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Review Monster Fighters 9468 Vampyre Castle


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#1 Artanis I

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Posted 28 May 2012 - 09:26 AM

Flickr set

Photos aren't the best, I don't have great lighting or a proper still camera and it was 1am when I started... but since no one else has reviewed this set yet I will have a crack at it.

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Set info
Ages: 9-14
Pieces: 949
Price: USD $99.99, EUR €99.99, GBP ?, AUD $149, CAD $129.99
Released: 2012
Bricklink Brick Set
Description:
Enter Vampyre's castle and rescue the world from eternal darkness!

Survive the traps and terrors of the Vampyre Castle to stop the Vampyre from uniting the moonstones and cloaking the world in darkness!


I ordered this set from the Netherlands via Bricklink at US MSRP when it first started appearing.

Set contains 7 bags, 2 large black tower roof pieces, 2 instruction booklets & a sticker sheet (secured in plastic with a cardboard sheet :thumbup: ). The stickers have some glow-in-the-dark (GITD) elements, but the glow effect is minimal (unlike the plastic parts).
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Bag 1 contains all minifigs plus the parts to build the sand green car. I love the vampire bats. :wub:  Or bat vampires. Whatever. So glad that 2 come with the set. Most minifigs have front and back torso & face printing. Interesting are the bats' winged arms. They look great, but they don't really work in any other position than that shown. Lord & Lady Vampyre's heads are GITD. The cannon on the back of the car shoots a net. The seating for the car includes a tile, so that Dr Rathbone (with his artificial leg) can sit in it. :thumbup: Included is the old style standard skeleton minifig. You've seen him before.
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Bag 2 contains the pieces to build the front right tower (as you look from in front of it). It contains a prison cell using handcuffs and a chain that can be wound up & down to suspend a prisoner. The rock piece is "explodable" as a play function to allow a prison breakout. Or you could just have used the door, I mean it isn't locked... Up top Lady Vampyre tries her cold hand at a witches brew containing the ubiquitous frog and a toadstool. the curious bit sticking out at the side is a perch for a bat to hang upside down from.
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Bag 3 contains the pieces to build the front gate. There are retractable teeth on both sides, presumably as a booby trap to squish any unauthorised entry through the gates. There is also a "flick-fire" GITD spider. For whatever reason. I like the GITD spider, it works better than the luminous green one that came in a few previous castles I think.
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Gate & front tower assembled
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Bag 4 contains the pieces to build the left tower. At the top level is a "study" with a trap door. Falling through that, the victim lands on a series of spikes on the bottom. Below the roof is a treasure chest containing colourful gems. Also sticking out the side is another perch for the 2nd bat to hang upside down from.
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Assembly so far
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Bag 5 contains the pieces to build the bottom level of the rear/main tower. Right on the bottom is a nice coffin. I don't think I have any other coffins so I'm not sure if the print is new or not.
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Bag 6 contains the pieces to build the next level and a bit. We have an interesting spiral staircase (not sure how new it is, it's my first set with one, but I first noticed it in the previews for LOTR Attack On Weathertop before this was released). A nice AFOL MOC styled bed (doubtful it's for guests...) but only room for one minifig tells me that Mr V is in the doghouse below, or should I say bathouse. A couple of other details include a GITD rat (a bit more interesting than a plain grey one) and a bookcase incorporating plates+tile method for the books.
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Bag 7 contains the pieces to complete the rear/main tower and therefore the entire castle. Included we have all 6 colourful moonstones (sorry Dr Rathbone, but you've failed already!) a printed 4x4 dish with GITD crescent moon, and we build an interesting pipe organ in the roof. Not sure why there are only 10 semitones here, it's not your standard European keyboard... :laugh: If you pull/push the handle the moonstones fold out/back. This part of the build is probably the most difficult for the less adept.
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Put it all together and what do you get?
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This is what was left over at the end.
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The instructions are standard for sets nowadays, each step clearly shows the parts to be added, and each step is easy to follow. I would describe the build as very enjoyable for an adult. There are a few advanced sub-builds that were very satisfying. Usage of advanced techniques everywhere, this is an excellent set for an AFOL even though it is a minifig scale system set from a theme aimed at a younger target audience. I think the lower end of the age bracket may find this a challenge - but maybe kids are better at this than I was at that age.

The minifigs are brilliant, a good number and good selection. I personally have little interest in the protagonists of the line but the car looks great. I greatly dislike stickers, but the stickers in this set really add to its charm. Shame that the GITD feature of the stickers isn't very strong.

