LEGO® Set Review: 6090 King Saxondale Castle
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Castle System / Royal Knights

Royal Knights Castle (us)
Château des Chevaliers du Roi (fr)
Gran Castillo de Los Caballeros del Rey (es)
Kongeborgen (da)
Burg Löwenherz (de)
King Saxondale Castle (uk)

Ages 8-12 / 743 Pcs
63 page manual. 1 model. 136 steps. ©1995
Price Range: 65 pounds UK (about US $105 at current rates), ~9 pence/element
Special Features / Compatibility
Extra Elements
  • Skeleton Arms and Legs
  • Treasure Bricks
  • A couple other odds and ends
Decals: None
Scale: Mini-Figure
Errors: None


Conclusion
If you are into Castles this set is a must have. It is well featured with nice details. However it is very expensive and I thought it could do with just a few more bricks here and there.

Description

This is the large castle in the new 1995 Royal Knights theme, Lego's biggest castle yet. The castle is predominantly black and grey with trimmings in blue and dark grey. It features a portcullis and a tower with a throne for the King which has a trap door. Also a treasure room, a catapault, a double crossbow, a "secret" entrance, a rear drawbridge, treasure hidden in rooves, a luminous ghost and a skeleton in another trapdoor-cum-drawbridge. As well as the King, there are two knights and six other castle blokes. The model detail features blue peaked turrets, gargoyles and a well.

There are numerous alternate designs on the box and one featured a large dragon built from individual LEGO elements.

[The set is at] Mini-figures Scale. Baseplate would fit in a town, being the length of two road plates if you add a standard 16 x 32 nob baseplate. I am pleased this castle has the same predominant colour scheme as previous castles so my larger efforts don't have to be multicoloured.

Impression

Good timing for LEGO. I just come back from a trip to Cornwall where my significant other (Lindsay) and myself visited Tintagel Castle, one of the alleged birthplaces of King Arthur, and I find an enormous Castle in the Oxford Toys R Us. They didn't have a price on it and they didn't have any other Royal Knights stuff so I had clearly gotten in early. It was with some trepidation that I took this to the counter. I told Lindsay it would be 80 quid (Supercar / Space Monorail level) so when it came up 65 she said "Oh that's quite good". I'm not sure I agree and she was probably being nice. Expensive habit, this LEGO.

I abandoned the 6195 I was building (UK name "Aqua Dome 7" - yuk! - couldn't get into that for some reason ) to build this set. Two display trays and loads of bags to rip into. I built the skeleton first - the arms and legs are separate. The arms have a ball and socket joint which was a bit weak, the arms do not stand out, just hang limply. I now have another skeleton with stronger joints, but its arms won't stand out reliably either. The set comes with several spare skeleton limbs; these will look cool spread about a dungeon. I took a few evenings to build it. I was particularly taken with the new baseplate (described in detail under ELEMENTS) which my minds eye can already see built into my next mega-castle. I liked the details on the model, particularly the gargoyles.

The model is dominated by a portcullis and a two level tower at the rear-right corner which I will refer to as the King's Tower. There are features at the other three corners. These three corners and the portcullis use a new wall element - basically like the existing 5-long wall element, but held at 45 degrees to make it a corner element.

The rear-left corner has a small tower that was blatantly half built ! The front-left corner has a short tower that resembles the corner features of the Black Knight's Castle (6086), only using a new wall piece and half the height. The front-right corner has the catapault which I liked - you actually had to build this from separate elements ! The centre of the rear wall features a movable double-catapault.

The King's tower has a second level with a throne for the King to sit at, and a drawbridge lowering to the right side of the castle. The ground floor of this tower has no walls, simply "stilts" at each corner made from the octagonal pillars found in the Aquazone sets, although one side is blocked when you raise the drawbridge. There are also a lot of gaps in the flooring and no proper steps to the King's throne room, merely a one nob wide wall (of course, like in previous castles, there is no attempt to make steps to upper levels of towers or the portcullis). The throne room is a little better and features a trap door allowing the King to plunge people to their deaths, and the roof (which hides some treasure) was nice. Altogether however, this tower was a bit too much like The LEGO Group being cheap with pieces to me.

