LEGO Castle Review: Medieval Market Village #10193

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Originally I bought this set simply because I wanted to expand my winter time village beyond just a toy shop and bakery. Little did I know that this alone would be the catalyst that reignited my adoration for LEGO. In the last six months, I’ve been acquiring sets at a terrifying rate but what I find most remarkable is the simple fact that I love this set even though there isn’t a single conflict in it!

All good villages need peasants and this set includes six peasants, two soldiers and a plethora of animals wandering around. It’s quaint, classic and beautifully designed. What’s most amazing is that I could see anyone being thrilled by this set because it does everything so perfectly.

Patrolling the village are two Crown soldiers who were probably tasked with staying back after the remaining forces went to the Trolls’ Mountain Fortress to recover the king. Wearing identical blue on blue tabards, they’re excellent soldiers. One has the double sided head of smirking and screaming, while the other is chiseled and stoic. One carries a spear while the other carries a lance with the banners of the kingdom flying high.

The bar wench (or barmaid) is a figure I also got in the Kingdoms Advent Calendar with a different face and she still looks incredible. The green corset over the black and green dress is beautifully executed. Her hair is long with bangs brushed off to the side. She carries a knife for serving food. Her face is double sided as well with one being a simple smile while the other side is one of being terrified.

The peasant girl shares the same head as the barmaid but has new hair that’s light brown and tied in the back. Her ample bosom is breaking out of her tan corset, while a clean apron hangs over her brown dress. For an accessory, she carries a hairbrush.

The blacksmith is grinning having finally obtained some new ore in a trade (maybe with a dwarf). His face is the same as the Dragon Wizard with dark gray mutton chops and a rather menacing expression. His body is mostly covered by his black overalls except his arms which are bare. At least he’s wearing gloves for safety. His brown hood looks good too.

I didn’t even notice it at first, but all three of these figures share the same torso! It’s a simple one with patches sewn in and a drawstring belt. But all three manage to look unique. The little boy has long blond hair and a face with a smirk on it. His legs are the short kind cast in brown to set him apart.

The older boy manages the market while most of the men are at war. His face is the new generically smiling LEGO face and his dirty blond hair is identical to Harry Potter’s.  The overall look works well though.

The final figure is an old, traveling man – possibly a hobo!  His face is worn and sad with sunken eyes hidden by gray hair. His cowl just makes him look all the more depressed. Attached to his back is an empty basket while he wanders around carrying a stick.

It’s time for the seasonal market to be open in the middle of town and this one doesn’t disappoint. Little more than an awning and simple booth, it looks good. The brick red and navy awning is appropriately muted while the rest of the design is simple and clean. Three bushels are included to be filled with flowers, four silver fish and four green apples. A simple sign shows off the prices in gold.

Showing off the town’s bounty, a feast seems to be in the making on a simple wooden table. A golden bowl has tan tiles in it, probably bread for the villages to feast upon but the main course is the roasted chicken. This specialty brick is massive – about the size of a headless LEGO figure! Both legs are removable for devouring.

The blacksmith’s wares are on display too with a simple wooded rack showing off two gray-pearl spears and a dark gray battle axe. A treasure chest is present with four gold coins within it.

Wandering about is a white horse connected to a simple wagon. The LEGO horse is like all the others and does its job just fine. The wagon is basic with just some flat bricks for siding and the wooden-style wheels supporting it. In the wagon are two 2×3 tan bricks that look like bales of hay.

Several other animals are included. The pair of cows, most likely Jerseys because they’re brown, is fantastically made. Similar to the horse in design, they have visible udders, a space for a saddle if you so desire and simple horns. The paint is minimal, just on the nose, eyes and forehead but works wonderfully. A rat is included to scurry about the village, probably the bearer of plague.

