There’s a few things guaranteed in life. Death, Taxes and that LEGO Castles, Space and Pirate themes will always be a hit. The Lion Knights’ Castle proves this and is amazing. As far as Christmas presents go, it’s hard to beat this one! So gather round, oh mighty builders, as we walk through some cool features and give our full review of the Lion Knights’ Castle. You know it’s going to be a great set when bag 1 includes a cow!
This set comes with two main builds that ultimately join together. It’s perfect if you’re keen to build with a friend, like I did with Oscar. Protip – Both segments are awesome, but go with instruction book 2 if you want to build the drawbridge and portcullis.
I took bag one and throughout the build was repeatedly grabbing Oscar to say, hey look at this! The build is full of fantastic little features. With 4514 pieces, there’s plenty of build action to be had and together it took us around 6 hours at a fairly leisurely pace. Like all Icons sets, the first few pages talk a bit about the set. In this case, it took us in a time machine all the way back to 1978 to the original castle – set 375 Castle. The next few pages cover the progression from that set to today and it’s a great read. You might already have had one of these castles growing up. I’m sure I had the 6066 Camouflaged Outpost!
The minifigs in the set are fantastic. We kick off the build with our first farmer and a cow. I might be imagining it, but it also seems like the facial expressions on some minifigs are intentionally slightly basic as a throwback to the original minifigs. I like it. There’s great playability with the set, even if you built just the first bag with the farmer, the cow and the wagon. Yes, a sign of a simple mind perhaps, but drifting the wagon around the table top was heaps of fun.
The designers have done an amazing job with the offset locations of some of the walls. It really breaks up the straight lines and they’ve even introduced an approach I’ve not seen before with multiple angled plates and articulated walls.
Building the water outlet using a translucent blue web shooter is a great touch!
So too is the hanging bagels in the kitchen, because lets be honest. Who doesn’t hang their bagels?
As we progress, I absolutely loved the archer slits in the castle walls. It’s so simple, but truly converts it into a real castle. No self respecting Castle owner would operate without defensive archers! They look fantastic. You can also see that the use of the wall brick is scattered throughout giving the castle walls some texture.
There’s even a secret chamber, hidden from the Ladyship of the Castle. Think of it like a man-cave of 1565, complete with an archery target, maps, a bow, swords and some ale.
For an evening of pleasure, do you fancy the melody of a harpsichord by the fireplace? Her Ladyship has you covered!
Building the millstone and the attached water wheel was really enjoyable. It not only looks fantastic, but also works with the wheel turning the millstone.
However, it’s perhaps not the most sanitary environment, with a small bird nesting above the bread storage. Or perhaps the castle has automated production line manufacturing far before their time with the egg being sourced directly above the toast for the Queen?
The shields within the dining room are splendid. So too are the high backed chairs from a day of old. Solid mahogany I suspect.
Little touches are really what makes LEGO sets fantastic. The creeping vines and the window flower boxes offset the ornate brickwork and look superb.
In the Lord Basil’s quarters, there’s an epic micro scale model of the original castle that kicked off this theme. Truly showing that LEGO has been a favourite toy for many hundreds of years. Interestingly the door to this room is built solid and reinforced. Also showing that kids can be noisy at the best of times, so a solid sound-proofed room has been a wise investment forever. His bedroom is quite trendy with it’s own fireplace and multi-colour rug.
We finish up the first instruction manual with the straw thatched roof, lookout towers and a few trees around the base. Needless to say, it’ looks fantastic already and could be a complete set by itself (similar to the fantastic Medieval Black Smith set).
As we start to build the second tower, the surprises hit quickly! The Forest Men have a secret hideout in the base of the castle hidden by a tree and a false wall. The other side of the tree has a secret exit from the prison for those times a great escape is needed. It’s really nicely constructed and very satisfying to open and sneak in.
The prison cells under the the castle hold two prisoners, and appear rarely cleaned. Best not break the law or steal a loaf of bread. You’ll either be jailed forever, or shipped off to Australia…
Naturally, the architecture of the build continues in this side of the castle as we build the armoury. It’s well equipped to fend of any invading armies.
The drawbridge and portcullis are fantastic. Both are moveable via winches from outside the model and the portcullis has a ratchet to keep it open as required. The drawbridge also has a secret function to send those crossing it straight to the dungeon. Don’t pass go and don’t collect $200.
We continue to build fantastic minifigs throughout, but the Queen is a highlight. Not only does she have the royal crown, but a full suit of armour to fight the good fight as needed. The chest plate she wears (as do some of the other soldiers) is an excellent bit of metalwork! The Blacksmith earnt their keep that day.
As we finish the turrets on each build, they are capped of with rounded stones. It’s an excellent way to finish the stonework and comes up really nicely. It probably helps pour the boiling oil and throw the stones off the edge as needed too.
Of course, we can’t forget all the great minifigs we mentioned earlier!
Once built, the model can be displayed in either fully closed, or fully open or some combination. Ours is fully closed due to shelf space, but both options look fantastic!
At $599 this set is definitely not cheap. And as a LEGO store exclusive, it won’t be coming on sale for quite some time. However, I’d buy this again in a heartbeat. It’s chock full of minifigures (22), playability (tonnes) and easter eggs (a frog is brown underneath the toilet. I’ll let you work out why).
We really enjoyed building this set and if you can save up for it, it’s a strong recommendation to join your collection. You can build as a pair like we did, or hog it all for yourself. I won’t judge and will understand if you do!
Set: Lion Knights’ Castle
Set #: 10305
Number of Minifigs: 22
Number of Pieces: 4514
Sets like this always hit right in the nostalgia button.
We could only ever afford the mini sets, but I used to spend hours imagining what the big sets on the ad insert would be like to own.
They sure do! I had a bulk lot of random LEGO growing up and a couple of small sets. I built the same house over and over again 🙂
Dreaming of the bigger sets is still a fun activity as there are simply so many to choose from.