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Review: 70404 King's Castle

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38 posts in this topic

Set Number: 70404

Name: King's Castle

Theme: Castle

Year of Release: 2013

Pieces: 996

Minifigures: 7

Price: $99.99 USD

Links: Flickr image gallery Bricklink Brickset

This is a review of the new King's Castle set of the 2013 Castle line. This set has the highest price, the most pieces, and the most minifigures of any set in this line. It will be the last reviewed in collaboration with my brother, who has contributed the photos and co-wrote this review.

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70404 King's Castle by drrca, on Flickr

Box:

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70404 King's Castle by drrca, on Flickr

The box contains a DSS, a new style brick separator, and three booklets that cover the nine or so bags.

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70404 King's Castle by drrca, on Flickr

Minifigures: The Crownies have one longbow archer with the gorget and mail torso print, one crossbowman with the tunic print, one king with leg and torso prints unique to this set, and one knight with leg and breastplate prints like the knights in the other sets.

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70404 King's Castle by drrca, on Flickr

All of them have nice back printing too.

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70404 King's Castle by drrca, on Flickr

The knight is like those in the smaller sets but has a unique head with mutton chops and an expression of aggression or frustration.

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70404 King's Castle by drrca, on Flickr

The Red Dragon figures are just like those in the smaller sets and have alternate expressions on the reverse sides of the heads as well as back printing on the torsos.

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70404 King's Castle by drrca, on Flickr

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70404 King's Castle by drrca, on Flickr

The vehicle: Here's an image of the siege engine with the provided sticker applied to its curved slope. The arm of the catapult flings forward when the the dragon head is briskly pushed back.

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70404 King's Castle by drrca, on Flickr

The fortress: The back or king's tower half of the castle consists of three segments which connect where you seen the side view of the light bley panels on the front side and where you see the the tall dark bley slopes on the back side. The room with the door oddly blocked from opening by the chest outfront is entirely empty inside (the room that is, the chest is filled with chrome gold parts highlighted below).

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70404 King's Castle by drrca, on Flickr

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70404 King's Castle by drrca, on Flickr

The front or gatehouse half of the castle again consists of three segments; the two on each side are more or less identical to the two on either side of the king's tower (just without the jail doors and with a dark brown round table instead of a reddish brown barrel but the clip to attach the staircase is mirrored if switching its side is desired). Inside the gatehouse, the upper spindle draws the portcullis up and the lower spindle the drawbridge.

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70404 King's Castle by drrca, on Flickr

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70404 King's Castle by drrca, on Flickr

These are various parts of interest including a 2x2 inverted tile!

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70404 King's Castle by drrca, on Flickr

Here's how the new barding looks on the king's horse.

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70404 King's Castle by drrca, on Flickr

The extra pieces.

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70404 King's Castle by drrca, on Flickr

Here's a size comparison with the gatehouse from the smaller Gatehouse Raid set.

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70404 King's Castle by drrca, on Flickr

Here it is with the King's Tower switched out for the gatehouse minus one of its smaller side segments.

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70404 King's Castle by drrca, on Flickr

Since they are the same length, the two said segments can also be included - one in each of the two side walls of the castle - in a closed, square castle without the larger center gatehouse segment.

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70404 King's Castle by drrca, on Flickr

Side to side all the sets look like this.

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70404 King's Castle by drrca, on Flickr

Ratings:

Design: 4/5 - The set is designed decently, with a stronger structure than I anticipated. The color schemes work well, and the brown and dark tan give a subtle yet needed touch to the otherwise pastel castle. The design of the gatehouse is well done, as the drawbridge and portcullis function smoothly and without problems, yet the castle is hardly furnished (which is almost to be expected, considering the past castles in the LEGO Castle lines).

Build: 3/5 - Building this set wasn't very interesting, as the two wall sections are nearly identical, as are the two corner towers, and it seems like half of this castle is made up of large <insert that tiresome argument> wall pieces. This set doesn't compare to 10223 Kingdoms Joust, which was still repetitive, but has many more (and smaller) pieces than this castle, which is of a similar price to the joust. Paying twenty US dollars more for the joust set can get you 577 more pieces. That means that the joust set has over 1.5x the number of pieces at 1.2x the price.

Playability: 4/5 - The castle has a good number of minifigures to play with, and has a treasure, jail, horse, and two catapults, as well as the complex gatehouse door and another door in the back. There's also the removable panel for an escape.

