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Review: 6082 Fire Breathing Fortress


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#1 ZO6

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Posted 08 January 2011 - 02:46 AM

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I've always only seen this set in those little catalogues that used to come with sets or more recently on sites like Brickset.  The set looked appealing to me and after nearly 18 years I've finally been able to get myself a MISB copy of it.  Read on to find out all there is to know about the often overlooked Fire Breathing Fortress, the largest set in the Dragon Knights theme.

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Info

Set # - 6082
Name - Fire Breathing Fortress
Theme/Subtheme - Castle/Dragon Knights
Year - 1993
Piece Count - 393
Minifigures - 6
Price - MSRP $64 US

Links

Brickset, Peeron, Bricklink, Brickshelf

Box

The front of the box depicts the fortress on some sort of very high mountain top.  This is set against a lovely orange and yellow sky as we can see far off into the distance.  Note the emblem at the top right - while the theme is commonly known as Dragon Knights, the box refers to them as Dragon Masters.  Missing from the front of the box is the set name, piece count and age recommendation.  The set name is found on the top of the box while the piece count is found on the bottom.  There is a warning that the small parts are not suitable for children under 3 years of age, however there is no other age recommendation present!  
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As expected for a set of this time, the back of the box is host to an assortment of alternate models.  Some of these are actually pretty decent, shame there are no instructions for them  :wink:
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My favorite feature of these old boxes is the front flap that can be lifted up.  The pictures highlight several of the play functions of the set.  Also present is a small motivational set up story for the set.
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Here's a close up of the story:
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Under the flap are some clear plastic windows that allow you to see some of the contents of the box.  The window to the left displays a number of interesting and exciting parts.  The other window shows off some bagged parts.
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Box contents

Sliding the cardboard tray out of the box gives us a better view of its contents.  Thanks to this style of box everything is nicely packed and nothing gets damaged.  The plastic on the display tray has started to peel away but no harm has come to the parts.
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Safely tucked away underneath everything is all the paper work.  Here we've got a poster, the instruction manual, a subscription offer to the magazine of the time, a flyer advertising some sets, and a lovely cloth flag.
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Instructions

The back of the instruction manual has a slightly different picture than on the front, and at one corner is a points token that could be cut off and used to help qualify for the Lego club of the time.
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Here are two random pages from the instruction manual.  The page to the left shows what most of the build was like - there were no piece call outs and often 10+ pieces were added every step.  Sometimes there would be arrows that point out where parts go if the view is obscured.  The page to the right shows one of the few sub-models.  As mentioned, the pace of the build is very fast - there are a lot of parts added every step and you have to pay close attention to spot where they go sometimes.  I personally think this makes the build a lot more fun and it also allows the manual to be a minuscule 26 pages long.  Colour differentiation is a no brainer as they're all perfectly represented.  Some parts appear in multiple colours, but identifying the proper one to use is never a problem.  I miss manuals like these...
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Poster

The set also comes with a beautiful fold out poster.  This thing measures approx. 16x22" and features a variety of castle sets on the front side (pictured) and many other sets that were available at the time on the back.
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Pieces

Here are the contents from the display tray.  Printed parts include the lovely wall and arch as well as the scroll.  We've also got the head knight and his amazing cape, Majisto the wizard and his beard and glow in the dark wand, the dragon's torso, the distinct red roof, and some other stuff.
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The set contains seven bags of parts.  Loose in the box were two LURPs, a rare stair piece, and a 1x16 beam.
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The contents of panel 1 were loose in the box (same as above), while 2-4 were the largest bags.  They contain many arch pieces of varying sizes, wall pieces, turret tops in two sizes, some plant life, other large bricks, some minifig torsos, dragon limbs, a horse, and some accessories.  Not a bad little castle building kit.
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The four physically smallest bags are stuffed full of more pieces. 1 contains loads of basic bricks and blocks as well as some accessories and weapons. 2 has got a wide variety of useful parts, including a set of large brown doors. 3 gives us the bulk of our minifig legs, and well are other parts. 4 contains the smallest pieces and more interestingly it also has two swords, a bow and arrow, and a quiver.
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Minifigures

