Lego Otaku

Review: 9474 The Battle of Helm's Deep

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Another review to do since no one else did it yet. I had a choice of this or other 2 sets from Toys R Us. $80 for Attack on Weathertop seemed terrible with just a bit over 400 pieces total so I'll let someone else do it. I did get the Mines of Moria in addition to this one but I'll do Mines later as it's well past my bed time :hmpf:

Battle of Helm's Deep is the biggest of all Lord of the Ring sets so far and I spent some 2 and 1/2 hours on it including time wasted admiring the design and taking pictures.

PS if you have a 6 month old hyperactive kitten and a cheap pajama on, don't drop any piece!!! :cry_sad: I hope I can still have children after what happened tonight...

On to the review.

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A fairly large box, about the biggest standard LEGO box size that aren't LEGO exclusive.

1,368 pieces (excluding ridiculous amount of extra pieces)

MSRP: $130 USD. Toys R Us price: $150 USD That comes to about 9.5 cents per piece MSRP and 11 cents per piece TRU price. Decent price-piece ratio but I'd wait for a good sale.

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There wasn't much empty space inside the box. The manuals and sticker (ACK!!! DSS!!! EVIL!!! :thumbdown: ) were in its own bag with cardboard backing to keep them from coming in wrinkled.

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A total of 9 bags, each with 1 or 2 smaller bags inside.

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4 instruction books for the entire build. I remember when a 1,000 piece build could be done in a single 20 page book. Now that was challenging. Today's instruction have you doing 2 or 3 unique pieces (as many as 8 or 10 each) per step. The color is clear and there's very little chance of missing a step or something. All the black pieces are outlined in white.

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evil dreaded sticker sheet. Only 6 stickers total on the sheet, the smallest one goes onto a 2x3 tile with clip. So it's not hard to apply them straight and no STAMP (sticker across multiple parts)

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8 minifigs total. King has printed breastplate in addition to printed torso. Also the King and Gimili has printed helmet. Nice detail too. Haldir's pointed ear are on the yellow head piece so the ear is transferable to any minifig with flesh colored head.

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All of the heads and torso have 2 sided prints. That's a lot of printing!

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New horse with pose-able hind legs. This set comes with brown horse that otherwise looks similar to classic brown horse.

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First couple pages of the instruction showing the 9 bags and 9 main sections to build the set.

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This set has lots of square macaroni bricks (36), masonry profile bricks (40), sand green parts (53 1X1, 10 1X4, 24 1X2 tile, and 2 1x2 inverted slope) :wub: and more 1x4 hinged brick and plates than you would ever need.

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End of first bag. I really liked the brick built wall and using 1x2xn° panels used sideway to make narrow silted windows.

I did find one minor issue with building the walls. It is fairly flimsy until you install the plates on top. These part could prove a bit challenging for little kids who likes to assembled roughly or push pieces together hard as the wall can break apart.

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Other angle of the first part, with the flipper on the side. Hint: Gimili still don't like it. :wink:

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brick built wooden doors for the front entry way.

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Front view with the door and flaps on top added.

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Curved ramp leading to the front door

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One side of the curved wall done. This is after completing bag #3. Notice the secret door where the heroic duo can sneak out to jump on the army and try to stop them from breaking down the main doors.

I liked the use of sand green to give an appearance of lichen covered rocks.

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An easter egg? A skull hidden under the ramp. :wink:

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Brick built ladder. The hook on the end does not rotate like the movie but it still hooks into the wall just fine as pictured below.

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Bag #4 done, shown with ladder.

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Honkin' big horn there. Creative use of elephant's trunk for mouth piece. The crate at the bottom is empty so probably just to add decoration.

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The one big weakness of Helm's deep with a bomb next to it ready to go off!

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Same section, reverse side. The grey lever there triggers the "explosion" like in the movie.

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...and after it's been blown up. Easy to reassemble. Easy to blow up again.

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more interesting parts

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Here is where I got gripe with LEGO. After beautifully brick built walls and sections, they get cheap in the last part and give us 7 prefab wall panels. Maybe the R&D spent too much time making the front look good and rushed the last part? :sceptic:

Brick built throne looks nice and is adjustable so even Jabba the Hutt would be able to sit there.

