It was over 40 years ago. Wednesday, during the September school holidays. Probably the Croydon twin cinema. I remember it was raining. After Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back (sure… they call it a New Hope these days, but that’s another franchise), I couldn’t wait to see the next film made by George Lucas, along with one of his mates who made that shark film. (I was 12… give me a break)
From the opening scene, as the Paramount logo cut to an actual mountain – sure, it feels like a cliche now, but this was early in my cinema appreciation career- through to the final scene, I was taken on a roller coaster ride through Peru, Nepal, Egypt and even the middle of the Mediterranean. Once I got my head around the fact that the Lost Ark featured in the title didn’t belong to Noah, I was fine.
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.
The Latest LEGO ICON set 10361 Rivendell, realises one of the most iconic locations in JRR Tolkien’s tales of Middle Earth. This set brings us a model in three main sections: the Tower; River, Armory and Gazebo, and finally, the main Hall and Council Circle. With 15 minifigures and 6167 elements, this set captures the beauty of both the Architecture and Landscape of the Last Homely House, East of the Sea.
When I first saw this set, revealed at the LEGO Fan Media Days in Billund, last September, I started to get excited about the set, and what kind of build it might be. And just a bit daunted by the appearance of all of the 1×1 tiles on the roof.
When I was offered a set for early review, I have to admit,I felt a little giddy with excitement. I have been a fan of The Lord of the Rings since the early ’80s. Perhaps not a dedicated consumer of everything related to Middle Earth. But a fan nonetheless. I could see past the changes made, where the movies deviated from the primary text, without being too upset.
I am grateful to the LEGO Group for sending me this set to review. All opinions are my own,
This review will include comprehensive coverage of the building experience. If you are merely curious as to whether or not the set is for you, and wish to avoid having the experience spoiled… click here to go straight to the conclusion and further images of the completed model.
I might be finding aspects of my LEGO® life a little chaotic at present. Some of this is of recent doing. Some of it relates to things I did over a decade ago.
I am quite excited by the new LEGO of The Rings: Rivendell set. I can’t wait to share my review with you. It will probably be the highest part count set I have ever put together. Before I do that, however, of course, I will have to build it. and I thought I might like to compare the minifigures with those from the initial release, a decade or so ago. And then one thing drove out another, as it were.
As I mentioned in the announcement of the set, Middle Earth has a special place in my LEGO MOC history. I came out of my Dark Ages and started exhibiting at back in 2010, but that was just a simple, somewhat quaint and primitive modular terrace house, built without enough time to get all the right Bricklink orders in before the due date. As such, it is decorated in the style of a student share house, somewhere in the 1970s or early ‘80s, complete with a poor choice in decor.
When JBBrickFanatic’s LEGO® IDEAS submission BTS Dynamite was announced, a lot of AFOLs said. ‘Huh? What?’ I’ll admit I was unfamiliar with the source material. Just like I’ve struggled with Adventure time, Minecraft, the Caterham seven and Tron Legacy. But just because I am unfamiliar with the source material does not invalidate it.
Today, the LEGO Group have revealed 21339 LEGO Ideas Dynamite – recreating scenes from the K-Pop boy band’s 2020 music video, along with bringing us
It was 1982, and the final episode of NPR adaptation of Star Wars (A New Hope – not that the label was familiar to us yet) had just been broadcast on ABC FM on Sunday morning. “Next Week – The Lord of the Rings episode 1″…of 26. This BBC production was my introduction to Lord of the Rings. Over the next 6 months, 12-year-old me followed the adventures of Frodo and the Fellowship of the Ring, as they covered the diverse geography of Middle earth. I opened the books and began to explore the extended world.
With time, Peter Jackson’s movie adaptations became a regular Wedding Anniversary date for Ann and myself. Then, in 2010, I finally came out of my Dark Ages and accepted that I was allowed to buy LEGO® sets for myself. Fast forward to 2011 and after presenting Bag End, assailed by dwarfs at Brickvention 2011, I put together a model, loosely based on Rivendell, at the time of the Council of Elrond.
Using non-licensed minifigures, and drilling a hole through the middle of a pearl gold 1×1 round brick/stud to use as a ring, many kids who saw the layout identified most of the figures in the fellowship correctly. Except for 2. But they were so consistent that I suspect I must have been wrong in identifying Merry and Pippin.
And then, in 2012, we saw our first wave of Lord of the Rings sets – with the Fellowship of the Ring carefully spread across no fewer than four sets! A second wave followed in 2013, before leading into the sets licenced from the Hobbit. In this second wave was the set ‘Council of Elrond.’ With 4 Minifigures and 243 elements this was a somewhat lacklustre representation of the iconic scene from the story (be it book, radio drama or movie).