The fortress comes with three "generic" soldiers.  These guys are admittedly pretty cool though.  The printing on the torso is really nice - the big belt and dragon head look great.  The red, blue, grey, and black colour scheme is simple but eye catching.  All three figs have the same head, but thanks to the different weapon and helmet combinations they all seem unique.  
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The pimped out guy on the left has an interesting torso print with metallic shoulder armour.  He has a large helmet with three small holes to allow those yellow accessories to be attached.  Note his lovely bright shield and cape.  In the middle is the infamous Majisto along with his glow in the dark wand and crystal ball.  To the right is the lone wolfpack minifigure.  None of the minifigures have back printing as such as technique wasn't done at the time.  
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Here are some extra shots of the awesome uber knight and his sweet cape  :wub:
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The Dragon Knights theme introduced the dragon figure.  His mouth, arms, tail, and wings can all be repositioned.  Studs on his back allow a minifigure or anything else to be attached.
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The set also includes a horse.  He can carry around some flags and a weapon.  Note his dragon-esq head protection.  
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And of course here are all of the figures together.
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The build

As with most sets that are built on one of these raised baseplates, you start the build by placing supports around at the back.  A support is also placed in the large pit.  These allow the fortress to have greater floorspace.  
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This is literally 2 steps later.  As you can see, the build progresses quite quickly.  At this point the base has been rotated around as well.  At the back we can see a low wall has been built.  Note the two hinge pieces - a secret wall will later attach onto these.
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The main doors have been added.  At the back the prison is being built.  The first of two LURPs has been put in place.
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Here is the secret wall/entrance.  It is eventually pretty well hidden/integrated with the fortress.
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From a different angle, the second LURP is added - this one will host a large tree.
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Here is the current view of the back/side of the fortress, we can see that the staircase has been added.
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Everything has been built up some more, many large arches have been added.  At the back some red roofing has been put in place.
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Back/side view again, showing the distinct red roof that is used throughout the dragon knights theme.
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A treasure chest is filled with some rubies and emeralds.  This fits in nicely at the base of either LURP.  The dragon can fit nicely in the pit and protect the treasure.
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The trap door at the top of the fortress is built.  It is simply built out of a couple technic beams, a plate, and some pins, but it works very well.
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The rest of the roof plates are added, as are the turret pieces.  There is a lot of floor place on this level.
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Here is another view of the roof, this time the supports for the tower have been placed.  Tucked away in there is a small fireplace.
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The tower is a sub model that is then placed accordingly.  The lower black round 1x1 is the top of a chimney, while the top one will soon hold a flag pole.
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The fortress at this point.  It's looking great and is just about done.  Note the finished tree.
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The dragon head is yet another sub model.  More on how this works later.
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The dragon head attaches thanks to a technic beam.  This allows the head to pivot.  
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Completed fortress

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Alt. views 1 (front and right side)
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Alt. views 2 (back and left side)
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Complete set.  Doesn't it look nice?  :blush:
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Play features and other details

Here we have the secret entrance all closed up.
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The entire wall piece can be pulled down to allow entrance or exit from the fortress.
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Around at the back of the fortress is the prison.  In this case the sneaky wolfpack figure can be locked up.  The cell is pretty cramped, but one can't really expect a medieval prison to be very comfy.
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There is an entire brick built bar underneath the trap door that normally keeps it up and flush with the rest of the second story.  Pull the bar back and the giant trap door drops.  You could drop an entire army or guys through this thing!  Down to the dragon below!   :grin:
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Here is a video of the trap door in action:


The dragon head is filled with four grey 1x1 bricks that are sitting on the tongue.  There is a spear that runs through the side of the dragons head that keeps the tongue level and in place.  When you pull the spear our, the tongue can then drop down and released the "boulders" upon unsuspecting intruders.  Here's another video:


Majisto can stand up in his tower and cast spells on those below.  There is no ladder up to the tower, but we all know ladders are a rarity among Lego structures.  Besides, Majisto is a wizard, he can just used magic to get up there.
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There are many clips spread around that can be used to hold weapons.  Note again all the lovely floor space on the second level (and that ridiculously huge - but very well hidden trap door)
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On the way up the stairs is a hook to hang whatever you want... such as a bow and arrow.
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Final Thoughts

