Despite being a theme that was there In The Beginning, when the Minifigure Era of LEGO® arrived back in 1978, Castle has not been well represented in more recent years. It is probably closer to 10 years since we saw any buildings geared more towards medieval life, rather than warring factions of knights, kings, monsters and castles.
Castle sets of the Fantasy Era were one of the mainstays in our house when my children were starting to play with LEGO, around the time that I emerged from my Dark Ages – sets such as the the 10193 Medieval Market Village, and the 7189 Mill Village raid (the sole minifigure scale set to come with not one, but two goats.) were among our favorites. As such, there has been quite a bit of excitement – both in our household, and amongst the AFOL Community regarding the forthcoming release of the LEGO®Ideas 21325 Medieval Blacksmith.
I was fortunate to be sent a prerelease copy of the set for review by the LEGO Group. All opinions are my own. Provision of materials for review does not guarantee a positive review.
The set will be released on Febrary 1st 2021. It contains 2164 pieces, and will cost 149.99 USD/ 199.99 CAD 146.99 EUR / 134.99 GBP /249.99 AUD
The first thing that struck me when I took this set out of the shipping box was its size. Not quite as big as a modular’s box, but certainly on a par with come of the sets of similar parts count that I have put together in recent times.
The next thing was the black box. It looks sophisticated. But not nostalgic. This look is great when you are trying to market a bouquet or bonsai tree to a new market demographic. When you are reviving a classic theme that has been neglected for a few years, and bringing back a faction of LEGO Knights such as the Black Falcons, nostalgia is key.
While originating from a LEGO Ideas submission, there is no doubt that the original submission also draws inspiration from 3739, released in 2002. Imagine the new set, in a box that evoked nostalgia with an olde schoole backdrop- other painted or modelled, in the style of the classic catalogues. You can see a selection of those catalog/advertising images here
I think the modern set, with more decoration on the box would have been a big plus here. I recognise it is not part of the 18+ design style, but it is lacking.
It might look something like this:
The Building Experience:
There are fifteen bags in the box containing the building elements. Fourteen are numbered. The un-numbered bag contains three 16×16 and one 8×16 plates. The instructions booklet comes in its own plastic bag.
Lets take a look at the instructions, and then look at the building experience: Once again, I am indebted to Mrs Rambling Brick, who patiently knolled out the set, bag by bag.
After the build, I’ll look at the minifigures more closely, compare the size of the Medieval Blacksmith with some previous Castle Builds (including the Medieval Market Village), and also side by side with some of the modular buildings. I’ll take a diversion via some photography, and then give you my final thoughts.
The cover of the instructions is black, with a picture of the model on the cover. Strangely, the top of the house is cut off by the top edge of the page. At no point does the set name OR NUMBER appear on the cover of the instruction book.
Fortunately, this is where the darkness ends: The instructions are clear and easy to see. The background is printed on light grey. There is good contrast between the sand green, dark tan, medium nougat, and olive green in the instructions. New parts to be applied are outlined in yellow.
The only difficulty that I had with colour distinction in the instructions was between reddish brown and dark brown. Some thought had gone into this, however, and there were no bags which featured identical elements in reddish brown and dark brown.
Finally, there are NO STICKERS! There are a number of printed tiles, including a number of wooden boards (used in the door) , the Blacksmith’s tile and a 1×2 tile showing part of a book being written. Many of the printed elements (including the Black Falcon’s heraldry) include some silver ink, used to great effect. But first… lets sit down and start building.
The first bag consists of a number of Earth toned elements. dark tan, medium nougat and olive green, as well as a number of 2×2 sand green plates with the corner cut off, some sand green masonry elements and a number of light medium stone grey plates and bricks. There are also some elements of greenery including bright green, dark green and bright yellowish green leaves. There are some bright yellowish green five petal flower studs and some bright yellowish orange flower elements. There are also two round tiles, three studs in diameter, in medium nougat.
