It’s been a while since LEGO released a castle set. The last castle set was King’s Castle released in 2013, since then, there have been a few medieval themed mini-sets, two battle packs, and the Nexo Knights line. But for a while it seemed LEGO was slowly pivoting away from the medieval theme, until this year, when LEGO released the Medieval Blacksmith (21325) and the Medieval Castle (31120). We’re thankful that LEGO provided the Medieval Castle set for review, and eight years after the last LEGO castle, the new castle provides a wonderful building experience, a very posable dragon, and filled with potential for toy photography. There are a few minor complains, but it is overall a great set for any toy photographer, or for any child trapped in an adult’s body.
Since this set technically belongs to the Creator 3-in-1 line, there are two other alternate builds, but we will be focusing on the main castle build for today. At 1,426 pieces, the Medieval Castle came in seven bags, putting the castle together was not a one-night event, especially given all the details in the set, and in order to appreciate some of the building techniques, it is definitely worthwhile to take one’s time and spread out the building process over several nights. Having a civil engineering background, the whole building process and final product reminded me of real world building construction technique. The beams underneath the gatehouse are a facade and do not span the width of the gatehouse, but from the outside it is very reminiscent of real world wood beam application.
The finished castle comes in three modules: the main gate, the tower, and the throne room. There are quite a bit of details in each module. The main gate has two towers, with one of the towers having a medieval bathroom. The tower module has a watch tower, a prison underneath the tower, and a market next to the prison. The throne room module has the throne room on the second floor, and a blacksmith workshop underneath. There’s also a standalone well that can be placed anywhere in the set. All three modules can be connected and closed so the castle has walls on all four sides, but the castle’s true play/toy photo potential is when the castle is opened up and its interior is exposed. Each module can also be disconnected from all other modules and stand by itself. There’s a lot of details in each module, from the fireplace in the throne room to the toilet paper in the medieval bathroom, it is well worth the time to look around and admire the detail in the set.
The set comes with four minifigures: one blacksmith, two Black Falcon soldiers, and one skeleton. Four minifigures in a 1,000+ piece set is a small shame, especially considering King’s Castle, released in 2013 with 996 pieces, came with seven minifigures, enough to stage a small battle between two armies. Perhaps LEGO is going to expand the medieval theme line further and give us accessory/battle packs for Black Falcon and other factions?
Included in the set are three chickens, one eagle, and one dragon, all brick built. The chickens and eagle would’ve been better if they were molded figures instead, they don’t do much other than just stand there. Not very inspiring.
The dragon, however, is great because of the movable limbs and head, which gives one great flexibility to pose the dragon to one’s heart’s content. If there’s one thing that could be done to improve the dragon, then it’s to give the dragon bigger wings. But that’s a minor complain that could be easily fixed with a few extra pieces and some imagination.
Toy Photography Potential
The fact that the castle can open up and also be divided into three modules is very useful from a toy photographer’s perspective. No need to do complicated gymnastics to fit one’s lens into a tiny space to take photos of the castle interior, and having the castle separate into three individual modules means one can rearrange the modules to get a longer wall, a technique I used in two of the photos for this review. It also means one can easily frame a specific architectural detail into the photo without worrying about tricky positioning so the other parts of the castle won’t get in the way.
It’s been eight long years since LEGO made a big set from the medieval theme, and this year we were fortunate enough to receive two big medieval theme sets. The Medieval Castle set has a lot of potentials for both play and toy photography, even though there are a few minor complains, these can easily be remedied with few more bricks and minifigures, and a lot of imagination. Overall, this is a good set for any toy photographer who wishes to expand their photo subject with something new.
Thanks to LEGO for providing this set for review.