(Written by Legodude19)
The White Hand is coming to Helm’s Deep! Today I would like to give you a detailed review on two of the LEGO Lord of the Rings sets; the #9474 LEGO Lord of the Rings The Battle of Helm’s Deep and #9471 LEGO Lord of the Rings Uruk-Hai Army. Hopefully this review will help you to decide if these sets are for you.
First off, I’d like to point out that the LEGO Lord of the Rings The Battle of Helm’s Deep is the main set and LEGO Lord of the Rings Uruk-Hai Army is just an expansion for it to make the Helm’s Deep set bigger and better.
THE HEROES OF MIDDLE EARTH: If you have read my first article you know that I’m a serious minifig guy. (See: LEGO Minifigures Are More Than Little People) So I am going to start this review with the minifigures, and since good is better than evil I’ll start with the good-guys…
- Aragorn: A masterful job here from LEGO. They really capture Aragorn’s grim personality on the head printing. The head is two-sided; one side is sort of a neutral face, and the other is fierce and angry. The print on his torso and legs are excellent. He also comes with a standard issue Lord of the Rings sword.
- Haldir: This elf is certainly eye-catching. He comes with a cool elvish longbow and two maroon capes (one is extra, I guess, just in case you lose or tear up one). His face is also two-sided with his personalities being similar to Aragorn’s. The hair-piece is also quite interesting with the elf-ears molded into it. His torso and legs printing is extra spectacular making him look royal and so very elvish. Since he is not a main character I am guessing he will only be featured in the Helm’s Deep set.
- Gimli: I got to say, Gimli is just about my favorite character in Lord of the Rings, and his minifig version is no exception. He, like the others, has a “double personality” with one side of his head-printing being fierce and the other being calm and happy. His beard is a massive piece that covers his mouth and really makes him look stout, the beard also has a braid at the back. His helmet is just about the best ever, being designed to fit on over his large beard. Again, his torso and legs printing is well done, but it isn’t that noticeable due to the beard. Gimli comes with two axes; a large double-bladed axe, and a small throwing axe.
- Theoden: The King of the Golden Hall looks royal indeed with his majestic armor! He comes with a basic Rohan shield and standard Lord of the Rings sword. His head has a happy face along with a battle-ready one. His printing is splendid. The set comes with a new horse for him to ride.
So these were the good-guys in the LEGO Lord of the Rings Battle of Helm’s Deep set. Now let’s look at the two good-guys in the LEGO Lord of the Rings Uruk-Hai Army set.
- Eomer: He comes with a pretty neatly decorated Rohan helmet, a green cape, sword, and Rohan shield. His head is, again, two sided with one side being neutral and the other being extremely enraged. His detailing is well done. He also has a nice new-style horse to ride. A spear is included for him to use when on horseback.
- Rohan Soldier: He has a plain Rohan helmet, a bow and quiver, and legs with no printing. His torso is detailed very nicely. His head is neutral or angry.
The Helm’s Deep set comes with two extra swords and two extra spears also, so there is enough weaponry to switch it around and even have someone duel-wield. In regards to the good-guys I’m surprised that LEGO didn’t include Legolas. I have seen other people ask the same question, and I completely agree; it’s kind of weird. I also think LEGO should have included one or two more Rohan Soldiers, and maybe a peasant or two.
THE EVIL SCUM OF ISENGARD: Here is a much briefer description of the bad guys. We don’t want to give them too much time, do we?
- Uruk-Hai: Between the two Lord of the Rings sets reviewed there are seven Uruk-Hai warriors, all with the exact same printing. Each comes with leather-like armor printing and two mad looking faces with war-paint. Between the two sets there are six Uruk-Hai helmets, five Uruk-Hai swords, three spears/axes, four Uruk-Hai shields, four plain grey chest-armors, and one long hair-piece. Definitely enough gear to mess around with your Isengard Army. Sadly, none of the armor has the “white hand” printed on like in the #9476 LEGO Lord of the Rings Orc Forge set.
- Uruk-Hai Berserker: This guy comes with a torch to light the bomb. His head has that weird helmet-mask printed on. His torso is designed like he is shirtless with white hands and other marks painted on his chest. He doesn’t come with any weapons, but there is an extra Uruk-Hai sword with the Helm’s Deep set that you can give him.
