30 May 2024

LEGO® Friends review: 42638 Castle Bed and Breakfast

Posted by tobymac

When you hear the word castle, most AFOLs will think of fortified walls, towers, drawbridges, moats, knights, archers and trebuchets... and of course grey, grey and grey. But despite having the word castle in its name, today’s set doesn’t fit that description at all.

Snuggle in for a cosy night and delicious morning as we stay at the new LEGO® Friends set 42638 Castle Bed and Breakfast.

Products in this article were gifted by The LEGO Group; the author's opinions are their own.
This article contains affiliate links to LEGO.com; we may get a small commission if you purchase.

42638 Castle Bed and Breakfast
US$99.99/ £89.99/ 99.99€/ AU$149.99
1311parts
Released 1 June 2024

Set 42638 on LEGO.com


A short definition of a castle is a “private fortified residence”, usually built by local feudal lords to protect themselves and their monarch during the Middle Ages. Most of them indeed fit the stereotype of a large fortification, often in a style similar to the classic LEGO® Castle theme. But castles gradulally lost their status as a fortification and were instead seen as a status symbol of power and wealth. 

Aesthetics and the comforts of living became the main focus, resulting in castles that look more like country houses. And this appears to be the era 42638 Castle Bed and Breakfast takes inspiration from, displaying a colorful building that reminds me of Kasteel Rhederoord, a castle near where I grew up a long time ago. 

A new character, Renée, converted her castle (or chateau, as the description on LEGO.com reads, further blurring the lines) into a Bed and Breakfast and welcomes our friends for some time off.

New elements

Before we can check in and unpack our suitcases, I’ll first show all the new elements used to build the castle.

Recolors

We’re treated to a decent quantity of recolors. 

The windows are made of Light Nougat:

  • 9x Window 1 x 2 x 2 Flat Front (6488220 | 60592)
  • 13x Window 1 x 2 x 3 Flat Front (6488221 | 60593)
  • 19x Plate Special 1 x 2 with Door Rail (6488209 | 32028)

The roof features mostly Sand Blue elements:

  • 2x Cone Half 2 x 4 x 3 (6488218 | 38317)
  • 1x Tower Roof 4 x 8 x 6 Half Cone Shaped with Roof Tiles (6488433 | 1746)
  • 1x Cone 2 x 2 x 2 (6488213 | 3942)

The white walls have Bright Light Blue accents:

  • 7x Brick 1 x 1 x 5 with Solid Stud (6486837 | 2453)
  • 8x Tile 4 x 4 Curved, Macaroni (6488215 | 27507)
  • 2x Brick 1 x 8 (6488207 | 3008) has not been used in sets before, but it is known to exist as a Q-part

And the remaining recolours are:

  • 1x Bag / Suitcase with Long Handle [Opens] in Dark Pink (6491465 | 37178)
  • 3x Plant, Leaves Stacked 4 x 5 x 1 2/3 in Dark Green (6507841 | 5058)
  • 6x Bracket 1 x 1 - 1 x 2 in Medium Nougat (6474266 | 79389) which will also appear in set 10334. Read our LEGO Retro Radio review here.
  • 1x Door 1 x 4 x 6 with Window, Wood Structure in Blue (6488222 | 5466). This mold is pretty new, being introduced earlier this year in set 10332. Read our LEGO Medieval Town Square review here for a closer look.

Decorations

Aside from the mini-dolls, we get 2 new printed elements:

  • Animal, Dog, Longhaired with Tan Spots, Reddish Brown Eyes, Tongue print in White (6480947). Unlike other pets, the instructions do not mention the name of this cute animal.
  • Tile 1 x 2 with Letter print in White (6466380)

All other decorations are handled by a sticker sheet. They are lovely designs, but not essential to apply if you wish to preserve the elements instead.

Mini-dolls

The set comes with 4 mini-dolls, introducing Renée as the manager of the B&B. She welcomes guests Zac, Aliya and Olly.

  • Zac comes with a newly printed torso in Reddish Brown (6490451), while his head and legs are used in just 2 other sets.
  • Aliya has no new elements and is identical to her appearance in 41731 Heartlake International School.
  • Olly has a newly printed torso in Warm Tan (6490476) and legs in Dark Orange (6491614).
  • Renée is all new, with recolored Hair, Long Bangs Right, Clipped-Up Ponytail in White (6491545 | 5255), a new printed head in Nougat (6480940), torso in Nougat (6490492) and legs in Tan (6480944).

Rare pieces

Aside from the new elements, there are others worth mentioning.

  • Brick Round 1.5 x 1.5 Dome Top [Plain] in Reddish Orange (6482272 | 20952) was introduced in May 2024 in a single set.
  • Tile 2 x 2 Curved, Macaroni in Reddish Orange (6475326 | 27925) has appeared once before.
  • Tile 2 x 3 in Sand Blue (6381568 | 26603) has not appeared unprinted in sets, but it was available on Pick a Brick.
  • Bracket 1 x 2 - 1 x 2 Inverted in Aqua/ Light Aqua (6236033 | 99780) was seen in a single set in 2018, and is also in 10334 Retro Radio.
  • Door Frame 1 x 4 x 6 Type 2 in Medium Nougat (6422085 | 40289) was used in one set before.
  • The same goes for Plate 2 x 8 in Dark Orange (6477896 | 3034).
  • Plant, Palm Tree Top, 4 Top Bars, 1 Bottom Bar in Reddish Brown (6483392 | 2566) has only been seen in a single set back in 2011. This is a highly welcome return for making trees.