Design/Build:  This certainly is not your generic looking, boring castle.  In fact, this fortress is quite unlike any other Lego castle.  The fortress has some good height to it and despite its relatively small size seems pretty imposing.  While I say relatively small size, this is in comparison to say the Royal Knights Castle, or most modern castles.  I must admit though that the fortress is larger in person than I thought it would be after all of these years of seeing it in pictures.  It's quite attractive looking from just about any angle and has a nice organic feel to it.  The red roofs contrast nicely.  Though there is a lack of a ladder to the top tower, the rest of the set is logically laid out and makes for a good defensive fort.  The build is a lot of fun and takes longer than modern sets of similar pieces counts.  This extended build time is due not only to how the instructions are laid out, but the design of the castle is deceptively complex.  A complete lack of any sort of repetition makes this an utter joy to assemble!

Pieces:  Though the piece count is relatively low for this being the largest set in a theme, this is still a wonderful castle parts kit.  At first glance it appears that the castle is made up of only large parts, but there are in fact loads of regular bricks and blocks used throughout.  There are not a lot of printed parts, but the ones that are included look great.  There are no stickers.  The fortress could benefit from an additional minifigure, but the current 6 is respectable considering the size of the set and the piece count.  The included minifigures look great and the dragon is very cool.

Playability:  Wow, a castle that doesn't have a single catapult!   :sweet: That's right, the playability comes from a secret wall, a boulder launching dragon head, and a massive trap door!  The dragon head and trap door are actually very satisfying (the dragon head is a bit fiddly to reload)  In addition to these, there are plenty of other details and things to keep you busy.  Top marks!

Verdict:  This set is often overlooked and referred to as the castle that was "the beginning of the end" in terms of quality castle designs (even though Royal Knights Castle, one of the finest castles ever made, as well as Fright Knights which really were pretty good came afterwards) but this fortress is actually really neat.  I've been wanting to get my hands on this set for nearly 18 years and I'm not disappointed at all - the set is far better than I thought it would be.  The design is very unique and the set offers loads of playability - the best of both worlds for any Lego fan.


As always, comments and questions are more than welcome.  Cheers!

Edited by Rufus, 21 May 2011 - 05:12 PM.
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#2 Nicker

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Posted 08 January 2011 - 04:13 AM

Nice review, well done! I agree with pretty much everything you said. I was thinking about doing a review of this set myself but it is better that you did it since you have a MISB set and I have a used set that I got off ebay for a cheap price that shows signs of wear. I always enjoy reading reviews of sets that are being newly opened. The only part about this set that I didn't like that much was the dragon head that dropped bricks out of it's mouth. It is a creative idea in it's concept but it didn't work very well in reality like you seemed to indicate in the review. My favorite part of this set is the large amount of space on top to place knights and archers even though most of them would be standing on the trap door. The amount and quality of photos you have taken make this a very thorough review!  :thumbup:

Edited by Nicker, 08 January 2011 - 04:14 AM.


#3 prateek

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Posted 08 January 2011 - 04:35 AM

Scrumdiddlyumptious! Great reveiw ZO6. This set is amazing. From the blatantly humongous trap door, to the dorky looking dragon welcoming you in, this set is awesome. I really want Lego to start making big multi-storey fortresses like this again. I'd buy every one if they did. Just curious, but how much did you get this MISB one for?

#4 Niku

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Posted 08 January 2011 - 05:26 AM

Nice review

Also was thinking about the number of pieces because notice uses some large parts for the construction of walls, but you already solve the mistery.

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#5 Shroffy123

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Posted 08 January 2011 - 07:51 AM

View Postprateek, on 08 January 2011 - 04:35 AM, said:

Just curious, but how much did you get this MISB one for?

As a kid I always wanted this set, but was never able to get it.  However, I few months back I found it on ebay MISB for 120.00$.  I am glad i picked this set up, as it is one of my favorites.  Great review of it!  This definitely is one of Lego's classics.

