Castle has always been one of my favorite themes, perhaps second only to Star Wars, an interest which has only grown with my participation in Heroica RPG and the Guilds of Historica. With the Star Wars sets being relatively lackluster, in my opinion, for a year or so, I took the opportunity to pick up this set, the Kingdoms Joust, during the May the 4th be with You sale. As a Castle D2C set, this set is something of a sequel to the Medieval Market Village, which is generally considered to be an all-around success. The big question in my mind was, is this set a worthy successor to the MMV?
Set Name: Kingdoms Joust
Set Number: 10223
Number of Pieces: 1575
MSRP: $119.99 USD, £99.99 GBP
Year of Release: 2012
LEGO Shop@Home said:
It’s the most exciting event on the LEGO Kingdoms calendar! Join the King and Queen at the Royal Joust as the knights on horseback battle it out for the hand of the beautiful Princess. This detailed set recreates all the majesty of a medieval pageant, from the large, 6-roomed castle with linked wall extensions, 2 knights’ weapons tents, royal viewing box, jousting fence and of course 2 magnificent jousting horses. Combine 2 Kingdoms Joust sets for a scene that is truly fit for a King! Includes 9 minifigures: king, queen, princess, lion knight, falcon knight, young squire, nobleman and 2 soldiers.
- Includes 9 minifigures: king, queen, princess,, lion knight, falcon knight, young squire, nobleman and 2 soldiers!
- Knight minifigures include armor decoration, helmet, jousting pole, shield and 2 extra weapons!
- Features castle with 6 detailed rooms with lots of accessorie and 2 knight’s tents with weapon holders!
- Open back for easy access to linked wall extensions!
- Also features royal viewing box with flags and coat of arms!
- Includes 2 knight’s horses with detailed decoration, weapon holder and armored headgear!
- Explore the castle rooms!
- Battle it out for the hand of the princess!
- Combine 2 Kingdoms Joust sets for a scene fit for King!
- Castle measures 20" (51 cm) wide and 12" (30 cm) tall!
The front of the box features some very colorful artwork, as is common with castle toys, with the standard Kingdoms banner down the side and theme name across the top. There's quite a bit of confetti that's floating down out of who-know's-where, which I think is even more irrealistic than those random explosions and laser bolts on Star Wars box art, and I think it sort of clutters up the art. I'm fairly certain confetti wasn't even invented during the Middle Ages. (I did do some quick research on this; I didn't find anything definite, but it seems that confetti wasn't used until the late nineteenth century) You can also see the silhouette of the King's Castle on the horizon.
The back of the box displays some of the features of the set, in a similarly colorful manner.
There are no really moving play features in this set, so the little scenes on the back display some of the many scenes out of medieval life that can be recreated with this set. Clockwise from the top-left, we've got the standard jousting scene, then a shot of the Lion Knight knocking the Falcon Knight off of his horse with a mace, a scene with the stable boy feeding bread to a horse, a scene with what appears to be an unarmed Falcon Knight getting chased by one of the Lion pikemen, and shot of the king reading, a shot of the queen in her room, a shot of... well... the stable boy sticking a pitchfork in a horse's face ( ), and a scene of the nobleman greeting the princess. In the bottom-left, there's a scene with the princess and the nobleman eating and drinking.
The minifigs are displayed along the top of the box:
The minifigs are shown interacting with each other and holding their accessories, while most of them smile and look at the camera/viewer. I much prefer this to the shots of all the minifigs simply lined up and facing the camera/viewer which are on some other boxes. These minifigs are displayed larger-than-life; there's a 1:1 image of the King on the banner on the right. Personally, I would've picked the Falcon Knight for the 1:1 image; he's the special minifig in the set.
