Recently I wrote about the history of LEGO castle walls. Where as classic LEGO castles featured plain, but brightly colored brick-built walls, the past (almost) three decades have seen LEGO use special grey and black wall elements (or even BURPs) in the castle sets. However, several LEGO sets released in 2012 are changing this tradition by replacing wall elements with detailed, realistically colored brick-built walls instead.
One of these new types of models is 9471 Uruk-hai Army (from the LEGO Lord of the Rings theme), which I started reviewing a few days ago. To complete the review, it is now time to take a closer look at these new style LEGO castle walls. 9471 Uruk-hai Army features, in addition to the Uruk-hai army, a piece of the Helm’s Deep fortress Hornburg – a roughly 8×16 sized portion of it. It can connect (with the help of some included Technic pegs) to the 9474 The Battle of Helm’s Deep main set or it can be used standalone.
First, it must be said that so far this year we have seen this building style only in the two Helm’s Deep sets and the LEGO Kingdoms farewell set, which uses a similar technique. It is therefore hard to extrapolate how much like this future LEGO castles will be. Common to all three sets are at least mostly brick-built walls without large wall elements, the use of diversely colored bricks to create more realistic wall patterns, as well as using things like 1×1 roof tiles attached to angular bricks to create interesting shapes. 9474 The Battle of Helm’s Deep does use some wall elements for its rear battlement, but the main wall is brick-built like in the 9471 Uruk-hai Army.
The castle wall in 9471 Uruk-hai Army is built on two 6×8 baseplates, but beyond that standard fare, the new style is evident from the start. Instead of the usual, clean and clinical LEGO building, here dark grey and green bricks are placed on the bottom in random-like patterns to create a sense of rocky foundation. Over that, medium grey and mossy green bricks are laid, again seemingly in random. A special brick-textured piece breaks the pattern here and there. The slit window is another signature feature of this castle and is ingeniously achieved with a small 1x2x3 wall element, placed sideways.
LEGO even uses some SNOT (studs not on top) in the angled corners, which alternate between regular 2×2 angled bricks and the snotty 1×1 roof tiles attached to 1×1 angular bricks. This technique adds considerable variation and detail to the slightly protruding middle section of the castle wall. Together with all the irregularly placed bricks, the end-result is very dynamic. On the top of the wall, alternating 1×2 roof tiles and 1×2 flat tiles complete the look. If this taster is anything to go by, I imagine the full 9474 The Battle of Helm’s Deep to be quite impressive indeed.
Note: You can click the images for larger versions.
P.S. The official color names that make up the castle wall are: dark stone grey and Earth green on the darker foundation, medium stone grey and sand green on the lighter wall. The base is sand yellow. (I’m trying to learn all these “new” colors.)