Thursday, 31 March 2011

Lego Pirates Wave 1 1989 - 1991

The Pirate Sets of Wave 1
I am an avid Lego pirate fan, over the years I have swung between my love of both pirate and castle, but as of now the stars have aligned under the pirate obsession and I have decided to write about the sets of my youth (before I forget), I bought most of the sets from Lego pirates, though I was only 4 at the time (back in 1991), older Lego set were always on sale so I had most of the range.
This is an article over viewing all the available sets released in what I call the first wave of pirate, (check out my pirate history blog for more info).
The years reviewed are between 1989 and 1991, sadly no actual sets were released during 1990 (at least from my research) so this year will not be included. I have divided the sets between what I call impulse (very small sets), small (little bases or rafts with a few figs), medium (small ships, and small bases with one base plate) and large (large ships and bases with 2 base plates)
Sets from 1989
The first thing to note about all these sets is that they included a large number of new LEGO pieces, for example the pirate faces, the weaponry, the boats and the coins (which up until now had been yellow studs). So due to these facts the first year was a very exciting time.
Set Name = Buried Treasure 6235
Piece Count = 20
The first impulse set I will review from 1989 (and the first set I remember getting for my pirate collection) looks simple but is actually a fantastic set, it includes a pirate with his flag and weapons, but most exciting of all is the monkey and coins, I remember being very excited about these elements, they also give you a spade to bury the treasure, a beautiful little piece of extra detail.

Set Name = Harbour Sentry 6245
Piece Count = 25
The second Impulse set released was called the harbour sentry; this set came with an actual boat and cannon as well as a swell blue minifig and a full complement of weaponry (well a sword and pistol), also not to be overlooked the beautiful flag (not quite visible in the photo sadly). The hat that comes with it is also quite rare (released only in this set I believe) so overall the set is very nice. My only criticism of the set would be ironically the hat, no other blue minifig was released with this hat so that made it difficult to buy more than one of these set because otherwise the overall look of your blue army might be slightly damaged, but that is a very minor flaw.

Set Name = Pirate Mini Figures 6251
Piece Count = 33
The basic battle pack set, comes with a Wench (someone you want around on a long sea voyage), a Captain, a pirate and two Bluecoats. It also includes a reasonable number of weaponry, a parrot and a treasure chest. The only weak spot in this set is surprisingly the pirate captain, I feel that in general they included him in far too many sets and an extra pirate or blue coat (with backpack and shako) would have been better received.

Set Name = Castaway’s Raft 6257
Piece Count = 54
My favourite raft available from the Lego Company, what makes this set so nice is the fact that the raft is so well built it feels solid, like it could carry the pirates for weeks(how they would survive would be another question), the flags (which represent sails) have a nice tattered look, and the barrels on the bottom of the raft add a nice colour variation. I remember also being impressed with the map and the shark which was only available in larger sets at the time (that changed eventually).

Set Name = Shipwreck Island 6260
Piece Count = 71
I have a confession with this set, I never actually owned it, but that does not mean I cannot appreciate it from afar. This set was less exciting than the previous ones available (though still great), I feel that the problem with this set is due to the fact that the land is so small, the set includes a great deal including a palm tree and an awesome half barrel but it all feels a little squashed. However if anyone would to offer me one, I would be ecstatic so maybe I am being a little unfair. 

Set Name = Sabre Island 6265
Piece Count = 96
This set achieves what I feel the Shipwreck Island misses; the small base plate is less of an issue here the tower gives more room as does the boat, this set was a little bit more expensive than the Shipwreck Island but much better. Also it includes blue soldiers (which are great) and two flags (one of which is big). My personal opinion is that this is the best small set available for Lego pirates over the entire range.

Set Name = Forbidden Island 6270
Piece Count = 182
This set is the first land base for the pirate faction, it features all three male pirates available at the time and a blue prisoner (though why they let him keep his backpack I don’t know). The base plate is very nice as it is has water, sand and grass printed on it, the design of the base is reasonably solid and the set features every animal available for the pirate series (look out there is a monkey with a gun) it also features just enough palm tree leaves to make the island look quite tropical. My only criticism is actually not about this set(if you ignore the fact that the stairs go straight into water), but you may notice that the mast in the set looks like a ship mast, personally I really like the half barrel on top, it has a great crow’s nest feel to it, why didn’t Lego reuse this idea on any of their ships.

Set Name = Caribbean Clipper 6274
Piece Count =378
This ship is the curse of all pirates in the Lego world, the Caribbean Clipper, a great set and one of only three battle ships which were designed for someone other than the Pirate faction (until 2010). This ship is also the only set which includes the Sailor figure (three of them), the design is very nice, though let down somewhat by its lack of cabin, still if compared to some of the later ships it is fantastic, it even has two cannons (a feature lacking in many of the smaller ships). The ship also features an anchor, a brilliant flag, interesting mast design and it was the cheapest set which also featured the leader of the Imperial Soldiers, Governor Broadside.

