Dear Bricks of the Dead enthusiasts,
I’ve taken a small break from the Lord of the Rings sets and today we will be having a look at one of smaller The Hobbit – the Desolation of Smaug sets, this one is the army builder set for The Hobbit line and is titled Mirkwood Elf Army, so lets see what we got.
Out of the box
In this set we have two main bags, a Warg in its own bag, one instruction manual and a loose tan plate. Not really much else to say other than it is well packed Lego standard.
The Tree Platform
First bag along with the loose tan plate gives us the bits to build up one end of the wall that is integrated with a tree and platform in the upper reaches. The play feature on this is pretty well hidden. There is a flat hinged piece on top of the platform that sits underneath the upper canopy of the tree, idea is that an elf warrior stands on the platform and when ready you can hit the catapult mechanism. This makes the upper canopy flip to one side as it is hinged as well and launches said warrior straight towards those pesky attacking orcs, both my daughters (aka assistants) thought this was awesome, and even I thought it was great that this play feature isn’t obvious when looking at the set overall. There is also a small weapon rack that includes a well placed statue microfig to give it that elvish feel and a technic pin so you can attach it to the main builds.
The second bag is all about building a wall to keep those annoying orcs out of the forest. The wall is a pretty standard build with some minor tree branches and foliage integrated into the wall itself, there are also a couple of shields that are attached that have a very cool pattern on them that remind me of bugs. Play feature on the wall is the almost obligatory “missile” in the middle of it. Even my assistants don’t find these that great. What the older assistant did like in this bag was the scaling ladder with the hooks on top; she had minifigs climbing up and down till those pieces of plastic were puffed out!
This completes the build and we attach the wall to the tree platform by way of technic pins and have our completed set, just add minifigs.
We will start with the bad guys this time, because hey, bad guys need love to don’t they?
With this set we get a Warg which is exactly the same as the other ones released so far and is brown in color, and in his saddle is one of the newer style Gundabad Orcs sporting the cool spiky shoulder armor, well detailed print armor on legs and torsos, and single face printing on the head. He also gets a spear while his identical foot slogging mate drew the short straw and not only misses out on the Warg to carry him, but gets no shoulder armor and a sword to do the dirty work with.
Onto the besieged defenders we get three elven warriors who are identical in facial expressions and armor. The differences come from the accessories they are kitted out with; we have two archers with hoods, bows and quivers, and a melee elf who has a hair piece and a dagger.
Leading the defenders is no other than the king of Mirkwood himself, Thranduil. He comes with a dual face head, a rubberized head piece that has his crown built in, and a red cloak. I really like the print on his torso; in particular the clasp at the top as it is well framed by the hair and seems to catch my eye when I look at the minifig. He is given a sword to defend his realm with and he is ready to go.
The ladder is too high for the wall, or the wall is too low for the ladder. Either way when you look at the photo below you will see that the ladder isn’t very steep when against the wall, and the effect is that the orc is crawling up, rather than climbing up the ladder. Take one extension out of the ladder and it pretty much works as intended, given that the box art has the ladder on the wall it seems strange that they would give us the extra extension, ah well, chuck it in the MOC pile.
Aside from that we have a solid build with a cool little play feature (I’m ignoring the missile) plenty of minifigs as you would expect from a set designed to “build” armies with, and the ability to combine multiple sets to make an elvish fortress being attacked by wargs and Gundabad orcs!
Overall, this is a solid set and performs well as an army builder set, and if you want a bit more tan for your MOC pile of Lego.
Coming soon – I head back to Lord of the Rings sets and review Pirate Ship Ambush.
PS: I like that now we have Moria, Mordor, Orthanc, and Gundabad orcs throughout the Middle Earth themed sets now, throw in the wargs and black horses and you have an army Sauron would be happy with. I intend to get the baddies together and take some photos and share them with you next review for fun.
Grade:Buy Mirkwood” Elf Army