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Weekly Set Review: King's Mountain Fortress

Discussion of official LEGO Castle Theme sets and products

Postby LusiferSam » Sun Nov 21, 2004 3:59 am

I'll state first thing, I'm not a fan of this set. For me no set more clearly represents Castle's fall than 6081, because this is were it began.

That's first off with the mini figures. The castle feels under manned with only two knights (which is fine), two foot soldiers and two crossbow men. Personally I would have liked to see one more foot solider and two archers. The foot soldiers are the same old, but the addition of the crossbow (and hence crossbow men) in '90 really adds to the set. The knights with their new armor and helmets also add to the set. The princess mini figure was a first for me (I never consisted the females of 6060 and 6067 to be princesses). But the ugly Pirate wench face is a downer. And finally the ghost. I personally thought it was a gimmicky feature and one that would haunt us for the next 5 years.

As far as the design goes I like the gate and most main tower (I'm not going to call it a keep). The combination of the jaw bridge and doors works for me. As does the "princess's room" off the right. The look of the main tower is what I like about it. The rest is garage. The jail looks out of place and feels forced. As does the place where the treasure is keep. The trap door in the tower doesn't work. And I hate the ramped base plate. There are few set for this base plate works and 6081 is not one of them.

Although I played with this set a lot as a kid I was ultimately disappointed with it. That disappointment has only increased as an adult.
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Postby Dragon Master » Sun Nov 21, 2004 4:21 am

This set looks like a blast to play with! I really gotta get me one!
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That blasted fortress...!

Postby ottoatm » Sun Nov 21, 2004 5:25 am

When I saw this was the latest set under review, I felt like I was going to throw up... don't get me wrong, I don't dislike this set. Actually, I didn't really like that much either for a long time. But then I tried to buy last year through e-bay. Like 4 times! I don't what it is, but for some reason I am cursed not to get this set - even when I bid some crazy high price for it someone swoops down and steals it from me at the last moment.

Besides being a vital castle for my storyline, the set has a few things I really want: the princess, the horse "armour" or dress or whatever it is, and some more crusaders never hurt either.


Now, just this week I lost it AGAIN on e-bay! It's like the boston curse all over again... :x
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Postby Fry_slayer » Sun Nov 21, 2004 12:02 pm

I grew up with my bro playing classic castle, i was on Black Raven and he was on Lion. Naturally this set became his HQ and it contain those 6 precious black flag night when a sleep i rolled over and broke 2 at the front gate and he was really pissed :P
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Postby Jojo » Sun Nov 21, 2004 4:27 pm


I got this set for my Confirmation when I was 13 in 1990. I was instantly disappointed with the openess of this castle. There is one high wall that divides two easily to conquer ...erm courts? There is no real court yard at this castle, only a ramp that can be accessed from the side avoiding the gate, and a yard with a very low wall that's not exactly a shelter against any attack.

Peculiarly the castle does look like a real castle nevertheless. It has an unique shape. A nice feature is the window at the front with the machicolation, but the prison looks out of place.
It's the only castle with both a drawbridge and doorwings (at the same gate that is).


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Postby Silent Arrow » Sun Nov 21, 2004 4:42 pm

An awesome set.... Very good design, beautiful figures, nice colors.
Of course more figures are needed to defend this castle. And the low wall next to the gate isn't satisfactory. In my collection I use this castle as a corner of a bigger rectangular fortress and so I overcome its disadvantage of the low arched wall.
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Postby tanzirian » Sun Nov 21, 2004 4:52 pm

This is the first castle set which I consider less than perfect. Not nearly as bad as the stuff from 1993 onwards, but much less refined than everything released until 1989. I think this has a lot to do with the awkward baseplate, which was designed for 6276 (a similarly sized set, which by the way, made great use of the baseplate). It would take castle designers a couple more years before they got used to the baseplate and came out with the excellent 6086. I still think that 6081 is a reasonably competent design, and it does have some very nice pieces, so it gets a 8/10 from me. However, this castle for me marks the first inklings of shoddy design and also marks the unfortunate end of flat baseplated castles.
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Postby TwoTonic Knight » Sun Nov 21, 2004 6:15 pm

It's kind of a narrow half-castle with a raised attached courtyard. It is a curious bridge between the smaller but complete castles like 6073 and 6074, and larger and more expensive castles like 6085. You get something that looks more substantial and a couple more figs, but the price was higher than the '73 and '74 while the piece count stayed down with the exception of the new raised baseplate.

Taken on it's own, it's not a bad castle at all, and a fun one to add parts to and make more substantial. From the standpoint of getting multiple sets like the 6074 and making larger castles, it's not as desirable. But for a child's only castle or for a Castle collector, I think it is a very good set.

