LEGO 10316 The Lord of the Rings: Rivendell changed in a big way during the design phase

LEGO Icons 10316 The Lord of the Rings: Rivendell comes in at minifigure scale, but that wasn’t always the plan for the Middle-earth set.

When initial rumours of 10316 The Lord of the Rings: Rivendell started circulating last year – and its $500 price point – most of us assumed it would be built in microscale, following the template set by 71043 Hogwarts Castle in 2018. The final 6,167-piece set instead arrived earlier this month in minifigure scale, complete with every member of the Fellowship of the Ring all in the one box.

But it wasn’t always that way. During an exclusive interview with Brick Fanatics, designers Wes Talbott, Mike Psiaki, Chris Perron and Ashwin Visser revealed that the concept model – built by Talbott specifically – was actually constructed in microscale. By that point, however, the minifigures were already part of the equation, which gave the team a problem to solve: how will they interact with the set?

The easiest answer might have been ‘they won’t’, in which case we’d likely have ended up with the core cast on a separate stand, like the four founders of the Wizarding World school in 71043 Hogwarts Castle. Instead, Perron, Psiaki and Talbott decided to overhaul the entire premise of 10316 The Lord of the Rings: Rivendell.

“Part of our reasoning for going from the microscale model and towards this minifigure-scale model was we knew we wanted to include all the [members of the Fellowship of the Ring],” Psiaki tells Brick Fanatics. “And then with the microscale version it was like, you have all these great characters, but we can’t actually play with them.”

At £429.99 / $499.99 / €499.99, 10316 The Lord of the Rings: Rivendell is not likely to be acquired by many kids. But as we’re now seeing in other play-oriented display sets like the newly-revealed 77015 Temple of the Golden Idol, the LEGO Group is still keen to incorporate functionality into its 18+ sets – an ethos that has definitely been to Rivendell’s benefit.

“Even though we say we’re making these things for adults, we still like to at least pretend that it’s a toy, and that you can roleplay and put the minifigures in and play around a little bit and start to create your own stories,” Psiaki continues. “And it’s not quite as fun to do that when you have this microscale model where you can’t really [place] anyone. So that was also what drove us towards this expression.”

The final set goes above and beyond Frodo, Sam, Merry, Pippin, Gandalf, Aragon, Legolas, Gimli and Boromir to also include Bilbo, Elrond, Arwen, two generic elves and a dwarf, for a complete line-up of 15 characters. You can take a closer look at them all in our review, or learn more about 10316 The Lord of the Rings: Rivendell straight from the designers by checking out our full interview, direct from Billund.

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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. You can follow me on Twitter at @brfa_chris.

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