomb of Balin" to downsize expectations as, after all, it's not the MInes, it's one room from the mines (this also opens up the possibility for a "modular" Mines of Moria sub-theme where various sets connect to form a giant play set).  Next, instead of a couple disconnected wall segments with finished tops that make them seem more like exterior ramparts, I'd give the it the "hinged doll house treatment" that we see in sets like the Haunted Mansion, Gringotts, and the buildings of Medieval Market Villiage such that you're building "one big box" not several small builds that were packaged in a big box.  A common baseplate wouldn't suffice, since it's supposed to be an underground chamber, you really need something that implies a ceiling (even if it's just a few large plates angled inwards).  The could unfold to give a similar backdrop to what you have now, but when closed up, it would form a sealed structure that can hold minifigures and props within it.  It doesn't need to be a 5000 piece set, but should be large enough to hold a cave troll when closed.  The kit already sells for 80 USD, at that price point why not make it 99 USD, add another 200 pieces and give it a more "complete" kit that "feels" like an interior space?

The Mines of Moria set as is only has two walls, one with doors, and then the tomb and well.  You are asking for two more walls and at least part of a roof and base.  I don't think Lego could make what you are asking for with a mere 200 more pieces.  At least not without scaling down the proportions a ton, which would be hard considering the Cave Troll barely fits in the scene as is.  If the Mines of Moria set was done like the Attack on Weathertop one, the troll wouldn't even fit inside and none of the other included minifigs would have room to move around when in it! You reference the Haunted Mansion but that is a $180 set, more than double what Mines of Moria cost.  MMV is 20 bucks more and more importantly an amazing deal we will probably never see again.  It is regarded by many as one of the best sets ever, and rightfully so with a price per piece of only 6 cents (less than HALF what most sets are today, especially licensed ones)!  I'm not sure why you brought up the Gringott sets, because unless I am thinking of a different one, it is really similar to Mines of Moria.  It has several "disconnected" pieces and the only thing the bank part has is a roof and floor (though no walls, just pillars which make it look very bare bones).


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The Bag End kit falls into this same vein for me.  It's too small to be a "good" Bag End, but it looks like, as a building and play experience, it might be a "good enough" Bag End for its price point.

But surely you see the problem here.  These sets are all decent deals for licensed themes being around 12 cents per piece.  You basically want to add $20-30 to every set to make it feel more complete.  That means Helm's Deep is now $160, Mines of Moria $100, Weathertop $80, Shelob $40, and Gandalf Arrives $30.   How many 8-14 year olds (the target audience) do you know with 400 bucks laying around to buy the entire wave, let alone $30 for a single set?  I'm sure you wouldn't raise the piece count/price of every set that much, but you get the idea.

Maybe I just have low expectations or something, but these sets are pretty much exactly what I expected.  They still give a good sense of the scene they are trying to portray, are priced reasonably, and have a great assortment of minifigures.  Sure some may not feel complete, but they offer tons of play features for kids which I am sure they appreciate a lot more than an extra wall or two.  It seems most people complaining about these sets are looking at them as UCS sets and not the basic line meant for kids.  Plus, the great thing about Lego is it's a building/construction toy.  Don't like that the Mines of Moria set only has two walls and doesn't feel complete?  Go MOD it then!  Eurolock did a FANTASTIC job of MODing the existing Helm's Deep set to make it look more movie accurate (the walls are still a little short but other than that it's pretty much perfect).  These aren't action figure sets where once you get the set molded in plastic there is no way to change it.  MODing a set is super easy for people who want bigger, more costly sets, just go buy the extra parts you need on Bricklink or through PAB.  Sure it may not be as convenient as having the set already made for you, but it's definitely an option and the vein of Lego building sets.  It also is a better option than just straight up increasing set sizes and prices so they are no longer in reach of children.  At least you have the option to spend more and add on to the set, small kids don't have the option to spend more money all the time for bigger sets.  It may not be as good as official sets but it's the next best thing.



