Lego has some really cool new stuff at their NYC Toy Fair booth, but I pounced on the new Lord of the Rings sets right away. I was able to record them quickly for your nerdgasmic pleasure.
Here are all the details and my impressions:
9489 Gandalf Arrives
The simplest of all the new Lord of the Rings sets, it has 83 pieces plus Gandalf the Grey and Frodo Baggins. It's a very nice simple set, with lots of detailed fireworks in Gandalf's carriage, which is nicely constructed. It will cost you $13.
9470 Shelob Attacks
My favorite of the small sets—and perhaps my favorite of them all, even while I hate spiders. Shelob is perfectly done, with great technique and awesome detail. The brick studs work well to define her. It's an impressive set, even while it only has 227 pieces. And it includes, Gollum and a fish, apart from Frodo and Samwise, which is completely worth it. The Gollum minifig is superbly done, really cute.
The price is $20, which I'm going to spend gladly, thank you very much.
9471 Uruk-hai Army
The biggest of the small sets is quite good too, and it complements the Battle of Helm's Deep. In fact, I would recommend spending $30 in these 257 pieces, plus four Uruk-hai, Éomer and his horse and a Rohan soldier, just to tie it to Helm's Deep. The tower and the armored hook shooter alone, which is really well done, are worth the price.
9472 Attack on Weathertop
This is the only set that includes the Ringwraiths: two of them and their horses. The horses, like all in the LOTR sets, are very special: it's the first time that Lego has made horses that actually move, rather than being the static horses from their previous castle-oriented sets. They are very well done, and allow for complete integration with the minifigs.
The set itself is the most coherent of all the large sets. The rock texturing and the stairs that go to the Weathertop are particularly well done. It will introduce many people into more complex structuring and texturing techniques. $60 gets you 430 pieces and Aragorn, Frodo, Merry and the two Ringwraiths with horses.
9473 The Mines of Moria
My favorite of the big sets, and not only because it includes the giant cave troll along with Pippin, Boromir, Gimli, Legolas, two Moria orcs and two skeletons. Perhaps it's because this is one of my favorite scenes in the movie, which the set captures well except for the scale. Actually, all these sets seem a bit too small because of the gigantic scale of the virtual sets in the movie.
But this one seems like the most fun in any case. 776 pieces for $80.
9474 The Battle of Helm's Deep
This is the largest of the complex sets, with 1,368 pieces. It comes with eight minifigs, which include Aragorn, Gimli, haldir, King Théoden, Berserker Uruk-hai and three Uruk-hai. It comes with the new horses too.
The castle is good, with nice texture details and plenty of little objects. It's not as big as I wanted, but it has a nice size. I also wish that more of the texture were achieved by the bricks themselves, rather than being painted details on the pieces. I bet someone will use this as the base to create the entire setting at minifig scale. It goes for $130.
I've the feeling that, if these sell well, Lego may surprise us with a giant Balrog and the Bridge of Khazad Dum. I'm crossing my fingers.
There's a lot more awesome stuff, which I will be publishing today in our Lego 2012 page. Check it out often!