This is the smallest set of the new Lord of the Rings wave and has one exclusive minifigure, it's of course...
As soon as I saw the new Lord of the Rings sets, I just knew I had to get my hands on at least one of them, being somewhat of a LOTR fan. In the end, I decided to pick up the smallest of the series and test it out. As stated in the S@H description, this scene depicts the opening scene of "The Fellowship of the Ring" movie, the part where Gandalf arrives in a horse and cart. But does this set really capture the spirit of the scene? Well, there's really only one way to find out... Read on!
Name: Gandalf Arrives
Set Number: 9469
Theme: Lord of the Rings
Price: £11.99/ US$12.99/ AUS$22.99
Links: Brickset, Bricklink, Flickr
Join Gandalf the Grey as he travels to the Shire to celebrate the 111th birthday of his old friend Bilbo Baggins and relive the opening scene of The Fellowship of the Ring! As Gandalf makes his way through the Shire on his horse and cart, he meets an excited young hobbit, Frodo Baggins. This is where the legendary adventure of The Lord of the Rings begins! Includes 2 minifigures: Gandalf the Grey and Frodo Baggins.
• Includes 2 minifigures: Gandalf the Grey and Frodo Baggins
• Also includes the new LEGO horse
• Accessories include book, staff, backpack and letter
• Features horse cart, carrot and barrel with fireworks
• Collect the exclusive Gandalf the Grey minifigure!
• Build the scene where the adventure began!
• Cart and horse measures 6" (16cm) long
This set was packaged in quite a small box, about the size of a LOTR book (well any standard size book, I'm just saying this for LOTR fans ) or the "Freeing Dobby" set from the Harry Potter line. The box art looks absolutely beautiful with the setting sun hiding behind some hills and trees. The design at the top with a snipet of a map of Middle Earth and the One Ring, is terrific. Overall, it's a very nice box-cover!
The back of the box has the usual punch tab found in small sets and shows off some of the play features (or the lack of any). Wow, taking one of the fireworks out of the barrel and feeding the horse a carrot, looks like so much fun! No wonder so many children love Lego. Anyway... There's a small ad in the corner for the new LEGO Lord of the Rings video game coming out soon.
There were two bags and the new horse was loose in the box. I will talk more about the horse later on. All the small parts such as the minifigure heads were in a clear bag, while all the larger parts were in a printed bag. There wasn't much extra room in the box after the parts and instructions were placed inside. Whether that's a good thing or a bad thing, I'm not sure. It depends on what you think... As you can see, there is a nice little collection of light and dark tan.
After the set was built, there were two parts left: a carrot top and a 1x1 light tan stud. Nothing special about these parts, but then again, what more would you expect from a small set like this?
There is one instruction booklet with 24 pages inclduing ads. It was neatly folded in half to fit inside the box but luckily the pages weren't bent. The front page has the exact same rather pleasant picture as on the box.
Here's a step from the instructions. About halfway through, we can see how the base of the cart is made and how the sides of the cart are hinged to create that slanted-side look. There are piece callouts as we are used to now, and there were no colour-differentiation problems throughout the whole booklet.
The parts list only takes up one page as there aren't that many pieces in this set. Moving on...
On the next page, after the parts list, there is an ad for the Mines of Moria set (AKA the LOTR set with way too many stickers and a big blue troll)
Then on the next two pages, to my surprise, there is a list of all the minifigures from the current Lord of the Rings wave. Under each minifigure there is even a box for you to tick off the figures you already have and the set number it comes from. I thought this list of minifigures was a wonderful addition, especially due to the fact that all the minifigures are in poses, ready to fight. Here's the first page.
And here's the second page. For close-ups of some of the minifigures, just vist my flickr page. Pippin seems to be the only one not fighting (or trying to do ballet but failing like the Mordor Orc on the right) on this page. He's just happy to smile for the camera it seems (Say Cheese).
And on the last page.... You guessed it, the kid we all love to hate (Drumroll please)... the screaming "win" kid. *Groans* When will TLC get rid of this page?
Now to the part you've all been waiting for... The Minifigures! This set comes with two minifigures: Gandalf and Frodo. Gandalf is exclusive for now, until the Bag End set is released and Frodo in his Shire clothing only comes in this set and the Frodo polypag.
Gandalf the Grey has a newly-moulded beard which has more detail than the one Dumbledore from the newest Hogwarts set had, which is terrific as it makes him seem wiser. He also comes with the standard wizard hat in grey, a cape and a staff. It would've been great if there was a new mould for the staff but nope there isn't one, what a shame. He has a nice wrinkled face that gives him this great Gandalf-y feel. The torso printing will be revealed in the next picture. Now on to Frodo. He has the new hobbit hair in brown (I just love that hobbit hair... ) which looks stunning on him. He also has a pleasant smile that fits him well and lovely overalls on the torso.
