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Weekly Set Review: Castle of Morcia

Discussion of official LEGO Castle Theme sets and products

Weekly Set Review: Castle of Morcia

Postby architect » Sun Jul 16, 2006 10:42 pm

Join the weekly Classic Castle set review discussion. Please post your opinions of the models' play ability, creativity, design, etc. Which models stand up to our catapult of critique and which ones crumble in shame!

This week’s set is 8781 Castle of Morcia.

King Mathias' Castle of Morcia was released in 2004 for the Knight's Kingdom II. The Castle has a gate tower with a portcullis, a central tower, battlements, a small catapult, a crossbow station, a jail with a skeleton, and a secret room. Jayko, Rascus, Santis, Danju, and King Mathias guard the castle from a Shadow Knight, Vladek, and his catapult. Various accessories are included. The blue colors of King Mathias can be reversed to dark red for Vladek if the castle changes hands.

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Last edited by architect on Sun Jul 23, 2006 5:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby NinthCircle » Mon Jul 17, 2006 12:32 am

I was making a lot of LEGO purchases last year and I kept looking at KKII items. At my local LEGO store a whole bunch of sets went on sale for half price. I got Border Ambush, Citadel of Orlan, and Castle of Morcia.

The Border Ambush was a nice little set for 10USD. The Citadel of Orlan was terrible as it was comprised of huge pieces that allowed for almost no free building (except for the Guardian mini-fig which is killer). I examined the 8781 box over and over and realized that many of the large pieces that I didn't like were in the Castle's cup overflowing. The overall design of the official set was actually very nice, but I knew I would hate building it and I'd hate the pieces. I promptly returned the upopened box to the store for a refund.

I've purchased a few more KKII sets, but I'm almost always let down with the large pieces and lame mini-fig designs. 8781 suffers from these afflictions as well. It would be a nice compromise for less figures and more bricks, in my book. I'm used to buying opposing forces in separate sets, so I don't want lots of the same mini-figs. From LEGO's standpoint it seems to work well to design good and bad guys in the same set to give each individual set more playability. Just doesn't work for me.

When it comes to castle, I'm looking at pieces as grist for the mill. If the official set is well made, that's just a bonus.
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Postby Formendacil » Mon Jul 17, 2006 2:41 am

Possibly THE worst KK2 set (except maybe the Grand Tournament...). Lots and lots of prefabs. No soldiers. Just a bunch of jellies... and one Shadow Knight? KK2 isn't all bad, but Morcia is one of the worst sets. I like the barding, but I'm not buying the castle just for it....

Parts: 5/10
Playability: 5.5/10
Figs/Accessories: 6/10
Design (then): 6/10
Design (now): 4/10
Nostalgia: 4/10

Overall Score: 5.08/10
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Postby Fry_slayer » Mon Jul 17, 2006 3:26 am

The set which prompted the Morcian Revolution in my story :lol:

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I read it some where it is the set which some one built and actually get disapproval rating from his wife, now that says alot. The time when it came out LEGO is riding price all time high means i will probably never get one, even if i wanted to.
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Postby Damien » Mon Jul 17, 2006 3:27 am

Really terrible set. Even as a customizer*, I just don't like it. I actually was mildly interested in this set for awhile - but back when I was in the States, my nephew got this one. After I helped him put it together, I realized it was terrible.

The small flags, for instance, annoy me to no end. I don't like the double-sided thing, as it keeps them from being able to be held aloft, such as on a lance by a horseman. It's cheap. And having the entire castle be 'reversible' just totally turns me off, as it makes it look silly.

From the front the set seems at least tolerable, but that's all it is - a face. There's no real back to this set at all. There's nothing 'going on' inside the castle. It's just some walls supported by beams in the back. That's irritating. I don't mind the back of the castle being open for play, provided there's actually stuff inside the castle to play -with-. This is. . .barren.

A few other points of crappiness are the portcullis and the 'siege engine.' The former is kind of interesting, but it suffers from being totally indefensible and, more importantly, detached from the set. What's that all about? The entrance to the castle should not be designed as an afterthought.

And the 'siege engine' is weird. It looks interesting, but why would I want to fling scorpions into the castle?

As is, this set is one of the absolute worst. If it had been designed with something -inside- the Castle to give reason to it having an entirely open back - it would be a lot better. A decent siege engine of some type, even just a small battering ram with a few figs to hold it, would make the set better still. And an -attached- portcullis would have been even better. If those three things were so, I'd get this set and think it was pretty decent. But as is - I wouldn't be all that tempted even if it were in the 5-dollar bin at Toys R' Us.

