Sunday, 21 August 2011

The Lego Castle Crusaders Sets 1984-1992


The Crusaders were one of the first actual factions (alongside the Black Falcon’s) to be released by TLG, after the discontinuation of the first Castle theme(which stared in 1978); they also lasted for the longest period of time (a rule of eight years) and grew into one of the largest factions ever (rivalled only by the Black Knights and Crown Knights in later years).

During their time, they where most commonly seen competing against their rival faction the Black Falcon’s in both peaceful competition and military warfare (the Jousting set 6021 and the Battering ram set 6062 being an example of each). Later on, in the Crusaders reign, they spent a great deal of their time chasing the lawless Forest men (set 6042 for example) and competing in friendly competitions with the Black Knights (set 6060).

Most famous for their civilian structures, the crusaders faction featured a number of civilian buildings (something sadly not repeated by the other factions for many years), the Blacksmith Shop and Guarded Inn being the most popular.



This faction also underwent a design change during the 80’s, initial troops sported a crossed axe emblem on their torsos, whilst later ones received a lion.



Though a back-story was never fully developed, it is commonly accepted that the crusaders were the “Good Guys” in a war with the Forestmen and Black Falcons. It is believed that with the arrival of the Black Knights that the Crusaders were overthrown and forced to leave the land.

Now you have an idea of who these guys where, let’s look at the sets.

Impulse

Set Name = King’s Catapult 1480
Piece Count = 32
Year Released = 1991



This set was actually part of a value pack and as such it could not be bought on its own. The catapult is small but effective and comes with a weapon rack for the warrior’s spare flag and spear, a very nice little set. My only problem with it is the fact that the Crusader himself is not wearing the proper uniform (the red arms should be blue otherwise he looks like a Black Knight).

Set Name = Treasure Cart 1463, 1695 and 2889
Piece Count = 21
Year Released = 1992



This cart was the last set to be released in the final days of the Crusaders; it’s a nice simple design and comes with a decent number of weapons, it was released in both a boxed and polybag version. I like to think of it as a lonely Crusader leaving the land and taking his eight years of earning with him, hopefully the Wolfpack left him alone.
 
Small

Set Name = Supply Wagon 6010
Piece Count = 35
Year Released = 1984



This set, though not actually featuring a Crusader fig, was still part of the Crusader line, due to its civilian style (similar to the blacksmiths set released in the same year). This is a perfect example of a civilian set and is the only actual set ever not to feature any faction soldiers. Designed as a supply wagon, the set comes with a great number of extra equipment, so if this little guy is attacked on this travels he’s not going to have any problems. This set also features one of the rarest shields in the LEGO world (the grey circular one) and the blue harness on the horse is not a common LEGO piece, it should also be noted that at the time the spear and cloth cap were actually both brand new piece’s and this was one of the smallest sets which a collector could get it. Overall great for expanding a weapon collection and the civilian numbers.

 
 
Set Name = Jousting Knights 6021
Piece Count = 37
Year Released = 1984



Here we have an example of peace between the Falcon’s and Crusaders, a small set with two knights, their horse’s and their equipment. The helmets they are wearing were brand new for the time (and the style is still used today) and this set also comes with four shields (two being the rare circular kind), four lances and two feather wheels (back in the day feathers came in a wheel of three so this set had six feathers to choose from), so it’s a great supplies pack. As you can see the Knights have become so friendly that they have even swapped shirts (the Falcon should be wearing blue and the Crusader red), it should be noted that the Crusaders shield was only available in this set and the Large Castle set (6080) in 1984, so this set was a nice cheap opportunity to purchase it. 


   
Set Name = Horse Cart 6022
Piece Count = 42
Year Released = 1984



Another little cart, only this time, it features a couple of Crusaders rather than a civilian. The most exciting element of this set is actually rather mundane by today’s standards, the bow; this item was new out this year and alongside the quiver, spear, horse, flags, wheels, shield and saddle, this year was very exciting with a great number of new elements. It is things like this which made this set so good for its time.



LEGO has entered into a whole new style of warfare, with the archer the ranged attacks can begin.
 
Set Name = Castle Figures 6103
Piece Count = 25
Year Released = 1984



This is a little figure set showing the new range of figs they had available in 1984. The black helms, bow and circular shields are particular highlights.
 
