Category: Lego Set Reviews


Lego An Unexpected Gathering – 79003 Hobbit Set Review + Giveaway!

I was going to review the Lego Hobbit set, An Unexpected Gathering (79003) much earlier than this but as the reviews started rolling in from various Lego blogs, all praising its virtues and declaring it one of the best sets ever made, I realised there was not too much I could add.

Quite simply, this set is perfect (You could win one – see below!)

Furthermore, if you are remotely interested in The Lord Of the Rings or The Hobbit you need to have at least one this set, and possibly more in order to make Lego dioramas of The Shire.

Lego An Unexpected Gathering – Review

Lego 79003 SetI could go through every design-gem this set contains (and there are a number!) but I feel most of it has already been covered by Brickset, The Brothers Brick and just about every other Lego Blog.

Instead, let me point out a few things that I noticed once the set was assembled and staring at me in all its glorious detail:

  • The organic merging of hill + house works perfectly despite the fact the set is made out of square bricks
  • The set is surprisingly sturdy, given the size and piece count.
  • The figures are glorious (Bombour has girth!)
  • The palette of colours is beautiful
  • The front garden is planned perfectly – so much is included given the small area
  • I could go on…

In fact the only way this set could have been improved is by doing away with the stickers. I’m sure, with the amount of new figures in the set, financial corners had to be cut somewhere but it just detracts from the set to have to affix stickers, knowing they will deteriorate sooner than printed pieces.

Still, that minor irk aside, An Unexpected Gathering (79003) gets my vote for one of the Best Lego sets ever.

Well done Lego!

Update! Competition is Closed and Winners have been Notified.
Lego has offerred us two of these sets to giveaway to The Brick Life readers – See below for more details! The giveaway competition closes 6pm AEDT Friday the 15th of February.

An Unexpected Gathering

Lego Set Number: 79003
Pieces: 652
Minifigures: 6  – Gandalf the Grey, Bilbo Baggins in his Shire outfit,Balin the Dwarf, Dwalin the Dwarf, Bombur the Dwarf and Bofur the Dwarf
Price: EU £59.99 / US $69.99 / AUS$119.99
Ages: 9-14
Released: January 2013
Theme: The Hobbit
Instructions in PDF: Book One a | Book One b | Book Two a | Book Two b
Best Prices: Amazon I   Amazon UK I  Fishpond AUS

An Unexpected Gathering – Description

Visit Bilbo Baggins in his Hobbit home!

Gandalf the Grey has invited the Dwarves to Bag End the Hobbit home of Bilbo Baggins. Uncover the Hobbit hole to entertain the Dwarves with food and drink accessories! Then invite Bilbo Baggins on a great journey to The Lonely Mountain and begin the epic LEGO The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey adventure.

Includes Gandalf the Grey and 5 exclusive minifigures featured only in this set: Bilbo Baggins in his Shire outfit, Balin the DwarfDwalin the Dwarf,Bombur the Dwarf and Bofur the Dwarf, all with assorted weapons.

  • Accessories include 3 Middle-earth maps, flowers, fence, goblets, plates, chicken, bread, carrots, sausage, bottles, shovel and apples
  • House features a fence with gate, barrel, bench, removable roof, tree and leaf exterior, round windows and door, a table with stools and shelves
  • Includes 7 weapons: 2 swords, 2 knives, club, pick axe and a staff
  • Collect 5 exclusive minifigures featured only in this set: Bilbo Baggins in his Shire outfit,Balin the Dwarf, Dwalin the Dwarf, Bombur the Dwarf and Bofur the Dwarf!
  • Uncover the Hobbit hole to play inside!
  • Feed the hungry Dwarves with tons of food and drink accessories!
  • Open the doors, gate and windows!
  • House measures over 6” (16cm) high, 11” (28cm) wide and 6” (17cm) deep

An Unexpected Gathering (79003) – Brick Life Rating

Lego Review Ratings 5/5

Value For Money:  Good figure and piece count value for a licensed set
Play Experience: Wonderful as a playset or display diorama
Pieces & Minifigures: Stickers (bummer) aside, the set comes with highly detailed and exclusive figures and a model that will inspire kids to create their own natural environments with Lego.
Value For Kids:  Great for fans of all ages.

Lego An Unexpected Gathering Image Gallery

Win One Of Two Lego The Hobbit “An Unexpected Gathering” Sets!

Update! Competition is Closed and Winners have been Notified.

A big thank-you to everyone who entered the competition, there were about 80 in total!

The two winners were selected using tools over at RandomPicker and have been contacted by email.

Please remember to subscribe to my newsletter so I can let you know of future Lego competitions and giveaways.

Thanks again for taking the time to enter and thanks again to Lego for offering the sets, 

Inger 🙂

Lego 79003 BoxA Lego Giveaway!

Lego has graciously offerred two Lego the Hobbit An Unexpected Gathering Sets to Australian readers of The Brick Life.

All you have to do is:

  • Just leave a comment below this post.
  • Remember to include your email.
  • Only Australian entrants will be considered.
  • Entries closes 6pm AEDT Friday the 15th of February.

How to Enter

All you have to do is make a comment in the appropriate box below this post.

If you are stuck for something to say, try answering these questions:

  • What is your (or your child’s) favorite Lego theme?
  • Has your child seen/read The Lord Of the Rings or The Hobbit and are they interested in the sets?
  • What books/films would you like to see Lego make sets of?
  • Is there anything you would like to see more of on The Brick Life site?

