Lion Knights’ Castle (10305) Review

Lion Knights Castle (10305) Review

In January 2021, The LEGO® Group included fans in a historic event. In preparation for the company’s 90th anniversary, they invited AFOLs to vote for the theme of special celebratory set. At LEGO® Con 2022, the LEGO® Group revealed the epic set as Lion Knights’ Castle (10305). As a Castle theme fan, my inner child squealed with joy. Imagine my delight when the LEGO® Group offered me the set as a pre-release review. In my excitement, I planned a whole Castles Week around this review. Today, we delve into the glorious 4514-piece set in detail. This is a largest LEGO® castle ever produced, so get comfy, there’s a lot to talk about!

NOTE: The LEGO® Group provided this set for review. However, the provision of products does not guarantee a favorable review. True North Bricks’ usual rating system applies (click here for more information).

LION KNIGHTS’ CASTLE SUMMARY

  • NAME: Lion Knights’ Castle
  • SET #: 10305
  • THEME: Icons/Castle
  • COST: $499.99 CAD
  • BRICK COUNT: 4514
  • MINIFIGURES: 22
  • OF INTEREST: 1 cow, 2 horses, 1 lamb
  • RELEASE DATE: August 8, 2022

LION KNIGHTS’ CASTLE QUICK REVIEW

  • VALUE: 84% (Good cost-per-brick and build time for a set of this size.)
  • BUILD: 96% (Wonderful build, I had to search to find issues.)
  • MINIFIGURES: 95% (Good number of well-designed figurines.)
  • ENTERTAINMENT: 100% (This is the set Castle theme fans have been waiting for.)
  • OVERALL SCORE: 94% (Excellent set.)

LION KNIGHTS’ CASTLE (10305) REVIEW

VALUE: 84%

Lion Knights’ Castle is the largest LEGO® castle ever designed, but that title does not come cheap. This set costs $499.99 in Canada. However, you acquire 4514 pieces for that price. The resulting cost-per-brick is $0.111. That is more or less the same as other Icons sets released in 2022 so far. But Icons (formerly 18+) sets tend to come with a better cost-per-brick than other themes. Looking at all sets in the theme that we’ve reviewed, Lion Knights’ Castle is only a satisfactory value. With that said, compared to LEGO® sets in general, the value is quite good. The average cost-per-brick at True North Bricks is currently $0.138 across all LEGO® themes. Considering both comparisons, I rate the cost-per-brick at 82%. Lion Knights’ Castle is not the best value I have ever seen, but it is good.

Lion Knights' Castle (10305) interior.

Lion Knights’ Castle took me 11 hours and 12 minutes to build (672 minutes total). At full price, the cost-per-minute of build time works out to $0.74. Compared to LEGO® sets in general, that is quite good. Comparatively, our average cost-per-minute across all LEGO® themes is currently $0.85. However, adult oriented sets tend include sophisticated techniques which lead to longer build times. For Icons sets, our average cost-per-minute is $0.69. Considering both these comparisons, I rate the cost-per-minute at 86%. Averaging this with this cost-per-brick score gives an overall value grade of 84%.

Lion Knights Castle (10305) tower.
Lookout atop Lion Knights’ Castle (10305).

BUILD:

Lion Knights’ Castle is a fun build. You get several functional elements like the drawbridge and portcullis. In fact, there are two portcullises, one at the front gate, and another around the back by a small dock. Both raise a lower along tracks built into the castle walls. The rear gate raises using gears incorporated in the walls. The front portcullis uses a winch on the roof of the gatehouse. The drawbridge raises and lowers using a knob built into the side wall. This activates a winch system in the armory. Interestingly, both the bridge and front portcullis employ realistic chains inlaid into the walls of the gatehouse. It all looks very nice.

The castle also hinges open in the classic style. However, it employs a new and fascinating technique to that end. When closed, the castle has a small balcony over the waterwheel to one side. When you open the castle up, the balcony converts into a walkway over the waterwheel. However, the balcony parapet employs an amazing sliding feature by which it slides in an out of the castle wall. Additionally, the parapet has multiple articulating points that allow it to bend as it does so. It is a little difficult to explain, but it works rather well. Otherwise, the castle hinges open on two sides to allow interior access.

