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CLASSIC Review: 6080 King's Castle


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#1 def

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Posted 11 January 2010 - 10:37 AM

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This was one of my first Lego set.  My older brother had some 70's Lego, with those double sized "mini"figures, and I had a little Duplo myself, but this was the first set that felt totally mine.  I can't say how many times I built it, and tried to make something better than the main model and failed (perhaps I can blame some of my creative low self-esteem on Lego?).  Though it's not the first castle, it's the first castle as we know it, in the grey bricks.  Having bought some of the current generation of castle, including its seeming update, the 2007 King's Castle Seige, how does it feel through the eyes of an adult?

Set#: 6080
Name: King's Castle
Theme: Castle
Year: 1984
Pieces: 674
Minifigs: 12 (!)
Price: ???

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The box
I don't have the box, but here's Peeron's copy of it.
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Those are some fun looking variations they include!
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The booklet
These are 25 years old, so forgive their condition.
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I actually found this guide pretty difficult  :blush: They add about 6-7 pieces at a time, and usually all the same color and from the same view, so it was a bit difficult to spot every added piece.  90% of it was fine, just a few details were missed at first.
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The Pieces
A healthy pile of grey, with some black.
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There are three varieties of mini-figure, archers, soldiers, and knights.  While the prints aren't quite as complex as some that are in production today, they aren't blocky or simple.  In particular, the lion design is quite beautiful, and captures the feeling of the old British flags.
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Unfortunately, I'm missing two figures.  I have no idea where they could be.  Anyway, in total, there should be four of each, and the knights should all have different color plumes (Is that the word?).  That's a hearty haul for a single set, if the variety isn't what it is today.
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The bricks definitely have lost their luster.  The pieces are all different shades at this point, some light, some dark, some faded... I don't know what the true color should be.  Here we see a modern piece (left) and an original piece (right).  The new pieces are definitely glossier, and perhaps better.  20 years from now, I'll be able to say the final word on this topic, but for the time being, I like the quality of the current bricks better, and am crossing my fingers that they keep looking good.
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The Build
These photos are roughly 10 steps at a time.  The first part here is nearly a mirror build, except for the sword holder on the left, and the prison on the right.  Hinges are placed at the front, and a lock placed between to connect them.
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Next. the back end is completely finished, and the front has begun.
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Here the main walls are up and the drawbridge is ready.
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The Finished Product
It's a castle for sure.  It's not as formidable by today's standards, but it still looks good.  And we need to keep in mind that this is the castle set that set the standard, both in color and in design.  The first castle release wasn't half as strong, though it has its own charms.  The portcullis, the shields above the drawbridge, the flags that debuted that year... Right down to the varied prints on the walls to recreate the brick look.  The detail on this set is surprising.
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The only flaw in the design is that it's 99% symmetrical, which makes it less exciting.  But the large courtyard is a great play feature.  The staircase at the back is a nice detail.
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The set opens at the back to create this wide wall.  I think I prefer the current modular technique, but really, I never had a complaint about this play feature, and I think it looks quite natural open and closed.
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The string and piece on the left is for the portcullis, meant to be fastened nowhere in particular.  
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With no difficulty, it pulls the portcullis up.  It's perfectly positioned, so that there is no rubbing or friction.
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A winch is included for the draw bridge.  This string has a little more friction, so, though it pulls up easily enough, you have to help the bridge down a little. There is an axe there, but it should be a spear.  I just didn't have a replacement handy.  Can you notice the two replacement pieces I had to slip in here?
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With the drawbridge up.  It's not outstanding, but is framed well by the columns in the doorway.  
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From the inside, we can see the alternating black and grey bricks in the frame for the portcullis.  The grips for the axes look good, and there are two swords stored on pillars nearby.  One block is missing there though; I didn't have a replacement for it.
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An inky, black, unphotographable door is in the locked position.  I assume it's a prison.
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Open, you can see there is just enough space for a few mini-figs.
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On the opposite side, we just have a pillar and a sword.  It's simple but fitting.
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The Final Verdict

Design: 10/10 It's hard to grade this fairly, but I give this perfect score for a few reasons.  For one thing, it is the standard from which other castles have come.  It wasn't the first, but the first really successful castle set.  Also, I was surprised at the variety of pieces.  A number of pieces that are now standard came out in this set; the first castle panel piece, the SNOT bricks to hold the shield and lances, new horses... I can't 100% say that those were new pieces, but they were used for the first time in a Castle set.  These are examples of really successful design, that they are standard pieces today.  Well done, 1984 Lego designers!