My King Arthur badly misses his Gwenivere - no female minifigs in this set. Perhaps she had already been packed off after playing about with Sir Lancelot...

I plan to get an additional 6086 (Black Knight's Castle) for parts while Toys R Us have a few hanging around rather than buying a second 6090.

Ratings

Set Rating:Very-Good

For me its a must-have but I have a few reservations, addressed later, about rating it as such. And then there is the price to consider.

Model Rating:Very-Good

The model detail is good, particularly the gargoyles and there are a lot of operable features. A bit let down by a bit of skimping on the King's Tower and rear corner tower.

Playability Rating:Excellent

Trying to imagine myself 9 again (I don't *play* with models these days naturally !), there seems to be plenty in this model that "does stuff" - see SET DESCRIPTION. You have the catapault that will chuck stuff, a portcullis, and two drawbridge type efforts, one with a pulley. One of the drawbridge features is a trapdoor (manually operated by pulling on a string) that reveals a skeleton. This appears to be the gimmick for the Royal Knights sets, like the luminous ghost was for Black Knights, as I also have a 6036 (UK name: The Gatekeeper) that reveals a skeleton when you pull out a lance. To me the skeletons are clearly supposed to be dead things rather than an animated spooky friend for the ghost. The UK name for the King is "Richard the Lion Heart" according to the catalogue name for 6008. This would have fitted in better with the old forest theme (Robin Hood). I prefer to call mine King Arthur as the UK name for the blue wizard is Merlin. This makes the King's special silver sword Excalibur (the rest are all standard grey swords).

Likes

The new castle wall corner pieces and the baseplate. I know its the subject of debate, but I like some of the preformed castle wall pieces. It would be very hard to make either of these pieces out of conventional LEGO.

The skeleton, the gargoyle idea, the roof detail, the King and his sword. The wide range of minifig armour.

Dislikes

Why no Queen ! Not a single female minifig in fact, although a few of them had generic plain smiley faces.

The usual gripe about The LEGO Group getting stingy with pieces. About 20 or 30 more pieces would have plugged a few gaps that need plugging to my eye. The King's tower - basically a platform on legs - and the other rear tower are very bad in this respect.

Elements

Display Tray

Two trays with numerous elements such as a Skeleton, Luminous Ghost, King Minifigure and sword, four other castle blokes with different helmets.

Special/Unusual Elements:

A new castle wall corner piece. Many other special castle pieces seen in previous castle themes and the octagonal pillars I have only previously met in Aquazone sets.

A new raised baseplate. It is 1.5 times the length and equal depth of previous raised plates (48 x 32 studs) and has a hollow centre. It has a ramp about 1/6th of the way along (such that it would align with the road of a roadplate flush to the left edge). The ramp goes to about half the height of the baseplate where it meets the smooth edge you can rest plates across to make a platform (you find this along the top of previous raised baseplates), so in effect you can get three levels out of this baseplate. There is also a preformed set of steps along the outside right edge. The set has a wide variety of pieces, many in colours new to my collection.

New to this line

This set has the King with the silvered crown and sword and the skeleton. The skeleton has six parts - head, torso, two legs, two arms - instead of the minifig three parts. The skeleton's arms have a tendency to be loose.

Non-Plastic Elements

A few lengths of string
Reviewer Information
Reviewer Name Age (at review) E-Mail WWW Favorite Product Lines/Themes
Paul Collison 27 p.collison@physics.oxford.ac.uk --- Castles and Space

I oscillate between Castles and Space as a favourite theme - I also have some Aquazone and even the Paradisa Lighthouse set (6414) under the guise of buying it for my girlfriend.

I have a tendency to buy duplicate sets for parts. My 6090 will be broken up real soon to start on my "Crystal Castle" - I hope to combine some of the translucent space parts in a magic tower for the Wizard. We'll see if that works.


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