Before this month, it had been years since Lego had made any sets based off the Lord of the Rings movies. But the iconic brick maker came to us at the turn of the tide with the latest adult collectors set—a recreation of Rivendell from The Fellowship of the Ring as epic as an extended edition trilogy marathon, and just as satisfying.
Lego provided io9 with access to a copy of the new set, and after a few days of furious building—and cursing of 1×1 tile pieces—we’ve got our extensive impressions of what it’s like building one of the biggest sets the company has ever made.
How long does it take to build Lego’s Lord of the Rings Rivendell set?
Whether you’re an experienced builder or a Lord of the Rings fan jumping into Lego for the first time in years, it’s going to take you a while to finish Rivendell. If you’re used to the more complex adult-oriented builds Lego has put out in recent years, you can probably finish in about 16 or so hours of building—if you’re not, expect to spend closer to 24. Spread over a few days, it’s a herculean task either way. Put on the extended editions in the background (you’ll even have time for The Hobbit trilogy, if you want!) and get cracking.
How many minifigures are in Lego’s Lord of the Rings Rivendell set?
Rivendell comes with a hefty 15 minifigures—each member of the Fellowship (Gandalf the Grey, Frodo, Sam, Merry, Pippin, Aragon, Boromir, Legolas, and Gimli), three extra named characters (Elrond, Arwen, and an elderly Bilbo), and three unnamed characters (two Elven attendants, one male and one female, and one unnamed dwarf, meant to represent some of the other dwarven representatives at the council of Elrond). Almost every figure comes with accessories and alternate face prints for different expressions, and both Gandalf and Gimli even have alternate hairpieces to show them with or without their headgear.
That total doesn’t actually include another five and a half minifigures peppered throughout the set—grey figurines representing various statues around Rivendell itself.
Is Lego’s Lord of the Rings Rivendell set difficult to build?
Like most of its recent “adults only” sets, Lego recommends Rivendell to builders aged 18 and up. If you’re not used to Lego’s adult sets, Rivendell features a number of advanced techniques that have become commonplace in its larger sets that could be difficult to wrap your head around—and in general there are lots of steps that require multiple builds of the same repeating element, or clever bits of positioning, to get just right. The instructions as ever are clear enough that nothing is too hard, but the amount of small pieces and intricate steps can make it intimidating, especially in places where it’s difficult to see what you’re actually building towards until it’s finally coming together. If you’re seeking a challenging, satisfying build, you’ll have one in Rivendell.
Is Lego’s Lord of the Rings Rivendell set better for Lego fans or Lord of the Rings fans?
Like I mentioned before, Rivendell is an intimidating set if you don’t have a lot of experience with Lego’s modern collectors-focused sets. But there’s so much detail and so many little Easter eggs throughout the whole thing that even if it takes you a while to get through it, the end product is something that feels like an absolute love letter to the Lord of the Rings films, and that will get you through the more challenging, delicate aspects of putting it together. If you’re a Lego collector with no familiarity with the movies, this is still an incredible building experience, full of smart techniques and pieces of design that can be appreciated even without knowledge of the source material. But considering the price, it’s much harder to recommend even on the strength of that experience if you’re not already a diehard fan of the movies. Speaking of…
How much is Lego’s Lord of the Rings Rivendell set? Is it worth the price?
Lego’s Lord of the Rings Rivendell costs a whopping $500—not the most expensive set in recent memory, but still a big hit to your wallet (once again, for full disclosure, Lego provided io9 with a copy for review). Lego fans’ fabled “price per part” ratio makes it around eight cents per piece, but that’s not really a good way of looking at the value of a set that is, while not in the majority, still filled with a lot of very small pieces. In the end, it’s a gorgeous display piece, and the amount of time you’ll invest in building it is enough that you’ll feel the quality the set commands. Even though the price is at the kind of high point that will give most casual fans pause, there’s enough love and care, and scale in the final build, that it mostly feels worth that tag.
If you’re a diehard fan of the films, this is a must have, and it’ll be around for long enough that you can likely wait a while for sales to knock at least some of the price down to take the edge off of the sticker shock. If you can drop the money for it now though, it’s absolutely one of the best Lego sets you can buy at the minute.
Now, click through to see a breakdown of building the set, and plenty more pictures! Lego’s Lord of the Rings Rivendell set is available to order direct from the company now.