For the past few years the LEGO Group has released LEGO VIP exclusive sets available at LEGO stores and their online shop for free to customers who spend a predefined amount. The past two sets have included modern takes on the classic Space and Pirate themes including the Classic Spaceman Minifigure and Classic Pirate Minifigure sets. This year's set fits into the classic Castle theme and is aptly named Classic Knights Minifigure.
The Castle theme has been an evergreen series for LEGO ever since the original castle set was released back in 1978 simply named Castle. The line didn't really kick into gear until 1984 with the introduction nine new sets featuring the warring Black Falcon and Lion Knight factions. Every few years LEGO would introduce new factions (or sub-themes) to refresh the overall Castle theme and keep things interesting. While originally grounded in traditional medieval lore the Castle theme would eventually branch out to include fantasy elements such as dragons, wizards, and even trolls.
The Classic Knights Minifigure set falls within the previously mentioned Lion Knights sub-theme and features a footman and his ballista. The part count comes in at a impressive 49 pieces, which is more than the two previous exclusive classic sets combined! While builders will get excited about the mint Lion Knight prints on the shield and torso, the fanboys (myself included) will be just as excited about the additional items contained within the package.
First let's mention the actual packaging itself. This is not your traditional rip, tear, and toss box. This container is beautifully printed inside and out with a slide-out tray designed to keep the instructions and stickers (don't worry, not those kind of stickers) inside wrinkle free. The stickers are actually cut-outs of various minifigures from the theme's history. Oddly enough they are printed on the back of a postcard which you could mail to one of your AFOL friends? The instructions are not your traditional fare either: they are thread-bound and printed in the same style as the package printing. At the very end of the instruction booklet are two visual timelines, one featuring various, significant LEGO Castle sets followed up with a procession of minifigures through the theme's history.
The set itself is not actually anything to write home about with the exception of the cleanly printed shields and torso. Eagle-eye readers might notice that this set is actually a re-imagining of an existing and much older Lion Knights set, the Siege Cart from 1986. The set makes good use of semi-modern pieces and colors, including 1x4 SNOT brick, curved slopes, and dark brown spears, but still looks like something from the classic 80's era. Other than that, nothing special to report. That said, I honestly don't think the point of this set is actually to be special. The point of the set, the booklet, and even the sticker postcard thingy is to send you, the builder, down memory lane. To put you in the shoes of your 8-year-old self, standing in line next to your mom at the local grocery store, counting your quarters hoping that you had just enough to buy this heroic knight and his siege machine. Mission accomplished LEGO, mission accomplished. Now please bring back your traditional style Knights and castles and I will forever be a fanboy of yours.
Because of all the little extras and the walk down memory lane packed into one little box, I give it 5 out of 5 Nerdlys.