Build: 7/10 It's a solid set, with somewhat difficult instructions (how did they ever make those instructions without computers?!)  There are a few interesting techniques, in the stairs and in the front gate, but overall, it's fairly repetitive.

Playability: 10/10 Twelve figures!  Four horses!  Four types of weapons!  The castle changes shape!  Even by today's standards, this is very playable.

Minifigures: 8/10 The only disappointment is a lack of variety.  At the time, we were fine with all minifigs having the same face, but it isn't that exciting.  A great count though.

Price: N/A A Christmas present when I was nine.  I can't find the original price, much less translate it into 2010 dollars.

Overall: 8/10 This set has a lot of good qualities, and not just from a historical perspective.  It has a good selection of blocks that work as the foundation of your own castle, a healthy amount of mini figures, three base plates, and some early Lego detailing.  It's simpler than the sets of the last decade, but at that point, there just weren't that great a variety of pieces.

I don't think this set is a must have.  It's a nice one to have, and since it's available in the $100 range (used), it's reasonably purchasable.  Still, unless you have nostalgic attachments to this, I'd advise to get whatever the current castle is (and 2010 should bring a new one).  If you have a reasonable Castle collection, you could probably make it yourself, since there's almost no exclusive pieces.  Ultimately though, as a piece of Lego history, it's priceless.

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#2 KurttKrueger

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Posted 11 January 2010 - 11:20 AM

I have always loved this set. I never had chance to buy it due to no money as kids, but always looked longingly at it in the leaflets that came with cheaper sets!

A really great review, thats only increased my appreciation for this set, as I had no idea what the interior looked like. I'm sorely tempted to break down my modified King's Castle Siege and try and construct a 'modernised' Crown Knight version of this set.
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#3 Legoist

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Posted 11 January 2010 - 12:56 PM

Thanks for the review  :thumbup:

I had this set as a kid, as well as the yellow Castle. I remember that already at the time there was some discussion about the modern horses instead of brick-built horses and the wall panels, but as a kid I loved both. Now the horse has been the standard for over 20 years, a clear success. And I actually still like the wall panels as well: I think they look fine together with normal bricks, they simplify the design, speed up the build, and make the overall model lighter in weight. When you just need a flat wall with regular openings, panels are absolutely ok.

Castles like this 6080 were all very good. They had a realistic feel of sturdiness, and the fact that they always opened was a big playability boost. This introduced some "modularity" with the other Castles or smaller towers and castle-walls in other sets, that could be immediately attached together to form a larger construction or small fortified village.

The only drawback of this Castle era is the usual lack of interior details, and details are nowadays one of the key most-wanted features in a Lego set. However your review reminded me that 25+ years ago I had a lot of fun with the prison cell (for some reason I really liked the "wooden bar" closing idea) and the drawbridge/portcullis.

#4 Big Cam

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Posted 11 January 2010 - 02:33 PM

Spectacular review, my cousin had this set and I was always jealous.

You did it more than justice, I want it even more now.

Thanks def.

#5 Joe H

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Posted 11 January 2010 - 02:46 PM

Nice review!  Such a nice set, yet still haven't been able to found one at a price I'm willing to pay  :tongue: .  One of my favorite aspects about older sets such as this one is the high minifigure ratio, which is very nice.

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#6 Raven Brickroft

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Posted 11 January 2010 - 03:32 PM

I've always wanted to do the review of this set, but some of the pieces of the one I got were missing, particularly the yellow flags.

I always wondered why people loved the classics. Once I built this, I understood why.  :classic:

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#7 WhiteFang

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Posted 11 January 2010 - 04:25 PM

I never had the chance to own this set.  :cry_sad:

And, this is truly one of the few magnificent Classic Castles ever released. From its majestic high towers, to the astounding amount of solders inside this set, this is just one of the amazing castle sets that you must own back in the 1980s.

