9473 The Mines of Moria
9473 The Mines of Moria is the second largest LotR set, weighing in at US$80 for 776 pieces.
It features six minifigs, a cave troll and various structures to enable re-enactment of the scene from The Fellowship of the Ring.
The pillar-and-wall and door structures are frangible and have levers at the back to enable them to be broken easily in response to the troll wielding his club around the room. The two smaller structures are the well that Pippin manages to push the skeleton into, and thereby awaken the Orcs (and worse!), and the Tomb of Balin, which gets smashed half-way through the battle.
The cave troll is very well made and looks suitably vicious. My only complaint is that he topples over when holding his club unless it is positioned right behind his head, as shown in the photo on the right.
This is a well made set containing many useful pieces and a great selection of minifigs. Given that it uniquely contains 1/3rd of the nine members of the Fellowship, including the ever-popular Legolas, it will be an essential purchase. You can find more pictures on flickr.
This then completes my quick photo reviews of the LotR sets. I have been very impressed with them all: not only are the minifigs excellent, which I could have guessed they would be, but the sets themselves are great too: no juniorisation, a useful selection of pieces in them all and once built look they impressive and have a lot of playability.
I could complain about certain key characters not making it into any of the sets (e.g. Saruman, Eowyn, Arwen, Bilbo) but we can hope that with interest in LotR likely to remain high for at least a couple of years, what with two Hobbit movie releases, we will see another range of sets that will address the shortfall.
To summarise, all I have to say is 'Well done LEGO!' :-)
Thanks again to Darren and Tim for loaning me the LotR sets months before they are available in Europe. Tim is offering Brickset users a 5% discount in his BrickLink store Brick Buy Brick, and will also do so in his new web toy shop, ToyAddict, when it launches in June. Darren is also offering 5% discount on orders under £50 and 10% on orders over £50 from his BrickLink store Gizmocom, until the official release day of the LotR sets. Just mention Brickset in the notes when you check out!
Expect to see a LotR minifig gallery in the next few days...