Published on December 3rd, 2014 | by Sharp-O0
Mint in Box: LEGO Hobbit – The Battle of the Five Armies Review
More like the Battle of the Five Dudes, am I right?
As I’ve established before, I know next to nothing about the Hobbit sequels. I enjoyed the first one but have yet to see the second and probably won’t be seeing the upcoming third instalment, the titular Battle of the Five Armies, for quite some time BUT that doesn’t hinder my ability to review LEGO’s offerings for the latest movie!
79017 The Battle of Five Armies is a 472 piece monster of a set, and I was lucky enough to be given one for review so I’ll guide you through the build process and give you my thoughts along the way. Let’s start our adventure with the minifigures, shall we?
Coming in at a whopping 7 minifigures (and one animal), this is easily the most minis I’ve had to talk about outside of a blind bag opening so let’s just dive in with the first bag, which contains Bard, Legolas and two Gundabad Orcs. Bard is different from the previous Hobbit set I reviewed (I had to go back and check) but shares the same head and hair pieces. Legolas features ornate armour printing and both come with bows. The Orcs are identical and are very detailed for standard minis with no extra pieces and both are armed with crude scimitars.
The first bag also includes a giant bird, who I’m reliably informed (more like chastised by my Tolkien-loving friend) is Gwaihir, the king of the Giant Eagles. He’s an impressively large piece but with very little detailing but his wings clip in easily, giving him a massive wingspan.
The second bag rounds out the bunch with Dain Ironfoot, Azog and Thorin Oakenshield. Again, Thorin is different from the previous one I looked at, now donning battle regalia and a golden sword. Can’t help but feel he’s missing a cape just to give him a more kingly feel. Azog is an accurate minifig of his onscreen counterpart, even down to his trademark claw. His unique headpiece gives him some more height but there’s no side-to-side articulation. Finally we have Dain Ironfoot (apparently he’s Thorin’s cousin) and he’s easily my favourite minifig of the bunch. His armour, especially his helmet, are more in line with what I imagine a hardy Dwarven warrior to look like and he even has an awesome two-handed ruby axe weapon. Overall, a very impressive bunch but Dain is a firm favourite.
The main build is made of three portions and we’ll start with the Orc ballista. This is my favourite part of the build and it’s kind of a shame that I had to do this part first. The ballista is chock full of interesting pieces I’ve never used before and the firing mechanism comes together organically. I had to futz with it a little to get the arrows to launch in a decent arc but otherwise a simple but intuitive build. The finished ballista looks really impressive and I really dig the aesthetic of it, despite the rather drab colour scheme.
The Ruins of Dale come in two parts and this one is the bridge. It builds pretty easily, though I admit that I missed up a couple times, especially the base plates and the bridge connection but otherwise a solid little build with an exploding gimmick. I really like the little skull under the staircase that has no real reason for being there, it’s a nice little touch that the designers could have left out but didn’t.
The final third of the overall build is the tower, which is actually a more complex and involved build than I originally thought. There’s all these nooks and crannies that appear because of the choice of building pieces. The tower has three floors, evenly spaced out and with plenty of access to put your minifigs inside as well as featuring an exploding veranda and has some weapon storage (the instructions literally tell you to put the included spear weapon on the floor, that’s just silly). I like the snow on the roof and the rocky base, it gives the tower some much needed character.
Overall, I am very impressed with this set and while I think the title is a tad misleading (but what do I know, this scene probably does happen in the film) it’s still a fantastic set that can provide a healthy build time of around 3-4 hours and many more hours of story-telling potential. The 79017 The Battle of Five Armies set retails for around £59.99 and I definitely think you get a lot of bang for your buck.