LEGO reveals the most difficult part of designing 10316 The Lord of the Rings: Rivendell

The LEGO designers behind 10316 The Lord of the Rings: Rivendell have revealed the trickiest part of the Middle-earth model to bring to life – and it wasn’t that roof

At every corner of 10316 The Lord of the Rings: Rivendell, you’ll find a new and interesting building technique, process or simply a way of fusing two particular bricks together. It’s one of the most engaging LEGO sets to assemble in recent memory – but it took a lot of intense effort to arrive at the finished model, as demonstrated by the fact that no fewer than 11 people helped to bring it to shelves.

Among that fellowship of LEGO talent were three model designers – Mike Psiaki, Chris Perron and Wes Talbott – who each worked on separate areas of Rivendell. But there were times along the way when they came together to tackle particularly complex parts of the model, including what ended up being the one challenging section to rule them all: the ivory-white gazebo just across the bridge.

“It was definitely the most difficult part of the set,” Perron confirms to Brick Fanatics. “I sketched up a gazebo at the very start, and we felt it was good but not great. It was a little flimsy, a little fragile. It was like, ‘How do we communicate how to build it?’ Because that’s always the tricky part when you’re designing a LEGO set: you know it’s going to be given to all sorts of people. Maybe they’ve built a lot of stuff on their own. Maybe they haven’t. So how do you communicate how to build it?

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“Is it too fragile? Is it too flimsy? Such an airy, elegant, detailed ornate structure is hard to make super-rigid. So the first one we had, it was like, ‘This is okay, but we’ll probably need to try to improve upon it. We’ll get to it.’ And I think it was one of those things that was always on the back of our minds, every time we were working on this model. ‘Oh, that gazebo? Yeah, we’ll find a solution for that.’ And then we just put it off.”

As we’ve already noted in our review of the 6,167-piece set, the gazebo is probably the highlight of 10316 The Lord of the Rings: Rivendell – at least as far as the build is concerned. It’s a masterpiece of design, with the final model twisting plates, bricks, slopes, clips, bars and Technic axles into a sub-assembly that feels like it needs a bachelor’s degree in geometry to understand. So it makes perfect sense that it required not one, but three designers to lock it down.

“It hit the point where we’re like, ‘We really need to figure out how we’re going to solve this,’” Perron continues. “We kept thinking [and] hoping an idea would hit, like ‘this is the way to do it’. At the end, it was a true collaboration between the three of us model designers, because we were all trying out different ideas and different connections.

“I think this is the best example of our three brains working together to come up with a solution because it was almost building in each other’s hands. [Wes] built the bottom ring. I was building the top piece, Mike was figuring out how to make the circle and all this lined up… and we finished it. So yeah, [it was a] true group effort.”

You can build the gazebo for yourself by picking up 10316 The Lord of the Rings: Rivendell from LEGO.com now. You can also find out more about the set by reading our in-depth review, watching our full interview with the design team, and checking out our page dedicated to all things Rivendell.

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Author Profile

Chris Wharfe
I like to think of myself as a journalist first, LEGO fan second, but we all know that’s not really the case. Journalism does run through my veins, though, like some kind of weird literary blood – the sort that will no doubt one day lead to a stress-induced heart malfunction. It’s like smoking, only worse. Thankfully, I get to write about LEGO until then.

Chris Wharfe

I like to think of myself as a journalist first, LEGO fan second, but we all know that’s not really the case. Journalism does run through my veins, though, like some kind of weird literary blood – the sort that will no doubt one day lead to a stress-induced heart malfunction. It’s like smoking, only worse. Thankfully, I get to write about LEGO until then.

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