Oh no, it seems Gollum has stolen Gandalf's hat and he had a shave. Anyway, this is how he looks. Great printing on the body to make it look like a cloak to match the cape. I didn't mention it yet, but I'll mention it now. Gandalf has a cape that feels softer than normal capes from other themes. More on that later...
And the back printing for the two minifigures. Nice detail on the back but nothing too exciting here. The backprinting matches the front of both minifigures really well. Only Frodo has a double head, with his second one being a worried look.
There's only really one animal in this set, the horse, but a Ninjago snake is also included. The snake is nothing new as it's very common in Ninjago sets so it's nothing too exciting.
Here's a closer look at the new horse. The tail has been extended and the sides of the head actually pop out a bit, giving it this 3D look to it. It looks a lot less blocky when compared the older one so I have to say that I definitely prefer this new horse as it is much more realistic.
Of course the head of the horse can move up and down just like the old horse, but one of the main features of this horse is that you can push back the hind legs to make the horse rear up. I could imagine some people just buying this set for the new horse and the minifigures.
There aren't a lot of accessories, but there are enough for a small set like this. There are three fireworks in a barrel, with the Ninjago snake representing the dragon firework from both the book and the movie.. There's also a bag/ sack with a letter, a carrot and a brown book, almost as tall as Frodo, which makes us wonder how he could possibly hold it and smile at the same time. Even though the accesories aren't that special, they're great for anyone who just can't get enough accesories.
Here's a look at one of the stages of building the cart. This is the same step as the instructions picture I showed you earlier on, so you can have a little comparison.
The set looks superb, especially when placed on an angle like so. I definitely wouldn't mind placing this set on display. You can see the accessories in the back and how the cart is attached to the horse. The barrel and the bag are both placed on brown 1x2 plates with a single stud on top, while the carrot and book are just loose in the back.
From the front you can note the printing on the head of the horse and the slanted sides. I like the design of the sides a lot as it just adds that extra detail instead of being just some boring cart. However there is something I didn't like about the design: the fact that a 1x2 piece with one stud was used for Gandalf to sit on. Now he sits to the side which just doesn't look right and the cape gets crumpled quite a bit. Maybe that's why there was a softer cape for Gandalf? However, fellow reviewer, Clone O' Patra did mention to me that if a 2-stud piece was used, it might stick to Gandalf when taking him out of the cart. I have tried using a 2-stud piece and I have to say there were no problems though...
The side view... The wheels look just a tad too big, but it does mean that the cart rolls along more easily, so I don't really mind. I like the amount of accessories in the back so the cart looks quite full and interesting at the same time. Something else I noticed was the simplicity of the two 1x1 light tan pieces connected together to form a post of some sort. There are four, one on each corner. They are simply attached to the slanted sides with a "lamp holder" but they still add quite a bit of detail to the cart.
Here at the back of the cart, there is (as seen from the side) the light tan posts on an angle. This view isn't too appealing as the grey hinges can be seen but it isn't too bad.
And finally the top view. Just imagine you're Smaug the dragon flying around. You can see most of the accessories from up here, except for the bag with the letter. The fireworks looks stunning.
Parts: 7/10 - There are some great parts that you could use for MOCs and quite a bit of accessories, but then again there's nothing too special.
Design: 8/10 - The design of the cart was excellent. I liked the slanted sides especially. However, the problem with only having one stud for Gandalf isn't that easy to overlook. But I suppose you could just add your own 2-studded 1x2..
Minifigures: 8/10 - It's always great to get one exclusive and one semi-exclusive minifigure in a small set and this is no exception. There's great printing on both minifigures. I would've like a new mold for the staff, though.
Playability: 6.5/10 - You can re-enact the opening scene of the movie but that's not that interesting. I guess this is more of a display set.
Value: 8/10 - The price for this set isn't exactly great, but nor is it horrible value, but hey you get Gandalf, the new horse and a cart. What more do you want? And after all, this is a licensed set.
Overall Rating: 7.5
Overall, I think this is an small but excellent set. Fans of Lord of the Rings will love this depiction of the first scene in the movie, and even non-LOTR fans will like this set for the pieces such as the new horse.
Frodo looks worried for some reason. Is it because of the mysterious letter Gandalf is holding, what could it be? Or is it because his arm is twisted at such an angle?
"Welcome to another episide of Fashion Mayhem!"
"Today we have special guest, Gandalf! As you can see, Gandalf is in dire need of a makeover. Uhhh... That wizard's hat is so last season..."
"You shall not pass... and touch my precious."
"Don't you worry Gandalf, we have the perfect hat for you. There, you look stunning. And there you have it folks, another magical transformation. Stay tuned for the next episode of Fashion Mayhem."
"Wow, this hat sure does look amazing on me. It brings out the colour my eyes."
Thank you for reading my third and final Reviewer's Academy bronze review. I hope you enjoyed reading this and look forward to more of my reviews. Until next time, Ferrik out!
Edited by Ferrik, 27 September 2012 - 12:03 AM.