#6 Inconspicuous

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Posted 08 January 2011 - 08:33 AM

Simply gorgeous review, Z06! Thanks for taking the time to share the experience of your dream set with us.  :sweet:

I admit, I've never fallen in love with older Castle designs like this. Something always felt incomplete about it, but your review definitely allowed me to understand the designs better. I had absolutely no idea that the cool dragon head and spectacular golden printing were part of the set, not to mention the inconspicuous trap door. I still find it amazing that such a blatant and amazing function has avoided my knowledge for so long.  :grin:

Anyhoo, thanks a bunch for the great review. Not to mention the videos too! (Hey that rhymed!)  :thumbup:

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#7 KielDaMan

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Posted 08 January 2011 - 09:27 AM

Congratulations on acquiring this MISB Classic Castle set, and thanks for sharing this excellent review Z06! :thumbup: Even if I don't really like the overall design of this fortress compared to other classic castle structures, it does have the interesting playable features which you've clearly demonstrated in the review. Also, I really like the old-school dragon that this castle theme has introduced, it's definitely one the 'cool' things during that time.

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#8 Captain Blackmoor

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Posted 08 January 2011 - 10:32 AM

A very nice review about a nice set. It is awesome to see so many features in the old sets.
Have fun with the fortress and thank you for this review! :thumbup:

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#9 Admiral Croissant

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Posted 08 January 2011 - 11:29 AM

This isn't a bad set indeed. A jail and a trap door are 2 great features in a castle. I believe almost every big castle has a jail.
The dragon head doesn't work perfectly, and it is a bit skinny attached to the castle, but the head itself looks like a nice thing to build.
Thanks for the review!
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#10 Rufus

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Posted 08 January 2011 - 04:48 PM

View PostZO6, on 08 January 2011 - 02:46 AM, said:

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*sigh*  When packaging was interesting.  Those were the days!

Thanks for a super retro review, Z06!  This looks like a fun playset, with lots of exciting little features.  The colour scheme is a little dull, though - if it weren't for the huge green baseplate it would look very nondescript.

#11 Enpaz

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Posted 08 January 2011 - 05:35 PM

Thanks for the top-notch review! The fact that your copy is new makes it even better.  :wub:

I love those old boxes too, and most notably the sight of that highlighted selection of shiny parts that shows after pushing back the flap! That is true nostalgia.

As for the set itself, I really like it. Maybe I'll get it myself someday.

Cheers!

Edited by Enpaz, 08 January 2011 - 05:35 PM.

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#12 WhiteFang

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Posted 08 January 2011 - 09:33 PM

Brilliant review.  :thumbup:

It is great to see a solid detailed review to feature such nice castle sets in the 1990s. Dragon Master is also one of my many fond Classic Castle themes which I enjoyed, from the nicely decorated shields and all the way down to its green dragons. I love those.  :wub:

And to be able to see this fortress in its fully glory, your presentation has certainly made it possible for this set to be seen in the best feature ever!

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#13 posades

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Posted 08 January 2011 - 10:06 PM

Like others, this was one of the sets I dreamed of having when I was younger.  Fortunately I picked up a used set on the cheap later from ebay, so it worked out in the end. :classic:   Great review of a nostalgic set, ZO6, still holds up nicely after all these years; unlike others I don't mind large molded baseplates if used like this.

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#14 madoka

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Posted 08 January 2011 - 10:35 PM

I remember when this set first came out and how everybody HATED it.  My how time changes things.  Back then, all the lego talk was on rec.toy.lego on usenet groups.  When you see the simple majesty of the older Crusader and Black Falcon sets, it's understandable why people were so upset with the large pieces/juniorization of the Dragon Masters.

#15 Masked Builder

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Posted 08 January 2011 - 10:37 PM

Great little review!  (okay not that little I know)  That raised base is one of the coolest Lego parts ever.  Those were the days of great new base plates.  I think my friend had one....
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#16 Lordofdragonss

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Posted 08 January 2011 - 10:49 PM

Maybe this is not the best castle ever, but those pieces, great selection off minifigs(CAPE) and place for play... Really nice set.
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#17 autobrick

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Posted 08 January 2011 - 10:55 PM

Very nice review, ZO6! (Or is that Z06?)

