The first faction for my Castle display will be what I am calling the ‘Knights of the Black Falcon’, my own revised version of what are commonly known as ‘Black Falcon Knights’ or ‘Black Falcons’.

So I suppose the first think that people might ask is “why the name change?” and my answer to that would be that I have storytelling reasons as to the slight name change, I feel that the name “Black Falcons/Black Falcon Knights” is purely descriptive in that they have black (and silver) falcon heraldic arms. But in thinking about how to explore the faction further I did a little bit of digging and found that their current ‘name’ derives from the name of their second castle set from 1986, 6074 Black Falcon’s Fortress.

My first thoughts upon finding this out is that ‘Black Falcon’ almost could be a title of a person, maybe the lord of the castle is known as ‘The Black Falcon’. This idea set my mind going and I reasoned that this would make the faction more like the real world, making them a legion of knights aligned with a particular lord and therefore taking up his arms in battle, literally the knights of the Black Falcon.

Once I decided on the name alteration I started to look at the heraldic emblem itself. The original design is pretty iconic and I think it stands up really well today and does not really need to be refreshed or redesigned. However, I am going to do just that, because being that I am a graphic designer in my day job, I love exploring how things might evolve and change over time. Also, I really want to design new torsos and a range of shields and flags for the faction as whilst we have seen some beautiful varied castle torso, shield and flag prints over the years the poor old Black Falcons have only ever had the one design since 1984.

I started by looking at the renditions of the Black Falcon emblem that have appeared in sets between 1984 and today and found pretty much three designs, the original from 1984, a more abstracted version from the mid-2000s (I actually contemplated leaving this one out, sorry Jayko!) and the more faithful refreshed version from 10223 Kingdoms Joust (2012).

I don’t know what you think but to me the 1984 original and the 2012 Kingdoms versions are the most convincingly ‘heraldic’ of the three designs. I reckon the 2005/6 Knights Kingdom II versions look a little too modernised.

For my version I took inspiration from both the 1984 original and the 2012 Kingdoms version as there are qualities in both designs that I like.

You can see my version above, it has the stronger thicker wings of the 2012 Kingdoms version however I have completely redrawn it with more rounded/organic feather shapes. You can also see that I have drawn more realistic heraldic feet on the falcon (the other ones were a bit too chunky and geometric for me) and given it a more defined head shape (its head looked like it was all beak in the 2012 version!).

In terms of colour scheme I am sticking firmly to the original 1984 colour palette, however I will also include a version with the black and silver border like the 2012 Kingdoms version as it faithfully recalls both the original 1984 Black Falcons flag and torso emblem.

There is one other element that I am sure you have noticed, and that is of course that I have added a crown to my version. Once again this is there for purely story reasons as in my Castle build the Black Falcon has seized the throne of the kingdom.

So, what do you think? Let me know! Next up I will be showing some of my Black Falcon torso designs.