Parts: 4/5 - There are a number of new parts introduced here. The pieces overall are decently useful to builders of castle-themed creations. New king minifigure prints are introduced here, as well as a new gold color for the king's crown piece.

Price: 3/5 - Even though the large castle in every LEGO castle line is just around 100 US dollars and despite that this one has a higher piece count than previous $100 castles, this set somehow seems undeserving of that price. Other than the castle structure and figures, all you get is a small wheeled catapult. The 2007 fantasy castle (7094 King's Castle Siege) had a dragon, which I'd take over the catapult if given the option. Additionally, it had 10 figures rather than the seven of this castle. Granted, the 2010 Kingdoms 7946 King's Castle had no enemy vehicles or catapults and had even fewer parts. Although this new set ranks as the third largest castle set ever produced (with only the 2009 Medieval Market Village and the 2012 Joust having more pieces), the <insert that tiresome argument> pieces seem so useless and ugly and the lack of a bigger enemy vehicle is very apparent.

Overall: 4/5 - This is a good set for its playability and minifigures. I wouldn't recommend it to anyone not building medieval creations, as the <insert that tiresome argument> pieces are practically useless to non-castle builders. I wish that the Iron Builder Competition would make use of the 1x4x5 panel or the 3x3x6 corner panel just to prove me wrong and convince me that people aren't wasting their money in accumulating all of these pieces in this set.

Previous reviews of this line:

70400 Forest Ambush

70401 Gold Getaway

70402 The Gatehouse Raid

70403 Dragon Mountain

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Well, the critics seem not to give too much credit in their review despite the above average scoring so far. My two cents are that they do make a lot of valid points about being a bit Junior-ish - or simplistic if you will - without a lot of detailing but something that provides decent playability still. I do support this view and since i have built this set myself i have finished it with somewhat of these same mixed feelings.

Nevertheless, i feel that we have excluded some factors that actually made me appreciate this set even more so than my previous castles:

1. I LOVE the new approach to the flags on the towers - they create the feeling that they are hanging by their own weight. I was never a big fan of the fact that the previous flags looked like that there is a 70 mph wind blowing and the weather never changes. Also, the hanging approach makes the flag look a bit more majestic.

2. I hope that everyone agrees that the new kind of horses with the standing on the two hind legs brought a new look to the castle theme. Even though castle was not the first theme to use this, it has brough a new capability to playability and expression to the castle theme. The barding for the king's horse is just plainly a great addition to this set.

3. Some of the approaches were great yet not fully explored e.g. throne room, jail with double doors with chains hanging, treasury etc. I wished it had a bit more of the Dragon mountain's internal design.

4. I agree that 7 minifigues was a bit less than i would have expected from a $100 set. Throw in a couple peasants, servants, maybe a blacksmith or a good wizard, dear LEGO group since it is a not a licensed theme thus customers could get a little more bank for their buck.

5. LEGO needs to get rid of the theme: the bad guys can just take the side wall out and take the treasure at will. They are giving kids the irrational idea that it was an easy thing to break into a castle. Also 3 soldiers for a garrison means that this king does not value security for his big chest of gold and jewels.

6. I appreciate that how the gatehouse can be integrated into the main castle. LEGO needs to really expand on this idea making set such that would encourage customers to buy set that would serve as an extention of currently or pastly produced sets.

e.g. : blacksmith set that could be integrated into the main castle; a wizard's shop that can be added to the opposite side or something of that sort.

All in all, it is a set that can start a revitalization of the castle theme yet has a lot to improve.

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Excellent review 'oo7', interesting modular idea Lego have used here that you can chop and change sections. :wink:

Missing a blacksmith, well add the Kingdom's one instead......plus the MMV too and bingo.....castle, blacksmithing and tavern done. :wink:

Good to see the DSS is not a huge one...though panels still....at least in LOTR there is a little bit more brick building. :wink:

Brick On Review On 'oo7' ! :grin:

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Solid set, but not very inspiring. I wish they'd gone with something a little more adventurous for the Castle revival, like a castle using a raised baseplate for a more mountainous appearance, a moat around the castle, or just architecture that wasn't so bland. This is too much like the last King's Castle to even consider buying, and it feels like they just want to keep something Castle-y on the shelves so Playmobil and the others don't steal all the knight-loving kids away from Lego.

Of course, I'm just a disgruntled Kingdoms fan.

