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LEGO Lord of the Rings new set: 10237 The Tower of Orthanc

12346

Comments

  • y2joshy2josh Member Posts: 1,996
    ^Just to be clear, we're talking about Bricklinking the pieces necessary to 'finish' the tower. It seems like what you're talking about is Bricklinking the whole thing from scratch, which would be pretty nonsensical.
    Bumblepantsnkx1
  • richoricho Member Posts: 3,830
    I'll buy it on the basis of a combined love for lego and lotr, but the tower looks a bit fat at the bottom, and the Ent is surprisingly disappointing in my view. I'll certainly be making a few modifications to the face..
    y2josh
  • streekerstreeker FranceMember Posts: 299
    edited April 2013
    Regarding the 'sea of black', please, LEGO, please, make it super easy for the young ones to know the placement of the black elements in the instructions. Please. Even the old bags like me don't want have another headache like the one from building the UCS Batmobile.
  • GoldchainsGoldchains Member Posts: 795
    This set looks extremely cool and I actually like the ent. LEGO! Why must you torment me with these cool sets! First Lone Ranger and now this! You're making it awfully hard to stick to OT SW and Superheroes sets!
  • Gavin83Gavin83 Member Posts: 251
    y2josh said:


    Side note: With Wormtongue's inclusion here, the only minifigs/brickbuilt characters I absolutely WANT to see before the line retires are Eowyn, Faramir, the Witch King (on Fell Beast, preferably) and Durin's Bane.

    I'd be surprised if we see a Faramir figure. He isn't in any scenes that I could realistically see Lego producing as their either minor or wouldn't convert to a lego model easily. I really hope they'll produce an Eowyn 'vs' The Witch King set, possibly with Merry included but we'll see.

    Anyway, I really like the Orthanc set, it's easily my favourite looking LOTR set so far. I would have preferred a non playset but I can see why they took this route. I do think it could do with some adjustments (a back cover, a better built ent, for example) but I guess this gives me some work to do after I've built it.
  • legomattlegomatt Member Posts: 2,543
    edited April 2013
    Faramir not in any Lego-worthy scenes? are you serious? If you just meant TLG won't do them for business reasons - i.e. that they're dropping the theme early, i'd be forced to agree, which is a shame - But there are defo scenes with faramir that could be done, if they wanted to.

    Faramir captures frodo with the ring (his rangers bringing down the southron eliphant - possible set 1, gondor rangers vs southrons & war eliphant)

    He takes frodo to Osgiliath, where the nazgul swoops down (set 2, set amidst ruins), and later the orcs, when mordor begins the attack from across the river (set 3, featuring gothmog and his funny helmeted lieutenant - whom should really have been in the recent ship release, but wasn't because TLG are content with giving us generic orcs).

    He also leads a futile charge of knights under Denethors' crazed orders to retake osgiliath, gandalf the white saves them (stretching perhaps, but gondor knights attacking orc archers in osigiliath ruins would be a nice battle pack type set, or an alternative to getting a gandalf vs nazgul, or add on set for a minas tirith, set 4).

    These are just off the top of my head, but the gondor ranger's defence of Osgiliath is very lego-brickable, and would make for lovely sets if they featured a nazgul, or gothmog, with some nice Battle-Pack options for extra knights, orcs, and more Gondorian ruins.
    andheAndor
  • BumblepantsBumblepants DFW/BGMember Posts: 7,427
    ^All good ideas, would be really cool if they could pull off a convincing oliphant, but given how many Jedi show up in random sets these days just to have an exclusive minifig they could also just toss him into the product line somewhere with no real good reason for him being there.
    y2joshandhe
  • Gavin83Gavin83 Member Posts: 251
    You misunderstand me slightly. I meant that he is in several minor scenes lego wouldn't bother to reproduce and has several big scenes, although I can't see lego attempting these. He certainly has worthy scenes.

    I'm not sure how feasible it would be to create a lego built Oliphant, plus it would potentially be too figure heavy for that price point (they'd need a minimum of 6 really). I'd love to see this set though.

    The Osgiliath scene with the nazgul is probably the most likely to be produced and I didn't really consider this one. It wouldn't necessarily need to feature Faramir though (the Nazgul and Frodo, plus some sort of building would do) although if they wanted to put him in a set this one makes sense.

    The other potential set would be Gollums entry into the forbidden pool, complete with a small cliff and pond, plus Gollum, Faramir, Frodo and an archer or two.

