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Now that we have them in hand, rather than just pictures, what do people think of the sets? Here is my take:
79018-1: The Lonely Mountain. I just put Smaug together and I am rather pleased with him. He is much more elegant and larger than the dragon from #70403: Dragon Mountain. All the major parts are new molds and the color is dark red. He can be put in many poses and has a lot of attitude. His leatherish wings fold in or extend. I haven't finished the building, but it is shaping up nicely with gold and sand green throughout.
79015: Witch-King Battle is obviously a minifig pack and satisfying. Galadriel's sparkly cape is pretty, I'm very happy the witch king's crown is separate, so I can make more Ringwraiths.
79016: Attack on Lake-town expands the Lake town environment with a pleasant building. The orcs and elves can just be evicted and I'll ignore the bolt-action tower thingee.
79017: The Battle of the Five Armies - I like the dwarves! Dain and Thorin with crown are nice additions to the theme. The catapult is another rendition of *a catapult.* Are there any other weapons in Lego worlds of this era? The building is ok. Nice colors for Dale, but pretty insipid. Azog, again, bleh.
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Recent discussions •
Lego really need to learn a lesson: -
Sell more Lego by setting a reasonable price for your products.
Most AFOLS or savvy shoppers, are only buying at 25% or more discount, from whichever shop/online trader will sell at a reasonable/trade price to get rid of it.
I'm not saying the Lego policy is failing, just that they could sell more Lego and make more profit by selling at more reasonable RRP's.
But the price kills it. I wont be buying any of these until I see some discount.
The only one that comes close to being worth the price is Attack on Lake town.
Although I might end up getting the Witch King battle cause the figures are fantastic and its the cheapest set. It still should have been a couple dollars cheaper though.
As far as Hobbit goes, I've purchased all of the Middle Earth sets at full MSRP, but I'd prefer discounts. Either stores around here haven't received many Middle Earth sets or they have just sold out quickly, so I've never seen any discounts on any of them. By the time I see discounts on amazon, it's much later after I purchased the set.
With that said, I did pick up 2 of the Galadriel set. One for my collection, one for my daughter. I'll pick up the rest eventually, but I doubt I'll build any of them other than Laketown.
It either seems silly they decided to add in some new Orc prints plus new hair since it is the final wave OR they are grasping at straws and hoping that little detail will make people buy more. I don't see it working out for them.
Galadriel's cape and the Witch King's crown in the first set (and a high number of minifigures for the sets size) in the smallest set made it worth while for me.
Lake Town had a number of minifigures, a spring loaded missile launcher, those hair pieces for the orcs (I think those are new...no?) and the general cost to pieces are all reasons for me.
Dain's helm, Thorin's crown and repackaging Azog and the eagle are reasons for some people to have gotten BOTFA, but I just threw money at it to get the whole wave. The tower/bridge is cool, but another catapult is meh...but it does have a new launch mechanism for the Middle Earth sets. Still, I would rather have a new building, or a gate, or house, or an overturned cart...or well, anything.
The play features could be neat, the the build was kind of fun, but the only reason I dropped $150 Canadian on this set was for Smaug. Unique moulds for the wings and body, as well as the head, increase the price a great deal. It's probably still over priced, but the set, overall, is my favourite of the wave.
Superheroes, movie based licenses and Star Wars are always expensive. Unique pieces, the cost of acquiring rights, the time it takes to build a set around something that everyone has an interpretation of makes for more costs. I don't like it, but gas is going up in price, food costs have gone up, the cost of media has gone up...I can't complain about Lego in good conscience.
Next to it on display was the dragon from minecraft and I thought it looked so much better, except for the wings being huge pieces of plastic again that just jump to your eyes somehow as if they don't belong. Fierce flyer from #31004 comes to mind as a comparison, simple and perfect from this point of view.
I know there is a debate about brick-built v solid animals etc, and I don't mind horses and pigs - but maybe its because those are smaller and therefore can better fit in while dragons are huge and it makes a difference?
I never built any, but Ninjago has tonnes of Dragons that I figured could lend some techniques to a wonderful brick built Smaug. I guess that is one of the advantages of Lego is if they don't give it to us, we can just go build it.
I fully expect the price to come down as well. The set has only been out a couple of months and I was already able to pick it for around $80 during a Meijer sale.
Is it just me or is there a distinct lack of availability of these sets? There hasn't been much since their release in October. It's really difficult to get hold of the sets outside of a Lego shop itself meaning you have to pay full price! Have stores cut back on ordering these sets because of the previous flop of the second wave when they went to 50% discount in the UK?! It's going to be hard getting these at discount which is disappointing considering the high price and poor price to parts ratio. It's all about the minifigures I suppose!