The remaining three animals are made from bricks and don’t work quite as well but the attempt is admirable. A black rooster watches over a single white hen. The use of red bricks for the combs is a decent attempt but compared to the cow, they just look blocky. A mallard duck is included as well that is rather colorful and the orange flipper for a foot is smart. But LEGO seems to have realized these aren’t perfect and will soon be making special chicken bricks!

To add some spring time atmosphere, a large blossoming tree is included. It’s an easy build and looks good towering in the town square (maybe looming over the sword in the stone). It certainly looks a lot better than the classic LEGO trees. The white blossoms though are a beautiful touch that really brings it to a whole level. Now I wish there was more than one of them for scenery.

The first major build is absolutely stunning when it comes to LEGO architecture and looks like it came right out of some small village in Germany. Ungodly intricate, the first house is the smithy, a stable and two living spaces. But the visual style blows me away (especially now that it is finally all built) with posts and plaster and a black tiled roof.

The smithy on the ground level has a water wheel and a small stream with a frog next to it. As the wheel spins, the hammer in the shop comes down on the anvil allowing the blacksmith to produce the needed weapons for the upcoming war. An open forge with flames ablaze is there too.  A sign hangs above the doorway opposite a torch.

Above the smithy is a simple room with little more than a hanging portrait, a stool and a table. A single crystal goblet is on the table, while a smirking portrait stares out that looks a lot like the Lion Prince. Under the table is a barrel to hide gold.

On the opposite side is a vast open room, almost double the size of the other one, that is just empty besides a large cast iron woodstove. The woodstove opens up to reveal glowing embers and it even connects to the gorgeous looking chimney. A portrait of a woman is on the wall but this room is begging for something to be put into it.

The bottom floor is a stable with two openings for animals. Both cows fit in well but the sign hanging over it shows off a horse. A basic is near the entrance to hold carrots. In an amusing move, LEGO include brown carrots on the floor which makes me think they’re manure.

The other building is the local inn and it is absolutely perfect. It’s like the Prancing Pony! The exterior is a stunning shade of light blue, brown posts and stonework with golden accents. The beams around the windows really look beautiful. Along the side is a staircase to the second story, while the main entrance is receded into the wall. Above it hangs an ornate sign showing off a golden crown on dark red.

Unlike the other building, this one is jammed packed in every room. The main entrance just has an empty barrel, probably an empty cask, but the space is necessary for the door to fully open.

The other ground room is the tavern. As a kid, I always seemed to make cantinas for my aliens to hang out in, usually with secret passages and robot barkeeps, so seeing a real one is a nostalgic blast for me. A keg is in a stand with a spout, while a table is covered in goblets. The dark windows make the whole space feel cramped like a tavern should.

Upstairs is where weary adventurers rest. A desk is in the corner with a stool and small vase for decoration. Opposite it is a small dresser but what is really amazing are the little details, like the twirls in the posts making them reminiscent of Corinthian columns.

The final room is the bedroom with a simple bead that makes genius use of cured bricks to make it look like the blankets are coming over the side while the tiles alternate the quilt pattern. A small fireplace is with it that too has a few glowing embers making the room feel just as cozy (but in a different way) from the bar downstairs.

Both buildings have hinges allowing them to easily open or close, along with pegs to lock them closed if you wish. But opened or closed, they look exceptional. The post work and the different colors are gorgeous while the stonework on both chimneys really shows how LEGO excels.

I originally bought this set to expand my winter-themed village and I thought the old world look of them was appropriate. But I love how universal these two buildings are. They work wonderfully as a starting point for a modern winter village or as the beginnings of Hogsmeade.

But I will say that assembling this set was a pain simply because LEGO didn’t use the numbered bags, so instead it was a free-for-all making it take forever to find the right brick or two. The end result though was absolutely worth it. It’s kind of funny that I love this set so much because it really is just background dressing. There aren’t bad guys running amok or even knights to cause an issue. It’s just a quiet day in the village with people shopping in the market, but it’s perfect.

Written by jestergoblin

April 27th, 2011 at 12:00 am

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