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Review: 79004 Barrel Escape

The Hobbit Review

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Poll: Rate the Escape (32 member(s) have cast votes)

How would you rate this set?

  1. Excellent (13 votes [40.62%])

    Percentage of vote: 40.62%

  2. Above Average (11 votes [34.38%])

    Percentage of vote: 34.38%

  3. Average (6 votes [18.75%])

    Percentage of vote: 18.75%

  4. Below Average (2 votes [6.25%])

    Percentage of vote: 6.25%

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#1 Speedboat

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 07:47 PM

My old thread vanished during the server problems yesterday, so I'll post this review again. I hope I'll be able to recreate it adequately, if you have any requests for specific pictures, please write them in your comment and I'll try to add them to the review.
I bought this set in the LEGO store in Cologne last weekend and it is my first set from the Hobbit theme.

Set Name: Barrel Escape
Set Number: 79004
Pieces: 334
Minifigs: 5
Price: €49,99 / £39.99 / US$39.99
Theme: The Hobbit

"When the barrels were empty the elves cast them through the trapdoors, opened the water-gate, and out the barrels floated on the stream, [...]. For some time Bilbo sat and thought about this water-gate, and wondered if it could be used for the escape of his friends, and at last he had the desperate beginnings of a plan." J.R.R. Tolkien - The Hobbit


First of all, let's take a look at the box. On the front we have a picture of the set itself, standing on a (painted) wooden floor. On the top we can see the new logo for the Hobbit-theme and in the bottom left corner there is a little picture showing and naming the five included minifigures.
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On the back of the box there is another picture showing the minifigs and different parts of the set, additionally the play features and the story behind the set are shown.
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The contents of the box. There are two numbered bags and one instruction booklet. The box could be a lot smaller, but I guess at this price people expect a somewhat larger box. :wink:
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The instruction booklet.
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Random page. As you can see, the instructions are printed on a background that shows Thror's map. I love this design choice! :wub:
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Now to the minifigs. I expect there will be quite a few of you that want to purchase this set just for them and can absolutely understand that, they are stunning! Let's start with Bilbo, Gloin and Oin (starting from left). Oin's hair and beard comes seperately packed and is made from a somewhat flexible rubber while Gloins hair is just the standard plastic material.
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Bilbos alternative facial expression and the printing on his back.
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The dwarves without their hair and beards, just to show the printing on the back and the alternative facial expressions.
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As requested in the old thread, here's a picture of the front printing on Oin and Gloin.
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There are a few dwarf and Hobbit weapons coming with this set. Gloin gets two axes, Oin a twohanded mace and Bilbo his sword Sting and the ring. Some of these come with extra pieces.
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Apart from these minifigs the set includes two elves. The one on the left is called Mirkwood Elf Guard and the other one Mirkwood Elf Chief. I'm curious if those characters will be in this particular scene in the movie or if LEGO just included some generic elves. In the book, the elves drinking themselves into a stupor in the wine cellar are the elven king's butler and the chief of the guards. The printing on the Chief's legs is slightly off on my minifig. :hmpf_bad:
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And here we have their alternative facial expressions and the back printings.
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When building the wine cellar you start with just the contents of the first bag, no need to unpack the second one already. Here are some interesting parts coming with the set. Some of them may be new, I for one didn't know the small arch with the "step" in it and the big arch piece.
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In the second bag I found another cool piece I didn't know. It is used in building the lantern that hangs above the prison cells.
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Now to the wine cellar! You start the build with the mechanism that lets you roll the big barrels into the down the ramp and into the "river".
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The middle segment is added and the first mechanism is covered with some plates and other elements.
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The segment in the middle gets a few barrels and a beautiful stone arch. I really like the technique used in this part of the build!
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The third and last segement of the cellar comprises the stairs to the upper parts of the elven king's castle and the cells in which the dwarves are held.
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The cellar is completed but the set includes three additional small builds. The first one is a wine barrel rack with a glas.
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The second addition to thew cellar is a weapon rack with two elven blades and a bow.
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The third and final addition is a table with a wine glass, two bottles and two stools for the guards.
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The set is complete! Behold the cellar and its occupants in all their bricky glory. :tongue:
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These are the extra pieces included in the set. I wasn't expecting a brick seperator in a set of this size, nice surprise there! :classic:
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The set has two play features. The first one is the ramp. You can push the lever to let the barrels with the dwarves roll down the ramp into the river that is supposed to be running along under the floorboards of the cellar.
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The second mechanism lets you destroy the prison cell. Considering the chapter in the book, this doesn't make any sense whatsoever. :laugh:
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Design: 7/10 While I'm not a huge fan of the design of this set, it does one thing particularly well: It both works as a display and a set your kids can play with. The play features may not be particularly true to the story, but they are well incorporated into the set. I don't think I'll keep mine assembled for very long, though. The wine cellar, the prison area and all those extra details like the weapon rack make it clear, that LEGO has tried to incorporate a few different scenes into this set, which is understandable in regards to the target group but makes it much less interesting for me as an AFOL.

