Review: 9474 The Battle of Helm's Deep
Posted 11 July 2012 - 11:47 AM
If I get time I'd like to widen the causeway and gate from 6 to 8 studs. At the moment Gandalf's cart can't get through. I guess that's a good thing because it's a set that sparks your imagination and encourages you to improve and expand the structure.
Posted 11 July 2012 - 05:31 PM
When I was a kid, we would play out all kinds of stories with our sets. The Falcon Knights always started in the Knight’s Castle, the Crusaders always started in the King’s Castle, and the Forestmen always started in their hideouts. The story possibilities were limitless. The King’s Castle naturally came with the 12 soldiers who lived there.
It’s REALLY strange to me that the Hornburg set comes with NONE of the soldiers who actually live there. So you really can only recreate that one scene (inadequately… no Rohirrim, no Dunlendings, no Huorns), rather than any of the other possible scenes in the entire history and alternate history of the Third Age and Fourth Age.
But maybe I’m the only one who “roleplayed” with his Lego?
That might be the problem that I have with this set and why I gave the Potter Castle the thumbs up instead. It's difficult to decipher a faction here, and a castle should have one. For HP it's the pupils, the PoP castle had a faction of soldiers, the Endor bunker had troopers for it. I have a similiar problem with the marvelous Queen Anne's Revenge, which doesn't really have a crew - well, it's 2 guys there. And there even are little sets and battle packs for upgrades, but they contain the very same 2 figures. Talking about all this, I have to assume that I want to have my playsets filled with minifigs and I am a sort of an army builder guy.
@Hive = I completely get your point, and it's only correct to emphasize on the fellowship characters and invest careful, not coming up with numerous battle packs, minifig designs etc etc. It all makes sense from a business perspective and it even makes sense from your players or collectors point of view, I am unluckily a bit more difficult to handle and despite the obviously great sets that PotC or LotR offers, I have already starting problems in imagining them together as playsets or on display. Indy was one of my favorite themes and as a nerd of explorations, archeology etc, I could endlessly play with this and imagine things but I also read that someone stated once, that the sets don't fit together and leave no room to actually interact or play with - and this still puzzles me. Enough said, I guess I'd rather stick to the 3rd XotX theme, the War of the Stars and dream my dream for an Indy revival..
Posted 11 July 2012 - 05:49 PM
Posted 11 July 2012 - 06:50 PM
I didn't mean to offend anyone, and I'd hardly call it a personal insult. It surely wasn't meant as a such. I'm merely trying to suggest that people might get more out of a set such as this if they forget the movie/book context for a second and let their imaginations roam free instead.
But that has always been the way with LEGO (or any other toy for that matter): if you want an abundance of figures that can oppose each other, you'll have to spend some money and invest in more than a few sets. Nothing new here in regards to this theme or even LEGO compared to other toy brands.
People are of course allowed to disagree with my viewpoint, but I'll repeat that LEGO sets today individually offers more opportunities for conflicts between opposing faction than in the old days. Would you have prefered the days of 6080 that came with 12 minifigs (yes I know we got more figs back then, but those days are long gone and expecting anything else is futile) - with ALL of them being of the faction belonging to the castle and pretty much identical? Sure, you get your foot soldier army that way... but you'd still need to buy at least one other set to be able to play out a conflict! At least nowadays, you can play out a small conflict right out of the box and won't necessarily have to buy other sets - unless you want to enlargen the battle and possibilities. Which, again, is just the way toys work.
Posted 11 July 2012 - 10:57 PM
And yes, LotR has a lot of main characters. But that you only get ONE generic human soldier from the entire first wave? I don't expect 9 main characters and 27 generic characters, but only having one is a bit silly. Especially as it's unlikely that the Hobbit sets and other new LotR will help much in that regard either.
Main concern, perhaps not. But honestly, that's what kids do when you give them a battle set. Burying your head in the sand about it doesn't change that. The Fellowship and Sauron's/Saruman's armies don't exactly go hugging each other, now do they.
In any case, I guess in the end it's each to their own what they prefer. Even part-swapping doesn't really help that much in that you still wouldn't be easily be able to create a bunch of soldiers that have the same armor etc (i.e. uniformity). I'd prefer a means of getting some generic soldiers instead of only heroes, that's all. Your opinion/mileage may - and obviously does - vary.
Posted 11 July 2012 - 11:23 PM
Edited by SheepEater, 12 July 2012 - 01:31 AM.
Posted 12 July 2012 - 01:26 AM
I do agree that just the one generic human soldier in an entire wave is not at all optimal. They should do a human soldier impulse set.