I actually received this set for Christmas when I was young and it was the biggest set I had as a KFOL. What a nostalgia blast! :tongue:

The one thing about this set that bothers me (even as a kid) is the secret entrance. It seems like a strange place to put it (why not just go through the main entrance, only a couple of studs away?).

I think I will go check to see if I still have all the special pieces and try to rebuild it. I know I still have the instruction manual (even then, I was a stickler for such things) and fortunately I have Bricklink for any missing parts. Thanks for the review!

#18 Gioppa

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Posted 08 January 2011 - 11:13 PM

Some days ago i buy from a friend 4 boxes of Lego,and inside i have this set with instruction,i dismount all,clean all the parts and rebuild.
It's a very good set,and your review is amazing,if somebody like castle set this is a must to have!
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#19 bort138

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Posted 08 January 2011 - 11:17 PM

I really enjoyed this review and the great pictures. I received this set when I was a kid for my birthday one year so it  has a nostalgia factor with me. This set is notable for containing a lot of cool new parts like the dragon and wizard that later became staples in later castle themes. I also enjoy the play features like the trap door and secret wall passage. I really miss the style of box with the flap on the front and the tray with the pieces.  :wub:

#20 Extreme Sadness.

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Posted 09 January 2011 - 12:28 AM

*Looks at massive floor space*

*Drools*

WANT.

SO. MUCH. WANT.

Seriously, why can't Lego make sets with that much floor space anymore D: ?

That looks better than quite a few new sets, to be honest. Great review, as well.

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#21 giggitygoo

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Posted 09 January 2011 - 01:20 AM

looks to me like the original castle sets were better
baseplates, awesome minifigs, awesome structure with cool features and thank god no generic catapults or flick fire missiles  :tongue:

#22 Captain Blockbeard

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Posted 09 January 2011 - 02:19 AM

Great review and what a lucky find!

I received this set way back when it first came out, and it's among the few castle sets that remains intact on my shelves to this day. The Dragon Knight figures back then were fantastic, especially for their helmets. That set was also my introduction to Lego wizards. (Since then, I have only acquired the old Witch minifigure and the current dark green Dragon Knight wizard.) This set is probably also the most played-with castle I own due to all of added playability of the traps.

Lego, I know you won't, but I wish you would please offer the modern Dragon Knights an updated fortress of this awesomeness.

#23 ZO6

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Posted 09 January 2011 - 02:31 AM

Thanks for the front page, WF!  I'm always happy to review older, forgotten, or generally less liked sets in hopes of shedding some new light on them.  Thanks for all the feedback everyone, I appreciate it!

View PostNicker, on 08 January 2011 - 04:13 AM, said:

Nice review, well done! I agree with pretty much everything you said. I was thinking about doing a review of this set myself but it is better that you did it since you have a MISB set and I have a used set that I got off ebay for a cheap price that shows signs of wear. I always enjoy reading reviews of sets that are being newly opened. The only part about this set that I didn't like that much was the dragon head that dropped bricks out of it's mouth. It is a creative idea in it's concept but it didn't work very well in reality like you seemed to indicate in the review. My favorite part of this set is the large amount of space on top to place knights and archers even though most of them would be standing on the trap door. The amount and quality of photos you have taken make this a very thorough review!  :thumbup:

I didn't know until I got this set that that roof had so much space, the angle on the box does a good job of hiding that fact.  I'd also taken about 200 pictures in total for this set (mostly for my own reference), but I didn't want to post that many for this review and have everyone become bored.   :tongue:


View Postprateek, on 08 January 2011 - 04:35 AM, said:

Scrumdiddlyumptious! Great reveiw ZO6. This set is amazing. From the blatantly humongous trap door, to the dorky looking dragon welcoming you in, this set is awesome. I really want Lego to start making big multi-storey fortresses like this again. I'd buy every one if they did. Just curious, but how much did you get this MISB one for?

I too love that the fortress is pretty logically designed, yet it has those over the top extras such as the dragon head and massive trap door - they really add character!  I got the set off of Bricklink for about $150 US ($160 CAD at the time) and I'm happy with every penny spent.


