• Pirate Ship Ambush

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    There were pirates in LotR?!

    Written by (TFOL , gold-rated reviewer) in United States,

    Now before you go on past the title I will have you know that I did know about the Corsairs of Umbar way before I saw this set. So if you want to know what I mean by the title then keep reading and you'll find out...


    The box is nicely designed depicting the heroic scene in which the Three Hunters [Aragorn, Legolas, & Gimli] and the Army of the Dead surprise the orcs at the battle of the Pelennor Fields. The back shows the ship and minifigures in much greater detail as well as some of the main play features of the set. Under the piece count are printed the words "Boat Does Not Float". So I guess the means I shouldn't put it in the bathtub...

    The two instruction books come in their own plastic bag on a sheet of cardboard so they are nice crisp and clean when you use them. They are easy to follow, except when you have to distinguish between the different shades of brown in poor lighting.


    The parts selection in this set is quite nice... if you're in the need for blacks and browns. You get several of those huge ship pieces that are used to make the hull, bow, & stern. Plus lots of accessories, weapons, food, maps (stickers), etc. Between the front and back of the ship there are over a dozen of these printed shield pieces which are clipped upside down. So if your army need shields this is the set to get.


    Mordor Orc(s): In this set you get two more of those Mordor Orcs. We've seen them before in other sets so they're not to exciting. But you do always need more of them... They look quite orcish, as they should, with excellent torso and head printing. Their legs are just plain brown though.

    Pirate of Umbar (oops! I meant Peter Jackson!): If you've seen the Extended Edition of Return of the King you'll remember that Legolas accidentally shoots one of the Corsair Pirates. If you've seen the bonus features (or looked closely) you would've known that the pirate was played by Peter Jackson, the director. While he is dead by the time the boat reaches the orcs near Minas Tirith I'm glad LEGO decided to include him. It provides even more playability for younger kids and adds a little bit of humor for well versed fans. His legs aren't printed but that's really the only disappointing thing about him. His torso and head are nicely designed with printing on both front and back. The expressions on his head are angry and scared. The hair piece is the same one used for Thorin Oakenshield (and Kili). He comes with a short chain to tie him up to the mast in case you didn't want to kill him right away.

    Soldiers of the Dead: These guys look amazingly detailed and LEGO definitely scored points with these guys. They look incredible and very dangerous. You wouldn't want to run in to them if you were 1 inch tall! ;-) They're each a little different from each other. They're legs are the same, but their torsos are different. Their heads are actually the same too. It's a double sided head with two different designs on it so you can customize your army. They have classic castle helmets in this sickly shade of green which matches their capes and torsos. A short sword is provided for each as a weapon, as if just the power of fear alone wasn't enough.

    King of the Dead: Like his soldiers, he is incredibly detailed, even more so than his infantry (which is what you'd expect, isn't it?). On his torso printed over his chain mail are several straps of cloth which look like a skeleton at a glance. There are also dark red accents (e.g. belt) that match his cape a look quite nice visually. His legs are actually the same as his soldiers though surprisingly enough. His helmet is the same as a classic crown but here it comes in that pale, sick green color which suits his character perfectly. His face is also double sided with two slightly different designs. He comes with a long sword for a weapon.

    Aragorn: We've seen Aragorn in many other sets before so I won't go into much detail about him. His printing is as excellent as ever and looks very fitting for a weather-worn Dunedain ranger. I just wish he came with Anduril. LEGO made a new mold for Sting but why not Anduril? It was even more important to the story than Sting (especially in the film) so I don't know why he didn't come with one. Instead we just get a plain broadsword, again.

    Legolas Greenleaf: We've seen him before too back in the Mines of Moria set. His printing is also extremely well done and very accurate. His hair piece has his elvish ears attached which I love. But after a year of having him (from the Moria set) the cheekbones still aren't working for me. All the LEGO elves have them so I guess it's not just something for Legolas.

    Gimli: This character is probably the least exclusive of them all, but that doesn't mean he's worse, just the opposite! His torso and helmet designs are some of the best I've ever seen. It's even more amazing because LEGO went through all the work on the torso when it's mostly covered up by his awesome beard piece. Overall he's one of my favorite minifigs from this theme.

    The build

    The build seemed to go by fairly quickly once I got to the big hull pieces. It wasn't too complicated and a determined 7 or 8 year old could do it. There were a few stickers like on the maps and a few wooden beams, but not too much to worry about. Once the sails go up it looks quite impressive. Like I said earlier, sometimes the browns got a bit confusing but make sure you have good light where you're building and it shouldn't be a problem.

    The completed model

    The completed model looks quite large when finished, over 23 inches long from the tip of the battering ram to the end of the stern and 14 inches tall. Even though it's only 756 pieces it feels much bigger because the sails take up so much space. This helps make up for the high price tag. $100 is way too much for only 750 pieces. $80 would've been better. Then again, all pirate ships are overpriced. It must be the sails or the large hull pieces. The play features all work wonderfully, the anchors, flick fire missiles, removable roof (of the prison) etc. All together between the minifigures and the gadgets it has tons of playability. Plus it looks nice as a display too.


