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Weekly Set Review: Vladek's Dark Fortress

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Weekly Set Review: Vladek's Dark Fortress

Postby architect » Mon Aug 21, 2006 3:04 am

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

This week’s set is 8877 Vladek's Dark Fortress.

Vladek's Dark Fortress was released in 2005 for Knight's Kingdom II. This hinged castle has a two side towers, catapults, and central gatehouse with doors, a drawbridge, and boiling oil. It is guarded by Vladek and three of his shadow knights. Jayko, Rascus, Santis, and Danju attack with their horse drawn catapult. Various accessories such as fireballs, axes, giant swords, banners, and flags are included.

Last edited by architect on Mon Aug 28, 2006 8:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Athos » Mon Aug 21, 2006 3:12 am

Fair to above average set. Best of the KK2 mess. I really don't like the dark red floors. Lots of bricks, though I didn't really need anymore in black. I do like the tan plates its built on.

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Postby Mike Viper » Mon Aug 21, 2006 3:20 am

I don't have it, but it looked overal good, great playability, good piece collection, and first to feature sparkly stuff, if I'm not mistaken. I would rate it to an above average, since lego rarely comes by ideas such as this one.
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Postby nazgul » Mon Aug 21, 2006 3:33 am

My favorite of the KK2 "Large Buildings/Castles". It actually looks mildly defendable and black/red is a lot easier to buy into then bley/blue.
I'd have to say...

(compared to KK2)-9/10
(compared to all sets)-3/10

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Postby Paradosis » Mon Aug 21, 2006 4:18 am

This was the first of the new, big sets I bought after coming out of my dark ages, and I have to admit that I was somewhat let down by it. It wasn't anything in particular about the set that I hated, I just found everything (catapults, minifigs, etc.) to be underwhelming. I can understand the $100 price tag due to the size/pieces/etc., but if I had the choice again I would probably have waited a few years and then gotten a used set on Ebay.
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Postby chadzicz » Mon Aug 21, 2006 6:11 am

definitely best of KK2&3 so far and i actually like this one:
1) nice part selection - tan, dark red, old castle walls (only black though :( ), slopes with rock pattern, stairs, 'used armor' etc...
2) piece count, resp. price per piece - 967 pcs, you can get new one on for 60 EUR (77USD) -> that gives you 0.062 EUR (0.079USD)/per piece which is very decent for a new set
3) looks actually like a real castle, no raised baseplate, good old hinge system (although castle is missing the back part - easy fix with some black bricks and walls 8) )
4) size - this thing looks really majestic, very spacey inside
5) vladek's knights are cool

some downsides
- black not grey (although maybe better black than bley)
- rainbow knights
- bionicle parts (can always throw them to bin)
- vehicles...

Overall great set for me (given the current selection) With some redesign and better figs, it could stand next to the 80's castles without getting ashamed.


P.S.> still prefer the good old 80's but this one really works for me
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Postby dJOLe_sk8 » Mon Aug 21, 2006 7:05 am

Athos wrote:Best of the KK2 mess.

That is very well said. Best of the worst...
I don't have it (as I don't have any of KK2), but as I saw from a great pictorial review on these boards that it has a pretty good playability...
It has a proudly number of figs for this line and great accessories like the cauldron with the oil is...
Nice source of black wall parts too, who needs it...
But I'm really disturbed with those big swords (not zwords, but those two at the bridge), and that giant Vladek's mask... Why the heck they put those here... This is completely insane and has no sense
And the Jellybeans are here,of course... but this is their line :wink:

If I look just it's line 9/10
Overall 4/10

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Postby El Mariachi » Mon Aug 21, 2006 11:09 am

Definitively castles and fortresses evolved in very peculiar way since KK1 ending. Now instead of a simple baseplate o' construction system we have single wall-like sets. We saw that on bionicle, on exoforce and now here. The most plausible explanation to this ''evolution'' may be because these wall sets are pretty easy to build and they use very few parts though they look large.

So as a purist CCer I must say this set sucks as all KK2 sets do, but still, its probably the best in KK2 due to its size and minifig quantity.