Parts: 8/10 While there are few extremely interesting pieces in this set, it offers a lot of useful parts in brown and tan. Apart from those, you get some interesting minifig accessories like the elven swords and the additional rings.

Build: 8/10 The build is not particularly difficult or time consuming and the instructions are pretty clear.

Minifigs: 9/10 The minifigs are what I mainly purchased this set for. They are absolutely brilliant, especially the dwarves and Bilbo. I am not a huge fan of elves in general, but the two that come with this set are pretty great, too. I am somewhat sad that the printing on the second elf's legs is a bit off, but the printing quality and design on the other figs is great.

Playability: 8/10 The set has two play features and some useful additions to the cellar scenery. One of the play features, the destroyable prison cell, does not make a lot of sense considering that the dwarves are freed with the key (that is hanging right next to tghe cell :laugh: ), at least in the book. But I guess features like this are a big hit with kids.

Price: 6/10 This set is expensive, especially here in Germany. I can understand that licensing fees have to be paid, but 50€ for a set with only 334 pieces leaves a bitter aftertaste nontheless. I would have waited with my purchase but this set seemed the obvious choice when I visited the LEGO store because I had ordered most of the other sets already and wanted to get my hands on at least one Hobbit set as fast as possible. :blush:

Overall: 46/60 I doubt that this set will be my favourite from the first Hobbit wave, but it's not a bad one either. The price is pretty steep, but you get some great minifigs and useful pieces.


I hope you liked my review. Sorry for the picture quality, but I don't have my usual setup at the moment. Maybe I can replace some of the blurrier pictures in a few days.

Edited by ZCerberus, 14 December 2012 - 02:16 PM.


#2 BobThePom

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 08:41 PM

Thanks for the review! This is an awesome set, it's definitely on my list!
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#3 Mencot

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 08:41 PM

Great review of this set. Good images of everything important, okey some where blurry but that didn´t matter so much. You pretty much covered all what could be said about a set of this size.
The price is really high, too high on this and also strange that TLG choose this set to be the Hard to find.

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#4 lightningtiger

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 08:57 PM

Thanks for the review 'Speedboat'.....looks like a cool playset with more than one play feature.....ah, drunk minifigs what will Lego think of next ? :laugh:
In Oz this set will sell for 70 bucks....these sets do seem a little on the high side....not sure if they are as bad as Star Wars set prices ? :laugh:
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#5 Haltiamieli

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 09:43 PM

Ooh, only now I spotted it, the great miracle! A small dark brown barrel with a dark brown top. :wub: This is completely unprecedented. I had feared I would never see this glorious day.
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#6 NiceMarmot

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 10:02 PM

Design-wise, I think this is one of the better Hobbit sets.  It really looks like what it represents.  I think retail price in the US is $39.99, which would make it a bit more approachable here, especially when you consider that it has five minifigs plus some good parts like the large arches, the large barrels, the wine glasses, and the circular stair pieces.  Not sure I'll get it at $39.99, but on sale definitely.
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#7 clouette

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 07:23 AM

Finally a review for this set. I have been waiting for one. As someone said on the Hobbit 2012 thread, only The Unexpected Gathering aka Bag End is a sturdy set, the rest including this are made up of multiple loose structures (although this is better). And per someone else suggestion, I would get 2 or 3 of this set and make it into a Tavern. The color and pieces are suitable.
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#8 Brickmamba

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 05:39 PM

Thanks for the review, it's probably just me but I'm really not too exhilirated by the recreation of a wine cellar, I know its part of the movie just the set doesn't do much for meh
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#9 TheLegoDr

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 06:53 PM

Thanks for the review! I plan on getting the full line, but I want to wait for a sale. I know this set probably will never have a sale being a TRU exclusive and Shop at Home never has discounts. The set looks like what I would expect the scene in the movie to look like. And I always welcome more Elves!
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#10 CallMePie

