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Castle Sets Year in Review: 2006

Discussion of official LEGO Castle Theme sets and products

Postby DaleDVM » Tue Jun 03, 2008 4:15 pm

I came out of a ten year Dark Age in the fall of 2007. I really wanted to collect castle so I bought just about everything (except the ninjas) I missed in the ten years before. I am only missing a few small impulse type sets for the whole line now. This means I got everything Viking, the latter sets of KK1, and all of KK2 at the same time. It was very interesting building all of the sets from many years over just a months time. It is also nice that I have them all side by side and can compare them too.

I would also like to note that it was very easy for me to find and buy at cost or below cost all of the sets from the Viking and KK2 lines for the years 2004 thru 2006 in the fall of 2007. I didn't even have to resort to ebay. There were plenty of these sets available on amazon.com, toysrus.com, etc. I didn't even know about bricklink at the time. I probably could have saved some money! The ready availability of these sets some of which were over 3 years old at the time told me they didn't sell very well.

The article is very spot on in my opinion and I would just add a few things.

The royal kings castle while an improvement on 6098 still suffered from the same problems castles have had since the fright knight line. They were indefensable from all sides and had ways an enemy could just walk right in. This set only had a couple of small flaws like that but they are still there. The minifigs were very different from any past line, but I didn't like them as they didn't seem to belong to any faction at all. I used them all for parts and made my own figs to fit in with other factions. The stickers in this set are nonsense IMHO.

Although I don't really like action figs the 2006 versions were actually pretty nice looking. The armor, weapons, and shield are nicely done. I don't own any so I can't comment on playability. I am also glad to see them gone.

The viking chess set is sweet and is a great compliment to the other viking sets. It is a nice army builder for a group of royal guard types for the vikings with matching armor and all. The viking army catapult is a great army building set. I personally believe that the siege engines from both 7020 & 7021 are just way too big. Why even bash down the walls when you build catapults and trebuchets that are taller than the enemy towers? Heck just roll them into the enemy walls and climb over... I suppose they are proper sized for the huge castle MOCs that people build?! :) I suppose I don't even have to mention mechagodzilla! :roll:

The KK2 sets from this year are actually not all that bad. Many of the figs had great color patterns and awesome shields. It is too bad the whole line didn't adopt color patterns like this instead of the Rainbow bright and her knights theme. I still hate the nondescript minifigs with the pearl gold armor. I just can't find any helmets that look good with it.

The 8821 ship is very attractive and has nice figs, a very nice set. What is with those axes on the 8822 bridge anyway? Are they to destroy the battering ram that doesn't fit onto the bridge? Maybe they are to break the gate open because the attackers built the battering ram too big. (how convenient :wink: ) My real guess is they needed to use up all those giant action figure parts somehow. The battle at the pass is a godsend for army building and weaponry. It also has some neat little attacking siege engines. Add in the unique parts (like the doors) you get in it and it is a very nice buy. Mistlands tower also has some unique parts. The figures alone are worth getting this set for. Several unique figures and shields for the generals/leaders of your factions. I love the vladek figure in this set!

This year definately confused me a bit as it had no large sets at all. It is obvious that the past lines were winding down in 2006. Whether the cause was slow sales or Lego wanting to go in another direction, I don't know. As has been mentioned the greatest accomplishment for the 2006 sets was to get out of the way for 2007... which saw a return to better castle and minifig design. Castle is again doing things great! 8) I hope sales continue to go well for this line as it bodes well for all of us that castle continues for the years to come! It also reinforces the lesson to TLC that quality castle stuff does sell well and maybe we will continue to get sets many of us like.
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Postby ELMAS » Tue Jun 03, 2008 4:31 pm

Couple of comments on vikings and Kink Castle 10176.
I have all the viking sets and also 10176.

On 10176: I don't know why people hate this set so much. It has a ton of figs,plenty of weapons, a dwarf, cool parts, 2 horses, quivers. Most people get hung up on the "platform" and make a huge deal out of it.

I play with my 3-yr-old girl and she loves this castle. Especially the dungeon and the cage and it has a lot of nice parts to build MOC's, so, why do people hate this set so much...

As for the vikings not having an opposing faction, well, makes sense to me. The vikings where the sackers of europe in the 700-900's and they where mostrly battling eachother or getting booty in europe...
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Postby Coatsy » Tue Jun 03, 2008 6:19 pm

Great thread! Please continue to do an over the years review like this.

I really really REALLY liked the Viking sets. The mini figs were spot on with the wacky faces and the very versitile torsos, shields and weapons. The line was cut waaay to short IMO. My only dislike was the technic/bionicle look to the creatures. But no biggy. I've intergrated the Viking faction within the rest of my collection with no problems.

I've been a quasi supporter of KK II but for only a few reasons. The Vladek faction is very good and the color scheme is brilliant. I am not a big fan of the other factions. I did collect at least one of every KK II set, but I really just have used them for adding to a larger creation. The last line of KK II, KK2.3 if you will was a vast improvement. I liked the new heraldry, shields, and the Battle at the Pass set was a good return. I did not like the fact that the regular soldiers all had plate armor instead of a printed torso. In fact the excessive use of the plate armor for mini figs sort of made the pieces just as regular as a 2x4. I remember the when the plate armor came out and it was only used on knights and not the Man at Arms. KK II ruined that special quality of the plate armor.

