Saturday, November 17th, 2012 at 6:23pm by Andrew, BZPower News Manager
Today we take a look at another Lord of the Rings set - 9470 Shelob Attacks. I picked it up a while ago but have finally gotten to sharing my thoughts on it with you all. So should you dare let this giant spider into your home, or is she better off squished on the sidewalk? Read on to find out!
From the design of the box to the instruction manual, these are the first things you see before building the set.
When you first see this set, there's no doubt in your mind as to what it's about - Shelob attacks Frodo and Sam must save his master, while Gollum waits for a chance to reclaim his precious. The large spider definitely stands out, and the branding makes it clear that this is a LEGO Lord of the Rings set. The rear of the box highlights several of the play features, as well as the new swords and the One Ring.
When you open up the box and dump out the contents, you have four bags and an instruction manual. Despite only being 227 pieces, it does seem like there's a lot in there.
Half the fun is had building the set. How fun is it to build and how easy or challenging is it?
You start out by building the scenery - what I'm guessing is the mouth of the tunnel system that our characters had just traveled through in order to sneak into Mordor. It's a simple build with nothing too exciting.
The meat of the build is Shelob herself. You start by building her head and thorax, which don't present too much trouble. The legs are pretty repetitive, so they go together fast. With that part done, you then start on the abdomen. Again, nothing too difficult, but the mechanism to spool the string is at least a little interesting and adds some Technic aspects to an otherwise System-centric set. Overall the set goes together pretty quickly, but is a fun experience save for the eight legs.
Now that the set is complete, we can critique how it looks from every angle. New or interesting pieces can also be examined here.
Shelob is certainly the star of the set, and is as accurate a representation as I'd expect from LEGO. The black and brown go well together, but the dark tan and red are a bit jarring and unnecessary, especially the red. Spiders don't have red mouths! I do like the piece they used for the face, which has some nice printing including some poked-out eyes. The legs have a wide range of movement and can support the weight of the set if posed right. The abdomen is also articulated to assist in posing and balancing Shelob. It's definitely a creepy-crawly spider.
The cave mouth is pretty sad - there's a hole and a catapult to launch Gollum. I would have liked to see one of the old spiderweb pieces for Sam and Frodo to get stuck in, but I guess with the part budget we should be lucky we got anything. There's some nice slope pieces and vines that I'm sure will be useful to some builders.
The minifigs are pretty awesome and almost steal the show from Shelob. This set contains Sam Gamgee with a sword and the phial of Galadriel, Gollum with a fish, and Frodo with Sting and the One Ring.
Frodo is the same minifig that we see in Attack on Weathertop. The only difference is that now he has a grey elven cloak instead of a green one. It would have been nice to see some other differences, but I appreciate that attention to detail. His alternate face works equally well for being stabbed by a Ringwraith or being bitten by a spider.
Samwise is exclusive to this set and captures the character fairly well. I don't think he really looks that much like Sean Astin, but he has Sam's determination written all across his face. He's got some nice front and back printing on his torso and also has his own elven cloak. This applies to all the hobbit figs, but I wish they had somehow done the bare feet.
Gollum is an all-new mold and exclusive to this set (for the Lord of the Rings line - he'll be in a Hobbit set soon). Again, LEGO has done a great job of capturing the character and distilling him into ABS form. The printing on the face is absolutely fantastic. The stud on his back is pretty awkward though. What purpose does it serve - is Frodo supposed to ride on Gollum's back? Some leg posability would have been nice too, but it would have been difficult to do so and still keep the essence of the character.
The four bags of pieces contain a nice variety, especially of brown and black. There's quite a bit of grey and tan too though. If you like hinges, you'll love this set, as there's a ton of click hinges for the legs and some flat ones for where they connect to the body. It's also not every day that you get string in a set.
Other than Gollum, I don't think any pieces are exclusive to this set, but here's what stood out to me. I already mentioned that I like the printed eye piece, and the 1x2 bracket thing is great for SNOT building. The spool is interesting and not a piece I've come across before, same with the dark red hook. The minifig accessories are nice - we've seen the new swords and the ring before, and the addition of the phial and the fish compliment the characters perfectly even if neither are new.
The other half of the fun is in playing with the set. How well does the set function and is it enjoyable to play with?
This set actually has quite a good number of play features. You can wrap Frodo up in Shelob's web just as easily as Sam can stab one of her eyes out. That's all on top of Shelob's poseability.
The string is a perfect addition to this set. Thanks to the hook you can easily hang her from all sorts of things - it's a little late, but Shelob could be a perfect Halloween decoration. Look out Frodo!
The last major feature is Smeagol's catapult, which is kind of silly. As you can see, he doesn't go very far, and it's tricky to aim him too. Not a big fan.
In the end though, with these four iconic characters, there's tons of roleplaying fun to be had. The limit is your imagination!
Once it's all said and done, how does the set stack up? Should I get it?
What's to like?
- Great minifigs
- Shelob is well-designed
- Good variety of parts, including lots of hinges
- Excellent value - less than $0.10/piece
What's not to like?
- Scenery is weak
- Colors on Shelob could be better
This is the only set you can get Sam in, and until the Hobbit sets, Gollum too. For those reasons alone, this is a must-have for collectors. For more casual fans and builders, this set offers some fun building and a good variety of parts for a price lower than expected for a licensed set. I can heartily recommend you add this to your collection.
Thank you all for reading, I hope you have enjoyed the review. As always, you can leave your feedback and any questions in the Talkback. And of course, keep checking back for more reviews and LEGO news, here on BZPower!
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