I Scream Clone

Review: 9474 The Battle of Helm's Deep

   176 members have voted

  1. 1. How do you rate this set?

    • Poor (flattened Uruk Hai)
      0
    • Below Average height like Gimli
      3
    • Average number of bricks per wall
      11
    • Above Average good looks like Aragorn
      51
    • Outstandingly stupendous with a rearing horse!
      111
  2. 2. What would you buy this set for?

    • The amazing figures
      17
    • The Castle design and parts
      31
    • Both
      128

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68 posts in this topic

It's time to dust off my Gold Reviewers Academy Teacher status and bring you all another massive review. This time it is the flagship Lord of the Rings set; Helm's Deep. Read on to check it all out and take your time to absorb the details, comment and answer the multiple choice questions as well.

Without further ado I present: 9474 The Battle of Helm's Deep

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Gamli "By order of the King, the city must empty, we make for the refuge of Helm's Deep, do not burden yourselves with treasures, take only what possessions you need"

Gandalf "There is no way out of that ravine, Theoden is walking into a trap. He thinks he is leading them to safety. What they will get is a massacre."

Theme: Lord of the Rings

Set name: The Battle of Helm's Deep

Set Number: 9474

Price: 129.99(US); 99.99 (UK); 199.99 (Aus); 149.99 Euro (France)

Pieces: 1313 (8 minifigure + extras)

Year of release: 2012

Bricklink

Review: Lord of the Rings: 9474 The Battle of Helm's Deep

Box Art

Front

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Rear

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Top

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Contents spilling forth!

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The next two pictures show the box containing 9 sealed and numbered bags, I admit at first i thought it confusing to have two '6' bags but upon noticing the contents weren't identical I flipped the bag around and noticed the fine print up the correct way

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The instructions come sealed in a cardboard backed polybag with a fairly small sticker sheet.

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4 instruction booklets detailing the build.

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The first page of booklet 1 gives a great breakdown of the bags required for each booklet as you progress.

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Last page of booklet 1 showing the completed gatehouse and two featured Lord of the Rings sets.

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Back of booklet one

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Contents of bag one

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The figure parts in bag one

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Assembled Theoden, Uruk Hai and new reddish brown horse

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Rearing horse, and the angry boys (great name for a rock band?)

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Happier times in Middle Earth

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Closer look at the helmets

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The build begins!

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Progress for bag one

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Completed bag one stage reveals a not quite completed gatehouse. Note how the designers have mixed in the 45 degree corner bricks with the headlight and cheese corner technique.

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Bag 2 contents

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Helm's Deep entry gaining its familiar shape.

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Who doesn't love brick-built doors!? I think this is a real nice addition to the set and gives the door a much more impressive size when it comes to keeping out the Uruk Hai army.

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Complete gatehouse bag 2 stage

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Of note is the nice Mitgardian flag scheme, the opening timber sections above the gate. Which allow for projectiles to be thrown down upon enemies and the mini catapult. The mini catapult probably couldn't throw the giant boulders seen in Two Towers, but it adds playability.

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Moving on to bag 3, the instructions show the curved ramp up to the gatehouse and one of the two curved castle wall sections.

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Contents of bag 3 showing some more great hinge pieces, dark tan plate, double cheese and more sand green goodies (one of my personal favourite colours)

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A nice little Easter egg amongst the build, very cool in my opinion :thumbup:

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Second Uruk Hai warrior, this version is the same but comes with chest armour to match his helmet and sword.

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2 versions of an angry face with back torso printing again.

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Ready to join the legion and march on Helm's Deep.

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None shall pass, though you could sneak around the sides I suppose.

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Finished ramp up to the gate house and curved side wall. The sand green mottling helps to give the impression of moss covered walls and ramp. A nice touch.

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Shifty side entrance.

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The large parts from bag 4. Some nice corner bricks and hinge bricks will always come in handy for future castle projects.

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The smaller parts from the bag within the large bag. More sand green goodies, wedge plates and 'brick' bricks.

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Aragorn and another armour wearing Uruk Hai. I really like the look of Aragorn here, the belt, long coat, even the necklace from Arwen.

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Check out the caboose! It's what everyone in Gondor is wearing this season.