There is one minifigure in this bag: the Blacksmith himself. He has a dark tan torso with a printed leather apron and silver rivets securing it in the corner. He has sand blue legs that are orange hair and a dark orange, bushy beard. His long hair is in a ponytail. It may not be obvious here: he has a double sided head print: one smiling, and another where he is poking his tongue out in conentration. There is also a dog: a white and grey dual molded dog that resembles a husky. There are also two bones included in this bag for him to chew on.
Construction begins with us building some terrain onto one of the eight by eight plates with a half circle including a round four by four ring plate which looks like it is the beginning of the well. We also build in some ground detail here in sand green and dark tan, which looks just like quality mud. It also challenges the edges of my color perception. We continue by adding additional earthy tones along a 6x 16 plate and then add another 6×6 with a rounded corner.
We continue to put together the ground level of the build: The mixture of earthy tones, as well as a variety of textures between 2×2 square tiles. One stud round tiles, and three stud round tiles is extremely effective. The mixture of greenery both in shade and size provides a reminder to landscape designers about enhancing the reality of how these things might appear. Ultimately, we complete an area that has a footprint of approximately 22 x 24 with two semicircular protrusions from this. Once we’ve completed this outline, we place a 16 x16 dark tan plate in the middle. This adds reinforcement for the connections between the plates that we’ve already built up, and will ultimately form the floor of our building. Essentially we’ve built a ground level that is two plates thick. We then add some additional leaf and floral detail and start work on the lower edge of the stone walls of the Blacksmith’s house.
Below a layer of bricks is a mixture of medium stone grey, sand green, olive green and dark stone grey. In one corner of the house, we place several one by three offset plates with two studs. And on this we put the basis of the coals of the fire so that it is slightly inset from the edges of the fireplace.
As we approach bag two we have a number of different elements: masonry brick bricks in sand green and a couple in light grey, we have some 2×2 corner tiles with a facet removed. We have some bright orange round tiles, some transparent orange tiles, a transparent red 2×2 brick and a light brick. We have a sword and a dark brown elephant trunk which I presume will be part of the tree. We have one of the new one by three by one brick high inverted arches, which we first saw in the modular police station, earlier this year. This appears in black. We have some sand green one by one brick with two studs on adjacent sides, a number of tiles in medium nougat and light bluish grey. We also have some 1×1 round tiles with a woodgrain print.
We start off by building up our wall with olive green and grey bricks. We start to build up some interior furniture, including a workbench and a coal box, with black ingots being used as coal. We also build up the fire, and a grind stone for sharpening tools.
We build up some external stonework using 1×2 bricks with studs on the side, a layer of transparent blue plates, over four of those studs and then placing headlamp bricks over the center there. placing an extra single plate over the lateral sides of these headlamp bricks and then an arch over those demonstrates that the thickness of the stud on a headlamp brick is two plates thick.
After installing a sword into the forge over the water represented by the transparent blue plates. We then build a pair of bellows. A grey ice cream cone element forms the nozzle and this in turn attaches to the button of the light brick, which is recessed.
By pushing on the billows you simulate the enhanced activity by the fire that you might otherwise get by blowing the bellows onto it. I thought this was really clever.
We build a wood pile using some dark brown1x1 round bricks with the wood cut tile on the end. It is odd that these tiles don’t match the color of the logs themselves. These are attached in turn to plates which are offset to each other and subsequetly occupy a place on the wall within the Blacksmith’s shed.
We finish up bag 2 by returning to the area around the well with some additional greenery and the elephant trunk and a tusk in black and we will see where we go from there.
As we enter bag three we have predominantly a collection of grey elements, although there are also some window frames with gold letters shutters. A combination of brick masonry elements, but also some sand green, one by one bricks with studs on adjacent sides and a number of one by one by one brackets both upward and downward in various grades. We also have a couple of snot bricks, one by one by five plates high with two studs on the side. During this step we also start building part of the wooden frame of the Blacksmith’s shop.
