It's funny that you mention this-- In my AFOL History Project research, I read through a bunch of Todd's old posts back when he was writing the Fibblesnork guide. Todd was NOT a castle guy by any stretch of the imagination. One snippit of the conversation from early 1997:
Todd Lehman wrote:
Darrell Kienzle wrote:The Black Falcons were never an official subtheme, at least in the catalogs I have.
I think I currently have these minifigs classified as Black Knights -- is that the best categorization for them?
As for 6018, I think it was fully intended to be a Black Knight set, but thanks to the heraldry, I have to go with Black Falcon. If you're going to judge a minifig's affiliation based on the torso/leg combination rather than on what he's carrying, you'd have to take a serious look at many other figures and re-assign them too. One of the better examples being the mounted knight in 6041. He's carrying a Crusader shield and Crusader flag, but he's got a blue torso with black arms-- the staple of Black Falcon attire. In fact, you won't find ANY other Crusader with a blue torso.
It could be that the shield was a mistake, or that it was included in order to use up extra printed shields (note that this was the last set to ever feature the yellow BF shield until the Legend set in 2001). And it was probably thought that it wasn't a big deal to kids-- IE they wouldn't notice, or would just decide something without it really bothering them.
Ultimately, this is my biggest beef with the "classic" factions of the Crusaders, Black Falcons, and Black Knights-- the Black Knights especially. The uniforms were VERY different from figure to figure.
The Black Falcons were actually pretty good-- all their foot-soldiers from 1984-1989 had Black Falcon emblems on the toros, had black arms, black helmets, and black legs. The waists were occasionally red, and they wore either bullet helms or flare helms, but otherwise were nicely consistent. Then in 1990, we have the ambiguous Battle Dragon, and Knight's Stronghold (featuring blue legs on a Black Falcon soldier, and a breastplate torso). And in 1992, we have Black Falcon soldiers with gray legs. But for 6 years, their soldiers were VERY consistent, and easy to identify.
The Crusader soldiers were more varied. They had black, blue, gray, or red legs, black or dark gray helms, and torsos with either cross-axes, lions, or breastplates. The only constant thread was red torsos with blue arms, with ONE exception in 1991 with the 1480 King's Catapult (which honestly was probably a similar "mistake" situation like 6018).
But the Black Knights were the most rag-tag bunch of misfits ever. Their soldiers have NO consistency whatsoever-- torso color, helmet color, arm color, torso design, whatever. They USUALLY wore chain mail, but so did a couple Crusaders, and so did some of the later Royal Knights. There's just no way to tell.
The KNIGHTS of each theme are a little crazier. Again, Black Falcons and Crusader Knights are ~sorta~ consistent, but there are a few exceptions. The Crusaders have that one wacky knight with a blue torso, and the Black Falcons have the one outcast with red arms. But otherwise, they follow SOME rules with torso colors. But the Black Knights again ruin everything-- no consistency whatsoever. They've got every helmet color, every leg color (even white!), every torso color, and every arm color of those available in the castle lineup.
Anyway, the Black Knights are a bunch of losers suffering from an identity crisis. The way you get Black Knights is by putting Crusaders, Black Falcons, Dragon Masters, and Royal Knights in a blender and taking whatever pansy-looking design pops out.