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Personally, I like the idea of mixing battle packs with scene builders, like they did with the Helm's Deep expansion set (extra wall segment, siege weapon, figures).  I agree there's lots of opportunity for this in the source material.  For example, Warg riders could be packaged with small brick built trees to build up forrest as well as the army that tears through it; soldiers and horses could come with some terrain elements on a plate like rock outcroppings or shrubs to build up the battle field as well as the corps.   Even interiors lend themselves to this sort of marketing.  Consider a Mines of Moria battle pack that comes with a handful of goblins and a brick built column with base that can be connected via technic pins to other such columns; in addition to building up a goblin army, you can slowly be creating that giant hall of columns where the Fellowship got swarmed just before the Balrog showed up.

I completely agree again, and I think this is the best route for Lego to go as I have stated numerous times.  Like you, I mentioned Lego doing a Moria Orc battle pack a few months ago that had a couple minifigures and then a colum, some stairs, and/or a bridge to add to the existing Mines of Moria set.  I think Lego should go this route as much as humanly possible.  Make a Moria Orc battle pack, Mines or Moria set, and then a Balrog set and make them all lock together to create a truly impressive Mines of Moria scene.  This way people can still get only the sets/minifigures they want, but AFOLs can spend as much money as they want and still get official sets, or multiples, to further increase the scale of the diorama.

I think they should even go one step further and like with their creator sets, make say a Minas Tirith wall set that includes 4 Mordor Orcs, 2 Gondor soldiers and then instructions to build 2 different wall designs.  They could do the same for a numbers of add on sets like an Ent battle pack with 2 different looking Ent builds.  The possibilities are endless.


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I have no idea about the wording of the license agreement, but if it's like the Star Wars one, TLG has to tread carefully about minifigure to parts ratios (with Star Wars, they can't sell "action figures" but can sell "construction toys" that include character representations.  If this is the case with The Hobbit as well then, bundling figures with scene builders keeps things (arguably) in the realm of construction toys while offering a wallet friendly way to build large armies.

It's exactly like Star Wars where they own the construction/building license but not the action figure one.  I know because I had to get a replacement part to one of my sets that had a damaged part and they said they can't sell the individual figures due to their licensing terms and needed confirmation I really bought the set.

Edited by Deathleech, 08 November 2012 - 06:42 PM.


#84 Gryphon Ink

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Posted 08 November 2012 - 08:51 PM

View PostMiles, on 08 November 2012 - 04:10 PM, said:

The Hobbit really doesn't have any of these. I mean it's essentially a journey across the realm to steal back treasure from a dragon. Building wise, we have what - Bag-End, Rivendell, the Elves of Mirkwood Forest, Laketown and the remains of a Dwarven civilization in the mountains? That's pretty much it, right? I just don't see much 'meat' there in terms of man-made structures to build out of LEGO.

You have a good point, but that's not quite all of it, especially with the added plot that the films have.  There is Beorn's house, Dol Guldur, and Radagast's home, at the very least. We may also revisit locations from LOTR, like Isengard and Lothlorien, since both Saruman and Galadriel are involved. I think there will be more than enough material in the next two chapters to produce a good range of "building" sets.  The first film, however, is a bit sparse on those.  All we've seen in the trailers is Rivendell, a lot of underground action, and numerous beautiful scenic shots of New Zealand.  Tough to recreate New Zealand's gorgeous landscapes in Lego!  I do believe, though, that the next two waves will be better than this one, with more army builders and more impressive structures.  And let's not forget Smaug, who will hopefully be a really epic creature like a Ninjago dragon on steroids.
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#85 ShaydDeGrai

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Posted 08 November 2012 - 09:05 PM

View PostDeathleech, on 08 November 2012 - 06:41 PM, said:

But surely you see the problem here.  These sets are all decent deals for licensed themes being around 12 cents per piece.  You basically want to add $20-30 to every set to make it feel more complete.  That means Helm's Deep is now $160, Mines of Moria $100, Weathertop $80, Shelob $40, and Gandalf Arrives $30.   How many 8-14 year olds (the target audience) do you know with 400 bucks laying around to buy the entire wave, let alone $30 for a single set?  I'm sure you wouldn't raise the piece count/price of every set that much, but you get the idea.

