Random set of the day: Dual Defender

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Dual Defender

Dual Defender

©1992 LEGO Group

Today's random set is 1491 Dual Defender, released in 1992. It's one of 9 Castle sets produced that year. It contains 48 pieces and 2 minifigs.

It's owned by 1292 Brickset members. If you want to add it to your collection you might find it for sale at BrickLink or eBay.


20 comments on this article

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By in Canada,

Alright I got a question for you superfans out there (I genuinely don't know the answer): what year did those old kind of hinges go obsolete? (the ones connecting the plate and the "shovel", I mean)

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By in Singapore,

There was a dual version of the trebuchet I was so fond of?! (My first Castle set was #6032-1 from Knights' Kingdom.)

There were more than one of these?! #6039-1

Oh the things I've missed out on...

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By in United States,

@Harmonious Building - They were replaced by the ratcheting hinges sometime around 1999 when the Star Wars sets came out. But I think they persisted in some re-released sets for a few years after that.

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By in Australia,

We have been getting a few Castle sets lately, haven't we?

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By in United States,

Before the days of stud shooters.. Neat little set.

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By in United States,

@Harmonious Building: I don't know the answer precisely, but the clicking type that superseded it first appeared (I think) in Rock Raiders as the connection for the big brown cockpit cover (seen in #4940-1 , #4950-1 , #4970-1 , #4980-1 ), and I don't know how long it took to entirely switch over.

EDIT: Okay, Star Wars came out before Rock Raiders, as Dlrohrer2003 said.

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By in United States,

I'm wondering, how exactly do these old hinges compare to click hinges?

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By in United States,

@cody6268 Less posable, mainly. And the type used for robotic arms, as seen in #2151-1, was susceptible to breaking.

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By in Australia,

@cody6268: phi13 is right. The old hinges could be posed at any angle but could also break easily. The click hinges could only be posed at certain angles but were stronger. Today we see a lot of combinations of clips and bars which are a good compromise. The brick hinges with flat tops are still going strong though!

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By in New Zealand,

The turntable completes this set up.

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By in Turkey,

Nice little set with true play value. I love the classics.

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By in Latvia,

@TransNeonOrangeSpaceman Lol, didn't see it before your comment

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By in Netherlands,

Bring back Castle.

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By in United Kingdom,

What a lovely set, makes me want to get all of my old castle stuff out of storage.
Those black Knight shields were always my favourite, along with the Black Falcon ones obviously.

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By in Belgium,

Love the design of those old shields

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By in United States,

I got two of these when I was 12. I remember being disappointed that the guards didn't have shields. However those were the days. This came in a polybag and was displayed at the end of the toy aisles. I feel like I spent only $2 each on these. What a deal!

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By in Spain,

Bring back Castle!!

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By in United States,

@cody6268: The old finger hinges had some advantages and some disadvantages compared to click hinges.

Old school finger hinges are beloved by MOCists for stud reversals since the axis of rotation is vertically centered on the plate, rather than raised by 0.8mm. They have this in common with the Mixel joints, but unlike the Mixel joints, a reversal like this would have a smooth one-plate thickness all the way across with no bump in the middle. On the other hand, this also means that when used for sideways building, the old hinges are harder than click hinges or clip and handle hinges to line up neatly with other SNOT elements like headlight bricks or brackets which DO account for the difference between vertical and horizontal brick measurements, and offset the vertical placement of the hinge accordingly.

These finger hinges had 180 degrees of free rotation, compared to click hinges which hinge only at 22.5 degree intervals. But on the other hand, this also made them too loose to support very much weight, and they often became even looser after years of attaching, detaching, and rotating them.

This is probably why the LEGO Life on Mars mechs and early LEGO Star Wars walkers were some of the first mech/giant robot sets to have articulated legs instead of wheels or rigid legs that shuffled forward and back like in the Classic Space or Roboforce themes. Before the click hinge, there weren’t really many hinges that could reliably support the weight of a minifig-scale vehicle in the long term without buckling at the hip, knee, or ankle.

Some of the finger hinges were also prone to breaking over time due to how thin the “fingers” themselves were. That said, I more often remember experiencing this problem with the 1x4 finger hinges used to attach parts like hinged windscreens and car roofs, as well as the hinged “arm” elements in the Aquazone theme, than with these narrower single-module-wide hinge plates.

The lack of standardization of click hinges is a weakness pretty much any way you slice it. With click hinges or clip and handle hinges it’s easy to create a hinge where either end can be a plate, brick, Technic cross axle hole, Technic pin, 3.2 mm bar, 3.2 mm hole, etc. The connection is also fairly standardized whether or not the parts are the same width — a 1x2 brick with click hinge can easily connect to a 4x3 plate with two click hinges or a 6x6 or 8x8 bubble canopy with two click hinges. Likewise, a 4x4 plate with two clips can connect to any handle or 3.2mm bar element.

But with finger hinges, four-stud-wide vehicle roofs or windscreens were compatible with an entirely separate range of parts than the thinner finger hinges as seen in this set, and both were separate types of finger hinge from the hinges used for “Homemaker” style “Maxifigs” or Space and Aquazone articulated grabber arms.

Overall, finger hinges being retired and replaced with click hinges was a big sacrifice for a long time, with about as much lost as was gained. But today, the plethora of other free-rotating hinge elements since then like clip-and-handle hinges or Bionicle and Mixels style ball joints have diminished many of those lost opportunities. It’s mostly just their usefulness as a single-plate-thick stud reversal that hasn’t since been matched by other parts or techniques.

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By in United States,

@madforLEGO: I actually think stuff like catapults and pirate cannons are a good reminder of how even before stud shooters, shooting or launching functions have been really popular with kids for a LONG time.

Frankly, one of the reasons I love stud shooters and tile shooters is that instead of needing bespoke ammo or bulky launcher elements like most launcher pieces of the late 90s and early 2000s (e.g. Technic Competition/Cyber-Slam shooters, Mars Mission flick missile launchers, Exo-Force disk shooters, and all Bionicle G1 shooters), stud shooters and tile shooters revert to this old standard of using basic LEGO elements as ammo and small, simple, inexpensive parts as the launching mechanism.

As a further nostalgic bonus, stud shooters’ generic cylindrical shape reminds me a lot of the early LEGO Space guns and LEGO Star Wars blasters that consisted of simple parts like https://brickset.com/parts/design-3959 or https://brickset.com/parts/design-4349 with a transparent round plate, brick, or cone at one end.

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