So, I had a quick glance at the new Hobbit rulebook yesterday and I wasn't entirely surprised to see that GW had run into the same problem as other manufacturers of Hobbit merchandise. You see, in order for product tie-ins to be completed and ready for the release of a film, they need to be planned and produced fairly early in production. They rely on the script and concept art as a guide to how the finished film will look. Unfortunately, this can mean they were misled in the event that a film goes through last minute changes and deviates from the initial script and designs. The Hobbit went through more than its fair share of last minute changes.
Here are some examples of redundant merchandise:
Here we have action figures of Legolas and Tauriel and a Lego set of the scene in which they rescue the dwarves from the Mirkwood spiders. This scene was originally meant to occur in An Unexpected Journey. However, when the decision was made to split the Hobbit into three films this scene was bumped to movie 2. Now, neither Legolas or Tauriel appear in the first film. I guess nobody bothered to tell the toy manufacturers.
Here's another scene that got bumped to the second movie. However, the little blurb "Trilogy Preview Set" makes it seem like the just altered their packaging slightly when they realised this scene was from the wrong film.
Here's the real kicker. First, a minor detail. You see how they have blue flaming pine cones as well as red ones (as it was in the book). Well in the film they just have normal red flames, a change that I'm fine with as it keeps the magic subtle. They real problem with this set is the figurine of the villain, Azog, the orc riding the white warg. Azog is the primary villain for the first film and went through a number of changes and redesigns over the course of the film. At one point they changed the villain to Bolg and then back to Azog again. The lego figurine in this set is based on Azog as he appeared during filming, a sort of orc bikie with big spikes on his shoulders and a leather jacket made from dwarf faces. It was a pretty awesome design. Unfortunately, for some incomprehendable reason, they decided in post to replace bikie Azog with what I like to call "engineer Azog", a bad cgi giant albino orc with an unusual appendage. Which leaves me to wonder if they will make a last minute change to this lego set and include the "real" version of Azog.
Which brings us to the different versions of Azog and Bolg. Here is Azog the bikie:
Obviously the toy company has a huge pile of these redundant Azog figures so they've renamed them Yazneg and are selling them as Toys R Us exclusives in the UK. Anyone over there would be wise to pick up a few as they could become collectors items once the truth comes out.
And this happy chap is Bolg:
I especially love the little details, like how he is wearing a stolen dwarf beard. In the book Azog is mentioned in the backstory as having killed Thorin's grandfather and then being killed by Dain, his son Bolg turns up at the battle of five armies and kills Thorin. Originally the films were going to flip this, with Bolg killing Thorin's grandfather and Azog being his son. Clearly, the toy manufacturers are still under the impression the Bolg is the central villain.
Which brings us to GW:
Notice how they've released a model of Bolg but not Azog? And how the backstory in the rulebook says Azog was killed by Dain and that Bolg rules the orcs? Looks like nobody told GW about the last minute changes to the film. The best part is, they even scuptled a miniature of bikie Azog. There is a single picture of him in the rulebook, though I doubt he will ever get released. This goes a long way to explaining why there are no scenarios for the Hobbit game aside from various battles in goblintown. They didn't know what other scenes would even be in the film.