Fans of the classic Castles theme have a lot to celebrate of late. While not a full theme return, we have none-the-less received a number of great products. Starting in early 2021, the LEGO® Group released the Medieval Blacksmith. Subsequently, summer brought the topic of today’s review, the Medieval Castle (31120). Additionally, if you were one of 10,000 lucky fans, you scored Castle in the Forest from the Bricklink Designer Program. Next, 2022 brought an assortment of Castles build-a-mini parts at the LEGO® Store. After that, Forest Hideout, a remake of a 1988 Forestmen set, came as a GWP in June. Finally, we get the Lion Knights Castle to celebrate the LEGO® Group’s 90th anniversary. With all these goodies, Castles fans can almost imagine the Castles theme’s return. To celebrate the quasi-resurgence of Castles, we’re reviewing our way through a number of these sets this week.
This post is part of True North Bricks’ Castles week 2022. For more related content, click here!
MEDIEVAL CASTLE SUMMARY
- NAME: Medieval Castle
- SET #: 31120
- THEME: Creator 3-in-1
- COST: $139.99 CAD
- BRICK COUNT: 1426
- MINIFIGURES: 4
- RELEASE DATE: August 1, 2021
MEDIEVAL CASTLE (31120) QUICK REVIEW
- VALUE: 89% (Very good cost-per-brick and build time for the price.)
- BUILD: 80% (Looks great, but the structure is quite flimsy.)
- MINIFIGURES: 77% (Great minifigs, but not enough of them.)
- ENTERTAINMENT: 90% (Great set for castles fans, has loads of play and customization potential.)
- OVERALL SCORE: 84% (Good set.)
MEDIEVAL CASTLE (31120) REVIEW
Medieval Castle costs $139.99 in Canada. Additionally, the set consists of 1426 pieces. The resulting cost-per-brick is $0.098. That is a very good value. Comparatively, the True North Bricks average for all Creator 3-in-1 sets we’ve reviewed is $0.11. Our cost-per-brick for LEGO® sets in general is $0.138. Either way, the Medieval Castle delivers a lot of bricks for the price. I rate the cost-per-brick at 93%. You also get a decent amount of build time. I assembled Medieval Castle in three hours and 33 minutes, resulting is a cost-per-minute of $0.66. By comparison, the average LEGO® set clocks in around $0.85/minute for me, while other 3-in-1 sets are around $0.67/minute. Consequently, I rate the build time at 85%. Averaging this with the cost-per-brick score gives an overall value rating of 89%.
Compared to Castles sets I had as a kid, Medieval Castle looks great from the inside out. While ‘80s castles all looked formidable from the exterior, they tended to have rather unremarkable interiors. Medieval Castle has enough interior detailing to keep it interesting. There is a gatehouse with drawbridge winch, a blacksmith, a jail cell, a food stall, a throne room, and even a privy. The towers feature some empty rooms as well. The build also has play features, like a blowout jail wall. Additionally, the drawbridge raises and lowers using a winch on the side of the tower. While that makes play easier, I think it looks odd on the side of the castle. I wish the winch system was fully contained in the gatehouse.
My main complaint with Medieval castle: you cannot easily pick it up. The structure is flimsy as a result of its modular design. Whereas many ‘80s castles opened in similar fashion to this one, they did not simultaneously offer modular sections. You assemble Medieval Castle in three parts that join together using very flimsy clasps. Thus, if you are not careful picking it up, the whole thing will fall apart on you. Additionally, I am not a fan of the plates around the base. While they add ambiance to the model on a table, they also fall off easily. Granted, most people will no pick this model up very often, However, I still want my builds to be structurally sound even in rarer circumstances. Moving this set around to photograph it was annoying. I imagine moving it between play locales would not be any different.
The modular sections of Medieval Castle do not hold together firmly.
It is worth mentioning that the set includes some buildable animals too. You can assemble a number of birds, a mouse, and a dragon. I did not build any of them. I do not like brick-built animals very often… Of course, I make exceptions for elaborately designed animal builds. However, I prefer figurines for the most part. Therefore, birds and mice should be figurines in my opinion. The dragon is an interesting addition to the set. However, the images of the build did not interest me. It looks overly simplistic. These animals don’t detract from the castle though, so I will not remove points for them.
Despite its structural instability, I like the design of Medieval Castle quite a bit. It uses a variety of brick shapes and types to effectively mimic masonry work. Additionally, the yellow and blue parts add nice color, so the fortress is not simply grey. The red and white banners out front are an odd color choice though. The set includes Black Falcon Knights and has a Black Falcon shield above the bridge. Blue and white, or blue and black would have been better banner choices. That is more of a nitpick than an actual complaint though. However, Medieval Castle still loses points for flimsy structure. I rate this build at 80%.
Medieval Castle comes with three Minifigures and a skeleton. Two of the minifigs are Black Falcon Knights printed identically to those in the Medieval Blacksmith set. The third Minifigure is more of a peasant with simple black legs and a pirate tank top torso. All of the characters have front and back torso print. Additionally, the knights have leg printing. However, none of them have double-sided faces. In terms of accessories, you acquire a bow, two Black Falcon shields, a spear, a frog, a sword, a suit of armor with helmet, a hammer, two apples, a baguette, a barrel, a crate, some cherries, a treasure chest, four diamonds, and a goblet. The designs and accessories easily earn these minifigs 100% for design.
Including the skeleton, you get 357 bricks/fig with this set. Meaning, you do not get a lot of Minifigures for a set of this size. Comparatively, the True North Bricks average across all LEGO® themes is currently about 170 bricks/fig. However, the Creator 3-in-1 theme tends to have low Minifigure counts. Our theme specific average is 264 bricks/fig. But, even by that standard, Medieval Castle still falls a little short. I rate the brick-to-fig ratio at 54%. This set needs more Minifigures. Averaging this with the design score gives an overall Minifigure rating of 77%.
I am biased when it comes to castles sets… Apart from Pirates, Castles was my favorite theme growing up. Medieval Castle would have thrilled me as a child. I was really big into fantasy worlds, and any castle incorporated well into my play. However, as mentioned earlier, this particular set has more detailed interiors than the castles of my youth. While I built my own features to add into my sets, having some come ready for play would have been great too. Medieval Castle is a win in the regard.
From a grownup perspective, Medieval Castle is great too. Granted, it is a niche interest. Not everyone is into building worlds of castles and knights. However, if you are, Medieval Castle is ready for placement into your custom scenery. Additionally, it inspires customization projects as well. While I was building it, I was already imagining ways to make it bigger. I even started thinking of how to meld it with my Castle in the Forest set from the Bricklink designer program. Getting matching spare parts is easy enough as well. You can buy two of these kits. Once again, I am biased… but I enjoyed this set. I was possibly a little less entertained than with Castle in the Forest though. Consequently, I rate Medieval Castle at 90% in this category. It is a little more kid friendly than AFOL dream set.
OVERALL SCORE: 84%
Medieval Castle (31120) is a fun throwback for Castles fans. It is a nice build with some fun interior details. The structure is a bit flimsy, but if you’re into customization, it is easy enough to fix. Additionally, the bricks come at a good value even at full price. The Minifigure count is the only resoundingly negative aspect about this set. The LEGO® Group needs to include more knights in a set like this. Two guards is hardly enough for an entire castle. Medieval Castle is a great set to get your own custom medieval LEGO® scene started. What do you think? Let us know in the comments below or reach out on social media.
Until next time,
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