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Lego Castle turns 35

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Lego Castle turns 35

Postby dyntar » Fri Nov 16, 2012 5:17 pm

Dear Lego
Next year marks the 35th anniversary of the Castle theme. It all started with the Yellow castle back in 1978.
Can we please see a reprisal or a reference to the classic yellow castle set in next years releases. [I don't have the actual yellow castle set .. and I'm guessing alot of us don't.. but most of us want it :D ]
But I think it would be a fitting tribute for Lego if they release a set or even a collectible minifigure in the classic designs or colours from the original figures released in set 375-2.

Next year also marks the first year in 35years that there has been no release of an official Castle set in the Castle line [1982 and1999 don't count because it depends which country you live in and the release dates.]
LOTR also doesn't count.

2012 brought us the Joust and a reprisal of the Falcon shield, I'm hoping that Lego suprises us with a few unexpected castle sets next year. :)

Heres hoping :D :D
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Re: Lego Castle turns 35

Postby mencot » Fri Nov 16, 2012 7:52 pm

35 years, thats amazing and many great and less great castle stuff we have gotten :D
Hopefuly (they have to :tasty: ) TLG has something special in mind for the anniversary, when thinking that there isn´t even any castle theme sets scheduled.
Yeah lets see and hope :wink:
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Re: Lego Castle turns 35

Postby JoshWedin » Mon Nov 19, 2012 12:22 am

Why doesn't LOTR count? I am much more willing to count LOTR as "Castle" than I am willing to include KK2.

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Re: Lego Castle turns 35

Postby Elderon » Mon Nov 19, 2012 7:11 am

JoshWedin wrote:Why doesn't LOTR count? I am much more willing to count LOTR as "Castle" than I am willing to include KK2.

Josh


Agreed. Also Helm's Deep is one of the better castles TLG has produces in my opinion. Okay, it is indeed a licensed theme, but gives more of a castle vibe than KK2.
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Re: Lego Castle turns 35

Postby Formendacil » Mon Nov 19, 2012 1:37 pm

Well, there are at least 2 points where The Lord of the Rings fails as a Castle theme for me--and I say this as a diehard Tolkien fan who has so far been VERY impressed by the sets LEGO has released in that theme.

First, from the perspective of a LEGO fan, there is no getting around the fact that The Lord of the Rings is a licensed theme. Licensed themes have a different style and different goals from original themes, and this seems to be especially noticeable where spaceships aren't involved. Because the goal of a licensed theme is to bring the movies to life in LEGO, we get a lot of "backdrop" elements in sets: the rock in Shelob's Attack or Weathertop, or the trees in the Spider Attack. Now, these little bits of landscaping aren't exclusive to licensed themes (I can think of an example in the 2000 Adventurers Dino subtheme), but they are NOT typical of Castle as it has developed from 1978 to 2011.

Licensed themes also have the yellow fig/flesh fig disparity. This is more of a problem for some builders than others. Speaking for myself, I still maintain a separation between the two.

On another fig-related note, licensed themes are great if you want to army-build CHARACTERS rather than ARMY-BUILD. LEGO has wised up a long way on this note, with Uruk-hai and Clonetrooper battle-packs and the like, and there is no doubt that the army-of-character problem goes back to the original themes with Captain Roger/Redbeard and Merlin/Majisto, but the balance in non-licensed Castle has always been towards generic soldiers while the balance in licensed themes will always HAVE to be towards an army of Frodos (or, worse, to only being able to get Frodo in the $150 set. While this does happen in non-licensed themes, where you can only get "the girl" in one of the big sets or "the wizard" in the Advent Calendar, this exclusivism is more of a problem for licensed themes because the characters are already established by the original license and the desire to "collect them all" is, by my guesstimations, manifold).

Secondly, from the perspective of a Tolkien fan, I find the aesthetics of The Lord of the Rings and LEGO Castle to be not entirely congruent. While admitting wholeheartedly that Tolkien is writing a fantasy, I note as a fan that he was NOT writing a medieval fantasy. Tolkien's sources and general aesthetic are a lot more in keeping with the Dark Ages and their mythically imagined past than with "the Middle Ages," that (broadly) have been the source of inspiration for LEGO Castle. This may not be such a big deal to everyone on this website, but as the sort of fan who does NOT consider Ninja and Vikings to be Castle, I certainly don't consider The Lord of the Rings to be Castle.

This doesn't mean that I don't think The Lord of the Rings can't be useful to Castle builders; it certainly can. But so can Harry Potter, collectible minifigs from ancient times and the Renaissance, and Atlantis.