View PostInconspicuous, on 08 January 2011 - 08:33 AM, said:

Simply gorgeous review, Z06! Thanks for taking the time to share the experience of your dream set with us.  :sweet:

I admit, I've never fallen in love with older Castle designs like this. Something always felt incomplete about it, but your review definitely allowed me to understand the designs better. I had absolutely no idea that the cool dragon head and spectacular golden printing were part of the set, not to mention the inconspicuous trap door. I still find it amazing that such a blatant and amazing function has avoided my knowledge for so long.  :grin:

Anyhoo, thanks a bunch for the great review. Not to mention the videos too! (Hey that rhymed!)  :thumbup:

Asides from seeing reference pics of this set in catalogues or online, I'd never really seen it in detail until I built it myself.  This meant that all of its details and traps were a surprise to me.  While photos of play features are great, sometimes you just can't beat a video.


View PostRufus, on 08 January 2011 - 04:48 PM, said:

*sigh*  When packaging was interesting.  Those were the days!

Thanks for a super retro review, Z06!  This looks like a fun playset, with lots of exciting little features.  The colour scheme is a little dull, though - if it weren't for the huge green baseplate it would look very nondescript.

These elaborate boxes with the flaps containing short stories and plastic panels revealing the contents of the box are an absolute joy.  When I pick up these oldies I always opt for the MISB ones so that I can experience the sweet packaging and shiny parts.

I find the colour scheme easy on the eyes.  The somewhat earthy colours and interesting shape of the structure lead to an organic looking fortress.


View PostWhiteFang, on 08 January 2011 - 09:33 PM, said:

Brilliant review.  :thumbup:

It is great to see a solid detailed review to feature such nice castle sets in the 1990s. Dragon Master is also one of my many fond Classic Castle themes which I enjoyed, from the nicely decorated shields and all the way down to its green dragons. I love those.  :wub:

And to be able to see this fortress in its fully glory, your presentation has certainly made it possible for this set to be seen in the best feature ever!

With winter in full effect here I have a limited window to get picture taking done - I like my natural light, but having only a few hours a days makes things difficult. :wacko: On the day of receiving this set I was able to take pictures of the packaging and paper work, as well as all the parts, but then it got too dark.  Not wanting to wait unti the following day to construct the set (I was too excited to wait...), I continued that day to assemble the fortress.  The next day I disassembled the set and proceeded to rebuild it and take pictures for the review.  I'm glad the pictures didn't turn out too bad after all - I like the make sure these classic MISB gems are well documented!


View Postposades, on 08 January 2011 - 10:06 PM, said:

Like others, this was one of the sets I dreamed of having when I was younger.  Fortunately I picked up a used set on the cheap later from ebay, so it worked out in the end. :classic:   Great review of a nostalgic set, ZO6, still holds up nicely after all these years; unlike others I don't mind large molded baseplates if used like this.

I'm one of those people that love these large baseplates.  I don't consider them cheating, instead I think that they make the sets more three dimensional and add character.  It makes transporting the set around easier too.   :grin:


View Postgiggitygoo, on 09 January 2011 - 01:20 AM, said:

looks to me like the original castle sets were better
baseplates, awesome minifigs, awesome structure with cool features and thank god no generic catapults or flick fire missiles  :tongue:

I was very pleased to find that this set didn't have a single catapult.  I don't mind them now and then, but I don't like it when the sole play feature of a large set is a catapult or flick-fire missile.

#24 prateek

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Posted 09 January 2011 - 03:45 AM

For those interested, there's one pretty cheap used on eBay here. It's only missing that multicoloured legs guy, but he's substituted by someone else.

#25 Kliq

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Posted 09 January 2011 - 05:50 AM

You have really done this set a fine justice with this review!  I am very happy to also see the positive responses toward it, which I generally believed people to look down on the Dragon Knights as a whole.  Personally I have always felt it was a very underrated theme, full of imagination and creative design.  I love the look of the minifigs, and a bunch of them lined up on horses make a 'Dragon Cavalry' that looks very fearsome and almost like the firey breath of a dragon itself.  I thoroughly enjoy all of my Dragon Knights' sets and I hope you will enjoy yours for a long time to come.



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