The Uruks included with these two sets are really quite fantastic. I only would like them better if they would have white hands printed on their armor and helmets like in the Orc Forge set. And maybe a real helmet for the berserker. (You can click on the minifig images for larger view.)
THE FOUL MACHINES OF SAURUMAN: The Isengard forces come with a few siege-weapons to aid them in their assault on Helm’s Deep. I’ll elaborate on those here.
- If you buy the smaller Uruk Hai Army set, you will receive a small battle-wagon or ballista. It is apparently a LEGO rendition of the large rolling crossbows in the Lord of the Rings movie. Sadly, it isn’t a very well done version, but if you think of it more as its own thing instead of a bad version of the one from the movie, it’s really good. The main feature is its ability to shoot two grappling-hooks at once. Sadly this is a flick-fire mechanism, but if you flick it just right you can get it to fire quite far. Aside from that the design is nice with some hooks on the top and the wheels being made of plates instead of actual LEGO wheels. I also have to mention that it comes with three smooth plates that are printed to look like nailed wood. I can see lots of MOC possibilities with those! All in all it has a very well done rustic orc-ish feel to it. The only complaint I have is that for some reason the top section on mine doesn’t lie quite straight with the back. That drives me nuts….
- The main Battle of Helm’s Deep set comes with two other siege-weapons, a ladder and a bomb. The bomb is a very simple yet nice design, not much to say there. The ladder is made out of rail-pieces and has hooks on the top. You can pose figures on it if you attach their hands to the rungs. I’ll go into the blowing up feature of the wall farther down.
THE STURDY FORTRESS OF HELM’S DEEP: Here I will show you the structures included in the two sets.
- The Front Gate and Wall: When it comes to an imposing fortress, Helm’s Deep sets the tone with its front gate. The walkway has a feature that I don’t believe is shown in the advertising, and it sort of befuddles me. A small way down the walk there is a hinge that can be opened to reveal a tiny hole with a skull in it. I haven’t the slightest idea why this is here, but it is sort of funny. You can see the skull through a hole in the side of the path without opening the hinge. The way it opens is useful if the path is too long for where you are displaying the set; You can simply turn the path to the side! There is an archway at the end of the path so you can stuff some minifigures down there for whatever reason you might want. I really love the design of the actual gate! It’s a double-door made out of plates and smooth tiles. There are two 1×2 plates with knobs to give the feel of handles. The gate swings to the inside. As mentioned in advertising the gate is large enough for a horse to pass through so you can recreate Theoden and Aragorn’s valiant charge. To the side of one tower is a tiny door leading to the outer rock-face. A small catapult is here in which you can hurl minifigures onto the path. It is intended to be a recreation of when Aragorn throws Gimli, but don’t feel tied to throwing short little Gimli; you can just as easily launch normal sized figures! A word of advice though; if you fire too hard you can send your minifigs flying great distances. It is much harder to simply loft them onto the path. Above the arched gateway is a makeshift looking wooden wall. You can swing open two planks to throw rocks and stuff at the Uruks. The top is also accessorized with a movable catapult, rocks for throwing or launching (just little grey cylinder pieces), a banner, and a torch. The ledge along the inside of the curved wall actually has no equipment. The catapult here is really enjoyable to fire, and if you hit hard enough you can get good range for a small rock thrower. The inner areas of the towers are entirely devoid of accessories except the small murder hole windows, and sadly the inside of the curved wall at ground level has little or no place to stand. I just discovered while writing this review that at the bottom of each tower is a small arched cubby-hole. If you remove the equipment from a minifig you can almost fit them entirely in. It’s a pointless fact, but one I find funny. The whole artistic design of this part is extremely beautiful. The design includes many of the new 1×2 cut bricks (the ones that look like real bricks) and many seaweed-green pieces to make the structure look overgrown. Some SNOT techniques are employed on the edges of the towers. The bottom area is made to look like a rock-face with lots of dark grey sloped pieces. My complaints with this section of the set are limited to the path being much too small compared to the movie, and that the inside of the walls are a bit devoid of…well… anything.