More bad guys than good guys would have made a lot more sense, as well. The enemy knights are the besiegers. They're not going to have much success when they're outnumbered by the -defenders-. And I mean, did we need -another- set with Danju and Santis?


*As a customizer meaning I can ignore the awful colours of the knights, because I have no problem painting them.
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Postby Athos » Mon Jul 17, 2006 3:28 am

Which models stand up to our catapult of critique and which ones crumble in shame!


This is definately a crumble... :roll:

Hardly any read bricks and no good figures and two barely decent figures. Next to useless baseplate. And bley to boot. Snagged two copies for $25 a piece and still feel a bit ripped off...

Anyone want to buy one? :D

To sum it all up: blech!

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Postby xbloodyfangs » Mon Jul 17, 2006 5:37 am

First of all Damien, if theres not enough things in the castle, make your own :wink: . Also, despite what anybody else thinks, I like this castle :) . At least it's not just a giant wall, like Vladeks Dark Fortress.
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Postby Damien » Mon Jul 17, 2006 6:22 am

First of all Damien, if theres not enough things in the castle, make your own


Which is irrelevant to how good the set is. I could add 40 Shadow Knights to the set on my own. That doesn't mean my impressions and judgement of the set should be based on what I can possibly add to it. The only way to judge the set itself is by how it is on its own, straight from the box.

Straight from the box, it's a terrible set. And to be perfectly honest - the design of the set makes it very difficult to add anything inside of it without changing the entire structure of the castle to accomodate for that, because the back of the set is all pillars - there's nowhere to put anything unless you remove the pillars and rebuild the entire back of the set. At that time, you're not longer working with the set at all, but rather just the pieces that came with the set.
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Postby zac_schmitt » Mon Jul 17, 2006 7:33 am

Which is irrelevant to how good the set is. I could add 40 Shadow Knights to the set on my own. That doesn't mean my impressions and judgement of the set should be based on what I can possibly add to it. The only way to judge the set itself is by how it is on its own, straight from the box.


this is true, but a confusing statement. you previously criticized it for being a bad modifier, and then said you aren't judging it based on how it might or might not be as a modifier. i seem to recall seeing sets often judged on what one could or could not add or subtract to them. i think it might be more accurate to say the set design is bad. the set itself are pieces in a box which have a suggested arrangment (and the pieces reflect that arrangment) but even the boxes themselves not only recognize but encourage modification. how many "sets" (meaning "bunch of pieces") have all of us taken apart, used pieces of, discarded parts of, et cetera.

this is lego. "sets" inherently only exist as you make them. as many customs as are on this site, you'd think we'd be past reviewing "sets" as if they exist independently of every other lego ever made.

your statement that you wouldn't buy it even at $5 boggles my mind. hyperbole aside, there are plenty of pieces in this thing that i could do so many things with. all one needs is imagination, which i know all of us have.

all that said, i like the design. i don't find the interior to exist as simply space between pillars and actually don't know where you even get that impression (if i've misunderstood you i apologize). and i think there are plenty of things in this set to play with. it's a good way to get all the main characters in this universe (the inclusion of only one shadow knight is kind of silly, but i wouldn't want to have spent a whole lot more just for more shadow knights). and i would want to launch scorpions into a castle because they're poisonous. and dangerous. pretend that vladek controls them and they become little spies or attackers on the inside of the walls. again, just use some imagination. i've found more ways to play with this set than any other, actually. i've set up a blacksmith's shop in one of the smaller towers. i've played in the "dungeon" area below the whole thing. i've decorated the big room on the "first" floor with shields and other things, i've redecorated the throne room.

this is not a great set, and is designed very differently from many good, older sets. i don't expect it to be everyone's cup of tea. but nothing is as useless as as the vitriolic animosity spouted in this thread suggests this is. if you don't think it's worth the money, don't buy it, but to insinuate that it's so reprehensible that you'd barely want it for free is just stupid.
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Postby Fry_slayer » Mon Jul 17, 2006 7:49 am

xbloodyfangs wrote:At least it's not just a giant wall, like Vladeks Dark Fortress.
I beg to differ, from what i know VDF has a decent interior, not to mention the first workable chain draw bridge.


your statement that you wouldn't buy it even at $5 boggles my mind

:lol:

Talk about a bad case of exaggerated feelings backfired.
As "bad" as the set itself is, by USD5 i will probably get atleast 5 sets of it. Our King Troy here will glady sweep every last box u have at this price.