The parts selection for the set aren't extremely unusual, but this is the first time I've built a set with the "brick" brick from memory. Obviously the GITD pieces are new, if not exclusive.

This is one of my favourite Lego castles... that's saying something. (I have all the Castle line castles.) Obviously this one wouldn't be great for defending against a horde of knights, but it's got stacks of character. Highly recommended set for build, display & play functions. I also had a camera taking shots every 10 seconds, if I can figure out how to turn it into a stop motion video I will upload that too. Thanks for reading.


I will add more pictures in future to flesh this out when I get some time with sunlight, as I managed to do with the minifig closeups. I will also redo some photos and try to show the GITD appearance. But for now, I'm trying to post this before I get ninja'd! :laugh:

edit: added more photos

Here are some better shots from Leng Jai's comment later in the thread

View Postleng jai, on 15 August 2012 - 04:41 AM, said:

Took some shots recently..

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Edited by Artanis I, 21 August 2012 - 04:16 AM.

Lego is not a dirty word

#2 Omega X

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Posted 28 May 2012 - 10:59 AM

Great Review Artanis!! I am intending to buy this set too!
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#3 Flea

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Posted 28 May 2012 - 11:18 AM

great set. huge set. great review.  :thumbup:
unfortunatley, out of my budget rage...

#4 JackJonespaw

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Posted 28 May 2012 - 12:21 PM

Great review! This is one huge set, with a bunch of great minifigs! It's kind of disappointing how Lego put all of the moonstones in one set, and seems like they would make more money by making them in different sets and this set having something to combine them all together.

#5 Amset-Rah

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Posted 28 May 2012 - 12:39 PM

This is the one set I'm looking forward to the most, just because hey, it's a creepy castle like in one of those old Universal horror movies of the 30s/40s. The minifigs look amazing (Some of the best I've seen outside of the CMF series), there are play features up the wazoo, not to mention the detail they crammed into this (The bed and the organ for instance) and I know some will say this is a flaw but the fact it comes with all the moonstones ala the Portal to Atlantis (Where it contained all the treasure keys) but this is a better set overall by comparison.
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#6 Aanchir

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Posted 28 May 2012 - 12:55 PM

View PostJackJonespaw, on 28 May 2012 - 12:21 PM, said:

Great review! This is one huge set, with a bunch of great minifigs! It's kind of disappointing how Lego put all of the moonstones in one set, and seems like they would make more money by making them in different sets and this set having something to combine them all together.
They did something similar with Atlantis. My guess is that they don't want to remove one of the biggest set's key play features by not including all of the moonstones. In Atlantis it was a somewhat different case of course because the "Portal of Atlantis" set was in the theme's second wave, and as such you may have already had a collection of treasure keys by the time you got the Portal.

Look at it this way, though-- if you get this set alone, you miss out on the monsters that correspond to the individual moonstones, and for an AFOL those are the real treasure. :wink:

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#7 Hewman

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Posted 28 May 2012 - 01:04 PM

A big thanks for the review. I really appreciate your comments on the building experience. Like many AFOLs that's of major importance to me. Your comments have made me want to buy this sooner than I was going to.

#8 peddi0027

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Posted 28 May 2012 - 02:33 PM

Great review, thanks!

#9 Marty McFly

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Posted 28 May 2012 - 02:43 PM

Thanks for a great review. Can't wait for this and the other Monster Fighters sets - won't be out here in Australia until August though. At least my wallet will get a chance to recover after LOTR first!

#10 K-Nut

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Posted 28 May 2012 - 04:32 PM

It's official. This is my number 1 set of 2012. :wub: The playability, design, and minifigs are fantasic! Thanks for this great review!
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#11 just2good

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Posted 28 May 2012 - 07:06 PM

Good review, 'Artanis I'! :classic:
I got this set on Friday, and it truly is a marvel. Everything about the set is perfect, and so far it's definitely my favorite set of 2012. :thumbup:
900th Post! :sweet:

Edited by just2good, 28 May 2012 - 07:07 PM.


#12 Algernon

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Posted 28 May 2012 - 07:10 PM

Phenomenal set and an absolute must-buy in my opinion. It's just dripping with moody gothic atmosphere. Personally, I'm going to hold back on buying it until we're closer to Halloween, so I can really get my monster fighting groove on. :laugh:

Thanks for the review.  :thumbup:

#13 karl1

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Posted 28 May 2012 - 08:32 PM

Thanks for the review. I really like that lego is using more advanced techniques. I allready have three helms deep sets and im now going to get two of theese castles lol

#14 Dharkan

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Posted 28 May 2012 - 11:45 PM

View Postkarl1, on 28 May 2012 - 08:32 PM, said:

Thanks for the review. I really like that lego is using more advanced techniques. I allready have three helms deep sets and im now going to get two of theese castles lol

Yeah me too. It'd be even more awesome to combine them and make a bigger one.

