We recently looked at the building experience for 10316 Rivendell – the upcoming LEGO Icons set. It is big, with over 6000 pieces and 15 minifigures (+6 statues)! I thought I would take a closer look at the new minifigures, and compare them with the original Lord of the Rings figures from 2012-13.
So, How do these figures compare with their predecessors? What’s new? And what’s not?
Let us start with some general observations: the new hobbits all have dual moulded legs with light nougat feet. This is fair, given the Hobbit’s penchant for going through life without the inconvenience of shoes. The latest dwarfs have medium-length, flexing legs – rather than the same short legs as the hobbits. It turns out that dwarfs are taller! The figures with ‘robes, specifically Gandalf and Elrond, have been allowed to sit down by replacing their legs with a couple of plates and a beautifully decorated curved 2×2 slope. Likewise, Frodo and Bilbo’s legs can be replaced with headlamp bricks with plates on end, to let them sit.
Frodo is depicted with dark brown trousers and light nougat feet. His torso is reddish-brown and decorated with a jacket over a dark red, slightly filled waistcoat, over a tan shirt. He wears a green cape and has a reddish brown wig – the same element as he had ‘back in the day.’ His double-sided face has a happy expression, with reddish brown eyebrows and a line over his chin. The other face has him looking concerned and under the influence of the Ring.
Compared to the older figure, taken from 9724 Attack on Weathertop, the new line art is slightly finer: his waistcoat is now straining less at the buttons, and his pockets have flaps over the top. The hairpiece is the same, but the new Frodo seems slightly happier – whereas both figures have a ring-possessed side. The older figure also has lines around the eyes, demonstrating Frodo’s fatigue running from the Nazgûl, while he was better rested when he woke in Rivendell.
Sting has a new mould with a more detailed pommel, grip and crossguard.
Sam is depicted with a dark tan torso, printed with a coat over a tan shirt, while he has suspenders holing up his dark brown trousers. He wears a sand-blue cloak. His hairpiece is dark orange. He has a happy smile, a raised right eyebrow and a more concerned frown. The rear printing on his coat adds detail, with creases and the rear tie. The figure is presented with a frying pan to carry.
Sam previously was only available in 9470 Shelob Attacks. He has removed his jacket and is wearing a belt and braces. The torso also has a small pouch printed on it. The figure came with a dark grey cape which has gone AWOL, typical of those worn by all the characters after visiting Lothlorien. The older figure also had a nougat-coloured hairpiece, but I think the dark orange looks a little more ‘screen real.’ The old figure also carries Sting, Frodo’s sword, and the Star Glass given to Frodo by the Lady Galadrial.
After relinquishing the ring, Bilbo was 144 years old. The lines on his face betray his age. Bilbo is portrayed in a tan west, with a white shirt. I feel there is inadequate contrast between his feet and the tan of his legs. On the reverse of his head, there are signs that he still longs for the Ring. The dual moulded legs that he sports were initially used for Dobby the house-elf in Harry Potter collectable minifigures in 2018.
This is the first time that Bilbo has been portrayed at this age! He typically carries a 3M-long dark brown rod he uses as a walking stick.
Gloin was one of the dwarfs that joined Bilbo on the journey to Erabor, many years ago. He has come to Rivendell with his son Gimli. His beard piece now allows for a long straight hairpiece in white. His face is wrinkled, and I presume that because the beard obscures most of his facial details, there is no alternative face print. His torso, however, is not a new print, having also been used for Tony Stark and Owen Grady
Gloin appeared in 79004 Barrel Escape from 2012, one of the first drop of sets based on Peter Jackson’s ‘The Hobbit’ Movies. Certainly, this was a much younger form than we see in Rivendell today.
Gimili, son of Gloin is a dwarf, far more at home in the mines and tunnels of the mountains than running across ground. He also has short, dark brown mid-length legs. His beard is a dark-orange version of Gloin’s. Gimli has a reddish brown torso with scales bandoliers, and a wide belt. On the rear, there are some printed pouches. Gimli wears a detailed helmet – dark brown, with ridges, and gold metallic print. It is a subtly revised mold compared with the older helm, and the line work on its ridges is finer. The shape of the new helmet is better matched to the screen version than the old.
Gimli also carries an axe from the new mould, as opposed to the previous version’s modular/clip-based axe that prevailed in LEGO Castle sets a decade ago. The old beard was more voluminous and reddish brown. I feel the dark orange is probably a better fit for the character., and also allows for a long hair piece to be used – as with Gloin. The older model also had dark blueish-grey arms, rather than pearl silver in the new version. This figure, or subtle variants came in 7473 The Mines of Moria and 7974 The Battle of Helms Deep as well as the LEGO Dimensions Gimli Fun Pack
Arwen has a number of costume changes in the Lord of the Rings films, and this best portrays the robes she is wearing during the time around the council of Elrond. There is intricate linework on her dress in metallic silver and she wears the Evenstar pendant around her neck. She has a serious expression on one side, and a happy smile on the other. This face has been used several times before, in multiple themes.