Set Name = Castle Mini Figures 6102
Piece Count = 36
Year Released = 1985



Though this set has less variation than the previous minfig pack (the 6103 just above), it is still very nice due to the fact that you receive two extra figures. This is very rare; in most minifig packs you only receive five (or four) minifigs, this is also a good set to pick up a number of the Crusaders printed shields (which were new out this year). 

Set Name = Castle Mini Figures 6103
Piece Count = 42
Year Released = 1988



This set is possibly the best minifigs pack ever released for castle, why? Well we have six figs, three separate factions, a civilian, a pitchfork and even six feathers for the forest man’s hats. The pitchfork has been an extremely rare minifigs accessory until the release of the new “Village Mill Raid”. This set highlights the variation available from LEGO during this period. 

Set Name = Siege Cart 6012
Piece Count = 54
Year Released = 1986



A nice small set, an interesting design but somewhat lacking due to the fact that the set cannot actually fire the spears, as much as I dislike the flick fire weapons we receive in the more modern sets this is mostly due to the missiles themselves, if I could flick fire actual spears I would be much happier. I also like the cape and how the Crusaders can pick up the cart and move it around, but oddly enough the two spears on the side are used to stabilise the Ballista rather than as extra ammo.


 
Set Name = Maiden’s Cart 6023
Piece Count = 43
Year Released = 1986



This set is special as we see the brown chest included for the first time ever, the cart itself might not be the most interesting design, but the inclusion of a female fig and the very rare white cap she is wearing makes up for that somewhat.



Set Name = King’s Oarsmen
Piece Count = 45
Year Released = 1987



Ahh, back in the day when LEGO did not have an actual oar for their minifigures to use, it was simpler times. This set is a nice army builder because of the two figs and shields; I also like the cape and white flags which are always nice additions, but due to the fact that a small boat is about as useful as a dead dog when it comes to actual siege warfare or integration with other sets (there was no dock available in the theme at this time) it’s an oddity for the theme (to be followed later by an even bigger version/oddity).



Set Name = Knight’s Arsenal 6016
Piece Count = 37
Year Released = 1988



This small set was one of my favourites when I was a child, I loved the little cart and the plethora of weapons it came with, this is a great example of LEGO perfect, one small set but five weapons, a cape, a horse and a shield. The set is not without its flaws (the “space like” tubes are terrible) but a couple of these really give you options when it comes to equipping your warriors. It should also be noted that this is the only set to ever present the smaller axe’s as a choice of weapon rather than a fireman’s tool.



Set Name = Twin Arm Launcher 6039
Piece Count = 77
Year Released = 1988



This is the first set to contain small wagon wheels (rather than the larger variation) and the barrel, round shields, and horse barding are also very welcome additions. The double catapult design is not the most realistic but it is interesting none the less. Overall not a bad little set.



Medium

Set Name = Blacksmith Shop 6040
Piece Count = 92
Year Released = 1984



Though this set might not look particularly exciting, if a closer look is taken then the set becomes much more interesting. Here is the first example of a blacksmith (ever) and with him we see black minifigs hands for the first time (in the castle series) and a completely unique brown apron (which can also be a cape). Though the set is called the Blacksmith Shop, a man who fix’s (or creates) wheels was actually called a Cartwright (or Wainwright), it should also be noted that the pitchfork was a very rare piece (though the inclusion of the Village Mill Raid has lessened that somewhat). Overall a nice little civilian set.
 

 
Set Name = Siege Tower 6061
Piece Count = 216
Year Released = 1984



One question arises with this set, who exactly is attacking the castle walls? Sure we have four figs but they are all on the same side, and yes we have a castle wall and siege tower but our Crusaders seem in possession of both, odd, very odd. Strong points with this set are the realistic tower (which is a personal favourite of mine) and the cool ladder, this is a very good add-on set, but it needs others to reach its full potential.



Set Name = Prisoner Convoy 6055
Piece Count = 115
Year Released = 1985



I imagine the conversation in that LEGO design office over this one.

What? Five? No surly not five? That’s crazy, five horses in a set, ohh ok if you insist.

Yes as you can see this set has five horses, which I believe is a record for all LEGO sets (if I am wrong please correct me on this), this set came out when the Horse was a very new LEGO piece so I suppose that they were trying to make the most of it. Aside from the ridiculous number of horses the set also include three Crusaders and one civilian, as I have a soft spot for all civilians this set ranks highly in my favourites, but the design is not the best. The carriage itself feels small and narrow and when the horses are pulled along some of them have a tendency to cartwheel over. One nice touch is the flag at the back of the carriage which also locks the jail. Still a great way to get a cavalry division started in any army.