I was amazed by the parapet design seen over the waterwheel.

The Castle’s two sides also separate from each other, revealing a secret passage to one side and a secret chamber on the other. The secret passage winds through a cave under the main gate. The room sits below the castle courtyard, with ladder leading up to a trap door. I love the vine features around the room. They give the space a real subterrain feel. Otherwise, the room includes a table with chairs, some stored weapons, and a pirate’s map. Adjacent to the secret room, the castle cellar houses the kitchens and mill. Interestingly, the waterwheel outside turns the mill inside.

Otherwise, the lowest level of the castle contains another hidden chamber for the Forest Guardians. Additionally, you find the dungeons. There are two cells, one containing the skeleton. The slightly larger cell features another secret opening. Prisoners can escape through the sliding rockface. The drawbridge adds another interesting play feature to the dungeons. If a Minifigure stands on the bridge as it rises, a gap opens which allows the minifig to drop into the dungeon below.

The dungeons feature several play features.

On the main level, we have the entry hall. The room has a horse stable and weapons storage rack. Additionally, ladders lead to other areas. Namely, one goes up to the armory, while the other leads down to the dungeon. A side door leads out the courtyard, while a back door leads downstairs to the rear dock. In this space, the exterior of the courtyard door is my favorite detail. The two layered arches and vine work are beautifully designed. However, the winding stairs to the dock are also fun. You build another neat winding staircase of the other side of the courtyard. I really like these. It is so easy to picture minifigs battling their way up the stairs.

If I talked about all the amazing details in Lion Knights’ Castle (10305), this review would go on for hours…

Through the courtyard, you also find the main dining hall. This room features a fireplace, harpsicord, and a long table with two chairs. Castle fans will likely appreciate the printed shields on the wall. Directly above the dining hall you find the queen’s quarters. This room contains a microscale version of the original yellow LEGO® castle. However, I did not build it. I don’t particularly like microscale builds.

Next to the queen’s room, the castle includes one of my favorite features… The privy chamber. The Medieval Castle set also included one. I find this inclusion hilarious. However, the Lion Knights’ Castle version is more realistic. The toilet actually has a drop straight out of the castle. Additionally, there’s a roll of toilet paper, and some lovely herbs hanging from the wall to help with the smell. I chuckled through that whole section of the build.

The privy is one of the best parts of build.

Apart from the battlements, the final section of the upper levels is the armory. This is the top level of the gatehouse. It features the mechanisms for raising the portcullis and drawbridge, as well as racks for storing weapons. The back of the armory is open to the elements. I found myself wishing it was not. I wish the hinged rear section included the rear wall to the armory. However, the armory itself looks great. It is well stocked, and the chains for the lift mechanisms add wonderful detail to the room.

Lion Knights Castle Armory
Lion Knights Castle (10305) armory.

I have to point out the connectedness of Lion Knights’ Castle. Designers really thought about how Minifigures reach different rooms and levels in the set. I greatly appreciate that attention to detail. Often times sets lack stairs. Almost every section of the castle joins through winding stairs or ladders. Some of the upper towers do not have ladders, but I guess the cost line had to be drawn somewhere.

The thought and planning that went into the stairs and ladders is amazing.

The top of the bell tower is one of the few places not connected by stairs or ladders.

In terms of interesting parts, Lion Knights’ Castle includes the 1×4 curved slope pieces first seen in the Starry Night set. Additionally, you get Starry Night’s 2x2x2 curved corner pieces. In this set, both parts are grey versus the black of Starry Night. You also acquire the 2×3 plate with cut out. This is not a very new brick. In fact, it appears in 10 sets at the time of publication. I do not have many of those sets though, so I am happy to get a few more.

Interesting bricks in Lion Knights' Castle.
Curved slope bricks previously only seen in Starry Night (21333) and the 2×3 plate with cutout are interesting bricks in Lion Knights’ Castle (10305).

Many of the build techniques are fairly straight forward. However, I appreciate the methods of using hinges and wedge plates to create the angles of the building. Additionally, the technique to assemble the corbels around the castle is really neat. A 1×1 modified brick with scroll holds an inverted 2x1x1 1/3 curved slope over a 1x1x1 corner panel. Another great idea arises in the thatched roof of the Queen’s quarters. It features some NPU (nice parts usage) of the modified plate with three claws. The castle contains many interesting little builds and techniques, but most are refreshers for experienced builders.