The elves in this wave have a dual moulded, rubber headpiece, with light nougat used for moulding their ears, as opposed to those featured in the first wave, where the ear was printed. The hairpiece has straight hair flowing over the front of the shoulders and has a plait in the back. She carries a black book, containing a printed tile.
The original Arwen figure from 79006 The Council of Elrond in 2013 was a sand blue figure, using a slope for her legs, resulting in her being a little taller than a typical minifigure. Our new figure features the curved slope robe element introduced in 2018. Positioning the figures, it became apparent that the relatively new element provides significantly greater clutch power than afforded by the traditional 2x2x2 slope element. The older version carried a bow, consistent with her appearance when she rescued Frodo from the Black Riders (in the films) on the road to Rivendell. The printing is suitably detailed, front and back on the torso, but on the front only of the LEGO slope. The Miniskirt robe element is printed on the back and, represents a massive improvement in the portrayal of minifigures in gowns and robes.
Female and Male Elfs
There are two anonymous elves included in the set. They are probably smiths, but they could easily serve on the council or in other roles around the household. These figures have identical prints on their dark stone grey torsos (with sand green arms) – fine silver dots front and back, with fine silver linework down the centre. The female has the skirt/robe element printed with a draping sash, carrying over from the belt on the torso. Her head has also appeared as Hermione Granger, Pepper Potts and Maisie Lockwood, amongst others. The Male has the same torso and unprinted dark stone grey legs. The male’s head has appeared a few times previously, including Draco Malfoy and Shang-Chi.
The figures share the same rubbery hairpiece: the female’s hair is cool yellow, while the male’s hair is dark brown.
Peregrin ‘Pippin’ Took
The mischievous Pippin has a chattering face on one side, and appears to be licking his lips on the other. He has a reddish brown hairpiece and is wearing a dark blue jacket over his tan shit. He is wearing a patterned scarf and has braces printed, with the dark brown of his trousers extending above his waist. He wears a reddish-brown cape. His head has been previously used for Fred Weasley
[Edit: on review, I have inadvertently performed a head swap between Pippin and Merry. thanks to reader Jonah B for performing due diligence ]
The previous version of Pippin was only available in 9473 The Mines of Moria and wields a short sword. He has a far more startled expression on his face than is seen on the new version – which is totally consistent with the peril he faces in that set. The torso print in that version has a belt holding his trousers up, and his shirt seems to be under a little more tension than in the new version. He also wears an olive green cape . The new Pippin is carrying a piece of lembas – elvish way-bread: just the thing to eat on a perilous quest.
Meriadoc ‘Merry’ Brandybuck
[Edit: on review, I have inadvertently performed a head swap between Pippin and Merry. thanks to reader Jonah B for performing due diligence ]
Merry alternates between concerned and excited. He has a paisley design on the yellow waistcoat under his dark green jacket, while the white collar of his shirt pokes out. He is wearing an olive greene. The figure comes equipped with a carrot and stem.He has a toothy grin, reminiscent of Neville Longbottom’s on one side, but this appears to be a new print.
Compared to the 2012 version, exclusive to 9472 Attack on Weathertop, the printing is a little finer – it feels as though every line is placed more deliberately, with no corners or curves where they are not needed. The new Merry has lighter hair, nougat in colour, compared to the older one’s dark orange. Again, I think this swap of hair colours brings us a more ‘screen real’ version. The older version of Merry had a short sword or dagger on Weathertop. The paisley design on the new figure is actually gold printing, while the older version features a lighter yellow.
Gandalf the Grey
Gandalf wears dark stone grey robes, with printing that tends from his torso down to the miniskirt element, as does his belt. A hood is printed on the back of his torso, and he has an unprinted Wizard’s hat. His head has made a few appearances elsewhere in the past. The beard has appeared in multiple sets – but essentially only for Gandalf or a statue! He has the same flowing hair as Gimli and Gloin, except in medium stone grey. It also appears in dark stone grey on some of the statues. There are alternative legs available, should he choose to sit down at the Council Circle: a couple of plates, a bracket and a 2×2 curved slope, printed with the same detail as the skirt/robe element.
The Previous versions of Gandalf appeared in 7496 Gandalf Arrives, and 79003 An Unexpected Party, in the first instance. There are some other sets where he has hair, rather than a hat element. The older version also has unprinted legs. There are 2 face prints in existence, depending on the cheek lines, with the longer lines being found in the LEGO Dimensions sets. The new robe is much more detailed, as is the robe element.
Boromir has a dark blue legs and torso, with dark red arms, dark orange hair and dark brown cape. He has a printed tunic, with golden edge details. His eyebrows and beard are printed in reddish-brown, while the lines on his face are printed in dark arrange. He has a darker red belt, printed front and back, and continued onto the legs. there are dark red details printed to look like a shirt under his tunic. He carried a broad based, shorter sword than the previous version, which also had printed dark grey legs. The previous version’s facial hair was printed in dark orange – looking a little odd when viewed with the lines on his face. He also has a new shield – base on the captain America element, but printed with rivets around the edge, and printed to have the thickened, metallic central region. Its a big improvement on the old version which was exclusive to 9473 The Mines of Moria. Both his frown and sneer do not come across as being quite as negative as the older version.
