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6th Anniversary REVIEW: 79012 Mirkwood Elf Army

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Hello all! In celebration of the Reviewers Academy's 6th Anniversary, I've decided to review this new-ish Hobbit set! It's hard to believe that teaching and learning how to make quality reviews has been going on on Eurobricks for half of a dozen years now. Time really flies, and I'm one who joined at it's very start. Since then there have been many changes to the site and to my life, as well as others' lives, but it's good to see that the Academy is still going strong. Albeit with less enrollment in the past few years, it's really great that anyone seeking to improve their Lego reviews has the chance to get advice and hands-on teaching on this site. Let's hope for six more! :sweet:

Also, I must note that this is the first Lego set of any kind that I have bought in over three years. :oh3: Unfortunately other aspects of life have kept me busy and I'm not as active on the forums these days as I used to be. And I am a little rusty at reviewing. But that being said, it was a joy to stop in the Lego store, look around and grab a few sets (this and the Saraumon set). Nostalgia hit me when putting the shiny new bricks together and snapping the pictures for this review. So I hope you enjoy! Without further ado, let's begin.


Set: 79012 Mirkwood Elf Army

Pieces: 276

Minifigures: 6

Price: 29.99 USD/39.99 EUR/29.99 GBP

Theme: Hobbit

Year Released: 2013


Bricklink Catalog




Let's start with the box. Nice glossy texture and all the works with the set info and the contents displayed. There is a nice CGI background, including the banner of the Misty (?) Mountains. I don't really remember this scene from Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug, or at least, with Thranduil in it. I'm not sure if it's supposed to depict the scene when the dwarves escape from prison in the Mirkwood fortress and the orcs attack.

Anyways, the box is pretty long, but not very large overall.


The back of the box, appropriately, shows the "back" of the set, or the inside of the fortress if you want to look at it that way. Comic-like panels show the various play features as well as the accessories and weapons.

The sides of the box are rather boring with all the usual text, production and copyright information, etc. The minifigs are shown to scale on the top, but I'll get to those shortly. :wink:



Inside the box we find two big bags of parts (each containing several smaller bags of parts, and one including the usual cardboard box with a cape in it), one smaller bag with the Warg pieces inside, a folded ( :sceptic: ) instruction booklet, and a hexagonal baseplate. The big bags are numbered in order of the build, but old-fashioned folks like me will just mix all the pieces together anyways. :grin:


I've picked out a few interesting parts here. I've been out of the loop on Lego news lately so you'll have to forgive me if these are old news. We're given some parts in the new leaf green color: small foliage, cheese wedges, and 1x2 plates. There's also some 1x3 dark tan tiles, a pair of pearl dark grey hooks, and a 2x2 round plate in an orange-ish color that I'm not familiar with.


And here are the spare parts that won't be used in the build (sorted out afterwards, obviously). Those Daggers of Time from Prince of Persia seem to appear everywhere these days!



The minifigures are definitely the highlight of this set. Six are included, which seems like more than usual for a set this size. Two elf arches, one elf warrior, two Gunbadad Orcs and Thraduil the Elvenking are included. I'll be looking at each one in detail.


Thranduil is the main reason I bought this set. He's such a cool character! When seeing the first Hobbit movie I was pretty impressed by his design: crown of sticks and leaves, shiny armor and elk mount in all! I think the minifigure version is pretty accurate and also very neat. His torso is in the new leaf green color and is overlain with metallic paint. The hair piece, to my surprise, is completely rubber and not stiff ABS plastic like most other hair pieces. This makes the color a little off and the material a little less "high quality" looking, but a cool piece nonetheless. I will note that hair fits on the minifig with cape, but with some difficulty and causes the cape to wrinkle a little.

Thranduil's accessories include a light grey longsword and an elegant-looking shield. Two of these shields are included with the set, and can either be mounted on the fortress wall or be given to minifigs to hold.

