It has taken 534 days and 285 new bricks, we even got to celebrate an anniversary, but would you believe it – my Quest for Lion Knights’ castle is finally done. Back on March 10, 2012 I promised you it would take a while and that there’d be frequent breaks. Well you could certainly say I kept that promise… It has been a long and circuitous journey, taking me on diversions like LEGOLAND, Middle Earth and blog extensions, but also containing many lessons learned.
The most important lesson has been getting to know many of the modern resources available to LEGO enthusiasts. I’m sure I have barely scratched the surface, but I have been able to gather at least cursory knowledge of essential links, pick-a-brick stores, bley issues, online catalogs, building instructions and parts databases, brick washing, collection management, part evolution, computer aided design, LEGO history and things like LEGO in Japan and CUUSOO, SNOT and SNIR. Most of this was completely new to me, yet after a year and a half properly out of the dark, I think I can hold a (brief) conversation in AFOL. I have also formed some opinions and written commentary on the LEGO past, why adults build LEGO and the nostalgia factor in this hobby.
Here it is, my re-creation of the 6080 King’s Castle, with the final missing castle pieces in place – standing on the brown/yellow cardboard base I built all those months ago for this:
Note: You can click the images for larger versions.
It was great to see the castle completed. The castle is full as far as I know (this was the goal), minifigures (merely a bonus) are surprisingly full too, only two missing capes and a saddle – I will probably replace those with other colors eventually. Although the castle’s shape had already become quite familiar to me – it had been mostly completed since last September and spent the year in storage – there was still something a little magical in seeing those Lion Knight shields go up on the gatehouse as a finishing touch. Also, most concerns about the portcullis tracks I voiced previously were, as I suspected, corrected once I had the full complement of bricks in place inside the gatehouse.
What will become of the castle, then? A Christmas present. You may recall one of my motivations for this project was to find a way to share and pass on some of my old LEGO collection to my son, in a manageable, meaningful way (as opposed to just dumping him a decades worth of bricks without context). He has been showing more and more interest in my old LEGO this year, even once commenting how the old LEGO Castle in a picture seemed much cooler than the new ones (wishing TLG would still make them), so hopefully I picked a good time.
I have deliberately kept the castle project a surprise, so he shouldn’t have a clue. I will dismantle the castle, get a bunch of plastic bags and a cardboard box and make a set of it. After Christmas a new generation will get to play with it and make its fate. By the way, we – me and my son – have, for a few years now, had the tradition of building his LEGO presents together on Christmas day. A few years back, the first big sets, we did the 7897 Passenger Train and 7997 Train Station, then there was the year with 7498 Police Station and 3368 Space Centre, last year 7641 City Corner and 4204 The Mine. Who knew, 2013 would be the year of 6080 King’s Castle… That’s, like, so, 1984.
And that’s it for the Quest for Lion Knights’ castle! Thank you for following.
Hopefully I have managed to document this journey here in a way that helps other aspiring AFOLs as well – and maybe entertained a few old-timers in the process. For those of you interested in what I’m doing next, do follow my Quest for Inter-City train. There I’m taking a little different tack on the whole re-create an old LEGO set premise and am still trying to learn new things.
15 Responses to Castle stands (down)
glad you finished it.
your son will surely love it too.
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The Quest for Lion Knights’ castle came to a fitting conclusion this Christmas, when my son received the 6080 King’s Castle I had collected for him. Put in a cardboard box with a mid-1980s replica LEGO catalog and building instructions stapled into booklets, small plastic bags and all to keep it together, it was as close to a LEGO set I could muster. Long story short, it was a well-received surprise.
As I mentioned before, while the set was complete, I had replaced a few minifigure parts with approximations – namely two Castle shirts with right colors but wrong prints and two capes with wrong colors. These caused a bit of confusion early in the build – my son was surprisingly strict about such things – but it was soon forgotten as the build got on its way. (I had also dropped in an extra Black Falcon, which was appreciated.)
It was interesting to watch my young son tackle old LEGO building instructions. As I’ve explored on the blog, these days computer-generated LEGO instructions spend an entire page for only a couple of parts, whereas in the old days perhaps dozens of parts were placed in each hand-drawn instruction picture. No surprise, my son missed quite a few pieces in many steps and we had to return to them later. In fact, even the completed castle lacked four pieces from the jail, which I too missed until I saw the leftover pieces.
Still, my son was quickly commanding me to let him find the mistakes himself and eventually he mostly did. Around halfway through the build we had found our rhythm, which was suitable for this set, but distinctly different from the way we build modern LEGO together. We also spotted a few errors in the old instructions, two pieces melding into one kind of things. It was the age before ubiquitous (and machine perfect) computer graphics.
For me, getting a chance to finally build 6080 from scratch was a revelation. During the quest on the blog, I had gathered, washed and built it piecemeal, which wasn’t satisfying at times. It was great to be able to build it again in one go. After watching my son play with it, I must repeat my earlier criticism of the set, though: the portcullis is too fragile, even though its plates are new – and it really could use its own winch. Well, I guess this feedback is about 30 years too late… Anyway, my son quickly introduced the castle into his play and it works great. He appreciates it opening up too, which got a wow out of him.
Speaking of 30 years later, I had also gotten my son the modern 70404 King’s Castle (2013) for Christmas. Maybe TLG had heard the portcullis feedback, because indeed the gatehouse and portcullis structures (dual winches included) are much sturdier this time. One thing was better in the old days, though: 70404 (like 7946 that started this blog) is a fairly repetitive build, because it is split into multiple sections, many of which mainly repeats of the last one. The old 6080 doesn’t feel as repetitive, even though it is a more repetitive design, because everything is being built at once, not modularly. Points to the old castle for this.
Still, the 70404 too is a great castle in its own right, with great catapults – I applaud LEGO for forgoing the easy solutions for their catapults (especially those boring small catapult pieces) and instead coming up with two quite original, brick-built catapult designs. Also apparent after 30 years, is the grown physical size of LEGO sets. Even small or medium sized sets I built with my son such as Chigorzan or the Star Wars AT-TE, make the old 6080 castle – the big, the marquee set of its time – look rather small. 70404, while still just a square castle of a gatehouse and a few towers, is positively huge next to the 6080.
All in all, the project and its finale were resounding successes. The 1980s LEGO catalog I put in gave my son some welcome context and already he has expressed interest in some other old LEGO sets. For example, the Forestmen have been mentioned. Oh, and he thinks the old LEGO knights are much cooler than the new ones. Ain’t that the truth. On one thing we disagree, though: he thinks the new LEGO faces are more interesting than the old, always smiling ones. O tempora, o mores.
Mission accomplished – old bricks and history brought into play for a new generation!
Such a terrific piece of writing. Thank you SO much for documenting the journey. 🙂
Thank you. I appreciate the comment.
No news of any future endeavors, but the AFOL bug still lives on. 🙂
This brings back memories, I remember I got this one when I was 7 or 8! I have played with it over and over, destroyed and rebuilt it a few times as well!
After the refurbishment and gifting of 6080, how many years of play did you and your son get out of it? Was it a novelty toy only used a few times in comparison to 70404 or was it something often used? Trying to understand how compatible the 1984 toy is for kids today.
I know this was written six years ago, but I’m working on the same set with my six year old daughter (with most pieces from my own childhood set) and it’s such an awesome experience. Thanks for the links – I’ll have to read up on much background knowledge to continue this quest! -O
Thank you and all the best to your project(s)! 🙂