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Postby Mr. Shiny & New » Sun Nov 21, 2004 6:37 pm

I liked this set from a parts perspective, but I didn't like how the castle sits on the baseplate. It always bothered me that this castle had only one real wall and that wall ran down the middle of the castle. The outside "wall" by the gate is so low that a guy on a horse could ride up and leap over. Also, I was never very good at using the raised baseplate so the only thing I ever built on it was the standard model. However, compared to all the LEGO castles, this one isn't severly deficient; I'd say design-wise it's a 7/10 and parts wise 10/10.
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Postby Formendacil » Mon Nov 22, 2004 2:26 am

This was my first ever Castle set, and the first LEGO set I purchased with my own money. It was, and still is, a great castle.

The open design leaves something to be desired, and the fig count is lower than the previous Lion castle, but it is still THE Crusader fortress, in my most humble opinion.

It also comes with a unique princess, two armoured knights, the barding, a goodly supply of weapons, and generally useful pieces and figs, as well as my (still!) one and only spruce tree. The tree on the back always annoyed me as it fell off quite easily, and seemed to lack a decent amount of foliage.

Parts: 8.5/10
Playability: 8/10
Figs/Accessories: 8/10
Design (contemporar): 7/10
Design (universal): 8/10
Nostalgia: 10/10

Overall score: 8.25/10 (B+)
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Postby Mr. D » Mon Nov 22, 2004 3:03 pm

I do not have this set, so I am going off of pictures and what I have read about it.

True, this set is greatly lacking in design and, for me, it represents both some of the best things about Classic Castle, but also the decline of LEGO sets in general.

1. The thing I really like about the classic sets is the abundance of extra accessories and the existence of an actual building (instead of a facade and some pillars behind it). This thing has extra at least three extra weapons and, besides that, when it was released, these extras were rare. Smart move. As far as the other goes, even though the walls are lacking, they are there! There are actually four walls!

2. The thing I dislike about most recent sets is the absolute, bare minimum of pieces; not only in accessories, but in building pieces. This really irks me, and it seems that this set was already starting to succumb to that ideology.

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Postby rogue27 » Mon Nov 22, 2004 3:04 pm

In 1990 when this was released, Battering Ram was the largest "castle" I owned. As such, I always wanted a bigger and better castle.

I spent hours staring at pictures of King's Castle, Knight's Castle, Black Falcon's Fortress, and Black Monarch's Castle. King's Mountain Fortress just gave me something new to hope for in 1990.

In 1990, I was really excited about the ghost, the raised baseplate, the princess, the horse barding, the tree, the jail, the pit, and the overall design.

Today, I think the raised baseplate and the ghost are both kinda dumb and gimmicky, and the design is a bit open and weak. Still, this would be a great parts pack, and I would like to own one someday. 8 minifigs also seems like a decent amount for a castle of this size. I don't really care for crossbows though. They seem to be over-used, and TLC never produced a belt-quiver full of crossbow bolts to go with it.

For all of it's flaws, I still like this better than most castles which came after it. (Except for 6086, which I probably stared at in catalogs longer than any other castle set.)

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Postby Lord Mikal » Mon Nov 22, 2004 5:03 pm

This is one very awesome looking set. I, too, would love to own this one day. I bought the baseplate off of bricklink, and was rather dissappointed in what I built on it, but it's still got a lot of possibuildities. I think that the raised baseplate works well with the CCC standard, though the pit is rather difficult to use.

I love the drawbridge-gate combination, and also the many accessories. The low wall around the courtyard is a bit of a drawback, but probably easily fixable with a bunch of 1x6s. Other than that, this appears to be a fairly secure castle outpost. I wouldn't mind living there!
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Kings mountain fortress

Postby Umgarla » Fri Nov 26, 2004 7:42 pm

Yay! My first post here evah!

I remember when my brother got this set for christmas back in 1990. I was so jealous! We always used to play his knights against my forestmen who were situated in my river fortress. :D
Anyways, I think what others have already pointed out, that at first the set seems like a good one, but looking close at it there's not much than the rare pieces to buy it for. Really. I think at that time Black Monarchs castle was a much better set than this. So back in 1990 it was a nice set and good playability, but now the set seems like... uhhm... not a good one? I especially don't like it because of its bad use of the baseplate. Only one of those nice corners in which you can biuld towers etc. is really in use. As others have said before me this represents the fall of Classic Castle which I couldn't agree more in.

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So many memories

Postby ezehogan » Mon Nov 29, 2004 2:03 am

It is hard for me to be objective with this set, as it was my first large Lego set. I received it for my 6th birthday back when it first came out in 1990. I can still remember my grandmother taking me to the store and letting me pick any castle set I wanted. The ghost is what won me over at the time.

This set does have some faults, such as the height of some of the walls being quite low, and the lack of a ladder or stairs to reach the top walls. However, many Lego sets have such a problem and I don't find it as too much of a drawback if the rest of the set can make up for it.

Overall I'd say this was a solid set that falls in the middle of the pack. It isn't great, but there are many larger sets that are far worse than this. I'd give it an 8 of 10.
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