The Cobra

Review: 7952 Kingdoms Advent Calendar

How do you rate this set?   100 members have voted

  1. 1. On a scale 1 to 5

    • 1 – Poor
      0
    • 2 – Below Average
      2
    • 3 – Average
      11
    • 4 – Above Average
      39
    • 5 - Outstanding
      48
  2. 2. Which one do you like the most?

    • 2008 Castle Advent Calendar (7979)
      18
    • 2010 Kingdoms Advent Calendar (7952)
      59
    • Either one / Can't decide / Don't care
      23

Please sign in or register to vote in this poll.

107 posts in this topic

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Christmas is here everywhere, oh - Christmas is here if you care, oh (Faith Hill - Where are you Christmas)

Set info:

7952: Kingdoms Advent Calendar

Year: 2010

Theme: Castle

Subtheme: Kingdoms

Pieces: 203 (including 35 extras)

Price: 20 Euros (not on Lego Shop yet, but most Italian sites have the same price)

Building time: 20-25 minutes

MISB on review: Yes

More info: Brickset - Peeron - Bricklink

Box front: A big and colorful Christmas tree welcomes you on the way to the King's Castle. Picture is revealing; we already can see the characters and some of the equipment. Some nice MMV-style houses on the road sides.

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Box rear: For those who don't know how an Advent Calendar works, our Danish friends decided to put a sort of tutorial. Let's just hope people know numbers, because there are 3 open cells, but not Days 2 and 3! (While, content belongs to actual Days 1, 2 and 3).

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Pieces inventory: You may want to click to see a bigger pic and get a closer look. I can hardly tell if any of this pieces is new (some torsos should), some are surely new for the year (2x2 jumper à-la Prince of Persia)

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Box side: Joy to the world. No pieces were made in China. Now that's a relief.

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Inner box: We reached the King's Castle, and we're ready to find out what's in; This is a detailed pic, so you might again want to click to see a larger version.

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Inner box: Just to see how the whole thing looks like. Birds'eye view of the main road to the big fortress.

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Cells: Here we spot where the minifigs and the other pieces are, and I already see a pretty lousy day.

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Side note: 6 pieces (1 extra) <- the first number always includes the extra pieces.

Day 1 – Blacksmith. 6 pieces (1 extra)

We kick off with an hard working man. A tough guy wearing a sleeveless shirt, he might be another blacksmith’s son. Comes with an hammer plus a spare one. One-sided face.

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Day 2 – Anvil and forge. 17 pieces (4 extras)

Here’s the blacksmith’s workplace. The forge is kind of poor, will it be hot enough to make a proper sword. The anvil is quite nice, but it would have been better if it had a flat top (a tile on the stud).

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Day 3 – Weapons rack. 11 pieces (1 extra)

A much larger bag (why?) hosts this nice little rack. Spear and battleaxe come in two different colors. Those have to be blacksmith’s previous creations.

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Day 4 – Dragon Knight soldier. 6 pieces (1 extra)

And we’re ready for action with our first fighter. Another one-sided headpiece, nice prints on both torso (front and rear) and legs. He comes with the new “bucket” helmet (no flame/plume) and he’s armed with a flail (plus an extra one).

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Day 5 – One-man battle cart. 10 pieces (1 extra)

Our Dragon Knight soldier has wheels. I hope he has strength and will to push his little “vehicle”. For such a small set, 4 colors is too much. If you ask me, those red clips are out of scheme. Yet the extra one could be added to hold the flail.

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Day 6 – Lion Knight armor and helm. 8 pieces (1 extra)

Not only is the Dragon knight outscored two to one; he only has two days dedicated to the green cause. Here we have a plain grey armor (yep, no printing) plus helmet, visor and plume (Lion Knights have plumes!)