  • Plant, Stem with 3 Leaves and Bottom Pin in Lavender (6466042 | 37695) was introduced in 2024 and has appeared in 2 sets so far.
  • Plate Round 1 x 1 with Vertical Bar in Black (6508269 | 3661) is still fresh, introduced in May 2024.
  • Slope Curved 2 x 1 with Stud Notch Right in Sand Blue (6257108 | 29119) has been used in 2 sets prior. No sign of its Left counterpart in this set, regrettably.
  • Brick Arch 1 x 4 x 3 in White (6417970 | 80543) was used in 2 sets last year.
  • Animal, Bird, Duck / Duckling with Orange Beak print in Bright Yellow/ Yellow (6258021 | 49661) has been swimming along in 2 previous sets.
  • Plate Special 1 x 4 Rounded with 2 Open Studs in Bright Red/ Red (6480856 | 77845) has also appeared in 2 other sets.
  • The same goes for Tile 4 x 4 Curved, Macaroni in Sand Blue (6475598 | 3477).

The build

The castle is divided into 4 floors and is built as a modular. Floor 1 and 2 each have their own instruction manual, while floor 3 and the attic share another booklet.

The rounded walls with windows on the outside use a clever construction technique, warranting the 12+ age mark on the box:

The final result (above left) looks great, with the interesting use of exposed studs. Another round structure (above right) is found on the side, providing a view from the diner. Here, there are some ugly gaps visible.


On the first floor we find the entrance hall featuring a small chandelier and the new door. 

When the Window Frame 1 x 2 x 2 (60592) received an update in 2021 as mold 79128, there were complaints that the frame had become too tight for glass panes, resulting in cracked frames. The glass placed inside this door is also held pretty tight and requires some firm convincing to be removed again. 

On the right we find a breakfast buffet, and on the left the reception. I love the use of ingots in the guestbook (above right) to represent loose pages. The colors on the carpets look great too. On the right of the guestbook in the back we see the assembly of the rounded walls; looking less impressive on the inside. Happily, most of it is kept out of sight on each floor.


The arch above the doorway sits loose on the pillars, and kept at the required half-module distance from the wall by using plates with rail. The whole assembly is then secured by the Bright Light Blue tiles on top.


On the second floor we find a bedroom with either two single beds or a twin bed, depending on how you place the two builds. In the room next door we find 2 comfortable chairs.


The top floor features a nice antique bed, along with a bathroom with some nice details. I do have to point out the toilet paper is placed the wrong way around.


The top floor has a small bartizan (a projecting round turret) and a sloped roof. The final stage adds an attic with some random junk... uh, I mean priceless antique items.

Conclusion

What a lovely set! I’ve built many LEGO Friends sets over the years, and each time the designers seem to be able to take the theme up another step in terms of design. This set is no exception, and the overall look and color scheme is just awesome.

The 12+ age mark suggests this set might not be as heavily focused on play, and that can be seen on the inside. There are a lot of details, but the rooms are pretty cramped, limiting access. For the intended age group, the set works well: a build that is more complicated than your average LEGO Friends set, with more focus on aesthetics than play. The size keeps it in an accessible price range as well. That being said, the style and color scheme do beg for a additional 18+ version of the castle, going all out on scale and building techniques.


Looking from the New Elementary perspective, the set provides some great recolors. The roof piece and cones will come in handy for your own version of this style of castle, and the other recolors will assist in getting that lovely look. I’m always happy to see more foliage pieces, and the return of the palm tree top in Reddish Brown and the recolor for the stacked leaves in Dark Green are very welcome. I hope to see the latter receiving more autumnal recolors too.

42638 Castle Bed and Breakfast, priced US$99.99/ £89.99/ 99.99€/ AU$149.99, is available from this Saturday, 1 June 2024 but is already available for pre-order in Europe if you don't want to miss out.

READ MORE: LEGO® The Legend of Zelda set 77092 Great Deku Tree revealed

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4 comments:

  1. Yup.. as that is deffinatly not fortified. (Just hop in any groundfloor window) it deffinatly does not fit into the medieval sense of the term castle. More of a chateau maybe? Lol nice parts in it tho. And great review.

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  2. This appears modeled after what many Bed and Breakfast buildings look like in the US. I'm thinking of many shore towns in New Jersey that have bed and breakfasts that look just like this.

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  3. As toilet paper placement is quite variable even in real life, I fail to see that as a major issue here.

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    Replies
    1. Yes, personally since I have cats I tend to orient it the way it is in this set—makes it so that they can't unroll it.

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