And now, after 10 years Lord of the Rings is back.
With 6167 Pieces and 15 minifigures (plus some statues of Elven Heroes from days gone by.) this is a beautiful set, providing exquisite architectural details, as well as rolling landscape and new minifigures throughout.
When the prequel trilogy was first released, I didn’t really get it. Whether this was just me, or intrinsic issues with the storytelling, I was not too sure. I didn’t really understand them the way I understood the original trilogy. And surely the fact that I watched individual films in the original trilogy approximately 200 times between 1977 and 1999 is probably irrelevant. Probably….
And then, during the pandemic lockdowns, my now adult son took me by the hand and said ‘Dad, I think you need to watch this. I have found a guide to take you through the essential episodes, but I think it will help everything make sense.’ And so we watched a sizable part of the clone wars: Campaign after campaign, Politics, Intrigue, Grumpy Padawans. And then I rewatched Revenge of the Sith. And on the whole, for the first time ever, it made sense to me. I became invested in Rex and Cody, as well as the rest of the 501st. enough to move on to Rebels. And now it looks like Asokha will make sense to me when it debuts. Woo Hoo.
And Not that I get it, I can understand why these helmets will spark a generational shift in the Star Wars Helmets: no longer limited to the Original Trilogy, fans of the Clone Wars can also feel specifically loved by this range, with the arrival of 75349 Captain Rex and 75350 Commander Cody.
When the first Botanicals sets were released at the start of 2021, the world was taken agasp. Not only was there a bonsai tree covered in frogs, but also a Floral bouquet that needed a second look to confirm its LEGOness. jump to the future: Last year we saw an orchid and some succulents added to the mix. These models have now been on display in our living area since initial construction, and catch the eye of LEGO Fans and non LEGO Fans alike. Even my parents comment favourably about them! We even had a lot of people contribute designs for vases for their flowers a couple a years ago – I was amazed by some of the responses we had.
And now there are another two sets scheduled for release in early February… just in time for Valentines day. The sets are designed to be built on your own, or with some help from your special friend. This could be an ideal first date activity as shown in a video shared by the LEGO Group on its social channels a year or two ago.
First we have 10313 Wildflower Bouquet with 939 pieces: It brings us some spectacularly bright colours, and varied blooms: this is an eyecatching design.
Next we have 10314 Dried Flower Centrepiece – With 812 pieces, this is an exploration of earthy tones and a muted palette, but still bringing us some unique explorations of neat parts usage.
Read on for more pictures and the offical press release:
It’s New Year’s Day where I am currently sitting*. The sun is shining. It is around 30º C (86ºF to those in other parts of the world). Last year was a hectic year: we had been locked down for large parts of 2020 and 2021, and it felt like half of society was trying to make up the missed time socialising and getting work done, while the other half was trying to keep out of harm’s way. [*I might have taken an extra day to edit this]
Ultimately, it is time to kick my feet up and relax. As good fortune would have it, The lovely people at the LEGO Group have sent me a copy of the latest LEGO Art Set: Hokusai The Great Wave. Based on Hokusai’s woodcut ‘The Great Wave off Kanagawa,’ the set promised me “the chance to immerse [myself] into the relaxing project of recreating the iconic Great Wave, captured in a LEGO Art set. This set offers so many ways that fans can unwind and find their flow. Not just immersing themselves into the building process, but also getting into the artwork and how that is composed.”
So, did it deliver? Running from Christmas to New Year’s Eve is often a mental challenge: so many last-minute things to do. If there was one thing I needed, it was a chance to relax.
And More importantly, will I feel happy to nail it to the wall afterwards?
It is December, and with the new year only a couple of weeks away, it is time to officially reveal the LEGO Icons (the theme formerly known as Creator Expert) Modular Building for 2023. I was fortunate to get a sneak peek at the new set. Along with my Extra Pieces Podcast Collaborator, Jay From Jay’s Brick Blog, we had the chance to sit down and be guided through the new set by LEGO Icons Design Manager, Andy Grubb.
The set will be released on January 1 and has 2899 pieces, along with 8 minifigures. It will be available from LEGO Branded Stores, and LEGO.com, priced at $/€229.99/£ 199.99/ 349.99 AUD/ 299.99 CAD.
Featuring a decorative interior and exterior, the set can be built in five pieces and includes a Jazz Club, a Pizzeria, a Managerial office, a Tailor’s workshop, a Dressing Room and a Rooftop Green House on the lower roof.
In addition, the set comes with eight minifigures including a Jazz Singer, Bassist, Drummer, Pizza Chef, Pizza Delivery Driver, Club Manager, Tailor, and a Magician.
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