Once upon a time, there were castles everywhere.
Nowadays we live with the memories of past battles.
But the time has come to regain the kingdom!
Shoe the horses! Sharpen your swo…wait. Where can we sharpen our swords?
Of course at the brand new LEGO set 21325: Medieval Blacksmith!
The building experience
This new set contains 2164 pieces, 4 minifigs, a not-a-husky-but-probably-a-wolf dog, a horse in a brand new color and not a single sticker!
The horse also has a new head print. It can be detached from the wagon and the set includes a 1×2 brick and tile to complete it.
The blacksmith has a new printed torso while his wife shares the print with Robin Loot from Barracuda Bay. Two of the minifigures are clearly Black Falcons with an updated torso to make it more modern but their coat-of-arms still recalls those vintage days.
There are only two figures with a double print on the head, the blacksmith and his wife.
While building the set you can already see a lot of adventures taking shape. You want more and it’s impossible to stop until you have finished. Or at least until you reach the bag number 5, the tree.
That, for me, was a moment that created a break in the flow. I would have preferred to complete the whole house, then face the tree which I found a bit annoying.
But tree aside, it was a lot of fun.
The set comes with a red light brick to simulate the fire of the forge, cleverly activated by pushing the bellows on the side.
The complete building stands on an irregular base which is a perfect choice to make it more dynamic.
The whole set is 27cm (10.5 in) wide, 27cm (10.5 in) high and 21cm (8 in) deep.
If you have a scarcity of space, you could remove two rounded plates, the one with the tree and the other with the anvil, and the two cusps on the roof to make it smaller.
The house has three complete floors: the forge, the dining room and the bedroom. Every single floor is spacy and filled with details.
The forge has an anvil in the middle of the room and, showcased all around the walls, the work of the artisan, like some armours and a black falcon shield hanging up.
The dining room has a couple of well designed, huge, colorful chairs. They look a bit over-dimensioned for the blacksmith and his wife, but maybe they want to sit comfortably.
The bedroom is in the attic and has a nicely designed bearskin rug and a small writing desk in front of the smallest window of the house.
The attic is connected with the dining room through a staircase, nothing is left to chance.
To access the interiors of the bedrooms you can remove the two sides of the roof which cleverly interlock.
The house is completely closed and you can see the interiors by looking through the windows or by removing the floors, just like in the modular line.
A lot of details surround the building, like some delicious pumpkins, which made me think it should be autumn. Perhaps LEGO should have used some yellow and orange leaves on the tree?
The tree is an apple tree, a bit twisted and noticeably smaller compared to the one in the IDEAS proposal. I must admit that looking at the front of the building through the branches is relaxing and fascinating, it makes me want to be projected in to this reality.
A nice printed sign hangs over the forge and there’s an anvil nearby, all elements to remind the distracted traveller that this is not a bakery but a blacksmith.
Behind the Scenes
When I think of LEGO castle theme, the first thing that comes to my mind is the color yellow. Yellow like the first castle, yellow like the vintage box art, yellow like the pictures in the old catalogs.
The look I was searching for was a “modernized” picture with a nod to the past. My story was about two soldiers driving their wagon toward the hill where the renowned blacksmith lived.
So the first thing that I did was create the hills and cover them with a yellow cloth.
Then I placed some old-style pine trees around the set, but since I did not have enough to cover all the frame, I knew I had to place something in the foreground to hide the empty parts.
I decided to create some “trees” as if the wagon was coming out of the forest.
Not fancy trees but functional, so was all about foliage.
Of course I wanted to keep the yellow sky, so, talking about lights, I placed a lamp behind the hill aimed towards the wall and I’ve placed on the bulb a small, yellow IKEA bin that worked as a diffuser and color gel.
This kind of light can create a beautiful dark silhouette, but I wanted to show the building a bit, so i aimed a small LED panel towards a big diffuser.
The last light was a bigger LED panel aimed toward my white ceiling, to cast some light all around the setup.
This allowed the wagon to be slightly lightened by both the ceiling and the feathering light coming from the diffuser.
I also wanted some light spreading from the interior of the house, so I placed some LEDs both in the forge and first floor.
On my camera, I used a wide-angle lens. I tried different apertures because I wasn’t sure that I wanted the whole building in focus. At the end I decided to go with a wide aperture because my story was about the wagon, not the building.
This allowed me to also blur a lot the foliage in the foreground, making it less distracting.
This set is a gem for every castle/fantasy lover. It is fun to build, very well designed, filled with storytelling and can be displayed at different angles.
I would have appreciated at least one more minifigure instead of the wolf, maybe another soldier or the blacksmith’s son (with movable legs), or another animal.
The 21325: Medieval blacksmith will be available starting from February 1st for 149.99 USD/ 149.99 EUR / 134.99 GBP on LEGO.com and certified stores.
Hopefully we can see more castle sets in the future. What’s the purpose of sharpening the swords if there are no castles to conquer?