2021 was a good year for us #bringbacklegocastle screaming middle-aged fan AFOLs. After the Medieval Blacksmith 21325 appeared at the beginning of the year, a few months later there was the CREATOR 3-in-1 Medieval Castle 31120, the first castle in ages.
But that’s not all! Just one month later, in July, the BrickLink Designer Program started and here was another fantastic castle. The Castle in the Forest, designed by povoq and submitted in the LEGO Ideas program in 2020. Unfortunately in a limited quantity of 10.000 worldwide, so it was sold out within 30 minutes. But as a small consolation, for all those who unfortunately had no luck, the building instructions can be downloaded as a PDF.
After a long time of waiting, the set arrived as a crowning conclusion of the year, in mid-December with me. In the following I would like to show you the Castle in the Forest a bit closer and show some great and some not so great things.
The packaging, instructions and building
Let’s start with the packaging. For the entire program were designed own boxes. In a plain white, with dark gray sides and a picture of the castle on the front. The box itself was surprisingly small, but filled to the brim. This I find very positive, because thus no unnecessary space is wasted by much too large boxes.
As announced in advance, there are no printed assembly instructions. The instructions can be downloaded as a PDF or you can use the LEGO Instruction app. I decided to use the app.
Basically, the instructions were very good. It was easy to understand and all construction steps were comprehensible. Only from bag 4 onwards were there regularly parts left over that were only needed in later construction stages. Also, there was a white rope that did not appear in the instructions and I do not understand how to use it.
But all in all, I was very satisfied with the instructions and I have seen much worse instructions from other stone manufacturers.
The building experience was good. You could tell in some places that it is not a set that has been reworked by LEGO designers and that it is a fan model. However, this is in no way a bad thing, on the contrary, it was nice to see different building techniques and approaches.
With a few exceptions. The staircase, for example, is built in a way that I haven’t seen before in LEGO sets. It looks very good, but it is not as stable as expected. During construction, it collapsed several times. In the end, however, it has been stabilized so that it only breaks apart under strong pressure.
Another example is the wall projections under the battlements. They look really great, but because they are only pinned from below, with one connection point, they fall off very easily. I also had some other parts fall off several times during transport, but overall the castle is very solidly built.
The Minifigures and Animals
Before we take a closer look at the castle, let’s have a little look at the figures and animals. This set includes six figures and five animals.
Starting with the forestmen figures, there are two archers and the boatman. For the assortment of figures, the designer has used the current LEGO catalog. Therefore, they are nothing special, but they are very appropriate and nicely put together.
The two archers are classically equipped with a base and a quiver each. The boatman has, in addition to his staff to control the raft, a small shield and a sword. The shield is nicely designed and as you would expect, it is a sticker.
In addition to this, there is a farmer who looks very coherent with his backpack and pitchfork.
In addition, there are two Black Falcon knights. One of them runs on foot and is equipped with his silver helmet, a shield, and a spear. The other comes in armor, a closed helmet, a sword, and an unfortunately not printed round shield.
In addition, a lance with a Black Falcon flag is attached to his horse, unfortunately, this is also not printed.
Now for the animals. In the water below the castle are a crab and a frog, which of course must not be missing from any castle. Also hiding in the trees to the right and left of the castle are a light brown owl and a blue bird.
The largest animal of all is the horse. This is the same horse that was part of the Medieval Blacksmith 21325. Since one of the two Black Falcon knights rides the horse, this of course requires a saddle. This one is brick-built and looks good.
It is a pity, however, that the newly released saddle from the LEGO City Horse Transporter 60327 Set released in Jan. 2022 could not be used.
Let us now take a closer look at the castle. In short, it’s fantastic!
The castle consists of 3 floors, a basement, the first floor with the main entrance and the second floor with a table and a small balcony. In addition, there is a staircase to the roof, where the winch for the main gate is located and a small room in the staircase between the two floors. The basement consists mainly of water. Next to it is a small cave with a bed and a secret staircase, which is behind the fireplace in the entrance hall. On the left side, a tree has grown into the castle, there is another secret entrance behind which a small treasure is hidden.