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On to the second of the curved wall sections. They are essentially the same build, just some slight differences in ground cover and wall mottling.

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The window designs are a nice solution and realistic, as you don't want huge openings to allow the enemy easy access.

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Almost done. What I found with these curved sections was it was best to push out the middle panel as much as you could, whilst making sure the other sections were fairly symmetrical, otherwise the plates wouldn't fit on top of the walls well.

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You can appreciate the efforts of the designers to raise the whole castle up to allow for rockwork and the ramp to be seemlessly integrated on the front of the set.

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Complete side wall. Note the dark bley 2x2 plate. This is an attachment point for other wall sections.

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This part of the build includes a great ladder to storm the walls. Just like in the Two Towers when all the ladders are raised to assault the walls. Great added detail.

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With Uruk Hai attached to storm the wall.

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Booklet 3 Bell Tower

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Open booklet 3

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Pieces laid out from bag 5, including some nice 45 degree corner bricks.

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Gimli sans beard, The torso print really looks great, though it will be mostly covered by his beard. With no flesh printing it could easily be used with yellow LEGO dwarves as well.

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Gimli has back torso printing as well. Check out my angry face.

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The level of printed detail on Gimli's helmet is exceptional. He is packing a set of axes, one short and the other long for maximum cleaving of Uruk Hai.

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Ready to smite some enemies

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Helmet removed, I knew he was bald underneath, you can't wear a helmet all those years without hair loss.

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Completed bag five of the build, probably the least impressive part of the whole build, but it will look better once bag 6 is added.

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Time to get started on bag 6, the tower top.

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Large parts from bag 6. There are a fair amount of the 2x4 roof top pieces in light grey.

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Small parts from bag 6.

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Progress shot of the tower, complete with a look at the SNOT wall details.

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You know it's high when it takes three ladders to reach the top!

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Time for bag 7, the exploding wall section.

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Large parts bag 7

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Small parts bag 7 including some nice trans dark blue tiles and more double cheese and sand green goodies :thumbup: Not quite sure why there are two identical capes though, maybe i was just lucky.

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Time to take a look at Haldir and the Uruk Hai Beserker. Love the armour plate on the back of the Uruk Hai, very Frankenstein. Haldir has angry face and more great back torso printing too. :thumbup:

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Hair with ears attached is always good. The torso of Haldir is really well done with the gold ornate plating. Beserker has the white hand prints on the torso and a top notch head print to boot.

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Progress shot of the exploding wall section

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I like how this shot turned out, can feel some action about to get started.

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Illustrating the lever to "blow the wall up"

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Illustrating the finger that will launch unholy destruction upon the castle wall!

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It's tricky to launch the mechanism and hold a camera still and take the pic. ( I need a tripod :blush: )

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Total destruction!

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Instruction booklet 4: Almost done now, hope you are still hanging in there, this set is a beauty!

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First page of booklet 4

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Large parts from bag 8

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Small parts from bag 8

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More great curved castle walls.

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Done, moving on to the last bag next.

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Great hall interior without the stickers.

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With stickers. I actually quite like the look of the two stickers, they do add to the overall feel of the hall.

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Great Hall from front on.

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Spare parts anyone? Not sure how I ended up a 1x2 bley brick spare, might need to retrace my steps.... :wacko:

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Finished instructions picture.

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A nice two page poster of all the Lord of the Rings characters posed stylistically which adds some real dynamic to the figures.

Page 1.

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Page 2.

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You can also add the Uruk Hai Army set to the wall of the Helm's Deep set to add to the imposing feeling of more Uruk Hai attacking. I guess you could really build up an army this way. :thumbup:

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Don't forget the game

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Time to take a look at the complete set in all it's glory

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Sneaking out the side door!

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Flying Aragorn!

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Blow the wall!

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Storm the walls!