It's worth noting in all this that there is no set definition in the LEGO community of what constitutes "Castle"--not even here on the flagship forum of the Castle Community. We tend to hobble along using the official Castle themes as our guide (generally not including Ninja, generally including KK2...). In the CCC we give the broadest historical guidelines of "Fall of Rome through Fire of London" which encompasses the tail end of the ancient world, all the Dark Ages, and most of the Renaissance (if you're in the south of Europe anyway). In the forums we basically say "as long as it has swords and stones and has no gunpowder, it's good."

There's nothing WRONG with these differing--and contradicting--definitions, but they undoubtedly go a long way to explaining how and why some of us include or exclude The Lord of the Rings as a Castle theme. (And while I exclude LotR as a Castle theme, I still agree that Helm's Deep is one of the best castles [note the small 'c'] LEGO has ever given us.)
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Re: Lego Castle turns 35

Postby Bruce N H » Mon Nov 19, 2012 5:24 pm

Hey,

Your point about landscaping is an interesting one, but I'm not sure I agree. Sure, when I think 'Classic-Castle', I usually think of sets that are just a castle, or just a cart, or just a piece of wall:
Image Image Image
But there are a lot of instances that include a little bit of landscaping, either incorporated into the main structure, or just a little side add-on of a tree, bush or rock, even going back to 383. Of course this is most prominent in the Forestmen and Dark Forest subthemes, but elsewhere as well:
Image Image Image Image

I think your much stronger point (along with the yellow vs fleshy distinction) is the fact that Classic-Castle tends to generic figures while licensed themes are all about collecting them all to get all of the key characters. Of course, the problem of getting an army of Luke Skywalkers and and army of Harry Potters is also seen in an army of King Leo's etc, and an army of Jaykos or Danjus is so much worse.

You also have a great point about the widely varying definitions of 'castle'. If we limit ourselves by time period, we are faced with the fact that in the same year, some areas might be enjoying the full Renaissance, while others are still (socially, technologically) very much in a high middle ages mode, while for peasants in outlying areas there might be no real difference from what they would have seen in the early dark ages era. Add to that the fact that any fantasy literature is going to be not in our earthly time-scale at all (yes, I know, Tolkien is in some mythical pre-history era), so where do you put it? Roughly I think we're left with a technological distinction, and so your 'stones and swords but not gunpowder' definition is where we're left. There is also the problem of realism vs magic, but at least in terms of 'Classic-Castle' we have Majisto, Willa*, and dragons, so we can't just reject anything fantastic as 'not Castle' (*yes, I know, Willa may be on the wrong side of many people's cutoff for 'classic-castle').

So if we come down to 'stones and swords but not gunpowder' and magic is okay, we would have to group Tolkien stuff along with castle. If it comes down to fig skin tone, it is out, along with any licensed theme.

I think what we need to do is start talking about official sets along the lines of 'castle theme' and 'castle-friendly themes'. So any licensed themes, or selected things like a few of the adventurers sets, or selected Collectible figs, or things like the Creator dragon, fall in the 'castle-friendly' category.

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Re: Lego Castle turns 35

Postby Formendacil » Mon Nov 19, 2012 6:00 pm

Bruce N H wrote:Your point about landscaping is an interesting one, but I'm not sure I agree. Sure, when I think 'Classic-Castle', I usually think of sets that are just a castle, or just a cart, or just a piece of wall:
Image Image Image
But there are a lot of instances that include a little bit of landscaping, either incorporated into the main structure, or just a little side add-on of a tree, bush or rock, even going back to 383. Of course this is most prominent in the Forestmen and Dark Forest subthemes, but elsewhere as well:
Image Image Image Image


Well, I agree that the landscaping point is a weaker one--there is certainly nothing inherently anti-Castle about landscaping.

Note, however, that I'm not speaking about landscaping in general--certainly I'm not trying to disqualify Forestmen sets as Castle! What I have in mind are the little outcroppings of rock, often with a leaf/plant piece or three attached, that are not a central part of a set and seem to exist off to the side to give visual sense of place--something that is chiefly helpful in establishing pictures for boxes of licensed themes that need to LEGOify a pre-existing image.

For example, the tree in 7128 Speeder Bikes is only there to add some of the necessary "brown and green" needed to make it look like Endor. The lump of rock in 9472 Attack on Weathertop is even more unnecessary--the visual terrain is already established on the main structure. Elements like this are more what I had in mind, and I think they're more common in licensed themes because licensed themes want to establish a playset that evokes the source material.