Having installed the windows and built the wall of the Blacksmith’s workshop up a bit, we now install a littlesome of his finished work, including a new shiny Black Falcons shield printed in black and silver, as well as pauldrons for the knight’s armor. We move outside and put a pumpkin and either a pile of pumpkin or some form of squash in the garden. This explains why I was able to find a tub full of bright yellowish orange minifigure heads in our local pick a brick wall a month or two ago. We also build up some frame around the chimney around the fireplace. The biggest challenge I’m finding with regard to color discrimination in instruction manuals is occasionally picking the difference between the sand green and medium stone grey.
We build up arches that go into the woodshed. We also build up the steps that lead to the first floor. The steps have a variety of materials to make up their surface which makes it overall appear to be a well worn external staircase.
We have a variety of reddish brown, light grey and dark grey elements. In particular the 1x3x3 brick high arch element. We also have one by two double arch element seen in Hogwarts castle in tan. There are a number of medium nougat 1×4 tiles that have been printed with woodgrain and have silver ink printed it to represent nails in each corner. This silver ink has turned up on a number opf elements durning the build, and seems to be more obvious in its application that in previous years.
There are also a number of other brown bricks and brown tiles. I used to shudder at the thought of reddish brown tiles. However, since the for the pigment for this colour was reformulated, around 2018-2019, there should be NO PROBLEMS with these tiles cracking when put under strain in the future.
We start off this part of the build by installing the inverse arches which are secured in by ‘corner bricks’ to form eaves over the vegetable garden.
We then build up the entry at the top of the stairs and also the door for the Blacksmith’s workshop itself. We finish up the building itself with a layer of tiles over the walls in the corners.
From there, we install an anvil and some of the additional woodwork around the stairs. We install some tools in the workshop, including a broom, hammer and spade. At this point, we have built up a stack of six, 1×1 bricks with studs on two adjacent sides, in one corner. At present this area, and the adjacent wall panels feel a little flimsy, but I see there are further SNOT bricks next to these bricks, and the potential to use tiles of varying lengths to stabilise this part of the building
The door of the workshop measures 4x5studs, and features a 4x4plate with clips, and a 1×4 plate, connected together with woodgrain tiles. The door handle is the same element has the Monkey King’s staff handle, although this time in black: essentially an extended lightsaber handle, and it looks like looks quite good in this role, in my opinion.
The tiles that are used to simulate the brickwork in the corner of the building actively overlap the corner so that there is very little gap uncovered between the adjacent sides.
Bag number five focuses on the great outdoors.
We have the minifigure of presuming the blacksmith’s wife, she has a white shirt underneath a green vest. Printing extends round to the back, she has white arms. A winking face might be sighting her bow on one side while she has a wry smile on the other. She has a her hair is braided down both sides and is tied up slightly at the back. she has dual molded legs in dark tan and reddish with reddish brown boots.
She would appear to be a direct reference to the forestlady figure, featured in 6071 Forestmen’s Crossing. You can find Jay’s Brick Blog’s Review of this set here
Otherwise this bag consists predominantly of green elements both bright yellowish green and bright green elements, and three way stem elements. There are also a number of red apples, as well as five petaled flower element in bright green. There are a number of black Travis bricks, as well has some The old TV camera bricks. There is also a target element which first featured in the city Xtra packs last year. Finally, there are two 6×6 quarter circle bricks which are in dark brown.
This step starts off in a somewhat obscure way connecting the TV camera elements with at either end with rounded one by two plates. So they are facing in opposite directions. These have been attached to the round, quarter tile, quarter bricks and we add some branches coming from the top secured on one side by some additional Branch detail. The target is attached to the reverse side of the tree.
I would suggest that the target itself is a reference to the target seen in 6054 Forestmen’s Hideout. The rest of the tree build is a little repetitive as we build a number of identical branches consising of 1×1 Brick with 4 stud on the sides, some stems with leaves and flowers and an apple. However, the overall effect is delightfully bushy, and I think this is another great tree design to add to our armamentarium of horticultural construction techniques.