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Theoden is overseeing the battle before launching into the melee

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Birds eye view

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Even the interior feels like the movie with the curved streets

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Secret door

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Simply majestic

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It's imposing to say the least

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Conclusion

Playability: 9/10 (With the minifig launcher, secret door, catapult, gatehouse doors, lowering ramp between tower and great hall, exploding wall and more, it ranks highly)

Design: 10/10 (This breaks out of the square castle designs from the past, similar elements to the joust, a real 'older' child set)

Minifigs: 10/10 (Amazing minifigures! You get 8 beautifully detailed figures quite often with double head printing, front and back torso printing and awesome new weapon molds)

Pieces: 10/10 With some great castle parts it will set people up to have a go at their own castles in no time at all. The addition of sand green mottling throughout, the corner bricks, double cheese slopes, panels, wedge plates, and hinge bricks/plates, you get lots of useful parts)

Overall: Well I guess it gets a whopping 9.75/10! The set is beautifully crafted, I am a big fan of curved structures for castle walls as it lends itself to a far more realistic true castle shape, and the LEGO designers have achieved this well. The wall mottling as mentioned earlier helps to further ground Helm's Deep in reality (all be it movie reality). The top notch design of the figures leaves me wanting to collect the whole Lord of the Rings line just for the exquisite printing, like on Gimli's helmet. I can't wait to see the dwarves in the Hobbit sets! If you are in any doubt about this set, I say get it, so many useful parts, cool figures and a well designed set that has playability, not to mention the army building set 9471, which will quickly fill your ranks of an Uruk Hai army, whilst giving you more castle walls and siege weapons to attack Helm's Deep.

Thanks to TLG for the opportunity to review the flagship Lord of the Rings set, and I hoped you enjoyed my review.

Cheers

ISC.

Want to win this set?

Head over to the Guilds of Historica and enter the Round 4 Challenge!

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Nice review. The best castle ever released, in my mind. :thumbup:

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Fantastic review of a fantastic set. I never tire of reading about and looking at this set, it's a magnificent piece of art that almost (but only almost) makes me forgive LEGO for discontinuing Kingdoms.

It has a great look with great colors and great figs that can (for the most part) be yellow-ified. It has many interesting and useful parts and for once, I LEGO actually put out a licensed set that has a fair price! I consider this set to be the best Castle set since Medieval Market Village.

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Thanks for the review! The set is indeed awesome. I agree with Callmepie, this may be the best castle ever released by Lego. The price is, even in Sweden, quite fair.

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Thanks for the review! a quick question ~ are the two brown doors the same or opposites? can't wait to get 1 (or 2!) of these sets.

~Legonardo~

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Cheers for the nice comments guys, it was a big review!

Thanks for the review! a quick question ~ are the two brown doors the same or opposites? can't wait to get 1 (or 2!) of these sets.

~Legonardo~

They are both left sided opening doors.

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Great review ISC. I really should put my set together soon, these LotR sets look great and love the minifigs and weapons especially!

Great photos!

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Thanks for the review!

A very cool set and I hope Lego makes more sets with Gimli, he's fantastic :sweet:

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This set looks absolutely amazing! And your review to show this set in all its glory was excellent too. :wink: I love all that deail on the walls.

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Fantastic review of a fantastic set. I never tire of reading about and looking at this set, it's a magnificent piece of art that almost (but only almost) makes me forgive LEGO for discontinuing Kingdoms.

It has a great look with great colors and great figs that can (for the most part) be yellow-ified. It has many interesting and useful parts and for once, I LEGO actually put out a licensed set that has a fair price! I consider this set to be the best Castle set since Medieval Market Village.

I share your sentiments - I was a bit annoyed that Kingdoms made way for LOTR but I wasn't going to let that put me off buying some of the LOTR sets. After building Helm's Deep yesterday I've realised that this a really awesome set thats full of useful castle parts, as illustrated in the pics above. And the minifigs are pretty incredible, especially Theoden. The new horse also gets a thumbs up from me.

I picked it up for $100 plus shipping from B&N and then picked up another one from the local sales in Australia. Glad I did.

Half tempted to man the walls with Dragon Knights though... :wink:

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Excellent review, 'I Scream Clone'! :sweet:

With every review I see of this set, I just want it more and more. I need to choose between this set and the 2010 Hogwarts Castle for the castle I get this year during Christmas. :drool:

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They are both left sided opening doors.

:sceptic: not the best from a builders perspective but excellent set either way!