Newish bricks and interesting techniques add to the experience.

Lion Knights Castle corbel build technique.
Corbel build technique. Complete build on upper left, partial build on lower right.

Ultimately, I have very few complaints about the Lion Knights’ Castle build. I enjoyed it a lot, and I loved assembling all the little details. If I had to summarize my nitpicking, the armory needs a back wall, the queen’s quarters/dining hall are a little bland, and some of the lookout towers need ladders. Finally, a little part of me wished the buildings in this castle were modular instead of hinged. If you can achieve that effect with larger buildings like Assembly Square, it is also possible in a castle. I know this set is a throwback to ‘80s castles that all swung open. But it is a new day… Again, these are all little issues I went looking for. Overall, I love this set, and I rate the build at 96%.

Thatched roof of the Queen's quarters in the Lion Knights' Castle.
The thatched roof of the Queen’s quarters features NPU of the modified plate with three claws.

MINIFIGURES: 86%

Lion Knights’ Castle comes with 22 Minifigures… well, 21 Minifigures and a skeleton.  Castle theme fans will love these characters though. The set includes three Black Falcon knights. Their body printing is identical to those seen in the Medieval Castle and Medieval Blacksmith sets. However, they feature black helmets similar to the Falcon knights of old. Additionally, one of them has a helmet similar to the Frightening Knight from Minifigures Series 15 (also seen in Medieval Blacksmith). I am also thrilled with the Black Falcons caparison on the horse. I find myself wishing the Black Falcons from Medieval Blacksmith and Medieval Castle also had black helmets like the ‘80s originals. All of these knights have front and back torso printing as well as leg printing. Two have double-sided faces.

The set also includes three Forest Guardians similar to those from this year’s Forest Hideout GWP. Additionally, you acquire four medieval townsfolk and a wizard. The wizard clearly resembles Majisto from the ‘90s Dragon Knights sets. However, this wizard has zero printing. That was a bit of a disappointment given the original Majisto had torso printing. At the very least, the LEGO® Group should include the awesome 2022 build-a-mini wizard design in this set.

Why does Majisto have no printing?

Ten minifigs in this set are Lion Knights. That makes sense given this is the Lion Knights’ Castle. One of those is the Queen, the rest are her guards. During LEGO® Con 2022, we already learned a Queen ruled this castle. That is a first for the Castle theme. I can’t think of another castle that did not have a ruling male. Additionally, six of the Lion Knights are female (including the Queen). If not mistaken, that is also the highest proportion of female knights ever produced in a castle set. Otherwise, all the Lion Knights have the same front and back torso printing and leg printing, except the Queen. Her legs are white with different printing whereas the others are blue.

More female knights than ever before!

In terms of accessories, all the knights come with helmets. Additional minifigs include all the standard parts (except for two stumpy kids). Additionally, Majisto has a beard and wizard’s hat. However, I wish more characters came with alternate hair to swap out helmets. You acquire a lot of other goodies though. Here’s a list (though I might have missed something):

  • 1 x axe
  • 2 x backpack
  • 2 x baguette
  • 4 x barrel
  • 2 x battle axe
  • 1 x beehive
  • 1 x bird
  • 2 x bottle
  • 5 x bow and arrow
  • 3 x bowl
  • 1 x bucket
  • 2 x caparison
  • 1 x cape
  • 2 x carrot
  • 5 x cherries
  • 3 x chest plate armor
  • 5 x coins (printed tile)
  • 1 x cow
  • 1 x croissant
  • 1 x crossbow
  • 2 x diamond
  • 1 x drawers
  • 5 x goblet
  • 1 x envelope (printed tile)
  • 3 x frog
  • 2 x frying pan
  • 4 x harpoon
  • 4 x helmet (additional)
  • 2 x horse
  • 1 x lamb
  • 1 x lute
  • 1 x map
  • 2 x micro-fig
  • 2 x oar
  • 1 x pitchfork
  • 1 x pot
  • 2 x pretzel
  • 5 x quiver
  • 1 x sack
  • 16 x shield
  • 2 x spear
  • 2 x spoon
  • 11 x sword
  • 1 x treasure chest

Lion Knights’ Castle (10305) comes with over 110 minifig accessories!