Bags 6-8 are spent constructing the living area – the kitchen and dining area – of the Blacksmith’s house.
Looking at the elements for bag six: In addition to a 16x 16 tan plate, we have a variety of elements in tan including masonry bricks, and 1×4 SNOT bricks; medium stone grey masonry bricks and snot bricks, white bricks of various sizes;, some pots and some fire; and then the good number of elements in reddish brown including ten 1x1x 5 plate (1 2/3 bricks) high bricks with two studs on the side, as well as a number of plates and tiles. There are also six one by two plates with rail in reddish brown in this bag which appear to be looking like they’re going to act as window sills in steps to come.
During this bag, we build up a bottom few layers of wall for the kitchen level of the Blacksmith’s house. The use of SNOT bricks allows the application of reddish brown tiles as exposed beams and we have some of exposed brick and white render. As we build up the walls, there is some wooden framing that extends out over the stairs that come up from the ground level.
We also build details for the kitchen in this bag, including a table, a barrel with the tap a better churner and also the stove. The stove has a fire element as well as some logs and a saucepan with something green bubbling inside.
In bag seven, we move on to build up the detail within the living quarters. To that end we have multiple items of food including chicken leg,and carrot. Looking otherwise through the elements we have much more colorful blendthan the previous bag: we have plenty of medium stone grey SNOT bricks, masonry bricks in tan and medium stone grey and more one by four SNOT bricks in tan. We have another 10 one by one by five plate high SNOT bricks and a number of black elements including handles, a cleaver, a pot, a number of axes and have some click hinges. We also have some far more colorful elements in the form of the Nexo shields and smaller tiles. The Nexo shields we have in earth blue, normal blue, and black. We have quarter circles in medium azure and we have one by one square tiles in medium and dark azur.
There is a printed two by four tile featuring silver riveting in the corners and a crossed hammer and tongs: the Blacksmith’s Tools of the Trade. Other features on this tile include pictures of mountains and conifers, which makes me think that this may well be an isolated building in the woodlands.
After adding a pot to the stove, we build up a food preparation area where we have a carrot that is being sliced. we put some chicken and salad on the table along with a couple of Silver Goblets.
Next we build up some chairs which are based on a three by three plate and feature as your fabric chicks with the axes being used to make up the back of the chair. While these chairs are somewhat oversized for typical minifigure furniture, I do applaud the use of brick built techniques used to furnish the house. This is the kind of detail that we come to expect from a set that is designed for construction by adults. The oversized nature does feel a little weird after a while.
As we build up the wall detail, I found one step (number 113 on page 106) that was a little unclear: the orientation of one of these SNOT bricks is unclear – there are 2 ways to place them, and it should be in the different direction, compared to the one it is placed on. Having built up the layers on the wall to a total of five bricks and one plate high, we then build a small portion of the roof which will overhang the Forge. And it’s from here that we hang the blacksmith’s business tile.
The roof is a plate which is then covered with layers of Nexo shield tiles predominantly, but not only in earth blue. The angle of the roof is maintained using a four by four curved tile on either side of the roof, connected via brackets and plates on headlamp bricks.
And we move on to bag eight. Bag eight is the final bag for the kitchen and living room of the Blacksmith’s house. The elements are predominantly designed to finish off the walls . So if bricks we have another 11 one by one by five plate SNOT bricks. We have some more tan masonry bricks we have some more medium stone grey masonry bricks. We have lots of reddish brown tiles and another one both Rule number three of the one by three by three brick high arch pieces. We also have three window frames and two door frames We have golden letters shutters to go on the window frames. There is also a reddish brown ‘stairs’ element. We have six 4×4 curved tiles.We have ten 1×4 tiles in reddish brown; two in black and three With the medium nougat and woodgrain print with the silver nails in the corners.We have six 1×6 reddish brown plates And sixteen 1×8 tiles In reddish brown.
