Thursday, March 29, 2012

Missing person - HeatherLEGOGirl

If you're a regular reader of the variety of major LEGO blogs out there, you've already seen this, but I'm passing it along on the theory that at least some of my readers come from outside the hobbyist community. Heather Braaten, who you may know on various online forums as HeatherLEGOGirl, has been missing for the past week. She was last seen in Seattle, Washington. If you see Heather, or know anything of her whereabouts, please contact Lino Martins at linotopia AT hotmail DOT com , as he is in close touch with Heather's family, or directly contact the Seattle police department. Or use any of the contact information on the flyer below.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Amon Rudh

Is this my first Silmarillion scene? TheBricks made a hypothetical set of Amon Rudh, showing Turin and his companions being betrayed by Mim.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

The Grey Havens

Infomaniac built this amazing rendition of the Grey Havens as a 'forced perspective' entry in the 2012 MOCathalon.

Friday, March 16, 2012


The 2012 MOCathalon has a category devoted to the Lord of the Rings, which has inspired MOCs including Jade Wisniewski's Bag End and Rory Simpson's Balin's Tomb.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

9474, The Battle of Helm's Deep

By far the best set in the upcoming Tolkien line is 9474, The Battle of Helm's Deep. This will run you US$130, but for 1368 pieces and 8 figs, that's not too bad. Plus, and most excitingly IMO for builders, this is not dependent on large single-use pieces, but instead is a big box of bricks and plates.

I know some castle builders are unhappy that the upcoming Tolkien line seems to be putting a more traditional non-licensed Castle theme on hold for a while (as the Star Wars theme displaced the non-licensed Space theme for a time, or, for that matter, as the Harry Potter theme displaced Castle for a couple of years), but I think this set shows that licensed themes are nothing to fear (okay, I know some will not get over the use of fleshy-figs). Even if you're not a Tolkien fan, this rocks as a basic castle. For instance, look at the detail in the wall construction.

There is a little bit of interior detail, so this isn't all facade.

Here we see some nice detail, like how the hoarding has shutters and machicolations. The merlons should maybe be a brick taller, but that's easily modified.

Here we see the sally port that Aragorn and Gimli used, and a little catapult that you can use to (sigh) toss a dwarf. Why, Peter Jackson?

This is supposed to be Haldir. I'll pretend that it's Legolas and he just got a new outfit at Meduseld.

Theoden looks pretty darn awesome.

As does Gimli.

Here we see some Uruk detail (meh, IMO).

You know, I would have expected there to be an 'action feature' with the wall blowing up, but it wasn't mentioned in the Toy Fair video. If those are tiles atop the arch, maybe the wall comes apart into three pieces here. Or maybe that's just an artifact of how it is constructed (if so, I'd probably modify this bit, as that vertical crack is noticable).

With four figs on each side of the battle, a rearing horse, and some detail like this siege ladder, this set has a ton of play value.

All in all, this is an amazing set, both for the Tolkien fan and also for the general Castle builder. If you were only planning on getting a couple of sets from this line, I'd go with this one, and also Gandalf's cart (since it's cheap and you get two key figs).

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

9471 Uruk-hai army

Our next set for examination is 9471, Uruk-hai army. This set is a great army builder, at US$30 you get a section of wall, a ballista, one of the new horses, and six figs - Eomer, random Rohirrim soldier, and four Uruk-hai.

Here we see that the wall has detail on both sides. The pins allow you to connect multiple of these modules together to create a longer wall (and a larger army) or to connect it with the larger Helm's Deep set (review to follow). I really like the rough look of the wall, incorporating different colors and some of those new 'brick bricks'.

Stairs to reach the top of the wall is a nice realistic detail. And (sigh) I suppose kids will want to have Legolas surf down the stairs atop a shield (grumble grumble grumble).

I'm pretty sure the ballista fires when you push that red piece forward (this based on the box art - is it in one of those videos from Toy Fair?).