Set Name = Armour Shop 6041
Piece Count = 114
Year Released = 1986



This is one of the classic sets that are looked upon with a nostalgic love that can make the hardest of us feel a small spot of warmth inside. So much is included within this set (helms, a cape, cups, weapons, feathers, flags and a horse) and it has a nice solid feel to it. It should be noted that the lion emblem flag and the much coveted Black Sword are both unique to this set (p.s if you have a black sword, look after it). If I was to give this set one criticism it would be the fact that the actual guy running the shop looks more like a Crusader, change that to a civilian fig and you have the perfect set. I have heard people comment that the armour shop does not have any armour within it (and hence should be chastised for it), but the actual armour piece was not released until 1990 so this is way ahead of that and can be forgiven for not including one.



Set Name = Guarded Inn 6067 and 10000
Piece Count = 253
Year Released = 1986 and 2001



This is possibly one of the most beautiful LEGO sets from this era, it is the only true civilian building and the sign and red structural elements are only included within this model, apparently this was also one of the first sets with flowers. It was seen as such a good set that it was also released as a Legends again in 2001; it was also nice to see the Falcons and Crusaders united in peace over the common good of alcohol. 



Set Name = Viking Voyager 6049
Piece Count = 99
Year Released = 1987



Another vessel to add to the growing Crusaders fleet, I like the way we get spears instead of oars, but overall I have never been a fan of these early vessels, they are just too narrow (the Sea Serpent is the obvious exception to this and as such I love that set).  It’s a good army building set but I see little else beyond that.


 
Set Name = Dungeon Hunters 6042
Piece Count = 110
Year Released = 1990



Compared to Prison Convoy, this set looks somewhat lacking but personally I prefer the actual structural design of the carriage. It feels bigger and I like the bar design on the side (easy access for your figs). The new Helm and Breast Plate were new this year as is the whip’s colour. Though it should be noted that we are starting to see the decline of minifigs numbers as three in a set this side is something we see in the present day.


 
Large

Set Name = King’s Castle 6080
Piece Count = 674
Year Released = 1984



The first Castle to replace the old yellow one and guess what, its grey! Yep LEGO realised that a stone castle looks better when it is grey, this set also comes with thirty (yes Thirty!) large grey wall panels (which is a record). The minifigs and horse numbers are nice (though lacking any opponent) and the front gate and design are sound. If compared to some of the more modern designs, then this castle can appear slightly primitive but it was designed to connect with other sets (such as the Guarded Inn and Armour Shop) if we had something similar today (for example the new Blacksmith or Outpost Attack designed to connect with the new King’s Castle) it would be very well received. The forethought with the older sets are amazing.


Set Name = Knight’s Challenge 6060 and 1584
Piece Count = 168
Year Released = 1989



This is the best tournament set to date (yep over twenty years old and not beaten), it features an ample number of spectators, and two knights (each with a squire) and a peasant/barman. It is also a good example of friendly completion between the Black Knights and the Crusaders. The set features a jousting bar, a spectators box, a weapon rack and a drinks space, this set has a lot with it and the potential to become much more, I would hazard a comment of LEGO perfection.


Set Name = King’s Mountain Fortress 6081
Piece Count = 435
Year Released = 1990



After six years of waiting for a new Castle the Crusaders are finally rewarded with a new castle (on a raised base, which was something of a novelty at the time). The Black Raven and Princess are unique to this set but whereas the previous castle featured 30 wall panels this set only featured four, the ghost should also be noted as a nice inclusion at the time. I always saw this as the keep and the previous castle as the outer wall and they go very nicely together, it should also be noted that this was the first moulded castle (many of which were to follow) and as such it was a trendsetter, the green added a great variation to the grey and as such this is one of the nicer looking castles from this era.  


Now we reach the end of our journey, I have shown you most sets with the Crusaders in them and the missing one’s will be tackled when I write about the other factions. Crusaders had some of the most interesting sets available, and a combination of which could create a reasonable village for the other factions too attack. Personally the inclusion of civilians is what makes this faction such a personal favourite.

Here is a little taste of what’s to come soon, though next up is Black Falcon’s.


I hope you enjoyed reading .