All of these tiles go towards finishing off the look of the exposed beams around the level.
It would have been very easy for the doors to merely be made using a standard doorframe and molded door piece. However, again, there’s a credit to the intelligence being ascribed to the audience, that these doors are made out of multiple plates and tiles, and have a brick built handle. Even the hinge mechanism is based on a number of clips around a pole. This door is very similar, if not identical in construction to the one on the ground level.
We start to cover the exposed studs in reddish brown tiles. We also build out the eaves over the front door of the house. Some of the wood framing around the porch is done using traditional Lego door frames and I think these are structurally justified.
What’s the deal with the exposed wooden beams here anyway?
A common form of construction in the upper floors of the Blacksmith’s home is an example of Fachwerk – traditional timber constructions, dating back at least as far as Roman times.. The frame was constructed with larger wooden beams, tooled with traditionsl tools, and secured with wooden pegs. Then the gaps would be filled in: sometimes with stone; sometimes with wattle and daub: woven wood/branches covered in a mixture of clay, chalk, hay, water and urine. Yes, I said urine. With time, you might see the white daub flake off, revealing the tan coloured woodwork within. Typically, this sort of construction would involved straight beams, but curved beams have been used from time to time.
Now read on…
Bags 9-13 build the next floor of the blacksmith’s residence plus the roof.
Bag nine brings us quite a number of brown plates in cluded in number of brown plates we also have number of white bricks and small tiles in black. We have a number of other reddish brown elements including inverse wedges and round brick. We have a number of t one by one by one and a half’s not pricks and we have a window frame. The base for this level is built out of our final 16×16 dark tan plate, as well as some of the plates from this bag. Ultimately measures 22 x 16 studs and is two plates thick and there is a two by four plate out outpouching. Ultimately we end up with a 4×4 gap in the base which meets the stairs coming up from the floor below.
We build a window box, next to the stairwell and through the light coming in, you can see a small writing desk. There is a printed 1×2 tile with “Once Upon a Time”written on it. To demonstrate the fact that it is infact a work in progress, there is a quill next to is, and a blue stool for the author to sit at. Just beside this, we have a small night table with a candlestick or lamp burning on it.
The next steps see us taking a minifigure stand (from the CMF) and the various shape tiles that we mentioned earlier and laying them out on the floor. It is worth taking your time to ensure that you position them correctly, because they become a primary source of reference for the laying out subsequent elements. Before you know it the Blacksmith’s residence has a bearskin rug!
We install a window of a four stud wide window at the opposite end of the cabin and a chest containing a rucksack and compass. In the center of the floor, we place a pillar which I suspect goes towards supporting the eaves and the roof.
With bag 10, we construct some more furniture detail for the living area as well as the main rafters which support the roof of the house. Looking at the elements available we have a variety of green and bluish green elements both tiles, plates and arches.
The majority of elements in this pack are reddish brown: many plates a few bricks, a few slopes, and eight 5×4 arches, a number of brackets, some chocolate ice cream and a couple of triangular street signs. We start off by building the bed and characteristically for a Lego set, it is a double bed. It is five studs wide. And it has a very Colorful quilt on it. Were such dyes available in this era? I’m uncertain but it’s in keeping with providing a bit of colour to break up a set containing a large number of earthy tones.
The bed measures five by eight studs and is two and a half bricks high. The brown chocolate ice cream swirl is used to top off the corner posts of the bed and the one by one brick with an adjacent scroll is also used to good effect here. Otherwise, the main aspects of this bag involve building two arches over the room which in turn will provide the primary support for the roof. We add some tiles to the external wall on either end and part of the roof that goes over the protruding window.