I am really glad you did this review, and managed to restored it! Thanks for sharing this with us, and no doubt about this set, I have given it a full "5".  :thumbup:

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#8 RoryoCox

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Posted 11 January 2010 - 05:58 PM

Nice review.
I wish I had got this set at the time.
I love the photos and the final points.
I think because of your review I might get this set from bricklink.

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#9 Etzel

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Posted 11 January 2010 - 06:05 PM

Thanks for the wonderful review, def!  :thumbup:
This set came out a couple of years too early for me to get it but I think it's a really good castle. The best thing with it is the simplicity which allows you to easily change the form and structure of the castle to the way that suits you the best. This set is very close to what I imagine a Creator Castle could look like (minus the minifigs and accessories). Lots of grey pieces with a baseplate and some detail pieces in black.

I definitely give this set a 5 but I don't think I will get it if I get the chance. That is mainly because of the difference in colour between the old grey and the new bley. I built up a new LEGO collection after my dark age (which ended in 2006) so almost all my grey pieces is in the new colour and I'm not to fond of mixing them. But if LEGO would release a similar set, either a remake of this or a Creator set, I would surely buy it.  :sweet:

Thanks again for the review!

#10 salty tbone

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Posted 11 January 2010 - 06:13 PM

Thanks for the wonderful review for a wonderful castle. I still remember my brother getting this set for Christmas and spending a good part of the day building it. It made our yellow castle instantly second-rate.  :classic:

The portcullis has always been my favorite castle entrance.

Still, I can't help thinking that if this set were released today some people would complain that it's too juniorized.  :hmpf_bad:

#11 Sandy

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Posted 11 January 2010 - 06:22 PM

I have to be the one swimming upstream again, but I find this set nothing but boring.

It has great nostalgic value to many, I get that, but I see nothing special in the castle that wouldn't have been done better in other sets. Apart from the portcullis, it looks like a beginner's MOC castle, actually.

Okay, I admit the amount of minifigs is great, but not the quality, since there's very little diversity in them.

These are just my opinions, of course, but I appreciate newer sets much more than these ancient ones. Not only are they more aesthetically pleasing, they also have tons more play features, more details, more pieces, and more imagination put into them.

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#12 Ferdik

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Posted 11 January 2010 - 06:47 PM

I also had this once upon a time. I remember it a bit boring. It lacks interior! There´s no stable, no place to eat, no blackmill etc. Ofcourse you can add it your self but I remember I was disappointed about the big green empty castle yard.

I remember thinking the yellow castle my friend had was cooler (except fore the horses) The knights in the yellow one had cooler visors! ;)

I can see the charm in some old Lego sets, but not in this one.

#13 Etzel

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Posted 11 January 2010 - 06:52 PM

 Sandy, on Jan 11 2010, 06:22 PM, said:

I have to be the one swimming upstream again, but I find this set nothing but boring.

It has great nostalgic value to many, I get that, but I see nothing special in the castle that wouldn't have been done better in other sets. Apart from the portcullis, it looks like a beginner's MOC castle, actually.

Okay, I admit the amount of minifigs is great, but not the quality, since there's very little diversity in them.

These are just my opinions, of course, but I appreciate newer sets much more than these ancient ones. Not only are they more aesthetically pleasing, they also have tons more play features, more details, more pieces, and more imagination put into them.
That's exactly what makes it so great!  :laugh:
It's simple design allows you to add the details you want and at the places you like. It's easy to build alternate models and the pieces are very useful for MOCs. I think it's more fun to imagine your own version of the castle, come up with clever play features and details, and then add them yourself to the castle.

But I understand your point of view and I agree that as a display set it's inferior to many of the newer castles like Royal Knight's Castle or King's Castle Siege. The play features in this set might not be many but I strongly believes that it has a greater play value thanks to it's simple design that encourage the builder to make their own versions. LEGO is a construction toy after all  :wink:

#14 jimmythefly

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Posted 11 January 2010 - 06:53 PM

Ah, my sister and I got this as a "combined" christmas gift one year. Probably the only time I really didn't care that it was a "combined" gift, because we each got a side to play with and a bunch of figures for our own.

Nowadays most of my figs have the decals rubbed off, and I only can locate maybe 2 of those wonderful shields. Thanks for the trip back.