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Day 7 – Princess and frog. 7 pieces (1 extra)

Let’s welcome everybody’s favorite. The lovely princess has a double-sided head (happy and angry; it probably depends on what happens after she kissed the frog), print on both sides of the torso and on front of her dress. Nice hair pieces and a golden tiara (plus a back-up one)

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Day 8 – Throne. 9 pieces (2 extra)

I guess TLC had a surplus of gold jumpers and a lack of gold tiles, or is that stud supposed to be some kind of decoration. Wait, I got it! They are frog holders! But how am I supposed to sit the Princess, since she's wearing a dress? (You'll see!)

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Day 9 – Treasure chest. 8 pieces (3 extras)

Pirated had gold colored chests, we’re back to wood brown. Looking at the instructions, it seems like only three diamonds make the treasure, and the other three are extras. I’ll probably just fill the chest.

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Day 10 – (Old fashion) Skeleton. 7 pieces (1 extra)

Yes sir, we’re back to old looking skeletons, with kind of posable arms. No accessories. And this is not even the lame day I was talking about.

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Day 11 – Prison cell side with window. 16 pieces (2 extras)

The most filled bag makes me think that the skeleton belonged to un unlucky prisoner. We have one side of a cell, with bars instead of glasses. Modern day handcuffs were already used back in the middle ages (we knew that from older sets), and you get a spare one too.

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Day 12 – Pig and apple. 2 pieces. (no extras)

Ok, pigs are the new animal in town, one on the most interesting parts amongst those that were introduced in the current year. And apples are not that popular, so one is always welcome (One apple per day keeps the Doctor away, an Italian motto says). But I can’t help thinking this is a lousy day.

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Day 13 – Page (servant). 8 pieces (3 extras)

Here comes the apprentice squire. Like most other people in here, he has a nice double-side printed torso, and details on his legs too. He should use a sword, he comes with three. Still, the oddest extra piece (so far) has to be his wig.

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Day 14 – Sword in the rock. 10 pieces (3 extras)

3 more swords, this time in a darker color. On a grass (green plate) lies a rock (2x2 round brick). A sword is in the rock. Legend has it that the one who…

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Day 15 – Ye ol’ training dummy. 9 pieces (1 extra)

A nice add-on for training knights (and page servants too) is this mock knight. And not only did they have handcuffs back then, they had signal holders too!

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Day 16 – Happy courtesan. 4 pieces (no extras)

They must have a surplus of this pirate girl torso too. But it’s Christmas time and we all are kinder. Plus, we all like boobs, even on Lego figs, so we just don’t mind. Once again, printings on both sides of the torso and on the front of the dress. One sided face.

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Day 17 – Barrel. 9 pieces (no extras)

Is this what makes the girl so happy. There can’t be water in there, I know for sure. Barrel is placed horizontally and ready to spill.

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Day 18 – Cauldron, apple and knife. 4 pieces (1 extra)

Not really much to cook in there (unless you add the pig). But they were forced to give us an extra knife.

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Day 19 – Lion Knights soldier with spear. 6 pieces (1 extra)

We had to wait for two and a half weeks, but here comes crownie #1. He has a popular headpieces (no back printing) and one of those “helmets with chinstrap and wide brim”. In those war days you need as much weapons as you can have, so here’s another spare.

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Day 20 – Mini catapult. 10 pieces (3 extras)

An extra Technic pin to the extra Technic pin? Oh well, whatever. A very small weapon lies on the grass. I guess it won’t shoot very far. (It doesn't. Either you push too softly, and the round brick just falls down, or you push too hardly, and the round brick hits your finger and falls down!)

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Day 21 – Lion Knights archer. 7 pieces (1 extra)

An extra quiver. Why not an extra crossbow too? Never mind, a soldier obeys and doesn’t question. This torso is different from his buddy’s.

image21.jpg

Day 22 – Plant and owl. 6 pieces (no extra)

The most popular and longest running color for the owl is white. So I’m not surprised to see the bird’s color. Well, a kind of lesser day but at least we have another animal. Right side of the pic purposely creepy

image22.jpg

Day 23 – Atanor (alchemist’s oven). 15 pieces (3 extras)

Since we left the kitchen some time ago, I guess there’s no food in there but something magic and arcane is happening. I just hope that the person who deals with these arts knows what he’s doing.