Legolas the elf has an olive green torso, and dual moulded legs in sand green with dark brown boots. The shirt under is tunic is predominantly silver. This updated figure features a cool yellow version of the elven hairpiece, and dark green lapels – as opposed to rak gery shird and reddish brown lapels on the older version. The older version featured grey legs, with the tunic printing also continuing down. The buckles on his belt and quiver strap are finer than previous. The original Legolas head print served as a prototype for elven face design, with those gaunt markings on his face. The newer version is a well-used head print, with uses including young Han Solo. Like Boromir the expression does not seem to be as serious as the previous version. I am also wondering if a different hair element, like the original figure’s might have been more ‘screen realistic.’
Elrond is a magnificent new figure: he has a dark red torso and skirt element, with an intricate design printed on the front, incorporating golden thread on the red gown, I wonder if the light-coloured print underneath is intended ot be white, in which case, it is possibly suffering from the fate of printing area of light ink over darker plastic. The printing continues smoothly from the torso to the lower part, although there is no rear printing on the skirt element. Elrond has a silver circlet printed on his forehead. He and has a slight smile on one side, and a slightly disapproving one expression on the other. Again, he has the same reddish-brown hair we have seen several times in this set so far. As with Gandalf, there is provision for Elrond to sit down, using an appropriately printed 2×2 curved slope, with some plates.
Let’s compare him with the 2013 version, exclusive to 79006 the Council of Elrond: Elrond had more raised eyebrows, and darker cheek lines back then, and the circlet was printed on his rubbery hair- piece. the figure had regular legs, with elegant golden printing. He wears a dual coloured cape: gold on the inside, and gold ion the inside. The figure comes with a halberd of elven design.
Aragorn has had a complete refresh compared with the 2012 version. This is fair because while he was in his more formal clothes while staying in Rivendell, the sets from the first wave had him exploring the more remote environments as a range. In Rivendell he has a dark brown torso along with nougat arms, and dark brown legs. He has torso and leg printing detailing his tunic and belt, with hints of the shirt underneath.
The stubble and beard is well suited to the character’s appearance in the movie. He has a wry smile and a slightly angry look. Again, the older expressions are more aggressive than the new ones. The new Ranger Sword is longer than the old longsword, and has a more detailed mould for the blade, cross piece, handle and pommel! The older figure had tan legs, with a grey tunic. The top end of the Evenstar jewel that was given to Aragorn by Arwen can be seen hanging beneath his shirt. Both of these figures are excellent, but the one included in Rivendell is more appropriate for the setting.
Around the base of the tower, and in the gallery, looking over the shards of Narsil, we have a number of statues, presumably of elven heroes from the past. They are not specifically identified. They all have the same torso, a double-sided head and either straight or wavy hair. There are 3 figures with regular legs, and three with the miniskirt.
The difference between the headprints is ever so subtle.
Here we have 6 of the 8 possible combinations.
There we have all of the figures included in the set. Most of the designated characters offer varying degrees of improvement on a previous figure, although the new Sam and Aragorn figures are more consistent with their appearances at Rivendell, compared to the original versions (Aragorn in the Wild, and Sam as he appeared at Ciruth Ungel).
The line work on the characters is all of a finer gauge and relatively simplified compared to a decade ago. In the meantime, the increased use of gold and silver metallic inks increases the detail, particularly amongst the elven folk.
The introduction of dual-printed legs for the hobbits was an unexpected improvement over their old form. Likewise, the mid-length legs for the dwarfs makes them taller than the hobbits, true to the film. This technology was not available in LEGO elements 10 years ago, so revisiting these characters is terrific. The ‘mini skirt’/gown elements used for Gandalf, Elrond, Arwen and the female elf also look great, and give the characters a more ‘screen-like’ appearance than using minifigure legs, or the 2x2x2 sloped brick, as previously used. As I noted earlier, the minifigure skirt has the same elongated studs as minifigure legs, guaranteeing better clutch power.
I do feel that while the elven hair element is excellent, I wonder if it is a little overused. The facial lines that defined the cheek-bones of the elves in previous years have gone, and Legolas, the female and male elves and Arwen all have heads that have been previously well-used on regular humans. This is less of an issue for the hobbits. Does it matter? If nothing else, it means that you can now consider almost any general face an elven one.
Another trend that has been developing over time, is the reduction of skin tones visible on the torso: this is particularly obvious with the hobbits and Aragorn. It means, amongst other things, that if you remove the hands, these torsos are instantly compatible with any skin tone you might choose to use, something that will be widely appreciated.
Overall, the recurring characters seem to have faces that look less angry than they may have done in 2012.
I hope you have enjoyed this overview of the minifigures currently residing in Rivendell, and the comparison with the original versions. If you haven’t yet, take a look at my complete review of 10316 Rivendell. If you are looking to purchase this set, consider using these affiliate links: the Rambling Brick might receive a small commission for purchases made.
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