Set Name = Eldorado Fortress 6276
Piece Count = 506
This set is arguably the best land base available in the Pirate theme, I was not sure whether to place this in the large or medium list, but due to its love and respect from all pirate fanatics I feel that it is a large set. The nice thing about this is the fact that it is swarming with minifigs. It features one commander, one officer and four (that’s right four) soldiers, this in itself is an instant army builder, problems with later faction released is that there was always too many officers and not enough of the basic soldier, with the blue faction and this set in particular this is not an issue. The set also feature two pirates to fight against the imperials (or attempt to breakout of the jail), overall this set is very strong, I don't even feel I need to point out how good the design of the base is, the two rowboats, the neat little dock out front(just look for yourself).

Set Name = Black Sea Barracuda 6285
Piece Count = 909
Now you are presented with what is seen by many as the greatest Pirate ship available, here we see the wench appear for the second time (the Captain for the fourth time) whilst we also see six other crew members, eight in a crew is a great number (only beaten by nine later on). The ship is immense, it is the only pirate ship not to feature an obvious pirate skull and crossbones’ on the sails,  we have naked (apparently) figurehead at the front, a monkey, an anchor, a ships wheel (one ship later failed to have one), a captain’s cabin and enough cannons to blow most opponents away. The whole set features no flaws, it is seen as the benchmark ship with which others will be judged against. It was so good it was even rereleased in 2002 as a Legends set.  Overall my most favourite of sets.

The Odd one out
Set Name = Pirate Comic 6255
Piece Count = 12
Also released in this initial glorious year for Lego was a comic, called Pirate Comic. It came with two minifigs and a few weapons and map, I have no strong feelings towards this release either way but feel it would be churlish not to include it.

 Overview of the year
The year of 1989 saw many new features not just for Pirates but for Lego as well, this year for the pirates saw two opposing factions, both had a nice large and small base, both had a great ship, both had a great impulse set, and this year also featured a quality battle pack. If you never owned a single set from any other year you would still own three of the most sought after sets from the pirate them and arguably two of the best.
This year is the benchmark other years shall be compared against.
Overview of year score 10/10
Sets from 1991
After a year’s hiatus with no new sets to stock the selves, Lego realised four new sets for 1991 (and one extra set as part of a value pack). This year’s releases still featured the Bluecoats against the Pirates, this year was to sadly be the last for the Bluecoat faction, but at least they received one of the nicest smaller bases available.

Set Name = Pirate Desert Island 1481 (US and Canada Only)
Piece Count = 21
Sadly again I never owned this set, it was only released in the USA and came as part of a value pack featuring 4 other small sets (picture also shown below). From what I see the set is again quite interesting, I believe that this is the first time a pot was included in a pirate set and we also get a shark and parrot. In old pirate tales when a pirate is marooned (on a desert Island) they are given one pistol with a single shot in it, as you can see in the picture our dear pirate friend has only got a pistol (no sword), this attention to detail is really nice, it is just a shame it was never released outside the USA.

Set Name = Renegade’s Raft 6234
Piece Count = 38
The Renegade’s Raft, I remember owning three of these simply for one reason only, the tricorn hat, for me I was always more excited by the blue pirate and his hat than I was by the pirate with the bandana, this was the first small set that let you pick up this guy, at the time that was great. Also this set came with two oars, now that may not sound like much but it was a great way to bulk out your spare parts (if something should go missing) and as the base of the raft is made of yellow circular bricks they always provided an adequate supply of cannon balls whenever you shoot one across the room and then could never find it again. Sadly the raft itself is not very good this impulse set feels a little weaker than the first one, it's a nice idea but a tad dull.

Set Name = Broadsides Brig 6259
Piece Count = 68
The smallest set of the year with Bluecoats included, this set was a great way to build up your Fortress or Lock Up, because it came on a grey baseplate you could simple stick in on some black bricks and place it in an available spot next to the bigger bases. I never liked this set as a standalone, but saw it more of an add on to build up previous sets, but looking back it is very nice and contained, still I prefer Sabre Island, though the brig was just over half the cost so maybe if I campare two brigs for one island the brig starts to look alot better (six minfigs compared to three, but still no cannon, boat or large flag).