Remember these questions are just ideas and have no bearing on the draw…

The giveaway competition closes 6pm AEDT Friday the 15th of February.

More Details

One entry per person.

Two entrants will be drawn at random and will each receive one of the Lego 79003 sets, sent out to them by Lego.

Remember to leave your email address in the appropriate space above the comment box so I can contact you.

The giveaway competition closes 6pm AEDT Friday the 15th of February.

Winners will be contacted soon after.

Please contact your friends and let them know so they have a chance to win one of these great sets too!

Thanks again to Lego and One Green Bean for offerring the sets to our readers!

Lego Gungan Sub Box 9499

Lego Gungan Sub Review (9499) Star Wars 2012

My daughter recently bought the Lego Gungan Sub for her brother on his birthday, the only Star Wars themed set he received this year.

My son just turned 12 and this is the first year he has not received one of the larger Lego Star Wars sets for his birthday. While we have given him a Lego set for every birthday (and Christmas) for the last 11 years or so, he has always requested “Star Wars”. This year, like many fans, he was heavily invested in Lord of the Rings and so asked for Helm’s Deep instead (which is absolutely awesome but I’ll save that for another review!).

My daughter, however had her eye on the Gungan Sub and so the tradition of Star Wars Lego remained in tact for another year 🙂

Lets take a closer look:

Lego Gungan Sub – A Little Background

Lego Gungan Sub 9499 SetThe Gungan Sub featured in only one Star Wars movie, Episode One The Phantom Menace.

Having journeyed to the planet Naboo, Jedi Master  Qui Gon Jinn and his padawan Obi Wan Kenobi find themselves in the company of a clumsy, but cute (hey, ask anyone under the age of 8), creature by the name of Jar Jar Binks.

Jar Jar takes them to his underwater city, Otoh Gunga, where the Jedi request transport to the city of Theed.

Using a vehicle the Gungans call a “Bongo” they travel through the planet’s core to the other side of Naboo and arrive at the grand capital.

The “Bongo” is what we know as the Gungan Sub and is a beautiful merging of natural forms with advanced technology.

Lego Gungan Sub
Set 9499

Lego Set Number: 9499
Pieces: 465
Minifigures: 4 (Queen Amidala, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Qui-Gon Jinn and Jar Jar Binks)
Price: US $69.99 / £54.99 /AU $99.99
Ages: 8-14
Released: August 2012
Theme: Star Wars Lego
Instructions in PDF: Available at
Best Prices: Amazon I   Amazon UK
The Lego Shop (Earn VIP Points)Lego Shop US  |  Lego Shop UK  | Lego Shop AUS

Lego Gungan Sub – Set 9499 Description

Navigate the underwater world of Naboo with the Gungan Sub! 

Jar Jar Binks guides his friends Obi-Wan Kenobi and Qui-Gon Jinn through the watery core of planet Naboo in the elegant Gungan Sub. Built to resemble some of the many creatures that inhabit the underwater world, the Gungan Sub features a large cockpit, cargo bays, storage boxes, rotating tail propulsion, missiles and even a mini-sub with harpoon.

• Includes Queen Amidala, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Qui-Gon Jinn and Jar Jar Binks
• Features opening cockpit, 2 cargo holds, 2 cargo containers, rotating tail, 4 flick missiles, detachable mini-sub with harpoon and 2 Lightsabers
• Detach the mini-sub!
• Fire the missiles!
• Rotate Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi minifigure heads to reveal decoration with underwater breathing devices!
• Gungan Sub measures over 16″ (43cm) long and 10″ (27cm) wide

Lego Gungan Sub – Set 9499 Images

Lego Gungan Sub 9499
The Brick Life Review

Lego-Queen-AmidalaThe one thing that people mention when talking about this set is the minifigures.
And not all the minifigures, just one.

The Lego Queen Amidala minifigure that comes with this set is almost worth the price of the set itself – it is THAT beautiful.

I could appreciate the photos other people have taken, but until I actually held it in my hand I couldn’t quite undertand how awesome this figure is – a thing of beauty.

With the amount of detail Lego are putting into figures this year, we are very lucky Lego fans indeed! I just can’t wait to see what Lego has in store for Star Wars and other themes like Lord Of The Rings over the next year or so.

Anyway, moving on to the other parts of the set 🙂

The Gungan ship is very cool, better and larger than I expected. The escape pod is a nice touch and adds levels of playability to the set that would be otherwise hard to find in a medium sized vehicle.

The blue swirly motor at the back distinguishes the sub from most other vehicles in the Star Wars universe, most of which are very angular and “mechanical”.  The Gungan city was such a beautiful, Art Nouveau inspired moment in the film, it is nice to have a small part of it depicted in Lego (now we just need an Otoh Gunga playset!),

The other minifigures have their own strengths, the two Jedi come with rebreather prints on one of their (two sided) faces, adding to the aquatic theme of the set.

And Jar Jar? Having another Gungan can’t be a bad thing, even if half the world’s population blame him for ruining their childhood.

Overall it is a great little set, a tad too expensive for my liking but the presence of Queen Amidala will drive up prices on the secondary market so I don’t expect the price-tag will drop too much over time.

The Gungan sub is a wonderful addition to our collection and I would recommend it to fans of Star Wars and minifigure collectors.