LEGO Set Review: Gandalf Arrives

Set #: 9469
Pieces: 83
MSRP: $12.99

While the Monster Fighters sets are awesome, I want to broaden out the LEGO® reviews here at Bricks of the Dead, so I’m going to be doing a few on The Lord of the Rings sets to start, and will expand into other themes as time and budget allows. I got a few of them for my birthday, and I think they’re really strong, with loads of useful pieces. You could probably even use the Orc heads for zombies if you’re so inclined. At any rate, let’s take a look at the entry-level set in this series, Gandalf Arrives

The Parts

Gandalf Arrives part selection

The parts selection in this set isn’t great, but there are a some pretty good pieces here, including a couple 2×2 plates with the stud in the middle, several of those newest hinge pieces, a carrot, a snake, a book, a newish backpack, and the horse. That last one is likely why most people are buying the set (other than those interested in allThe Lord of the Rings sets, of course).

The new horse is definitely cool. Featuring articulated rear legs, like the new bear, it allows the horse to rear up, making for much more dynamic posing. The rest of the animal has also been retooled, giving it a rounder more detailed look compared to the old horse, not unlike the new dog compared with the old one. I think this is a huge improvement, and would like to get a few more of these horses for things like this:

The new articulated horse is great for westerns

I make a rather dashing cowboy, no?

The Minifigs

Another big reason to pick up this set is to get a complete set of figures. If you want to get all of the Fellowship, you need this for Gandalf. You also get a different torso for Frodo, which is pretty nice.

Frodo Baggins from Gandalf Arrives

I quite like Frodo here. Not only do we get a new hair piece for Hobbits, we also get a great new torso (with back printing) that should easily fit into a variety of different themes and time-frames. I wish, as always, that we didn’t see the fleshie part by the collar, but I can always just pretend it’s just a flesh-colored undershirt.

Gandalf from Gandalf Arrives

Gandalf is the big star of the set (hence the name). The old wizard makes for a pretty great minifig, with a brand new beard to boot. One thing that really impresses me about this line is how nice the figures are. With Gandalf, you don’t see much of his front thanks to his beard, and none of his back thanks to his cloak, but the torso still features really nice printing on both the front and the back.

My only complain here is that he didn’t get a new mold for his staff. That stick just doesn’t cut it, and I immediately replaced it with something from BrickForge.

The Build

The build itself is fairly interesting, given it’s a simply horse-drawn cart. Rather than straight sides on the wagon, we use hinge pieces to make a much more attractive angle. There is also some nice SNOT work here. It isn’t much – and couldn’t be considering the piece count – but it’s nice to see that this set wasn’t just phoned in.

The horse-drawn cart

We don’t get much for extra pieces this time around, but the carrot top makes for nice landscaping so I’m not complaining.

The extra parts from Gandalf Arrives

The Verdict

Gandalf arrives isn’t a bad entry-level set for the theme. You get two major characters to build an iconic (if pastoral) scene from the films. Some will likely be disappointed that neither Gandalf nor Frodo have a sword, but I always like seeing more civilian-centric sets. The new horse mold definitely pushes this one over the top, especially at this price point.

Of course, the price point it a bit high for what you get here. At only 83 pieces, the piece the price ratio is very badly screwed. However, there is a large animal mold in the set, and it’s licensed, so the pricing doesn’t surprise me too much.

Gandalf Arrives

Grade: 4 zombie heads out of 5

Buy Gandalf” Arrives today

23 Comments

Dave

I’m primarily a town builder, but growing up I was a castle maniac. I was also a huge Tolkien fan from about junior high on, so these sets hit a bit of a sweet spot for me.

Greg

I really want a couple of these new horses… I even have some Western MOC ideas on my to do list that could really use these but the price tag on the LOTR sets is just prohibitive to me.

Dave

Yeah, if this set was 9 dollars instead of 13, it would be worth picking up a couple for the horses and parts. As it is, it’s just too pricey.

Dave

Good lord!

How much is the Orc Army set? That one has a horse too, plus a lot better piece selection.

Greg

It’s a scandal(f) isn’t it? (…forgive the lame pun)
Yeah, it’s no secret that european price can’t compete with US but I feel like they really pushed it even further with LOTR.
Helm’s deep is 181$
Moria – 116$
Uruk army – 51$

Bo

That’s a decent set. The only pieces I don’t like are the princess torso and wedge. Everything else I can use.

Bo

Not ones that look ridiculous. I need modern female torsos, not rejects from the ren faire.

And what’s up with the wedges for skirts? They can’t DO anything, like sit in a chair, or fit in one of those horses. My favorite fig from this series of collectable minifigs was the alien queen, queen, once I swapped out the wedge for some alien trooper legs.

AC

no offence all you girls on this site, but most female torsos nowdays are a little… streched out, rather than 40 years ago.

Dave

I don’t care for all the wedge pieces either. Every now and then it looks nice, but it’s not terribly usable.

I’m not sure what you’re getting at, AC.

Greg

lol, is it just me or this discussion around female torsos is a little unreal…

C4guy

I got this set off Amazon pretty early on for the ridiculous $12. I guess if I waited a little longer I could have gotten it cheaper. Lots of useful parts in my opinion. The new horse is the coolest thing…

Dave

Yeah, I really dig this new horse. Huge upgrade from the old style ones.

If this goes on clearance down the road, I’ll pick up one or two.

Silver Fox

I have this set. I love it. Gandalf. New Horse. Lots of fun little pieces.

When it comes to any price skewing on piece count ratios. I start looking at unique pieces such as the horse, licenses and minifigures (which, using the CM line, $3) I’ll see how it should balance out.

Dave

Yeah, there’s definitely a balance, and you’re paying a premium both for the new stuff (horse) and the licensed stuff. The fact that Gandalf is unique to this set (at least until the Hobbit stuff starts coming out) is also a factor.

BrickVoid

Well, I purchased this set a couple of months ago, and I finally got the inclination to build it when I saw this review. I must say, the cart goes together reasonably well but there is a lot to be said for the item placement, mostly that the stuff that goes in the bag and barrel in the back of the cart literally flops and jostles around. This is definitely not a set your kid would want to pull around on the floor, because by the time it had moved several inches, most of the items in the back would have unloaded themselves either into the cart or have slipped through the gaping holes in the sides. While I appreciate the build quality, there are glaring omissions when it comes to actually keeping everything where it should be if the cart actually has to move anywhere. I’m glad I’m not rating it, or I’d have to take points off for this. 😀

Other than that, the set is a very good set for the LotR lineup! 😀

Dave

Yeah, the stuff will not stay in the barrel if you’re driving across the rug. The items are simply too tall, and there are too many crammed into the barrel.

legomaster 3700

love lord of the rings currently reading the two towers fo school

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