    We'll see. Lego may well decide he needs to turn up somewhere.
  • legomattlegomatt Member Posts: 2,543
    edited April 2013
    @Gavin83
    Thanks for clarifying. I realised my 'alternate-reading' of your post too late to fully edit my post (tried to in the opening paragraph but got timed out).
    I hope it didn't come across as biting, i was trying to express surprise at the idea a semi-important character being left out but i don't think it came across properly.
    Sorry about that.

    I totally agree there's probably a lot of scenes that would make gorgeous sets, that TLG will most likely not even consider for one mysterious/unfathomable reason or another... the decision to not make battlepacks for a trilogy of films featuring wall-to-wall epic battles is one prime example of their utterly befuddling approach to this theme.

    :o)
    Andor
  • cloaked7cloaked7 Member Posts: 1,448
    edited April 2013
    legomatt said:

    the decision to not make battlepacks for a trilogy of films featuring wall-to-wall epic battles is one prime example of their utterly befuddling approach to this theme

    I totally agree. And, others have posted likewise. LOTR Battle Packs seem like a no-brainer to many, err... except by those that count - LEGO. As you mentioned, it appears so in your face obvious given the many HUGE battles in LOTR. I think they would sell extremely well.

    It is as if Battle Packs are only allowed for the SW theme. Are there BP's for any other themes?

    Andor
  • HELLRAZR_28HELLRAZR_28 Member Posts: 61
    Lone Ranger's Cavalry Set kind of counts.
  • alexwilalexwil UKMember Posts: 376
    cloaked7 said:

    legomatt said:

    the decision to not make battlepacks for a trilogy of films featuring wall-to-wall epic battles is one prime example of their utterly befuddling approach to this theme

    I totally agree. And, others have posted likewise. LOTR Battle Packs seem like a no-brainer to many, err... except by those that count - LEGO. As you mentioned, it appears so in your face obvious given the many HUGE battles in LOTR. I think they would sell extremely well.

    It is as if Battle Packs are only allowed for the SW theme. Are there BP's for any other themes?

    Pirates of the Caribbean had one, pharohs quest I think had one, castle theme has had some and even the city theme has had some!! There may be other themes with battle packs but these are the ones that came to mind!!
  • graphitegraphite USMember Posts: 3,274
    ^ and ^^ The Lone Ranger Calvary set is close to a battle pack except for the fact that it has the Lone Ranger in it. Same goes for the PotC "captains cabin" set. Plus the "pirates" in that set are actually characters not generic pirates. The SW battle packs are "battle packs" because they purely have army building characters in them. I can't think of any other theme that has had a ~$10 set with no main/named characters in it.
  • Bosstone100Bosstone100 USAMember Posts: 1,431
    This set would be good for adding on to the Bat Cave or Arkham Asylum... and then giving my brother the minifigs for Xmas.
  • ColoradoBricksColoradoBricks Denver, CO, USAMember Posts: 1,659
    recently #852922 and #852921 were great battle pack for castles and #853301 for AC.. a bit more pricey, but chess games are also great BP ;-)
  • cloaked7cloaked7 Member Posts: 1,448
    ^ Excellent. Those are definitely BP's. Also found #852272-1 #852701-1. Then I searched on this site using 'Battle Pack'. (Doh! Why did I not do that at the start?) :-) Looks like there are 7, or so, non-SW PB's.

    The Uruk-Hai #9471 is extremely close to a BP, but it isn't called a BP and has Eomer.
  • AanchirAanchir United StatesMember Posts: 2,989
    y2josh said:

    DadsAFOL said:

    To everyone that questions the open back - compare it to the Death Star. Maybe Lego finally realized that the best selling large sets include lots of playability. Maybe Orthanc will be the next set that has a 5+ year run? My guess is that this set will be a home run with TFOLs.

    This is an interesting comparison, because there's a pretty striking dichotomy between the LotR sets and the Star Wars sets, and I think that's particular evident here.

    Disregarding battle packs, there's no Star Wars set I can think of where I feel compelled to buy a second one just so it looks like a full set, whereas, with LotR, there are very few of the $40+ sets that actually DO look like complete sets (Weathertop being the exception).

