“ Brand: Argos / Type: Castle „
Argos Medieval Wooden Castle................
It has recently been Jack's second Birthday and as my partner and I am trying to cut back a fair bit it was nice that my parents decided to get Jack his main large present which was this Wooden Castle from Argos.
It retails for nearly £40 in the Argos catalogue and in my opinion this is a good price for what you are getting. The castle itself is basically a very large wooden castle that comes with various figures to play with and some stickers that can be applied to the outside walls of the castle along with a separate battering ram type structure that makes for even more play ideas. There are also two brown plastic catapults which can be stuck with stickers and have four little brown plastic balls that can be fired into and out of the castle.
I had bought Jack some smaller action type army men to go with the castle as in the picture in Argos it seems that there are not many actual knight type men that come with the castle. However this is not the case as there are a good number of figures which include four horses, four men to ride these horses (who have special bent up legs to sit on the horse easily), six other action type men, a king and a dragon. Along with the figures there are weapons such as bows and swords. Also there are four flags which have spaces so that some of the corresponding stickers can be stuck onto. The figures are divided into two regiments so that some are black in colour and the other half are silver in colour.
The castle comes flat packed in a large and fairly heavy box and I was worried how easy it would be to put it all together. However it is very simple to put together and I would say took less me than half and hour. Even with Jack nipping at my heels! It doesn't need any screws or glue and is literally just a slot together design. There is a drawbridge type door which opens and closes at the front with string needing to be attached in order for it to be easily pulled in and dropped down. I would say that the hardest bit of the whole thing to put together would be the battering ram as the instructions for the building of this are very sketchy showing pictures only and it has no written description as to how it is done. Instructions for the main construction of the castle were not really needed too much but these were adequate and mostly self explanatory.
The stickers the are supplied are okay but I do feel that they could look a bit better. Because the castle is just plain beige wood colour it does need these stickers on it to make it look the part more but I feel the stickers should have either been bigger or there should have been more supplied. Luckily my Dad does have some castle type grey brick wallpaper from when he used to make castles himself so I may decide to glue some of this on to the outside walls to give it a more authentic look.
The fact that the castle is made by slotting the wooden parts together makes it good for being moved around or stored away. We had to set it up initially at my parents house but it was easily taken apart to be brought back home and quickly set up again. I would say however that the castle is very large and needs a fair bit of room not just for the castle itself but for playing around it too. Luckily Jack is only 2 so he is a good size that he can sit in the middle of the castle (what would be the courtyard) and play quite happily inside but there is plenty of room so I would hope he can sit inside it for a few years to come.
The age guide for this item is for 3 years and above but as I said Jack has only just turned two but seeing as he seems fairly advanced I didn't mind getting this castle for him a little early. The only part of the whole castle I would be a little wary of is the small balls that come with the catapults as he could easily pop this in his mouth. Luckily my partner whilst playing with it (Jack hasn't really had much of a look in) found out that you could easily catapult the smaller army/knight men that I bought separately instead of using the small balls and the men fly easily over the castle walls.
Jack has played with this Wooden Castle non-stop, literally he has woken up saying "play castle now" and gone to bed having played with it before dinner saying "more castle play please!". It is so cute that he loves it so much and seems to really get into the whole battle ground scene. He loves the dragon along with the King and will often put them up in one of the four turrets and make the knights save the King. I find it somewhat amazing that a child of only 2 can understand the whole idea of Kings, castles and knights and play with it all so well. He really gets absorbed by the whole idea thing and I can honestly see this being a long term toy that he would perhaps build on his collection and make the toy bigger by getting different types of medieval figures etc.
There are literally hours of fun play time to be had when owning this wooden castle. It certainly feels more "classic" and authentic than getting a modern type plastic castle. I like the fact that you can build it up and store it away easily and also the fact that it is so large Jack can get inside and feel like part of the action.
The price paid by my parents was a good one and although I didn't search on-line to see if one like this could be bought for a cheaper price I feel as though we have got a good deal. The knights/army men are of a very good standard and a good size that fit in well with the size of the castle. The amount of weapons and actual war type goods is a fair amount though of course I would always say that a few more would make it even better.