The box was fairly full. Not as full as some other sets I've reviewed, such as the Emerald Night and the Midi-scale Imperial Star Destroyer (which happen to be the sets I've rated most highly so far), but it was still decently full. This is also the standard-sized box for a set of this price range, unlike the afore-mentioned Emerald Night, which comes in a box that would normally hold a set in a lower price range. So, overall, the initial impression of the value of this set is more than satisfactory. Also note that the instructions come in a bag with the piece of cardboard, despite the fact that there are no stickers in the set. The bags are numbered, but there's really no surprise there, nowadays.
There are two instruction booklets included in this set, both of which are decently thick. Same art as the front, without the information and at a different aspect ratio, blah blah blah; you know the drill.
Here's a sample page of instructions:
Color definition is much improved, now that black pieces have been darkened and outlined in white. The instructions are on top the typical Kingdoms background, some light stonework. Parts call-outs are on light blue, with sub-steps in pale yellow, a fairly standard arrangement.
The first booklet is all instructions; the second has but two non-instruction spreads. The first of them is part of the parts inventory:
Nothing really to note there.
The rest of the inventory is on the next page...
...along with an advertisement for the LEGO Club. The back of the second booklet has the weird WIN! kid, and as such has been omitted from this review for both yours and my sakes.
Above are the pieces in the bags marked '1'. As you can probably guess, these will make the jousting divider, the two knights, and their horses and tents. There's a fairly nice selection of colors here. TLG opted not to make those 1x5 bricks in dark green, so they instead included a lot of dark green 1x1s, which are a lot more versatile, so that's good. The head armor pieces for the horses come in separate bags along with the unicorn horns.
Here are the pieces in the bag marked '2':
These will be used to build the viewing box for the king and queen. (the king's cape is in the cardboard envelope) Some more useful pieces here: there are dark brown 1x4 tiles, which are always nice to have for castle MOCers. (if I had a choice, I'd use dark brown for the majority of the woodwork in my castle MOCs; reddish brown is just so much more common) On the right, you can see some 1x2x2 brown wedges, somewhat rare; they have only begun to appear in the past two years, in only three other sets, all of which are Star Wars sets. Interestingly, the polybag contained inside this larger numbered bag is of the perforated variety.
The pieces in the bag marked '3' will form the viewing box set in the wall.
There's quite a few light bley 1x3s here, which are always useful. You can also see some dark bley 1x3 tiles and dark brown telescopes inside the smaller polybag, some dark bley 1x4 hinges on the right side, and the reddish brown pitchfork. I can't see it in this shot, but the bucket is also in that small polybag.
And, as you might expect, the bag marked '4' contains the pieces for the hotel/house set in the other wall:
There're some more of the light bley 1x3s and the 1x4 dark brown tiles here, but the real gems here are the 1x2 bricks with the vertical groove, in sand blue, which have appeared in only one other set, the modular Pet Shop. They add a nice splash of MMV color to this model.
Bags '5' and '6' are almost the same, each building one of the two lower halves of the towers, so I'll just show bag '5' here:
This is a good assortment of various castle pieces. We've got a door and windows, some arches, some tiles and bricks in greys, some headlight bricks, those smaller leaf pieces, and those 2x2 wedge bricks, a new piece in this color for 2012 that can add a lot more detail and make castle angles flow a lot better.
In the bag marked '7' are the pieces for the walkway that goes across the towers:
The brown frogs are in here, as well as a good assortment of light bley bricks. There are some 1x2 palisade bricks, some 1x1 bricks with a stud on one side, some 1x4 plate hinges, some 1x3 arches, and some 1x3 double inverted slopes among those.
Finally, bag '8':
These are the pieces for the tower tops, so there are a lot of red slopes. There're a couple other nice bits like those light bley windows and the palisade bricks, but it's mostly red slopes.
