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  1. I was excited to hear about a polybag with the Laketown Guard in it as I had Laketown but only one guard, and had to have at least two. At $5 this was a half decent deal, not the Elf polybag mind you, but still pretty good. Enjoy this pecial Reviewers Academy Anniversary edition review! Set Information: Name: Laketown Guard Set Number: 30216 Pieces: 31 Price: $4.99 Ages: 6-12 Minifigs: 1 Theme: The Hobbit Year of Release: 2013 Brickset Bricklink Flickr Set Baggy: The front of the bag is graced with some beautiful artwork showing Laketown in the winter. The banner at the top of the bag is also quite lovely, the muted colors and the company trekking across a ridge look great. Nothing much on the back of the bag as usual. Just "The Hobbit" in various languages as well as a wall-of-text warnings. Contents: As this is a small set, here's all of the parts included. Nothing super extraordinary since this is a poly bag and the main draw is the minifigure. These are the only two extra parts, really excited to see some extra dark green cheese! Manual: Here is our manual. The light grey background for this is a good choice; it really plays on the snow aspect. The back of the manual is split between a half page ad for the rest of Laketown and the final instructions for the set. Minifigure: This figure is just so cool! All of the curves in the figure flow so well; not to mention the colors. The purple, dark red, and brown flow together quite well. Laketown has some great colors. There's quite a bit of detail on this guy too, you can see the chain mail skirt sticking out from under his robes. Less to see on the back. His belt continues around and his shirt has some nice printing. Now the Master of Laketown has has two guards; as he should! The Laketown figures are so wonderfully designed and have great color schemes. Finished Model: There's really not a whole lot to this set; it's a polybag after all. But one gets a nice little armory and a decent catapult. It's a pretty standard armory design that we've seen repeated for years now with only slight changes. The catapult is pretty good though. Here's the armory compared to the one that came in the Laketown Chase set, the one here is actually more impressive. Our original guard has a more enjoyable time with a friend now. Conclusion: This isn't a terrible set at all if one is army building with the figure. Otherwise there's really not a reason to be getting more than one. (I'm a bit of a completionist myself. ) The figure is really quite pretty though. Ratings: Playability: 4/10 Okay you get the catapult, but who's he supposed to fire it at?? Design: 5/10 It's a pretty standard set model wise; we've seen similar stuff quite often. Price: 8/10 I can't complain about the price to much. Minifigures: 9/10 I absolutely love this figure! So detailed and wonderfully colored. Parts: 6/10 Nothing spectacular at all in this set. Total: 32/50 "Mine's bigger!" Like this review? Want to learn how to make good reviews? Then join the Reviewers Academy!
  2. I've had this set for quite a while now. I don't quite remember when exactly I got it. I got it originally to have a complete collection, and for the minifigures, but after building the set I was pleasantly surprised by it. This set has been a glaring gap in our LotR review database so with the Eurobricks Reviewers Academy Anniversary, I thought it was time the gap was filled! Set Information: Name: Orc Forge Set Number: 9476 Pieces: 363 Price: $39.99 Ages: 8-14 Minifigs: 4 Theme: Lord of the Rings Year of Release: 2012 Bricklink Brickset Flickr Set Box: Here's the front of the box. The top bar shows Sauron's finger with the ring. The set has been dropped on a very wonderfully detailed scene. I would like to know why the "The Lord of the Rings" text is on top of the set though. The front of the box is an action scene. The back has more detailed images. I love how they've formatted the back too, the parchment with the nails really adds a great medieval look. There's also a small add for LEGO Lord of the Rings. The 1:1 image on the box is of Lurtz, boy he does look good. The parchment note is continued here again. Contents: I normally don't include minifigure parts in my new/interesting parts image; however these were just too cool not to include. Until Orthanc came out, the armor pieces with the hand print were exclusive to this set. The cheese and 1x1 round are new colors I believe: and no stickers in this set, the tile is printed! The brick separator isn't an extra part really, but I'm not