    Overall it's a great set, tons of playability, great pieces, fun build etc. If only the price was better. Other than that it's great and I highly recommend it.

    Concerning the title of this review. The set, as I said, is great. I just don't understand why they decided to make this [the Corsair ship] the largest set of the wave (we're excluding Orthanc for the moment). It's not exactly the most iconic image from the film. When I heard the name of the set several months ago I knew what it was but many who aren't as big LotR fans did not. I think that this set then means one of two things:

    1. LEGO Is Giving Up & Trying To Find The Easiest Way Out

    They've made several pirate ships before and this one isn't too different. You switch the sails on almost any other LEGO pirate ship and then you've almost got this one. This could be a sign that LEGO is getting lazy and just throwing a few old modified sets out there and calling it quits.

    2. LEGO Is Extending The Life Of The Theme

    By spreading out the really cool, iconic big sets (like Helm's Deep) over many years and releasing some not famous scenes in-between LEGO could be trying to extend the life of the theme.

    Seeing Orthanc and all the detail in the sets released so far makes me think that LEGO is leaning more towards option #2. But I suppose only time will tell.

    Agoreg vae LEGO!

    20 out of 20 people thought this review was helpful.

  • Pirate Ship Ambush

    Overall rating
    Building experience
    Value for money

    'You may go no further! You will not enter Gondor.'

    Written by (AFOL , silver-rated reviewer) in United Kingdom,

    I have to admit, when I learnt that the flagship set for this wave would be focusing on the Corsairs, I was a little disappointed. But Lego have long since proved that they design excellent ships, and this is no exception!

    The set comes with nine minifigures: Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli, the King of the Dead and two of his soldiers, the Pirate of Umbar and two Mordor Orcs.

    Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli are the same as they appear in previous sets, but they're still great figs! They all have exceedingly detailed, double sided torsos - stand outs for me include the Evenstar around Aragorn's neck, the leather straps and belts on both sides of Legolas' torso and the chainmail poking out from under Gimli's tunic. I also love the detailed pattern on Gimli's helmet.

    The King of the Dead looks incredible. Lego have really captured the green ghostiness of the King and his soldiers with great looking sand green parts. Their heads all glow in the dark, and the printing on their torsos has appears to have a glowing effect (while it doesn't actually glow). All three have different torsos, but the same legs. The two soldiers have the same heads, with two completely different faces printed on them, so they can still have different faces. The sand green helmets looks fantastic, though it will be difficult to use them elsewhere. All in all, three incredible figs.

    The Pirate of Umbar is a great addition to the set, although he is rather lonely. It's a bit of a novelty inclusion to put Peter Jackson's brief appearance in, but I'm certainly not complaining! His double sided torso has all kinds of things hanging from it, what looks like chains and odd bits. He has a double sided face with an angry face and a scared face. His scared face just looks a little strange to me, with his mouth made up of what looks like two white lines crossing to make an x, but his angry face is great. I love the two toned (black and dark grey) facial hair, the ring through his eyebrow and the blue arrows on his forehead. He has a big black hair piece that sticks out at the back so that a quiver can fit under it. He is holding a chain and, for some strange reason, a bread stick. For when he gets hungry in the brig?

    The last two figures are Mordor orcs. They are the same as those included in previous sets and the two are identical apart from one is wearing a breastplate. Their torsos have layers of leather and spikes and they both have single sided heads with deep set yellow eyes, sharp teeth, rings on their face and hair and warts on the back of their head.

    Despite the measurements included on the box, I was taken aback by the size of this ship! There is a helpful comment on the box that states that the ship does not float (it's not a trick, it really doesn't float). The sails are fantastic, though the printing is only single sided, which is fine because the back has the supports anyway. Only the middle one swivels (it can turn 360 degrees), while the two end sails are fixed. There are a lot of little details throughout the ship, but it is hard to see where all of the pieces have gone (when you take into account the large hull pieces and sails). There are planks with stickers to include the grain and knots of the wood, barrels with gems inside and a crate with two maps included (one nautical map and one of Gondor), 14 [printed] shields, swiveling crossbows and flick fire missiles, a weapons rack and, my favourite feature, the anchors made of axes that can be drawn and lowered.

    Also included with the set is a catapult for the two Orcs. It rides quite low with small, silver wheels, and has a long arm. To fire it, there is only one cheese slope to push down. It doesn't feel like it has enough give to fire very far, but it works surprisingly well, firing the piece higher than I expected - it easily launches pieces over the ship.

    For a set that didn't excite me to begin with, I am pleased to find that there aren't really any cons that come to mind. I love the chains that are stretched down to act as railings beside the two sets of stairs, and the wings added to the side and back give a great ominous feel. While it doesn't have many play features, there are enough little details to keep you going, and it was an involved, enjoyable build.

