Up until this point, I have only done Star Wars reviews (because I wanted to help fill the Star Wars Review Index gaps). But I looked through some of the other indexes, and boy did I find gaps! So here is my first non-Star Wars review... Enjoy!
Set Title: Rogue Knight Battleship
Set #: 8821
Theme: Knights Kingdom II
Year of Release: 2006
Price at Release: USD $19.99 (I could not find information in Pounds or Euros, if you know, let me know)
Buy It? Inventory? Peeron Bricklink
The Rogue Knight Battleship is one of the final four sets of the Knights Kingdom II (Morcia) line; the others being 8823 Mistlands Tower, 8813 Battle at the Pass, and 8822 Gargoyle Bridge (which I'm hoping to review soon). While many people refer to Knights Kingdom II as the Jelly Bean Knights and dismiss it as terrible, I was always a big fan and I loved the colors. But perhaps LEGO realized that many people don't want brightly colored knights, so in the final four sets they toned down the colors and made everything dark and gloomy. Was it a good move or a bad move, you ask? I'm not sure it's either: so many people were already prejudiced against KKII that they didn't care what it looked like. But I liked all the KKII sets moderately well, and I'll start getting to why...
First, we've got the instructions, which sports a nice picture of the set in action (but fear not, I too will present many action poses later on). You can probably already start to see the flaws: those wings, and oh yes! The oddly unclothed minifigures. But more on that later.
Random page, displaying easy to follow instructions with excellent color differentiation.
Back, displaying this set, the Gargoyle Bridge, and Mistlands Tower together. It sure makes you want to get them all, doesn't it? (That wasn't really a rhetorical question, it kind of does make me want to get them all.)
SET - Overview
This image is not my own, it is an official LEGO one, courtesy of Bricklink. In the sections following, I will break down all that you see in this picture. (I would have used the box pic from Bricklink, but it is actually the preliminary one, not the one I got - I know this for a fact)
The minifigures are always a key part of any set, and here we get some good and some bad. I love all the oddly colored knights, and so I find that nice dark green armor with chain mail pattern on Sir Kentis to be very lovely. I also am very fond of the printing on Drascus's armor (he's the one on the far right), and speckle-y armor and helmets are always nice. However, there is one major flaw: the bad guys left home in just tank tops and underpants! They're dressed like the Spartans in 300, they haven't got any clothes! You could make the case that they're wearing yellow pants and sleeves (like an old train torso that was yellow), but it's just weird to me. Having 300 tie-ins is kind of neat though (joking)!
So that you can take a better look at they're faces, here they are with helmets off! It was a little weak to just reuse Jayko's head for Kentis, but it's ok. I love that Drascus printing, you can now pick it up in several of the newer castle sets. The Rogue Knight's face is nice, but it was way overused back in 2006.
Finally, the minifigures sporting their fancy, expensive weapons. Nice printings all around!
Now getting into the bulk of the set, here is the title character, the Rogue Knights Battleship. It's kind of small for a battleship, isn't it? Since this side picture is the best to capture the bad parts, I'll comment on the bad now. First, the obvious: dragon wings as sails. From this angle, they look great, but if you think about it, those things can't catch any wind! You'd have to turn them to the side to catch wind, and then the look would be ruined. Nice look, but not so nice LEGO. The other major flaw here is the oars. Sure, with sails that bad, you'd need oars, but how are the knights supposed to row of the the oars are just attached and left to wobble on the side? You could take them off yourself to play with, but they're just in a terribly unrealistic and unhelpful place. On a good note, that piece of armor on the front is nice, if a little odd.
Aerial view. This is where the good stuff can be seen: the wood planks and "rogue" design. The feel is very evil/mysterious, and grubby, like something some Rogue Knights would throw together. The shape of the ship is also not bad at all.
Front. The ship looming towards us. Again, that piece of armor does well to make it looks rugged and spooky to me, a spiky foe to be reckoned with!
Back. Not so scary from the back, and those misplaced oars are just hanging out.
Detail 1: catapult. The Rogue Knights' small catapult is made of a little round pice I have never seen anywhere else, but I'm sure it is in some other sets. It fires as well as any "hand of god" catapult does, but it would be better if it swivels. Still, it's a nice detail and certainly welcome!
Detail 2: anchor. This is the FAIL detail. While the anchor looks nice, every time you pick the ship up the anchor unravels and hangs down. That's why you shouldn't use a chain for an anchor, use the traditional string!
Overall, the ship has a nice feel and fun to look at. Minus those flaws I mentioned (anchor, sails, oars), this would be a great boat. As it is, it is mildly frustrating to swoosh because of the hanging oars and anchor.
The other part of this set is the defense tower. It's quite a simple design and not composed of many pieces, but it is a nice addition to the set nonetheless. It sports a little dock, bigger catapult, and oddly placed torch. That torch just sticks out and bothers me; frankly I think the set would look better without out it, or it should be on the top level.
On the back side, we just have a vacant cave and empty tower piece. Perhaps a little table with chicken leg would be great in the cave for Sir Kentis to eat during his long days of lookout duty, but it's not necessary. (Sorry the tower piece isn't pushed on well!)
Aerial. I just happened to be flying in a helicopter so I felt like snapping a picture. Not much to add here. This catapult works slightly better than the smaller one on the boat, but it's not great.
This tower is a nice addition to the ship, and enhances playability, as I will show you in...
In this section, I'll suggest some different types of fun you can have with this set!
First, you can use that tower to hide Kentis, because he's young and too afraid of facing those evil Rogue Knights. (Note: The selective focus was on purpose in this shot.)
But then Kentis musters up some courage and decides not to be a wimp, so he runs out to fire the catapult!
He misses with his first shot because he has terrible aim, and then the Rogue Knights are too close. Kentis grabs his weapons and climbs up to defend from the top!
Luckily, the Rogue Knights can't reach the top tower so decide to wait out the night waiting for him to come down. They didn't count on it being so cold, and they didn't bring pants or shirts, so they freeze to death. I didn't take a picture of it though, because death is morbid and frightening.
SET - Final Overview
Here is one last look at the set, as the ship looms towards the lone Sir Kentis and his tower. I did not intend to have such selective focus on the ship when I took the shot, but I thought it looks nice.
I have already provided some summing up after each specific part, but I'll restate it here. The ship has a nice shape and design, but the wings, oars, and anchor are truly terrible. The catapult looks nice, but can't do much. The tower is much better. My only gripe is the oddly placed torch, but it's still nice to have. The catapult isn't great, but it's a play feature, and it works well enough.
Minifigures: 7.5/10 - the printing and faces are great, but where are the Rogue Knights' clothes?
Parts: 9.5/10 - at 152 it's a bit less than should be in a $20 set, but it's a nice selection and the exclusive-to-this-set dragon wings are very nice parts.
Build: 7.5/10 - a good build, not too much repetition, and several different segments to build, but there are those super ship design flaws.
Price: 10/10 - you could make a case that it should have been a few bucks less, but LEGO doesn't price things at something like $17, so it's good.
Playability: 9.5/10 - lots to do and many scenarios to be played, but .5 docked due to hanging parts that hamper the ship's swooshability.
Overall: 8.8/10 - a calculated score that seems just right to me.
I hoped you enjoyed my review, and there will be more to come!
Edited by WhiteFang, 25 March 2009 - 03:48 PM.