British history series (his model of WWII code-breaking computer Colossus sits on display in Bletchley Park next to the real thing!) and his realistic Castle builds. At 2013's STEAM exhibit in Swindon, UK, he built the massive castle and grounds for The Land of Tigelfah group display and recently he's entered seven categories in CCC XI (the eleventh annual Colossal Castle Contest). Given these honourable credentials I thought it would be interesting, or perhaps horribly cruel, to send him 70806 Castle Cavalry.
In recent years I have tended to leave my set building to my two boys (aged 5 and 8). So in this tradition we have done the same with this set. It would be fair to say that as they have been surrounded by so much LEGO from birth, they are probably able to make sets with an age mark beyond their own ages. So with this set being for 8 to 14 year-olds it was going to be interesting to see how well they got on.
I gave them the choice as to which model to build first and was a little disappointed to hear that they wanted to build the spaceship first. But given that it is the main model on the box and comes first in the instructions, their choice was not overly surprising. They both liked the look of the set and the fact that two models could be made from it. This versatility takes me back to my younger days in the 1980s when the sets always had other ideas of models on the back on the box. As a child I liked those alternates and it’s what encouraged me to build my own ideas. As a parent I like the idea of sets encouraging children to use their imagination. I’ve heard a number of fellow parents say that their children never break their models up, which to me sounds sacrilegious!
Micro Manager and Spaceship
It’s a nice model, but doesn't come with a great deal of play features; just some shooters and catapults. Aesthetically, it is dominated by the two Light Bluish Gray [BL]/Medium Stone Grey [TLG] castle wall panels, part 30246, which TLG amusingly name the "French Tower", ooh la la. This is a part that I have found little use for myself over the years and haven’t seen too many times in other people’s Castle MOCs; I wonder whether those space fans will give it a go?
I thought the detailing at the rear of the model looked pretty cool though.
The Castle Gatehouse
As with the spaceship the build was easy enough for him and he had the model built in good time. Whilst he had been building I had kept an eye on the parts being used, wondering whether this second model would use all of them; at the end I was impressed with how few parts hadn’t been included. The Micro Manager is a separate build though, so you can include it with both models.
My oldest boy particularly liked the lock on the gates along with how the two towers had differing features. On the downside, he wasn’t too impressed with the stability of the cart-come-catapult, which I have to agree on; the design is a bit on the weak side. But overall, having built the two models, we were all pleased enough with the set and impressed they were both made from pretty much the same set of parts. I may find myself having to go out and get some of the other models now!
We all have differing reasons for buying sets. For me, it's all about those parts that are new or useful for me in my own models. So when looking at this set I saw the flags straight away and was hopeful that the crown emblem would be printed on them; I was disappointed to find a pack of stickers in the box instead. As personal preference I don’t use stickers and they get put away with the box, so unfortunately I didn’t get a new flag for my castle builds. The minifigs were equally disappointing for me, being made of the same parts as 2013's Castle line minifigures, although I guess this consistency is good for kids who own those sets. The (modern day) damsel in distress contains the only elements exclusive to this set: her head and torso. So, a disappointing set for new parts.
1282AD, Forest of Dean, England. War has broken out again between King Edward I and the Welsh. As part of the war preparations, timber and charcoal are being collected from the Forest of Dean near the border of England and Wales. Two knights visit Thomas Swángeréfa for a report and are greeted by Thomas's wife, Emma.
Emma Swángeréfa tells the knights that she has not seen her husband for some days and that a Welsh war party had been seen near by; maybe he has been taken or killed by them?
Unbeknownst to the knights, this story is a cover-up. Emma, having been born in Wales, remained loyal to her roots and murdered her husband to put a thorn in the English's war efforts. Once dead, she burnt him in the charcoal burner of their cottage. The knights leave satisfied with the story and without giving thought to the skull and bones outside the cottage.
Our thanks to LEGO's Community and Events Engagement Team for providing these sets.
70806 Castle Cavalry retails at US$29.99/GB£24.99.
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LEGO The LEGO Movie 70806: Castle Cavalry