Before you buy… LEGO Icons 10316 The Lord of the Rings: Rivendell
LEGO Icons 10316 The Lord of the Rings: Rivendell is out now, so here’s everything you need to know before buying into the long-awaited return to LEGO Middle-earth.
10316 The Lord of the Rings: Rivendell sees the LEGO Group head back to Tolkien’s world for the first time since 2013 (LEGO Dimensions and BrickHeadz sets notwithstanding), but it does so at a price point that won’t be for everyone. £429.99 / $499.99 / €499.99 is a lot to ask of any LEGO fan, no matter the results, so you really need to know what you’re getting yourself in for before handing over that amount of money.
To help you decide whether to take the plunge on 10316 The Lord of the Rings: Rivendell, we’ve put together the answers to all your burning questions. Got any we’ve missed? Let us know in the comments, or check out our full review of the LEGO Icons set to see if the answer you’re looking for is in there.
Is it fun to build?
The baseline of any good LEGO set – the thing that sets it apart from, say, a Hasbro toy – is surely the building experience. If you only care about what the finished product looks like (and that’s still a factor here, don’t worry), you’re probably better off buying a diecast replica or something. The joy of a LEGO set is in putting it together. What you want to know is: does 10316 The Lord of the Rings: Rivendell deliver the basics?
In a word… yes. Thanks to that big old 18+ label on the box, and that big old piece count right next to it, 10316 The Lord of the Rings: Rivendell is able to go above and beyond any Middle-earth set before it, and almost above and beyond any other LEGO set before it. The model places a lot of faith in the builder, trusting you’ll be able to follow along with complex techniques, but never to a degree that’s frustrating.
It makes for one of the most enjoyable builds we’ve done in a very long time, and when you consider the calibre of LEGO sets released over the past few years, that’s high praise indeed. Or to put it another way: the sort of compliment Gimli would gladly take from Legolas.
Are the minifigures any good?
If you were collecting LEGO in 2012, you’ll probably remember how much of a hassle it was to collect the entire Fellowship of the Ring across the original LEGO The Lord of the Rings sets. 9472 Attack On Weathertop gets you Aragorn, Merry and Frodo, while 9473 The Mines of Moria includes Legolas, Gimli, Boromir and Pippin. Great! Except you still need Sam to round out the Hobbits, so now you need 9470 Shelob Attacks. And don’t forget Gandalf – that’ll be one copy of 9469 Gandalf Arrives, please. And now you’ve got three Frodos.
While those sets technically worked out cheaper than 10316 The Lord of the Rings: Rivendell, this latest Middle-earth model is still the shortest route to a full Fellowship we’ve ever had, and certainly currently: it’s easier than tracking down the minifigures one by one on the aftermarket, after all. And the good news is that for the most part, they’re all up to the standard you’d expect from the LEGO Group in 2023.
To be fair, they’re not that far removed from the original Lord of the Rings minifigures, which really only speaks to how good those were in 2012. But there are a couple of significant improvements to point out: the hobbits’ dual-moulded legs to represent bare feet, for example, or the brick-built skirt pieces to allow Gandalf and Elrond to sit down.
Bilbo’s alternate jump-scare face is a real highlight too, as are the bounty of new weapon elements created specifically for this set – from Boromir’s sword and Gimli’s axes to Sting and the broken shards of Narsil. Really, it’s difficult to ask much more of the minifigure line-up in 10316 The Lord of the Rings: Rivendell, except maybe a new hat-and-hair element for Gandalf. That would have really sweetened the deal.
Will it look nice on my shelf?
This one’s a little more subjective, because it depends on things like how big your shelf is, what else is on your shelf, and whether you like beautifully-designed, colour-coordinated, location-based LEGO sets that are packed with detail, variety and exquisite building techniques. That might have been a slightly loaded answer, but it hopefully clues you into where we’re landing on this one.
10316 The Lord of the Rings: Rivendell has had pride of place at Brick Fanatics HQ since we finished putting our review copy together, and we can’t help staring at it every time we walk past it. Maybe it’s the colours; maybe it’s the four different types of trees; maybe it’s the minifigures. Or maybe it’s all those things and more. All we know is, this is a showstopper of a LEGO set, which is exactly what you’d expect for the price. Just make sure you’ve got room to display it…
Can I build anything else with it?
Yes, of course, it’s LEGO and you can take it apart and build whatever you want. What this question is really getting at – at least until Rebrickable’s wizards come along with amazing alternate builds – is whether the parts are interesting. And with 6,167 of them in the box, this is one set where it’s fair to assume there should be at least some intriguing pieces in the mix.
The good news is that it’s jam-packed with both unique and versatile elements, from the new fern brick – of which there are more than 30 spread liberally across LEGO Rivendell – to the decorated floor tiles, which are a masterclass in geometric design. All that sort of stuff is great for applying beyond Rivendell, as are the countless other basic bricks, plates, wedges and slopes that constitute this set.
If you’re the type to buy a LEGO set to build, display, then dismantle and part out, you won’t have a bad time with 10316 The Lord of the Rings: Rivendell.
Is it good value for money?
Good question. Maybe the most important question on this list. 10316 The Lord of the Rings: Rivendell retails for £429.99 in the UK, $499.99 in the US and €499.99 in Europe. That is objectively a lot of money. We’re not really talking used car money (as we once did with 75313 AT-AT), if only because that market is all over the place, but there are lots of other things you could buy for that chunk of change. So… should you buy Rivendell?
To its credit, the LEGO Icons set has a lot going for it to justify that price tag, at least relative to other LEGO sets. There’s a long, complex and involved build process, as we’ve already touched on, which should keep you busy for a good few weeks if you pace yourself properly. But you can also see along the way exactly where the set’s budget has gone, which can’t be said of everything that rolls out of Billund.
Beyond just the basic stats of 6,167 pieces and 15 minifigures (21 if you count the six grey statues, and they use traditional minifigure elements, so why not?), 10316 The Lord of the Rings: Rivendell includes an incredible number of brand new pieces, printed bricks and tiles, and even just large elements to account for the quantity of tiny tiles spread across its roof. No corners have been cut in bringing it to life, but its sheer ambition has not bogged it down with a potentially even heftier price tag.
£430, $500 or €500 is a lot of money to spend on a LEGO set, but if you’re going to spend it on any LEGO set – and we are not necessarily saying you should – it might as well be this one. For now, it’s unfortunately our only ticket back to Middle-earth in LEGO (at least beyond the three BrickHeadz double-packs).
10316 The Lord of the Rings: Rivendell is available now for VIP members, and comes with a free copy of 40630 Frodo & Gollum until March 8. Head over to LEGO.com to order your copy.
Consider supporting the work that Brick Fanatics does by purchasing your LEGO using our affiliate links. Thanks!