Lego's new $400 Lion Knights' Castle is a love letter to my childhood

Lego’s new $400 Lion Knights’ Fortress is a love letter to my childhood

Final January, Lego promised its ninetieth anniversary could be one to recollect: the corporate agreed to revive one among its traditional Lego themes (resembling Area, Fortress and Pirates) with a brand new Lego set. for adults.

Nevertheless it seems we’re not getting only one nostalgic bomb in the present day – the corporate has determined to carry again the traditional Area and the traditional Fortress on the identical time. First, Lego unveils the Galaxy Explorer, an enlarged model of the unique iconic Lego starship that can be out there for pre-order in the present day. And second, it pronounces the Lion Knights’ Fortress, which – at $400 and 4,514 items – is definitely probably the most intricate and spectacular fortress playset the corporate has ever produced.

To see extra concerning the Lego Galaxy Explorer as a substitute, click on right here

I’ve spent days trying on the high-resolution photographs of every set you may discover under, marveling on the particulars and hidden play options. However I did not must do it alone: ​​I additionally spoke to their lead designers Mike Psiaki (see additionally: Titanic, Saturn V, Aston Martin DB5) and Milan Madge (Area Shuttle Discovery, Pirates of Barracuda Bay, Central perk). I even spoke to Niels Milan Pedersen, a 44-year veteran who co-created Lego Pirates and Forestmen, labored on many traditional house themes, and designed most of the most iconic fortresses, castles and ships, together with the Black Knight’s Fortress, the Royal Knight’s Fortress I had as a child, and the legendary Black Seas Barracuda.

And I will be damned if the brand new fortress does not surpass all of them.

Many rooms in the castle, including a royal bedroom, banquet hall, granary, stables, dungeon, armory and more.

You will wish to faucet and zoom and blow this up in another way to see every room.

Trapdoors and secret passages. Elevate-and-release drawbridge and portcullis, now with hidden chains and counterweights constructed into the equipment, as a substitute of the uncovered strings I had as a child. Probably the most fortified towers of a Lego fortress thus far, full with arrow slits. A water wheel tuned to a grindstone in order that the baker can grind flour for his bread. A royal bed room and an arsenal filled with weapons and a dungeon and a small banquet corridor and sufficient ladders and stairs to really join many of the ranges. Lion Knights and Black Knights and Forestmen and mini stables and an ox-and-cart and an out of doors meals stall.

“We actually needed to evoke the sensation you bought if you opened the catalog as a child and noticed this large panorama with the market village and the farmers,” says Madge. Consequently, the set has 20 minifigures, greater than all however the largest Star Wars, Marvel and sports activities units.

Oh, and did I point out {that a} woman with a crown guidelines the entire thing and… rather a lot of those minifigs are girls?!

When closed, the fortress is 17.5 inches / 44.5 cm large.
Picture: Lego

The drawbridge is hooked up to a counterweight that swings right into a hidden pit under.
Picture: Lego

However maybe probably the most unimaginable factor for me is how the entire set transforms. I want I had a video to point out you because it took me a second to wrap my thoughts round it with simply stills – from the skin it seems like a closed fortress even with the set flipped open, and double like when it is closed. As a thought train, check out the water wheel within the photographs above. Does the river stream subsequent to the fortress, or does the river run by means of it? The reply is each

Inspirations embrace hinges from the unique Lego fortress…
Picture: Lego by way of Brickset

…asymmetrical design on a hilltop and the half-timbered hut of Black Knight’s Fortress…
Picture: Lego by way of Brickset

…and Camouflaged Outpost’s intelligent tree shelter.
Picture: Lego by way of Brickset

A room within the new set seems to be a tribute to Daniel Krentz’s authentic yellow fortress.
Picture: Lego

Designer Milan Madge says the closed/open design was the aim from the beginning. His crew’s major influences had been the unique 1978 yellow Lego Fortress, which equally swung open on hinges, and the 6086 Black Knight’s Fortress with its asymmetrical, castle-on-a-hill design. “We would like this to be one thing you possibly can play 360 levels round. We needed to make it utterly fenced in so that you had partitions on both sides.”