All things considered, these are some great Minifigures. Two are stumpy children, which I don’t like. Additionally, a Majisto with no printing is a real missed opportunity. I will substitute mine with one of the more detailed wizards from the Minifigure series or the new BAM version. Finally, only ten of the characters have double-sided faces.These are not major complaints, and the sheer number of accessories more than make up for them. I rate these character designs at 100%.

When it comes to figurine counts, we tend to include Minifigures as well as animals with moving parts. In this case, you get 21 minifigs, a skeleton, two horses, and a cow. Therefore, the total fig count is 25. Considering the set contains 4514 pieces, you get 181 bricks/fig. Consequently, for a set this size, you acquire a satisfactory number of figurines. If you consider that this is an Icons set geared to adults, the fig count is actually amazing. Comparatively, the True North Bricks average for LEGO® sets in general is 170 bricks/fig, while the Icons theme sits around 384 bricks/fig. Consequently, I rate the fig count in this set at 89%. Averaging this with the design score gives an overall Minifigure rating of 95%.

ENTERTAINMENT: 100%

As a display piece, Lion Knights’ Castle is stunning. I have it in front of me on the table as I am writing this review. I can’t stop staring and marveling at the little details. However, it is a doozey to display. The castle is huge. You need a shelf both deep and wide to hold this set. A standard depth bookshelf will not cut it. I have not figured out where I will display the Lion Knights’ Castle yet, but I cannot bring myself to disassemble it for storage either.

Another challenge arises when incorporating the set into a medieval display. The angled and hinged walls mean the castle will not sit easily on baseplates. Additionally, the lobed layout of the plates around the base of the castle makes it difficult to drop into a scene without modification of the base. Since the structure is not modular, that requires rebuilding huge sections of the castle.

On the plus side, kids will love playing with this set. The hinged design allows easy interior access. Small hands can access the small rooms more easily as well. I also enjoyed opening up the structure and positioning my Minifigures inside. I really love Lion Knights’ Castle. The build process entertained me, and I continue to be entertained just looking at it.

The difficulty in displaying this piece might cost it some points in a normal review. However, like Barracuda Bay was to Pirates fans, Lion Knights’ Castle is to Castle fans. This set has presence and wow-factor. Those more than make up for the difficulty in displaying it. This is the nostalgic set Castles fans have been waiting for. I rate the entertainment at 100%.

OVERALL SCORE: 94%

This was a long review, I know. But there was so much to talk about! At $500 CAD, you get a good value, but not a great one in terms of piece count and build time. However, the nostalgia, build experience, Minifigures, and details make Lion Knights’ Castle a must have for Castle theme fans. The set is huge and hard to display, but other complaints I have are minimal. Even the size is not really a complaint. I think Lion Knights’ Castle (10305) is worth the price. I would have bought this based on the box art even if the LEGO® Group had not offered it to me for review. This set definitely joins Majestic Tiger and Starry Night as one of my favorite sets of 2022… In fact, it surpasses both. What do you think? Let us know in the comments below or reach out on social media.

Until next time,

-Tom

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8 comments

  • Really great set, I can’t wait to get it. Also a really nice review, went in depth and was pleasant to read. Thanks!

  • So I’ve already decided I’m getting the Galaxy Explorer and passing on the Castle set. The Galaxy Explorer is more comfortably within my budget, and besides, I’m more of a space fan anyway.

    That being said, wow! What an amazing looking set! Just looking at the pictures and reading about some of the techniques used to put this thing together gives me food for thought for MOC building. And I love that you photographed it outdoors. The castle looks amazing out in nature.

  • Am dying to read this but alas, going to pass. It’s one of those sets I need to go into blind. Promise to read later!

  • Hello, some interesting article about the medieval privy chamber. They were in fact outside 😉

    • Interestingly enough, I researched medieval bathrooms before writing this article, and some castles did have bathrooms like the one in this set. It’s one of the reasons I appreciated this detail so much.