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Crusaders

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Crusaders
Crusaders-shields
Release years:

1984 - 1992

Main theme:

Castle

Concurrent faction(s):

Black Falcons, Forestmen, Black Knights, Wolfpack

The Crusaders were one of the various factions of LEGO's Castle theme. The first sets that involved Crusaders first appeared in 1984. The last regular appearance was in 1992.

History

Crusaders-Black Falcons-1985
King's Castle (on the right) in a catalog from 1985.

The Crusaders were introduced together with the Black Falcons in 1984 when The LEGO Group relaunched their Castle theme after the discontinuation of the first knights faction that started in 1978. In Canada and Australia, the Crusaders and Black Falcons were known as the Lion Crest and Eagle Crest factions, respectively, however in 1991-92 the Lion Crest knights used the Crusaders name.[1]

One of the first sets of the Crusaders included a castle (6080 King's Castle), which was considerably bigger than its counterpart from the Falcons (6073 Knight's Castle). During the following years the Crusaders would grow to one of the biggest Castle-themed factions ever, with at least one release in every year from 1984 to 1992, a tally rivaled in number only by the Black Knights or the later Crown Knights.

As contemporary factions, Crusaders and Black Falcons were shown to engage in peaceful competition with each other, as seen in 6021 Jousting Knights from 1984, as well as in military conflict, as seen in 6062 Battering Ram from 1987. Both sets were the only ones were the two factions appeared together, except for the Accessories sets. Another set where the Crusaders appeared with another faction was 6060 Knight's Challenge from 1988, this time with the Black Knights.

Crusaders also featured many halfway civilian buildings, 6040 Blacksmith Shop (1984) and 6067 Guarded Inn from 1986, which was one of most popular Castle sets ever and also the first one to be reissued as part of LEGO's Legends line in 2001 as 10000 Guarded Inn.

After the advent of the Forestmen in 1987, it was implied that the Crusaders were at odds with these newcomers, since a Forestman appeared as a prisoner in 6042 Dungeon Hunters and a lone Crusader was seemingly attacking 6077 Forestmen's River Fortress in 1989, which was the last guest appearance of the Crusaders in a different theme.

Crusaders-1990
King's Mountain Fortress in a catalog from 1990 with Black Monarch's Castle in the background.

A second castle was added in 1990, 6081 King's Mountain Fortress, which was the first castle ever built on a raised base-plate. This set's release marked more or less the beginning of the end of this theme, since the small catapult from 1991 and the last Crusaders set, 1463 Treasure Cart from 1992 did not appear in any catalogs.

Although it has always been implied that there was some kind of king, there was never a distinct minifigure that filled this position. The first king minifigure would not appear until the introduction of Royal Knights in 1995.

Castles and equipment

The Crusaders owned two castles, a wall segment (included in 6061 Siege Tower), the Guarded Inn, a blacksmith shop, and possibly an armor shop. They also had rather huge complement of vehicles at their disposal, comprising two prison carriages (6055 Prisoner Convoy and 6042 Dungeon Hunters) and several smaller carts (6022 Horse Cart, 6016 Knight's Arsenal and 1463 Treasure Cart).

The Crusaders' army encompassed an impressing and varried array of siege engines, comprising two siege towers (included in 6061 Siege Tower and 6062 Battering Ram), two catapults (6039 Twin Arm Launcher and 1480 King's Catapult) and even a (Ballista).

Their fleet was only comparable to the one of the Black Knights and comprised a larger rowing boat (6049 Viking Voyager) and a smaller sailing boat (6017 King's Oarsmen).

Symbol

Lion5
Three crusaders

The symbol of the Crusaders is an upright lion with a crown on its head. This symbol was featured on shields which were available in two variants with either a golden lion on a blue background or a blue lion on a yellow background. There was also a unique red flag piece with the lion crest on it which was only available in 6041 Armor Shop.

Some guards of the Crusaders had the lion crest emblazoned on their torso pieces, while others had a crest with crossed axes. The axe crest was already present in 6080 King's Castle from 1984 and was last seen in the two Knight's Challenge sets from 1988.

There were also horse barding pieces with the lion symbol.

Backstory

According to a catalog from 1992, "The Crusaders are the bravest knights in the kingdom. They are the protectors of the innocent and the keepers of justice." This is the only official word on the matter.

They also presumably have a king, who is never explicitly identified. The woman in 6081 King's Mountain Fortress is also never explicitly identified, though she is quite recognizable.

Some have noted that if the Forestmen are meant to represent Robin Hood and his merry men, then the Crusaders would be analogous to the army of King Richard I, AKA King Richard the Lion-Hearted, who participated in the crusades and supposedly lived during the same time period as Robin.

Sets

topbottom
Image # Set Pieces Figures Price Released
10000 10000  Guarded Inn  246  Castle Knight (3) Maid   $24.99  2001 
1463-1-1 1463  Treasure Cart  21  1   $2.00  1992 
1480 1480  King's Catapult  33  Crusader Soldier     1991 
1695 1695  Treasure Cart  23  1   $2.00  1992 
2889 2889  Treasure Cart  21  1   $1.99  1998 
6012 6012  Siege Cart  54  Crusader (2)   $3.50  1986 
6016 Box 6016  Knight's Arsenal  36  Lion Crusaders Knight   $4.00  1987 
6017 Box 6017  King's Oarsmen  42  2   $3.75  1987 
6022 Box 6022  Horse Cart  42  2   $4.99  1984 
6023 Boxes 6023  Maiden's Cart  42  Maiden (Crusaders)Crusader   $5.50  1986 
6039-1-1 6039  Twin Arm Launcher  73  Crusader (Two)     1988 
6040 Box 6040  Blacksmith Shop  92  Blacksmith (Crusaders)Crusader   $9.25  1984 
6041 Armor Shop 6041  Armor Shop  109  2     1986 
6042 Box 6042  Dungeon Hunters  105  1 Knight, 1 Coachman, 1 Forestman   $12.75  1990 
6049 Box 6049  Viking Voyager  94  5   $10.99  1987 
6055 Prisoner Convoy 6055  Prisoner Convoy  112  4     1985 
6061 Siege Tower 6061  Siege Tower  211  4   $17.50  1984 
6062 Battering Ram 6062  Battering Ram  233  6   $21.00  1987 
6067-box 6067  Guarded Inn  246  4   $19.75  1986 
6080 King's Castle 6080  King's Castle  664  12     1984 
6081 King's Mountain Fortress 6081  King's Mountain Fortress  429  8   $57.99  1990 
6102-1 6102  Castle Mini Figures  30  6     1985 
Other appearances
Accessories

(*these sets include Crusaders with crossed axes on their torso pieces)

Minifigures


References

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