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Day 24 – Mage. 8 pieces (2 extras)

So Santa was once a Viking (see headpiece) and then a wizard. While soldiers need back-up weapons, he needs extra wands. I think there would have been better options than trans neon green, but X’mas is only one day away (or is it four months?), so let’s not argue. Torso is not printed (beard would cover it anyway), hat and legs are.

image24.jpg

If I could wave my magic wand......I'd make you disappear!

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Sub-sets

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Minifig details:

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Extra pieces!

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Final view

7952-16.jpg

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Review:

As many of you might know, two years ago che "classic" City Advent Calendar had a Castle counterpart. It didn't show up in Italian shops, then a friend of mine spotted it. "Do I have to buy it for you?" "No, thanks. If it's there, it's gonna be everywhere". Wrong. Oh, so wrong.

So, after that very same friend told me that the Kingdoms Calendar was out, I just went and got one (one of the two left!), and here I am, after one day of taking and resizing pics, to tell you about it.

Here are 9 minifigs. I say, 8 minifigs and a skellie. Now that they're not fighting crownies, they don't deserve a capital S and are hardly a minifig. Out of the 8, two are women. 25% is way more than we are used to in ordinary sets, so this is good. 3 are soldiers (2 on the Lions side, one on the Dragon side); then we have a page servant (that's what I call him mostly because of his haircut), a blacksmith (yay! Civilian power!) and a mage (Dragons have their own as an impulse set, this must be the Lions'). Up for now, I'm happy with the minifig/day ratio and their variety. No two faces are the same, lots of decorations on torsos and legs, lots of accessories (and many spares!).

Then we have "the rest". Let's start from what's bad.

The catapult is useless. As I earlier said, it won't shoot anywhere but down (about half an inch / 1 cm. away). Adding a 1x3 plate won't help. Nothing changes. So that has to be thew worst of the 24 days.

"Pig and apple": I would have traded a couple of extra swords with a manger, but I tend to be insatiable (incidentally, that's what they say about pigs too), so let's call this "average". The owl on a tree is another of my less favorite ones. Just like the old impulse wizard, this mage needs an owl to stand by his side. 2 years ago the witch had a shelf with potions, this time we have a small oven so TLC probably wanted to do something different.

The prison and the deceased outlaw: skeletons just work in Castle and Pirates, so they had to put one here. They couldn't give him a treasure map so they had to come up with something, hence they must have thought about prison. There will probably be a way do put it in the King's Castle; I'll leave to those who own it the chance to find it out.

And now let's talk about the good.

Weapons. So many weapons! Since Castle/Kingdoms is about rival factions at war, there have to be weapons. And there are. All three soldiers will be good add-ons to their armies. And weapons don't build themselves, a blacksmith does. A good addition to both Medieval Market Village and the castle.

While some have already become soldiers, a yound man is apprenticing. That medeval dummy is well built, given that it's made of less than 10 pieces.

The Princess' throne. I've been liking it since we saw the first pics. But I didn't realize the dress-sitting problem until I was building. So one should use fantasy and patience. Wait a minute. Is the throne meant to host the prince-once-frog?

All these people needs to eat and drink, and the girl resembling a pirate female minifig will do the work. A couple of apples and one barrel will hardly feed a castle, but at least it's a start.

What would have made the whole thing better? 5 less extra pieces, five more useful pieces (a Dragon shield, a green plume, some more food).

Rating:

Color scheme:4,5/5. It's hard to talk about "one" color scheme with basically 9 small sets. What I didn't like at all were the red clips on the battle cart, and the wizard's wand. Everything else looks fine.

Minifigs and accessories: 5/5. I'm honest, we could have hardly seen something better.

