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Castle 2013... meh?

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Castle 2013... meh?

Postby Athos » Sat Nov 16, 2013 3:43 pm

I am entirely underwhelmed (and essentially meh) on the 2013 castle line (http://brickset.com/browse/themes/?theme=Castle&year=2013). Several of the sets have had mark downs on amazon, but I still can't quite bring myself to pull the trigger. It used to be that I'd try to get every castle set that came out, but these just aren't doing anything for me. Even at 20-30% off.

I really can't explain why. Part of it is the designs seem to be uninspired and unimproved copies of sets we just had a few years ago. Another is that the minifig heraldry is unimpressive. And it doesn't seem like they have much good in the way of parts. Or is it that LotR is so much better?

Am I wrong? If I am, talk me into buying them, because I don't want to miss out on good castle sets.

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Re: Castle 2013... meh?

Postby Bruce N H » Sat Nov 16, 2013 4:54 pm

I like the figs, but i have to agree that the castles seem more juniorized to me, compared to some in recent years. I do like the Dragon Mountain one, but i'm not a fan of big molded-part monsters, so in the end I did not get that. It almost seems like they made a conscious decision to design the Castle sets for younger builders since the Tolkien sets are more advanced builds.

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Re: Castle 2013... meh?

Postby BiggerJim » Sat Nov 16, 2013 6:24 pm

Bruce N H wrote:... i have to agree that the castles seem more juniorized to me, compared to some in recent years. I do like the Dragon Mountain one, but i'm not a fan of big molded-part monsters, so in the end I did not get that. It almost seems like they made a conscious decision to design the Castle sets for younger builders since the Tolkien sets are more advanced builds.


I agree with Bruce here. I got the dragon mountain for the dragon. But that's it. The new Lion soldiers look like mini-duplo to me and the sets all seem simple compared to LOTR. I passed on them as well. But like you said, if someone has them and loves them - let us know!
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Re: Castle 2013... meh?

Postby Purple Wolf » Sat Nov 16, 2013 6:57 pm

Personally I really like the new castle sets especially the dragons figs(can't get enough of them). I do agree they do seem more juniorized than other castle them, even when I first saw pictures of them I thought they looked like duplo but they've grown on me.

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Re: Castle 2013... meh?

Postby Aeridian » Sat Nov 16, 2013 6:58 pm

I've only purchased two Forest Ambushes, and don't really plan one getting any more of the Castle sets. The Dragon knights look pretty decent, but I agree the Crown/Lion knights are a little too childish for my taste. I'd rather get the new Mirkwood set (or new Hobbit sets in general) for new minifig pieces and colors. I don't think you're missing out on the next big thing right now. It'd probably be best to wait it out, if you can.
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Re: Castle 2013... meh?

Postby Kev » Sat Nov 16, 2013 7:22 pm

I like the 4 fig set at that price, but don't like the red & black guys. Just too cliche. I'm ready for some slight more sophisticated heraldry and different colors (green & white, yellow & black, etc.)
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Re: Castle 2013... meh?

Postby BiggerJim » Sat Nov 16, 2013 7:44 pm

Yes, I could get behind some new color combo's. These Lions and Dragons seemed a little been-there-done-that to me. Although I do like the black torsos. I have been turning them backwards.
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Re: Castle 2013... meh?

Postby Quickblade22 » Sat Nov 16, 2013 8:54 pm

Steve, my advice would be to go to Bricklink. Looks up the set inventories and then get the pieces you really want that might be different from your collection. I'm not really sure I want any of the sets or minifigures, but the new faces look interesting enough to use for different themes as well as my castle minifigs.
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Re: Castle 2013... meh?

Postby Tower of Iron Will » Sun Nov 17, 2013 2:50 am

I like the figures; but I am more perplexed as to the choice of bringing back a Crown/Lion and Dragon factions back so soon. I would have been more pleased with a "Black Falcon" faction based on the knight from the Kingdom set. But at least there are new factions for sale which is better than none and the longer I have them and think about them I like the 2013 Castle figures.

Given the similar heraldry of Kingdoms, for me it became an opportunity and challenge to make stories about them. The challenge would be why did they decide to leave either the "Crown" faction or the "Lion" faction. The opportunity came with a chance to have faction with a different dynamic in its story.

To answer your question, Athos, I guess it all depends on how you view all the different factions in your Castleverse. Is there room for two more factions? Do you need another evil Dragon clan or more good Lion/Crown clan members? You may be meh now but in a few years, you might change you mind when the sets are more expensive?
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Re: Castle 2013... meh?

