I was glad to be able to purchase all 7 of the new sets on the first day of the Kingdoms release.
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.
I didn’t want to put them on at this time as I do want to MOC with these pieces soon.
Set # 7946
Mini-figs 5 Lion Knights and 3 Dragon Knights
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!
The side showing the new minis. They are mostly smiling so maybe the weapons are just for show?
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…
The instruction manual has different configurations of the castle as well.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!