Back well over a month ago now, when I started writing posts about the "Ones That Got Away," I made it through three of the four "classic" themes of LEGO: Castle, Pirates, Town, and Space. Well, it's my list of classic themes, because in my formative years, "classic" LEGO was 1992-1994. Aquazone was an honorary fifth, but an assiduous reader of my Aquazone Breakfast News comic will note that it's never had quite the same love from me as the big four. Nonetheless, I am aware that even older fans may not see Pirates as a "classic" LEGO theme on par with the others, given its younger age.
In any case, although I talked about my "Ones That Got Away" with regards to the Pirates, Town, and Space themes, I have yet to address Castle, which is a case of saving the best for last, since Castle is my favourite branch of LEGO System.
Black Knights were the first LEGO theme I ever spent hours looking at in catalogues, and the first set I ever saved up for was 6086 Dungeon Master's Castle. Also known as "Black Knight's Castle," this set is still my all-time favourite LEGO set, if you rate things on a purely nostalgic scale. The main reason, in addition to being one of the most aesthetically pleasing castles LEGO has ever produced, is because, although I saved up for it, I never got it as a child. Nope. Instead, my parents picked up 6081 King's Mountain Fortress when they went shopping with my money while I was in school. At the time, I was just happy I had a LEGO Castle--and my third set, to boot--but I knew it wasn't the one I wanted, and as the years passed, I would wonder what it would have been like if I'd managed to get it instead.
Well, for one thing, my Lions would have been more badly outnumbered in those early years than my Black Knights were. A couple months after getting King's Mountain Fortress, I got my fourth LEGO set, 1491 Dual Defender. Those two guys would be the entirety of my Black Knight army until 2002 or so, when a partial knight in a bag of garage sale LEGO would be fleshed out with an accessory pack to bring their total up to three. As a result, the Black Knights became fearsome warriors, the best-trained soldiers in all the LEGO kingdoms. After all, how else were they to win any battles?
Unlike the other "Ones That Got Away" stories, this one has a fairly happy ending. I would eventually get Dungeon Master's Castle in 2006, thanks to Bricklink, making my Black Knights not only an iconic faction, but a true powerhouse in my LEGO universe. However, because I was out of high school and about to leave home by then, I still consider the theme as a whole, and that set in particular, to be one that got away from me... though I did catch it in the end.