I'm not saying that there shouldn't be low end entry sets or that every set needs to be "complete."  My core points really boil down to three points of contention (four if you count battle pack marketing ideas but I feel we're very much in agreement on that one):

1) Not every set needs to be a UCS offering, there is a need for  broad spectrum of sets in all price ranges, play and display expectations, and building ability level; the problem is that LOTR has a huge following among college students and adults (some of whom are even rumored to be female) and the Lego offerings to date _seem_ to be targeting pre-teen boys, a strong LEGO demographic for sure but in the greater Tolkien fan world, a pretty small minority (hopefully this will change with the release of the Hobbit films).  TLG should _expand_ its offerings to have broader appeal beyond the pre-teen boy audience.

2) When I buy a mid- to high end kit, be it LOTR, the Hobbit, or whatever I want the price point to reflect the size and complexity of the build.  If I spend $80 on a kit, I want, what in my mind - warped as it is - I have come to expect from an $80 kit, not eight $10 kits bundled into a common box.  The Mines of Moria doesn't _feel_ like big kit despite being priced like one.  It feels like a bunch of little builds - like building all the furniture and the fire truck that goes into the modular fire station, without actually getting the fire station.  

There are two ways to fix this: either break it up and market the pieces as small builds (Cave Troll with doorway and Orcs, Well with Hobbits and Skeleton, Sarcophagus with Gimli, skeleton and orcs, Wall segment with hero (Aragon/Boromir/Legolas) and more goblins and orcs, etc) for $10-20 each - collect them all and build the bigger scene yourself - buy all 6-8 kits at once on S@H and save 10%, etc., etc.; or build a more "complete" kit with a coherent, monolithic centerpiece to the build and set a different (probably higher) price point.

3) A number of the design choices they've made to date just seem hard to justify to me (okay, I've never been  a fan of flick fire missiles - so shoot me with one - whatever...) For example, I MOD'ed the cart from Gandalf Arrives to make it big enough for Frodo to sit (technically stand, as his legs don't bend) beside Gandalf and so the rear tailgate of the cart could open.  This involved replacing 6 parts and adding 4 additional parts.  Even at S@H PAB prices (and giving myself a credit for the 6 parts I was no longer using) this was less than a dollar in parts to make it a much nicer scale and more playable set.  True, a dollar in the context of a that kit's MSRP is a 10% price hike, but in the larger scope of things, the can of Coke on my desk right now cost $1.75 from the vending machine in the break room so it's not an unreasonable trade-off to address the issue.

I mean no disrespect to the designers at TLG who are working hard to bring us these kits, but I look at that they've done for Star Wars, Harry Potter, Pirates of the Caribbean, and other licensed themes (where in some cases I like the kits better than the source material they're drawn from) and I just don't feel like they're bringing their best work to the table on these lines.  There are a lot of (little) things that could have been done to improve the implementation of the ideas behind the current kits that, for whatever reason, didn't make it into the finished products.

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Maybe I just have low expectations or something, but these sets are pretty much exactly what I expected.  They still give a good sense of the scene they are trying to portray, are priced reasonably, and have a great assortment of minifigures.  Sure some may not feel complete, but they offer tons of play features for kids which I am sure they appreciate a lot more than an extra wall or two.  It seems most people complaining about these sets are looking at them as UCS sets and not the basic line meant for kids.  Plus, the great thing about Lego is it's a building/construction toy.  Don't like that the Mines of Moria set only has two walls and doesn't feel complete?  Go MOD it then!  (snip...)

