Wednesday, February 29, 2012

9473 The Mines of Moria

Moving on after a delay with my examination of the upcoming sets. Next up is 9473 The Mines of Moria. The folks over at the Brick Time posted a cleaned up photo of the box art:

My first impression is that this really should have been called the Chamber of Mazarbul, but I suppose that would have left a huge portion of the buying public scratching their heads. I do see a bit of a missed opportunity here, since they could have easily gotten three sets out of Moria: this scene, a scene at the west door that would include the pool and the Watcher in the Water, and of course the Bridge of Khazad Dum with Gandalf and a Balrog. After I get through reviewing all of the sets I'll do a few posts on what might have been and may speculate more on this. Of course, they could always come back in a future round of sets to give us those other two scenes. Anyway, back to the set we actually have. At US$80 this is a pretty expensive set, but it seems worth it. We get a good rendition of pieces of Moria, lots of figs (about half of the company, plus enemies), plus good accessories and printed pieces (I do hope those are printed - in some photos they look like stickers, but that may be because this is a prototype).

A video shows some of the 'action' features: the sections are modular so they can be taken apart, pillars fall down in the battle, a treasure slides out, etc. Here, for instance, we see the skeleton that Pippin knocks down the well (grr, I'm holding back an anti-Peter Jackson rant right now).

Perhaps most disturbing, we get a pop-up Balin's corpse. Nice attention to detail that they got the runes right (I checked versus the runes recreated in the book).

On principle I object to the cave troll. Yes, I know, Gandalf does say "A great cave-troll, I think, or more than one," but the impression in the book is that he is wrong at that point. It's when he looks out and sees a hoard of orcs and 'something else' that is making them hang back. Later, after they escape from the room, Gandalf tries to hold the door, but he 'met my match'. This 'something dark as a cloud' that he 'felt it through the door' was more powerful than Gandalf had ever encountered. Then at the bridge he finally understands, it was a Balrog all along. So Peter Jackson was just plain wrong. Did this guy even read the book? More likely he just saw a hook to bring in a big CGI monster for an extended action sequence. Okay, that out of my system, I do think that LEGO did a great job of interpreting Peter Jackson's total fabrication.

Let me pause here for a moment to praise the orc design. I want an army of these guys.

As with Legolas (and the Collectible Elf before him), orc ears are built into the hairpiece.

There are a ton of weapons in this set, including the Heroica weapons (also found in Blacksmith Attack), the Collectible Highlander sword, the Collectible Elf bow, the Collectible Roman gladius, the flail, axe heads, old spear, new shields for the orcs. This is just impressive, as it draws weapons from all different castle lines.

Let's check out the hero figs. Boromir:


Legolas (and foes)

Legolas is printed on both sides. Not sure about the other figs. Note that the book is printed on one side.

Gimli (hmm, I'm not sure if I've seen a photo of Gimil's torso print when you take away his beard)


  1. Balin's corpse is interesting... it seems Dwarves have full-sized minifig legs. It would have been cool, albeit would have required new moulds--at least for the legs--to have made him a proper Dwarf skeleton, one that could have been used for the knocked-down-the-well skeleton too.

    Mind you, I suppose a couple 1x1 tiles-with-clip-on-top would be a fairly easy fix.

  2. Aule still regrets that his incomplete memory of the vision of the Children of Illuvatar led him to make dwarves so stumpy, so he's promised them that in the afterlife he will make them longer legs. :)

  3. Personally, I just wish Aulë had given them bendy legs. ;)