I wasn't as impressed with the Thranduil minifig as I thought I'd be, judging from the pictures, but I still think he's very cool and a minifig worth having! I'd really like to add the Elrond figure to my collection as well (partially because I'm a fan of Hugo Weaving :blush: ).


Next up is the Mirkwood Elf Archer. Both are identical, with reversible heads. The torso print is very detailed on the front and the back, and is probably one of my favorite torsos to date. Recalling from memory of the movie, I'd say these guys are pretty accurate. The dark green hoods are very nice looking as well. Each archer is given a longbow, and one more is included as an accessory of the fort for a total of three. I do like that piece quite a bit. :thumbup:


The other Mirkwood Elf wields a dagger and shares the same torso, leg, and face prints as the archers. The hair is the same as Legolas' or Tauriel's but in brown. I included the Tauriel minifig from 79001 Escape from Mirkwood Spiders for comparison because they are quite similar. Tauriel is not included in this set.


I'm starting to amass an elf army! There are still a few more that I'd like to add to my collection... :wub:


Last but not least are the orcs. There are two, but with slight differences. One wields a spear and wears armor, and the other only has a sword. The prints are identical, but are still impressive. It's been a very long time since I read The Hobbit so I don't know the exact difference between these orcs and the Uruk-hai, but this variety seems a little less badass and a little more goblin-like.


I included the Warg here because it's sort of a minifigure, right? Although I would have much preferred Thranduil's majestic elk steed, I actually kind of like this little guy. He looks ferocious with his gnashing teeth and spiked fur. The points of articulation are the lower jaw and neck, which have ranges of motion as extreme as shown in each of the first two pictures. The tail is rubber. A saddle is included, but can be replaced with a 1x2 brick and 1x2 plate in case you don't want the gaping hole in the Warg's back. :tongue: I prefer the solid dark brown color to the spotted grey and white Wargs from previous Hobbit sets.



The fortress itself consists of several modular builds. The first is the main tree tower. As shown in the pictures, the top platform can be rotated 360 degrees. I don't think this is very realistic for a tree to do, but I guess it's a cool play feature. :laugh: I am a little underwhelmed by the design of the tower - to me it doesn't really resemble a tree. In my opinion the trunk needs to look more... realistic? And more foliage would add a lot. I see a lot of beautiful trees built by our MOCing community; it's a shame the trees in official sets never look like those.


There's a catapult play feature that can launch a minifig and topple part of the tree branches in the process. It actually works pretty well, though I don't know why you'd have elves flying through the air. :wacko:

*hand not included.


The inside of the tower is quite simple, but includes a barrel with some green jewels hidden inside.


The second module is a neat little thing, some sort of decorative shrine or just part of the wall. I found the use of corners here interesting.




The third and final module consists of a central wall connected to two similar walls on either side via those angle wing plates. Here the shields are mounted along with some sparse foliage. The design is simple but the color scheme is appealing.


Again, not much to see here. The raised platforms give a place for minifigs to stand, and yes they can see over the top of the wall. There is a single flickfire missile in the center.


The last thing to build before putting all the modules together is the siege ladder. A simple yet effective design. It fits well onto the wall.

Complete Set:


After connecting all of the modules, this is what you get. Not a bad set up for a medium-sized set. I wish there was more foliage included to really give the fort a Mirkwood/wood elf vibem but I guess there's only so much that can be included for $30. There are six minifigs, after all.


I wanted to quickly highlight the modularity of this set - you can rearrange the module wall parts in multiple ways or get extra copies of the set to expand the fort. I think this is really cool and it's something that Lego fans have been asking for for a long time. :thumbup: I believe the Mines of Moria and Helm's Deep sets are also like this.


And finally, here's the complete set, minifigs and all. Once the fort's been populated with the 'figs it looks a lot better. With both orcs and elves included, battle scenes can be recreated and the various play features can add to that. All in all a fun set with some good pieces and amazing minifigures! Let's see how it stacks up in the ratings.