However Madge and Psiaki additionally shared a love for 6066 Camouflaged Outpost, the hideout of the Forestmen, and determined to cover the merry women and men within the new fortress as nicely. And after I say ‘inside’, I imply it actually:

It took me a couple of minutes to search out out the place this room exists. It is contained in the wall.

“When you’re on the drawbridge on the fallacious time you may be thrown within the dungeon, however the bushmen have a sneaky little system of caves to interrupt you out – there is a hidden community beneath the fortress that you could solely discover by species to take the mannequin aside,” explains Madge.

“We discovered that there is just one place in the entire mannequin that is not occupied by some story,” he provides. “Sure, there’s little or no empty house beneath, every thing is used for one thing,” it sounds in Psiaki.

Talking with Niels Milan Petersen, who designed most of the units that impressed the brand new fortress (together with the Black Knight’s Fortress and Camouflaged Outpost), I get the sense that the Lego designer with the longest tenure is fairly proud — however perhaps just a little too. bit jealous of what his fellows can do with a funds designed for grownup followers of Lego?

“We all the time put a lot in that we needed to get out once more,” Pedersen says. “The costs weren’t that top as a result of individuals did not spend that a lot on toys in these days and that was all the time the priority for us.”

“There was much more thought that it was only for children as a result of on the time, you recognize, adults would not admit they had been enjoying with Lego. That is fairly new.”

The designers say you possibly can join as much as 100 of those units into a large fortress (maybe towards a criminal?) That is most likely what the Technic holes on the perimeters are for.
Picture: Lego

He recollects how one among his authentic fortress fashions had a blacksmith and a small kitchen earlier than he needed to take away them. One other had stairs main as much as the towers that had been deemed too sophisticated and costly – and he thought children would undoubtedly care! “No, they did not, however they observed there was a chimney on one of many buildings and there was no fire linked to the chimney. That is what they actually observed! Children are humorous that means generally – the figures can simply fly to the towers.”

The opposite issues he needed to forgo on the time had been slingshots and trebuchets “as a result of they had been thought-about weapons”, however Lego designers had been slowly successful the battle there. In 1989, he and the late Jens Nygaard Knudsen, creator of the Lego minifigure and Lego Area, had satisfied the higher echelons to not solely equip a pirate captain together with his personal signature face (as a substitute of the smiley face), but additionally projectile-shooting cannons. stand (although not within the US), pistols and muskets, and a pirate flag with cranium and bones. These had been all fights with then-owner Godtfred Kirk Christiansen, he says.

“The Jolly Roger… he actually did not need me to place a cranium on that, that was the restrict, he did not wish to see that.” They tried numerous variations with out it, however it did not look proper. “So Jens and I went to his non-public dwelling one night, we went in for a espresso and we talked for an extended, very long time. Lastly he gave in and mentioned sure, okay, make your cranium on that flag, however you need to make him smile in some way.

6090 Royal Knight’s Fortress. Discover the trebuchet just under the tower on the high proper.
Picture: Lego by way of Brickset

They usually did. In 1995, in addition they made him go away a trebuchet: my childhood Royal Knight’s Fortress, designed by Petersen, has a small rock flinger on the battlements that you could transfer with one finger.

At the moment, the previous fisherman primarily makes new elements for Lego for units by different designers. He has designed minifigures resembling the unique skeleton and extra not too long ago muppet present figures resembling Kermit the Frog, in addition to multifunctional components such because the feathers within the Forestmen’s hats and knight helmets – which he says had been initially designed as spines for minifigs to carry as nicely. “Again within the day, if you began making a component, you had been required to foresee that the component might be used for at the least 10 years.”

The brand new Lion Knight’s Fortress goes on sale August 3 for Lego VIPs (it is a free join) and August 8 for everybody else. Which oddly implies that you most likely will not get the brand new Forest Hideout set (a remake of Petersen’s Forestmen’s Hideout) without spending a dime together with your buy, because it’s out there till June 22. For now, here is one final picture of the brand new fortress.

Picture: Lego

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