10305 Lion Knights’ Castle Review

Reviewed by Angelina Yonekura (SAFOLs Member, CapeLUG Member)

For Christmas in 1984, as a kid, I received the King’s Castle, my first ever LEGO set. With four horses and 14 minifigures the possibilities were endless but typically the red guys vs. the blue guys. 2013 was the last time a castle or kingdom theme set has been released by LEGO. The 10305 Lion Knights Castle commemorates LEGO’s 90th anniversary.  4514 pieces designed by Mike Psiaki, Milan Madge, and Ashwin Visser.

The two instruction manuals contain a history of the castle kingdom theme, visually describing the evolution and history of these sets to the current lion knights’ castle. There are 35 bags in 26 building sections, and an unnumbered 36th bag holds larger plates and thankfully no stickers. The time it took me to build was approximately 15 ½ hours although I had modified the walls to include more plants. I did not grasp the size of this set even looking at the bags until it was built and then the wow factor kicks in.

For any child or adult who loves the medieval times of knights on horses, fighting epic battles, this is the set that would impress them. This is a very large and well-rounded and equipped set. The various new pieces and techniques including angles and snot techniques truly benefit any LEGO fan.

Minifigures include Lion Knights, Forest men, a few Black Falcon knights, a wizard and peasantry. Queen Lionne with her fully decked assemble and horse is ready for battle and probably one of my favorites. She is escorted by an all-female Queen’s guard thus changing what used to be an all-male tradition.  A change between the older Lion Knights and Black Falcon’s is the leg design adding trip and chainmail improving the level of minifigure detail. One Black Falcon minifigure is reminiscent of the Monty Python and Holy Grail squire with the coconuts and had they added a coconut to his already heavy pack it would have been a great easter egg. I do wish they had used the older helmets with chin guard (3896) from the 1980 to early 1990’s for the Black Falcons. Maybe a bit of nostalgia but those were featured in in black and dark grey in earlier versions of Black Falcons.

Unique angles and section of the castle walls. It separates in two parts and needs to be as large as it is. Only issue is connection between both very large and heavy sections are just 2 modified 1×1 open clip. The issue I have found is if the alignment is not just right it won’t connect, and they easily disconnect with the slightest movement. Small modification of adding two clips would assist if it became an issue.

The waterwheel turns a gristmill with all the gears moving realistically and a sack of grain. There is even a medieval privy with a roll of toilet paper. Indoor stable at the gate, and a dungeon where the skeleton roams. There are stalls in the open section of the castle featuring food and lots of flowers and creeping ivy over an archway. The balcony by the waterwheel has an amazing sliding feature that slides in and out of a castle wall when you open it and incorporates hinges to bend when you close the castle section making a square balcony. There are so many hidden details like the birds’ nets, forest men hideout, and various side rooms and features it makes the build entertaining and fun.

The kitchen is complete with an oven and a section with various foods and containers and a flowing water feature looking like flowing water. The kid’s playroom has a yellow castle most likely a designer nod to the 1978 Classic Castle (375/6075) in yellow.

Pros: The kitchen is by far the best room in the castle. An orange/red light brick would have made an exceptional addition in the fireplace. Weapons are not lacking in this set from the armory located in the portcullis room, above the storeroom, and on the walls in the hidden Forest men room. There is enough to equip the peasantry if needed to save the castle. The angles in the castle, some connected by ball joints, and various wedge usage, create a lot of excitement with challenging and new techniques.  This set comes with a wonderful assortment of 22 minifigures (including a skeleton), a cow, lamb, bird, various frogs and two horses. Arched windows and the thatched roof are some of the most impressive techniques I have seen in regard to roof builds. Unlike the tiles on the blacksmith these give texture and variation of colors making it visibly appealing.
 
Misses: The wizard Magisto is simply welcome but completely plain with no printing unlike most of the detailed printing on the 21 other minifigures. Even in an earlier set he had a belt with a moneybag which had been a consistent feature in prior editions.  Bell tower is a big miss featuring a pear gold bell but hidden behind a small window unlike most bell towers with large arched openings. The kitchen, while my favourite room in the castle, lacks light and you do miss some of the detail as it can get very dark.
There are a lot of discussions about the ramp. It feels incomplete, and the long slopes with limited studded surfaces inhibit placing any horses or minifigures on most of it. The designers take great care to round the walls and add great window features, but this feels as if they have forgotten about this section.

Personal wishes: Honestly in a castle this huge you would think there would be a throne room but instead there is a room with a harpsichord or kids’ playroom. Personally, I modified it to have a creeping vine with SNOT bricks, but various other options would help break up the wall of the same color. Brick on brick of light blue grey intermixed with masonry bricks while welcoming for variation there are much more techniques and options out there. Would love if additional sets include more horses with various barding. Overall, this was a very welcomed for old castle fans like me.

Value for money: At R6500 it is on the higher end cost wise and cost per brick is not great for the variety of pieces, but this is balanced with the experience and nostalgia for the adult castle theme fans.

Name: Lion Knights’ Castle

Set#: 10305

Theme: LEGO Icons

Cost: Official LEGO store R6,499.00

Brick Count: 4514 pcs, 21 minifigures, 1 skeleton, 1 cow, 1 baby sheep, 2 horses

Unique pieces: Inverted 2×2 curved slopes in Reddish Brown (1750), 2×3 plate modified rock/claw fingers in nougat (27261), 10 different shield designs some classic with a few multiples of the Lion Knights shields. Cloth flags (100731, 1000728). There are some color changes, but my personal favorite is the cow (64452pb01c01),

Size: Closed 38cm high, 44cm wide

Minifigures: Release Date: August 8, 2022