    11 out of 11 people thought this review was helpful.

  • Pirate Ship Ambush

    Overall rating
    Building experience
    Value for money

    Well thought-out design, questionable choice for 2013 LOTR set

    Written by (AFOL , bronze-rated reviewer) in Canada,

    When I first viewed the pictures of the upcoming Lord of the Rings sets for 2013, I was mildly surprised to see that this years "flagship" (no pun intended) retail set was 79008 Pirate Ship Ambush (excluding the much anticipated Tower of Orthanc exclusive). The Lego Group chose to depict a scene from the movies that, to me, wasn't as emphatic or memorable as some of the other scenes in the films. That being said, it doesn't stop this set from being an extremely well designed and thought out one but at times it just feels like it's another "Lego ship" and doesn't really grasp the magic of LOTR as well as the other sets do. I'll follow up on these thoughts below, but first I'll run through the pros and cons of the set.


    - The "Big 3" (Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli) together at last!: Finally, we have a set that includes three of the films most beloved characters in one. Previously, Legolas was only available in The Mines of Moria set while Gimli and Aragorn were scattered amid other retail sets so it's nice to get them all together under one box.

    - Army of the Dead minifigures: Wow, what a refreshing new lot of minifigures! The King of the Dead and two undead soldiers have some really neat color designs and printing. Their heads glow in the dark, and the sea-foam green color used for their helmets/crown is superb. I really enjoy these figures and no doubt they will be hot commodities on the secondary market. The set also comes with 2 Mordor Orcs and a "Pirate of Umbar" which are always welcome for creating and fortifying your "Evil" armies.

    - Fantastic design/build: One of the pros of this set that really stood out was the level of detail put into the design and build. If you're an avid LOTR fan, you'll be aware of the many architectural, cultural, and design differences between various races (elves, dwarves, orcs, etc.). I felt that, in depicting a vessel from the "easterlings" or "eastern men of middle earth", the designers really paid homage to their cultural style when constructing the set. Easterlings/Men of Umbar often exhibit harsh, jagged, and pointy elements in their culture, and the ship really takes these into account throughout. A lot of crude/sharp swords and weaponry line the ship, as well as "dragon wing" elements used in various places. Overall, it was clear throughout the build that the original owners of this vessel came from a different place/background, and that is exactly the case as per the films. Also to touch on the build itself, I felt like the instructions were very clear, and the parts having been divided into 6 separate bags in the box made for a relaxing building experience. Couple this with the minimal yet poignant use of stickers (hate them or love them) and the build was quite enjoyable.

    - Great parts and elements: As per many sets of similar size/cost, this one will give you great quantities of elements and accessories. The shields used to line the ship are great if needed to build an army, as are the multiple swords and other weapons. There is most definitely a little something here for everyone in this set.


    - Price (in Canada): I feel a bit like a broken record complaining about the price of Lego sets (especially licensed themes which are by nature more expensive) but here in Canada, you'll have to shell out $129.99 for the set. Yes, you'll have a quality Lego set on your hands once unboxed and completed, but you can't help but feel a little like you're getting overcharged by at least $30. Such is the nature of the economy today that this is looking like more and more of the norm. Take this "con" with a grain of salt because the price-per-set vs. value gained from purchasing a Lego set you love is completely dependent on the individual.

    - Shallow ship?: I'm not an expert on Lego ships of any kind, but I felt like this one was a bit shallow. What I mean by this is that I felt like the sides of the vessel were not as "built up" as they could have/should have been. Not sure whether or not that will affect anything scale wise or "realistic" wise but it may.

    - Choice as a Lord of the Rings set: This is a super-critical, picky point, but as I said in the introduction: As the biggest retail set (minus Tower of Orthanc) in the theme this year, I feel like they put too much emphasis on a scene that wasn't as "grandiose or iconic" as others. I'm sure many fans were/are hoping for sets depicting Minas Tirith, Gandalf and the Balrog, Paths/City of The Dead, Battle of Pelennor Fields, Lothlorien, Amon Hen, Minas Morgul, etc. among others. While these iconic places/events are sure to be possibilities in the future of the theme, I personally was hoping we'd get one of them this year, and not Pirate Ship Ambush as the "big" retail set. Again, this is such a "niche" complaint that it hardly constitutes as a con.


    To summarize, 79008 Pirate Ship Ambush is a really well designed and cool set. It's a source of 9 great minifigures. It's also another Lego ship, which should help fill the void of fans of the currently discontinued POTC/Pirates themes. While not exactly the most iconic event in Return of the King (let alone LOTR) it's still a wonderful stand alone set that is sure to please anyone who is looking to collect ships or LOTR sets and comes recommended from this humble Lego fan.

    Until next time

    Matt Z.

    14 out of 14 people thought this review was helpful.