And now I will roll on my on filth.

*splordge* *splashprlsht*
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Postby ottoatm » Mon Aug 21, 2006 1:07 pm

I remember being shocked when some people bought this and declared it one of the most enjoyable & fun sets... but having then bought it, I can see where they are coming from. This castle has a lot of neat little features and creatures, and the "elite" shadowguards are a nice little touch.

I like this set - it has a lot of playability, looks cool, and has some neat features... I'm not sure how I feel about the holes in the walls... it seems like it's far from the "Impenetratable Evil Fortress" I'd like it to be...

Anyway, a nice set - I'd say it's a smart buy for KK2.
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Postby jamtf » Mon Aug 21, 2006 5:04 pm

Never owned it, never will. I must admit I am not too fond of all that black and with all those devices, I consider it an action toy.

Guess everyone is entitled to his own opinion. This set simply does not appeal to me at all despite the good things it may have. :|

And I will never get used to those colorful knights that look like the teletubbies.
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Postby Spongey » Mon Aug 21, 2006 9:37 pm

The only big castle that I own. I may be a bit out of the loop, as I only know about the classic castles from the pictures, and don't really know how good they are, but I rate this fortress as excellent. The imposing colour combination of deep, almost bloodlike red and the high and wide black walls are great, as are the number of siege weapons on both sides, allowing for great playability. Although the coloured knights are awkward, it does allow for them to be easily identified, and hence giving them a great deal of personification. My favourite aspect of the set, however, is the amazing box. It has a stirring main picture depicting an action packed siege, while the inside flap and back panel have pictures of all the accessories, all the characters by name, a demonstration of the possible arrangments, and demonstrations of how to work the different mechanisms. Finally, there are two very good and detailed alternative models shown, allowing for no end to the fun and drama! I really enjoy creating large and gruesome siege scenes with this set.
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Postby Slobey » Mon Aug 21, 2006 10:36 pm

Okay this is one of the sets that inspired me to come out of my dark age. It is without doubt the best KK2 set in my mind. The only negative is the skeleton crew guarding it. 8/10
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Postby Formendacil » Mon Aug 21, 2006 10:44 pm

Not really a set I'd complain about. Nice high walls, eight figs, some interior furnishings, decent construction. The Jellybean seige stuff is garbage, there should have been more Shadow Knights (less Jellies?), and the lack of a back wall is... limiting, perhaps. But overall, a very nice set. The black/dark red colour theme is good, and sidesteps most of the inevitable "well, I don't use bley" complaints. Not all of them, alas.

Parts: 8/10
Playability: 9/10
Figs/Accessories: 6.5/10
Design (then): 8/10
Design (now): 7/10
Nostalgia: 7.5/10

Overall Score: 7.67/10
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Postby kelderic » Tue Aug 22, 2006 2:17 am

I never really liked this set all that much. I don't have it, but I got to look at it at a friend's house, and it didn't seem too impressive. It is far better than the Castle of Morcia, but that's not saying much. And, it's very expensive. So:

Pieces - 9
Playability - 6
Cost - 4
Minifigs - 7
Strength as a fortress - 3
Overall - 5.8

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Postby Sir Kohran » Sun Aug 27, 2006 12:05 am

Why all the complaints?

This is easily the best stronghold to come out of Castle at least as far back as 6090 or even 6086 (and it also beats most before that). The walls are tall and long - just like proper castles should be. The catapults are over the top, yes, but they work, in their own fashion, and they fit with overall structure - it's firm and broad. The colour scheme - black and red - is awesome; very evil, very Barad-Dur like. It's a fantastically engineered set.

Also, as a Fortress it works both ways - it's a great collector's model (sits great looming over my shelf) and at the same time a playset - both sides come with a decent amount of warriors and weapons .

I've heard a lot of complaints about the Hero Knights...and to be frank, I can't see anything wrong with them. Yes, the colours are more bright and vivid than most knights, but it's meant to strike a contrast with the drab, dark colours of Vladek and the Shadow Knights. The 2005 Knights are more sombre in colour than the previous year.

I'll post the rest in the morning.


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