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Front view of throne room. The plate on the side swings out and is used as walkway to reach other part of the keep.

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Top view of the completed keep

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And now the left over parts:

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One extra cloak may have been a fluke because 2 I got were stuck together. I almost never get extra cloak in little white box.

5 flame, 6 dark green cheese wedges, 7 bley cheese wedges, and a few others.

Overall I enjoyed the build and picked up a few new trick.

Playability: this Keep should have decent play factor with catapults (one to toss the dwarf), exploding wall section, and uses technic pin to connect sections differently. The box even suggested getting 9471 army set to connect with this. Or you could buy another Helm's Deep set and combine them for larger and more fancy keep. If you do buy second Helm's Deep set, be sure to replace the cheap looking 7 wall panels with better walls.

This set is defiantly good to buy and the price is not too bad for the size of the set with 8 minifigs. Although you could wait for a good sale and buy the army set along with this to have more minifigs and more playability.

Pieces: there are numerous interesting pieces. Sand green isn't common color and this set has lots of it. Lots of masonry wall bricks, bley cheese slopes, and 1x2 bley cheese slopes, etc should be good for parting out for castle mocs.

price: 4.5/5 (get it on sale if you can wait)

Fun factor: 5/5

part variety: 5/5

movie accuracy: 4.5/5 (could have used a battering ram)

Now it's bed time for me. I'll do Mines of Moria next if no one else posts em.

EDIT: I forgot to mention this set comes with a new orange brick separator!

UPDATED WITH NEW PICTURES!!

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And... (upload still in process, ready by about 7 PM EDT)

http://youtube.com/q3BvfD1Tq1I

Edited by Lego Otaku

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Nice review, pretty thorough.

To be fair, just 7 Panels in a build that size isn't bad. They give the central tower height without adding too much in terms of weight. More weight means more plastic, more plastic means more cost. Whilst we all want more for less, there's a fundamental limit in how much a gram of ABS costs. I've been pretty ambivalent to LOTR theme so far but I'm warming to the builds.

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Thanks for that! You did a fine and fair review. Definitely looking forwards to getting this set A LOT!

Looks like this set could really do with more figures, although the 8 in teh set are all winners. I don't really mind the large panneled brick walls in the keep that much, but mostly because I will have it on display with the throneroom hardly visable. I really do think the designers did a fine job in recreating a pretty big fortress within their design constraints (driven by piece-count and price-point).

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Hmm, so the main banner is a sticker. I am not sure how I like that. It might be a good thing, so you can apply the same sticker to banners of different colors.

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Thanks for the review! Excellent set. Yesterday I watched The Two Towers (again :wink: ) and I must say that I am fairly impressed that LEGO managed to make these so close to the original. It really is a convincing set.

I also love the figures - especially Haldir :wub: What I like here is that there is a decent amount of bad guys, especially if you add the Uruk Hai set.

I am a bit disappointed that there are some stickers, but that's nothing too dramatic.

Regarding the walls, I guess it is a matter of whether the glass is half full or half empty: I actually think it is great that most of the wall is brick built. :laugh:

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PS if you have a 6 month old hyperactive kitten and a cheap pajama on, don't drop any piece!!! :cry_sad: I hope I can still have children after what happened tonight...

oh...

great review, totally wanting this set, not yet sure of the NZ price though, will probably still get one.

=Legonardo=

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Thanks for the review! Though I am not into LOTR, this set looks good for parts!

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I'm extremely impressed by the look and building techniques used here, with so many small pieces and new ways to present an official LEGO set. It feels more "mature" than most (if not all) of the recent Kingdoms sets.

I will be waiting for a sale for this, but I will get it. I don't think I've been so excited for a set since MMV, and it's nice to see that most of the torsos can be used for non-fleshie figs as well.

Outstanding set and a good review!

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This needs more pictures of the part where the tower connects to the wall and rest of the castle, there are almsot no pictures of that anywhere.

the little area under roof etc.

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Whoa, have you ever been subconsciously drooling? Nice reivew! It looks like Lego went all out on this set, which is really, really great. I just wish that I could get this set.