I wouldn't have complained if Aragon had been swapped with a soldier in this set, but I understand why LEGO felt they wanted to include at least 2 characters from the fellowship in this flagship set. And though I may get flack for this, as everyone of course loves elves, I think they could have replaced Haldir as well, saving him for another wall-add-on to Helm's Deep (like Uruk-Hai army, but with a generic elv instead of generic human) in the second wave. He's a nice exclusive fig, but feels a bit out of place to me. Come to think of it, I'm actually really impressed with the fact that this set has (so far) 3 exclusive figs. That's not something I notice that often in LEGO sets of any size.
Posted 12 July 2012 - 04:00 AM
Posted 12 July 2012 - 10:52 AM
You are lucky ! I haven't seen one LOTR set in stores here in the Netherlands yet. But that gives me time to save the money I need for the sets. I have also not seen any prices for the Netherlands.
But I think after Star Wars this would be a line I would collect. Although I stopped collecting SW after they started reinventing older models.
Funny enough it is the line Artic and Winter Village I have complete. 3 Sets each.
Posted 15 July 2012 - 11:03 AM
It looks excellent
Introduces people to a Castle style theme who may never have had interest
Gimli! IMO one of the best minifigs ever
The door section and above - Despite the size it does look movie realistic
The Rohan flag sticker - I want alot more!
Armour prints on Theoden
No Saruman hand print on the Uruk-hai armour - looking back on the film, not many had it left on their helmets or shield, but on their chestplates instead. Would have been nice to see some on these Uruks
Lack of "generic" Rohan soldier - I agree with the complaints,they should have had at least one generic Rohan soldier
The size- I think realistically they should have aimed for the Deeping wall to be 1-2 bricks higher. With orcs next to it it looks tiny.
The Great Hall - My complaint with this is that it isn't elevated. It should be elevated to show that it is higher than the entrance point. It hides behind the entrance when really it should be able to be seen on any angle.
Lack of joining of the Great Hall to the outer walls. The idea
Only one Beserker
Aragon could have used a different print, one that highlights the chainmail he put on from the armoury perhaps?
Now I will admit I am being picky. Very picky. At the end of the day if the hand printing wasn't included on the Orc Forge set then I wouldn't think it an issue now.I would have happily paid a few extra dollars for another Rohan soldier and Beserker. I did however, enjoy building the set. It is fantastic and it does get you thinking about how you can build your castle to fortify it, as opposed to being just walls. You have key good guys to fight against a small army of bad guys. You have the exploding wall and Aragorn's leap to the causeway to enhance the playability factor. The Easter egg skull under the stairs. This definitely is one of my favourite sets for 2012.
Thanks for an awesome review ISC!
Edited by TheDarkness, 15 July 2012 - 11:05 AM.
Posted 13 August 2012 - 06:04 PM
@reviewer : Great review, well done on the pictures and their detail.
@CallMePie: One of the best castles but in my opinion the classic yellow castle is still the best. So many bricks, figures and baseplates, it kept me busy for many months.
Edited by Kyrasdad, 13 August 2012 - 06:05 PM.
Posted 13 August 2012 - 08:51 PM
It's such à good castle. It's THE best looking castle ever build by tlc.
With that said, me already being a big LotR fan did help matters.
This set is worth the money.
Why not build a little elevation using bricks? Sorry, just being a purist.
Posted 15 August 2012 - 02:01 PM
This build quicker than I thought. I have to mention, that this is the biggest set I ever got. But it was done in several hours. I split the build on two days. On the first day, I build booklet 1+2 and the rest on the second day. Though I first wanted to split it on 3 days. But I was so in building mood, that I pulled through.
The build itself features some interesting techniques and approaches, like the headlight with cheese on some corners or the way round walls are constructed with hinge bricks and plates. Very nice. Though, it is not alike the castles that I remember from being a kid. No fixed groundplate or anything. But thats ok. Wouldn't have worked good anyway in my opinion. Another pro for the set is the amount of (for me) rare colours. Lots of dark green cheese plates, big tan plates, sand green bricks and loads of the new brick bricks. Building the whole thing was a lot of fun. Though the brick built walls were somewhat instable at first and I struggled a bit with assembling the tower. But in the end I got it done.
I really like the minifigs. Especially King Theoden and Gimli. Mostly because of the printed helmets and the printed armor. Though there are 8 minifigs, it would have been good to have 2 additional generic soldiers. There are only "heroes" for the "good" side. Even the Uruk-Hai Army set (which I still have to get) does not make the situation much better. It's really hard to build a army for the "good" side.
I really liked, that there were so few stickers (6!). But it were some big ones (Wedge Wall piece), which I didn't like. In the good old days, there were printed ones available. Even with variation, so they don't look all the same. Another good call goes to the spare pieces. Lots of cheese plates and flames. That is so awesome. The extra cape you get is even mentioned in the pieces list in the instructions, so it seems to be no mistake. But no idea which figure the cape belongs to. Perhaps for King Theoden if he doesn't wear his armor. Doesn't matter - FREE CAPE!
Well now that I have the two biggest sets built, I can finally go on to the smaller ones ;)
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