My inspiration for this blog, and the entire journey it represents, came from building and researching the LEGO Kingdoms theme with my son. I learned the hard way that it was being replaced – after only a two year run – by the Lord of the Rings license (remember my troubles in sourcing the 7946 King’s Castle birthday present). When I started this project, the first Lord of the Rings LEGO sets were still months away and could only be seen in some show reports and publicity shots.

But indeed months have passed since then – and my 6080 King’s Castle is still incomplete. The Lord of the Rings LEGO are nowhere to be seen in my native Finland yet, but at least the United States has seen the first releases, ranging from the small 9469 Gandalf Arrives to the imposing (but unfortunately backmountainless) 9474 The Battle of Helm’s Deep. Curious, I put in an online order for the 9469 Gandalf Arrives and 9471 Uruk-hai Army to get a feel for the new LEGO horse and the brick-built castle wall building style.

Of course I was interested in seeing the new minifigures too, being a fan of the books and the movies – I started reading The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings almost as young as I started playing with LEGO. Well, almost. I held off from ordering the Helm’s Deep for the time being, though, let no other castle come between me and my finishing the 6080 King’s Castle. Anyway, the mailman delivered today and I will post my notes on these two smaller sets in the coming days. In the meanwhile, here are a few box shots.

The boxes are very glossy, instead of the usual LEGO matte. They look quite premium, but are also a bit of a bitch to photograph because of the reflective material. The smaller box was push-sealed and the larger one used tape seals. Both sets come with the new horse in brown. The 9471 Uruk-hai Army set is larger than I expected; while the wall is very short, the six minifigures, the attack wagon – and a surprising amount of detailing on the outside and the inside of the brick-built wall – add up to a respectable 257 pieces. The wall can also be connected to the 9474 The Battle of Helm’s Deep.