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#15 jFox

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Posted 29 May 2012 - 02:06 AM

View PostArtanis I, on 28 May 2012 - 09:26 AM, said:

...
This is one of my favourite Lego castles... that's saying something. (I have all the Castle line castles.) Obviously this one wouldn't be great for defending against a horde of knights, but it's got stacks of character. Highly recommended set for build, display & play functions.
...

Just add some  mountainous terrain around this, or put it at the end of a long bridge (or narrow pass) and voila!  Boosts the defensibility significantly!  Good review though, I think this has tipped the scales toward "buy" for me.

#16 Legocrazy81

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Posted 29 May 2012 - 04:11 AM

Great review, Artanis! I await seeing better photos. From these though, it really is a great looking Castle. I'm still a bit on the fence with this theme, but after reading this review, it may very well tip the scale. I really like the old horror movie look of it. Your review is really thorough. I like that you showed each bags contents and what the outcome of each is.
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#17 Ceroknight

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Posted 29 May 2012 - 06:49 AM

Thank you for the review!
What brilliant figures! :wub:
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#18 Super Fish Oil

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Posted 29 May 2012 - 02:06 PM

Surely not a bad review. :thumbup: This was the first good look I got at the castle, so thanks for that. I really hope I can pull the funds together for it. :wub:

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#19 natesroom

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Posted 29 May 2012 - 07:50 PM

View PostjFox, on 29 May 2012 - 02:06 AM, said:

Just add some  mountainous terrain around this, or put it at the end of a long bridge (or narrow pass) and voila!  Boosts the defensibility significantly!  Good review though, I think this has tipped the scales toward "buy" for me.

I was thinking about buying this one to.. fit right into my castle historic themes..

Edited by natesroom, 29 May 2012 - 07:51 PM.


#20 305Bats

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Posted 30 May 2012 - 05:46 PM

I'll be picking the castle up in the near future,I'm not feeling the whole "cybernetic" aspect of the MFs so I'll be replacing the robotic legs and arms,also gonna have to find a way to plug up that hole where the moonstones go since I won't be using them either.

#21 Artanis I

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Posted 31 May 2012 - 04:15 AM

Thanks for all your comments, this is my first set review that's made it to the "post a topic" process, I tried to include as much useful information as possible. (Without driving myself nuts, as lining everything up for photos makes the build take 2+ times longer, all up this set took 3 hours to build.)

I did neglect to mention that the castle has a hinge on the left that allows it to fold out on right angles. It doesn't join up on the right, but there isn't that much of a gap. 2 small bits are attached with pins to both the front and back section on the right, it would be absolutely no surprise to me that something else has been / is being designed to connect there. It may just be, however, that they are merely part of the versatile connectivity of all the separate parts.

I imagine this sort of castle perfect for the Rakath Mountains of Nocturnus, or Castle Duckula!

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#22 Mitch2742

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Posted 31 May 2012 - 05:25 AM

I really love this theme and, in fact, reading about it online, as well as impulsively buying Minifigures a few weeks ago, has gotten me so interested in making LEGO a hobby (after not having touched any since I was around 10..) that I ended up ordering the Grand Emporium modular today. I didn't go with this simply because I wanted something that'd be a bit more challenging to build, but I still plan on getting at least one of the Monster Fighter sets eventually, though probably a cheaper one than this.

Is there any way to purchase just the minifigures from this?

Edited by Mitch2742, 31 May 2012 - 05:26 AM.


#23 305Bats

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Posted 31 May 2012 - 02:31 PM

View PostMitch2742, on 31 May 2012 - 05:25 AM, said:

I really love this theme and, in fact, reading about it online, as well as impulsively buying Minifigures a few weeks ago, has gotten me so interested in making LEGO a hobby (after not having touched any since I was around 10..) that I ended up ordering the Grand Emporium modular today. I didn't go with this simply because I wanted something that'd be a bit more challenging to build, but I still plan on getting at least one of the Monster Fighter sets eventually, though probably a cheaper one than this.

Is there any way to purchase just the minifigures from this?

Bricklink or Ebay

#24 Otherworld

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Posted 31 May 2012 - 05:53 PM

This set is not just amazing.. it is art! I actually don't mind paying 99 dollars for this.
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#25 Hobbestimus

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Posted 04 June 2012 - 05:57 PM

Great review. I am sold.



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