    At first I thought this was just severe mis-marketing on TLG's part (marketing an AFOL-centric line to kids), but with the reveal of Orthanc, I feel it may be a more intentional move to strike some sort of balance between the two crowds - where kids can have something generic to play around with, and AFOLs can buy two or three of each set if they really want them to be more 'epic' in nature.

    This is all conjecture on my part, obviously, but that's the only way releasing a nearly $300 half-set makes sense to me. And of course, I'm not sure whether or not that's tolerable on Orthanc's part, as it will likely be difficult to obtain at the 40%+ discounts most of the rest of the line has been available at. Time will tell, I suppose.

    On the plus-side, by requiring two to 'complete' the tower, I'll wind up with two ents, which I could realistically use twenty-ish of... so there's that.
    I think there's another, more obvious explanation to why Star Wars sets don't necessarily demand a second purchase. In Star Wars, the scenes of most impressive scale are almost always vehicle-based space battles. It's very easy to complete a spaceship or other vehicle on all sides-- in fact, it's practically essential. Army-building vehicles, on the other hand, is not even feasible for any but the most dedicated of army builders. It's just too expensive.

    In Lord of the Rings, vehicles have minor importance. The scenes with the greatest sense of scale are almost always defined by the landscape of the setting and the massive numbers of footsoldiers. Helm's Deep, the Black Gate, Moria… even getting away from battles, the Gates of Argonath and many other examples are immense in their scale. And this is hard to capture in sets. Thus, most Lord of the Rings sets include a few distinctive landmarks and just enough landscape detail to establish atmosphere. A complete setting would hardly be cost-effective, particularly for settings like Moria that are supposed to be fully enclosed.

    Now, personally, although I don't collect LotR sets, I think most of the sets do a fantastic job of depicting their scenes within a reasonable budget. Then again, I feel about the same way about some of the location-based Star Wars sets, which are frequently decried as sub-par. The Rancor Pit is too small! Echo Base doesn't have enough of its rooms properly enclosed, and lacks the proper cavernous atmosphere! Jabba's Palace is basically just one room! Etcetera, etcetera. It's a marvel people are even surprised at how rarely TLG attempts location-based sets what with the absurdly high expectations people tend to have of these models.
    CCC
  • cloaked7cloaked7 Member Posts: 1,448
    ^ Excellent point. You see this in a lot of the larger Super Hero sets. They depict a movie scene. Not the whole scene, but do capture the essence.
  • y2joshy2josh Member Posts: 1,996
    Aanchir said:

    y2josh said:

    DadsAFOL said:

    To everyone that questions the open back - compare it to the Death Star. Maybe Lego finally realized that the best selling large sets include lots of playability. Maybe Orthanc will be the next set that has a 5+ year run? My guess is that this set will be a home run with TFOLs.

    This is an interesting comparison, because there's a pretty striking dichotomy between the LotR sets and the Star Wars sets, and I think that's particular evident here.

    Disregarding battle packs, there's no Star Wars set I can think of where I feel compelled to buy a second one just so it looks like a full set, whereas, with LotR, there are very few of the $40+ sets that actually DO look like complete sets (Weathertop being the exception).

    At first I thought this was just severe mis-marketing on TLG's part (marketing an AFOL-centric line to kids), but with the reveal of Orthanc, I feel it may be a more intentional move to strike some sort of balance between the two crowds - where kids can have something generic to play around with, and AFOLs can buy two or three of each set if they really want them to be more 'epic' in nature.

    This is all conjecture on my part, obviously, but that's the only way releasing a nearly $300 half-set makes sense to me. And of course, I'm not sure whether or not that's tolerable on Orthanc's part, as it will likely be difficult to obtain at the 40%+ discounts most of the rest of the line has been available at. Time will tell, I suppose.

    On the plus-side, by requiring two to 'complete' the tower, I'll wind up with two ents, which I could realistically use twenty-ish of... so there's that.
    I think there's another, more obvious explanation to why Star Wars sets don't necessarily demand a second purchase. In Star Wars, the scenes of most impressive scale are almost always vehicle-based space battles. It's very easy to complete a spaceship or other vehicle on all sides-- in fact, it's practically essential. Army-building vehicles, on the other hand, is not even feasible for any but the most dedicated of army builders. It's just too expensive.

