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LEGO releases new Hobbit sets in December

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With the second movie installment of "The Hobbit" due to hit theaters on December 13, 2013, LEGO has put new Hobbit themed sets on shelves just in time for the Christmas shopping season. LEGO released the new sets in early December to coincide with the movie's arrival and give LEGO fans a few more items to add to Santa's list for the holidays.

There are four new sets available, ranging in price from $19.99 for the Dol Guldur Ambush kit to $69.99 for the Dol Guldur Battle set. In between are the Mirkwood Elf Army for $29.99 and the Lake-town Chase for $49.99. Each set comes with characters from the new film and recreates key scenes. Among the minifigures in the four sets are Bilbo Baggins, Thorin Oakenshield, Thranduil, Beorn, and Bard the Bowman.

These sets enhance the play value of the previously released LEGO Hobbit line but focus primarily on characters and locations specific to the second film. Tolkien fans who want the dwarf characters and Gandalf will need to pick up earlier sets like the $39.99 Barrel Escape and the $69.99 Unexpected Gathering kit, which recreates Bilbo's home in Bag End. Most of the Hobbit sets remain available in stores and at online retailers, but some of the first wave of Hobbit kits might be sold out with the looming holiday rush.

Check local retailers like Target and Walmart for the new Hobbit sets, but remember that Toys R Us typically marks LEGO sets up 20% or more above list, so use that as a last resort if your family's Middle-Earth fans are demanding Hobbit sets for Christmas. LEGO Shop at Home usually has a full selection of sets and now offers free shipping on orders over $75.

Other new LEGO sets for the holidays include fresh waves of the City, Ninjago, and Star Wars lines. LEGO Minecraft is also proving a hot item for the 2013 holidays, but the three sets released thus far are proving elusive thanks to eager shoppers snapping them up.

Get a look at the new Hobbit movie, "The Desolation of Smaug," by watching the trailer at the top of this article.

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