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Review: 79011 Dol Guldur Ambush
Captain Nemo posted a topic in LEGO Historic ThemesReview: Dol Guldur Ambush By Captain Nemo Name: Dol Guldur Ambush Set Number: 79011 Pieces: 217 Price: $19.00 (US), € 19.00 (EU) Ages: 8-14 Minifigures: 3 Theme: The Hobbit Year of Release: December 1st, 2013 Price per Piece: 9.212 Useful Links: Lego S@H Brickset Bricklink Flickr Set of this Review: Here And the quest continues! The Hobbit is back again, (Or is it there and back again?) this time with a new wave for the second Hobbit film, the Desolation of Smaug (Who himself is mysteriously absent in brick form, but that’s another conversation). Anywho, the smallest set of this new wave is 79011 Dol Guldur Ambush. Being both small and incredibly hard to spell correctly, Dol Guldur Ambush is a nice set that itself is constructed as an add-on to the largest set of the wave, Dol Guldur Battle (79014); which fellow Eurobricks member and Review Academy teacher Masked Builder has reviewed here. So is this set worth your time or should you just upgrade to the full Guldur? Let’s find out... Box This set stands out well against the other Hobbit and Lord of the Rings sets on the shelves (And not because Toys R Us carelessly stacked them atop the other sets, literally, like laying on top of them), because of its new boarder color. Mountain Blue is the new Mordor Grey apparently. The colors work well and give the impression that this is an evolving journey. In fact, in the right hand corner, there is the image of dwarves making a steady climb to the mountain tops. The US version of the box, seen here, features all of the information that clutters the left side, including ages, set number, name, etc. It also shows the character box, which has our three minifigures inside. Across the front of the box we also see the set in all its Light Bley and Dark Bley glory. The back of the box features a far more interesting, dynamic, action view of the set showing all the figures, their weapons, the catapult, and notably an image that shows that you can connect this set to the larger Dol Guldur Battle set, to form some kind of mega set, or something. It’s similar to Helms Deep and the Uruk Hai Battle sets from the first wave of LotR. Also notice the human hand, which is not included in this set. Opening the Box Finally getting to something more interesting, we open the box to find two bags that are not numbered and a seriously folded instruction manual. Clearly, the only rational thing to do is instantly open the bags and mix all the pieces together. Note, aside from a third small bag, inside the large one; all the pieces are loose, including all the character parts (Armor/Goblin Hair) and Beorn’s head, indicating all the pieces from this set are from the main Lego factories, and not from their factories in China; so the quality is good/standard. Opening the instruction manual, we discover our mistake of mixing everything. Well whatever, AFOLs don’t need instructions! The second page shows the construction of the minifigures, as well as three pictures of The Hobbit title in three different languages, just in case we forgot what we were building. Notice this instruction manual has a light blue background, but does not feature any kind of watermarked picture—strange since that seems to be becoming the norm for Lego manuals, and therefore this one is kind of boring. Notable Pieces: Before we start building, there's a few cool pieces to look at. We get two dark red leaves in this set; a piece I love and cannot get enough of. There are also two nice metallic wheels (Since apparently four wheels are two too many for a catapult), and dark brown catapult pieces included. Four teeth/blades are included in this set too; which are Medium Dark Flesh in color and not pearl gold as they seem to appear as on the box (They are also the same color as the Gundabad Orcs in this set). The most noticeable piece in this set however is the round 2x2 tile with the center hole. This is a new piece and it appears only here (Includes 2) as well as in the larger Dol Guldur. It’s an interesting piece and it opens up many uses; especially for those, like myself, who prefer studless builds. Building: To keep tension and add suspense, I’m going to leave the minifigures till the end; which means its building time! Anywho, the first thing built is a puny catapult. I will say this is the most useless part of this set, although in saying that, I am lying since there is something more useless coming up later, but until then, consider this the most usless. It’s the standard catapult type we’ve seen in sets for years and decades, nothing new, nothing surprising. It’s mostly dark brown which is nice, and features the ability to throw two bricks at once, but aside from that it’s forgettable and just meh. Really, how would they ambush someone with a catapult? Let’s hope Beorn stays in one spot for five minutes while we load and fire! That'll get ‘im! Main Build: Next up is the main build of the set; the gateway…doorway…or something, of Dol Guldur. I must admit, this does seem like a strange build since the main Dol Guldur already has a gate; so I’m not really sure what is being depicted here—most likely something from the movie. Anyways, at the start it’s mostly tiles, but the build progresses quickly. There are no stickers in this set, but a few profile bricks are used from time to time to add texture. Also notice the technic pin brick on the far left that allows this set to be connected to Dol Guldur Battle (Step 13). A few large bricks add height to the build fast, and a brown tree is also constructed in the style of Mirkwood. Meanwhile at the back of the build, we begin to construct the mechanism to kill intruders. Also notice the 1x1 outward headlight bricks in black; this set includes 20 of them. Next,two almost identical swinging posts are constructed, one with two axes, the other with some kind of gigantic sledge hammer. I want to point out that they were designed well, since it’s possible to