    In Lord of the Rings, vehicles have minor importance. The scenes with the greatest sense of scale are almost always defined by the landscape of the setting and the massive numbers of footsoldiers. Helm's Deep, the Black Gate, Moria… even getting away from battles, the Gates of Argonath and many other examples are immense in their scale. And this is hard to capture in sets. Thus, most Lord of the Rings sets include a few distinctive landmarks and just enough landscape detail to establish atmosphere. A complete setting would hardly be cost-effective, particularly for settings like Moria that are supposed to be fully enclosed.

    Now, personally, although I don't collect LotR sets, I think most of the sets do a fantastic job of depicting their scenes within a reasonable budget. Then again, I feel about the same way about some of the location-based Star Wars sets, which are frequently decried as sub-par. The Rancor Pit is too small! Echo Base doesn't have enough of its rooms properly enclosed, and lacks the proper cavernous atmosphere! Jabba's Palace is basically just one room! Etcetera, etcetera. It's a marvel people are even surprised at how rarely TLG attempts location-based sets what with the absurdly high expectations people tend to have of these models.
    I agree with you for the most part, but if we take a look at Jabba's Palace versus Helm's Deep... and I'm going to disregard price or value here... Helm's Deep looks like they started designing a set and didn't bother to finish it, whereas Jabba's Palace at least looks like they got all the way through the design. Same thing with Orthanc versus the Death Star. Even the much-maligned Echo Base and Home One sets felt like they were full sets... and I just don't get that feeling from any of the larger LotR sets except for Weathertop. I mean... Helm's Deep is essentially a $130 wall with a really poor half-keep floating behind it.

    Now, I'm obviously not a professional designer, but there has to be a better way to do a lot of these sets outside of 'these four pieces of scenery randomly float around into a vague representation of "location x."' To me, it still seems like they're deliberately trying to strike a balance between KFOL and AFOL... I'm just not sure how many people are going to want to pony up for two Orthancs.
  • legomattlegomatt Member Posts: 2,543
    edited April 2013
    ^ I'm not even contemplating buying one Orthanc... and i'm a lotr fan.
    I know i'm going against general consensus here, but I actually think this set is a bit of a misfire. I imagine it was originally more of a pet-project for the designer, when he/she saw the films, but i don't think it's an astute choice to release at this scale and price. Hope i'm wrong and it flies off the shelf for the good of the theme, but I just don't see this moving much at all.

    Reasons are two-fold: Firstly £170 on an open-backed tower (where hardly anything actually happens inside it, in any of the films). It doesn't know whether to be a play set or display piece. A UCS should be complete out of the box. I mean, we have hinges TLG, is it really getting too much to ask when spending £170 on a set, for them to finish off that one edge with hinges, instead of asking us to spend another fortune on extra parts. For this price, i expect a finished item.

    And the stickers! There's oodles of them. Just about any bit of decoration in this set to give it character (and break up the black-on-black) is derived from a giant sticker. Bleargh!

    Secondly, I'm not sure a giant tower of black bricks as a show-piece build that will dominate the room, (same reason i don't have a giant grey spearhead SSD) is really that attractive. Of course, plenty of people love it, and good for them, but personally, i think a smaller, cheaper, system-style tower for the kids would've worked better here, as it's mostly just a backdrop for a battle-scene, where the ents fight saruman's orcs, and break the dam, etc.

    They might have been better served had they done the top half as a set (that kids might buy), and made the lower/basement sections as optional add-on set(s) for those who wanted to extend the tower upward into a more dominating scale.

    Minas Tirith, Rivendell (waterfalls, bridges, etc), or Prancing Pony, on the other hand would all have made for a much more mass-market appeal display worthy UCS to get the LOTR theme off to a flying start, and would've not only looked wonderful, but appealed to non-lotr builders too, being that they are a mighty seven-tiered keep, a picturesque woodland/waterfall architectural marvel, and a medieval style inn. A black tower is a black tower, and doesn't even come with much in the way of figs to re-enact anything of significant consequence.

    Had they given the siege of Minas Tirith the 'Death Star' treatment, however, we'd be talking a completely different scenario (replete with gondor knights, siege catapults, Grond, armoured trolls, Mumaks, Denethor, the dead tree, gandalf vs nazgul on the battlement, the beacon, etc). That's a set we'd happily pay a few hundred for and would be deserving nothing less than full on UCS treatment.

