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King's Castle 7946 Review

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King's Castle 7946 Review

Postby DaleDVM » Tue May 18, 2010 8:16 pm

I was glad to be able to purchase all 7 of the new sets on the first day of the Kingdoms release. :D I jumped right in and started building the King’s Castle as it had most of the new pieces I was eager to check out. All of the pictures are links and there are some extra photos from other angles at my flickr account. There are photos of the stickers on the account as well. I apologize for not putting them on for this review. :oops: I didn’t want to put them on at this time as I do want to MOC with these pieces soon.

Stats:
King’s Castle
Set # 7946
Parts 933
Mini-figs 5 Lion Knights and 3 Dragon Knights

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At the store I noted the back of the box had photos of the play features included with the castle. It also showed several configurations you could arrange the castle in. I was excited as this set appears to be very modular and shows flexibility for expansions!

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The side showing the new minis. They are mostly smiling so maybe the weapons are just for show?

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Three instruction manuals. One big one and two smaller ones. I don’t remember ever getting different sized manuals in the same set? It needs to be said, I don’t get around very much and it isn’t all about size anyway…

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The instruction manual has different configurations of the castle as well.

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The all important parts list. Look at all that good stuff. Some new pieces surprised me! I only included photos of new stuff not seen before.

I like the new wall piece in light bley, I think it will be much more useful. I didn’t get any pirate sets last year so I was excited. 16 are included in the set.
A 2x4 red brown tile.
8 of the 1x3 dark bley tiles.
10 of the new 1x2 cheese wedge pieces in dark bley.
1 red 2x2 tile with a center stud.
2 of the new tiny catapult pieces.
The modified bricks with the slots for the portcullis have been changed a bit as well.

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I noticed the new door a couple of days ago in the high res pics. It is thicker and sturdier than the old door. The hinges are definitely more stiff as well as the door no longer swings open very easily. I like this so my doors will stay open and or closed on my MOCs when I travel with them. Aesthetically I like the old doors better. The thickness at the edges of the door seem to be wrong in some way. I think I will put in a bricklink order for some older doors.

The new diagonal corner panel took me by surprise. I am not sure how stable this new configuration is going to be. The lack of connection slots at the bottom of the piece makes the front of the panel look smoother so it looks nice. It is more open on the back side which might allow for a little more flexibility in use.

The new window tile will allow for centering a window in a 2 stud space. I will find this very useful but I wish it was a full brick thickness and not a panel.

The new portcullis is more bulky than I thought it would be. It seems to be rougher as well. I like the articulations but not the texture of it. Note the strength of the lion soldier to hold it up all by himself. Obviously he took safety into account as he is holding the sharp points away from his body!

The new octagonal plates could be very useful for adding stability to towers. Interesting that a hole was included right in the center. That could be a useful feature.

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The lions, their king, and the king’s trusty steed. The horse barding is incredible. Mr. Ed would have bought himself an outfit like this with his fees from residuals. The figs look great and there is a nice variety of torsos too. Sorry to announce that the king has the same torso and legs as the prince character in the advent calendar. At least the prince has a different face and hair?

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The ever outnumbered but brave dragon knights. One of each torso is very nice (except for the Mad Max chain torso). I really like the dragon logo on the armor and torsos.

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I can’t even describe how beautiful the new dark pearl is. It is an amazing color for armor and weapons. My only wish is that we got more of it! I am a fan of the new great helm as well. The printed armor is just great, and as an extra bonus it covers that chain heavy torso very well!

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This shows the completion of step 2 and the interesting design to make the gate go up and down. Using tiles attached to the portcullis they designed a simple geared mechanism to a set of spinning levers.

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Step 3 adds the gatehouse and the drawbridge mechanism. The mechanism is similar to Kings Castle Siege in design which I like. It is much more attractive with a proper gatehouse on top! Kudos to TLG.

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Step 4 makes the corner towers and Step 5 the side walls of the castle. I like the battlements on the towers better in person than they look in the photos. The towers are wide and minis can actually move around on them. I am not a fan of the random placement of cheese wedge pieces. I would put them either on all of the merlons or none of them. Something easily fixed with some extra parts.

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Of note is how the walls when put together fit seamlessly and create a repeating pattern of wall panels in light bley and slopes in dark bley. You could repeat this as often as wanted to create quite a large castle. A decorative yet simple repeating pattern that doesn’t give you the ugly grey wall syndrome. The back wall has this same design as do the walls extending from the gatehouse. I hope TLG has modular expansion in mind for the Kingdom’s castles!

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Step 6 is the keep. I love the fact that it has a door. The upper floor is open on the back for playability but I wish it was closed for increased defense. The decorative elements are nice.