2006 was a step in the right direction which led to the turn around of 2007.
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Postby Sir Kohran » Tue Jun 03, 2008 6:41 pm

The standards of the figs, both good and bad, went up a great deal, moving away from the bright colours of 04/05 to more realistic metallic colours. The Battle at the Pass would definitely be one of the highlights of the year. On the other hand, the set designs weren't nearly as strong as 05 and felt a lot more 'playset' like than models like Vladek's Dark Fortress had been. Also I was disappointed that so many heads were reused from previous years, and that the Sorcerer wasn't a fig.

The Vikings with the attack wagon was a great set for figs and parts, and had a great design. That said, whilst the Ofnir dragon was imposing enough the catapult in that set looked a bit too big and over the top. And we didn't any new figs either which was a bit disappointing.

10176 was a great set just for its accessories - the amount of useful parts and heads was very useful, even if the structure wasn't the best ever.

I think 2006 suffered from a lack of unity and the fact that both its lines were virtually over - the Viking line was barely continued, KK2 was in its last real run and 10176 didn't have much to do with either line, so we ended up with a somewhat subpar year, compared to 2005. I guess you could say 2006 was really a transition year in which the two lines of KK2 and Vikings were being brought to an end to make way for the new Castle line, which seems inspired by both and also a return to the older designs of the 80s and 90s.

KK II ruined that special quality of the plate armor.


You do realise that it was also the first time plate armour was used in about a decade? If it wasn't for KKII bringing it back plate armour might never have come back at all.

And I don't see how giving it to men at arms 'ruins' it either. If you don't like it, just put it on someone else.
Last edited by Sir Kohran on Wed Mar 04, 2009 6:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Lewa Rocks » Tue Jun 03, 2008 7:08 pm

The KK2 sets where ok but still pretty bad. The Viking sets where cool (I wish I would have got some) but there should have been two viking sides so they could fight.
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Postby Kozai13 » Tue Jun 03, 2008 7:25 pm

Pretty good stuff for '06. Set designs were pretty crappy, but the actually content and pieces were pretty awesome and well worth the over priced sets. So overall, a decent lago castle year.
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Postby Kurojaki » Tue Jun 03, 2008 8:27 pm

Well, I don't have many KK2 sets. Design is not good, but they have some useful parts.

Vikings! I like them and have mostly all. The parts are really useful. (Bricks like brown and grey, figs, weapons, chests, etc...)
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Postby Mr. Shiny & New » Tue Jun 03, 2008 9:56 pm

I liked some of the improvements in the '06 line but would have rather seen more shadow knights rather than the rogue knights. The Battle at the Pass set was so good in concept and so poor in execution: yellow pants on knights? As someone said when this set came out, it's like the nightmare where you go to school with no pants on. The poor colour scheme of BatP (and many of the late KK2 sets) ruined them for me.

The viking sets, on the other hand, were great in so many ways. I wrote about some of them here:
Viking Army
Chess Set

I was glad to see the changes that Lego introduced this year and they led to the awesome castle sets we have in '07 and '08.
Mr. Shiny & New's blog: Eternal Ephemeron
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Postby Lord Tyler II » Wed Jun 04, 2008 12:57 am

Yeah, I wasn't a huge fan of KK2 but, I really enjoyed the Viking theme. The sets seemed well made and, the theme was interesting. I thought it was a a possitve part on LEGO.
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Postby architect » Wed Jun 04, 2008 2:49 am

LordZode wrote:Great overview very interesting article, I do think the 2006 KK2 had some nice sets especially in terms of minifigs and equipment more than set design.


Thanks. I am glad you liked the article.

Athos wrote:Not really... but I'll do it for you.


Thank you. I appreciate everyone who leaves feedback on these articles as they do take a bit of time to write and code ;)

I think you should go chronologically, starting with the first year of castle. Why did you start with '06 anyway?


I had two reasons. First, I just finished the Out of Production Sets Archive page for 2006: http://www.classic-castle.com/sets/oop2006.html

Second, many younger CC fans have asked for more reviews of sets that they own. Some years with few sets (like 1978) should probably be combined with other years. Due to the large amount of time to write these articles, I will likely only have them every other month or so.

Personally, I prefer not to go in chronological order, but would be interested in hearing the opinions of several castle fans on this matter.

ELMAS wrote:On 10176: I don't know why people hate this set so much. It has a ton of figs,plenty of weapons, a dwarf, cool parts, 2 horses, quivers.


I also like this set for what it is: a raised baseplate castle in the tradition of 6091/6098. Of the several castles built on this plate, 10176 has the best design, parts, and figures in my opinion.

Coatsy wrote:Great thread! Please continue to do an over the years review like this.


I will. Thanks.