I'm not sure if this is Eomer or the other Rohirrim soldier. I really love the new helm with the hint of a horse head along the crest. The printing is also really nice.

Four Uruks. Three of those new helms, one with long black hair. It looks like they all have identical torsos and printed legs, not sure about faces. Two with plate armor, two old halberds, two of the new orc-swords, two of the new orc-shields. BTW for the Rohirrim we get one of those new spears from the Collectible line, bow (hmm, I can't tell if it's the old style or the one from the Collectible elf), and a great printed round shield.

Monday, March 12, 2012

9476 The Orc Forge

The next set in our ongoing examination of the upcoming official set release is 9476 The Orc Forge. This set does not depict any specific scene from the book or movie, but I guess is meant to be one of those scenes in the PJ movie where Saruman is making(?) (hatching?) Uruk-Hai. This one will be exclusively available at Target stores and will sell for US$40.

I quite frankly have no idea what the structure is supposed to be. If you watch the video you'll see that the bucket goes up and down on a winch and the fire lights up. It seems that this set was a bit of an afterthought, as the box art was obviously unfinished at Toy Fair, showing the old troll figures and having a slightly different design than the set on display.

If you're buying this set, it's quite frankly for a chance to get more orcs and weapons. Unfortunately, only one of them is an "ear orc", which is too bad as that new hair/ears piece is the most interesting thing about these orcs in my opinion. I'm also disappointed that for a forge this doesn't seem to have a lot of weapons. According to the box art, three of these are supposed to be Mordor orcs, one random Uruk-Hai, and one Lurtz (created by Peter Jackson so we'd have an identifiable bad guy, seen below)

Okay, this set is a mess. It can't decide what it is, and ends up falling between two chairs. LEGO could have created two really winning sets here instead. One would include a mix of orc factions and Merry/or and Pippin, and maybe Treebeard, to give us the hobbit-napping that ran from Amon Hen to the borders of Fangorn. (Yes, I know, it should end with Riders of Rohan, but the Riders feature in two sets already and we've got no Treebeard set yet, and that would be close enough.) The other set would give us a piece of Isengard (maybe this silly forge), a couple of Uruk-Hai, Lurtz (if we must) and Saruman(!). Both of those would have been snapped up by fans. I see this one sitting on the shelves of Target until it goes on sale, then getting grabbed for the figs. I won't be featuring any MOC versions of this set as no Tolkien fans that I know of have conceived of this scene(?) as an appropriate subject for building.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

More Mazarbul

I found another really nice Chamber of Mazarbul scene by FrenchLegoBoy. He's got a video that shows lots of different camera angles and gives some description.

Sunday, March 4, 2012


Yesterday I noted YU's great cave troll. He's got a lot more in his gallery, including this warg.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Mines of Moria MOCs

Alright, we've seen LEGO's take on the Mines of Moria, let's see what AFOLs have done. Here I'll focus on MOCs of the Chamber of Mazarbul. As I noted before, LEGO could have easily gotten additional set designs based on the Doors of Durin and on the Bridge of Khazad Dum. There are great MOCs out there based on both of those scenes and I'll come to those at another time. Anyway, let's start off with Lee Jones' amazing Moria built for BrickWorld 2011.

I like how Brian Graham's version starts out with Gandalf reading. "We cannot get out ... drums, drums in the deep ... they are coming ...", but he also has some great action scenes.

I really like the statues in Marcin Kitala's version.

If we simply must go with Peter Jackson's misinterpretation of the text (grumble grumble grumble), YU built an amazing cave troll.

I like the low light in Brickman101's scene.

Brickaholic Productions has a huge gallery.

BirdBoyJohan has a series of Tolkien MOCs that I'll have to dig into, including his Chamber of Mazarbul.

There are lots of others, but I'll just finish out with my own effort. I was quite happy with the lighting effect here. Note that Boromir is watching in the hall, which has a blue lighting, but there's a shaft of sunlight from above falling on Balin's tomb.

Thursday, March 1, 2012