Set Name = Lagoon Lock Up 6267
Piece Count = 193
This set is often seen as a legendary set from the initial pirate range, a lot of people like the small building on the left which was seen by many as a tavern. This set also features an almost unique minifig, (he is the pirate in the jail) his name was Will and he was also featured in the pirate comic, he basically consisted of an all red pirate with an old classic smiley face. This set slipped me by when I was young but I picked one up off Bricklink (god bless Bricklink) just over a year ago, since then it has sat on my shelf (where only the best sets or my Moc's stay), it is such a nice set and offers variety from what came before. Also please note that this was the first set to come with a red sail further adding variety to your little jolly boats.

Set Name = Rock Island Refuge 6273
Piece Count = 381
The Largest set released in 1991 is also the largest pirate base available, it featured every single available minfig from the pirate range except one (Governor Broadside), this alone shows how much effort Lego put into creating variety in there early sets. Another example of this is shown with the inclusion of the second smaller base plate, very little is actually attached to this plate but its inclusion make the whole set look a lot more together. Also featured in this set is the first and only small blue sail and a nice pirate raft (though not as good as the Castaway’s Raft 6257 in 1989). The structure to this set is not quite as good if compared to the Eldorado Fortress but if we consider that this place is being manned by rough Pirates and not disciplined Soldiers then the differences make a lot of sense, it is meant to look a little delipadated. Overall though I feel that this set is just missing that little extra detail that made other sets great, the structure is not as exciting as Eldorado Fortress, which in turn make the set less engaging from a construction viewpoint, it just lacked that little something. Still though that is not to say the set is bad in any way it just had the potential to be more.

Overview of the Year
This year saw the addition of one very good set and a couple of nice extra army builders, if looked at on its own then the lack of ships could clearly work against it, but if considered as a bonus pack to 1989 then it is viewed in a my better light. The pirate’s changed their base of operation to a much more secure Island (though not as cool as the Fortress the Bluecoats get) and the Bluecoats received a nice place to drink and lock up any less important pirate. At this point in time both the factions where very evenly matched, the pirates might have had a bigger ship but the Imperials had a better collection of land bases, I believe this is the reason why these years are looked back on with such fondness, Lego didn’t sway your decision over who to route for and who to collect a larger number of, it left that up to you. At this point in time there was still the potential to have a small pirate army working as the underdog against a larger Imperialist faction; sadly this freedom was soon to change.

Overview on Year Score 7/10 (good sets just not enough of them)
Overview on Wave 1 9.5/10 (the best wave yet)
On the links below we have the following waves and a look back at the overview of all waves

 Overview of Waves

Wave 2

Wave 3

Wave 4

Wave 5

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

The History Of Lego Pirates

LEGO Pirates was a LEGO theme introduced in 1989.

 It was the first completely new theme that appeared after the three initially introduced main themes by LEGO (which are Town, Castle and Space, introduced in 1978)

It focused on the idea of Caribbean pirate’s fighting against soldiers of colonial empires (the Imperial Soldiers in blue and the Imperial Guard in red) and they would occasionally encounter indigenous people, called the Islanders. During its initial run from 1989 to 1997, the theme saw continuous releases in every year except in 1990. While the pirate faction remained largely unchanged, their imperial adversaries were subject to various visual changes.

The theme was the first to feature LEGO versions of firearms, in the form of a pistol, musket and cannon it also introduced the first Minifigures without the standard smiley-faces as well as specific elements for the construction of large sailing ship models and the inclusion of both the parrot and monkey fig; all contributed towards the outstanding reception recieved of Pirates.

Following a long hiatus starting in 1997, except for occasional rereleases of old sets under the title Legends, the theme was reintroduced in 2009, combining the established look from the past with recent LEGO elements and building styles.

A picture from 1989 showing a clash of two factions.

Lego Pirates initial release was between 1989 and 1997, in this time four factions were released in what I like to call waves.

Wave 1 Released Pirate’s against Blue Soldiers called Imperial Soldiers
Wave 2 Released Pirate’s against Red Soldiers called Imperial Guard
Wave 3 Released Pirate’s against Islander
Wave 4 Released Pirate’s against the Spanish Armada

Wave 1 Overview (1989 and 1991)

Between 1989 and 1991 two factions were introduced for the Pirate Theme, they consisted of Pirates and the Blue Imperial Soldiers.

Many see this as the most exciting wave, this could be due to the fact that it was the first wave, but many old school lego collectors claim that this wave released the best set in the form of the Black Sea Barracuda (a ship for the pirates to sail), Eldorado Fortress (a beautiful base for the Imperial's to stay in) and the Carribian Clipper (this is the ship the bluies got to fight in).

The Four pirate Minifigs where released at the time
The Captain, two of his crewmen and a Wench.

