Blocks is exploring Middle-Earth in search of the very best LEGO The Lord of the Rings sets…
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King turns 20 this year, the last of the three beloved films to reach the two-decade milestone. The LEGO Group has delved into the world of Tolkien a few times since acquiring the licence in 2012 for the release of the first Hobbit film. Three years of sets followed, with the theme coming to an end in 2014 alongside The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies.
LEGO The Lord of the Rings received nothing more than a few LEGO Dimensions character packs for almost a decade, until the theme made a comeback in 2023. Only three Brickheadz sets came at first, but they were soon followed by the gigantic 10316 The Lord of the Rings: Rivendell. With the theme back in the brick and The Return of the King’s birthday right around the corner, Blocks, the monthly LEGO magazine, is going on a quest to find the very best LEGO The Lord of the Rings sets to date.
9472 Attack on Weathertop
Soon after meeting Strider in the village of Bree, the four hobbits find themselves alone in the ruins of Weathertop. After a fire attracts the attention of nearby Nazgûl, the hobbits find themselves locked in a battle for survival. 9472 Attack on Weathertop recreates this tense encounter, albeit with a limited roster of minifigures due to the set’s size. The build is excellent, fully capturing the ruined watchtower in the brick — even including some extra interior details. The Nazgûl are simple but terrifying minifigures, making good use of tattered capes to complete their shadowy disguises.
9473 The Mines of Moria
Much to Gandalf’s displeasure, the Fellowship travels through the Mines of Moria after being unable to cross over the Misty Mountains. Gimli sidetracks their journey through the mines, resulting in a thrilling battle with orcs. 9473 The Mines of Moria includes everything from the iconic battle, from the giant door and cave troll to Balin’s tomb and the well Pippin sends a skeleton down. The set packs plenty of play features as well—the door can be barred with spears and swords and some of the stone columns can be knocked down. The cave troll big fig is a great design and a formidable opponent for the included Fellowship minifigures.
Upgrade your LEGO hobby! If you take out a subscription to Blocks, the monthly LEGO magazine, you’ll get each issue first and at a discount, plus other perks including a free digital subscription and the chance to win LEGO prizes every month.
10237 The Tower of Orthanc
10237 The Tower of Orthanc uses over 2,000 pieces to build Saruman’s imposing tower, which stands 73cm (28in) tall. The tower has a full interior that includes Saruman’s study and throne room. The top of the tower has plenty of space to hold Gandalf prisoner—but he won’t be there long with a LEGO eagle coming to his recue. A buildable Ent makes for a fun side build to recreate the climactic scene from The Two Towers. What holds 10237 back is that the tower isn’t fully enclosed, but it still makes for an impressive display peace.
9474 The Battle of Helm’s Deep
One of the series’ most iconic moments is also one of its best LEGO sets. 9474 The Battle of Helm’s Deep may not be a complete castle, but it manages to pack everything needed to stage an epic LEGO recreation of the battle. The orcs’ ladder can hook onto the wall, the defending minifigures can open hatches to drop stones on coming orcs and the wall can be blown up by the charging berserker minifigure. There’s even a platform to launch Gimli into a crowd of orcs. The minifigure roster is excellent, with exclusive Haldir and Theoden minifigures and plenty of Uruk-Hai to siege the fortress.
Over 6,000 pieces go into constructing 10316 The Lord of the Rings Rivendell and its 15 minifigures. The bulk of the model recreates the secret council where the Fellowship of the Ring is formed, but there’s still plenty of other details scattered around, from carved statues to the shards of Narsil. The entire Fellowship is included in the same set for the first time ever, alongside some extra elf minifigures, Gloin, and Bilbo Baggins. All the minifigures are vast improvements over the original versions and complete the scene nicely. 10316 is truly a stunning model and a worthy return for LEGO Lord of the Rings.