LEGO Castle Brickmaster Review

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One thing I used to love about LEGO sets from when I was a kid were the alternate builds shown off on the back of each box. LEGO may not have included instructions on how to make them, but it was a great jumping off point for crafting your own odd creations. Nowadays, LEGO doesn’t include anything that exciting but there is the Brickmaster series.

The Brickmaster series basically takes a $15 LEGO set and a nice hardcover book and releases them as a $30 set. At $30, this set definitely isn’t worth it. Even at $20, it isn’t a good deal but I managed to find one marked down to $10. At that price, it’s more than perfect since the Brickmaster Castle includes enough parts and pieces to build a wide variety of smaller sets. Clocking in at over 140 bricks, this isn’t a big set by any means but it makes up for it with versatility.

While I missed out on the original Castle theme LEGO released a few years ago, I was ecstatic to finally get an evil skeleton with his mount. The evil skeleton isn’t like the normal LEGO skeletons. His legs are the same, but everything else is new. Thanks to a revised torso, his arms are now regular swivel joints like a regular LEGO figure. The face is redone with terrifying sunken red eyes.

Along with the skeleton comes his mount – a skeletal horse! A single, solid white LEGO piece the horse looks fantastic. It’s unsettling seeing the undead take on the classic LEGO horse.

On the side of the Crown Kingdom is a single soldier. Dressed in simple navy with gray limbs, there isn’t much to him. His chest is painted with silver scale mail and the kingdom’s crest. His face is the double-sided head of calm and panic and he wears a silver helmet.

A wide assortment of other interesting and rare pieces is included like wooded wheels, a dark gray skull and prison cell door. Weapons are bountiful as well with two pikes, a scimitar (that can be used to build a scythe), crossbow, two shields, axe, spear and sword. Plus a simple assembly of a catapult too!

The hardcover book doubles as a carrying case as well, but only for the unassembled parts and pieces. Inside it includes instructions for 13 different LEGO models using only the bricks in the set. Some models can be built to make up a larger scene which works well.

The first scene consists of five smaller builds. The knight has a small castle that is little more than a sentry tower, but it looks good with alternating gray and dark gray bricks. The gold and navy accents match up with the Crown Kingdom’s crest. A flag and shield are displayed proudly. The weapon rack continues the theme of navy and gold colors and provides a small piece for the spear, sword and axe to be displayed. The final build for this side is a simple catapult that makes great use of a LEGO pot to hold the ammo. None of these builds are particularly difficult to make but all look good.

On the skeleton side, a hell spawned chariot makes excellent use of very few pieces. The pikes attach to the skeleton horse, and the horse’s spine is completed with bricks. The actually chariot only consists of 10 bricks but looks great. The skeleton’s keep is a terrifying build of black and red, making it look like a gate to hell. The jail door and looming skull carving all look great while the spiked turrets and flames add some lovely character. These five builds combined also use every single brick included in the set.

The next scene is the Castle Jail that requires the destruction of the first scene. The jail is simple and skinny, but holds the skeleton just fine. The reuse of bricks works well with the roof mounted catapult and the illusion of a second building. The horns on the skeletal horse are a nice touch.

The third scene is a touch bland. The skeletal fort isn’t too exciting with it being little more than the catapult and the engraved skull on a platform. It would be awesome if it was on top of a wall instead of just being on the ground. The soldier built himself a weapons cart that is far from perfect since the wheels are too tall so he carries it at an odd angle. At least it holds all the weapons!

The fourth scene (and ninth build) is a new chariot for the skeleton and a reason to use the terrified face on the knight. It’s just a bigger chariot with more space for a victim, but it doesn’t look especially secure since the sides are empty and there is no roof. It still isn’t bad.

Scene five gives the skeleton a different kind of fort to defend but it still looks like it should be part of something bigger (but that isn’t always a bad thing). The spikes, fire and pikes all add a sense of forebodingness but there isn’t much space for the skeleton to stand. I will say the foundation for this build is surprisingly solid. The solider gets his pick for weapons, but the spear with banner looks different.

The Castle Battle makes up scene six and is a low wall with a gate. It’s decent but not terribly exciting. It would work fine for a small village for protection, but not for something near the castle. The skeleton returns riding his mount and brandishing his brand new scythe.

The final scene is two separate builds. Enraged, the skeleton seems to have combined all his weapons into a single skull chariot that doesn’t connect to the horse for once. It’s covered in spikes, pikes and topped with a crossbow for good measure. The soldier is guarding a small outpost that would work well as an entrance to a stockpile but lacks walls so I imagine the skeleton will just drive around it.

The book itself is well made by DK Books, but it is really just a glorified instruction booklet to simply drive up the price. This would have been great as a $15 creator set with multiple instructions. The book is just oversized and I kind of want to throw it out, but can’t bring myself to do that. What was most disappointing though was that the first scene I built was easily the best. It used all the parts and made a great addition for my little medieval village being built on my dresser. If you can find it on clearance, it’s worth grabbing but avoid it for full price.

Written by jestergoblin

March 31st, 2011 at 12:00 am

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