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Step 7 is the tall tower. I think this is absolutely stunning looking. The roof is completely solid as they included filler bricks. The door and the two windows look incredible. This section is also open on the upper levels in back for playability but that could be changed if you like with a few bricks. The throne and treasure chest are standard fair for any castle. Thanks to the LEGO Group for 8 of those 75 degree double convex slopes. Those were over a dollar a piece on bricklink.

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Step 8 is the rear wall with the escapable prison cell. The removable wall piece has a convenient handle on it for those incredibly strong minis I mentioned earlier.

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And here she is all together.

There are more photos of the completed model from several angles and the insides at my flickr page.

There are a lot of new parts in this series… some of which I didn’t see coming at all. I am not sure of the last time the LEGO Group changed so many staple parts in a theme at the same time. Possibly they never have. There are new wall panels, corner panels, window panels, doors, large octagonal plates, a new portcullis, and corresponding slot bricks. New accessories including the great helm, barding, horn, and several classic castle accessories in a stunning new (dark pearl) color. The new decorative elements (cheese, and tiles) are very useful across themes and there are plenty of them included as well. I am really excited to try MOCing with these new pieces!

The build took a couple of hours plus a couple of hours playing with the new features and taking pictures. The castle is a bit smaller than the King’s Castle Siege. I really like that this is a solid castle with no real defensive weaknesses. The enemy couldn’t just walk into the place like some past castle sets not worth mentioning.

Like most castle fans I imagine the gatehouse is a big plus for me. It is a narrow gatehouse that really can’t hold mini-figs but it is better than no gatehouse. The keep and tower are what make this a classic for me. The doors and windows and a large sloping tower roof really make this a beautiful set. The design has no glaring weaknesses and that is really saying something! It has been quite a while since I could say that about a large castle.

I think this set is beautiful with some great mini-figs and accessories. :woo: I would highly recommend this set to all of us classic castle fans. Non-castle fans could probably find more useful parts elsewhere. But if you are not a castle fan what are you doing here? Looking for more cows likely! :twitch:
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Re: King's Castle 7946 Review

Postby Kevin1990 » Tue May 18, 2010 8:53 pm

Great Review and awesome pictures. Deffently want to get me one of them. althought I bet I have another thought about it since I like the classic castle stuff beter then the new stuff. but thats personal thought right.

any way. I've learned something about the set and deffently going to get it.
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Re: King's Castle 7946 Review

Postby DNL » Tue May 18, 2010 8:55 pm

Thanks for the great review! It looks like a very nice set, the only part i still dislike is the top of the gatehouse.
Are those light metallic helmets spray painted like the one in the 2007 castle line? i didn't like those because the paint eventually will wear off.
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Re: King's Castle 7946 Review

Postby DaleDVM » Tue May 18, 2010 9:57 pm

DNL wrote:Are those light metallic helmets spray painted like the one in the 2007 castle line? i didn't like those because the paint eventually will wear off.


They certainly look the same as my crownie helmets. I have never had a problem with those helmets before. If they are painted they certainly are thorough. The insides of the helmets look exactly the same as the outside. Anyone know more about this issue?
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Re: King's Castle 7946 Review

Postby Username » Tue May 18, 2010 10:41 pm

DaleDVM wrote:
DNL wrote:Are those light metallic helmets spray painted like the one in the 2007 castle line? i didn't like those because the paint eventually will wear off.


They certainly look the same as my crownie helmets. I have never had a problem with those helmets before. If they are painted they certainly are thorough. The insides of the helmets look exactly the same as the outside. Anyone know more about this issue?


I have never seen my Crownies' helmets fade, but all three colors of my dwarves' helmets are faded and chipping away.
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Re: King's Castle 7946 Review

Postby Forestboy » Wed May 19, 2010 3:57 am

Thanks for the review! Very nice pictures. Looks like a great set! Thanks! :wink:
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Re: King's Castle 7946 Review

Postby Frank_Lloyd_Knight » Wed May 19, 2010 6:21 am

Thank you for sharing. This is probably the most detailed review I've seen of the new line, yet.
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Re: King's Castle 7946 Review

Postby The Blue Knight » Wed May 19, 2010 10:03 am

First off, excellent and detailed review! You went to a lot of work here thanks.

I evidently missed the new wall sections. Now we have new corner sections as well. I recall when the old ones first came out. I called them "pre-fab wall pieces." I didn't like them, I thought they were a cheap short-cut by TLC to cut the cost of brick in sets. I have always lamented them, yet I have literally hundreds, so I cannot ignore them. I must say that my opinion of the prefab wall hasn't changed much, though I do like the corners. These newer ones look decidedly 'mega-blocky' to me. Do they have as cheap a feel to them as they do in the pictures? They look less sturdy--what I mean is that without the connecting notches they don't look as easy to integrate with standard bricks. What do you think?

I like the look of the older doors, but maybe when I hold one in my hand it will different.

