New LEGO at the London Toy Fair

As they do every year, LEGO has shown off its 2012 lineup in London, and it’s looking good so far. Unfortunately, photography of the sets is not allowed, so we have to make do with descriptions from people who saw them in person. The booth’s outside is fair game, so plenty of exterior wall pictures are floating around. Gleaning from my favorite LEGO sites, like Brickset, Smashing Bricks, and FBTB, here’s what was revealed.

Lord of the Rings: The most anticipated new theme kicks off in August with seven sets: Gandalf Arrives, Shelob Attacks, Uruk-Hai Army, Attack on Weathertop, The Mines of Moria, The Battle of Helm’s Deep, and The Orc Forge. Yes, Gollum is featured in Shelob’s Attack, and we get a tiny ring to slip on Frodo. You can see it in the photo above. Other news includes a new horse figure with rotating legs and the fantastically detailed figures. You have to purchase multiple sets to get the whole Fellowship, the collection is sure to be very popular. I’d expect Hobbit sets to come next year, after the movie’s Christmas release.

Super Heroes: Last year featured DC sets, so we get Marvel and the Avengers this year. Many sets seem to be pulled directly from the upcoming Avengers film, so we see a lot of Loki as the main villain. Captain America’s Avenging Cycle looks to be a great low-cost set for my favorite Avenger, and we also get Wolverine’s Chopper Showdown, Loki’s Cosmic Cube Escape, Hulk’s Hellcarrier Breakout, and Quinjet Aerial Battle. The minifig stars are undoubtedly Iron Man, with a flip-up helmet, and the Hulk’s massive new mold. He looks a lot like the big Orcs from a few years ago or the Wampa.

Monster Hunters: This is a new theme, featuring a Halloween-style monster paired with a hunter in each set that resembles something out of Adventurers. The theme looks interesting, but it’s clearly not a priority for LEGO this year. It probably won’t sell terribly well next to the promising LOTR and Star Wars sets that always steal the show. Personally, it reminds me a lot of the classic movie monsters from the old LEGO Studios sets in the early 2000s. Figures look good, with Wolfman, Dracula, Frankenstein, the Mummy, a new Ghost, and a Swamp Creature. The heroes also look great, and I particularly like the robotic arm on one, à la Ash from the Evil Dead series. The whole thing seems very retro.

Star Wars: Three new planet sets: Yavin 4, Bespin, and Endor. The included vehicles are a mini X-Wing, a Cloud Car, and an AT-ST. For traditional models, we get General Grievous’s Malevolence flagship (obviously nowhere near minfig scale), Saesee Tin’s Jedi Starfighter, the Desert Skiff, Jabba’s Palace, and Gungan Sub. There are also some Expanded Universe sets this year, with Striker-Class Starfighter and Fury-Class Interceptor. I’m not familiar with those ships, so there isn’t much for me to say. All reports confirm that Jabba’s Palace is the standout, with a posable Jabba, Salacious Crumb, Boussh, and Oola. I am eager to see the new Queen Amidala figure included with the Gungan Sub. As usual, minifies are the standout from what is an increasingly stale lineup of redesigned sets.

Friends: Eight more sets on the horizon, with lots of horses (modified so they can be ridden this time). Mia’s Bedroom, Andrea’s Bunny House, Olivia’s Speedboat, Heartlake Flying Club, and Summer Riding Camp are very close to what I predicted with my snooping through the instruction manual a few weeks ago.

Miscellaneous: Ninjago gets a green ninja and a massive new dragon, as well as the new snake villains. Series 7 of the collectible minifigs was on display, and some massive new Technic sets. There are three Advent Calendars this year – Star Wars, with a Santa Darth Maul, City, and Friends. Now new sets are slated for Dino or Cars, and Pirates of the Caribbean, Alien Conquest, and Harry Potter are set to exit in July. Looks like it’s time for me to get my hands on Earth Defense HQ before it’s retired!

That’s about all the notable news, though I recommend looking at Brickset for a more detailed coverage broken down by theme. I look forward to seeing more pictures later in the year, but this is a nice taste of 2012 so far. It looks like a good year, depending on the quality of the LOTR sets.

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