You know what? I have some awesome friends. They are each awesome in their own merit, and in their own ways. But sometimes they take it over the top. One such instance lead to this post. A very cool, very awesome friend (you know who you are) sent me the full set of Lord of the Rings Legends models. The fact that they sent me this wonderful gift doesn’t make them awesome. They were awesome without doing that. It’s more a symptom of their awesomeness. So I’m going to start this with another huge thank you to You-Know-Who-You-Are! Anyways, I decided to have fun with this give, and take a break amidst the more complex models I’ve been building lately. So I had my own, personal, three-night “marathon” of Middle Earth models. And looking back, I really should have watched the trilogy while doing it. But my son is currently reading through the books, and I don’t want to watch the movies with him until after he’s finished the books. Because, as awesome as the movies were, the books were a lot better. Duh.
Now, I realize that these models have been retired. And that a lot of people don’t really like the Legends line. Of course, I still like them, regardless. And being a completionist, I’m exceptionally glad to add them to my collection. However, I also recognize that posting about them might not be that useful, as they fade away. So I decided to combine them all into a single post. That way I can still post about the fun builds, but not annoy all the Legends-haters that much.
Of course, being Legends models, there’s not a whole lot of unique things to say about each build, so I’m going to mention some general pointers about all of them here to begin with, and then if there are some unique details, I throw them in with each individual section.
And the first thing I want to say is this: this Legends set shows well that, even with mostly human forms, these models can be made to have a bit more variety in style than the original released sets. And I really like having them. Of course, I should admit that I’ve been a LotR fan since long before the movies, having read the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings books in 4th grade, and at least twice since. But putting that aside, I also like the interesting approaches they added to these models. Well, most of them. Frodo and Aragorn are pretty much run-of-the-mill Legends. But the rest have some interesting details added to make their builds more unique.
Of course, one of the best things about this set of Legends models is that they don’t use the original Legends Leg design. And I’m so thankful. These legs are so much easier to form than the legs from the Avengers and DC sets. These follow the style of the Guardians of the Galaxy set, and it’s so much easier to form. I will give one bit of advice, though, on making it even easier… the instructions suggest securing the tabs on the toes before shaping the rest of the legs. I found it easier to form the rest of the legs, seating all the tabs and securing at least a few, before folding the tabs on the feet. In that way, I better understood the shape and angles the parts of the foot/toe area needed to be in before securing it.
And when it comes to securing the heads to the body, I’ve found that bending a little tiny (I’m talking less than a millimeter) bit of the end of each tab outwards on the body makes it much easier to get something behind the tabs to fold them over after slotting them through the slots on the head/neck section. That’s a technique I’ve used for a while now, and have recently noticed that AnimateOrange is a fan of as well. I think we each independently came to that strategy, so you know it’s a good one! Haha.
Anyways, on to featuring each of the individual builds! I’ll present them to you in the order in which I build them. Which was basically ordered in increasing level of interesting details, at least from my perspective.
Frodo has got to be the one model in the set with the most accurate / identifiable face, as far as compared to the actors in the movies.
Frodo’s most notable details are Sting (of course), the ring on a necklace around his neck (kinda wish that was a raised detail), and a cape. Because he needs a cape? I dunno. Strangely, his pointy ears are not additional parts like you will see on both Legolas and Gollum. Oh, and I almost forgot his bare, hairy feet! How could I forget that?
Frodo doesn’t have any real stand-out pitfalls waiting for you, except for maybe the cape. The cape is easy enough to form and attach, but mine ended up a little loose, and continued to get more loose as I worked to attach the head. Kinda wish I had applied some glue to the tabs on the inside of the model before putting the head on, but it’s not really that bad. I tried to apply some 5-second fix between the cape and the body, which didn’t really work very well. Oh well. Frodo took me around 35 minutes to build. Here’s the video:
I don’t know what it is about this Aragorn model, but it just doesn’t scream Aragorn to me. Honestly, it just looks like “Dude with Sword,” unless taken in context with the rest of these models. Seems like he should have had a hooded cloak or something.
Alright. So, what are Aragorn’s standout features? Well, I guess maybe the greasy hair and Anduril, his sword? Yeah. Guy with sword. Sorry Aragorn. You’re much cooler in the movies!
Aragorn is, as I’ve said, the most basic of the models. Strangely, though, he wasn’t the fastest build, taking about 30 minutes to complete. With no major standout features, to make him very unique, I can’t really give you model-specific advice. Here’s the video:
The Legolas model made photographing these models a little difficult. So much paleness! Even Gollum had a darker skin-tone!
Of course, Legolas made up for that with pointy ears, a bow (complete with string), and a quiver. What else do your elf-eyes reveal, Legolas?
As much as that bow looks like it’s going to give you trouble, it really isn’t that frustrating. Really, the most frustrating part about it was getting the string on there, and that’s only because I have sausages for fingers. I did decide to fold the tabs over after twisting them, which did present it’s own little bit of risk, but it seemed to go smoothly.