Nine minifigs appear in this set, a more than decent number, especially when you consider that at least six of them can be deemed rare or exclusive. (the six other than the Lion Knight and the two Lion pikemen) I think I would've preferred a pair of squires instead of the pikemen, if not only because it would mean a second, differently-dressed Falcon Knight, but there's not much to complain about here. (Yes, TLG calls the peasant boy a squire, but, historically, he'd be more of a page, so I'm dubbing him the stable boy. It's all he does on the back of the box, after all. )
The first of the minifigs is the one really special figure here, the Falcon Knight:
His coat of arms is a remake of the old Black Falcons design, and this is the first (and, so far, only) set to include anyone of his faction. (if he indeed represents a faction, and not a standalone competitor in this joust) Underneath his armor, he uses the printed legs and knight's torso of the Dragon Knights, which is something I'm not too happy about. The gold highlights of that design simply don't fit in with the silver highlights of the new pieces printed especially for the Falcon Knight. He also uses a dark green feather, and I would've preferred a dark blue feather, to better match the color scheme of the original Black Falcons.
Second is his competitor, the Lion Knight:
Really, your standard Lion Knight. There's not much new that could be made for him just for this set, but I would have preferred to see one of the helms with the opening visor instead of this one, or a great helm to match the Falcon Knight.
The set also includes one peasant, the stable boy:
Although they're a little more common nowadays, it's always nice to get one of those peasant torsos. They pretty much have but one use in medieval MOCs, but they fill an important role, that of the torso of the common man. They can also be easily combined with a variety of different tan and brown arms and legs to create some variation.
Next is the Kingdoms Lion Queen:
Her only other appearance is in the Advent Calendar. We've always had kings in LEGO castle sets, but queens are a bit rarer, and it's great to have one included in this set, as it's her first appearance in a non-seasonal set. Really, this set can't be beat as far as a single purchase to obtain a wide selection of Lion nobles and royals.
Speaking of the king, he's in this set, too:
This king's only other appearance is in the King's Carriage Ambush, though there was a different king in the Kingdoms castle. He has some very nice printing on front and back, as well as leg and hip printing. Chrome crown is standard, but there's nothing wrong with some shiny gold, right?
In addition to the royals, there's also a nobleman in this set:
He's similar to the prince from the advent calendar, but his torso print is exclusive to this set. I'm excited to see more of the less popular ranks (at least among the target audience) such as peasant and nobleman being filled in in sets like this one. This print, too, is quite detailed. I've been a fan of simplified prints for a long time, but I have nothing against beautiful prints like this one.
Rounding out the royal lineup is the princess:
She is exclusive to this set. She does have a green outfit, unlike the rest of the Lion royals/nobles in shades of red, but I think that just makes her a more versatile minifig in the castle theme as a whole. One minor nitpick of mine is that that sash starts on the torso and ends on the slope, which makes for a very nice print for this minifig, but it does limit the ways in which the pieces of this dress can be combined with other minifig pieces.
Finally, the Lion soldiers:
Nothing really special here. There is that one double-sided head with the goatee that is somewhat rare, for which I commend the designed on avoiding giving both soldiers one of the various standard smiling faces, but they're otherwise your generic Lion pikemen. As I said, I would've liked to see some other knights or squires instead, but I'm not really going to complain about these two, considering how great the other minifigs are. They do also allow this set to include normal soldiers and be more of an all-around set, too.
Those are the minifigs, so we move on to...
We start off slowly, assembling the horses. No matter, that gives us time to drool at the Falcon Knight's horse's barding.
Okay, that's done. Moving on.
Next, we build the divider for the joust. I was happy to see that the designer took the time to include multiple Falcon Knight shields so we can make other, different Falcon Knights. (I've only tried it with the CMF Black Knight so far, though - that looked okay; the prints didn't quite fit together) At this point, you've got the horses, the minifigs, and the divider, so you can go ahead and set them up in a jousting scene and make the knights gallop across your building table. I did.
Next we've got the Lion Knight's tent:
It's an effective way of brick-building a tent. Nothing new, nothing complicated, but it works. No room for a minifig in there, really, but, then again, it'd be kind of hard to get a knight in there without taking apart the tent a bit.
And the Falcon Knight's tent:
Here's another spot where the designer could've taken a little less time and given the Falcon Knight a mace as he did the Lion Knight, but, no, we get an axe. Nice variation. I was a bit disappointed that this tent uses 1x2 slopes and 1x1 bricks for some of the dark green stripes instead of 1x2x3 slopes, though.