  • samiam391samiam391 A log cabin in PA, United StatesMember Posts: 4,441
    legomatt said:

    ^ I'm not even contemplating buying one Orthanc... and i'm a lotr fan.
    I know i'm going against general consensus here, but I actually think this set is a bit of a misfire. I imagine it was originally more of a pet-project for the designer, when he/she saw the films, but i don't think it's an astute choice to release at this scale and price. Hope i'm wrong and it flies off the shelf for the good of the theme, but I just don't see this moving much at all.

    Reasons are two-fold: Firstly £170 on an open-backed tower (where hardly anything actually happens inside it, in any of the films). It doesn't know whether to be a play set or display piece. A UCS should be complete out of the box. I mean, we have hinges TLG, is it really getting too much to ask when spending £170 on a set, for them to finish off that one edge with hinges, instead of asking us to spend another fortune on extra parts. For this price, i expect a finished item.

    And the stickers! There's oodles of them. Just about any bit of decoration in this set to give it character (and break up the black-on-black) is derived from a giant sticker. Bleargh!

    Secondly, I'm not sure a giant tower of black bricks as a show-piece build that will dominate the room, (same reason i don't have a giant grey spearhead SSD) is really that attractive. Of course, plenty of people love it, and good for them, but personally, i think a smaller, cheaper, system-style tower for the kids would've worked better here, as it's mostly just a backdrop for a battle-scene, where the ents fight saruman's orcs, and break the dam, etc.

    They might have been better served had they done the top half as a set (that kids might buy), and made the lower/basement sections as optional add-on set(s) for those who wanted to extend the tower upward into a more dominating scale.

    Minas Tirith, Rivendell (waterfalls, bridges, etc), or Prancing Pony, on the other hand would all have made for a much more mass-market appeal display worthy UCS to get the LOTR theme off to a flying start, and would've not only looked wonderful, but appealed to non-lotr builders too, being that they are a mighty seven-tiered keep, a picturesque woodland/waterfall architectural marvel, and a medieval style inn. A black tower is a black tower, and doesn't even come with much in the way of figs to re-enact anything of significant consequence.

    Had they given the siege of Minas Tirith the 'Death Star' treatment, however, we'd be talking a completely different scenario (replete with gondor knights, siege catapults, Grond, armoured trolls, Mumaks, Denethor, the dead tree, gandalf vs nazgul on the battlement, the beacon, etc). That's a set we'd happily pay a few hundred for and would be deserving nothing less than full on UCS treatment.

    I'd agree with a lot of your argument Matt, however you have to realize that this is not a UCS set. When sculpting such as Orthnac, I wish it was UCS too, however UCS seems to be reserved alone for the Star Wars line.

    LEGO has to make sure they create a product that is both marketable to children and try and tie in adults as well. If they made this set exclusively for adults, and didn't have any play features, I'd imagine it wouldn't sell as well.

    I think with this set that they've managed to tie in both play ability while also drawing AFOLs in with a unique and capturing build/look. It's a fine line to attempt to balance on, but for once I think TLG has done it remarkably. As opposed to the Death Star, if someone really wants to make the set a UCS and get rid of the play ability, then they can for a reasonable price. However, if they want to keep it open and the play features accessible, they can.

    In this case, I'm honestly not going to mind the open back. My first instinct was BLAH! when I saw it with the open back. However, I've begun to adjust and appreciate what TLG has managed to do with the set.

    While it isn't perfect, it's a nice set. TLG will never be able to create the perfect balance, but I believe they've done a decently fair job here and I'm happy with the product.

    Besides, it is LEGO. If you don't like it, customize it! Sets aren't meant to be 100% built off instructions. That's the wonder of our little brick. If we don't like something, we can change it. How often in other things in life can we do that? I believe that customization is one of the main reasons that so many people love the little plastic brick. We can truly have it our way.
  • legomattlegomatt Member Posts: 2,543
    @samiam391

    Oops!

    Ignore all my references to it being a UCS set (totally forgot this is a specific star wars term). What I meant with the phrase was to describe the 'premium priceyness' of it being a 'showpiece set', not as a an actual definition of play features vs authentic recreation that ucs sets have. I mixed 101XX up with ucs (those are the big ones right? Or has that changed too).

    Gah! Don't you hate it when a silly technicality/terminology slip distracts the whole conversation away from the actual points you're making. Blast!

    Okay, Not UCS, but the nearest premium/showpiece equivalent (like haunted house) that a theme might get.

    ugh. :o)




  • binaryeyebinaryeye USMember Posts: 1,789
    legomatt said:

    Okay, Not UCS, but the nearest premium/showpiece equivalent (like haunted house) that a theme might get.

