Well my friends, happy 2012! May your Mayan calendar end with a whimper not a bang! However, if you are a geek and your morning is in need of a bang, I present the following:
A french site Lord of the Brick has located some of the preliminary pictures of the upcoming Lord of the Rings LEGO sets. I must admit that they are not finished products so the sets, when they arrive in May, may change a little. But it appears as though with purchase of all of the sets you can get the entire fellowship and a pretty big collection of Uruk-hai, Nazgul, and Rohirrim soldiers. Wowsers! Let's look at each of the grainy, confidential pictures, shall we? Spoilers after the break!
The first calls back the introduction of Gandalf in the first movie of trilogy The Fellowship of the Ring. Here we have Gandalf riding in his carriage complete with fireworks and brown horse. Sand-green shirted Frodo greets him and rides in with him so that the movie can run through a great deal of expository dialogue. LEGO set 9469 Gandalf Arrives contains Gandalf and Frodo. It is the smallest set and probably will be the least expensive.
The next set we see following the story through Fellowship is 9472 Attack on Weathertop. It is the only set to contain Merry Brandybuck but also contains two Nazgul. Frodo and Strider (Aragorn) fill out the cast for this set. (Incidentally I'd like to point out that I have already made nine Ringwraiths and they look almost exactly like the two figures pictured. I used Dementor black robes and dark bley [bluish-grey] hands and everything!) Also note the microfigs in the ornamentation of the Weathertop Tower.
The final Fellowship set is 9473 The Mines of Moria. It is a smorgasbord of characters and contains most of the fellowship including Gimli, Boromir, Legolas, Pippin, two skeletons (dead dwarves?), two goblins, and "oh no, they have a cave troll!" This is the only place thus far to get Pippin as well (Though perhaps we'll see Merry and Pippin redressed as a Rohirrim rider and a Gondorian castle guard later?) Man this stuff is awesome!
Next up we have two sets from The Two Towers. The first seems to be an elaborated army builder set. It is 9471 and it is currently called Uruk-Hai Army. It contains four Uruks and two of Rohan's finest. One, as you can see pictured is a horsed Rider of Rohan, and the other is a bearded man likely pressed into service in his homeland's time of need. The big thing about this set is of course the four enemies. Buying enough of these sets will outfit you with enough to actually take Helm's Deep. Saruman, you should have bought a few more of this set!
Set 9474 The Battle of Helm's Deep is of course the flagship set. In it, King Theoden and the three heroes from the fellowship battle a monstrously large force of five Uruks to save the (missing) citizenry of Rohan. The wall is present (hopefully with a lever that fractures it) and the front gate (perfect for tossing dwarfs at) and the great tower called the Hornburg (that hopefully contains the horn of Helm Hammerhand.) Theoren is fully resplendent on a horse and ready for Eomer to appear at the first light of the third day. My only regret is that Eowyn doesn't appear in this set.
The final set is (according to the movies) from Return of the King (though we all know that it is actually from the book The Two Towers). It is 9470 Shelob's Attack. This set is going to be a sought after bastard because it is the only place we see Sam and the first appearance of Gollum. Everyone knows Gollum and everyone is going to wants it, my precious. I appreciate that Sam appears to be holding the light of Elendil as he fights the enormous spider, Shelob. It is a pity that the only girl seen in these sets is the spider. Tolkien was very scant on female characters but hopefully LEGO (who already has a tendency to do this too) will go out of it's way to celebrate the few women that we do get in the trilogy.
Anyway, as soon as we get official pictures I will direct you to them immediately but in the mean time feel free to envision great builds and Balrogs taking up your time and LEGO building supplies. Enjoy dreaming with me!