So, next, we start the royal viewing box.
You can just see those steps there in the back. In addition to actually having stairs, which itself is a feature often left out of castle sets, this viewing box has tiled stairs. Not just studded bricks stacked up. It's a little thing, but, still, it's awesome.
So, then, you build up the platform on top of that:
Those flags work really well as the cloth covering.
And cap it off with the roof:
The instructions do tell you to place the minifigs in the middle of the build, so that's what I'm doing. Interestingly, the instructions have you place the queen on the left and the king on the right, contrary to the box art.
That concludes the building of the standalone buildings, so we move on...
...to the viewing box set in the wall. And, look, a ladder! No missing means of moving upwards here. Also, there're 1x3 tiles in there where a plate would've worked just fine. I guess that was done because there are already 1x3 tiles used in the build. Not that I'm going to complain if I get extra 1x3 tiles instead of a 2x3 plate.
And we finish that off with roof and battlements:
Here, there was already a prefab 1x4 fence piece in reddish brown in the build. (the ladder) The designer could very well have used those for the railing, but he went with the (in my opinion, better looking) more parts-intensive telescopes.
The other wall starts off rather plainly:
It's really just a wall with some pillars.
But then we finish it off with a sand blue room!
Great splash of color here to break up the greys, browns, blacks, and reds. The use of the pieces with the grooves really add some nice texture to this part of the model.
With those done, we can move on to the big part of the build, starting with a tower:
Those wedge bricks come into play here, but there're also some SNOTed cheese slopes which are in there mostly out of necessity because of a lack of space or a need for a slightly different angle, but to add some variation in texture.
The towers are built separately, and each include half of the wooden arch:
Here, you can also see the curved railing, attached with Ninjago skeleton arms. They do stick out a bit in white, but it's still a very well-done part of the model. The other tower is almost a mirror image, so I won't show the details of the build.
Separately built from the towers is the walkway that goes across the tops of them:
It all starts with some hinges to set up the angles of the wall, and then it's really just stacking of bricks, with some furniture thrown in.
To complete the set, all that's needed is to stack some more bricks...
...creating the tower tops. They are braced twice by layers of plates, which sort of interrupts the slope, but I suppose it's necessary given TLG's strength requirements.
The build is done, so here are the spares I got:
This is a large build with many sets of numbered bags, so there are quite a few. I've loosely grouped them. Note that the two Technic friction pins are included in case you purchase another Joust and want to attach the two. There's also quite a bit of those flowers and the cheese wedges, and an extra cherry. Not bad, not bad.
The Finished Model
I talked a lot about the other parts of the model during the build, so I'm going to focus on the castle/arch itself here. I love the way this was designed. It manages to combine peasant's houses, city walls, gatehouse, and castle into one build. Really helps make this model that much better as an all-around set. It's even modular.
Here it is from the back:
The open back really helps with playability, and it doesn't look too skeletal or odd from this angle. I won't say too much here, though. On to the close-ups!
Starting with the viewing box on the wall:
It's integrated quite well, and it's not so specialized that it can't function as a number of other buildings. Guard's rest area, storage area, loft in a stable... The battlements are a bit thin, although they are pretty much decorative here.
On the other side, we've got the inn/house:
As I've said before, it's a great change in color, and it helps connect this set to the MMV. This, too, is a versatile building. It could be the residence of a number of different minifigs. Those fences work well as the side windows, too.
And its interior:
Aww, no stairs or ladder here. Unfortunately, this building and the towers lack the stairs and ladder that the two viewing boxes have. The furnishings are simple and few; I would've liked to at least see some drawers under that table/shelf.
Moving on to the towers, here's the first floor of the east tower: (the one on the right in the box art)
The time was taken to tile over the floor in a pattern; I like that. The painting of the ship covers the other sides of the bricks with studs on two sides that are holding up the vines on the outside of the tower. You can also see at the bottom the 1x1 Technic bricks, which would be used to connect another Joust back to back with this one if you bought two.
