On January 19, 2021, the LEGO® Group made a big announcement about the Ideas Medieval Blacksmith (21325) set. I might have drooled just a little. I grew up with the Castles and Pirates themes of the 1980s. In fact, my first themed LEGO® set was Black Falcon’s Fortress (6074). Consequently, a return to Castles interests me greatly. On top of that, Medieval Blacksmith comes with two Black Falcon knights. The announcement brought about the same child-like glee I felt last year with the announcement of Pirates of Barracuda Bay. Simply chomping at the bit, I stayed up until midnight on January 31 to ensure that I got a copy of this set the moment it was released. Luckily, I did because the set is now out of stock at LEGO.com. My copy shipped amazingly fast. As such, this week the set is up for review.
MEDIEVAL BLACKSMITH SUMMARY
- NAME: Medieval Blacksmith
- SET #: 21325
- THEME: Ideas
- COST: $199.99 CAD
- BRICK COUNT: 2164
- MINIFIGURES: 4
- OF INTEREST: 1 husky and 1 horse
- RELEASE DATE: February 1, 2021
MEDIEVAL BLACKSMITH QUICK REVIEW
- VALUE: 97% (Loads of build time and an excellent number of bricks for the price.)
- BUILD: 95% (Masterful design full of amazing details.)
- MINIFIGURES: 75% (I LOVE the minifigs, but there are not enough of them for a kit this big.)
- ENTERTAINMENT: 95% (Amazing AFOL display piece. Hard to build for KFOLs, but fun.)
- OVERALL SCORE: 91%
MEDIEVAL BLACKSMITH (21325) REVIEW
Medieval Blacksmith costs $199.99 in Canada. Additionally, the set contains 2164 pieces. The resulting cost-per-brick is $0.092. By comparison, my average cost-per-brick across all LEGO® theme is $0.14. Therefore, Medieval Blacksmith is a great value, earning a score of 96%. If compared to other Ideas sets, my average cost-per-brick is $0.10. However, I have yet to see an Ideas set with a value better than $0.088/brick. As such, this set earns 89% even when compared to only other Ideas kits. The average value-per-brick score overall is 93%.
In terms of build time, I assembled Medieval Blacksmith in seven hours and 33 minutes (453 minutes total). Consequently, each minute of build time cost me $0.44. Comparatively, my average cost-per-minute across all themes is $0.84. For Ideas alone, it sits at $0.78. Therefore, this set offers a lot of build time for the price. Compared to all sets, Medieval Blacksmith earns 100%. Compared to other Ideas sets, it is the best value I have ever seen. It easily earns 100% again. Averaging the perfect build-time score with the value-per-brick gives an overall value grade of 97%.
Medieval Blacksmith has taken some flak online concerning looks. As an Ideas set, the concept was based on a fan design that achieved 10,000 supporters on the LEGO® Ideas platform. The original design is amazing for sure. However, as a marketable set, it is unrealistic. The number of bricks required to make such a detailed build would make the price of subsequent kit astronomical. The final product stays true to the original idea. However, designers streamlined it to be marketable. I like the final product a lot, despite the deviation from the original idea. I daresay, I even like it more. This product looks cleaner and less busy than the original. My eye does not know where to look on the fan concept. On the actual set, the clean lines and contrasting trim attract the eye. It is easier to look at. In this case, less is more.
Medieval Blacksmith is a marvelous set and I like almost everything about it. Each floor offers fun and believable details for an era piece like this. The ground floor features the actual blacksmith shop. The forge has a light brick built in, allowing the coals to glow. Up one level is the main living area with a kitchen and dining table. The top floor houses a bedroom with a bearskin rug. Of course, the entire structure is modular. Additionally, one side of the roof lifts off to access the bedroom.
The Medieval Blacksmith (21325) features an amazing roofing technique.
In terms of new build techniques, the roof sticks out as a great one. I love the look of the shingles. Additionally, the way the pieces fit together to achieve a slope is clever, as is the way in which the slopes fit in place in the frame. I can see myself using this technique again in a MOC. The only downside is that it requires a lot of specialized tiles that I have yet to see on the Pick-And-Build wall at the LEGO® Store.
The only aspect of the set that I do not like is the durability of the apple tree. The tree itself look great. However, it falls apart very easily. Just building the set, the tree fell apart three times because of me tapping it by accident. A second lesser structural issue is the chairs around the dinner table. The back rest on each is an exceptionally flimsy build. Since this is a display piece, neither of those issues will likely cause me much grief moving forward. However, they cost the set all the same. I rate the build at 95%.
Medieval Blacksmith comes with four Minifigures. Each one is complete with all the standard minifig parts. Additionally, they all have front and back printed torsos as well as leg printing. Two of them feature double-sided faces as well. The set also packs 47 accessories. I will not go through them all here. However, you get a lot of weapons, pots and pans, and other medieval household goods. The amazing detailing and sheer number of accessories easily land this set 100% for minifig design. I am particularly thrilled that the knights come with both helmets and hair pieces.
Speaking of the knights, the Black Falcons included hold a lot of nostalgic value for me. This was my childhood knight faction. Granted, I also had several other types growing up. However, Black Falcons were my first. This iteration features a bit of an update though. The logo remains recognizable but includes a bit more detail. Additionally, gone are the simple smiley faces of old. Medieval Blacksmith also comes with the first recognizably female Black Falcon Knight.
The new Black Falcon Knight got a detail upgrade from the classic version.
Sadly, four Minifigures in a 2164-piece kit is not particularly good. The set also comes with a horse that features moveable rear legs. However, that only ups the figurine count to five, which is still not good. The brick-to-fig ratio is 432:1. Comparatively, my average ratio across all theme is 144:1. Consequently, Medieval Blacksmith earns a ratio score of 22%. It is worth mentioning that large sets tend to have bad brick-to-fig ratios though. If you look at just large sets with similar piece counts, like the modular buildings, my average ratio is 408:1. Therefore, compared to other large sets, Medieval Blacksmith scores 77%. Consequently, the average ratio score works out to 50%. Unfortunately, this set does not come with enough Minifigures for the brick count in my opinion. Averaging the design and ratio scores gives an overall Minifigure grade of 75%.
I love Medieval Blacksmith. As an AFOL I could not be happier with this set as a display piece. For sure, I am keeping it built and on my display shelf. There is so much detail and nostalgic value for former Castles theme fans to enjoy. Even non-traditional fans of the classic theme will get a nice display piece. I think Medieval Blacksmith will appeal to many builders. I rate the AFOL score at 100%.
For children, the set may be hard to assemble. However, it is not the most challenging build I have ever seen. Additionally, the interiors offer spacious play areas for small hands. The levels lift off and replace easily as well, unlike larger kits such as Ninjago City Gardens. While the youth of today did not grow up with Castles, the set fits in well with existing themes. Medieval Blacksmith might particularly interest Harry Potter fans as the style suits buildings like The Burrow, or even Diagon Alley. However, given the advanced builder level and lack of nostalgic value, I rate the KFOL score at 90%. Overall, that gives an entertainment score of 95%.
OVERALL SCORE: 91%
I said it before and I will say it again, I love Medieval Blacksmith (21325). Granted, I am biased since I grew up with the Castles theme. However, I am certain many AFOLs feel the same way. The value of the set is excellent, as is the build and display potential. Additionally, the Minifigures included are amazing. My only complaints about the set are the flimsy tree construction and small number of characters. A set like this needs more Minifigures. I highly recommend Medieval Blacksmith (21325). What are your thoughts? Reach out in the comments below or on social media.
Until next time,
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