sure where else to put it. That olive cheese is definitely the best score in this set. Manual: Now for the manual. The front shows the same art as the front of the box, minus all of the cluttering set information. The first page shows a bunch of warnings and instructional information on how to use the light brick. On the next two pages are what bags build what and not to build out in the yard. It's printed on a nice tan back map back ground. I had no color misprints. And a close up of the map. I find it rather funny that it shows Erebor here. A full page, fun ad for the LEGO Lord of the Rings website. Finally a checklist so one can keep track of what minifigures they own. Minifigures: Now for the best part; the minifigures! There may be only four in this set, but they are packed with detail. The Uruk is pretty generic, but he's special because of the inclusion of the helmet with the hand of Sarumon on it. Lurtz is a brown color as opposed to the dark red of the Uruks, and he has a nicely muscled printed torso. The two Orcs are exactly the same, but one gets a hair piece. I love the inclusion of the rings on the Orcs. Most of the back printing on these guys is covered up by their various hair pieces or armor. However they all have nice detailing on the back. With the hair pieces and armor removed it's easy to see that the backs are just as nicely detailed as their fronts. The Uruk and Lurtz have alternate expressions as well. I'm really glad that LEGO put printing on the back of the Orc's heads, even if it could be covered up by hair. Look at all of the accessories/weapons included for these guys. Sadly, Lurtz can't have his hair piece on when he's wearing the armor. That's about the only thing I do not like about the minifigures. Otherwise they're all some of the most nicely detailed minifigures I've gotten in a LONG time. The Build: Bag one builds the whole of the left side. The second bag starts on the right section and builds part of the forge. Bag three finishes the right section. The completed set, it does look pretty good. Finished Model: The set looks a lot better when populated with minifigures. The color blocking is done quite well too. Check out all of that olive cheese! These are the two most lackluster items in the set. While they were in the movie, I think they're some of the hardest items to recreate into usable items with LEGO. I prefer everything to be absolutely symmetrical. I think that's the math in me coming out. But this actually looks really good. Side shot of the crane to give you an idea of how far it sticks out. All of the structural elements are easily visible from the back. I must admit I'm not used to seeing it from this side! The set actually looks pretty long from this angle. The crane will actually hold the bucket up, I haven't put much weight in it though... I think the smelting area looks pretty good, I also love that LEGO used the raised base for two completely different functions. The rock detailing is rather repetitive, but there is just enough variation for it to look great when the set is finished. Functions: First you load up the ore. Then crane it up. By turning this the bucket goes up or down. Then pour it down a chute to a cauldron. And finally smelt the iron. You push this to make the light brick turn on. One can dig Lurtz out from his pit. By pulling this away Lurtz can come out. There's a hole in the back to push Lurtz through with. One can also hammer the weapons out with the anvil. Conclusion: This set really has grown on me since I bought it. Like I said, I had originally gotten it for the minifigures, not expecting much. When this was released it was the set with the most olive parts in it. Not to mention the sheer number of play features! I do not do much playing, but I could definitely see someone else having hours of fun with this set. The amount of details on the minifigures still astounds me. Ratings: Playability: 9/10 There are a TON of functions in this set, I was pleasantly surprised at how well they work too. Design: 6/10 LEGO did a pretty good job of turning that huge underground maze into a $40 set. Price: 10/10 I have zero complaints about the price at all, there's so much great stuff in this set it's well worth it. Minifigures: 8/10 The only thing that could have made this set better would have been the inclusion of armor that works with Lurtz's hair and a bow for him. Parts: 7/10 There are a fair number of new and interesting items to make this set good. Total: 40/50 Like this review? Want to learn how to make good reviews? Then join the Reviewers Academy!
