Monday, July 30th, 2012 at 5:22pm by Andrew, BZPower News Manager
Time for another Lord of the Rings review - man I love this theme. LEGO was kind enough to give us a few sets to review, and the last of those is 9472 Attack on Weathertop. Bfahome mixes things up by doing a video review in addition to the usual text stuff. Read on to see what he thought!
Here's something new: a video! Well not really new, but in this case the video is the main focus of the review. It's a bit over twenty minutes long, so if you have the time I suggest you sit through it, because it breaks down my thoughts as I go through the build and gives a better sense of what the set is like. In other words, it's twenty minutes of me rambling about toys. Fun stuff!
And you don't even have to download it or anything!
From the design of the box to the instruction manual, these are the first things you see before building the set.
The front of the box is similar to most sets in terms of logo, information, and artwork placement. The large "Lord of the Rings" title on the top left next to the LEGO box lets you know the theme, and Sauron's finger lets you know that they know what it's about. Along the top there is a nice blue pattern that fades into an orange-tinted map, centered around Lorien. On the left there's your usual set information, and below that the minifigure box (which looks like torn parchment that's been nailed in place, a nice touch). Then there's the set, front and center against a dark backdrop, establishing that this particular scene happens at night. Aragorn runs down the stairs to fend off an approaching Nazgul while Frodo bravely defends the One Ring from another. Merry's kind of being useless down below, cooking up some food on the fire (this is why you don't stop for second breakfast).
The back is also par for the course, advertising the features and functions of the set. It shows the interior of the watchtower, the trapdoor function, the hobbits' campsite, the minifigure accessories, the flick-missiles, and Aragorn (he is his own feature). All images are set in more torn-parchment boxes against a similar map-to-pattern fade. There's some nice design going into these.
Around the edges there's the usual legalese, alternate movie titles, warnings, and "actual size" minifigure pictures.
Half the fun is had building the set. How fun is it to build and how easy or challenging is it?
The build for this set is halfway between modular and all-at-once. You start by constructing the small rock and Nazgul in bag 1. Bag 2 is one half of the main structure's base. Bag 3 is the other half of the base, which gets connected to the first half and reinforced. The final bag is the top part of the structure, which is built directly onto what is already together.
The process itself is fun. You get to see wedges and slope pieces come together to form convincing rock shapes, which in turn come together to form a large, run-down tower. There are several interesting techniques used, such as the numerous SNOT connections and the curved walls.
One minor gripe for me is that the minifigures are in separate bags, so unless you open all of them at once (not recommended) you can't play with them all until you've built the set.
Overall you end up with 19 spare pieces, many of which are useful.
Now that the set is complete, we can critique how it looks from every angle. New or interesting pieces can also be examined here.
This set has some pretty neat pieces going for it. Notable examples include the new horse, food items, torch and flame, pot, backpack, swords, the Nazgul capes, and the One Ring. Other than that you get a healthy mix of grey bricks, with some black and green thrown in.
The minifigures are also pretty neat. The set comes with Aragorn, Frodo, Merry, and two Nazgul with horses. Everyone gets their own new sword; Aragorn and the Wraiths get the larger mold in silver and gunmetal respectively, Merry gets the shorter mold in silver, and Frodo gets a silver Sting (which he shouldn't have at this point, but it's a nice piece anyway). The three heroes have double-sided heads, with Aragorn and Merry having alternate "angry" faces and Frodo having a "currently turning into a Wraith" face. The Nazgul have unprinted black heads. Everyone gets double-sided torso prints, even with the capes.
The main set is pretty well designed. Even with blocky bricks it pulls off a "rounded" look, at least on one side. The other side is clearly in disrepair, with more jagged rocks and plant life growing on the side. It is here where the Hobbits set up their camp. From there, a spiral staircase leads to the top of the structure, which has an even more ruined look with incomplete arches and bare bricks everywhere. Even the trapdoor function blends in and doesn't look silly. The inside is a bit small, but you can just open it wider and use your imagination. There's a weapon rack with a spear and short sword in gunmetal, and some other thing across from it. I'm not sure what it is.
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?
With both protagonists and antagonists represented, Weathertop actually has some playability on its own. You can role-play the scene from the actual story, or just pretend that the Hobbits invited Aragorn and the Nazgul to join them in breakfast, second breakfast, luncheon, afternoon tea, dinner, supper, or one of many other meal possibilities at their little campsite. It's a shame Pippin wasn't included, because that joke would've worked better if he was. And speaking of which, if you want to reenact the corresponding book or movie scene with any degree of accuracy, you'll need Sam and Pippin, each of whom are only included in one other set, plus an additional three Nazgul (seven if you want the full set), which only come in this set. However, if you're fine with a little inaccuracy, that shouldn't be a huge problem; you can still play. Aside from that, the set does have the trapdoor function, which is a bit hit-or-miss and tends to drop the characters right onto the weapon rack if it isn't moved. There are also two flick-fire missiles on the camp side of the structure, which is rather odd and not very useful; the target would need to stand right in the line of fire (you can't really aim a building) and the missiles themselves are difficult to flick. But they aren't too intrusive, so I guess it doesn't really matter.
Once it's all said and done, how does the set stack up? Should I get it?
What's to like?
- It's Lord of the Rings stuff
- It's also very well-designed
- New and/or useful minifigures and accessories
- Look at that horse, that horse is amazing
What's not to like?
- Doesn't include all relevant characters
- $60 is a bit much
- Unnecessary functions (though they don't get in the way)
Other than the price, there really aren't many downsides to this set. It has a solid design, good look, and it's from a pretty cool franchise. However, price can be a big factor, but if you can afford it (or have a coupon or wait for it to go on clearance or something) then I highly recommend buying this set.
We haven't had a video review in a while - I hope you all liked it. As always you can share your thoughts, thank Bfahome, and ask him questions in the Talkback. And of course you can keep checking back at BZPower for more reviews and LEGO news!
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