Being a Kiwi, a Tolkien fan, and a LEGO® nut means that my LEGO® budget has been dominated by the release of Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit LEGO® sets in the recent past. Thus far I have collected all of the available first release sets, and am now working on the second release sets which have recently hit the shelves. So I thought I’d offer my services to Dave and the Bricks of the Dead community and do some reviews as I build the sets up. So here is my first go, and today I’m reviewing the smallest second release set The Wizard Battle, so lets get on with it.
*Disclaimer* I have discovered my little point and shoot camera really struggles to photograph a single LEGO® minfig to show off the detailing etc, nothing was working and the best I could get was picking them up and focusing it that way, so I now have an even greater appreciation for what others do with their photography of LEGO®. I’m hoping mine will improve as I get more practiced at it with future reviews, and perhaps a better camera needs to be on the shopping list.
Out of the box
So out of the box you get two bags, the instructions, and two loose 2×14 plates. Inside the big bag is the cardboard packaging looking after Saruman’s cloak, and Saruman’s hair piece is in a separate little bag on it’s own to keep it safe. Well packaged, and the box seems to be a bit smaller than past packaging so things weren’t rattling around inside much at all.
The platform and throne
The build is pretty simplistic as you’d expect on a small scale entry level set, the platform that everything is on is a symmetrically built platform with some technic machinations under floor for one of the play features, along with steps on each side. Saruman’s throne is the highlight of the build with a good use of pieces to create the “Orthanc” look; it is also very functional as the build allows Saruman to sit on his throne with his cloak on, as there is a gap for the cloak to sit in comfortably. There are two play features in this set, firstly the palantir is on a turntable which you can spin from behind the throne, and the second is a push through rod in the throne, which does take away from the throne when Saruman isn’t on it as it isn’t black, however the play features do make sense as the wizards can be sent flying in a couple of different ways, and it is the Wizard Battle after all.
There are a few unique pieces included in this set, and they are the two yellow lamps and the clear palantir shell, they aren’t pieces I’ve seen before and they can fit over the top of a 1×1 round brick. The Palantir shell uses this exact technique by going over the top of a 1×1 trans orange round brick with the eye of Sauron printed on it which gives the overall effect a fishbowl/palantir distortion look. This is obviously one of the focal points of the set and this scene as it is the representation of Sarumans turning to darkness, and it does the job well.
We will start with Gandalf. He is pretty much the same as the other Gandalf minifigs we have seen in past sets. Main difference in this set is he has hair instead of his hat, and no cloak. This means they have been able to put a double print on his head this time, he is now sporting an angry battle face along with his standard look. Staff is the normal one which isn’t terribly exciting.
Saruman is a new minifig to the line; he has nicely detailed printing front and back of the torso, and like Gandalf also has a neutral face and a battle face on his head. The hair piece is a one piece rubberized hair piece and beard combination, attention to detail is good with his little grey and black bit of beard present. A white cloak and a cool looking staff round out a very good LEGO® version of Saruman the White.
In summary this is a great little set that I would recommend most LEGO® fans to purchase, it is at the lower level cost range; with some unique pieces and a cheap way to get hold of Saruman and a palantir without having to buy the giant new Orthanc set.