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Awesome review mate! Built the set over the wkend and have to agree that it is very well made

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Thanks for the review. I want this set now even more then before.

Only downside for me is that it needs more troops. More Uruk-Hai en off-course Elves (Haldir is there but no Elves-archers?) and a couple of more Rohan-defenders. Would have loved that Rohan-veteran soldier with the one eye from the movie to be in it.

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Wow. Awesome set. Licensed has been quite fantastic recently with HP, PoP etc and the LotR line appears to be simply continuing the run. Great review.

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Excellent review, ISC. I totally enjoyed reading it. This is one of the best epic looking flagship set for the LOTR theme. This is a 'MUST HAVE' set even if you could only afford one. Just beautifully done with a nice array of minifigures and possible endless playing to build and increase the modular walls with the latter set. :wub:

Can't wait to build mine and play with it! Thank you for sharing this review!

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LEGO really is going all-out with the castles this year. First Lord Vampyre's humble abode, and now this beauty! :drool:

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Nice and very detailed review!

Somehow it seems everyone but me is in love with the castle itself. Granted, it's different from other LEGO castles, but I don't know, even with all the functionality like the exploding wall and even the new bricks I just can't help the feeling that it just seems a bit... dull visually? I guess I just miss the extra bit of color variation like what is found in the 7946 King's Castle (though obviously Helm's Deep always was basically all-grey in the movie), as well as being a little disappointed with the size. Still not a bad castle by any means, though. And as far as building it seems that there's not many big castle wall element sections used, which is nice.

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Nice and very detailed review!

Somehow it seems everyone but me is in love with the castle itself. Granted, it's different from other LEGO castles, but I don't know, even with all the functionality like the exploding wall and even the new bricks I just can't help the feeling that it just seems a bit... dull visually? I guess I just miss the extra bit of color variation like what is found in the 7946 King's Castle (though obviously Helm's Deep always was basically all-grey in the movie), as well as being a little disappointed with the size. Still not a bad castle by any means, though. And as far as building it seems that there's not many big castle wall element sections used, which is nice.

The castle itself isn't anything I would put on display, i love the set for the parts! Although it is an improvement from previous castles IMO in terms of curved (and brick built!) walls and excellent figs!

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The castle itself isn't anything I would put on display, i love the set for the parts! Although it is an improvement from previous castles IMO in terms of curved (and brick built!) walls and excellent figs!

...and I think there in lies the difference in Helm's Deep vs other castle sets. It is an excellent version based off the movie, of a walled city, gatehouse and tower. It is not an enclosed castle full of large wall elements like we generally see in Castle themed sets, and much like you I see it as an excellent way to see how LEGO designers like to build walls, and makes for an exceptional parts pack for castle builders who want more smaller parts/higher level of detail in their own designs.

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Thanks for the great review! I like the set a lot, it's one of my favourite ones from the theme. I loved LOTR books, and liked the films. The recreation of the scene is really nicely done. The parts are absolutely fantastic, while figures with their fine detailing are amazingly done. At the moment, I'm seriously considering getting the set for parts only and selling the figures. However, looking through the photos made me reconsider selling the figs. Anyway, the set is a fantastic creation and it's worth the price with so many incredibly detailed prints and a fantastic selection of bricks.

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That's one massive review ISC :wink:

It's a very unique set with lots of nice techniques and especially awesome parts. But since I'm not a big fan of those modular castle sections I'm gonna pass on this one. Rather prefer a castle in one solid piece I suppose :tongue:

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Half tempted to man the walls with Dragon Knights though... :wink:

Go for it!

I myself will, once I get it, tweak it to fit in with Kingdoms and use it as the outer wall for my MMV-based village.

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Great review! I love this set and I want it even more through your review. It's huge, the minifigs are amazing, and it's so detailed! It almost looks like more of a MOC than a set. How long did it take you to build it?

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Thanks 'ISC' for an AWESOME review of an AWESOME set....now it just re-enforces my reasons for layby-ing it at Target...along with two other LOTR sets.

The figures :thumbup: , the build :thumbup: and the playability :excited: !

Though the tiger will have to wait to get his Helms Deep....300 buck layby to be paid for first ! :cry_sad:

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