In January final 12 months, Lego promised that the 90th anniversary can be a memorable one: the corporate agreed to revive certainly one of its basic Lego themes (reminiscent of House, Fortress, and Pirates) with a brand new set. Lego for adults.
However evidently at present we’re not simply receiving a nostalgic bomb – the corporate has determined to deliver again the basic House and the basic Fortress on the similar time. First, Lego unveils Galaxy Explorer, a $ 100 prime model of the long-lasting Lego spacecraft, which is on the market for pre-order at present. And secondly, it broadcasts the Fortress of the Lion Knights, which – at $ 400 and four,514 items – is definitely probably the most difficult and spectacular set of toys the corporate has ever produced.
For days, I have been pouring over high-resolution images of each set you may discover under, marveling at hidden particulars and gameplay options. However I did not need to do it alone: I used to be in a position to discuss to their important designers Mike Psiaki (see additionally: Titanic, Saturn V, Aston Martin DB5) and Milan Madge (House Shuttle Discovery, Pirates of Barracuda Bay, Central Perk). I even bought to speak to Niels Milan Pedersen, a 44-year veteran who co-created Lego Pirates and Forestmen, labored on many basic house themes, and designed most of the most iconic forts, castles, and ships. Black Knight’s Fortress. The Royal Fortress of the Knights that I used to be fortunate sufficient to personal as a baby and the legendary Black Sea Barracuda.
And to be damned if the brand new fort would not beat everybody.
Secret hatches and passages. Elevate and decrease the drawbridge and grille, now with hidden chains and counterweights constructed proper into the tray, as a substitute of the uncovered ropes I had once I was a child. Essentially the most fortified towers in a Lego fort up to now, full with slots for arrows. A water wheel, geared on a toasted stone, in order that the baker can grind flour for his bread. A royal bed room and an arsenal stuffed with weapons and a dungeon and a tiny banquet corridor and sufficient stairs and ladders to successfully join a lot of the ranges. The Lion Knights and the Black and Forest Knights and mini-stables and an ox and cart and an outside meals stand.
“We actually wished to evoke the sensation you had while you opened the catalog as a baby and noticed this big panorama with the market village and the peasants,” says Madge. Consequently, the set has over 20 minifigures, greater than all however the largest Star Wars, Marvel and sports activities units.
Oh, and I discussed woman with a crown runs every part many Are these girls minifigures ?!
However maybe probably the most unbelievable half for me is how the entire set turns. I would like to point out you a video, as a result of it took me a second to wrap my thoughts round it with solely nonetheless photographs – from the surface, it seems like a closed fort even when the surroundings is open, and two or when closed. . As a thought-provoking train, check out the water wheel within the photos above. Does the river move close to the fort or does the river move by way of it? The reply is each.
Designer Milan Madge says that closed / open design was the objective from the start. The primary influences of his group have been the unique yellow Lego fort from 1978, which opened equally on the hinges, and the Fortress of the Black Knight 6086, with its asymmetrical design, castle-on-a-hill. “We wish it to be one thing you possibly can play 360 levels round it, we wished to make it fully closed so that you’ve got partitions on both sides.”
However Madge and Psiaki additionally shared a ardour for 6066 Camouflage Outpost, the hideout of the Foresters, and determined to cover the blissful women and men within the new fort. And once I say ‘inside’, I imply:
“If you’re on the drawbridge on the mistaken time, you’re thrown into jail, however the forest individuals have a small hidden system of caves to interrupt by way of – there’s a community hidden underneath the fort you can solely discover by the way in which. to disassemble the mannequin “, explains Madge.
“We realized that there’s just one place in the entire mannequin that’s not occupied by a type of story,” he provides. “Sure, there may be little or no free house beneath, every part is used for one thing,” Psiaki mentioned.
Talking to Niels Milan Petersen, who designed most of the units that impressed the brand new fort (together with Black Knight’s Fortress and Camouflaged Outpost), I get the impression that the older Lego designer is kind of proud – however possibly slightly jealous of what his friends can do. with a price range designed for grownup Lego followers?
“We at all times put a lot into them that we needed to take them out once more,” says Pedersen. “Costs weren’t that prime as a result of individuals weren’t spending a lot on toys in these days, and that is at all times been a priority for us.”
“It was rather more considered only for children, as a result of in these days, , adults would not acknowledge in the event that they have been taking part in with Lego, that is a reasonably new factor.”
He remembers that certainly one of his authentic fort fashions had a blacksmith and a small kitchen earlier than he needed to take them out. One other had stairs resulting in towers that have been thought of too difficult and costly – and he thought the kids would undoubtedly care! “No, they did not, however they seen that there was a chimney on one of many buildings and there was no chimney linked to the chimney. That is what they really seen! Children are so humorous typically – the figures might fly to the towers. ”
The opposite issues he had to surrender in these days have been catapults and trumpets “as a result of they have been thought of weapons,” however Lego designers slowly received the battle there. By 1989, he and the late Jens Nygaard Knudsen, the creator of the Lego and Lego House minifigures, had persuaded his superiors to permit not solely a pirate captain together with his personal distinctive face (as a substitute of a smile), but in addition projectile cannon hearth. not within the US), pistols and muskets and a pirate flag with cranium and bones. All this was a battle with the then proprietor, Godtfred Kirk Christiansen, he says.
“Jolly Roger … he actually did not need me to place a cranium on this, that was the restrict, he did not need to see this.” They tried numerous variations with out it, nevertheless it did not look proper. “So Jens and I went to his non-public home one night time, bought right into a cup of espresso, and talked for a protracted, very long time. Finally, he gave in and mentioned sure, nicely, put your cranium on that flag, however it’s important to make him smile in some way. ”
They usually did. In 1995, they let him in. The Royal Knight’s Fortress from my childhood, designed by Petersen, has a small rock flinger on the battlements you can throw along with your finger.
Today, the previous fisherman is usually sculpting new Lego items for different designer units. He designed minifigures like the unique and more moderen skeleton Muppet Present figures reminiscent of Kermit the Frog, in addition to multifunctional parts such because the feathers within the foresters’ hats and the knight’s helmets – which he says have been initially designed as feathers for the minifigures. “Within the outdated days, while you have been going to make a component, it was required to offer that component might be used for at the least 10 years.”
The brand new Lion Knight Fortress will go on sale on August third for Lego VIPs (registration is free) and on August eighth for everybody else. Surprisingly sufficient, you most likely will not get your new Forest Hideout set (a remake of Petersen’s Forestmen’s Hideout) at no cost along with your buy, because it’s obtainable till June 22nd. For now, here is one final image of the brand new fort.