I totally agree that the greatest strength of the LEGO system is the fact that you don't have to build it exactly the way they tell you to and leave it at that, but that's really beyond the point at hand.  For the purposes of this thread, the real question is, what is the out-of-the-box experience?  Do the kits, as is, engage your enthusiasm?  You say these are about what you expected, I find them a little disappointing - that's fine I like coffee ice cream but know many people prefer chocolate and I will even accept chocolate when coffee is not available.  

My MOD to Gandalf's cart was a trivial fix, I'm sure I'm not the only one who's made such changes, but my point is that _I_ shouldn't have had to make it and a six year old who wants two people to be able to ride in it or open the tailgate might not have the parts or skill needed to "fix" it once they realize the cart was too small.  It was an obvious defect that would have been easy to address for relatively little additional cost, but they didn't - that's where I see a problem.  Maybe it's not that I expect more from the LOTR or The Hobbit kits, it's that I expect more from TLG, I've been collecting this stuff for 40+ years and I know they could do (and have done) better.

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I think they should even go one step further and like with their creator sets, make say a Minas Tirith wall set that includes 4 Mordor Orcs, 2 Gondor soldiers and then instructions to build 2 different wall designs.  They could do the same for a numbers of add on sets like an Ent battle pack with 2 different looking Ent builds.  The possibilities are endless.

I'd buy that for a dollar - or ten, as the case may be.


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#86 Deathleech

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Posted 08 November 2012 - 11:48 PM

View PostShaydDeGrai, on 08 November 2012 - 09:05 PM, said:

1) Not every set needs to be a UCS offering, there is a need for  broad spectrum of sets in all price ranges, play and display expectations, and building ability level; the problem is that LOTR has a huge following among college students and adults (some of whom are even rumored to be female) and the Lego offerings to date _seem_ to be targeting pre-teen boys, a strong LEGO demographic for sure but in the greater Tolkien fan world, a pretty small minority (hopefully this will change with the release of the Hobbit films).  TLG should _expand_ its offerings to have broader appeal beyond the pre-teen boy audience.

Trust me, I have argued plenty of times that I think Lego should cater more towards adults with certain themes.  For instance, look at my polybag thread where I point out how silly I thought it was for them to make a Frodo polybag when, for 8 dollars more, you can get the SAME clothed minifig, Gandlaf, and a new posable horse in the Gandalf Arrives set.  It was such a missed opportunity in my mind.   Lego could of made that polybag a Nazgul, elf, goblin, etc... something you would buy multiples of.   Yet a number of people argued that Lego did it for young kids so they have a main character in a set that is strictly an impulse buy for them or their parents.   Apparently AFOLs only make up 5% of total Lego sales.


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3) A number of the design choices they've made to date just seem hard to justify to me (okay, I've never been  a fan of flick fire missiles - so shoot me with one - whatever...) For example, I MOD'ed the cart from Gandalf Arrives to make it big enough for Frodo to sit (technically stand, as his legs don't bend) beside Gandalf and so the rear tailgate of the cart could open.  This involved replacing 6 parts and adding 4 additional parts.  Even at S@H PAB prices (and giving myself a credit for the 6 parts I was no longer using) this was less than a dollar in parts to make it a much nicer scale and more playable set.  True, a dollar in the context of a that kit's MSRP is a 10% price hike, but in the larger scope of things, the can of Coke on my desk right now cost $1.75 from the vending machine in the break room so it's not an unreasonable trade-off to address the issue.

I totally agree here.  I HATED both the design aspects in Gandalf Arrives and it totally perplexed me why Lego did them.  Look at any of the Gandalf Arrives reviews on these forums and you will see me complaining high and low.  Both are simple fixes yet it just seemed lazy on Lego's part not to fix them.