One thing that always bugged me, even then, was that the portcullis wasn't symmetrical and centered in the opening. as a kid I never figured a way around it, and as and adult I'll just leave it as is, wonderful in it's own time and still lots of fun today.

#15 Jack Bricker

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Posted 11 January 2010 - 07:12 PM

I have to admit that when I fist saw this castle I wasn't impressed. :sadnew: I guess you could say that I had gotten spoiled with the new castles and I had also had the Royal Knights Castle as a kid so I thought this was kind of a small insignificant piece.  Well, your review has totally changed my mind.  I am liking it more and more.  The stairs in the back are really cool and I like the minifigures.  Yeah, they are not as varied but, you could always fix that and I like the amount of figures that you get.  I only wish it came with a king.  

As for your instructions :hmpf_bad:  "These are 25 years old, so forgive their condition."  they are ancient scrolls that reveal the secret blueprints on how to build a treasure. :tongue:

Overall, it is a great set and you did a wonderful review of it.  Thanks for the review and the great pictures. :classic:

#16 Lordofdragonss

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Posted 11 January 2010 - 08:30 PM

Thanks... Now I want this set. :blush:
I'm gonna build it with my own bricks- it looks realy good, and I would be happy to see some castle like thin in new "Kingdoms: theme. The best part of the castle- design- This castle still looks good, even now when we have  many new castles...
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#17 Brick & Mortimer

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Posted 11 January 2010 - 09:02 PM

My cousin had this set.
I was so jealous, until I got 6085, The Black Monarchs Castle, which was even cooler because it was black and the towers were round  :cry_happy: !
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#18 drdavewatford

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Posted 11 January 2010 - 09:37 PM

Nice set, nice review !

The thing about the colours is interesting....on at least one of the close-up photos it looks as if you've mixed old light grey with newer light blue-grey pieces. Any chance that could have accidentally happened at some point ? Otherwise you've had some serious colour change with some of your pieces.

Lovely set, though - there's something about the simplicity of the older sets which I just love compared to newer sets with all the custom pieces.

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#19 Zorro

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Posted 11 January 2010 - 09:55 PM

Very good review about a nice set. Good work :thumbup: .
I own one of these sets too, but I'm afraid I don't have some of the minifigs anymore (sold them, stupidly enough).
Thanks for doing this.

#20 paul_delahaye

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Posted 11 January 2010 - 09:57 PM

I have this set, it's a great classic,

From memory, there was a slight error in the instructions to do with the 3 black 2x2 tiles on the floor by the drawer bridge, I seem to remember if you follow the instructions, the drawbridge does not open properly?  

But I could be wrong

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#21 Grimmy

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Posted 12 January 2010 - 03:40 AM

I was so happy to see this review on the front page. On release in the U.S. this set cost $50. This set has a very special place in my heart as it was my first big Lego set. :classic: A few months ago when I came back to Lego (from childhood) I did some research and found lots of pictures from someone else also claiming this as their first big Lego set too. I saved the pictures in my Lego folder.

I got this Legoland Castle for Christmas while my brother got a police station. I loved this castle so much! I loved that it split in half and you could open it and sit behind it on the carpet floor while your brother attacked it from the outside. It was really neat. As much as I loved that castle and the horsies though, I absolutely love love loooooove (are you starting to get it yet?) the new Castle theme line with the big Trolls, (which look more like Ogres) the green minifig Trolls (which look like Orcs) and the awesome Dwarf minifigs, along with the crownies with the king that has a chrome or gold crown, the cranky princess, the gold armor knight, the jester with happy face as well as tearful cry expression. The Drawbridge Defense is a great set which has all these crownies for $40. Sold out everywhere. These new sets just have awesome characters and kool builds. My only complaint is that they use those 1 piece panels instead of building walls brick by brick like the first castle, the yellow castle which you linked in your review. But I understand why Lego uses these panels. It helps keep costs down.

