Time for my third AFOL novice look at building a modern LEGO set, the 9471 Uruk-hai Army from the first wave of the new LEGO Lord of the Rings theme. I have previously “reviewed” the Gandalf Arrives set (and the CUUSOO Hayabusa), if you want to check those out. Uruk-hai Army box photos can be found in an earlier post.

My main motivation for checking out the LEGO Lord of the Rings theme, in addition to being a fan of the books and the movies, was getting a feel for the latest castle theme in the LEGO arsenal – considering my efforts at building one of the first ones. Two main topics interested me: the new horse and the new castle building style. I already got a taste of the former with the Gandalf Arrives set and now I was going to check out the latter via this set, which is a companion to the larger 9474 The Battle of Helm’s Deep.

Again I started with what has become my ritual, sorting all the pieces by color. The set does come divided into two numbered sub-models, but I disregarded that and opened all at once. This turned out to be no problem, it was at the very least easier to build from all sorted pieces than from separate bags of unsorted bricks – and it allowed me to get a feel for (and a photo of) the entire brick collection. There was a multitude of strange (to me at least) colors and many multi-colored parts, making the sorting process harder than usual. By the way, some LEGO LotR sets come with an orange brick separator included – this one didn’t, so I had to supply my own (I didn’t need it in the end).

I must say the blood red Uruk-hai heads were by far the single most impressive piece – and there were four of them. The heads are double-sided, for fierce and fiercer looks. (In fact, all six minifigure heads in the set are two-sided.) The Uruk-hai also have some really cool and edgy gear and one of the guys features a long black hair. Many of the accessories look like brand new LEGO designs and very nicely done too. (Unfortunately, like in my son’s Ninjago, quite a few of the newer special pieces are made of softer plastic. Eomer’s two-colored spear is bendy and scratched when simply putting it on his hand.) Also nice were the mossy green pieces and tile-textured bricks for the castle wall.

The set is divided into two: first the Uruk-hai army of four with their attack wagon, second the piece of Helm’s Deep wall with the Rohan defenders, including Eomer on his horse. The building of the castle wall deserves its own post, but let’s look at the rest of the kit for now. The Uruk-hai are really cool and definitely the highlight of the set (the Rohan defenders look bland in comparison). The attack wagon has many bulding techniques familiar to me from my son’s Ninjago sets, such as the hinged arches on the sides. Overall it is satisfying, with fairly well working dual flick-fire missiles that are launched simultaneously by pushing a mechanism. Note the plate-built wheels and the positively bold offset plank on the front, held in place only by a single stud.

Defenders consist of a Rohan soldier with a bow and a small catapult on the wall, as well as Eomer with a special sword, a spear, a round shield and a brown horse – the new kind that can rear up. 9471 Uruk-hai Army is a larger set than I expected when ordering, it took me around two hours to put the 257 pieces together. Granted, without frequent adoring and photos, it would have taken me less than an hour. But where’s the fun in that? The footprint of the set is also larger than its two 6×8 baseplates suggest, overflowing to the rear. Also consider the six minifigs and you’ll see there is quite a bit of stuff here.

I like the set and it works just fine without the Helm’s Deep too, although the ability to connect to the larger castle is an added bonus. Together with Gandalf Arrives it certainly looks like a promising start for the new theme. I will return to this topic in a subsequent post with some impressions on the new castle wall building style.