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I mean no disrespect to the designers at TLG who are working hard to bring us these kits, but I look at that they've done for Star Wars, Harry Potter, Pirates of the Caribbean, and other licensed themes (where in some cases I like the kits better than the source material they're drawn from) and I just don't feel like they're bringing their best work to the table on these lines.  There are a lot of (little) things that could have been done to improve the implementation of the ideas behind the current kits that, for whatever reason, didn't make it into the finished products.

This seems to be a growing trend in Lego though, not specific to the LotR theme (though maybe it gets more criticism because people have such high expectations for the line, or due to them being such huge fans)?  I've brought it up in other threads, but look at the Arkham Asylum.  For 160 bucks you get ONE wall of the asylum, a gate, and an ambulance.  Likewise in the Daily Bugel set you only really get the front of the building and a small copter.  Even in non-licensed themes like City they are doing it more and more, like the Fire Emergency set that gives you one bare bones front of a building, a dinky fire truck, and 3 minifigures.  I could go on and on but you get the point.

Now, I will say some sets seem to get it worse than others.  But also if you look at Helm's Deep compared to say King's Castle you will notice an unmatched level of detail.  Sure King's Castle is "complete", but even still it doesn't look anywhere near as nice as Helm's Deep in my eyes.  Helm's Deep, and really all the LotR sets, seem to sacrific quanitiy for quality.  The minifigures are hands down some of the most detailed, beautiful minifigs I have ever seen.

Also I agree with Miles, and have brought that point up numerous times myself.  The LotR line, and especially the Hobbit don't really lend themselves to making "easy" sets.  It's super easy for Lego to copy an X-Wing  fighter and make it a $50 set.  How do you take a whole forest such as Mirkwood though, which literally coveres hundreds and hundreds of acres and make it into a set?  Or Goblin Town/Mines of Moria which coveres dozens of tunnels and do the set(s) justice?  Lego basically has three options, they make the set super tiny and not to scale with the minifigs (aka Weathertop), they only do part of the set and do it to scale (Mines of Moria), or they do a much fuller set but have a much higher price point (Helm's Deep).  Each set has a certain price point and piece count so there is only so much that can be done.  It's like a number of people don't understand that though and expect more.   How does Lego increase a set size to make it more complete without raising the price, which people would then complain the sets cost too much?  Or without shrinking the scale of everything, then people would complain the scales rediculously off?  And yet they will complain about this but at the same time they are fine getting a Frodo polybag when we already have a cheap way to get Frodo (actually 2 cheap-ish ways!).

Like I said, I think the multiple add on sets/battle packs is the best choice for Lego to go, but I am sure they have their reasons for not doing that as well.  Maybe their tests have shown people are less likely to buy the individual sets because they feel pressured into buying all of them to have have a "complete" model then?  Who knows, I am sure Lego has their reasons despite them not seeming to make any sense to us...

#87 Miles

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Posted 09 November 2012 - 11:34 PM

View PostDeathleech, on 08 November 2012 - 11:48 PM, said:

Also I agree with Miles, and have brought that point up numerous times myself.  The LotR line, and especially the Hobbit don't really lend themselves to making "easy" sets.  It's super easy for Lego to copy an X-Wing  fighter and make it a $50 set.  How do you take a whole forest such as Mirkwood though, which literally coveres hundreds and hundreds of acres and make it into a set?  Or Goblin Town/Mines of Moria which coveres dozens of tunnels and do the set(s) justice?  Lego basically has three options, they make the set super tiny and not to scale with the minifigs (aka Weathertop), they only do part of the set and do it to scale (Mines of Moria), or they do a much fuller set but have a much higher price point (Helm's Deep).  Each set has a certain price point and piece count so there is only so much that can be done.  It's like a number of people don't understand that though and expect more.   How does Lego increase a set size to make it more complete without raising the price, which people would then complain the sets cost too much?  Or without shrinking the scale of everything, then people would complain the scales rediculously off?  And yet they will complain about this but at the same time they are fine getting a Frodo polybag when we already have a cheap way to get Frodo (actually 2 cheap-ish ways!).