  3. I was in NYC visiting with Flare, we spent way to long in the LEGO store in Rockefeller center. I walked out with this. I did like the look of the set, though I was mostly in it just for Batman, I wasn't at all sure about the rubber ducky boat thingy. Set Information: Name: Batman: The Penguin Face Off Set Number: 76010 Pieces: 136 Price: $12.99 Ages: 5-12 Minifigs: 2 Theme: DC Superheroes Year of Release: 2014 Bricklink Brickset S@H Flickr Set Box: The first thing I notice about this box is that there is a TON of information crammed into this very small box. That choking hazard warning really bugs me. LEGO has, as usual, crafted a very nice action shot of the set. The new Batman design in the upper right corner is great too. A lot less going on in the back though. Apparently flick fires say "zoom" now. And the 1:1 is Batman! I'm rather surprised not to see Penguin here as he's a short figure. Contents: Inside the box there are three rather small bags, and the manual. That bag in the upper left corner was very full. I was pleasantly surprised to see that the Batman logo was printed onto the sloped piece, as it wasn't printed in the Bat-cave. And I really like these eyes. Only thing that stands out to me is the wonderful 1x1 round eye tile. Manual: The art on the manual front is pretty similar to the box, but much wider image. That dang warning image is still here too. Inside the manual is a lovely soft green color and has a slight computer looking overlay. In some corners we have Batman, Man-bat, and Flash. Minifigures: On to my favorite part: the minifigures! I absolutely LOVE Batman. Penguin surprised me, he's a great figure too. Penguin has a wonderful fur coat, along with a monocle. I'm used to a fat Penguin, so the lack of print trying to represent fat is a little disappointing. It looks like Batman has some type of heating or breathing gizmo going on with his suit. Both figures have back printing, though Batman's is covered by the scuba tank. Penguin's fur coat continues around on the back. More of the light blue highlights are continued here on Batman's back. I cannot wait to use this head on a figure. It looks basically like a printed scuba mask to me. Batman also has a second face, just the usual exp<b></b>ression. He looks a lot like one of the new clones the way he head is printed. Quick comparison with one of my other Batman figures. The Batman from this set has a Nolan style cowl. Both figures also have some accessories. Penguin has a hard time standing with his iconic umbrella. The Build: Since this is a small set, I'm not going to go into detail about the build, it was pretty straight forward. Finished Model: The set doesn't look too bad without nice photo editing. The Penguin bombs seem a little odd. These are the Penguin bombs. Really the design isn't bad, I just don't like them. The antenna ruin them for me. They fit rather nicely into the little iceberg, that, for some reason, is holding a diamond. Now for the wonderful rubber ducky! This guy is pretty cute and resembles a duck quite well. At first glance it looks a little fat, but trust me, it grows on you. Here you can see Penguin's steering wheel. Now do note that this is powered by a propeller and some orange thruster thingys. Seems like overkill to me, though they might be for steering. Penguin fits nicely into the back of the duck. This is the funny little Bat-vehicle included in the set. Not sure what it's supposed to be. I do like that LEGO tried to vary from the duck with this, but I think a propeller would have been fitting on this. Batman just barely fits into the vehicle with his flippers. And I love that there's a spot to put his gun. Functions: This missile, while front heavy, you can actually fire. You can't fire this one unless you're holding it. There's no way it could be fired while it's on the ground. Conclusion: Yes this set is actually better than I thought it'd be. The Bat-vehicle thingy, is sub par, as his vehicles usually are. The rubber duck is absolutely wonderful. Both minifigures are definitely up there on my list of best DC figures I own. I do wish there were some better functions, flick fires don't cut it any more. Ratings: Playability: 4/10 There is just about nothing in the way of play features in this set at all. Design: 7/10 That rubber duck is wonderfully designed, the Bat-vehicle though... Price: 8/10 The price is pretty standard these days, I can't argue with it too much. Minifigures: 10/10 They are absolutely fantastic. I can't think of anything they could be better for these figures. Parts: 7/10 There's nothing super exciting in here, but those eyes do push this set up a few points. Total: 36/50 "WHERE IS IT?!" Like this review? Want to learn how to make good reviews? Then join the Reviewers Academy!
  4. 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! Also, I must note that this is the first Lego set of any kind that I have bought in over three years. 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 Brickset Bricklink Catalog Flickr Box: 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. Contents: 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 ( ) 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. 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! Minifigures: 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 ). 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. 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... 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. I prefer the solid dark brown color to the spotted grey and white Wargs from previous Hobbit sets. Build: 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. 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. *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. 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. 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!