Friday, January 16th, 2015 at 5:31pm by Andrew, BZPower News Manager
One of the biggest movies from the end of last year, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies brought with it a series of tie-in sets. Since the movie is still going strong, we though we'd take an opportunity to review some for you. Today I look at 79016 Attack on Lake-town, one of the smaller sets from this wave. Will it stay afloat when you play with it, or is it doomed to sink to the back of store shelves? Read on to find out!
From the design of the box to the instruction manual, these are the first things you see before building the set.
One of the first things you notice when you look at the box is how shiny it is. This seems to be common among the licensed themes and helps them stand out on store shelves I suppose. The front of the box clearly shows the Lake-town structure that makes up the majority of the set with some of the play features in use. In addition to the usual information like suggested age range and piece count, we also get an image showing the five minifigs included in the set. The back goes and highlights each individual play feature, and you can see this set is packed with them. It definitely helps to show off all the value packed into this set.
Half the fun is had building the set. How fun is it to build and how easy or challenging is it?
I enjoyed putting this set together. With 313 pieces it's not going to take forever, but parts such as the doorway, the exploding wall, and the bell tower feature some interesting building techniques. Much of the rest of the build is studs-up and rather straightforward. At least it means the time between you buying and playing this the set is pretty short!
Now that the set is complete, we can critique how it looks from every angle. New or interesting pieces can also be examined here.
There aren't too many standout pieces in this set. A lot of brown is present, along with some dark green and the usual greys. Some pieces that caught my eye were the window frame in dark green, a black Bohrok eye, and a brown inverted roof brick. Additionally, the black missile for the new 1x4 launcher is exclusive to this set, as is the 1x1x3 brick in dark brown. The string isn't as common as you'd think, only appearing in a couple sets. Overall it's a nice variety, but there's nothing here that will jump out at you.
The final set is nice and self-contained. For better or worse, the two structures can't be separated, like you often see on these types of sets. I feel it captures to look of Lake-town from the movie very well. Obviously there's a lot of wood, but that makes the dark red and green stand out quite nicely. There's lots of nice details, like the railing, bell, and the lamp. I also like the details on the door and its SNOT construction, as well as the snow here and there to capture the cold, wintery feel (not that we need that on the East Coast right now). The blue plates certainly evoke the water and let you know that these buildings are, in fact, floating. Overall, I think it's a nice design that gets the job done and uses just about every part well.
The set also comes with a boat. It's pretty lackluster, consisting of only about seven pieces, but this is Lake-town, and as you see in the movie, there should be boats everywhere. I'd rather have one small boat than no boats I suppose.
First up on the minifig front, we get two Orc hunters. They are, in these specific configurations, unique to this set, but I believe that's mainly because of the mohawk hairpiece that they have. There's no alternate face, but of course we get front and back body printing, as well as printing on the legs. I think they work well and look suitably mean.
Next up we have Bard the Bowman and Bain son of Bard. Bain is exclusive to this set, and this version of Bard is only available here, although he shows up in two other sets. Honestly Bain is a pretty forgettable character and I can't remember what he looks like in the movie, but Bard is spot on. I love both of their torso prints, which could probably fit well into the Winter Village sub-theme or other wintery MOCs. They both have alternate faces with bruises and some grey stuff on them. In the video I wasn't sure what it was and I still don't feel confident, but perhaps it's supposed to be soot from when the town is on fire. I would have expected it to be blacker but it works. They're both pretty great figs.
Last but not least is Tauriel, making her second appearance in a set. She looks suitably elvish and has a nice print on the front and back of her torso as well as her legs. It's definitely reminiscent of the outfit seen in the movie. Her face is double-sided, with one side being angry and the other being nonplussed aka elvish.
The other half of the fun is in playing with the set. How well does the set function and is it enjoyable to play with?
For a $30 set, I feel like this is packed with play features. There's simple things like the hoist with a barrel and the bell in the tower that are nice details. But there are also some more advanced things. Underneath the hoist on the back is a black Bohrok eye. When you push it, the ladder and part of the wall pop off, sending the Orc that was climbing up into the water. Next, when you open the unassuming front door a container with what I assume are hot embers falls down, dropping them on the intruder. Finally, you've got the ballista that tilts up and down and contains one of the new spring loaded shooters to take out the Orcs (or, as in the movie, Smaug).
Speaking of the movie, let's talk about how this fits into it. WARNING: Spoilers Ahead! The set is branded as part of the Battle of the Five Armies line, which is the third movie in the Hobbit trilogy. The problem is that the movie begins with the orcs running away from Lake-town after having been defeated in the second movie. Tauriel leaves shortly thereafter, making it unclear why they would be included in the set. In fact, the only attack on Lake-town in the third movie is when Smaug attacks and destroys it, in which Bard and Bain play a key role, so their inclusion makes sense. That would explain the crossbow in the bell tower as well, since they're part of that scene in the movie too. I think then that this set is supposed to represent a combination of Smaug's attack (even though he's not in the set), and the orc raid from the second movie, where Tauriel does indeed play a role in the skirmish. I suppose I can accept this, although it does make me wish Smaug was included, although that would have obviously jacked the price up. I have no problem with this, if that's the case, it's just a bit confusing.
Once it's all said and done, how does the set stack up? Should I get it?
What's to like?
- Nice overall design
- A ton of play features
- Good value
- Useful pieces
- Unique minifigures
What's not to like?
- Boat is pretty pathetic
- How it's supposed to fit into the movies is unclear
- No Smaug to attack?
I definitely like this set. It fits some well-designed buildings and cool play features into a $30 package with over three hundred pieces. It includes some great minifigs, all of which are exclusive to the set. Considering some of the characters and the location play a pivotal role in the movie, it's not a bad set to add to your collection if you're a Tolkien fan.
Thanks as always for reading and watching this review. I hope you enjoyed it! Your questions, comments, and other feedback are welcome in the Talkback, and I will do my best to reply. While there may be a couple of stragglers over the next month, our focus now should be on 2015 and all the latest LEGO and Bionicle sets and news!
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