Monday, March 11th, 2013 at 8:06pm by Andrew, BZPower News Manager
Today we take a look at the smallest boxed Hobbit set, 79000 Riddles for the Ring. Despite it's diminutive size, it portrays probably one of the most pivotal scenes in the movie. So does that make it worth tossing into your shopping cart and bringing it home? You'll have to read on to find out!
From the design of the box to the instruction manual, these are the first things you see before building the set.
The front of the box clearly showcases just about all there is to see in the set. It depicts a scene, though certainly not a scene I read in the book or saw in the movie. But it has Bilbo, Gollum, and the Ring, so I guess that's good enough. Speaking of which, the Ring does not really glow like that. The back shows off many of the possible ways you can play with the set, including having Gollum beat Bilbo with a dead fish.
Cracking the box open, you get two small bags and an instruction book. Nothing surprising here.
Half the fun is had building the set. How fun is it to build and how easy or challenging is it?
You start out by building Gollum's little boat. There's really nothing too it. Then comes the main event - the rock outcropping that holds the Ring. There's no fancy techniques here, but you do get a little Technic building in at least. It goes together fast and without difficulty.
Now that the set is complete, we can critique how it looks from every angle. New or interesting pieces can also be examined here.
If you like dark grey, then this is a set for you. It's got bricks and plates and slopes and more all in that color. If you need a variety of parts in the color for some landscaping or something, you're in luck! There's also a smattering of light grey, dark tan, black, and brown. In all honesty, nothing in the pieces really stood out as being unique or rare though. It's a thoroughly average collection.
Here's what you get. Gollum and his boat, a rocky outcropping, and Bilbo Baggins of Bag End. The main piece definitely captures the feel of the goblin-tunnels from the movies, and overall it looks pretty nice.
I understand what they were going for here, but I'm not a fan of the execution. Gollum's boat looks very unfinished, and the bones look like a tacked-on afterthought. I know his boat is supposed to be cobbled-together, but it just looks like there was no effort put in here. And what's with the grey 2x2 plate? Couldn't we at least have brown to tie it together? They could have done a lot better with this in my book.
I think the rest of the set, on the other hand, looks quite nice. It's pretty monotonous as far as color goes, but it has some very interesting shapes made out of the various slopes. There's a couple gaps on the side that I wish they hid, but that's pretty small in comparison to the rest. I definitely see it fitting right into the movie.
Here's the real reason you bought this set - the minifigs. Gollum we've seen before, but his face is a different print than in the Shelob Attacks set from The Lord of the Rings line. Otherwise he's the same, and still pretty great. Bilbo Baggins is of course brand new to The Hobbit sets, and comes with a great printed torso that I can see being used in Victorian England and Steampunk MOCs. I think his face looks a little bit more like Ian Holmes than it does Martin Freeman, but it gets the job done. Two great figs for sure, and obviously must-haves for collectors.
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?
There's one play feature in this set. If you turn the Technic coupler on the side, a piece of rock with the Ring on it comes flipping out, pushing the rock face out of the way. It doesn't get them all the way out, so you'll have to do that yourself. It works I suppose, but honestly I think it looks better just as background scenery. And then of course there's the whole canonicity thing. Bilbo finds the Ring on the ground, not stuck in some rock. That makes the whole feature just a little bit silly to me.
If you take my suggestion from above and just use the rock as scenery, there's still lots of fun to be had here. You can act out the entire Riddles in the Dark chapter if you'd like.
What has root that nobody sees,
Is taller than the trees,
Up and up it goes,
Yet never grows?
An eye in a green face saw and eye in a blue face,
'This eye is like to that eye,' said the first eye,
'But in high place, not in low place.'
I could go on, but I'll spare you.
Once it's all said and done, how does the set stack up? Should I get it?
What's to like?
- Great minifigs
- Good parts for building mountains and similar
- Captures an iconic scene in the book and movie
What's not to like?
- Lackluster boat
- Silly and inaccurate play feature
In the end, this is really a set for the fans and for people who want the minifigs. It offers some good play value and parts, but nothing that makes it a must-buy. I'm glad I have it on display though, along with my many other Tolkien LEGO sets.
That's it for now. Of course you can leave questions and feedback in the Talkback, and both are more than welcome. And please keep checking back for more LEGO news and reviews, right here on BZPower!
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