Postby BiggerJim » Sun Nov 17, 2013 3:52 am

The only pro's I have heard so far are the figs. Anyone have any thoughts about the sets vs. LOTR or Hobbit sets?
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Re: Castle 2013... meh?

Postby SSchmidt » Sun Nov 17, 2013 4:19 am

I own every set, and as an AFOL, I absolutely love them.

Granted, my perspective may be skewed since I am involved in the LCC and both factions fit the story I use.

However, I will say, when I first saw them released, I didn't care for them one bit. When I saw them in store and on the shelves, I thought they were incredibly underwhelming.
When I purchased forest ambush and dragon mountain and put them together, I fell in love immediately. Until I actually opened them and built them, did I like them. The longer I have them, the more I love them. I currently have around 40 of the dragon knights and 25 of the crown knights. I literally cannot get enough of these guys.


I am not encouraging you to purchase them, but there have been sets that weren't too interesting to me until I put them together.

All of these sets were like that.

I would have to agree they are marketed to younger children. That much is apparent.
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Re: Castle 2013... meh?

Postby OverLoad » Sun Nov 17, 2013 2:54 pm

Tower of Iron Will wrote:Given the similar heraldry of Kingdoms, for me it became an opportunity and challenge to make stories about them. The challenge would be why did they decide to leave either the "Crown" faction or the "Lion" faction. The opportunity came with a chance to have faction with a different dynamic in its story.


This is part of the reason I liked these factions too. At first, I was not at all impressed with these sets. I thought the heraldry looked ridiculous and the sets wouldn't be worth the parts. Granted, the only set I've bought out of this wave (although i did buy 4 copies of it) was Forest Ambush, but I love these figures. The new chainmail+gorget torso might be my favorite of the bunch, but I love the new Dragon figures (or, as they are in my Castle World, Wyvern since Dragon was already occupied).

Granted, the red/black and blue/white combos are a tad overdone, but I don't mind all that much. I missed out on the multiple heraldry days of the 80s (hadn't been born yet) and missed the entirety of the Fantasy Era (was my one and only dark age - thankfully my brothers got a few sets), so I'm welcoming all sorts of heraldry. Maybe that's part of my bias.

That being said, they are "juniorized" but I'm not sure if that's really a bad thing, considering we also have the more "serious" LOTR line also on the shelves. Meaning, you can get the best of both worlds, one or the other, or neither. If the current Castle line was the only line available, I could see some merit in that comment. But as it stands, one has to consider what is available.
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Re: Castle 2013... meh?

Postby Brickninja » Mon Nov 18, 2013 11:14 am

I would not be surprised in the least to see the set quality increase once LOTR is done. As for, now pick up the sets for the parts and minifigs. I was skeptical about Kingdoms when it came out, but now want to punch myself for not getting any sets.

Also, I have forest ambush, The gatehouse raid, and kings castle, and I love'em. The kings castle is a bit panel-heavy, unfortunately, but it's got lots of dark tan and lots of masonry bricks.
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Re: Castle 2013... meh?

Postby Lil_Curt » Mon Nov 18, 2013 1:58 pm

I have all the sets but the castle. I just cant bring myself to it because of the panels. It dosent have enough other elements that make it worth my while. That being said, if you like the dragon, the dragon sets good. I was a bit dissapointed with gatehouse but its not a bad set. I also have the carriage, again not bad but a bit heavy on the black. Also bought several ambush sets as army builders. Traded lion knights for dragon knights. Any way i hope they go back to a more kingdoms feel in the next wave.

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Re: Castle 2013... meh?

Postby TeufelHund » Tue Nov 19, 2013 1:31 am

I've got the Dragon Mountain, Gatehouse and Forest Ambush sets and quite like them. The new Dragon knights are the highlight for me as you get a bunch of new heads, some torsos + the cool armour piece. I'm not so keen on the Lion/Crown faction as IMO the Fantasy era Crownies and the Kingdoms' Lions both look better. The Lion Sigil in 2013 Castle is particularly juniorised - one reason I could see little value in getting the King's Castle set as the Lion's armour, banners and barding is all covered in that stupid Lion head. Maybe kids love it but I prefered the more realistic heraldry of the Kingdom's line myself.

The sets themselves are actually quite nice - nicer than I thought they would be and even the catapults are decent. I actually bought them mainly for the figs planning to put the parts in my extra's box but actually found them quite nice and haven't broken them down yet.
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