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It lowers piece counts I get it, but I want a castle set along the lines of modulars. Brick built, no custom parts.
I'm hoping for a renewed pirate theme after POTC has been given its required mourning period :)
As much as I loved them, I have to also respect that maybe kids of today may not find them all that exciting alongside super-ninjas and sword wielding lions.
Still...LEGO Castle is LEGO Castle, so I'm on board. Modular castles? You sir, are speaking my language! We can dream, right?
Regarding military castle sets, I always remember loving things such as the siege tower, battering ram and catapult from the 1980s. These were not only fun, they also were a way of teaching children about history. Please no more dragons and wizards. Save them for a seperate theme of sets.
With that said, I am pleased to see that there doesn't seem to be a deliberate 'story' in place with named characters and such. I miss the 'free play' element of those original themes.
Now, regarding this current Castle theme, I can't say what I'd like to see. I'm not a collector, but one thing that would be nice is a more formidable base for the baddies. I'm not the kind of guy who thinks that their base has to be equal to the good guys' castle, and in fact even something as simple as the Kingdoms Dragon Knights' Prison Tower would probably be satisfying. But the current bad guy base, the Dragon Mountain set, is designed to look like an evil tower built on the ruins of an older castle. It works just fine as a headquarters for the evil wizard but doesn't seem like a headquarters sufficient for raising an army.
As for future castle themes (since this idea of mine doesn't really fit too well with the current castle theme), I'd love to see a take on LEGO castle building that incorporates some of the values of the LEGO Friends theme or Direct-to-Consumer range. It doesn't have to be a girl-oriented castle theme, but in general I want to see a LEGO castle that truly feels livable, so the keep would need a dining hall, sleeping quarters, etc. Currently the closest thing we've ever gotten to this has been the various incarnations of Hogwarts Castle, and while these are typically excellent sets, their modern fantasy license means that they don't really fit that well in a realistic medieval setting. Traditionally, the castle's role as a military headquarters and seat of authority is emphasized in LEGO; less so its role as a home for the king or lord and his various attendants.
I think some of the target market do enjoy the civilian sets. I have two pre-teen brothers that have a Kingdoms layout. They have a modified blacksmith/armory, modified windmill, MMV and some smaller houses. Of course, these are all in the shadow of an ever expanding castle which is still the focal point, but its all part of the medieval life.
I'm not a fan of the heraldry, but I'll pick up the larger sets on discount or maybe just the figures if they are cheap enough on bricklink.
My hope is that the smaller castle set will allow for add-on/customization to the larger one.
While I wasn’t thrilled about LotR when they first announced it (because I knew it would be replacing Castle, in a sense), I must say that one of the greatest thrills was being able to add-on to Helm’s Deep with the Urak-Hai Army sub-sets.
I have picked up a half dozen of those, and the expanded structure is absolutely impressive.
My hope is that the new Castle sets will give us older builders the new tools and elements that we need to perhaps create a design of our own that is less kiddie and more fun. That is kind of the point of being an AFOL, is it not?
I've changed my stance on the new sets too, I might pick up the main castle if I can get it at a good price, but I won't pay full retail (I'm in New Zealand too, so prices are high to start with).
Personally I loved the dragons from the Vikings series. And imo the dragons from the Ninjago series fill the roll decently.
I am intrigued by the new dragon design as it can hold things in its arms....but I am not a fan of the head or wings tbh from the pictures so far.
You would think for a set that was only out for about 6 months and has a bunch of pieces only found in it that it would go for more, but it really does not ( at least in the US, these can be found for under $100 on eBay).
I like it because it is again something that goes with any kingdom set and MMV.
I think the only winner out of this bunch will be that dragon tower set, since it also comes with a dragon and if the price stays where it was listed at the toy fair then it should be an OK set to BOGO50.
But the castle looks a bit junior'ized to me, and again does not appear to have too much imagination put into it. I know, I know, it is a castle set after all, but even still.. The previous Castle had much more imagination and character to it IMO.
EDIT: sorry, can't get the auto-link to link with the actual set, here's the link: http://www.brickset.com/detail/?Set=70401-1
I suggest following three:
1) Neuschwanstein from Füssen, Germany, would be the nicest!
2) Haut-Koenigsburg from Alsace France would be the most advanced battlewise.
3) Carlsbourg from Belgium is historically cool, though it is a bit small.