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Review: 79003 An Unexpected Gathering

Bag End Hobbit Bilbo Gandalf Dwarves

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#1 Offline Akano

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Posted Feb 23 2013 - 10:21 PM

[color=rgb(184,134,11);]"In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort."I'm sure many fans of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit were eagerly awaiting the release of this set, and now that it's out, I've decided to review it. Here's a look at the LEGO re-imagining of Bag End.[font="courier;"]Presentation[/color][/font][font="courier;"]From the design of the box to the instruction manual, these are the first things you see before building the set.[/font] 

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[color=rgb(184,134,11);]The box has a lovely picture of our favorite hobbit hole on the front with the set's cast of characters, including a little box giving you their names. The back has a view of the inside, along with some pictures that highlight details of the home and the fact that you can take the roof off the top. These photos are also on the LEGO shop page and The Hobbit page of LEGO.com.[/color][color=rgb(184,134,11);][font="courier;"]Building[/color][/font][font="courier;"]Half the fun is had building the set. How fun is it to build and how easy or challenging is it?[/font] 

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[color=rgb(184,134,11);]The build isn't terribly long, but it definitely isn't short. There are some creative things about this build that I liked, which I'll get to in the design section. A lot of it is fairly straightforward, with a few detail things to worry about here and there (like when to use light green pieces vs. green pieces).[/color][color=rgb(184,134,11);][font="courier;"]Set Design[/color][/font][font="courier;"]Now that the set is complete, we can critique how it looks from every angle. New or interesting pieces can also be examined here.[/font] 

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[color=rgb(184,134,11);]The interior of Bag End has a couple of cute corners. The one corner has some shelves with jars of somethings sitting by the window and Sting (because he totally had that at the beginning of the book :P). There is a treasure chest and a couple of maps on the floor, and yes, the maps are stickers. On the other side we have the dining room table where the dwarves roll dishes and throw food at each other, and in the window is Bilbo's book that he'll eventually write about his adventures (again, with stickers). To the side of that is the fireplace and chimney with a couple pans/pots, along with a broom to keep your hobbit hole tidy. On the outside we have a garden with carrot sprouts growing, a bucket of freshly picked vegetables, and flowers galore all over the house. I do like how they have Gandalf's mark on the door (which is printed, by the way) and the tree on top of the home. And who can forget the bench on which Bilbo first encountered Gandalf?One of the coolest design aspects of this set for me was the window. It is actually not connected by studs to the house, but is instead just sandwiched in with other pieces. The window design looks like this:[/color] 

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[color=rgb(184,134,11);]which just fits into a couple of arch pieces.[/color] 

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[color=rgb(184,134,11);]The characters are pretty cool, too. Let's start with the dwarves.[/color] 

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[color=rgb(184,134,11);]Balin was one of my favorite characters from the books, and I really like how his character was re-imagined for the movie. His LEGO minifigure is very true to his movie form, and his hair/beard piece is really neat.[/color] 

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[color=rgb(184,134,11);]Dwalin is the only dwarf in this set who didn't get a flip face, due to the tattoos that go around his head. His beard is more like the traditional beards that sit under the minifigure's head, and he has what I think is a new type of cape; there's only one hole for the neck to go through, unlike most capes which have two that fold on top of each other.[/color] 

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[color=rgb(184,134,11);]I like Bofur's hat. It makes me think that he's from some snow-filled land where the hottest it ever gets is 10°C. His angry face amuses me, as do most of the angry faces from these minifigs. It's just adorable how he thinks he can be threatening.[/color] 

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[color=rgb(184,134,11);]LEGO really went all out with Bombur's hair and gut piece. Like Gimli, only his eyes and eyebrows are really visible from under his hair/beard. The end result looks very good, though, and in terms of being true to the movie he's one of my favorites. His face is also very jolly, which I like.Now let's look at the wizard who organized this gathering in the first place.[/color] 

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[color=rgb(184,134,11);]This is the same Gandalf minifigure from the Gandalf Arrives set. I like his unique beard piece and new gray color, though I sort of wish his staff were a bit more unique. His face under his beard is nice and looks a lot like Sir Ian McKellen himself.But, of course, Bag End is not complete without our beloved little hobbit.[/color]  

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[color=rgb(184,134,11);]Bilbo Baggins' minifigure is seen here in his leisurely clothes that he has on when the dwarf party arrives at his house, suspenders and all. He's just adorable. His face flips to give him either a happy look or a worried one, depending on how exasperated he is at the dwarves.[/color][color=rgb(184,134,11);][font="courier;"]Playability[/color][/font][font="courier;"]The other half of the fun is in playing with the set. How well does the set function and is it enjoyable to play with?[/font]  

Posted Image[color=rgb(184,134,11);]"Do you wish me a good morning, or mean that it is a good morning whether I want it or not; or that you feel good this morning; or that it is a morning to be good on?"[/color]

[color=rgb(184,134,11);]This set has a lot of play time in it. My favorite thing to do is recreate various scenes from The Hobbit, but you can also throw in a few scenes from Fellowship if you like. You could also make up your very own hobbit adventure![/color] 

Posted Image[color=rgb(184,134,11);]"Would you like to take some time to hear about our creator, Aulë?"[/color]

[color=rgb(184,134,11);][font="courier;"]Final Thoughts[/color][/font][font="courier;"]Once it's all said and done, how does the set stack up? Should I get it?[/font] 

Posted Image[color=rgb(184,134,11);]"Can you not do that? You'll blunt them!"[/color]

[color=rgb(184,134,11);]This set is beautiful, and anyone who likes hobbits and food will enjoy this set. While the price tag is $60, that's not too bad for licensed set this size.[/color][color=rgb(184,134,11);][font="courier;"]Pros[/color][/font][font="courier;"]What's to like?[/font]
    [*][color=rgb(184,134,11);]It's Bag End.[/color][*][color=rgb(184,134,11);]Six minifigures, four dwarves.[/color][*][color=rgb(184,134,11);]Lots of food and foliage pieces.[/color][/list][color=rgb(184,134,11);][font="courier;"]Cons[/color][/font][font="courier;"]What's not to like?[/font]
      [*][color=rgb(184,134,11);]Not an exact replica of Bag End, but who cares?[/color][*][color=rgb(184,134,11);]Price tag is $60, but it's worth it.[/color][/list][color=rgb(184,134,11);]Hopefully you enjoyed this review of our favorite Hobbit home. For extra pictures, check out the gallery when public. :)Posted Image[/color]

      Edited by Akano Toa of Electricity, Feb 25 2013 - 02:54 PM.

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#2 Offline Hitoshura

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Posted Feb 23 2013 - 11:45 PM

I really like this set, but saw it at the store and was a bit pricey for me. In my opinion, it looks kind of wierd how it doesn't looks like a hill but Lego has its limitations. The minifigs looked pretty sweet, and Lego is great at making them.
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