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yeah,it is a set that can start a revitalization of the castle theme yet has a lot to improve.6.gif

Edited by loveflying

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Looking at all the sets together it looks like 5 year old's castle dream...but sadly lacking for AFOLS.

Hopefully they'll release a D2C Set ala the MMV or Kingdoms Joust at some stage to make amends.

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Great review oo7! I am looking forward to getting this set, can't really go wrong with Castle theme! :wink:

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Wonderful review oo7! The minifigs are great and there's some interesting parts in this set, some that I've never seen before! I always enjoy seeing the flagship castles Lego release with their medieval themes, and this one doesn't disappoint. Nice and colourful with a good sturdy look.

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Good review but I think there have been better castles in the past. The interior seems a bit bare and the set doesn't look that foreboding and impressive as a castle should look, plus for that price the castle should look better and have a better overall design. The vampire monster fighters castle was £80 and that was huge inspiring and impressive looking plus very detailed and well designed and helm's deep in the lord of the rings line was £100 and had much more to it. The set they've done is just too simplistic after what has been done in the past and the minfigure amount is also low for such an expensive set.

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I like the castle but I HATE those colors! :sick: The little jail and the walls look great. I'm interested in the catapult... I wonder how it works. :sceptic: I think it's too expensive. Good review. :thumbup:

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Excellent review, but I don't think the set is all that and a bag of chips. The interior is bland and uninspired and the overall look is rather generic. I like the minifigs and the modularity of the segments to where you can add the Gatehouse Raid to it, but maybe I've been spoiled with sets like the Vampyre Castle and even the Kingdoms castle and joust sets. This set is perfect for kids, but only a few AFOLs are biting because of some of the interesting parts, particularly the golden sword.

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Good review! I really like this set and feel like it easily measures up to the previous King's Castle, which was itself a beauty to behold. It's simple and iconic, but at such it should meet the expectations of any kid who's getting this as their first LEGO castle. It's got lots of great features like a dungeon, treasure room (I imagine that's what the empty room behind the treasure chest is supposed to be — not sure why the instructions put the chest in front rather than inside), throne room, and catapult. It is modular, and improves on the modular system in the last King's Castle since the openings of the towers all face inward, meaning it will look complete in pretty much any configuration. At the same time it is compatible with both the last King's Castle and the new Gatehouse Raid.

I'd like to see LEGO take this idea even further, perhaps creating an evil castle based on the same modular system, or creating new modular expansion packs for the castle that include details to make it "livable" such as a library, a banquet hall, a luxurious bedroom for the king, a smithy or armory, stables, etc. These are unfortunately the sorts of details that LEGO castles almost invariably omit no matter their size. For example, I can't think of any LEGO castle with bedrooms and a banquet hall besides some iterations of Hogwarts Castle from the Harry Potter theme. Having grown up on books like David Macaulay's "Castle", it frustrates me a bit that LEGO has never really succeeded in making a castle that is totally well-rounded, balancing its functions as a military stronghold and a home for its inhabitants.

I have not collected LEGO Castle sets for many years, but I will try making modular expansions to this castle myself on LEGO Digital Designer, and I hope other Castle builders will also be inspired by this modular system to create their own expansions. With now three sets adhering to this system, there's more of an incentive than ever before for AFOLs to explore it further!

Overall, I love this castle in terms of its iconic, formidable look and exciting color scheme. It has a substantial piece count that will make it valuable even as a parts pack for castle building elements, such as the wall panels that have defined LEGO Castle building for decades, the 4x4 facet bricks and 10x10 octagonal plates, the 1x2 masonry detail bricks, and of course plenty of basic building elements. Overall, I hope this reboot of LEGO Castle will lead to a renaissance of medieval sets and MOCs, and if the artistry and versatility of Kingdoms was any indication then there are plenty of new directions LEGO designers can go with this this new iteration of Castle!

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An average castle, nothing special about it. The Kingdoms castle had better colors, figures and heraldy - though the king does look pretty nice.

I'll likely end up getting this one down the line, when it's on a steep sale. But right now, it has no "must have" elements for me.

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I was excited to we what the centerpiece for the new Kingdoms line would be, and I have to say that I'm a bit let down by this. I think I'll get a second Helm's Deep set instead.

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i have this set now, it is my first castle. i didn't like the original design and moved the rear corner tower to the front. this gives the front view an imposing look with symmetry. I assume lego put the tower at the rear to allow kids to play with the draw bridge more easily.

