Nevertheless, it has always been a mighty fortress, we did it in my Wargame days as a display at Crisis, and of course that was one Lego set I really wanted to have from the Lord of the Rings range, set 9474 The Battle of Helm`s Deep. It also has a small companion set featuring Eomer, but that is for when I get my hand on that one...
Numbering 9 sequences, often containing more then two bags for a build, it is a big box and was the `flagship` set of the first wave of the range. It also comes with 4 intruction booklets and a small sticker sheet.
The first bag contains what is perhaps the best minifig Lego has ever designed, Theoden King. The details on the helm, shield and armour are really exquisite, and his facial details are spot on. Bag 1 further more contains a horse as well (To death! To ruin!) to ride of the causeway hehe, and an Uruk-hai warrior with halberd and shield.
The first set of instructions as such are to build the gatehouse of the mighty fortress, and comes in a light grey, occassionally broken up by a light olive brick to show colouring on the stoneworks.
It also features the massive wooden gates, as well as the overhang for the defenders to throw rocks and oil through (remember the Peter Jackson cameo in Two Towers) and a small catapult mounted on the paraphets.
The second bag features another Uruk-hai warrior, this time with sword and shield. The build is for the first part of the circular wall, as well as the causeway leading up to the gatehouse.
Next up, we get Aragorn and a third Uruk-hai warrior from the bags.
The bricks for these bags are the second curved wall section (an intresting technique they use for it btw).
As well as a siege ladder to hook around the walls and try to scale the fortress.
Then we move on to the iconic part of the fortress, the tower containing the Horn of Helm Hammerhand. When sounded, all of Rohan will head it`s call while striking fear in the hearts of the enemy. Though in the movie, when Gimli blew it (this bag also contains our brave Dwarven warrior), Eomer came to the rescue with his riders, it was in the books actually Erkenbrand and his army moving to relieve the fortress.
We progress with these bags to build the base of the tower...
... as the bags after that expand on this, adding the tower and the stairs to it to the build.
The massive horn is then added to the top of the tower, together with his expanded horns to make it sound across the lands.
The fortress as it stands as the tower is clicked into the sides.
Continuing onwards, we get Haldir of Lothlorien in his splendid armour, as well as the Uruk-hai Olympian (if you saw the movie, you know what I mean) with his torch.
The build now moves on to the opening of the stream, where the bomb was placed. Now, this whole section, through the use of a lever and some plates, can `explode` up- and outwards, but I`ll just keep the wall in one piece for display, thank you very much.
And so we move on to the last two bags, and no more minifigs. The bags of sequence 8 and 9 are the keep of the fortress, 8 mainly focussing on the outer structure, while bag 9 is mostly home decorations.
Including a very mighty (decalled) Rohirrim tapestry.
As with all Lego sets, there where some left over, and usuable, pieces like the cheesewedges.
The full fortress. the keep is the only thing not fysically connected with Technic pins to each other, allowing for rather easy displacement of the whole fortress.
I loved this build, I love the keep, and it was worth every euro. All in all, it is still relatively cheap to get from BrickLink, costing only slightly above retail for the moment as not yet the whole line has been retired. But I do advise you if you want a copy, to go shopping for it right now, as Quarter 4 is nearing when Lego prices traditionally tend to go up by a third on older sets. And after the new year, expected by the summer, the line is probably going out completely as The Hobbit by then will have ran it`s course and these franchise sets will become much harder to find...