Pieces: 4,5/5. Outstanding torsos, dozens of weapons a couple of animals.

Playability: 5/5. Just imagine!

Design: 4,5/5. Above average but not perfect.

Overall rating: 5/5. Who cares about the flaws, this set is great. For the same RRP, here in Italy you could buy any of these: Pirates' Loot island, Prince of Persia's Ostrich race, Toy story's Woody and Buzz to the rescue, Castle's King's battle chariot, World racer's Jagged jaws reef, Atlantis' Deep sea striker or Farm's 4WD w/horse trailer. What's your choice?

The final words: Christmas came so early for me this year, and I couldn't be happier!

Post scriptum:

squiz (comment #14) brings an interesting point, so I add these words.

I bought the Calendar on early Saturday afternoon, but when I came on I could only take box pics and didn't open the bags. I wrote all of the "day" comments by looking at the pieces and peeking into the box from the sides.

Then on Sunday, over a few hours, I built the models and and took pics, so I changed my mind. Set quality / price ratio (comparing KAC to other 20 Euros sets) wa the icing on the cake. I had many rants throughout the review, but in the end I'm a happy owner of this set.

Edited by Rufus
Indexed!

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Nice. I like this a lot more than the 2008 one, mostly because of the figs, and the extras! :tongue::thumbup:

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I am so happy and excited that you have gotten this set. Never expected that you are able to pick this advent calendar earlier than any of us here. These advent calendar is very attractive in its own rights, especially having to see the Red Queen and a couple of MMV civilians. The only thing which I wished for is to see more of the Green Dragon solders, but I supposed this new faction is a little bit hard to get than the red ones. However, the assortment of accessories are useful with the new addition of pig, apples, owl, weapons, etc, made it worthwhile to get. :thumbup:

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Thanks for the awesome review... it's great to finally see it. I definitely am interested in multiples of this set, as I am the city one. I hope it's available here (US) after the previous fiasco... my understanding is that it would be, so here's hoping.

You've really whet my appetite for this... oh... and if it made financial sense, I'd trade you a few swords for the pig, I think it's a great addition, adding some of these to the MMV will be very cool.

Edited by fred67

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Thanks for the awesome review! The 2008 Castle Advent calendar was a must-have for the Fantasy line, since it contained practically every small useful build lacking from the main sets, and the 2010 looks just as handy! I do find it incredible they can stuff these Advent calendars with figs and small mini-builds and yet still not find any budget in the main sets for the little extras that make an enormous difference in bringing life and joy to an otherwise empty bley wall style Castle. They really strike me as old skool Ideas books brought to life and updated for C21.

There are so many great things about this set - Queen, Knight, pig, sword in the stone, greenery, owl... - I could go on and on! Alas, now I must go knock my head against a brick wall to try and forget these pics so by the time December rolls around I'm pleasantly surprised again! default_tong.gif

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Thanks for the thorough review! This set is tempting me to purchase multiple copies. Perhaps one for Advent and them some more if they go on sale after Christmas.

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Thank you for reviewing this set, it's truly an outstanding one that caters the needs of all Castle-fans. :wink:

As a fan of minifigs, I have to comment on the few mistakes you made in the descriptions. First of all, the royal woman is supposed to be a queen, not a princess (she's older and has a throne, after all). Secondly, your "page" is either a prince or a lord, why else would he be wearing those royal robes? Also, you called one of the soldiers a "crownie", and the wizard's head is a Kingdoms-exclusive that he shares with the Lion Knight's king (the white-bearded Viking head is similar, but different).

Now that I got that out of my chest, I have to say that aside from those mistakes, your review was thorough and versatile, so great job! :grin:

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This seems to be a much better calendar than the previous ones. Thanks for the review!

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Great review, thanks a lot! :thumbup:

Me too, I'm surprised about the number of extras, especially all those 3x swords. 3x pearl dark grey swords is just nice. Also, I noticed that the new pearl light grey weapons are slightly darker than the old ones. I like that.

