I learned about the world of TRIO building blocks through its DC Super Friends collection. TRIO blocks are roughly about 1” x 1” all around. The basic blocks snap together to “build” bigger things. In a sense they have a Lego-like quality to it, though more in line with Duplo. I always thought it was a new brand never occurring to me that there might have been collections prior to the ones I have seen. That changed when I came across the King’s Castle, a fantastically huge 213-piece set.
Everything about this set is completely different from any of the DC Super Friends one my son has in his possession. For one thing it includes six figures: a king with his two white knights as they battle three black knights. One horse, six swords and six shields help round up the weaponry for these characters.
A lot of blocks are used in creating the structure of the castle. The two towers and the entrance gate make up the main features. The towers take some time in building utilizing every brick, stick and panel needed to make it sound and sturdy. I have to admit that while the construction is easy, it still takes some time and patience in assembling everything together.
My son really helped me put this together and snapped on the easier parts by himself. The panels and sticks are a bit trickier which require adult assistance. Plus if you put too much pressure into snapping the pieces, it will fall apart requiring you to start again.
While a lot of basic blocks are used, there are many interesting distinctive pieces that help create this magnificent building. I really like the gate and drawbridge feature. The drawbridge is able to go up and down by string using a wheel on the back to open and close. On top of that there is a separate gate that lifts up and down to doubly enforce the security of the castle. I love the lion’s head affixed on the front to give some personality.
Some of the panels have illustrations of battle situations taking place to give a sense that there are more people included in this set. One panel actually breaks open with a collapsing wall. This is mostly like from the catapult included with this set, one of the coolest things I’ve even seen. Three giant boulders are used to fire against the castle. Or maybe the damage is done from the dragon battering ram (which is attached to catapult). Just to complete the look, there are many flags placed all over the castle along with torches, a cannon and archery station.
One of the things that bug me is the colour. I think there are too many beige blocks and grey panels used throughout the whole thing. It makes more a bland look despite the fact that it is an impressive structure. The blue sticks help accentuate and give contrast to these neutral colours but it definitely could have benefited from a better colour scheme.
The instructions are very helpful and easy to follow even though it’s one of the bigger ones I have seen for a TRIO set. Other castle creations are included in the instructions though it doesn’t tell you how to build it. Instead it shows you the final picture with a list of specific pieces used for each one.
I managed to pick this up at Amazing Savings for only $29.99. I realized this was an older set because it was something I haven’t seen around at all. Upon further investigation after making the purchase, I found out that this collection came out in 2009. It is still sold online at a few stores but the asking price is anywhere between $50.00-$80.00.
The King’s Castle is a magnificent structure with enough characters to have great scenarios and battles. I wish there was a bit more depth to the structure but that’s really nitpicking on my part. It holds up pretty well despite all the blocks used for this set. I’m just glad I didn’t have to pay a king’s ransom to enjoy this with my son.
TRIO DC Super Friends
Series 1: Batcave || Batman & The Riddler || Mr. Freeze || The Penguin || Robin & Jet || Robin & The Joker || Superman & Space Sled
Series 2: Atrocitus Battle Cruiser || Batman & Clayface || Batman's Sub || Green Lantern Rocket || Kilowog Batallion Cannon || Planet Oa Launch Pad
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Amount Paid (US$): 29.99
Type of Toy: Blocks
Age Range of Child: 3 to 5 Years