Now back to the topic, btw any one has pictures showing of the castle back part?
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Postby NinthCircle » Mon Jul 17, 2006 8:12 am

Fry_slayer wrote:from what i know VDF has a decent interior, not to mention the first workable chain draw bridge.


Make that barely working chain draw bridge. As you all know the chain links easily kink themselves into odd configurations. This creates an offset of force pulling on the two chains as they wrap around the technic axel. Since the winch mechanism is connected by rubber band, this offest causes the winch to easily slip. It just gets kinda messy. And the drawbridge won't close all the way either. Grrr... Looks like a cool idea, but doesn''t work as well as the old black thread that I know and love.

And the Dark Fortress interior isn't that cool. It's nice that there are plates for floors instead of 1 stud thin precipieces. There are some attempts at cool details like a oven with a fire and a wizard's crystal ball, but they look like afterthoughts and smack of sloppiness to me.

After hearing others complaints about the Castle of Morcia I'm glad I returned it. However, I would pick up 1 or more if I found them priced at 15 USD or less... but that's just wishful thinking.
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Postby zac_schmitt » Mon Jul 17, 2006 8:48 am

As "bad" as the set itself is, by USD5 i will probably get atleast 5 sets of it. Our King Troy here will glady sweep every last box u have at this price.

my feelings exactly.

the back of the castle of morica looks a lot like the front (the first floor consists of an open room between two pillar like structures, as someone else pointed out, so it's really just the same room from the back), except you can see into the king's throne room better. my biggest problem with the castle is that it's not that interesting to look at (the citadel of orlan suffers the same problem, but at least they're consistant together) and it doesn't match previous castles very much. it looks much more like a glittering tower sort of structure than a proper castle...which i came to appreciate in its own way. still, not exactly a prime addition to your castle collection.


And the Dark Fortress interior isn't that cool. It's nice that there are plates for floors instead of 1 stud thin precipieces. There are some attempts at cool details like a oven with a fire and a wizard's crystal ball, but they look like afterthoughts and smack of sloppiness to me.


yah, same here. interior detail is something i've often found lacking in lego designs. customs by afols and other lego fans are usually way more detailed and very cool. still, it's nice to get those little details, even if they are a bit slapdash. my favorite part of the dark fortress is that it has a lot of little "rooms" for people to do various things in. i never liked big open courtyards for people to stand around in and no rooms for anyone to actually inhabit, so the dark fortress solved that. the caslte of morica also has a "room effect" but not in the same way. those little towers that come off have interiors (which are actually kind of hard to get at). it's quite a flawed castle, but for some reason it speaks to me.

if anyone actually does find it for $5, buy it for me and i'll pay you double. i'll even pay for shipping and handling, too.

edit: just added some stuff i forgot.
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Postby Slobey » Mon Jul 17, 2006 1:11 pm

Okay I can usually find a redeeming quality in most KKII sets but this isn't one of them. Here's why:

The structure is unstable when the shadow knight emblems are revealed and the modularity of the castle is just seperate bits sitting on top of tiles- nothing is fixed down properly.

I'm not a KKII basher by any stretch of the imagination but the only time I will ever rebuild this set is to take a photo for selling it on e-bay :lol:
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Postby ragnarok » Mon Jul 17, 2006 4:55 pm

No doubt about it - the set is bad! For the scale of it it's lacking in both parts and figs - most of them farely useless. Because of the jellybeans it's way more colourful than I can handle. I love the KK II bardings, but the lion head is a spoiler - looks more like a teddy bear. I have no problem with raised baseplates, but I'll usually expect a decent possibility to rearange the pieces in the set and come up with something good - there are no variations here. We can all add and combine sets and parts, but why buy sets then.

And after all isn't the design of some COOL HUGE castle in an old thorn catalogue or on the shelf of the local store what dragged most of us into LEGO, back when there was no Internet and fewer sources of information? The sets have always been the best add for LEGO, but not this one.

Design 0/10
Value 2/10

P.S. I'm waiting in anticipation of Sir Kohran's post. :lol:
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Postby Danju the Clever » Mon Jul 17, 2006 6:57 pm

Damien wrote:And the 'siege engine' is weird. It looks interesting, but why would I want to fling scorpions into the castle?

Well, during the Black Plague, catapults sometimes shot infected corpses to inflict the opposing soldiers with sickness. Perhaps this is a take on it?
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