- The Horn Tower: This section is the wall to the left and the tower with the Horn of Helm Hammerhand in it. To start with, the tower has three ladders attached to each other and then hooked near the top so a character can reach the horn. There is room to stand at the top with a “mouthpiece” for a mini-fig to “blow” into. On the outside is some magnificent architecture, four easy to apply stickers, and the two pipes that make up the noisy part of the horn. Now of course the horn doesn’t actually make any noise so get your lungs inflated and ready to bellow! On the level of the wall the whole tower-area connects with a curving wall from the front gate and the Deeping Wall. The connection is made possible with Technic pieces and some reinforcing bricks. There is a little flat area with a torch here and a step down onto the Deeping Wall. At ground-level is a small room with a crate and lid in it. You can put anything you want in here since the set doesn’t come with anything for it to store. The room has three openings. One faces the area behind the Deeping Wall and has a small brown door, and another faces the Keep and is just an arch, no door. The last entrance faces the back of the fortress and is where the ladder to the top hangs down. The sad thing is the relative instability of the tower connection. If you want to transport your assembled fortress you must be careful to support it underneath the Deeping Wall or it will break apart. This is logical though and if you don’t need to move the fortress, problem solved! If you want to save yourself the trouble you can simply disconnect the connection here and remove the few bricks that reinforce it. Then you can move the separate parts of Helm’s Deep with ease and reconnect them when done.
- The Keep: The keep is the most detailed part of the whole set. It has a scene from Theoden’s throne room inside it. On top of the keep is some room for minifigures to stand; there is also a small raised part with a banner and a torch. This is a good place to maybe post a sentry guard? Hanging down from this raised section is a large panel hooked to the wall. The set comes with a sticker that represents a Rohan flag or tapestry. The flag details a horse and decorative designs. Off to the side is a walkway so your minifigs can access the top of the wall by the main gate. It does not actually latch onto the main gate wall though; it simply rests on top. Inside the keep is a table with two gold goblets, a gold plate, and a leg of meat. Next to the table are two stools and Theoden’s throne. The throne is made out of several pieces and features arm-rests and a sticker for the back-rest. To add life to the room there are two torches on the walls and a mouse. The mouse is a great addition to any Lego animal collection! To the sides of the throne are two stands for the four extra weapons (two swords and two spears) included with the set. The actual structure of the keep is rather well designed but lacking on the playability side. The inside has many windows, but no places for a minifigure to be able to see out of them, since they are higher than a minifig’s head. The keep is completely free from connections to the rest of the set so it is easy to transport if needed.
- The Deeping Wall: The Deeping Wall extends a little ways out from the keep and includes an interesting explosion feature. Once you have finished building the exploding part of the wall you can push a small Technic-lever to have the wall “explode”. The wall here is a bit fragile in transport due to how it is designed, but it isn’t too bad. You can place the mine in the little sewer-gate underneath the wall. It looks pretty nice! If you continue down the wall you will come to another small detachable catapult with ammunition. The whole Deeping Wall includes several torches and a banner. Behind the catapult is a small staircase heading up to the wall. The whole decoration of this area is very well designed.
Below is a video review from the BrickShow highlighting the features of the Helm’s Deep set. The review is a little long, but if you are interested you might want to watch it to get a better feel for the details.
In conclusion I would say that these two LEGO Lord of the Rings sets have masterful design and playability! I recommend them highly if they fit in your budget, and especially if you are a Lord of the Rings fan. The list pricing is $130 for the main set and $30 for the smaller addition. Both sets are available at the Online LEGO Shop. If you search around you may be able to find them somewhat cheaper at other places, but as the set is getting older and less available prices are likely to rise. So if you are interested I would suggest you get them before it’s too late.
So what do you think? How do you like these LEGO Lord of the Rings sets? Do you have them already? What are your thoughts on them? Also, this is my third post here are theBrickBlogger, and I’m a TFOL (Teen-Fan-of-LEGO) so feedback is appreciated. Thanks for reading and commenting!
Also, you might like to check out the LEGO Lord of the Rings section for more news, reviews and discussions, or select from the following recent post: