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King's Castle 7946 Review


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  2. 2 - Below Average (5 votes [2.60%])

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  3. 3 - Average (29 votes [15.10%])

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  4. 4 - Above Average (77 votes [40.10%])

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#1 DaleDVM

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Posted 18 May 2010 - 09:09 PM

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I was glad to be able to purchase all 7 of the new sets on the first day of the Kingdoms release.  I jumped right in and started building the King’s Castle as it had most of the new pieces I was eager to check out.  All of the pictures are links and there are some extra photos from other angles at my flickr account.   There are photos of the stickers on the account as well.  I apologize for not putting them on for this review.  :blush:  I didn’t want to put them on at this time as I do want to MOC with these pieces soon.  

Stats:
King’s Castle
Set # 7946
Parts 933
Mini-figs 5 Lion Knights and 3 Dragon Knights
Price $99.99 USD

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At the store I noted the back of the box had photos of the play features included with the castle.  It also showed several configurations you could arrange the castle in.  I was excited as this set appears to be very modular and shows flexibility for expansions!

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The side showing the new minis.  They are mostly smiling so maybe the weapons are just for show?  

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Three instruction manuals.  One big one and two smaller ones.  I don’t remember ever getting different sized manuals in the same set?  It needs to be said, I don’t get around very much and it isn’t all about size anyway…  

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The instruction manual has different configurations of the castle as well.  

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The all important parts list.  Look at all that good stuff.  Some new pieces surprised me! I only included photos of new stuff not seen before.  

I like the new wall piece in light bley, I think it will be much more useful.  I didn’t get any pirate sets last year so I was excited.  16 are included in the set.
A 2x4 red brown tile.
8 of the 1x3 dark bley tiles.  
10 of the new 1x2 cheese wedge pieces in dark bley.
1 red 2x2 tile with a center stud.
2 of the new tiny catapult pieces.
The modified bricks with the slots for the portcullis have been changed a bit as well.

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I noticed the new door a couple of days ago in the high res pics.  It is thicker and sturdier than the old door.  The hinges are definitely more stiff as well as the door no longer swings open very easily.  I like this so my doors will stay open and or closed on my MOCs when I travel with them.  Aesthetically I like the old doors better.  The thickness at the edges of the door seem to be wrong in some way.  I think I will put in a bricklink order for some older doors.  

The new diagonal corner panel took me by surprise.  I am not sure how stable this new configuration is going to be.  The lack of connection slots at the bottom of the piece makes the front of the panel look smoother so it looks nice.  It is more open on the back side which might allow for a little more flexibility in use.  

The new window tile will allow for centering a window in a 2 stud space.  I will find this very useful but I wish it was a full brick thickness and not a panel.

The new portcullis is more bulky than I thought it would be.  It seems to be rougher as well.  I like the articulations but not the texture of it.  Note the strength of the lion soldier to hold it up all by himself.  Obviously he took safety into account as he is holding the sharp points away from his body!  

The new octagonal plates  could be very useful for adding stability to towers.  Interesting that a hole was included right in the center.  That could be a useful feature.

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The lions, their king, and the king’s trusty steed.  The horse barding is incredible.  Mr. Ed would have bought himself an outfit like this with his fees from residuals.  The figs look great and there is a nice variety of torsos too.  Sorry to announce that the king has the same torso and legs as the prince character in the advent calendar.  At least the prince has a different face and hair?

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The ever outnumbered but brave dragon knights.  One of each torso is very nice (except for the Mad Max chain torso).  I really like the dragon logo on the armor and torsos.  

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I can’t even describe how beautiful the new dark pearl is.  It is an amazing color for armor and weapons.  My only wish is that we got more of it!  I am a fan of the new great helm as well. The printed armor is just great, and as an extra bonus it covers that chain heavy torso very well!

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This shows the completion of step 2 and the interesting design to make the gate go up and down.  Using tiles attached to the portcullis they designed a simple geared mechanism to a set of spinning levers.  

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Step 3 adds the gatehouse and the drawbridge mechanism.  The mechanism is similar to Kings Castle Siege in design which I like.  It is much more attractive with a proper gatehouse on top!  Kudos to TLG.

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Step 4 makes the corner towers and Step 5 the side walls of the castle.  I like the battlements on the towers better in person than they look in the photos.  The towers are wide and minis can actually move around on them.  I am not a fan of the random placement of cheese wedge pieces.  I would put them either on all of the merlons or none of them.  Something easily fixed with some extra parts.  

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Of note is how the walls when put together fit seamlessly and create a repeating pattern of wall panels in light bley and slopes in dark bley.  You could repeat this as often as wanted to create quite a large castle.  A decorative yet simple repeating pattern that doesn’t give you the ugly grey wall syndrome.  The back wall has this same design as do the walls extending from the gatehouse.  I hope TLG has modular expansion in mind for the Kingdom’s castles!

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Step 6 is the keep.  I love the fact that it has a door.  The upper floor is open on the back for playability but I wish it was closed for increased defense.   The decorative elements are nice.

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Step 7 is the tall tower.  I think this is absolutely stunning looking.  The roof is completely solid as they included filler bricks.  The door and the two windows look incredible.  This section is also open on the upper levels in back for playability but that could be changed if you like with a few bricks.  The throne and treasure chest are standard fair for any castle.  Thanks to the LEGO Group for 8 of those 75 degree double convex slopes.  Those were over a dollar a piece on bricklink.  

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Step 8 is the rear wall with the escapable prison cell.  The removable wall piece has a convenient handle on it for those incredibly strong minis I mentioned earlier.  

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And here she is all together.  

There are more photos of the completed model from several angles and the insides at my flickr page.  

There are a lot of new parts in this series… some of which I didn’t see coming at all.  I am not sure of the last time the LEGO Group changed so many staple parts in a theme at the same time.  Possibly they never have.  There are new wall panels, corner panels, window panels, doors, large octagonal plates, a new portcullis, and corresponding slot bricks.  New accessories including the great helm, barding, horn, and several classic castle accessories in a stunning new (dark pearl) color.  The new decorative elements (cheese, and tiles) are very useful across themes and there are plenty of them included as well.  I am really excited to try MOCing with these new pieces!

The build took a couple of hours plus a couple of  hours playing with the new features and taking pictures.  The castle is a bit smaller than the King’s Castle Siege.  I really like that this is a solid castle with no real defensive weaknesses.  The enemy couldn’t just walk into the place like some past castle sets not worth mentioning.  

Like most castle fans I imagine the gatehouse is a big plus for me.  It is a narrow gatehouse that really can’t hold mini-figs but it is better than no gatehouse.   The keep and tower are what make this a classic for me.  The doors and windows and a large sloping tower roof really make this a beautiful set.  The design has no glaring weaknesses and that is really saying something!  It has been quite a while since I could say that about a large castle.  

I think this set is beautiful  :wub:  with some great mini-figs and accessories.  The parts are most useful to castle but light bley is used in most themes.  I would highly recommend this set to all castle fans.   Non-castle fans could probably find more useful parts elsewhere but don't let that stop you!

#2 Commodore Hornbricker

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Posted 18 May 2010 - 09:11 PM

Nice review, thanks for doing this.  I am really liking these new castle sets.
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#3 UsernameMDM

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Posted 18 May 2010 - 09:37 PM

Thanks for the review.

My only concern is that the white printing on the barding and soldiers' torsos looks very thin and pinkish.

#4 DaleDVM

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Posted 18 May 2010 - 09:57 PM

View PostUsernameMDM, on May 18 2010, 04:37 PM, said:

My only concern is that the white printing on the barding and soldiers' torsos looks very thin and pinkish.


That would be correct.  I went back and looked at my Royal Knights for a comparison.  Definately more pinkish than those old mini-figs.  I think the Dragon Knights have similar amounts of paint or ink but it is not noticable as the pale green is not really comparable to anything.  The white stands out and is noticable.  

Thanks for pointing it out Username.  I remember the white issue being discussed in the past but forgot to mention it in the review as that was months ago.

#5 metalandi

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Posted 18 May 2010 - 10:06 PM

Thanks for the early review of this set! I absolutely love the look of this castle, it's got such a loverly classic touch :wub:

A few questions i have: Does the mechanism to pull up the portcullis work good, and do you have any shots from the "behind" sides of the towers and the inside of the castle? I also wonder, is there any interior in upper floor of the gatehouse?

#6 Stash2Sixx

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Posted 18 May 2010 - 10:06 PM

Great to see a review so fast of this set.  The new pieces look amazing; so many new possibilities!

That dark pearl grey does look awesome.

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#7 lightningtiger

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Posted 18 May 2010 - 10:12 PM

Thanks 'DaleDVM' for this review - DAM IT ! I must get this set - the gate and drawbridge is just AWESOME - like a really smegging castle !! :grin:
I guess the open back idea is like you said 'DaleDVM' for playability, that's what my son and myself would want it for !
Again thanks and keep on bricking ! :sweet:

#8 Santhor

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Posted 18 May 2010 - 10:37 PM

Great review! Can't wait to get this set!

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#9 josykay

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Posted 18 May 2010 - 11:18 PM

Nice Review and a really great set.

I can not wait to purchase the sets, but if my information are correct,  Germans will have to wait two more months.  :cry_sad:

#10 squiz

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Posted 18 May 2010 - 11:22 PM

Thanks for the review ! Cant wait to pick this set up, been ages since i have bought a castle (black knights castle was my last!)  Looks like there are some great parts and minifigures included.

#11 UsernameMDM

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Posted 18 May 2010 - 11:28 PM

View PostDaleDVM, on May 18 2010, 04:57 PM, said:

Thanks for pointing it out Username.  I remember the white issue being discussed in the past but forgot to mention it in the review as that was months ago.

Hmm.....not good.

#12 DaleDVM

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Posted 18 May 2010 - 11:48 PM

View Postmetalandi, on May 18 2010, 05:06 PM, said:

Thanks for the early review of this set! I absolutely love the look of this castle, it's got such a loverly classic touch :wub:

A few questions i have: Does the mechanism to pull up the portcullis work good, and do you have any shots from the "behind" sides of the towers and the inside of the castle? I also wonder, is there any interior in upper floor of the gatehouse?