I especially like the fact that the castle is closed all around. To get to the inside of the castle, you can open the back wall of the castle. Likewise, the left annex with the staircase and the small room can be opened.
Also, the cave annex on the right side can be folded away to the side, as well as the cave can be opened in front. In addition, it is possible to remove the roof including the gate upwards. Thus, on the one hand, the castle looks wonderful and on the other hand, the interior can still be reached easily.
Overall, the exterior and the walls of the castle is designed with great attention to detail.
There are many playful trees, plants and a small target around the castle. Also the rocks and the cave are very nice to look at and everything together frames the castle in a noble scenery.
The walls of the castle and the battlements are also very lovingly decorated with many small details.
I also particularly like the main gate here. It is built relatively simple, but looks fantastic. Inside, just behind the main gate, is the entrance hall. There is a small box with weapons, a staircase and a fireplace that hides a secret passage.
There is also a trapdoor in the floor, just behind the door, which can be used to transport uninvited guests directly into the water below the castle. If you follow the staircase, you will get to a small room on a mezzanine floor. There, as a highlight, there is a painting of a Forestman on the wall.
Continuing up the stairs, you reach the next floor of the castle. In the middle of the room is an inviting table and from there a beautifully designed blue door leads outside to the balcony. There is also a ladder that leads up to the roof.
The den in the basement includes a bed, with a small nightstand and a fireplace with a stove well built into the den. From there you can reach the lake below the castle and a ladder that leads to the secret passage behind the fireplace in the main hall.
All in all, the castle looks very nice and convinces with its many small details. Also, the historical reference to the LEGO sets 6066, 6054, and 6077 can be seen and give the set a little more charm.
In conclusion, I can only say I am very excited and give the castle a clear 10/10 points! For 149€, it’s a beautiful set that’s great to look at and take beautiful photos with. Nevertheless it also offers a lot of nice play possibilities. The figures are also absolutely appropriate and fun.
However, I would not pay the absolutely overpriced price that is currently demanded on the secondary market for it. Fortunately, the instructions are available for free download, so it is possible for anyone to get the parts themselves and rebuild the castle.
So all I can really say is: Hopefully we’ll see more sets in this direction soon and bring back LEGO Castles!
Behind the Scenes
Now I would like to give you an insight into how the cover image of this post was created and especially how the post-processing was done.
Since I had to carry everything up the mountain, I had very little with me. The LEGO castle in a big box, my camera with a 30mm lens and a small tripod to position the camera on the ground.
The picture was taken on a cold morning in December, just after the sun came over the ridge. The light situation here is exclusively the rising sun and the natural haze that hung over the vineyards that morning. My camera settings were f5.6 with ISO100 and 1/250s shutter speed.
RAW camera image without adjustments. First global adjustments in Adobe Lightroom.
Since I shoot exclusively in RAW, it is necessary to develop the images afterwards in a suitable software. I use Adobe Lightroom for this, but there are also several alternatives with which RAW files can be developed. Above is the out-of-camera image, it looks relatively flat and has almost only very bright or very dark areas due to the lighting situation.
Therefore I first apply some global settings to the image. The result can be seen in the image below. I darkened the highlights a bit and lightened the midtones. The image now looks much more evenly lit and the front of the castle is now clearly visible.
To bring the castle more in focus, i cropped the image to 16:9. Thereby I removed some unnecessary sky and foreground.
In the next step, I made some local adjustments. To give the image a little more depth, I darkened the foreground significantly. I also wanted the farmer to stand out more against the bright sky, so I darkened him significantly as well. On the other hand, I brightened the front of the castle and the faces of the figures a bit more.
Here you can see the comparison between the out-of-cam image and the result. The only disturbing element now are the two blades of grass hanging in the right foreground of the picture. As well as the three blades of grass directly to the right of the farmer. I removed them in Adobe Photoshop, using the Stamp and the Repair tool. You can read more about removing objects in Yuri’s tips article Supporting Elements in LEGO Photography.
Thank you for reading my review of the LEGO BrickLink Castle in the Forest 910001. If you have any further questions or comments or are looking for tips and help, drop by our Discord server and discuss with us. We look forward to seeing you.