Matthew Dean

Home > Posts > Lego Castle, Part I: The Factions


One of my vividest childhood memories is annually visiting out-of-state relatives and watching my Aunt haul a box of 1980s Lego pieces out of the basement to eager nephews and grandchildren. Though the collection was dusty and worn, it inspired endless creativity.

The best image of the box I can find
The best image of the box I can find

Accompanying the box were several instruction manuals, catalogs, and idea books which hinted at the potential of the pieces. Given my once-a-year access, I vigilantly studied these materials to remember and attempt to recreate the scenes at home. Through this effort that I came to love the Legoland castle theme of the 80s and 90s. There was something magical about the cute “smiley” faces and the implication that Legoland was largely happy and peaceful.

In recent years as I have taken a closer look at these nostalgic sets, a few questions have sprung to mind:

This aims to be the first in a series of blog posts addressing these questions.

Part I: What are the factions of Lego castle?

My first instinct was to look at the original boxes, catalogs, and see whether the factions were specified. However, in many cases the sets are simply listed under broad themes such as LEGOLAND or System which are not helpful.

Another compelling option is to rely on Lego’s 2021 anniversary poll1 which listed several castle subthemes:

However, consider that this poll’s audience was primarily adult fans of Lego who rely on fan-made categorizations popularized by sites like Bricklink and Brickset. So the question remains - what were Lego’s true intentions for the names of these factions?

Based on evidence from set names, catalogs, and magazines, I have compiled my own list of what I believe to be the distinct factions in Lego Castle. I will provide as much evidence as I can for these faction names and call out where this deviates from popular naming conventions.

Crest Name Alternate Names Years Active
Crusaders Lion Knights 1984-1992
Black Knights Black Falcons 1984-1992
Forestmen   1987-1990
Dragon Knights   1988-1994
Royal Knights   1995-1998
Fright Knights   1997-1998


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