It does have a classic feel to it but I wanted to let everyone make that judgement for themselves.  

The porticullis goes up and down incredibly smoothly!  I would never have guessed it with such a simple gear mechanism.  It did impress me.

There are some pics of the backs of the gatehouse and towers in my flickr account.  The gatehouse has a narrow ledge and actually a little table with a cup.  With a couple of long plates this area of the castle could be improved quite a bit.  

If you know your classics well, I can get full fledged nerdy on you.  The gatehouse interior is about as good as the original King's Castle 6080.  It is not as good as the Black Monarch's Castle or Black Knights Castle gatehouses which I consider the best ever built for roominess.  However, this is the first gatehouse to actually hide a porticullis since 1995 in the Royal Knight's Castle 6090.  And IMHO it is much better that the one in the Royal Knight's Castle.  Again Kudos to TLG.  

I think if we want castles to continue improvement in design and completeness they will have to stay small or break over the $100 USD point.

#13 Faramir

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Posted 18 May 2010 - 11:58 PM

Excellent review, definitely near the top of my list this year. I'm also rather annoyed about the pinkish printing issue-- I thought they'd solved that when I saw this from Daoudbazaar's Jester review:
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But I guess not  :hmpf_bad:
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#14 Alex the Great

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Posted 19 May 2010 - 12:02 AM

Thanks for the review DaleDVM, I can't wait to get these sets! :cry_happy: The pearl dark gray colour looks great, and lots of new pieces. Going to get at least one of each set from this line.

EDIT: Can you give us a link to your Flickr account, I don't see any.

SECOND EDIT: The pictures are links sorry. :blush:

Edited by Alex the Great, 19 May 2010 - 12:05 AM.


#15 Mac-K

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Posted 19 May 2010 - 12:05 AM

Thanks for the review DaleDVM! This set looks fantastic, I'll be picking up a copy for sure. :thumbup:

It's neat to see the re-designs of classic Castle parts. I'm most intrigued by the corner wall piece. It'll be interesting to see if it's an improvement over the old one.

I couldn't agree more about the Dragon Knight dark pearl gray, it looks so great. :wub: I think the only thing I might have changed about this set would be the mini-figs; mainly a knight in place of one of the regular Lion soldiers, and another Dragon soldier altogether. That's not really an issue though, that's what the battlepacks are for. Oh, and maybe add some type of siege weapon for the Dragons, a ballista perhaps? But anyway, those are very minor issues for such a good looking set. Thanks Dale! :classic:

Edited by Mac-K, 19 May 2010 - 12:06 AM.


#16 Cpt. Dan

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Posted 19 May 2010 - 12:57 AM

This is sweet! It reminds me of the black knights castle, I forget the product number but it is awesome I love it.
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#17 blueandwhite

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Posted 19 May 2010 - 01:12 AM

This is a fantasic set but the printing is exceedingly disappointing.  I hope that LEGO improves this on later runs of the set.  I really like the figs, and the new pieces certainly look useful.

Nice review.

#18 prateek

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Posted 19 May 2010 - 01:29 AM

Wow! That's an awesome castle. I just love the figs! Maybe you'd want to put the medium sized pics instead of the small ones because they are hard to see, and it's annoying having to click on each picture wanting to see each pic clearly. :wink:

#19 Shroffy123

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Posted 19 May 2010 - 01:54 AM

Wow looks great, I'm going to have to check my nearby Toysrus here in Michigan, see if they are available yet!

#20 Bujimuji

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Posted 19 May 2010 - 05:19 AM

Cool set  :thumbup: .I like the new pieces,red roof and a lot of gray 1x4x6(or 5) bricks.

#21 gunm

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Posted 19 May 2010 - 07:12 AM

Darn, it seems we have an embarrassment of Castle-themed riches this year.  My wallet/ego cries in agony while my Id pines for clearance sale prices already.  >_<

Thanks for the early review!

#22 Albero - BEL

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Posted 19 May 2010 - 08:37 AM

Thank you very much for the review.
I think this set is really a must-have and I'm planning to buy only this one from the kingdoms theme.
I love the fact that it is a modular castle: I hope LEGO will provide us expansions but, in any case we could be our own ones.
Beatiful set. I'm looking forward the new parts.
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#23 Bram

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Posted 19 May 2010 - 11:26 AM

Thanks for the review and the pics! Can't wait untill they are in stores here. Early june I think it is.
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#24 Big Cam

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Posted 19 May 2010 - 12:44 PM

Great review, may I suggest since you are using flickr to post the 500 width images instead of these tiny 200 width ones?  It would make the review much more enjoyable to view.

Regardless this set looks really cool, and your review is noce, catching all the major points of the set.

#25 Piratedave84

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Posted 19 May 2010 - 01:23 PM

Thanks for the great review,

all these new pieces look so good I love the gate  :wub:

I see a trip to TRU in my near future .... this afternoon that is!

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