While I'm not happy my dwarves and orcs are gone, I'm loving the new two Kingdoms. I agree that the dark pearl looks boss. I'm loving the new fig parts like the great helm. Is every torso printed? In past sets the torsos intended to be covered would be left blank, and I like this trend.

Cheese and more cheese, how bad could that be?

Most of all I like how the finished castle is just that--a castle. Not since the glory days of the late 70's early 80's were the castles anything more than semi-defendable, prefab happy Hollywood backlot style facades with too many filler pieces and weak on real bricks. Nicely done TLC. Take notes Mr. Witt, we like this trend. More please!
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Re: King's Castle 7946 Review

Postby DaleDVM » Wed May 19, 2010 3:33 pm

So far all of the torsos are printed front and back except for the wizard which has none. There is the issue of the white printing not being thick enough on the lion knights where it looks a little pinkish. However, the jester has no such issues. Only the lions with the checkered pattern show the problem.

I am not a fan of the large POOP pieces either. I have tons and rarely use them except for filler. The new corners and walls feel the same as the other new pieces. I have thought the plastic has changed a little over the years but these new pieces feel the same as all of the other bricks in the new sets. When I tried to torque the old and new corners they both bent similar amounts. I feel the piece is strong enough but now has less articulations. How it will hold up MOCing is yet to be seen. I do like the lack of rearward projections on both the new wall and the corner piece making them a little more versatile.
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Re: King's Castle 7946 Review

Postby BlackenedPurple » Thu May 20, 2010 1:51 am

Wow, thanks for the great review! While I had initially decided long ago that I had no room in my collection for any new sets/factions, this set is really starting to make me reconsider. My main concern is the use of stickers (those are stickers, right?). While I suppose the stickered pieces are more versatile since you can leave the sticker off, I would've rather had printing around the windows of the wall panels and on the corner wall pieces (correct me if I'm wrong on this lack-of-printing issue). However, this concern is far outweighed by how complete this castle looks. The last large Castle set I bought was the Trolls' Mountain Fortress, which required heavy modification before I was satisfied with how it looked (giving it 4 sides, replacing all light bley with black, adding height to the walls, etc.). I feel like if I bought this set, I would have to do very little/nothing to it in terms of modification.

As far as the pink/white printing issue, this picture seems to indicate that some figures suffer while others don't. Who knows, maybe this time around it will be the Battle Packs that have superior printing??? :o

http://www.brickshelf.com/cgi-bin/gallery.cgi?i=4426855
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Re: King's Castle 7946 Review

Postby DaleDVM » Thu May 20, 2010 11:05 am

Davidant great pic of the difference in the printing. I would love to know which figs came from which source in that photo...

So far this torso is available in 3 sets. The King's Castle 7946 and Knight's Shodown 7950 have the substandard printing. The Outpost Attack set 7948 has the nice white printing. I know this is not scientific with such a small sampling but perhaps if everyone reports when they get their sets we will find a pattern.

Also the barding in both the Kings Castle and Prison Tower Rescue are pinkish as well.
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Re: King's Castle 7946 Review

Postby Username » Thu May 20, 2010 11:55 am

DaleDVM wrote:So far this torso is available in 3 sets. The King's Castle 7946 and Knight's Shodown 7950 have the substandard printing. The Outpost Attack set 7948 has the nice white printing. I know this is not scientific with such a small sampling but perhaps if everyone reports when they get their sets we will find a pattern.

Also the barding in both the Kings Castle and Prison Tower Rescue are pinkish as well.


I will be contacting TLG Customer Service if I get pink soldiers and terrible print on the barding.

Have you contact TLG Customer Service about the issue?
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Re: King's Castle 7946 Review

Postby Count Blacktron » Thu May 20, 2010 3:57 pm

The Jester is fine so far that I have found through TRU stores. They have the rest of the assortment in stock too, but I think I will wait until LEGO can correct the pink torsos before I sink cash into this series.

If they don't fix it, then I won't be building as much with these sets. Sort of a shame that they put so much new development into the new sets and parts, and yet they couldn't maintain their minifigure quality. They better get on it.
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Re: King's Castle 7946 Review

Postby Elbadar » Fri May 21, 2010 1:07 am

Thanks so much for the review :D . For 100 dollars I was on the fence about this set, but the detailed photos and posetive review have me sold. You should really be on lego's payroll :wink: . Two questions. #1 Are the horse baarding and horse helmet connected or just really seemless? #2 Any chance of you reviewing the dragon knights castle for us :D Thanks allot. Your feeding my favorite obsesion.
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Re: King's Castle 7946 Review

Postby architect » Fri May 21, 2010 1:15 am

Thank you Dale for the in depth review. My 7946 set arrived today :) I look forward to building it this weekend and sharing my thoughts on this well designed castle.

Ben
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