I suppose it would have been too good to be true if they made included even those parts that you mentioned (dragon shield, plume etc.), but as it is, this set is still a must-have. Some great ideas (dummy, sword in the rock), lots of cool minifigs and some nice accessories.

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Thanks for the review,

It seems to fit perfectly with the medieval market village ! Can't wait !

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dear Cobra, thanks for the review. Where you find this awesome set? I live in italy so I'm curios...

thanks a lot

nausicaakro

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Thanks for the excellent early review. So much castle goodness in this one.

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thanks for the review, looks like a great set in its own right, regardless of the advent calendar part!. Might pick one up to extend the MMV.

Surprised you gave it such high scores, the tone of your review suggested you werent exactly enamoured with the set :tongue:

Edited by squiz

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This has to be the best advent calendar set so far! The minifigs are outstanding, my favourites are the wench and the blue wizard.

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I want this one so badly! I'm hoping they'll sell these babies at LEGOworld 2010.

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Thank you for reviewing this set, it's truly an outstanding one that caters the needs of all Castle-fans. :wink:

As a fan of minifigs, I have to comment on the few mistakes you made in the descriptions. First of all, the royal woman is supposed to be a queen, not a princess (she's older and has a throne, after all). Secondly, your "page" is either a prince or a lord, why else would he be wearing those royal robes? Also, you called one of the soldiers a "crownie", and the wizard's head is a Kingdoms-exclusive that he shares with the Lion Knight's king (the white-bearded Viking head is similar, but different).

Now that I got that out of my chest, I have to say that aside from those mistakes, your review was thorough and versatile, so great job! :grin:

The "prince" could be also a dux, baron, the Venise ambassador :wink: etc. ...

Edited by Almirante Don Rodrigo

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Nice review. Thank you for taking the time to truly break this set down.

It's a nice set but, IMO, the 2008 was nicer. There are just some INCREDIBLY LAME days in this year's calendar.

Of course, with that said, yes, I'll be getting one. LOL

The wizard is great...ALMOST good enough to forgive TLG for not releasing "The Good Wizard" in North America...almost, but not quite.

Though the others are good, the only other real 'stand outs' for me are the queen and the prince (or whatever he is). Looking back at 7979 with its jester, wench, knight, soldier, dwarf, skellies, witch and troll, this year's advent just doesn't quite match up, IMO. It's good, just not AS GOOD as it should be, considering how long they've had to perfect it. 7979 was great, so this SHOULD HAVE BEEN 'awesome'...and it's not...again, IMO.

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Thanks everyone for your appreciation!

@Sandy: good points; I wasn't sure about the "page" either, and I basically thought about the girl being a Princess and not a Queen because of the frog!

@squiz: see the Post scriptum at the bottom of the review.

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Thanks everyone for your appreciation!

@squiz: see the Post scriptum at the bottom of the review.

You can definitely see the switch in your opinion throughout the review! I've experienced the same thing. There have been sets that i thought looked dreadful going by the pictures but have picked them up once ive seen them in the flesh!

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Great selection of figs as well as accessories... I'm not even a castle fan but will definitely consider this one. Thanks for the influential review!

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Thanks for taking the time to do this awesome review! This set looks a lot more appealing than the previous advent calender with the minifigure and piece selection. How were you able to acquire this set in August?

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How could I? A shopping mall, half an hour from home, last week received most of the September sets (including most Kingdoms sets except the two larger ones). Since it happened in Italy, that's nothing short of a miracle.

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Thanks for whetting the appetite. I'll vote on the relative merits of the two calendars when I manage to get my hands on this one...

God Bless,

Nathan

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Nice review. I think its a bit too expensive for me. I saw it at the LEGO store in Tyson's Corner, VA last night for $39.99.

The axe in the Black Smith set up looks like it has writing on the blade, am I seeing things?

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