As I’ve been piecing the 6080 King’s Castle together, step by step, I’m beginning to realize how big a task I have selected for myself, trying to recycle existing pieces into this. The thing is absolutely huge. Surprisingly not so much in terms of castle walls, which I thought I’d run out of immediately (I bought a few extra but didn’t think nearly enough) but so far haven’t come close to running out of, but instead in the amount of castle grey bars, plates and all sorts of 1×1 and 2×1 bricks, required in large numbers. Considering that I only had two or three castle walled sets as a child (largest one being the medium-sized 6073 Knight’s Castle and then one or two smaller sets), the requirements on castle grey pieces are staggering.

It is not only castle grey that I’m running out of, though, I am also missing some black pieces – some surprising, others not. For example, I couldn’t find a third black 2×3 plate. I’m pretty sure I must have one or more somewhere, but still a surprising thing to run out of (hopefully) momentarily. A not so surprising missing piece is the black prison cell door and grey hinge. I actually have these pieces in red/yellow (from the yellow 375 Castle) and blue/white (from the 6379 Riding Stable), but I think those colors would clash a bit too much here. Would make for one cheery dungeon, though.

Although I did buy, with the baseplates, various extra bricks, I have already started skipping entire instruction steps (for the moment) because I lack too many pieces. Here is where things stand now, I do still have some more pieces to continue with:

Considering that I recently built (with my son) the 7946 King’s Castle from 2010, it has been interesting to compare the experience. In many ways the 6080 King’s castle from 1984 is much less detailed, much more generic. Aside from the prison cell and a sword holder (for which I lack a brick), there isn’t much in terms of an interior. But the old castle’s more brick-built nature actually lends it some surprising detail and, thus, challenge in terms of the amount of parts required. For example, the staircase takes a lot of different bricks, whereas the 7946 King’s Castle just slaps on a 7x4x6 staircase piece. Same with the portcullis. Also, while its very grey appearance easily hides the fact, the 6080 King’s Castle also has much detail in its tower exteriors, much more so than the 6073 Knight’s Castle for example (although the latter has the cool red brick gate).

When I started this project, older and wiser adult fans of LEGO (AFOLs) recommended that I count the required pieces (considering that places like Peeron offer a list) and order against that list. I must admit, this is wise guidance considering how many more bricks certain sets might require than at first appears – and how much one can save in shipping costs alone by consolidating the orders. However, I am still glad I didn’t follow that advice (yet) and went on my own learning journey instead. Had I simply ordered all the pieces at once, like a retail set, I probably wouldn’t have appreciated the fact as much – than I do now that it has interrupted my building a couple of times – that you can actually run out of grey 1×2 roof tiles or black 2×3 plates after using just two of each.

Lesson learned!