29 comments:

  1. Love your writing Stevie! What is the last picture of? It looks so good!! Is it all the sets put together? Oh yes and i have many fond memories of playing with that castle and blowing bits up when the forestmen attacked! (Who were then put in jail for their misdemenours! ) Those were the days :) xxx

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  2. hey man great blog and about time lol. you can really tell that your writing is getting alot better as you do more blog and it getting more personal aswell(which is good). really like the top tips on what pieces are rare in the set. also great storyline intro to the wave. and if i had to pick my fave set out of them it would be Knight’s Challenge 6060 and 1584, that one is awesome.

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  3. but in knight's challange 6060... isn't the crusader set against a black knight? the shields and horse barding both bear dragons... though the set is well ahead of the first release of such faction... stating the obvious here probably :D just wanted to hear your views on it

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    1. you're right... got the years wrong. true there are no sets where we see the black knights and crusaders fighting though I've always felt that in the history of lego (as in fact I think you state yourself) they kind of take over from the crusaders who, c'mon, couldn't have gone out without a fight! I'm currently buying up all the sets I don't have from the 1984-1992 period. was thinking of telling the tale..you know through photos and a the comments underneath. thanks for the reply by the way. and love the blog!

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  4. Hello Tunafish

    Sorry the replys have taken so long (Ive been a bit distracted latley)

    As to your question: Yes and No, 6060 includes a black knight (three shields and barding too), however this set is not the first example of Black Knights, one year earlier (1988) 6085 Black Monarchs Castle was released which I will be reviewing when I look at the Black Knights (a future post after I do the forestmen).

    This set is proof though that the two factions where friendly as there is no example of conflict between the two (from another set).

    I hope that helps

    Cheers

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  5. This is fantastic!!! I remember having these sets!!! Will you be including some of the booklet scenes?? I remember one booklet showcasing the black knights (when they where the new thing kinda) I think the crusaders where trying to defend their ground and the black knights where crossing a bridge dominating the land! The forest men were looting I believe...cheers - BW

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  6. Thanks for the nice feedback, I have included as many booklets scenes as I could find, but they are scattered throughout the posts (with a few saved for the future). Sadly I have not seen the one you discribe if you do find it let me know and I will post it up here.

    Thanks again

    Steve

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  7. Thank you for this blog I worked out I have the guarded inn.when i was 4 i got a garbage badg full of Lego from some of my mums old friends.

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  8. That is really cool to get the inn from a friend! I remember when I was little I got a cardboard box full of LEGO but it was mostly 2x2 or 2x4 bricks in either red, black or white and included 50% mega blocks :( I was a little disapointed there were no minifigs.

    Your rubbish bag gift would have been much cooler, was it 100% or did it miss a bit here and there, also was anything else included in the bag?

    Cheers for the commment

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  9. Hey, Steve, Which set do you like more? 6080 or 6081?

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  10. Good Question.

    Its a really hard one to answer, because I love the look of 6081 alot and I love how its got some nice variety and is very different to the castles that came before, however 6080 has so many usful part and is a true set builder and offers alot of abiliy for mocs and mods.

    I would say 6081 is a nice set to build and have on my shelf in my collection and it briliant combined with 6080; but 6080 is the set I would rather recieve if I was given the option and I feel that it looks better alone.

    overall they are both two very good solid LEGO castles, if 6080 is a 10/10 then 6081 is a 9.5/10.

    cheers

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  11. I wish they still sold these sets when I was a kid!

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  12. this looks so cool i wish they stil made it dude!!!!!!!!!!

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  13. Hi Steve.
    Thanks for this great site/blog! Greatings from Poland!

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  14. Hi Again Steve.
    I give You a credit for paying attention on colours of shirts like in 6021 ( I would never look this swap). But looking further I think this was the rule only with infantry. Another sets like 6041 (the crusader knight has a blue shirt and black arms) and 6042 showing that in cavalry the cruseders could have different shirts.
    Another thing - we cannot be shure if the knight from Guarded Inn is Falcon or Crusader.
    One more: Is the tournament a proof for friendship between two factions? Sometimes even enemies having this type of competition...
    Greetings from Poland!
    Ene

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  15. I like the yellow torso on the blacksmith. I think this was basically the only set with one until the Spongebob Squarepants theme. Maybe Lego felt it was awkward that people could combine it with the yellow astronaut leg to create naked minifigs. ;)

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  16. i love those sets, but i don't have them. do you know where i can buy them, NOT ebay? i live in the Netherlands, so not a lot of international shop deliver in the netherlands. i love the remarks on the sets.