swing both at once, as they are constructed so as to not hit each other when they swing to the narrow doorway. Then I’d like to point out that they seem almost useless, since as we all know, it’s far easier to keep out intruders with a door than swinging hammers. But I digress. They work great, they look good, and they're cool. After a few more steps the doorway is looking nicer, and then one step later it begins to look very scary, or creepy at the least. Then the tree is completed as are the busted battlements. Finally, in horrific fashion, the right side of the build becomes devoted to noting more than firing an out of place flick missile. Now I do take the stand that I generally like flick missiles, but I also need to say that I like them when they are used wisely. Here a chunk of the build is devoted to constructing and opening a rock to fire a missile at crotch level. By far this this the most useless and unwanted part of the set. It just seems like a waste of pieces for no good return--they should have been used elsewhere, like on a door or something. The whole rock cropping is attached by only one hinge which I found was too little and too weak, since the rock kept sliding open when I was taking photos. There are two missiles included. Adding a torch finishes off the build. Completed Build Front: The build now complete, you can see it in all it's shades of grey (With some brown and black) glory. Notice the two skulls included; they are not attached anywhere, and are simply there for figs to trip over, or so I'm assuming. Back: The back features a more ugly view of the creation. It features the play abilities of the set, as well as the terrible flick rock. You can rotate the hammer swing and the flick rock at the same time. Extra Pieces There’s a few extra pieces, consisting mostly of slope tiles and teeth, Then there’s that 1x2 brown plate I forgot to add to the tree, because AFOLs don’t need nor read well instructions and whatnot. Either way, nothing spectacular. Play Features Well the build is done, and aside from the flick missile, it’s still kind of meh. So what’s great about it? The play features.The best part about the build is obviously the swinging weapons .They work well collectively, with the axes having a weaker punch than the hammer, but there’re both great. Not even going to do into the flick missile. Minifigures: Finally! Now if you’re like me, and I will say this honestly, your sole reason for buying this set was the minifigures. And frankly they are the best part of the set. Being a $20 set, the standard of figures we get are three, and each of them are spectacular. In this set we get Beorn and two Gundabad Orcs, both with full hair and one with full armor. Beorn First up is the hero and named character of the set, Beorn; the giant shape-shifting man. Obviously the most notable thing about him is he peacock hair, but he also comes with an axe. Beorn’s face and hair are one piece; which is both a good and bad thing. It makes the transition from his face to hair look great but on the downside we don’t get alternative faces and outside of Beorn there’s limited uses for it. Included here are a bunch of photos of Beorn’s hair/head. Beorn’s body parts are nice as well, with his skin in the color of Medium Flesh. His torso is particularly interesting, although limited in outside use. His printed legs are simple but nice as well. Beorn as a whole looks great, and he looks far better in person than in any picture. On the subject of Beorn however, it’s interesting that a single piece is being used as his face and hair—in a clear attempt to make him seem larger than a standard minifigure. It does work to an extent, though that’s mostly due to the hair; but frankly it’s almost unnoticeable, and could have worked as two pieces. On a final note of interest, it’s possible to use Beorn’s head with the new Gundabad Orc armor, which in the process makes him so... Gundabad Orcs The final two figures included in this set are two identical Gundabad Orcs. The only difference between the two is a fancy one-piece shoulder armor; which itself looks great. Both feature identical front and back printing, but no alternative faces—rather thin strands of hair are printed on the back of their heads (So as they are not required to wear the hair pieces). They have different weapons as well, one wields a fail, while the other wields a time traveling Uruk-hai sword (Because this is a prequel after all); I’m positive it’s important to the plot. It’s important to note that this is the only set where Gundabad Orcs have goblin ear hair pieces (It’s also the only set with the correct ear color needed for Gundabad). It’s an incentive to buy this set for those Orc collectors, since while they appear in three out of the four new Hobbit sets, this is the only set where you can get a “complete” Gundabad Orc. Color Comparison to other Orcs: Conclusion Overall, I like this set. The build is a bit meh, but being able to connect it to the larger Dol Guldur enhances its value. The minifigures are clearly the largest drive for getting this set; but the build as a whole seems complete enough to stand alone. Minifigures: 10/10 Spectacular in every way, they are the main drive for the set. The disadvantages of a once piece Beorn are more than made up for by the complete Gundabad Orcs. Design: 5/10 I like parts of this set, but the flick missile rock is just unforgivable. Parts: 8/10 Overall good, but pieces such as extra hinges for stability would have been greatly appreciated. Price: 10/10 Affordable and fulfilling, it feels like you got your money out of it. Lego seems to have a knack for $20 sets the past few years—clearly continuing. Playability: 8/10 The swinging intruder deterrents are so fun! Catapults are ok, But rock missiles? Overall: 42/50 = B+ In final thoughts, I liked this set. It was fun, the figures were great, and while the build had some problems, it was nice in the end. Overall, it was a worthwhile buy, and any fan of the Hobbit or Castle theme would be happy to have it. Enjoy ~Nemo