LEGO have been absolutely slaying the game when it comes to large, ambitious 18+/Creator Expert sets, and doubling down on nostalgia in 2021.
Following the very positively received launch of the Medieval Blacksmith early this year which brought back the Black Falcons faction, and the resurgence of Vintage Castle thanks to its strong showing in the 90th Anniversary Fan Vote, it’s been quite a renaissance year for Castle.
Bonus reading: check out my interview with Medieval Castle designers Wes Talbott and Austin Carlson to geek out on all things vintage and Castle.
The rumour mill went into overdrive when LEGO teased a mini-Castle in the designer interview, and fans were expecting LEGO to give a classic LEGO Castle the full 18+/Creator Expert treatment, but turns out, LEGO had other plans, and here we have this year’s 31120 Medieval Castle, which sits within the Creator 3-in-1 theme.
The reveal post was one of the most popular and talked about posts on the blog this year, and it seemed that fans were split and unsure about the Medieval Castle being a basic Creator 3-in-1 set, and I had similar fears too, but after building the set, I can confidently say that this is a standout set this year.
Read on to check out LEGO 31120 Medieval Castle in more detail!
The new LEGO Creator Medieval Castle will be released in Europe and Asia Pacific from 1 June 2021, 1 August 2021 in the US and will retail for US$99.99 / AU$159.99 / £89.99 from LEGO.com, LEGO Brand Retail Stores, and most toy stores.
Special thanks to the LEGO Group for providing this set for review
31120 Medieval Castle Set Details
It’s been a while since I’ve built a Creator 3-in-1 set, and after a whole slew of detailed, complex 18+ sets like R2-D2, this was a refreshingly chill build – no complicated Technic machinations, or high-level building techniques – just straight forward simple LEGO building.
That’s not to say that the build was boring, but this is obviously aimed at younger kids aged 9+, so it has to remain quite accessible, while at the same time leveraging modern building techniques.
It’s great fun that will last you a couple of hours (on the main Castle build) at a really affordable pricepoint.
Why waste the awesome new Black Falcons torsos and legs introduced in the Medieval Blacksmith? You get 2 Black Falcon knights in the set – a male and female knight (yay gender balance) who are each armed with a spear and shield, and a longbow.
Also included is a random minifigure, who looks like a bum, or peasant but is actually the Castle blacksmith. Or he could be the king, and just enjoys dressing up like a bum to not draw attention.
Here are the back prints on the minifigures, but they don’t have dual-sided heads.
Unfortunately, the Black Falcon knights don’t come with the cool shoulder pauldrons like the ones in the Medieval Blacksmith set.
For a set this size, which will likely remain in Castle form, I feel that only 3 minifigures feels a little lacking, and when displayed, it could really benefit from another 2 minifigs at least – maybe some peasants, or younger children running about the Castle.
Here’s the completed Medieval Castle, and I was wowed when it was finished.
It’s a substantially large set thanks to its height, but also has a fairly compact footprint, which means that if you’re low on display space, it shouldn’t be too hard to fit it in.
The set measures over 10.5 in. (26 cm) high, 12 in. (31 cm) wide and 11 in. (28 cm) deep – the height and “volume” of the Castle is really impressive, and it makes great use of larger-elements and bricks to give it its heft, instead of relying on tons of smaller pieces to pad up the piece count.
What immediately strikes you is just how vibrant and colourful the exterior is – with the use of constrasting brown and yellow walls, red and white banners which give the grey walls some personality and character.
The Creator Castle checks all the right boxes and has all that a good LEGO castle needs – a moat, functional drawbridge, a dragon, and looming parapets and towers on each side of the keep.
There are also some considered features that break up the monotony of the drab walls such as this tree to the side with pink blossoms and small mushrooms growing at the foot, and also mossy cliffs with brown roots emerging out of them on the corners.
The Castle folds together into a compact square, and here’s a look at the left side, which has a stream, and a water wheel which powers the blacksmith.
It looks great, and I especially like the use of transparent cheese slopes to create the effect of rushing water.
Here’s a look at the little cottage/building that awkwardly sits just a little offset from the walls. I kinda like it – it’s not ugly, but looks quite natural and organic, like a building that was built on top of the Castle walls in an unplanned manner.
There’s also a neat weather vane on the Blacksmith’s roof.
Here’s a look at the back of the castle.
There’s a bullseye for archery practice at the back – which is also the home to a family of hens and a rooster – I sure hope the Black Falcon archer has good aim!
I also consider this to be a nod towards Forestmen!
And lastly, here’s the right side which boasts some really nice architectural details, especially the pillars and columns. I was not expecting such mature design language in a Creator 3-in-1 set, and I also love how well the watchtower is constructed using SNOT (studs not on top) techniques for that smooth look.
Swinging back to the front, it might be slightly disjointed, but I like how busy it is.
The red and white banners give the Castle a very regal look, and in my mind are a nod to Lion Knights.
Similarly, I think the yellow and brown colour scheme is a reference to Series 20’s Tournament Knight.
It’s really simple, but the sleek roof tiles are quite nice, and provides a nice burst of dark blue that contrasts great against the yellowish brown walls.
One of the neatest play features is the working drawbridge, which you can raise or lower by turning the dial on the side – there’s also a simple “locking” mechanism in the interior of the building to keep it in place.
Very satisfying, and perfect for when Wolfpack starts sieging the Castle.
What’s really neat about the Castle is just how playable it is. It has 2 modes – folded up where the Castle collapses into a tight square footprint, or can be opened up like a dollhouse to open up more play possibilities.
