For my next Lord of the Rings review, I opted to go with Gandalf Arrives since it took like 15 minutes to put this set together. My fiancée brought this back from Australia during her last visit a couple of weeks ago and I was extremely excited since this is the only way to get Gandalf and complete The Fellowship.
Gandalf Arrives is the smallest set in the first wave of Lord of the Rings sets, weighing in at only 83 pieces -but it’s actually a pretty great deal, in comparison to equivalent sets like Catwoman’s Catcycle City Chase and Captain America’s Avenging Cycle. Gandalf Arrives recreates the scene in The Fellowship of the Ring, where Gandalf arrives in Hobbiton for Bilbo’s 111st birthday celebration, packing a ton of fireworks in his wagon and bumps into Frodo and he delivers his classic line “A wizard is never late, Frodo Baggins. Nor is he early. He arrives precisely when he means to.”
At the time of this posting, the Lord of the Rings sets are still not available in Malaysia.
Name: Gandalf Arrives
Set Number: 9469
Price: US$ 12.99
Theme: Lord of the Rings
Year of Release: 2012
Brickset Link: 9469 – Gandalf Arrives
I forgot to take a picture of the back of the box.. so the front will have to suffice. I absolutely love how art direction that the designers went with, as it makes everything look so story-book like. The background is superbly painted and it makes the whole set look exceedingly grand. The feel you get is reminiscent of when you begin an epic story – perfectly apt for this set.
Here’s the contents of the bag and the instruction manual. Not a lot of pieces since this is a fairly simple build.
And here we have the main reason why everyone will be picking this set up. The wizard Mithrandir himself, or better known as Gandalf the Grey. Gandalf is exclusive to this set and is absolutely essential for your Fellowship. He’s got his wizardly look down pat and sports a really cool new beard that’s a lot more detailed and textured compared to previous offerings – glad Lego went with this look as it fits Gandalf’s appearance almost perfectly. He’s got a standard wizard hat in grey, a matching grey cloak and his staff/walking stick. Here it looks more walking stick than staff and honestly, I would’ve preferred if we were treated to a new mould – because from the movies, Gandalf’s staff looked pretty bad-ass.
Here’s Gandalf without his beard and cloak, giving you a better view of the printing. Front and back printing. His garb is very detailed, with a clasp for where his cloak goes on his neck, a grey sling and a brown belt. Gotta say that Gandalf’s face looks a little scary with his wrinkles and all. Alas, no reversible head for the Grey Pilgrim.
And here we have a delightful Frodo Baggins minifig! This version of Frodo is exclusive to this set, where Frodo sports a wonderful green shirt complete with suspenders! You can get Frodo in Shelob Attacks and Attack on Weathertop so he’s not the rarest minifig around, but this version of him is exclusive to the set. He looks a lot happier in this one, and I just love his clothing.
Unlike Gandalf, Frodo features a 2-sided head with its flipside showing a very puzzled look – likely for when Gandalf hands him the envelope containing the One Ring. Brilliant back printing on Frodo with the criss-cross suspenders as well as little creases here and there. All around excellent minifig.
Oh, another plus in this set, is of course another new horse but in brown. I placed it side-by-side the Nazgul’s steed for comparison’s sake. The brown horse looks so much more friendlier.
The brown horse also does that rearing up on its hind legs thing.
Here are some of the more unique parts available in the set. We get a red snake piece, which is one of the firework’s in Gandalf’s wagon, a carrot, an envelope (nice), a backpack and a brown book!
Speaking of fireworks, here are the fireworks that Gandalf carries into Hobbiton.
Here’s a closer look at Gandalf’s cart. In comparison to other Lego carts, I felt that it was quite shoddily built. It doesn’t scream out “AWESOME” or “INCREDIBLE” or anything. I didn’t like that they didn’t use any tiles to flatten out and give it a lot more wooden look.
Another problem with the cart is that Gandalf’s cape doesn’t fit really well and ends up getting stretched. I’d recommend not putting his cape on as prolonged stretching would probably alter the shape and crispness of the cape. It would’ve also been a lot better if we had more fireworks to fill up the wagon.
And here’s an obligatory hipster filter artsy shot – this time with Frodo feeding Gandalf’s horse a carrot.
Final Thoughts: It’s a quaint little set, well worth the US$12 that it costs. I got mine from Australia and I think it costed around AU$17 if I recall correctly from Big W during the Toy Sale. Overall, it’s a pretty swell set, design and build of the wagon aside – you get quite a decent selection of parts (book and envelope stand out here!), two exclusive minifigs and Gandalf steals the show. Add one of the new horses in and you’ve got pretty decent value in a set. A nicer staff for Gandalf and more fireworks in the wagon would’ve made this the perfect small set, but other than that minor complaint – I’m pretty happy with the set.
Should You Buy It?: It’s probably going to cost RM80 when it hits Malaysian stores and it’s a definite must-buy if you’re into Lord of the Rings for Gandalf alone. If you’re not a Lord of the Rings fan, it’s still a good buy seeing that you get some pretty decent parts AND a new horse in brown. Really disagree with Malaysian pricing, this set should cost RM50, RM60 at most. But yes, you should definitely pick this up.