The story of The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings all started in the Bag End where Bilbo Baggins was hired by Thorin and Company to be their guide on their Quest of Erebor. LEGO has depicted that scene in the An Unexpected Gathering (79003) set. The set contains 652 pieces and retails for $69.99, about $0.11/piece. There are four numbered bags, two instruction booklets, and three loose base plates in the box. An Unexpected Gathering was widely released on November 27, 2012.
There are six minifigures included in the An Unexpected Gathering set: Gandalf the Grey, Bilbo Baggins, and the dwarves, Balin, Dwalin, Bofur, and Bombur. All the minifigures are exclusive to the set except for Gandalf and Bilbo. Although Bilbo is in the Riddles For The Ring set, this variant is only in this set. There’s nothing much to say about Gandalf because he looks exactly the same as in the Lord of the Rings sets. He is dons his gray outfit and grey wizard hat and has his staff as an accessory.
The Bilbo Baggins minifigure is the second in The Hobbit theme with the first variation in the Riddles For The Ring (79000) set. For this version, he’s in his Shire clothing wearing a beige shirt and suspenders. Bilbo has a double-sided head with happy on one side and scared/worried on the other. He has no accessories unless you count Sting that is sitting next to the window.
Balin, the second oldest dwarf in the Company, has a very nice looking dark red torso with printing on both sides and short black legs. He wears a short, same-colored cape as well. He has a double-sided head with a wrinkly serious look on one side and a happy expression on the other. Balin also has a very cool looking hair/beard piece.
The younger brother of Balin, Dwalin, also makes an appearance in the set. He has an olive green torso with short brown legs. His cape is also the same color as the torso. The head is pretty interesting. He has tattoo markings and scars around the whole head. Dwalin only has a single-sided head with a fairly angry expression. For his weapons, he has a short sword as well as a very nice warhammer that is twice the size of him.
Bofur is another dwarf in the Company. One thing you notice on the minifigure is that he has no beard piece but is painted on the head. He has a brown torso with printing on both sides as well as short brown legs and a brown cape. For Bofur’s facial expressions, he has a happy and a angry face on his double-sided head. He has an interesting head piece where his hat is attached to the braids of his hair. For his accessory, Bofur has a pickaxe.
The last minifigure included in the set is Bombur, brother of Bofur. The first thing you notice on the minifigure is that he’s fat. His hair/beard piece also has a rounded front “torso” to make him look fat. On top of the piece, there’s a little bald spot. Under the hair/beard piece, there is a printed torso on both sides. He has short brown legs. He has a double-sided head with a happy and a sleepy expression. For Bombur’s accessories, he gets a pot and a sausage. That’s right, a pot and a sausage!
For the first bag of the An Unexpected Gathering set, you build the foundation of the Bag End. You get some neat pieces for the fireplace. There is also a nice combination of regular green and as well as a bright green which emphasizes the features of the Bag End quite well.
For bag 2, you build the front exterior of the dwelling. This bag was probably my favorite part of the whole build. You first gradually build the frame for the windows and the door, then you build the fireplace/stove area. The windows are then covered with a combination of arched pieces to make the windows rounded. There is also a very, very, cool looking window completely built by bricks that fits on the left side of the Bag End. The door is one of the two printed pieces in the set with the other being the letter. Some decorations include pots and pans, potion bottles, and Bilbo’s sword, Sting. He doesn’t get Sting until later on but it’s a good addition.
On bag 3, you build the the fence and also decorate the front exterior of the Bag End. After it’s completed, you see an extremely nice, rickety-looking fence. Although there are a few stickers on the fence, it’s an addition that is welcomed. For the decorations, you get a few different colored flowers and also a carrot patch. Next to that is a walkway to the front door that is nicely designed and a bench. On the inside, you build Bilbo’s desk that includes his book and a quill. You also build the dinner table with goblets and dishes full of food. On the opposite side of the table is a chest with a shovel and stickered maps of the Shire, Mirkwood, and The Desolation of Smaug.
For bag 4, you have the parts to create the roof of the Bag End. There are quite a few sloped green pieces that make up the top of the Hobbit-hole. There is a tree is on the roof that is a little off-centered. Nothing much else to it and an easy completion of the build of the Bag End.
An Unexpected Gathering is, without a doubt, one of my favorite sets that I’ve purchased and built this year. When I first saw the set previewed at San Diego Comic Con 2012, I knew that this was one of the sets I had to get. The details on the exterior and interior are very well designed. The minifigures, along with the ones in thr other Hobbit sets, are some of the best movie representation minifigures I’ve seen. The only negative I have with the set is that you have to be a little careful with the base of the Bag End because it’s a little flimsy. Other than that, I don’t see any other issues. I would totally recommend picking up the An Unexpected Gathering set, and at 652 pieces, it is a very enjoyable build.