Actually, now that I've written a mini-essay, I think I know what I'm actually getting at: licensed sets are inevitably trying to capture a scene from a movie--something like a slice of a story we already know, whereas non-licensed Castle sets don't have that restriction. Indeed, with a well-designed set, you can tell an entire story--one that does not need reference to the rest of the sets of the theme. The captured Lion soldier in 7949 Prison Carriage Rescue could be the starting point of the story, where the knight rescues him; it could be the end-point, once the Dragon Knight captures him--and none of that needs to have any reference to the duel going on in 7950 Knights' Showdown. Or it could.

In other words, the difference is that licensed themes are trying to sketch a scene in LEGO that can never be as full as the original (unless they go to ACPin-like dioramic lengths), whereas Castle sets have--or ought to have--a completeness in their very nature.

Note: I think I may have discovered why I personally found KK2 to fail as a Castle theme...
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Re: Lego Castle turns 35

Postby Bruce N H » Mon Nov 19, 2012 7:19 pm

Formendacil wrote:
Actually, now that I've written a mini-essay, I think I know what I'm actually getting at: licensed sets are inevitably trying to capture a scene from a movie--something like a slice of a story we already know, whereas non-licensed Castle sets don't have that restriction. Indeed, with a well-designed set, you can tell an entire story--one that does not need reference to the rest of the sets of the theme.


Ah, there you have the nub of it. At times I've complained about catalog descriptions of licensed theme sets that essentially come down to: "Recreate this thrilling thirty second scene from movie xyz!". In classic sets you are free to decide who is who and what their motivations are. To take this away from castle for a moment and go back to my early spacer days (yes, I've done penance) - is the white spaceman the good guy and the red spaceman the bad guy? Or is it the other way around? Or are they partners, and the different uniform colors denote different functions or ranks (compare to, say, Star Trek)? The same can be said about any classic factions. Especially when they were all generic smileys. I do think that non-licensed themes have at many times strayed over into a prescribed story line. For instance, it seems pretty apparent that we're 'supposed' to see King Leo as good and Cedric the Bull as bad (heck, he's the 'robber chief'). Or KKII. Or Crownies vs Skellies. But your larger point is a very good one. LEGO is at it's best when it gives us the tools to spark our imaginations. Of course, this is another instance of my complaint of the transition from 'Just imagine ...' to 'Play on!', where the one was all about imaginative open ended building whereas the other pushes you to just get that silly building part over so you can use the toys to recreate a predetermined story line.

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Re: Lego Castle turns 35

Postby Heir of Black Falcon » Sun Dec 02, 2012 2:11 pm

Happy birthday Castle!!!

Best theme around. Really hoping that when castle theme itself makes a return (I hope the 2013 rumors are true) they continue this fine tradition.

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Re: Lego Castle turns 35

Postby JoshWedin » Sun Dec 02, 2012 2:52 pm

I hate to rain on the parade but we missed the 35th anniversary. It was in 2005 because of The Weetabix Castle. ;)

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Re: Lego Castle turns 35

Postby Justin M » Sun Dec 02, 2012 11:25 pm

dyntar wrote:2012 brought us the Joust and a reprisal of the Falcon shield, I'm hoping that Lego suprises us with a few unexpected castle sets next year. :)


Hopefully they will. :D
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Re: Lego Castle turns 35

Postby Frank_Lloyd_Knight » Tue Dec 04, 2012 7:45 pm

JoshWedin wrote:I hate to rain on the parade but we missed the 35th anniversary. It was in 2005 because of The Weetabix Castle. ;)

Josh


Rabble-rouser!

I think some sort of tribute to the yellow castle would be great idea. It would be neat to see some updated figures with the old heraldic patterns. Maybe another set in yellow -- or shades thereof.
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Re: Lego Castle turns 35

Postby dyntar » Fri Dec 07, 2012 1:03 pm

JoshWedin wrote:I hate to rain on the parade but we missed the 35th anniversary. It was in 2005 because of The Weetabix Castle. ;)

Josh


Ok well its still the 35th anniversary of Lego Castles sets with Minifigures.
So Lego Castle minifigs turn 35. :D
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Re: Lego Castle turns 35

Postby Lethke » Fri Dec 07, 2012 7:40 pm

JoshWedin wrote:I hate to rain on the parade but we missed the 35th anniversary. It was in 2005 because of The Weetabix Castle. ;)

Josh


That''s okay. Must of us brought umbrella''s. ;)
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Re: Lego Castle turns 35

Postby theboywarrior » Tue Dec 11, 2012 12:30 am

JoshWedin wrote:I hate to rain on the parade but we missed the 35th anniversary. It was in 2005 because of The Weetabix Castle. ;)

Josh


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