Final Ratings:

Build/Design: 6/10 - The design was understandably limited for the set prices, but overall I wasn't very impressed with the design. The tree tower was especially underwhelming, and could have used a lot more foliage. If there are some positives, they're the color scheme and the modularity.

Playability: 10/10 - For a set this size, a lot of playability is packed in. It's fun to have the elves and orcs battle! Some of the play features are a little weird, but they work so there are no complaints from me.

Minifigures: 9/10 - You can't ask for much more for $30, with six highly detailed figures and a warg. I was just the slightest disappointed in the design of Thranduil once I actually got to hold him in my hands, and I still think an elk steed would have been cool, but overall the selection is outstanding.

Parts: 4/5 - Again, more foliage could have been thrown in, but other than that there are some very useful parts in good colors.

Price: 5/5 - I definitely think that I got this set for a fair price. The price per part is a little over 10 cents, but that seems to be the norm these days especially with licensed sets. And don't forget that the awesome minifigs and warg add little to the piece count.

FINAL SCORE: 34/40 - An above average-to-outstanding score! I really like this set - obviously the initial appeal was good enough to bring me from a three-year hiatus from buying Lego. I'd recommend it to any Lego fan, especially those looking for parts and minifigs for fantasy/medieval MOCs. :thumbup:

That's all folks, thanks for reading! If you'd like to learn how to make reviews like this be sure to enroll in the Reviewers Academy!

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I'll never understand LEGO's decision when it comes to minifig designs, and what warrants different ones. Sometimes they'll do a host of different torsos for characters that don't really matters, like the goblins in the Goblin King Battle, and sometimes they'll make minifigures identical, like the elves here. It would be nice if there were actually some differences between the stock elves besides just different hairpieces. Like different faces, torsos, etc. I guess they are just background characters so it doesn't matter too much, but I think it detracts from the minifig selection that they are all exactly the same.

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As fan of uniformity when it comes to my LOTR armies i actually liked this set. Well not the set but minifigs. I actually bought cape also for the third elf, added 12 more and now they together with Legolas and Haldir defend the deeping wall of Helms deep. :blush:

Edited by sahidko

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A fine review of an average set. I like the colours used (a lot, even) and, in part, the minifigs - but the actual set design is so/so. But worth buying for some good pieces in interesting colours and some elves that can easily be de-fleshified.

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Very nice review! I managed to get not one, but two of these as gifts when they came out, which definitely makes the set look better IMO. The design of the set on its own isn't perfect, but is probably one of the better sets out there for this price range.

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Nice and detail review!

I love this set very much. I bought many copies of it to army build my elf (archers), orcs and wargs.

And yes, I ended up having many Thranduil too.

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This set certainly has its merits. While the build is not huge, it has nice colors and some useful parts. I like the shields especially. As for the minifigures, this is a good value and the only true army builder type in the Hobbit line. Yes, armored elves would have been great, but they minifigs still look good to me. Thranduil is one of my most favorite minifigs from the line. There is even some army builder potential in his torso and legs. Really, only the crown is too unique to use in multiples. The Gundabad orcs are nice, and the warg is certainly welcome in setting up a scene. The set must be successful at least where I live, because it is hard to find, even when other Middle Earth sets stay on the shelves.

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I like the set, but was disappointed by some of the choices in the figures. I wish we would have received at least one helmeted elf. We didn't see any elves with hoods in the movies, and there is nothing particularly 'elflike' about them, except for maybe the torso print. I could have done without the orc shoulder piece if instead I could have gotten at least one armoured elf from this line. They then could have replaced legolas with another armored elf in the BOT5A set. Or maybe saved Thranduil for that est.

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I think the sales of the set might improve as AFOLs will try pick a few up as we didn't get any generic elves in the BOT5A

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Excellent review! I like this set very much, minifigures are great, altought, they shouldn't be so skimp with hair for Orcs ...

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Nice review. One of my favourite army building set in the LOTR/Hobbit Series. Apart from its high price tag (locally), this is actually a very good set with a good array of type of soldiers and wargs. :wub:

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