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My own one word review: "Meh"

I was excited to we what the centerpiece for the new Kingdoms line would be, and I have to say that I'm a bit let down by this. I think I'll get a second Helm's Deep set instead.

Excellent idea, I remember one guy posted pics of two Helm's Deep sets linked together to form one large enclosed castle, but I can't find it now.

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It is interesting that all the Dragon Knights have backs on their faces but none of the Lion Knights do :look:

Anyways, thanks for the review :classic:

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Why is it that there seems to be less minifigs with the large castle sets every time a new one comes out? Won't be long and you will only get a total of 3 minifigs with a large castle. I liked the good old days when you got 4 mounted knights and 8 other soldier minifigs! Looks like those days aren't coming back. I'm probably going to hold onto my money in hopes that they bring out another exclusive castle set similar to The Kingdoms Joust or MMV.

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Since Castle 2013 sets were being reviewed last year, we already saw how ugly it looks as compared to Kingdoms sets. After these reviews, they still look ugly.

But this castle does have more pieces than 7946, and the towers are taller and bigger. That means, more pieces, but poorer design. And yes, I would buy this on big discounts for the pieces. I really dislike the heraldry of both factions.

~ From another disgruntled Kingdoms fan.

PS: I hope they rotate in Kingdoms sets again in 2015 or 2016

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Is it just me, or are the castles getting smaller, and the amount of figs too, but the price is the same as the last one, or even more expansive?

My first real castle was the fortress from the vikings line, and that one had 2 dragons, 6 vikings, costed around €70-80, but was way bigger then this one. Others have the same "problem"?

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Actualy this castle have a lot more pieces and it's bigger than the Kingdoms one and it have a lot more accesories too. The only diference is that the kingdoms one have one more minifig.

And I must say that the blue don't hurt eyes as much as it does in the photos and the drawbridge works great!

Edited by Lordofdragonss

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Well, I don't own this set, but I want to, and indeed, this castle is good looking, blue does look good on a castle, so I think I will save some money for this set, or for the December wave of The Hobbit, I need to see pics first. The drawbridge is better looking then the one for Kingdoms, so I think this is worth the money, especially with that golden sword, and the horse(I love these new horses) with barding. The baddies are great too, I think they match with the Kingdoms baddies, as an elite group orso, I will figure it out.

Thanks for pointing out that this set is bigger then the Kingdoms one, from the box and video-reviews I thought it was the same size or a bit smaller, but it is bigger. Now I need to make some room on the shelves, or get more shelves :grin:.

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Thank you for that great review.

I think it is a pretty decent castle. The classical drawbridge is awesome, we got really great minifigures and I have to admit, that I really love the options by adding elements of that Gateway set.

But except the mentioned drawbridge the Kingdoms castle had an overall better design. I liked the Kingdoms colors more, it got the better layout (I don't like that central tower on the back and the corners without towers or other fortified positions)... and all those great flags seem to be on the wrong place! That central one at the gate house is ok, but the others are not.

All in all it is not as good as the Kingdoms one, but still good.

I have to admit, that I really dislike the crest... The colors are ok. There is nothing wrong about blue/ white. But that large lion head looks stupid. I disliked that crest when the royal knights came out, I disliked the crest during KK 1, and I dislike it now!

But all in all the good guys are ok, the blue king is quite awesome!

Speaking of that king, he maybe lacking of an armour, not the best idea, if his castle is besieged, but he got an awesome golden sword, which's colors don't fade. Great. I always hated that color issues about the older greater swords. Oh and the new kings weapons shape is pretty nice.

Speaking of that king, is it just me, or is his crown really gold pearl? So It doesn't fade as well?

Now let me talk about thebad guys: They look far more sinister compared to the Kingdoms counterparts. Their crest is, again just a overseized head of a creature, not as good as the Kingdom's dragon. The color scheme is pretty strong and the torso prints are lovely (And so is the knights breastplate).

What I do not understand when looking at the entire serie is the color of the armor of the evil guys. Blizzard introduced that awesome dark pearl grey when introducing the Kingdom serie, and no they replaced them, giving the evil guys normal black equipment. Why? They even use weapons of that dark pearl gray color. Why not doing the same with armor? That dark pearl gray was so awesome.... Or did Lego considered it, not being dark enough for the bad guys?

But still they are awesome.

All in all I would give the set a 4/5, although it is close to 3/5. Lego could have done better.

Edited by josykay

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