Bag 11 is one of the smaller bags : it consists primarily of reddish brown elements, although it does include some light grey technic bushes. and a few sand green plates. Otherwise we have a collection of reddish brown tiles, 1×2 offset plates, some small arches, lots of cylinder bricks, some inverse slopes and some inverse bows. It would appear that we’re going to lay down the foundation if you pardon the expression of the rafters and the external eaves at each end of the house. For the fascia of the roof at either end, we build up hinged beams with a brick built curve at each end. These form the apex of triangle, these in turn, rest behind the builds at either end of at the end of each wall of the upper story there is a stopper either in the form of a triangular sign or a brick. This essentially holds the gables in place. They are then secured quite elegantly with technic axles and a stopper at the bottom ends
In bag 12, we put together the first half of the roof. It consists of a significant number of reddish brown plates: 2×10, 4×10’s, 4×6 and 2×6’stwo by sixes. A number of earth blue 1×3 tiles, some bright blue 1×3 tiles, and a not insignificant number of the Nexo, 5 sided tiles: some in black, some in bright blue, some in earth blue and four in sand green. Looking at the overview illustration in the manual, it appears that the roof is angled, half way down. And so it looks like it could be quite an interesting part of the build.
The build sees us put together a number of panels, covered in the Nexo tiles. We join two sections together using ball joints – and the roof folds as you slide it into place. There is a gap in the main roof of that wall to make space for a dormer window and there is another gap that will make allowances for the chimney.
A literal pain point: Ensure that you put the correct Nexo tiles down in the correct place: Attempting to remove only one, leaving others in place, in order to replace it with the correct one, results in getting prodded by sharp pointy edges!
By the way, here is the internal view from the other side.
Bag 13 is essentially the last bag for the building: it will allow us to finish off the Blacksmith shop.
Again we have lots of reddish brown plates, lots of the Nexo shield tiles, we have some reddish brown baby bows and small arched pieces which I expect will go at the top of the gables. We have a number of ball joints which will allow for the roof to fold slightly giving us its double angle effect. And we have a number of medium stone grey and dark stone gre:y we have some one by two bricks with studs on the side,some grey tiles, some one by two masonry bricks, some one by force not bricks, with also some one by four light bluish grey tiles.
The bag starts with the chimney. It is made around a 4×4 stud core using predominantly masonry bricks with some stud, some SNOT bricks and headlamp bricks with tiles affixed to them to give the feeling of a textured surface. At the top, a couple of cylinders go towards forming the chimney, capped off with recoloured BB-8 head elements! There is a small fireplace on the bedroom level.
Having completed the chimney we move onto the roof on the other side. It consists of a similar mixture of sand green, blue and dark blue tiles. There are a few missing tiles. And there we have just some brown grill parts which suggests that the blacksmith and his wife must have a few drafty evenings. I’m starting to suspect that the sand green elements are representing moss or lichen growing on the roof, which you may well expect in the absence of a high pressure hose (Still a few hundred years off being invented).
I do like the way that the ball joints are used to angulate the roof surface. After completing ths part of the build, we add ornamentation that goes across the upper beam and then we come to drop the roof into place the roof on top of the living quarters… on top of the kitchen… on top of the workshop: the house is is complete… but let us finish the final bag first…
Spoiler: it looks awesome.
The final bag for the build, Bag 14 contains the elements required to build the horse and carriage, as well as our two Black Falcon Knights. Both nights have a single sided face print. One is a grey haired/grey bearded man. The other is a woman with a furrowed brow and a headband print. She has a brown, slightly tousled hairpiece. They both come with helmets and shields. The shields are printed in black and silver and depicting the black Falcons logo as they are torsos. One knight has only one shoulder pauldron. The other has two. There is one long sword and there is one halberd made out of a Monkey King Staff Handle, a spear and an axe head.
Otherwise, there are some wheels, a reddish brown 6×8 plate, some arch elements and some medium nougat palisade bricks, which I suspect will form hay bales on the back of the wagon. Now that I think about it, hay bales were essentially the petrol tank of the Middle Ages and horsedrawn transport .
The cart is a reasonably simple construction with the axle plates underneath building up with a layer of palisade bricks and brown fences. A brick with the studs on the side allows for a Black Falcons shield to connect to the side of the fan on one side and brick with a clip on the side allows for a lantern suspended from a pole. The horse is light tan and can be attached to the harness which in turn connects by a loose ball joint to the van to the wagon proper.