    It's an exclusive. UCS sets are a subset of exclusive sets. And, anyway, it seems use of the term UCS has been discontinued by LEGO.
  • cloaked7cloaked7 Member Posts: 1,448
    "I mean, we have hinges TLG, is it really getting too much to ask when spending £170 on a set, for them to finish off that one edge with hinges, instead of asking us to spend another fortune on extra parts. For this price, i expect a finished item."

    Excellent point. Yeah, I had the same thought. A great example is the Haunted House.

    But, I'll still buy the set, and maybe 2. I think if a person buys a 2nd set as soon as it is released they would recoup a good bit of the cost by selling the minifigs.
  • legomattlegomatt Member Posts: 2,543
    edited April 2013
    *official parliament voice*
    I refer the honourable bricksetter to the answer i gave a moment ago...
    legomatt said:


    Ignore all my references to it being a UCS set... Gah! Don't you hate it when a silly technicality/terminology slip distracts the whole conversation away from the actual points you're making. Blast!

    Yes, exclusive, whatever the big sets are called. It's not important.

    Is this starting to feel like its a scene from 'life of brian' to anyone... Not important? he's making it up!.


    LOL
    :oD

  • cloaked7cloaked7 Member Posts: 1,448
    edited April 2013
    Oh No!!!!! We're off on a Monty Python tangent. Next thing we'll be talking about the air speed velocity of swallows or mere flesh wounds! :-)

    And No. I don't have anything against swallows. They're beautiful birds. Especially with coconuts!
  • legomattlegomatt Member Posts: 2,543
    ^my apologies :oD

    original response was intended for the binaryeye post, of course, @cloaked7 sneaked in when i wasn't looking.... must have been cloaked or something... ;o)
  • cloaked7cloaked7 Member Posts: 1,448
    ^ I think it was cloaked swallows, now that you mention it. :-)
  • y2joshy2josh Member Posts: 1,996
    cloaked7 said:

    But, I'll still buy the set, and maybe 2. I think if a person buys a 2nd set as soon as it is released they would recoup a good bit of the cost by selling the minifigs.

    Just out of curiosity... why do you think that? Saruman is in a $12 set, everyone has 1000 Gandalfs already... people will likely want to keep the extra Uruk-hai and eagle (or at least I will), and I just can't imagine the pit master and Wormtongue being valuable enough - even right out of the gates - to impact the cost of a second set that much at all.
  • BrickarmorBrickarmor USAMember Posts: 1,258
    edited April 2013
    ^Exactly why the part-outer in me grooooooaned when I finally saw the minifigs. Even the 9 that come with the Pirate Ship are distributed (a little) better.
  • cloaked7cloaked7 Member Posts: 1,448
    'why do you think that?'

    Got me there. Intuition? Lucky guess? Trying to justify my actions?

    Most likely because I didn't give it much thought. :-) True, the Gandalf won't go for much. But, I think Wormtongue and Sauman (may go for $20 early) may get a good price out of gate. Time will tell. And, I would sell the 2nd eagle. The eagle may sell for the most of all. And, probably the instruction books. That is if the only reason to have the 2nd set is to enlarge the 1st set. On a good day you may offset the cost by $60-75 by selling all the items I mentioned. Shoot I may even sell the Uruk-hai. I have a bunch of them.
    LadyLovesLegos
  • AanchirAanchir United StatesMember Posts: 2,989
    edited April 2013
    y2josh said:

    Aanchir said:

    y2josh said:

    DadsAFOL said:

    To everyone that questions the open back - compare it to the Death Star. Maybe Lego finally realized that the best selling large sets include lots of playability. Maybe Orthanc will be the next set that has a 5+ year run? My guess is that this set will be a home run with TFOLs.

    This is an interesting comparison, because there's a pretty striking dichotomy between the LotR sets and the Star Wars sets, and I think that's particular evident here.

    Disregarding battle packs, there's no Star Wars set I can think of where I feel compelled to buy a second one just so it looks like a full set, whereas, with LotR, there are very few of the $40+ sets that actually DO look like complete sets (Weathertop being the exception).

    At first I thought this was just severe mis-marketing on TLG's part (marketing an AFOL-centric line to kids), but with the reveal of Orthanc, I feel it may be a more intentional move to strike some sort of balance between the two crowds - where kids can have something generic to play around with, and AFOLs can buy two or three of each set if they really want them to be more 'epic' in nature.

