Classic Themes: Defining Classic Castle

In which we explore the early days of LEGO® Castle, take in the early factions, and look at just what made Castle sets ‘Classic Castle’

Over the past 18 moths, the Rambling Brick has looked at the development of Classic Town from the early days, through the System era, a World City inspired Dark Ages to LEGO® City. We have followed this up with a look at Classic Space, and its evolution through to the turn of the century. There is still an article to follow up here, looking at space themes in the 21st Century, and where they are today. This is particularly pertinent, given the 2022 reimagining of the original LEGO Space Flagship set: the 928/497Galaxy Explorer. This is not that article.

Before I write that article, for reasons that will eventually become apparent, I would like to take a look at the other pillar of the Classic LEGO Minifigure Themes – Castle. While Town gave kids the chance to live out the present, and space allowed them to imagine the Future, Castle allowed then to explore the past.

As a kid growing up in Australia, castles were a thing of fantasy: we only really saw them in books (with drawings) and in movies or on television. Typically in the context of an episode of Doctor Who. While the country has been inhabited for tens of thousands of years, the need for permenant fortifications was never really needed. In fact, the only castle I am aware of in Australia was built in the early 1970’s and run as a theme park.

But what are the characteristics of Classic Castle? And what time frame might be considered ‘Classic’? In this post, we will look at: Castle inspiration before minifigures existed; the initial range of Castle sets (1978-1981), and finally, consider Castle sets throughout the rest of ‘LEGOLAND’ phase: 1984-1990.

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