I Love Medieval Bricks!
Castle Lego has always been my favourite. The Black Knight Castle was the prize of my childhood toy collection, and recently, now with children of my own, I built it yet again. It resparked an interest in building bricks long since faded.
So, I was very excited to receive my new Medieval Siege Weapon from JMBricklayer!
Who is JMBricklayer?
JMB is a relative newcomer to the brick market, bringing some of the best offerings from the Chinese market overseas. You can probably find them on your local Amazon site, as I did (anyone from Canada can check out the Amazon.ca JMB store here. Even if you order direct from the JMB website, the order will get fulfilled by your local Amazon warehouse (if available). I ordered direct from JMB and had the set at my door in just a couple days. The JMB bricks are made in the LEGO style and are fully compatible with your LEGO collection.
Which Weapon Will you Build?
The JMB ‘30001 Medieval 3-in-1’ features a Catapult, a Ballista and a Medieval Bombard. It is important to note that you can only build one of these siege weapons at a time! These are alternate builds that all use the same pool of pieces.
Like many of you, I have a basic but woefully incomplete knowledge of medieval history. So while I am familiar with a Catapult and Ballista, I had to turn to Wikipedia to confirm my suspicions about the Bombard. It’s basically a gunpowder cannon. Seems like more of a ‘Pirate’ thing than a ‘Medieval’ thing, but Wikipedia confirmed that the Medieval Period stretched until 1500AD and there were gunpowder cannons used in European warfare by at the 1350s. So technically, the Bombard qualifies as a medieval weapon, which doesn’t sit right with me. Unsportsmanlike.
For some extra history on these weapons, see the JMB article here.
The JMB packaging is very nice, and gives a positive impression. The glossy black box feels very sturdy and the print looks nice. It actually reminded me of the LEGO Blacksmith box. Like most packaging, this is likely to end up in your recycling bin. But it’s definitely nice packaging for a gift.
Inside the Box
The blocks are in 7 numbered bags, with 4 large loose wheels and a bag of elastics. The set comes with a cool-looking brick separator, but I’m not exactly sure how to use it. The instruction book is full color and is clear to follow. Each step outlines which pieces you will need, same as modern LEGO instructions. Overall the instructions are good, though I would have preferred the booklet to be a bit bigger.
What About the Bricks Already?!
Now obviously the big question when it comes to bricks like this, is “How does it compare to LEGO?”
I’m happy to say, it compares very well! The colour and feel of the bricks are extremely consistent, and they all have a nice consistent tight fit. Some bricks from the Chinese market have some random inconsistent or loose fits, but I haven’t had this problem with JMB bricks. Outside of the LEGO logo, it would be difficult to tell the difference.
I will say that the brick fit seems ever-so-slightly tighter than LEGO. This was more noticeable with some of the technic-style rods. This may make it a bit difficult for smaller hands to disassemble, but I didn’t personally have any problems.
I chose the catapult, because I think it looks the coolest and has the most authentic medieval feel (sorry, bombard). It was a fun build, which was surprisingly ‘technic’ heavy. Most medieval builds are usually just traditional blocks, possibly with some light technic elements (water wheels, etc), but this felt more like a medieval technic build, using construction techniques similar to a car model. It was actually pretty awesome. It took about 3 hours or so to complete.
The instructions follow the stages you would expect, first assembling the base, then constructing the mast assembly, attaching the arm and bucket, and then finally attaching the wheels.
Keep in mind, after completing the catapult you will only be about 1/3 of the way through the instruction booklet. You will not have enough pieces for another siege weapon, but don’t forget to flip to the very last couple pages to assemble the target.
There are a couple points I want to highlight:
Elastic Sizing– This is one part where the instructions were not entirely clear. There are 4 different elastic sizes included, but the measurements in the instructions didn’t seem to line up with the actual size. I ended up just trying them all out to see which worked best.
Attaching the Catapult Arm- The most difficult part of the catapult build was attaching the main arm and bucket to the base. Because the technic rods are a bit tight, it was difficult to hold the shaft in place while also forcefully sliding the rod into place. Young builders might need an extra set of adult hands at this point.
Once assembled, the catapult looks great. The spikes and other decorative accents give it an appropriately intimidating look for a giant siege weapon.
Also- the thing is huge! Much bigger than I expected, and larger to-scale than most other medieval brick sets. I have the catapult pictured here next to a basic LEGO castle, and you can also see the size comparison to a standard LEGO Minifig (Castle and Minifig for reference only and not included in the JMB set)
The size definitely has some positives- it is a perfect size for display on a shelf, and the catapult bucket is the perfect size for launching a minifig.
The launching function is very smooth, it’s easy to click the bucket into place, and it releases with a satisfying ‘thunk’. As I mentioned earlier, it doesn’t launch all that far, but some different elastics might help.
There is one other factor that affects the launch performance- the wheels. The catapult wheels have a really nice smooth roll, which I though was great at first. HOWEVER! There is no way to lock the wheels that I am aware of, so you really need to hold the catapult firmly while launching anything, because the catapult will go spinning away at the slightest touch.
Overall, I’m very impressed with the JMB Medieval 3-in-1 siege weapon, and I think it is a great addition to my collection. Highly Recommended!
So what do you think?
Which medieval siege weapon is your favorite? Do you want to read more unboxing reviews like this? Does a bombard really count as a medieval weapon?? Drop a comment below!
And if you are interested, use this code jmbvip15% for 15% off your very own siege weapon from JMB!
Disclaimer：Please note that all opinions expressed here are my own and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of JMBricklayer or any of its employees. Please also note that this is not LEGO- the LEGO brand and LEGO minifigure are proprietary copyright of the LEGO group and not associated with JMB. No LEGO blocks or minifigures are included in this set. JMBricklayer supports intellectual property rights and the production of these sets is compliant with international copyright regulations.