The ears, though… those were tougher than I expected. Well, that’s partly my own fault, of course. I decided to give them a little bit of curving to make them a bit more dynamic. That made it a little hard to get them aligned flush. And while I had no trouble with the second ear being loose, the first ear ended up a bit floppy, so I think I put a drop of 5-second-fix glue on the tabs on the inside to secure it a little better.
Legolas took 43 minutes to build. Here’s the video:
Not to be beat, the Gimli model has it’s own unique features, least of which is a switch up on style of the upper legs. You probably didn’t notice that, but the upper legs are hidden beneath his cloak! (At least I didn’t)
The other, more obvious features to Gimli are his striking helm (including cheek guards), a removable battle axe, and some unique hair extensions.
Aragorn might be the toughest of the builds in this set. Not that he’s hard, he’s just the most complicated among them. And most of that is in that cool looking helm. I deviated from the instructions a little on that helm, as I was unable to prevent the cross-bracing on the top from extending over the edges a little. This made it so the little flaps on the ends blocked the tabs that were to secure the top couldn’t get seated fully before folding. So I flipped up those flaps, folded the tabs underneath them, then folded the flaps back down. Which sorta works, but it leaves those flaps sticking out a bit. You win some, you lose some.
I did add my own little flare by curving the heads of the axe a little so they met along the full edge of the blades, too. So that added it’s own time. And I don’t know if it was me not forming the arms correctly, or if the model is supposed to have the hands slightly offset, but sliding that axe in there is a fun exercise in jiggling and wiggling while trying not to scratch the paint off (which, to be honest, the paint is really well secured. And a uniquely matte style).
I spent roughly 50 minutes building Gimli. Video below:
And then there’s Gollum, who features the most unique pose of any of the Legends models I’ve built to date. He even has an actual neck!
Of course, you can’t talk about this Gollum model without calling out the fish, or the scary loincloth. But I still think his pose is the most striking detail about him.
Gollum. Gollum. Okay, enough guttural noises. Gollum is quite the departure from the Legends norm (while still having full legs). Those legs are quite interesting to form. I can’t really give you specific advice, but just read the instructions a couple of times and look closely. They aren’t hard, mind you, but they are quite different.
I quite liked the difference in how the hands were formed, though I did get quite turned around at first when trying to figure out how the part that forms the sides of the thumbs was supposed to work. But that could just be me. I love the inclusion of the fish, but I wish the instructions had suggested curving the fish a little bit before attaching it. See, the inside of Gollum’s hand is curved, right where the tabs are to secure it. And I got one tab on fine, but then the other tab barely stuck through. I was able to “mash” a curve into the fish while it was partially attached, and get a little more of the tab through to get a good fold in there.
And again, I had some fun with the ears. Didn’t have to apply glue to either ear on Gollum, though, so I really wonder what I did wrong with that first ear on Legolas. Meh, whatever. Gollum matched Gimli for the longest build time, taking 50 minutes as well, which you can see in this video:
And, last of all, we have the most striking of the LotR Legends models, Gandalf. It’s weird, it’s quirky, it’s boxy, and I love it, personally.
Gandalf, being a wizard and all, apparently calls for a completely different style of construction. And that construction includes the biggest Legends cape of all, huge sleeves, a long beard, and a tall (and removable) staff.
Gandalf was surprisingly easy. Or maybe it shouldn’t be that surprising. He doesn’t have any legs to form, so I should have known. I did deviate from the instructions with regards to the staff. I decided it would look cool to have a bit of a curve to the top, rather than just folding straight to meet at a point. Now I sorta want to add a little LED light inside there. Would that be going too far? Gandalf took me only 27 minutes to complete. Don’t believe me? Check the video:
I’ll tell you what. A marathon of Legends building is fun. A marathon of Legends reviewing in a single post is a lot of work. I’m not sure I’m going to do this again (yes, that does mean I have more Legends/Legends-esque sets in my backlog and I make no apologies). Maybe I’ll run them in pairs or triplets, but not the full thing again. At least, probably not. You never know. Anyways, all told, the complete set of Middle Earth Legends models took me around 4 hours to build (not including knolling). It was a lot of fun, and I do like these weird little figures. Sad to see the line go, but excited to see what’s around the corner, maybe, to replace them? Anywho, here’s a playlist of all six build videos together:
A marathon! That would be awesome. My wife goes on weekend scrapbooking retreats. Can you imagine a weekend dedicated to building models and sharing tips with other builders? Glad to hear the legs are a bit simpler than the DC Characters. While not hard they were not exactly intuitive for the first one. I have these but have yet to build them as my kids are giving me the set for Christmas. My granddaughter is excited to be giving me the My little pony set. BTW, I really like the updated List format. Thanks for that.
I really like the updated list format, too. Thanks for inspiring me to make the change. lol.
For me, the most annoying thing about the legs on the first generation was trying to get everything lined up all at once, and the angles never being quite intuitive, even after the first one. Just goes to show, though… Fascinations is always working at improving their craft, and I appreciate it.
I’ve also got the MLP set waiting in the wings. And I’m actually excited to have it. As far as modern cartoon shows go, it’s one of the more bearable ones. I don’t want to pull my hair out when my kids turn it on. And they definitely look like a unique set of builds.