The Attack on Weathertop was released in May/ June 2012 as part of the initial LEGO Lord of the Rings wave. The set depicts a scene taking place in the Weatherhills, in between the Shire and Rivendell. Aragorn accompanies the hobbits Frodo, Sam, Pippin and Merry while the servants of Sauron, the nine ring wraiths, chase after them. Aragorn suggests to rest at the old and ruined watchtower of Amun Sul on the highest peak, the Weathertop.
While the ranger is examining the proximity, the hobbits' campfire attracts the attention of five ring wraiths. In the ensuing fight, Frodo is stabbed by a nazgul before Aragorn saves the day, fighting off the wraiths with sword and torch.
Price: 59.99 US$, 89.99 AU$
Piece count: 430
Minifigures included: 5 (Frodo, Aragorn, Merry and two ring wraiths)
The box and set. The top of the ruins reaches approximately 14 bricks in height.
The instruction manual is very clear. It contains 74 pages of building instructions, various advertisements for the upcoming Lord of the Rings (LotR) video game and other LotR LEGO sets, an overview of all LotR minifigures currently available and a list of included pieces.
An overview of the pieces in this set.
I enjoyed the build tremendously. It features the very clever use of hinged elements to create a round shape of the watchtower's back. The exterior is simply beautiful with all the uneven slopes, angles and colour variation.
The set's backside. The lose rock structure on the right side is included. Not the brown lever which opens a trapdoor into the interior.
The front is characterised by the camp site that can comfortably fit two to three hobbits and a spiralling stair case. The stairs are surprisingly sturdy and have a nice flat look. Obviously, this flatness comes at the expense of studs, and minifigures have a hard time posing on the staircase.
The stair case. Merry couldn't care less and rather enjoys his second breakfast.
The top part features combines nice looking textured bricks, microfigures from LEGO board games and classic castle pieces. It was pure joy to find elements I have had when I was a kid and marvel at the new pieces and building techniques. LEGO has come a long way from when I was a kid but still is still instantly recognisable for what I knew it.
The watch tower's interior is small but well designed. The tower ruins can be opened up to access the inside. LEGO Technic pins ensure stability in its closed state.
Frodo entering the watch tower's ruins. Note that the weapons are dark grey (just as the nazgul swords)
For a detailed, stop-motion animation of the complete build, I highly recommend the following video:
I think the designers have done a great job in recreating the scene in LEGO pieces. For a LotR fan looking to acquire a single set only, it has to be mentioned that multiple characters are absent: Sam and Pippin are equally missing as are three ring wraiths. Instead, two horses are included. The set depicts the watchtower of Amun Sul, only. The actual Weathertop is not included but opens up creative opportunities (LEGO or something else) to add it to the ruins.
The campsite is positioned exactly right, features the characteristic overhang and the adjacent staircase leading up to the top. The stairs themselves are more open compared with the movie. The ruins interior is a delight for LotR fans as it not only features ancient weapons and statues but also the platform that used to hold the palantir which was lost centuries ago at sea. While the proportions are obviously off (it's LEGO, after all), the set is large enough to recreate the scene and even fit another hobbit or two onto the top. Most importantly, the set is immediately recognisable even for casual movie fans (such as my wife). Well done, LEGO!
Aragorn marvels at the remains of the ancient palantir.
Strider to the rescue!
Minifigures, horses and accessories
If you keep in mind that my last minifigures just made the transition from uniform yellow faces to yellow faces with beards, you may understand how much I loved this figures. The printing is not only highly detailed but also accurate to the movie. On top of it, each character comes with two printed sides on his face. Frodo displays a determined look as well as that of somebody stabbed by a Morgul blade. The designers captured Merry's smirk and provided an alternative with a face ready for a fight. Aragorn's face has a high level of detail and shows a cool demeanour as well as a battle face. The things I don't like a minute: Aragorn's pants are held in the colour of his boots and thus too light. I'd have preferred the boots in the colour of his pants to give it a darker look. While it does not matter on the front, the figure's back side looks bland. Conveniently, LEGO inaccurately added a cloak to Eomer in set 9471. In case you possess both sets, I recommend swapping the cloak and giving it to Aragorn.
Frodo after being stabbed. The cape on Aragorn is not included.
Albeit not cloaked during the fight on Amun Sul's ruins, Aragorn wore a green cape on the way to Weathertop.
The ring wraiths feature dark plastic hoods, plain faces and a nicely designed cape. Their horses show the characteristic red eyes and metal face plate. Both horses are a new design (to me, anyway) in that they have articulated hind legs and rounder faces.
A nazgul. Note the three holes in this cape compared with the usual two. It ensures a tight fit around the figures shoulders.
The choice of accessories is marvellous! The hobbits have short capes, a backpack, a cooking pot and three food items (apple, carrot, chicken leg). In terms of weapons, there are three different sword molds. Aragorn and the ring wraiths carry long swords, Merry a short sword and Frodo wields his trademark sword Sting. Technically, he didn't possess the sword at this part of the story, and I would have preferred an extra basic short sword instead of an extra Sting. The weapons come in two different types of grey, nicely capturing the age of those weapons left in the ruins and those carried by the ring wraiths. The highlight in terms of accessories has to be the one ring. This piece fits into and onto a minifigures hand. LEGO was generous by including two extras in case you lose one or like to fool Sauron's minions in chasing after the wrong ring.
Merry's sword (light grey) and that left in the ruins of Amun Sul.
The spare parts. Note black bricks for the horses in case you don't like saddles and a brick separator.
Play features and appropriateness for children
For this younger ones, the set comes with the aforementioned trap door and two missiles (note the two brown dots at the camp side in a previous photo). Aside from these, the tower opens up, has a nice area to fight on top, walls to climb and a campfire site to role-play. There is not much to add aside from dreaming of being a child again...
Speaking of which, the LotR sets are much darker than the castle sets of the 80s and 90s. However, compared to orcs and uruk-hai, this set (along with Gandalf Arrives) features the struggle of good and evil without depictions of monstrous faces. It might thus be a suitable for very sensible parents.
I was thoroughly impressed with this set. I bought it for 71AUD$ and used a 25$ gift card on it, but even at the full price of 90$ I wouldn't have regretted the purchase. The build was fun, the minifigures are fantastic and the set looks as much as a collectible item as it looks like a toy. Compared to my other LotR sets, Helm's Deep and the Uruk-hai Army, I particularly like one aspect of "The Attack on Weathertop": Rather than depicting specific parts of a set (e.g. Mines of Moria, Orc Forge) or being open (e.g. Helm's Deep), Weathertop achieves a complete feel. While this is obviously possibly due to its comparatively smaller size, the set reminds me of my old Forestmen and Pirate sets. Possibly it is for this reason in combination with the LotR license, that 9472 is my favourite LEGO set of all time.
Out of 5, I consider the following for this set:
Build - Fun, interesting, clever, creative
Movie accuracy - Easily recognisable, perfect if not for lack of characters
Minifigures - The level of detail is something I never expected to see in any LEGO figure!
Playability - Regarding the set's size, lots to play with!
Note: I did not give an opinion on the usefulness of pieces for adult builders since I don't build myself. As such, I hope the piece overview from the instruction manual is useful. In addition, the linked video shows all bricks included.
Edited by Lynx, 01 June 2012 - 05:46 AM.