Blocks is delving into the world of knights and dragons to pick out the best castles the LEGO Group has offered through the years…
Castles and LEGO bricks have been a popular combination for decades. When the minifigure arrived in 1978, the first castle came right alongside it. The theme stuck, producing a wide variety of sets over the following decades, with everything from quaint buildings such as 6067 Guarded Inn to massive siege towers like 7037 Tower Raid.
But no matter what the rest of the range was doing, there was always a castle that found its way to shelves. LEGO castles have had many occupants over the years, including brave knights and their kings as well as evil wizards and their mighty dragons. With so many different castles, it can be difficult to pick out just a few of the very best. But that isn’t stopping Blocks, the monthly LEGO magazine, from putting on a suit of armour and charging into battle to find the best LEGO castles to date.
Hailing from a time when set numbers were only three digits, the first ever LEGO castle announced itself with the clever name of 375 Castle. Its appearance is even more striking than its name, as the stones used to build this fortress are not the usual grey — they’re yellow. Lovingly nicknamed ‘Yellow Castle’ by fans, 375 does a good job of capturing the spirit of a castle while adding some classic LEGO charm. The castle can be displayed either fully closed up or opened thanks to multiple baseplates and special hinge pieces. A whopping fourteen minifigures and four brick-built horses populate the castle. The majority wear armour bearing a crown to match the banner of the castle, but six minifigures represent other factions, presenting the opportunity for a great alliance — or a great battle.
6080 King’s Castle
6080 King’s Castle holds the honour of being the first LEGO castle to be in grey rather than yellow. Much like 375, 6080 doesn’t offer much in the way of amazing details or a packed courtyard. But it does offer plenty of space for knight minifigures to defend the walls and man the towers. Twelve minifigures are included this time around and four horses once again join them. Only the horses are no longer brick-built — they now have special moulds, along with a separate saddle element. 6080 may be dated by its simplicity, but it still deserves credit as a solid castle model.
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7946 King’s Castle
Despite being separated by over three decades, 6080 King’s Castle and 7946 King’s Castle share a name. The two castles actually have a fairly similar layout, but 7946 makes use of 30 years’ worth of new pieces and techniques to create an impressive castle. The large gatehouse presents a challenge for the attacking Dragon Knights, promising to drop its giant portcullis to block their entry. The main tower sits in the back corner, and its red sloped roof adds a nice bit of colour to an otherwise grey structure. 7946 isn’t built on a baseplate like the set it shares a name with; instead, Technic pins allow the wall sections to be rearranged in a variety of ways.
7094 King’s Castle Siege
The first three castles on the list could all be deemed realistic — 7094 King’s Castle Siege most definitely could not. The main tower of this castle is far from simple and juts out every which way, giving 7094 a unique profile. The castle is built on top of a few large rock elements that add a nice bit of detail and help the castle to stand out from other LEGO castles. 7094 is sieged not by other knights, but rather by an army of evil skeletons. The skeletons may have a dragon on their side, but the brave knights have a massive catapult to defend themselves with, promising to stage an epic defence.
10305 Lion Knights’ Castle
There’s no better LEGO castle than the one released to celebrate the LEGO Group’s 90th anniversary, 10305 Lion Knights’ Castle. 10305 breaks the standard rectangular shape held by most LEGO castles and instead has winding walls and a fully built-up interior area. Every part of the castle is expertly designed and detailed, making use of masonry bricks for texture and clever building techniques to create arrow slits in the walls. Much like the LEGO castles of old, 10305 can hinge open for easy access to the interior. Twenty-two minifigures come in this set, including everyone from Lion Knights to guard the walls, through visiting Black Falcons to some Forest Guardians