    This is all conjecture on my part, obviously, but that's the only way releasing a nearly $300 half-set makes sense to me. And of course, I'm not sure whether or not that's tolerable on Orthanc's part, as it will likely be difficult to obtain at the 40%+ discounts most of the rest of the line has been available at. Time will tell, I suppose.

    On the plus-side, by requiring two to 'complete' the tower, I'll wind up with two ents, which I could realistically use twenty-ish of... so there's that.
    I think there's another, more obvious explanation to why Star Wars sets don't necessarily demand a second purchase. In Star Wars, the scenes of most impressive scale are almost always vehicle-based space battles. It's very easy to complete a spaceship or other vehicle on all sides-- in fact, it's practically essential. Army-building vehicles, on the other hand, is not even feasible for any but the most dedicated of army builders. It's just too expensive.

    In Lord of the Rings, vehicles have minor importance. The scenes with the greatest sense of scale are almost always defined by the landscape of the setting and the massive numbers of footsoldiers. Helm's Deep, the Black Gate, Moria… even getting away from battles, the Gates of Argonath and many other examples are immense in their scale. And this is hard to capture in sets. Thus, most Lord of the Rings sets include a few distinctive landmarks and just enough landscape detail to establish atmosphere. A complete setting would hardly be cost-effective, particularly for settings like Moria that are supposed to be fully enclosed.

    Now, personally, although I don't collect LotR sets, I think most of the sets do a fantastic job of depicting their scenes within a reasonable budget. Then again, I feel about the same way about some of the location-based Star Wars sets, which are frequently decried as sub-par. The Rancor Pit is too small! Echo Base doesn't have enough of its rooms properly enclosed, and lacks the proper cavernous atmosphere! Jabba's Palace is basically just one room! Etcetera, etcetera. It's a marvel people are even surprised at how rarely TLG attempts location-based sets what with the absurdly high expectations people tend to have of these models.
    I agree with you for the most part, but if we take a look at Jabba's Palace versus Helm's Deep... and I'm going to disregard price or value here... Helm's Deep looks like they started designing a set and didn't bother to finish it, whereas Jabba's Palace at least looks like they got all the way through the design. Same thing with Orthanc versus the Death Star. Even the much-maligned Echo Base and Home One sets felt like they were full sets... and I just don't get that feeling from any of the larger LotR sets except for Weathertop. I mean... Helm's Deep is essentially a $130 wall with a really poor half-keep floating behind it.

    Now, I'm obviously not a professional designer, but there has to be a better way to do a lot of these sets outside of 'these four pieces of scenery randomly float around into a vague representation of "location x."' To me, it still seems like they're deliberately trying to strike a balance between KFOL and AFOL... I'm just not sure how many people are going to want to pony up for two Orthancs.
    Personally, I think Helm's Deep looks plenty finished. Like Jabba's Palace, it's got a detailed interior and a detailed exterior. I'm not sure what else you could ask for besides a solid base holding the whole thing together or a fully-enclosed structure, and both of those things are left off for practical reasons since they'd just be raising the cost for the sake of reduced playability. It's one of the most unique LEGO castle designs ever to appear in sets, and I think it does a great job depicting the setting at minifigure scale and at a reasonable price point (even using some techniques, like the stylish arrowslits, which have never previously appeared in sets).

    KFOL and AFOL interests are not necessarily at odds with one another. I'm an AFOL and some of my favorite themes are Ninjago and Hero Factory, both of which a lot of AFOLs were perfectly ready to dismiss as childish schlock as soon as they were announced (and which many AFOLs would probably dismiss in a heartbeat even today). If an AFOL thinks that the only proper representation of a scene is a detailed, properly-scaled, fully integrated diorama, then their problem isn't that they're an adult, but rather that they're out-of-touch with the realities of LEGO set design. Generally, any LEGO set that is not meant purely as a display piece should have some modicum of playability. And I think the Lord of the Rings sets have done a good job with that, giving fans of all ages not only familiar, distinctive landmarks from the series but depictions of those landmarks that enable them to act out some of the most memorable scenes there.