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Postby Webrain » Wed Jun 04, 2008 8:52 am

The Good:

- A few new shields which most of them were quite nice
- Some new Euro armor which are cool
- The end of this line (finally)
- 8822 is quite a nice set (the best one from this line anyway)
- A lot of figs (most of them useless but still)
- Some nice Walls in 10176
- Some decent bricks
- The Gargoyles - nice touch

The Bad:
- Most of the figs had no printing on the torso
- Stickers - oh my god I hate those
- 10176 which suppose to be somewhere between 6090 and 6098 could
not much either of those really
- Line of vikings which was suppose to give a new breeze turn out to be
a big disappointed

The Ugly:
- The models
- I wasted really money on that

Ben - as always great work :D
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Postby MarioDAlessio » Wed Jun 04, 2008 11:01 am

I see 2006 as very much a gap year for Castle Lego; the year between KK2 and the Fantasy Era Line, the set designers built a great redux set and finished the Viking line with two good army builder sets while the KK2 range was limited to mid sized sets.

These are some of the most interesting castle years that allow for something different for example 2001 – 2002: 3739 Blacksmith Shop, re-release/legend Black 10039 Falcon's Fortress and 10000 Guarded Inn.

I very much enjoyed the 2006 releases and these are my favourites which I will quickly discuss why;

10176 Royal King's Castle

This is by far the best large Raised 32 x 48 baseplate castle set ever (6096 is excluded from this description). I agree with others that I don’t understand the neutral reviews this set has amazing accessories the first castle dog, return of a good wizard and a return of no inherent displays of conflict in the packaging/instructions.

8813 Battle at the Pass

This is a great value for money set; the ideal is as simple as the castle classics 1984 – 6061 Siege Tower, 1987- 6062 Battering Ram and also the 1990 - 6059 Knight's Stronghold and this concept should be repeatedly copied.

The faults with this sets only related to the available castle wall parts and minifig designs of 2006.

8821 Rogue Knight Battleship

This is my correct castle size for small kegs and Viking boats etc just like the legendary 6057 Sea Serpent and the useful 7416 Emperor's Ship from the Orient Expedition range.

Vikings Chess Set

This is my army builder chess set of choice – no jelly beans or skeletons here.

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Postby Metatron » Wed Jun 04, 2008 3:41 pm

I have some of the Jellybean and KK2 sets - but I couldn't even tell you which ones precisely. I buy 'em for the elements alone, I don't care what they supposedly build. And it took me some time to warm up to those elements because of the use of new bley and new brown too. I'll probably never forgive Lego for that insanity. But whatever, I have no brand loyalty anyway.

I did like the Viking sets and I have most of them. I wasn't that keen on the silly helmets but there was much to admire even so. If one is to have a fantasy helmet I much prefer the Dwarf helmets of the recent sets. As many have already stated, the technic heavy dragons were disappointing. I prefer the old style dragons, the Adventurers oriental dragon, and even the newer huge sized dragons using the same technic wings. I very much enjoyed the longboat set of the previous year. The Heavy Artillery Wagon was a good army builder at deep discount. I have at least two of the chess set, but I am always unhappy to find anything glued together including the chess board elements.

The point is to build and they must not develop sets that prevent that in any way, not even for as solid a reason as making a chess board that won't fall apart. I'd prefer it fell apart.
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Postby Coatsy » Thu Jun 05, 2008 7:17 pm

"The Bad:
- Most of the figs had no printing on the torso "

Yup I totally agree. As Sir Kohran pointed out if I do not like all of the plate armor then take it off. Ok I can dig it, but since the mini figs only have a plain torso I am left with a bland looking army. So yeah, I could print out all of the nifty torso decals that are linked to the site which is probably the next best thing to do!

And to give an follow up on the plate armor, historically only the wealthy minority of soldiers, nobles, knights, etc could afford the heavy armor so the bulk of the foot soldiers, man at arms, even some cavalry were not as heavily armed as the classic "knight" folks think of. I liked the fact that now with the crownies, AND back in the day in the classic castle years Lego did not let EVERY figure have plate armor like KK II v1 and KK II v2 seemed to. (except the Shaodow Knights from Vladek's foreces and the Team Jayko pawns from the chess set)

And I liked the earthy and subdued tones of the classic castle years more than the the exceptionally vibrant KK II sets. Seriously powder blue amror? I dig the green and purple colors but the powder blue and cherry red are hard to make fit with my other sets. But that's just me. KK II.3 had better colors schemes with the new knights and rogue knights so it was getting better IMO.
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Postby King of the West » Mon Jun 16, 2008 8:44 pm

I thought this year was the year when LEGO began making extremely good castle sets again, although I though '05 was pretty good as well. This year used three of my favorite factions: vikings, stallion knights, and KKI knights. I'm a fan of Rohan from Lord of the Rings, so any faction that resembles them is automatically good in my book. [Think about it.Rohan was based off vikings and had horse sheilds, so..] I also liked the castle and the KKI knights because the KKI line was what introduced me to castle sets when I was younger.

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