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    1. Bricklink is a good place to start looking for these old sets.
      Enjoy!
      Craig

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  17. As far as my Lego kingdom is concerned, The Crusader faction is by far the strongest. The Black Knights, Dragon Masters, Royal Knights and even the Forestmen bow down to their fair but just rule. Of course each of these factions have their place and value in law of the Lego-land. The Black Knights came very close to conquering at one point but didn't have the enduring spirit the Crusaders withheld, and became the crusaders front line soldiers along with helping out fortifying tower support. My Dragon Masters (once splitting from the Black Knights) now serve as the town guard and patrol. My Royal Knights lounge about in taverns and townhouses concerning themselves with only the bureaucracy and politics of the land. And my favorite faction the Forestmen, stopped stealing from the Kingdom and ended up helping the Crusaders against the might of the Black Monarchs, which in turn they found themselves serving as regular citizens, building structures, repopulating the Lego mass, and filling time with good beer and fine bar wenches.

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  18. Thanks Craig!

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  19. Hi, another great blog. I agree with your point that the Crusaders are analgous to King Richard the Lion Heart, and the Forestmen to Robin Hood. In my kingdom when I was growing up I also shared this view. I also extended it out further - I saw the Black Knights as knights from Northern France which was a region that at that time had been under the rule of the English Kings and were also fighting alongside the English in the Crusades in Jerusalem. In addition, I also felt they were like the French becuase of the large numbers of mounted knights - the Black Knights seems to have so many heavily armored (plate armour breastplastes, and Pig Face visor helmets etc). Finally, both knights used Blue and Red as their colours, which were used as hiraldic colours of both the French and Englsh during these times. As others have commented above, I never felt that Crusaders and Blakc Knights were pitched against each other.

    Following on from this, I saw the Wolfpeople in a similar way to the norther Scottish border raiders. The Borders were considered a lawless and dangerous place during these times, especially with so many senior figures, knights and armies away during the crusades. Anyway, this is just my opinion and could be wrong!

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  20. Hey! The last picture you posted, I remember it from a blue LEGObooklet I am searching for, do you own it yourself? And are you able to tell me what's the articlenumber of it or what's its name? Looked for this such a long time now and more accidently found this blog.
    It also contains more from the forestmen, black knights and pirates versus the bluecoats, such beautiful scenarios in it.
    Reply if you can. )

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  21. The Lego booklet is 260 Lego Idea Book. I still have mine from when I was a kid (sans stickers). I used parts from my collection and built a unique rendition of the tower not too long ago, but it didn't live up to my expectations...It was big, and I started running out of suitable parts, or good solutions. I don't remember which. It's less helpful to me since I build on a more technical level these days, but I loved the art and themes within its pages.

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  22. Really nice post. Congratulation. It was enjoyfull reading.

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  23. Hey Steve,
    I happened upon your great blog after googling my first and still favorite castle, the Grey Castle. My younger brother got into the Black Knights and later the Forestmen, but I was always a Crusaders girl myself. One thing I loved, in retrospect, is that the characters all had identical/basic Lego faces with no beards, stubble, mustaches and later (horrors!) lipstick and boobs. The neutral faces allowed me to create my own characters without really thinking about female vs. male, old vs. young, etc. E.g. I wasn't a male knight, I was just a knight. I read your last post about the Castle series in which you write that you couldn't have identified with the Princess character as a boy. I can say I felt the same way as a little girl! While I could be any character before the introduction of gendered figures, suddenly I felt I could ONLY be the princess being carted around, or the bar maiden, or a weirdly sexualized female knight. In recent years Lego started releasing even more snoozy/retrograde girl-geared pink sets. The rationale, according to the company, is that girls don't relate to the other Lego sets. But I think this has more to do with the way Lego has named and mustached their characters, than with girls' lack of interest in Knights, Astronauts, and Pirates.

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  24. wow really nice to go on a wonderful nostalgia trip, Thanx a lot!

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  25. The crossed axe emblem looks quite sweet, but alas, it wasn't made to last. Almost all of them I own have faded to a dark blur, now. Perhaps it doesn't stand light well.

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  26. IMO the new jousting tournament set from the kingdoms line is better.

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