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Thanks for the review. I'll be looking to pick this up. I was thinking about adding 2 wall sections from the Uruk-Hai Army set. You wouldn't by chance have 2 sets and be able to take a pic of what that looks like? Doesn't hurt to ask. :classic:

Thanks for the review! Excellent set. Yesterday I watched The Two Towers (again :wink: )

Oh you know a bunch of us will be watching the trilogy over the weekend as we build. :laugh:

Edited by sharky

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oh...

great review, totally wanting this set, not yet sure of the NZ price though, will probably still get one.

=Legonardo=

You're from New Zealand?

LOTR toys are probably hugely popular where you live, right?

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Thank you for doing this review, this is the set I have been craving ever since I saw the prelim pics. Now how can I justify buying two of these to my fiancee....hmmm a puzzler.

Cheers

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Thank you for doing this review, this is the set I have been craving ever since I saw the prelim pics. Now how can I justify buying two of these to my fiancee....hmmm a puzzler.

Cheers

Just buy 2 and stuff the bags in one box, and no one will be any the wiser. :wink:

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Thanks for the great review. I think I will definitely pick one or two up, especially if they go on sale for just a little bit.

You have a top view of the completed set; perhaps you could add a photo of the completed set from the front? We can sort of see it in the box cover, but there's a lot of other stuff going on in that pic. And if you could link in a picture of Helms Deep from the movie right below it (or side to side) for comparison, that would be totally awesome. (Am I asking too much? :blush: )

To be fair, just 7 Panels in a build that size isn't bad. They give the central tower height without adding too much in terms of weight. More weight means more plastic, more plastic means more cost.

The cost of the plastic and manufacturing is actually very low, about 10-15% of the retail price. So it's a factor, definitely. I think that brick building those panels was probably more of an issue for packaging and shipping. The box is apparently pretty full already, so brick building those would make it fuller (or bigger), and more weight == higher shipping costs. Plus more pieces either means a higher price (which they probably wanted to avoid) if you keep the price per brick constant, or a lower price per brick (if you keep the total price constant). They probably wanted to avoid making the price per brick too low, since TLG seems to like to keep it in a fairly tight band.

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Great review! Overall, it's a worthy scene to be made into the centerpiece set of this initial LotR wave. I'm looking forward to getting this set, although I'll have to wait for a sale.

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Thanks for the great review. Being addicted to most things lego along with my 5 year old, we will most definitely pick this up. If I can afford 2 I will but that is a stretch. I have Mines of Moria and Shelob attacks on order. Awesome!

LMW

Edited by Legoman of War

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Thanks for the review. I already planned on getting this set, but this review just clinches it further. The figures look amazing (naturally). The build itself looks quite extensive and detailed, which is again no surprise. I love the sand green coloring with the light stone gray. Even the brick built doors are awesome. I can't wait for this set. The price is actually really good compared to what it could have been being licensed and a castle.

I think Haldir might be my favorite figure from this line, but I will have to wait and see everyone together up close and personal.

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Great review! I like the extra cape. It should go well with King Theoden while he's not wearing his armor!

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I think it's fine that the interior walls are panels. From a realism standpoint those walls wouldn't be built as solid as the exterior wall, so in a way it makes logical sense for them to be "weaker". I can also imagine that having a brick-built wall for the throne room would've made the room itself seem a lot smaller and cramped than it does with the panels. I think LEGO made a good choice here.

Besides, LEGO castles have been using panels for going on 30 years now so it's not like it isn't true to their castle-building style.

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Thanks for the kind reviews. I have more pictures and a 360° video of it plus quick video of exploding wall section coming up soon as I am done uploading. I'll edit the first page with new details and pictures.

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One thing......BRICK-BUILT walls ! :wub:

Thanks for a great review of Helm's Deep 'Lego Otaku'.....those figures, new horse, all those bricks not panels used in the Kingdom's....oh man, my arm is getting really twisted now and my wallet will be more empty by years end ! :laugh:

These are going to make me watch the films now.....yeah, I have never watched any of the LOTR films, sorry....I'm only human ! :laugh:

Can't wait for the next review to pop up. :grin:

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Thanks for the additional pictures, it really is a wonderful set.

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