Sunday, August 5, 2018

[YouTube] LEGO Castle Theme 1978-1981

This year marks the 40th anniversary of LEGO's Castle theme which launched in 1978. Three sets were released from 1978 to 1981: Knight's Procession, Knight's Tournament, and Castle. There is at least one minor variation as the Castle set had some emblem changes during its run; all of my sets are likely the final releases from 1981 due to the manuals all including the newer set number and I would have only been three in 1978. As seen in the video above, I do have all of the structure pieces, however, I'm missing some of the mini-figures and accessories. There are also a few sticker differences that can be seen in the manual scans below.

Knight's Procession (677/6077)
The Knight's Procession set is the smallest of the three. It includes six mini-figures and pieces to build a cart that is pulled by two of the figures. The wheels are the same type that were used on Town vehicles at the time as the more detailed Castle sets with actual wood-styled wheels didn't arrive until 1984. I'm missing a couple of the figures, swords, and shields, so I've substituted one of the later, dark gray plastic swords in the photos.

Front and back of the instructions:

Knight's Tournament (383/6083)
The Knight's Tournament features a king and queen taking in a jousting competition. This one also includes six mini-figures, plus pieces to build a canopy and two horses. These horses are a bit large and very square because, as mentioned above, the more detailed sets hadn't arrived yet and those included plastic horses not made out of LEGO bricks. Unfortunately, I am missing the two guards in this set and my flags have the stickers upside down. I can't recall if the stickers were applied by LEGO or the user, though it's possible my parents messed that up. There is also some yellowing on the canopy roof's white bricks. I thought this might be due to excessive heat during storage as that has harmed other toys though it's possible it was in sunlight for too long (odd though that the back white row is perfectly fine). I found that yellowing also occurred on some of the gray bricks of my 1984+ Castle theme sets.

Front and back of the instructions:

Castle (375/6075)
Of course, this is the castle that is the centerpiece of the original Castle theme sets. It's predominantly yellow with some gray surfaces, a few black pieces, and red highlights. The rear doors, window in the main tower, and drawbridge are all red. This set includes 14 mini-figures but, unfortunately, I am missing two of them along with an assortment of weapons, shields, and face masks for the knights. In the manual the jousting lances are shown as gray and I've substituted brown ones for those. Helmets for the knights are also shown as gray for those I've substituted helmets that match the body colors.

The manual shows that the mini-figures wear removable tunics with sticker emblems which is something I do not have. It makes me wonder if those pieces were missing in my set or if the last run of the sets did not include them. Instead, the stickers have been applied directly to the mini-figures. Also, the knights emblems are not matched up to the same colored mini-figures shown in the manual which could have been my parents or myself I suppose, unless they came that way. Another sticker issue is that some of the manual images show shield stickers on the sides of the castle which I do not currently have.

These instructions are more like a proper manual while the other two were fold-out pamphlets. The scans aren't perfect as one page has a tear and since pages are printed on the front and back that means two scans have the tear.

Here are some comparisons with the 1984 toys. The second is simply a wheel comparison as the  item is on the right is an incomplete siege weapon. That other castle is called King's Castle and while more detailed, it's not too different than the original; it has a gate behind the drawbridge and a prison cell inside.

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