The sun-faded gray phenomenon
The gray bricks on this set always turn from a faded gray to a grayish yellow, which occurs in many grey toys in those years due to the light fading the color. I believe it is the sunlight which faded my gray Super Nintendo and gray Star Wars Millennium Falcon the EXACT same color. From gray, to faded gray, to yellowish gray. I remember years my Super Nintendo sat unused in my entertainment system for many years unmoved. One day I was cleaning and going to closet things I no longer used, I saw that the back of the Super Nintendo was normal gray color, but then the front was a yellowish sun-faded gray and the side where the sun would hit in my room was a faded gray. The other side which was in a dark shadowed area, stayed normal gray color. Something even more funny is that I had these special SNES stickers on the controllers around the buttons on the top face of the controller, and the controller top was a faded gray but after I peeled off the stickers, I saw a perfect gray color in the shape of the sticker that did not fade! lol If you've ever gone to flea markets, you've probably seen lots of old toys that have the sun-faded gray to yellowish gray color.

Edited by Grimmy, 12 January 2010 - 03:51 AM.


#22 General Armendariz

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Posted 12 January 2010 - 04:01 AM

You, have just brought me back into castle! :cry_happy:
I love the review, and now I MUST get this set!

#23 Legoist

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Posted 12 January 2010 - 09:39 AM

 Sandy, on Jan 11 2010, 08:22 PM, said:

I have to be the one swimming upstream again, but I find this set nothing but boring.

It has great nostalgic value to many, I get that, but I see nothing special in the castle that wouldn't have been done better in other sets. Apart from the portcullis, it looks like a beginner's MOC castle, actually.

Okay, I admit the amount of minifigs is great, but not the quality, since there's very little diversity in them.

These are just my opinions, of course, but I appreciate newer sets much more than these ancient ones. Not only are they more aesthetically pleasing, they also have tons more play features, more details, more pieces, and more imagination put into them.

I'm not sure, there's good and bad in both old and new sets.

We have to keep in mind first that modern sets have much more pieces, more expensive in fact. The 6080 had 664 pieces according to Lugnet, the current castle 7094 has 973, that's about +50% with of course much more diversity of pieces nowadays. That's two starting advantages.

I would certainly agree that with more pieces and more piece diversity, the newer sets have "more play features, more details, more pieces, and more imagination put into them" as you say.

I otherwise disagree that they are "more aesthetically pleasing". They are more decorated than the old (not much more, and usually not to my taste) but mostly they have not enough "meat", meaning that the structure itself of the castles and other sets of today often look flimsy and empty.

When I look at castle MOCs (including yours), they are always very "meaty" in the structures, they look more solid like the old castles, and on the other hand they have lots of nice details like the new castles. Then of course MOCs actually surpass both the old and new official sets by far in these features  :tongue:

Compare:

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Edited by Legoist, 12 January 2010 - 09:40 AM.


#24 Sandy

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Posted 12 January 2010 - 09:55 AM

 Legoist, on Jan 12 2010, 11:39 AM, said:

I otherwise disagree that they are "more aesthetically pleasing". They are more decorated than the old (not much more, and usually not to my taste) but mostly they have not enough "meat", meaning that the structure itself of the castles and other sets of today often look flimsy and empty.

Comparing the pictures, to my eyes the King's Castle Siege still looks both sturdier and more filled than the old King's Castle. Those two castles are actually quite alike in their basic structure - they're both square-shaped, built on flat plates and use the same wall panels in the base. However, the new castle has more structural diversity (with the BURPs and rounded corners and different towers), more height, more colors, more details, more play features and more of just about everything except nostalgic value.

I'm not saying that you can't love the old castles for what they are, I personally just can't feel that same love for them as so many of you do. It might be because I never owned a large castle in my childhood (the Wolfpack tower was my largest castle set back then), but I firmly believe the new sets are a major improvement over the sets of the yonder years, no matter how many people call them "juniorized" or "ugly".

That's why I'm so bothered when people declare how great these ancient sets are without even a hint of criticism, like it's somehow wrong to say a bad word about an old classic. :sceptic:

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#25 Bobskink

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Posted 12 January 2010 - 10:13 AM

I remember getting this set as a kid and it kicked megablocks. The drawbridge was very inginious at the time, and it was also the first time I saw the castle walls. I remember having diffuculties ussing them the correct way at the time.
But I must agrea, now the castle looks a litle borring, still, the amount of knights makes it a cool set.

edit haha, you can't say megablocks over here.

Edited by Bobskink, 12 January 2010 - 10:15 AM.

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