    It is certainly possible to incorporate more solid foundations or more enclosed spaces in a LEGO model, but at a certain point it just becomes expensive space-filler. The trait I find common to sets AFOLs embrace is that they are well-rounded, featuring an appropriate balance of play value and detail, and that's something that I think the LotR sets have in spades.
    dougtsCrownieicey117Andor
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 20,473
    Surely you'd be better off buying black bricks to enclose it rather than going for a second. A dozen hinges and a bit of modding, you could have a "door" for each level to hide it away.

    That said, I like the open structure. It is like DS in that you can see the vignettes.
  • kezkez United KingdomMember Posts: 831
    Is anyone else going to buy the tower of Orthanc set aswell as the wizard battle, I might because of the sauron eye piece (probably a silly thing for me to do though) :-)
  • mdellemanmdelleman Vancouver CanadaMember Posts: 274
    ^ I will buy both just so that I have the complete collection.
    kylejohnson11kezcardgenius
  • GIR3691GIR3691 Member Posts: 674
    This should have been a $60-100 set. I can't see this selling well.
  • burnsiderburnsider Member Posts: 75
    edited May 2013
    ^ 2000+ pieces for $60? That's hard to find on Craigslist.
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,404
    burnsider said:

    ^ 2000+ pieces for $60? That's hard to find on Craigslist.

    I think he/she more meant that it should have been scaled down to 600 pieces for $60.
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 20,473
    GIR3691 said:

    This should have been a $60-100 set. I can't see this selling well.

    Would a very small tower sell well though? Everyone would be saying it should be bigger / more detailed.
    andhe
  • legomattlegomatt Member Posts: 2,543
    edited May 2013
    Personally, i never pay any attention to piece count, and work to my own internal 'what am i actually getting' instinctive guide.

    I usually work around a few quid per fig (up some, down some, depending on exclusiveness/personal bias, averages a few quid though), around a fiver to a tenner per building section/vehicle (depending on overall size/ features/ personal interest), under a fiver for incidental 'add on' sections/smaller vehicles.

    That usually gives me a happy zone, and for the past 5+ years has been spot on as far as value for me goes... it also produces a rather interesting by-product as to the (all relative) 'gouge factor' on the RRP difference, which is often surprisingly informative.

    The point is, TLG know all too well that lots of people see 'pieces = value', and so often manipulate that count with an extraordinary amount of small bits and fiddly mini-builds where larger pieces and simpler designs would've made much more sense... There's often in any set a number of places in the instructions where I go 'aaah, there it is, the piece-count boost segment'.

    Anyway, sorry about that OT tangent. Let's get back to the main point of discussion: the Air-speed velocity of unladen swallows.

    RomanticWarrior
  • GIR3691GIR3691 Member Posts: 674


    I think he more meant that it should have been scaled down to 600 pieces for $60.

    Yep.

  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 20,473
    At $60 it would be pretty much the same as the black gate #79007. In fact, you could probably take that set and turn the wall part into another storey for the "tower" end and that would be what you get for Orthanc. It wouldn't look very impressive.
    cardgeniusAndor
  • PaperballparkPaperballpark Near ManchesterMember Posts: 4,244
    legomatt said:

    Anyway, sorry about that OT tangent. Let's get back to the main point of discussion: the Air-speed velocity of unladen swallows.

    Is that African or European swallows?
  • cloaked7cloaked7 Member Posts: 1,448
    he he, the tangents are some of the most interesting tidbits in this forum. I thought we were talking about mere flesh wounds. :-)

    Cost per piece. Don't some people weigh the plastic and come up with a cost/weight? I'm sure LEGO does. Also, I'm sure they have a cost per part made up of the material cost, labor cost, overhead cost.
  • The_MackThe_Mack Member Posts: 239
    edited May 2013
    ...
  • LegofanscottLegofanscott Member Posts: 622
    Just thought id point out that Orthanc is now up on [email protected] just incase anyone wants to have a look out of curiosity :)

  • legomattlegomatt Member Posts: 2,543
    ^ But be careful, those seeing stones are not all accounted for!

    (see what i did there?)
    :o)
    Andor
  • icey117icey117 DenmarkMember Posts: 510
    Did you see these pictures?
    www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10151428549453403.1073741831.6665038402
    JAWSkez
  • PoochyPoochy USAMember Posts: 479
    ^ Thanks, those looks good.

    icey117
  • legoprodslegoprods SpainMember Posts: 445
    And there you go. Listed in Shop at Home for VIP's with early access. Plus an extra LoTR poster.
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