You can open it out to create a formidable “wall” setup like this.
Or fold the walls in slightly to play out scenes on the inside of the keep – which is quite charming, and less intimidating than the stoic outer walls of the castle.
It opens up to reveal the interiors of the Blacksmith’s workshop, battlements (walkways) for Black Falcons to patrol, a small fruit stall and some other fun little hidden features.
To feed the Castle inhabitants, there’s a small unmanned stall here with fruits, and a baguette.
There’s a solitary jail cell with a poor skeleton inside. Guess the Black Falcons are the type of faction to conveniently forget to feed their prisoners.
Having copious amounts of food next to the jail cell is an extra level of pettiness that I didn’t know was possible in a LEGO set.
Here’s a look at the Blacksmith’s Workshop, which has a suit of armour ready to go, as well as a sword that’s being forged.
The water wheel comes in handy here, as you spin it, it operates the blacksmith’s hammer to automate the forging process, which is pretty clever for a guy who looks like his favourite hobby is drinking too much ale on the weekend.
I really enjoyed this simple mouse and cheese scene on the stairs, just outside the Blacksmith’s workshop.
Beneath the stairs is another classic Castle staple – a treasure chest with jewels and bars of gold inside.
The last thing that caught my eye in the main section of the Castle is this privy chamber aka a medieval toilet. It’s fairly unassuming, tucked in a dark corner but the roll of toilet paper gave it away!
Last but not least, the build ends on a fantastical note by assembling this fully brick-built dragon. It uses ball joints for posability, but I found it quite fiddly and unbalanced, although I do like design used for its head – especially its angry expression.
Is it better than the classic LEGO dragon? Absolutely not, but it’s a fun exercise to build the dragon out of bricks that younger builders can enjoy.
That said, the dragon does introduce even more playability to a set that has playability and roleplay absolutely bursting from its gills.
Being a Black Falcon castle, I had to obviously call in some reinforcements, as there’s just so much space to go around.
I have to say, the interiors look so much better with more minifigures filling it up.
What I liked:
- An excellent collision of old and new LEGO
- So much value packed into a really affordable set
- Black Falcons!
- Looks terrific on display
- Great working play features
- You may be tempted to purchase 3 copies
What I didn’t like:
- Only 3 minfigures isn’t quite enough
- Castle wall locking mechanism is a little fiddly, and isn’t the smoothest
- Not a major complaint, but I would’ve liked more references to Classic Castle themes
As a massive fan of all things Vintage LEGO, and Classic Castle, I had my apprehensions when I heard that LEGO was going to take on a Castle as part of its Creator 3-in-1 theme, but all fears disappeared as soon as I started the build.
The most pleasant surprise was just how familiar building the castle felt like – from the folding mechanism which was commonly employed in vintage LEGO Castle, to the layout and selection of colours, the designers did a terrific job adapting norms and tropes from classic Castle, yet were able to make it also feel like a contemporary LEGO set.
The bright vibrant colours might be a sticking point for some, but I like the different colours as it gives the Medieval Castle a pop of personality, and makes for a really eye-catching display piece, rather than a monolith of grey.
The fact that this is a Creator 3-in-1 set, and that there are 2 alternate builds (a Tower + Trebuchet combo and Windmill) ensures that there’s plenty of replayability here, which is ideal for people that don’t have a massive LEGO budget and want to get the most out of their purchases – which is where Creator 3-in-1 shines.
The Black Falcons connection is nice, however one of the glaring weaknesses is the lack of minifigures. Only 3 minifigures to populate what is essentially a large minifig-scale set feels like a mistake here, and the model would have benefited tremendously from some peasants, someone to man the stalls, or even some children running about.
It truly feels stark and empty when you realise you have all this free space, so my advice would be to gather all your old Castle minifigures to populate the Medieval Castle.
Do I want a proper 18+ Castle with a ridiculous piece count and crazy build techniques? Absolutely, but this is a nice stepping stone, and hopefully if this sells really, really well will signal to LEGO that Classic Castle fans are still hungry for more.
This is one of those special LEGO sets that has accessibility as its trump card. It’s perfect for families and young kids, but will also appeal to those wanting to indulge in some Castle nostalgia.
I’m really impressed by the design team’s ability to seamlessly blend the old with the new in such an accessible format. With it being a Creator 3-in-1 set, it will hopefully go on discount regularly which makes it an even more compelling purchase.
This is a strong 4 out of 5 from me, and one of the non-18+ highlights of 2021, and cannot recommend this enough.
To check out the alternate builds, read Brickset’s review which showcases the other 2 alternate builds as well.
Rating and score: 4/5 ★★★★✰
Build  – The build blended classic Castle architecture with modern techniques without it being overwhelming or tedious. Plus, you can build 3 variants!
Real Value  – Being a Creator 3-in-1, it’s great value – affordable, and you get so much out of it
Innovation  – It’s remarkable how much can be achieved with a simple selection of non-specialised elements
Coolness  – It looks great on display, and it feels extra cool as it’s been so long since the last LEGO castle.
Keepability  – This has the potential to be a great keeper, and is an all-around great set – unless of course LEGO goes full 18+ on a Castle set.
Thanks so much for reading! I hope you enjoyed my review of the Creator 3-in-1 Medieval Castle!
The new LEGO 31120 Medieval Castle will be released on 1 June 2021 globally and will be available from LEGO.com
Now that you’ve seen it, what do you think of the Medieval Castle and does it meet your expectations?
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Special thanks to the LEGO Group for providing this set for review.