Jack is very happy with his castle and so am I. Therefore I can only award a five star rating and give it a very high recommendation. If I had to find a fault with it I would say the only bad thing would be the look of it. Even with the stickers it still looks a little plain and on the whole the stickers are not brilliant. I don't think it would have taken much for the makers to have either painted the wood so it looked like bricks or to have papered the walls with brick type paper. But Jack doesn't mind this so I am not too bothered either.
A great product well worth getting!
I do hope this has been of some help/interest to you.
Many thanks for taking the time to read.
My son received this Knight's castle for Christmas in 2007 and he has thoroughly enjoyed playing with it since then.
It comes in a large box, flat packed and you have to put it all together and pop on the stickers. It is not really difficult to follow the instructions in my opinion but it was a little time consuming as each section had to be placed correctly before the next would fit. Therefore I did concentrate on what I was doing and about half an hour or so later, my son had a huge wooden castle taking up all the space in the dining room.
This has to be my main gripe with this toy. It is massive once put together and as it is an enclosed square shape it is impossible to make it any smaller for a quick play, unless you just use the corner towers and improvise a bit. Unfortunately we do not have the space to leave the castle erected so we have to go through a pretty arduous task in taking it apart every time he has finished playing with it. The sides of the castle slot into the corner towers and then the platforms can be placed on top. We tend to keep all four corners built (these take the longest to put together) and then put them on top of the wardrobe out of the way when not in use. The rest of the pieces are kept in a plastic box under his bed.
The other complaint I have about it is that I received a very nasty slice down my hand when putting it together. It was like a paper cut but from the edge of the wood as I was trying to slot it together one day. It didn't go too deep but was very painful, and I would hate for my kids to experience something like that if they tried to put it together themselves. I can't really see a design fault with the pieces in terms of how they go together that contributed towards my little accident and it was more "one of those things". However it is still something to bear in mind and I am very cautious when slotting the pieces together now.
Once up, however, it has massive potential for fun and is really excellent when my son has friends over to play because it is so large that two children can easily play, one on either side without encroaching on each other's space. In addition he has played many times on his own making up scenarios for battles and defending his castle from all manner or ill-intended baddies!
It is extremely stable when everything is slotted together and the very shape of it adds to the stability, along with the deep slots that ensure all the parts remain connected. Even with a little bit of rougher than average play it has stood up well and there have been no breakages. I was a little concerned over the draw bridge as it seemed to connect to the platforms on either side as well as the main front wall via a string that looped all the way round so the drawbridge could open and close. However these worries have proved unfounded and it is still working as well as the day we got it.
The inside area of the castle is really good to play in too. Because it has high level platforms round the entire edge of the castle, knights can be positioned either on the top of these to defend from flying dragons and so on, or they can be located in the floor area but inside the castle walls, carrying out a different approach to their defence strategy.
The set comes with two teams of knights and their horses as well as a variety of weapons and flags, horns and contraptions for knocking down walls etc. This is a very good idea as well, because it means two people can play much easier - a team of knights each - rather than trying to share the same one and ending up arguing.
The stickers finish the set off well, making the castle have more character and colour, allowing for a fuller imaginative play. Because the pieces are all made from wood, however, if you had a creative child and didn't mind spending some time with them on a project - you could paint or varnish this castle, making it even more authentic looking.
Apart from the sheer size and difficulty in putting up and then taking down, this castle has proved to be a very popular present. However it is a little pricey at £30 from Argos but has the potential to see your child through quite a few years of enjoyment due to its sturdy parts and solid assembly and my son and his friends certainly enjoy it.
I am really looking forward to the summer when we can place it in the garden - giving lots of room for play and the grass and outside compounds can really enhance the imaginative side of his play.
Set includes 36 play pieces. Complete with soldiers, horses, cavalries, archers, infantries, a King, fire-breathing dragon, catapults, labels and weapons.