It is hard to fault the figures, and while the built up halbard looks suitably threatening, I find that connecting the axehead too close to the spear point, as the shaft narrows is a poor connection: In fact, I dropped the halberd, and have been unable to relocate the axe head since. Fortunately, I had a spare in my parts box. Personally, of all the elements that were included in the spares and tablescrap from this set, this is probably the one place that an extra would be truly useful.
Both Knights can sit on the bench seat on the front of the cart, and there is a sack hidden inside. I wonder if this is the money to pay the blacksmith with?
And the final effect?
Or, to go a little more old school…
Let us quickly appraise the minifigures, a little closer…
I am quite impressed by the silver ink used in these, as well as other printed elements in this set. The studs on the Blacksmith’s apron, the silver on the shields and black falcon’s tunics really pops. It is the same effect as seen on the woodprint tiles, used on the doors.
I would have liked to see an additional face on each of the knights.
As has been implied previously, each of these figures could be considered to be a reimagined version of a more nostalgic counterpart:
Setting the scale.
When I first saw this set, and heard that it would be $250 Australian dollars, I was a little overwhelmed. How could a ‘small vignette’, that I thought looked pretty similar in scale to the Medieval Market Village be worthy of such a price tag. further consideration reminded me that the set has almost twice as many parts as the market village . The two buildings in this set have a footprint of around 14×12 studs. (give or take, they are not perfectly rectangulr in their footprints)
But wait, is it really that much bigger? Could that just be some form of perspective trickery that you are using there, Rambling Brick?
Well, maybe. Why don’t we look at it from above…
As you can see, the footprint of this set is roughly twice the areas of that required for the older medieval building standard. Even the slightly larger 3739 used a larger 16×16 footprint. Unlike the other medieval buildings, the internals of the Medieval Blacksmith’s house are accessed by lifting off level by level, rather than opening up the building, like a dollhouse.
Speaking of modular buildings, how does it compare with the new police station for size? The 10278 Police Station, this year’s modular building, contains 2978 pieces, and costs $AUD300. The Blacksmith comes with 2164 elements, and costs $AUD250. Placed side by side, I was surprised by just how close the Blacksmith’s came to the Modular, in size.
Each floor is slightly shorter than the modular standard, but it is probably around 2/3 of the size, which would be accounted for by the part count. Still, it is a substantial set, but probably priced on a different sliding scale to 2020’s Bookshop – also costing 249.99, but having 2404 pieces.
Overall, I really enjoyed the build. The attention to detail within the building process is impressive. There were no significant issues with the instructions: as previously discussed, the grey background on the pages. made for a more pleasant experience that putting together the Elf’s Club House. The amount of brick built detail, including the doors, external stairs and chairs and bearskin rug (amongst other things) were fantastic.
The designers have given us a great feeling for the garden growing around the house, and it always remains fairly subtle.
The tributes to Forestmen, as well as the Black Falcons in this set were delightful Easter eggs.
If I were to have any significant completion about the final design, it would be that it feels to be a little larger than minifigure scale: the chairs in the living area are certainly over sized, compared with the bed in floor 3; and indeed, out of scale with the medieval market village from 2008.
I did find the halberd to be a little frustrating: I quickly lost the provided axe blade, and it is yet to resurface. The set also feels a little overpriced compared with other sets of similar size. I appreciate that the quality of the printing we see with this set is higher than seen in other sets, especially with the frequent use of silver coloured inks.
I give this set 4 out of 5 Arbitrary Praise Units – the positive aspects far outweigh the negatives. I hope that it will start a trend of more castle sets appearing in the near future. I outlined the major differences between this set and the original submission and the final result in my post about the set’s announcement, and while there are some differences between the two, I believe that this set stands well on its own.
I’d love to know your thoughts about is: why not comment below, and until next time,