As you know, I have been reviewing some LEGO Lord of the Rings sets and lamenting the limited availability of 9476 The Orc Forge, the only “bad guys base” in the range so far. Luckily, it turns out, the online LEGO Shop is now able to provide the set and even threw in a little freebie. So, I was sold. I am again doing this as a two-parter, preliminary photos and feelings now and the actual review later when I get to building it.

This is by far the largest Lord of the Rings set I have (366 pieces), the Uruk-hai Army (257 pieces) and especially Gandalf Arrives (83 pieces) being significantly smaller. It shows in the box too, which is quite large. Speaking of first impressions, I recently checked out all the other sets in the range at a local store and left rather unimpressed. I still think the launch range is a bit weak, with Gandalf Arrives, Uruk-hai Army and The Battle of Helm’s Deep being the positive highlights. I am happy to report that at least based on first impressions, The Orc Forge adds to the positive highlights as well.

I had previously witnessed only white background set photos of The Orc Forge, which were promising, but it looks significantly better in the box shot. Holding the sinister-looking box in hand for the first time got that “yeah, this is so cool” emotion out of me, always a good beginning. I lacked that feeling with many of the other LEGO Lord of the Rings sets when I was browsing them at the store. The presence of a red light brick was also a positive surprise and its glow was put to good use in the box graphics as well. Yes, we were definitely off to a good start, The Orc Forge and I.

Opening the box, there are three numbered bags inside and a thickish 76 page instructions booklet. Peeking inside bag 1, you can see the red light brick and also the orange 630 Brick Separator, which is a welcome bonus. There are four minifigures in the set, all orcs or Uruk-hai and only one of them a named character (Lurtz, a movie-only character). Not that The Orc Forge is really an army builder, the bricks-to-figs ratio is bent quite heavily on the former. Uruk-hai Army with six minifigures is a lot better at army building, but on the other hand, if you want Mordor orcs The Orc Forge has two and Uruk-hai Army none.

I look forward to spending some quality time with this set. It might be the best one yet.

P.S. American LEGO boxes show how many bricks the set has, this European box doesn’t.