My parents are both retired, and like retired persons tend to do, they are doing a lot of small citytrips and the likes. And so it was that earlier this week, they went to the Rhine area in Germany to do some christmas shopping and wine tasting.
Being the sweet, loving son that I am, and also the opportunistic ass, they do their journeys `armed` with a printed copy of my Bricky Wish List and spend half their holidays scavenging through toy stores on the look out for any of my missing Lord of the Rings / The Hobbit sets...
And they found one in a department store in Bonn past tuesday, set 79014, the Dol Guldur Battle. In the movie, this is the sequence where Gandalf discovers the truth behind the increasing dark tidings, and learns that the `Necromancer` that resides there is none other then Sauron returned.
The box came with two instruction booklets, 6 polybags of parts and a sticker sheet, and includes a whole bunch of unique to the set minifigures, like Radagast the Brown and the Necromancer. It also includes another Azog, so those people shelving hard money for the SDCC model two years ago...
The first minifigure we come along is The Necromancer himself, as well as the statue which is rather wanted and often listen as an actual figure due to it`s printed torso and robes.
The first part we start building is the foundation for the statue. This comes with a hidden compartment where in the set the ring is stored.
A small but efficient looking build if you ask me.
The actual building itself is composed of various smaller `building` sections connected to each other, so we start with the first one, where the Necromancer is hiding out.
The decals are really nice for this set.
As we build up in height, we create and decalise the revolving door. You can place the Necromancer behind it if you like, and have him revolve in to make his dramatic appearance.
This section is then wholy closed up, and details are added to that part of the building.
As we proceed to the next part of the ruins, we come along the minifigures of both Ishtarii. Gandalf is one of his unhatted versions, but Radagast is a pure winner. This is such an awesome figure for someone who in essence is only mentioned 3 or 4 times over the course of all the Middle Earth books, but Sylvester McCoy (that`s the 7th The Doctor for you!) portrays him excellently in his more expanded part in the The Hobbit trilogy.
The parts for the building are the hinges to make the ruin able to be placed angled. Two times the same building procedure, these are then attached to the sides of the main building.
Next up is the movies main bad guy, Azog the Defiler.
The building gets expanded now with the main gate section of the ruins.
As we build it up, the play feature of this section is a tumbling trog who drops skeletal heads on those who enter the fortress.
After adding some extra detailing, the section is then connected and the fortress keeps growing.
The final minifigures are the two orc warriors in the set, one with and one without shoulder pads. I kind of like these Gundabad orcs, and I`ll be doing my best over the years to actually expand my minifig collection with regiments of rank and file troops from both movie series for future moc`s, but currently they aren`t on the cheapest of listed figures out there (especially my beloved Rohirrim are darn expensive).
The section they come with is a long unused gangway, see the spider webs. It also comes with a mean trap of a big sword swinging left to right to cut up any who enter.
This goes to the buildings other side of the main gate.
Now the final part of the actual ruins, the tower of the Dol Guldur ruined fortress.
Consisting of two levels and a roof section, again the decals are very good looking on this set.
The top features a small catapult, but this is only lightly connected because as you will see later on, it can be interchanged with another part of the set.
The only thing left now to complete the fortress is to build the central stairways. A mirrored build for the left and right stairway, they are connected to the sides of where the revolving door is.
Now, about that catapult. The set also includes the cage where Gandalf is held, and can be placed instead of the catapult to have him hanging from the tower.
I decided though to let the skeleton stay in the cage and put it on the floor, not on the higher up part.
The set stands completed:
And of course comes with extra parts...
In a way, I find it a bit of a shame that there wasn`t a Thrain minifigure, but since these sets are produced before the film, in this case the second, The Desolation of Smaug, and Thrain was a well guarded secret for the Extended Edition of the movie, I understand. This would have been too much of a spoiler to learn what had happened to Thorin`s father.
I really like the combination of the Dol Guldur sets, the smaller Ambush set btw can connect to the side of the tower, and they are a prime candidate for a display moc soon. Once I got the whole planned Lake-Town display base done, I think I`ll be turning my attention to this series of sets, which will consist of this one, the Ambush set, the Witch King battle set and the small promo polybag with Gandalf.
The big issue for it will be the planning out part though, because if (or better, when) I will be trying my hand at them, I`ve got in my mind the idea to go for a high rockside to put the ruin on in part. Still have a lot to plan out in that respect, and it won`t be for too soonish though... but it will be there eventually ;-)
GCT Studios - New Pre-Order
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