I was thinking about this review and saw my VDF box under the bed, and decided to put it together last night just for kicks... looking at it now, I have to give it an even better review than I did before. This is BY FAR (IMO) the best LEGO Castle to come out since the days of the Black Monarch and the Black Knight.
It's HUGE compared to minifig scale, and streaches out ominously with two black and blood-red wings, draiped with tattered scorpian flags and fire-disc catapults (that really work).
The drawbridge bucket that drops fire cylinders down on invaders is cool, as is the easy way to refill it (just drop them through the floor above). The removable wall doesn't look flimsy and is a cool idea (especially since the good guys are trying to break through) and the inside has scorpians, the orb Vladek always uses and... >GASP< a LADDER between lower and upper floors!
My earliest and biggest complaints were that the castle didn't have a back, but I actually prefer it spread out and enormous looking. Also, I thought it waskind of "holy" (filled with holes), but that is actually not so bad, and TLG did a good job making whatever holes did exist very small or bristle with spear tips. Finally, I originally thought the big mask was cheesy, but looking at the castle now, I actually kind of like it - it gives the castle an even more ominous, ancient evil magic look... I prefer it.
Na... this is a gift to AFOLs from the TLG - it's far better than Morcia, the Royal Castle, and King Leo's castle. We must all remember this is a set... not a MOC. If you were gonna make an evil fortress (and I don't see anything wrong with doing this sometimes
), then I'd say this is the way to do it.