Going up, the second floor:
The stand for the book is simple, but it works. I do wish that there was something on either side of the book to prevent it from sliding around, though. The stained glass, too, is simple - merely stacked 1x1 plates - but the effect is perfect.
On the third floor sits the frog table:
It's a great design for a table, but I think it would've looked better with a 4x4 round plate on top, instead of the plain 4x4 plate. Also, I would've liked to see a couple of chairs.
The roof of the east tower is empty. The west tower, however:
...is home to a rat. Nothing fancy, and the alcove is no different from that of the other tower, but the addition of the rat is a nice detail. You can also just see the yellow cheese peeking out from behind him.
Moving downwards this time, we have what I assume is the queen's or the princess' room:
It includes a dresser and a stool, both simple but effective designs, and both fit in with the style of furniture of the MMV. In-between this room and the room with the frog table is the walkway, which is rather empty, but it is an open walkway, so...
On the second floor is the balcony:
You can see from the back the Ninjago skeleton arms that hold that rail in place. The drawer set off to the side does a good job of keeping this room from looking empty.
And on the first floor is the other doorway:
It's a mirror copy of the one in the other tower, except for the fact that the door faces the same way and the painting is replaced by a map.
This is actually a rather static set. The play value is in moving the minifigs and horses about, recreating medieval scenes. In fact, the only moving parts are the hinged walls and the opening doors. That said, the build is modular, and the walls can be rearranged and reconnected with Technic pins. Above, you can see that I've moved both wall segments to one side to create a longer wall.
They can also be flipped around to better represent the outside of a city wall:
From this angle, you can see the regularity in the patterns of the different pieces used in the wall segments. I would've liked to see some more variation here in the stonework, but I assume that it was done this way to keep costs down by reducing the different varieties of parts needed and to adhere to the strength requirements.
That's about it; we've seen the set, so on to the ratings...
Price/Piece Count: 20/20 - Literally nothing to complain about. It's over fifteen hundred pieces for a hundred and twenty dollars, with nine minifigs, of which six are rare or exclusive.
Bricks: 18/20 - I would have liked to see a little more consistency in which surfaces were tiled and which were not, and some variation in the stonework, but those are minor nitpicks. Most of the parts here are useful for an MOCer.
Build: 16/20 - The build did get a little bit repetitive with the mirrored towers and the similar wall segments. That said, there were some effectively used techniques, no matter how simple, and there was great attention to detail.
Minifigs: 19/20 - Where do I begin? These are lovely minifigs. The set represents nearly every type of castle minifig: peasant, soldier, knight, nobleman, royal. Small deduction for the lack of a new torso and leg print for the Falcon Knight.
Playability/Features: 15/20 - The set is kind of average in this regard. It's modular, and you can recreate a lot of scenes with it, but there are pretty much no standout features, and this will be a display model to some.
Grand Total: 88/100, or 88%. That's quite a good score, at least compared to other sets I've reviewed. (this set comes in second among the sets I've reviewed, behind the Emerald Night, which I gave a 90/100) This set just does it all.
Firstly, I want to say that this is not the MMV, and I don't think it is intended to be It fulfills a different purpose. It is not a set depicting day-to-day life in the middle ages for some peasants. Rather, it is an all-around castle set, more than the MMV can ever be. Including small fortifications, large fortifications, peasant's buildings, a sporting event, and, as I said above, at least one of almost every major type of castle minifig. It doesn't replace the MMV, but it is a worthy successor to the MMV.
Yes. Even if this is going to be the only castle set you ever buy, it's a beautiful set that you'll have fun playing with or displaying, and it has a lot of the pieces you'll need if you want to start building castle MOCs. It's like a D2C castle starter set.
I really tried, but I couldn't think of something in this set that I could make fun of. So, I leave you with another action scene demonstrating one of the many ways you can arrange all the elements of this set: