If you’re anything like me, while you might like the ‘generic’ minifigs that come in the blind packet series, you might also be yearning for some of your favourite movie characters in minifig form. Last week I revealed my favourite minifigure in my collection, Queen Amidala. She was part of the Gungan Sub set, which is very nice, but I don’t really have anywhere to display it. And the set cost R999, making her a fantastically expensive minifigure.
This brings me to my current dilemma. I would really love to have the entire fellowship from The Lord of the Rings, not to mention all the dwarves from The Hobbit as well. As you can see from the above-mentioned price, Lego is rather expensive in South Africa. Admittedly, it’s not really cheap anywhere, but if we look at the recommended price of that Gungan Sub set, US$70, that works out to around R640. So here we’re paying nearly R400 extra on this particular set. There are similar mark ups for other Lego sets, probably due to shipping costs and other fees related to the import of the product. Either way, it’s a lot of money for a few minifigures.
This prompted me to investigate the possibility of simply buying the minifigures I wanted online, but I wasn’t sure if this would actually be more cost effective. So I decided to actually sit down and work out some numbers.
Let’s have a look at collecting all nine minifigures in the fellowship of the Ring. (There are a couple of Lord of the Rings Lego sets on the way later this year, but I’ll just look at what’s available right now.)
Sam is only available in the set Shelob Attacks. The set also contains Frodo and a Gollum with a unique expression. So a solid start to the collection, with two of the nine fellowship members plus Gollum.
The set costs R349 ($20). That’s R116 per minifig… not a great deal, really. The rest of the set is Shelob herself, and a small cave. Nice, but I doubt I would want to display Shelob. Over on BrickLink, Sam is going for a little over R50. While I’m at it, Gollum is going for somewhere in the region of R45.
Another hobbit only found in one set. This time it’s Attack on Weathertop. This is a rather nice set that includes Weathertop itself, as well as the Ring, Sting, and numerous other weapons accessories. There are also two ringwraiths on black horses, plus Aragorn and Frodo.
This is a large and expensive set, however. It costs R800 ($60), working out at R160 per minifig. That’s even worse than the last set, Meanwhile, you can pick up Merry at BrickLink for a little over R50. Aragorn is sitting around the R40 mark.
Next up is Legolas. He comes in two variations, Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. The version shown here is his LOTR outfit, which is currently only available in the Mines of Moria set. Sometime this year, he will also be available in the Pirate Ship Ambush set.
The Mines of Moria is a large and therefor expensive set: R1199 or $80. Still, it comes with a nice array of minifigures. This is also the only place to get Boromir and Pippin for your fellowship. The set also has Gimli, 2 goblins, a cave troll and some skeletons. That’s about R150 per minifig. The set itself is really rather cool as well, right down to the dwarven runes carved above the door. Looking over at BrickLink, you can expect to pay at least R80 for Legolas. Boromir is around R45, Gimli R35, and Pippin would set you back about R40 as well.
Assuming you had purchased the above three sets, you would just need one more to complete the fellowship:
Gandalf is currently only available in the Gandalf Arrives set (though he also appears in some sets from the Hobbit, and will be available as Gandalf the White in future LOTR sets). This moderately priced set (R199 or $12.99) also contains a horse and an alternative Frodo Baggins, as well as a cart filled with various odds and ends.
The Final Maths
So, let’s add up the numbers.
Buying the four sets needed, Mines of Moria (R1199), Gandalf Arrives (R199), Shelob Attacks (R349) and Attack on Weathertop (R799), would set you back about R2500. You would also have three Frodos, but no other doubles.
Ordering the minifigures off BrickLink: Frodo (R30) + Sam (R50) + Merry (R50) + Pippin (R40) + Gandalf the Grey (R20) + Aragorn (R40) + Gimli (R35) + Legolas (R80) + Boromir (R45) = R390. You would need to factor in a little extra for shipping and fluctuating prices so R500 is probably a better estimate. Even then, that’s an average of R55 per minifigure. Not bad at all. You won’t get all the minifigures you would have if you bought the sets, but those can be purchased individually as well.
So there you have it. For a minifigure collector who doesn’t have the space for full sets, buying the minifigures individually is 5 times as cost-effective! (Admittedly, the individual prices are not always this good – Queen Amidala is going for over R200.)