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 06:56 PM

Thanks for the review, and the torso pics. :thumbup:

They're awesome, especially Oin's. :sweet:
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#11 NiceMarmot

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 07:59 PM

View PostTheLegoDr, on 05 December 2012 - 06:53 PM, said:

I know this set probably will never have a sale being a TRU exclusive and Shop at Home never has discounts.
Ugh. Bummer. I forgot this was a TRU exclusive.  Well, they might make a mistake and not exclude from a BOGO 50% off deal sometime, or a spend $100 get $25 off deal.
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#12 UsernameMDM

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 09:07 PM

Neat set!  Really wish those elven weapons came in a silver color rather than gold.

#13 Speedboat

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 11:46 PM

Something I totally forgot to ask: Could one of the mods be so kind to add a poll to the topic? Thanks in advance! :classic: I don't think I can add one myself.

#14 Huntleyfx

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 12:22 AM

Thank you for the review. For some reason, I feel like this set is rather disjointed, rather like the LOTR Mines of Moria. Would it be horrible to have things as a cohesive whole?
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#15 Ceroknight

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 12:52 AM

Thanks for the review!
For some reason I really like this set and find it similar to the Weathertop set, expensive but worth it.
I might actually get this! :classic:
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#16 just2good

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 01:15 AM

Nice review, 'Speedboat'! :classic:
This is definitely one of my favorite Hobbit sets. The figures are phenomenal! The structure is also cool, and I really like the play feature, too. :sweet:

Edited by just2good, 12 December 2012 - 01:17 AM.


#17 Legocrazy81

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 01:46 AM

Great review, very informative! Nice, clear pictures showing off the set nicely. I'm loving the drunk face on the Elf Chief. :laugh: Once I get this all those Mirkwood Elf polybags will have a home.
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#18 ZCerberus

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 02:29 PM

View PostSpeedboat, on 11 December 2012 - 11:46 PM, said:

Something I totally forgot to ask: Could one of the mods be so kind to add a poll to the topic? Thanks in advance! :classic: I don't think I can add one myself.

What would you like in the poll?

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#19 Speedboat

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 11:24 PM

View PostZCerberus, on 12 December 2012 - 02:29 PM, said:

What would you like in the poll?

Just the usual rating options would be fine, I think. Poor, Below Average, Average, Above Average and Outstanding or something like that. Thanks so much! :classic:

#20 Artanis I

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 12:55 AM

Built this set last night, I liked the different colour scheme from normal. Grey with brown is so common it's nice to build a structure in something else for a change.

Pretty cool as a playset & display piece. The arch pieces have been around for quite some time, perhaps not been used much in new sets recently.

One thing I will point out in case noone realised, the elven blade piece in included 3x, 1 is extra.
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#21 patox

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Posted 17 December 2012 - 09:18 AM

This scene isn't in the movie!

#22 Haltiamieli

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Posted 17 December 2012 - 09:42 AM

View Postpatox, on 17 December 2012 - 09:18 AM, said:

This scene isn't in the movie!
Very true. Lego designed these sets when Jackson was still working along the two movies plan. Back then the first movie was to end in the barrel riding sequence. Then as Jackson moved from two films to a trilogy and changed the ending of the first film, it was too late for Lego to change their line up, so they just added the "Special Hobbit Trilogy Preview Set" tag in the packaging.
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#23 WhiteFang

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Posted 17 December 2012 - 09:59 AM

Thank you for this fine introductory review. I am looking forward to build up this set but I must admit that this set is low parts ratio and furthermore the only magnetic interest to acquire this set is to complete the minifigs exclusivity.

View Postpatox, on 17 December 2012 - 09:18 AM, said:

This scene isn't in the movie!
It will be in part 2 of the upcoming movie in 2013.

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#24 IAmWillGibson

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Posted 17 December 2012 - 03:29 PM

I picked this set up the other day, even though I had decided I wasn't gonna get it. But I'm glad I did. It's a really sharp set when it's all put together. Yeah, it's pricey, but, I mean... clearly and unquestionably depicting alcohol consumption and drunkenness? I can't not support that.

#25 Simon_S

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Posted 19 December 2012 - 04:12 PM

Thanks for this review! It helped me a lot, seeing something more than just the figs and the full build on the box :classic: . I actually like this set quite much, but I won't buy it, I rather get an Unexpected Journey :wub:





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