Like I said, I think the multiple add on sets/battle packs is the best choice for Lego to go, but I am sure they have their reasons for not doing that as well.  Maybe their tests have shown people are less likely to buy the individual sets because they feel pressured into buying all of them to have have a "complete" model then?  Who knows, I am sure Lego has their reasons despite them not seeming to make any sense to us...

I pity the person who had to design the Wargs set. I mean, it's a brick built tree, and it has to have some sort of platform system or playing space for the minifigs - and yet it has to look like a tree. I can't say it works all that well in the "looks like a tree" department. LEGO is always going to come up a bit short when it comes to organic structures. Architecture really is where it's at.

As far as battle packs, I think it's something TLG might consider if sales warrant it. I'm not at all surprised it wasn't done in the first wave; so much of LEGO's popularity is tied up in their minifigures nowadays - I imagine that the common fear is consumers who pass on the sets and buy just the battlepacks to get figures. Of course, there's the idea of leaving exclusive 'special' figures in sets and only battle-packing (ha, new word) the generic ones... but I don't know, sales and marketing are funny - in some respects it's a bit of a slippery slope for LEGO.

#88 Faefrost

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Posted 10 November 2012 - 12:00 AM

View PostMiles, on 09 November 2012 - 11:34 PM, said:



I pity the person who had to design the Wargs set. I mean, it's a brick built tree, and it has to have some sort of platform system or playing space for the minifigs - and yet it has to look like a tree. I can't say it works all that well in the "looks like a tree" department. LEGO is always going to come up a bit short when it comes to organic structures. Architecture really is where it's at.

As far as battle packs, I think it's something TLG might consider if sales warrant it. I'm not at all surprised it wasn't done in the first wave; so much of LEGO's popularity is tied up in their minifigures nowadays - I imagine that the common fear is consumers who pass on the sets and buy just the battlepacks to get figures. Of course, there's the idea of leaving exclusive 'special' figures in sets and only battle-packing (ha, new word) the generic ones... but I don't know, sales and marketing are funny - in some respects it's a bit of a slippery slope for LEGO.

Did you watch the designers video for the Worg set? After seeing it I am much more impressed. It's that designers first official set. And the tree is actually more interesting than anything we have seen before. That element where the main trunk is designed in rotating sections, so you can change how it looks is brilliant.
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#89 Mr_Malfoy

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Posted 10 November 2012 - 05:20 AM

I'm really looking forward to Attack of the Wargs, Barrel Escape, An Unexpected Gathering, and Escape from Mirkwood Spiders. I'm looking forward to Riddles for The Ring and The Goblin King Battle to a lesser degree.
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#90 Miles

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Posted 10 November 2012 - 03:53 PM

View PostFaefrost, on 10 November 2012 - 12:00 AM, said:

Did you watch the designers video for the Worg set? After seeing it I am much more impressed. It's that designers first official set. And the tree is actually more interesting than anything we have seen before. That element where the main trunk is designed in rotating sections, so you can change how it looks is brilliant.

Don't misunderstand me. I think the design team did an admirable job with what they were given (I mean we could've ended up with another MF Werewolf tree...), just that the subject matter doesn't lend itself to LEGO as well as other things.

(And don't get me started on the amount of 'play features' crammed into that trunk. Oy.)

Edited by Miles, 10 November 2012 - 03:54 PM.


#91 Esurient

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Posted 11 November 2012 - 06:06 AM

Attack of the Wargs set would be my no. 1 priority. The wargs look good and I love the trees. Great MOC potential.
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#92 Teh Stud

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Posted 11 November 2012 - 06:26 AM

View PostEsurient, on 11 November 2012 - 06:06 AM, said:

Attack of the Wargs set would be my no. 1 priority. The wargs look good and I love the trees. Great MOC potential.

Yes!  Bring on the wargs!



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