27 November 2013

REVIEW: LEGO Hobbit 'Lake-town Chase' #79013

Oo chase me, chase me!

We're all pretty excited here at Test Pit Towers for the forthcoming release of the second in The Hobbit trilogy, The Desolation of Smaug. However our excitement for the film pales in comparison to our excitement at playing with LEGO. Combine the two and our heads would definitely explode. So, when the latest LEGO Hobbit set arrived on our doorstep, our heads appropriately exploded with glee. The film might not yet be out, but that didn't stop us from getting into a Middle Earth sorta groove and running amok through Lake-town; its Lake-town Chase, set #79013.

This is a mid-range LEGO set, weighing in at around 470 pieces. It's a play set (unlike, say, the LEGO Star Wars spaceships) consisting of three main structures and five minfigures. We suppose it represents a part of Lake-town that will be heavily featured in The Desolation of Smaug, and also of a chase that takes place there. Because we haven't yet seen the film (at time of writing the release date is still two weeks away) we can't really comment on weather or not the LEGO designers have accurately reproduced Lake-town in plastic, but we're confident to give them the benefit of the doubt. Those clever Danes are hardly ever wrong.
The three structures to build are a rather fetching boat, a platform with a weapons rack and lifting hatchway, and a two-storey and very pretty house-cum-prison. The boat is built from two smaller LEGO boat pieces and very well put together so as to disguise this fact. It features a tall mast, a barrel and a catapult.

The weapons platform is a fairly simple affair that comes complete with three additional weapons (the minifugures also come with their own), a hatchway that opens with the twist of a knob and also a fish in a barrel. This is a bit strange as when you lift the hatchway the fish falls out; perhaps a feature from the film that we've yet to enjoy.

The two-storey building is an absolute joy to look at and quite a lot of fun to build. It features a pass-through archway, a prison cell that has a special catch to push open the bars (again, another thing from the film maybe – those lucky designers must have seen an advance copy), a catapult on the upper level and some lovely window and roof details. It was by far the most enjoyable part of the whole set to build, and along with the other two elements, took us about an hour to finish.

As for the minifigures, you get five pretty nice ones. As you might've guessed there is a Bilbo Baggins and Thorin Oakenshield (which have both appeared previously) as well as three new figs in the form of Bard the Bowman, a Lake-town Guard and - Stephen Fry himself - the Master of Lake-town. We're very happy with all five figures, especially the Master with his crazy hat and flapping cape. All come with weapon accessories with the exception of the Master who gets a couple of golden keys (which we shall assume are for the prison cell). Bilbo also has his trusty 'One Ring' (or three in the set that we got – nobody tell Sauron) which fits nicely into his hand and really completes the figure.

As this is a play set we can imagine it drawing the interest of younger collectors. Fortunately they won't be disappointed when opening this on Christmas morning as there really is a lot going on here. Apart from the set itself and the play possibilities with the boat, there are enough nice little details (such as the catapults, hatchway and prison cell) to keep little fingers busy for a good long while.

Adult collectors will no doubt be interested in the pieces the set contains and also the minifigures. Plus there is some incredible detail in there that is both a pleasure to build and to look at, especially the gathered sails on the boat and the tiny lanterns hanging from the cell.

We're really excited to see the film now, and of course see what else LEGO will do with The Desolation of Smaug.

It has to be a dragon. Please LEGO, please do us a dragon!


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