The two crew members came in many forms, the one with the bandana would have various trouser colours, a blue or red bandana and a red or blue stripped shirt, the pirate with the eyepatch could have either a brown or black tricorn (the three corner hat he is wearing) and various coloured trousers. The one with the eyepatch was called called Rummy and the other was called Flashfork (from the comics, which also named the parrot and monkey as Popsy and Spinoza).

The Captian would never change his apperance and the wench would swap between a red or blue bandana.
The Captain was called, Captian Roger Redbeard ( possibly Captian Roger) whilst the Wench as called Anne.

Their Adversaries of the time where the Imperial Soldiers, they sailed the seas with their Carribian Clipper and went to their Eldorado Fortress whenever they needed some land under their fett. Four Minifigs where released with this faction. These Figures included the Commander (called Governor Broadside), his Lieutenant (called Lieutenant Martinez) and the basic Soldier and the basic sailor.

As you might have noticed the basic body on the Lieutenant, soldier and sailor are all the same, still if they are to represent an army then uniformity is important.

Wave 2 Overview (1992 -1993)

This wave saw a whole new faction in the form of Red Imperial Soldiers (called the Imperial Guard), old pirates from the orignal wave were still released in set at this time, but sadly no more blue soldiers were released at all. The red soldiers where exactly the same as there blue counterparts but had the added bonus of being red not blue. Notable sets in this wave include the Imperial Trading Post and Skull Eyes Schooner, and the first ever imperial flagship (the ship the red guys got to fight in, a second flagship was released in 2010).

Three new pirates were included one of which looks very similar to an earlier one, just with brown hair not black, whilst the other two have very similar faces (though the torso's look nice).

The Minifig on the left (the one in the brown shirt) is seen as the rarest of all minifigs, he was only ever released in two set, the Imperial Trading Post and Skull Eyes Schooner, in the trading post he has his own ship, which is believed as many to be a trading or merchant ship (the only one released by LEGO) in the Skull Eyes Schooner he is just a pirate crew member. He is also apparently called Steve, but I have no idea where the source came from.

The minifig in the middle was seen as an additional pirate fig, he would come with various trousers and a choice of blue or red bandanas and occasionally a tricorn hat, his shirt is also black and red striped not white and red, making his torso slightly different to the previous pirates.

The Pirate with the ripped shirt, is often seen as either a new design for the Captian (shown above) or as a whole new pirate in his own right. This debate was finally put to rest when the two minifigs where released together in the Red Beard Runner (a pirate ship from the fourth wave), it should also be noted that this pirate has brown hair, whilst the orignal captian was released with red hair. This Captian was also realsed with his own infearior ship (the Renegade Runner ) he was also given a name, Ironhook.

Their Adversaries this time came in the form of the Imperial Guard (very little change you might have noticed), only three Minifigs were released with this faction. These Figures included the Commander (called Admiral Woodhouse), a Lieutenant (with no name) and the basic Soldier, they fought the pirates from their flagship and stocked up on supplies at there trading post.

Wave 3 Overview (1994 -1995)

This wave saw a whole new faction in known as the Islanders, these guys were, brand new and looked nothing like the pirate sets from before, during this time a small number of Red Soldier Sets were also released but the red guy never went up against the islander and vice versa, the actual pirate faction still had the main focus. Notable set in this wave was the Enchanted Island.

No new pirates where designed during these years, but all the older ones where still in circulation.

The Islander also included the second female in the theme, known as the Islander Girl (or possibly Princess Uhu, though that might not be true), the man in the red mask was the leader of the tribe and his name was King Kahuka.
Islander figs never had a big ship to go up against the Pirates so this faction is often seen as the most peaceful of all the factions released.

Wave 4 Overview (1996 -1997)

Sadly this was the final wave until LEGO rereleased the Pirate Theme in 2009, this wave saw some odd sets and the smallest (and worst, in most peoples opinion) pirate ship ever called the cross bone clipper, also during this time the Islander and Red Coat sets where phased out. However one plus point to this was the new pirates and new faction released.

The new faction in this wave was called the Armada, this group only had 2 actual set realised for them (a tiny outpost with 1 minifig and a small/medium sized ship with 3 minifig), they also included a few Armada minifigs to go up against the pirates in the sets released during this time.

Pirates now had a nice new look with completely new faces and torsos.

The pirate on the left came with a variety of trouser colours and either a blue, red or black bandana (the rarest and most exciting bandana), he is also seen as the second rarest pirate avaliable.

The Pirate in the middle came with either a brown or black tricorn and oddly enought a peg leg or normal leg.

The final pirate is often seen as the third captian varient, he came with a captians hat (and white feather) in one set, again his trousers would change colour and he would come with either a black or brown tricorn.

The Armada minfigs also had a very nice selection which included a green and red Captian with a beautiful silver chest plate (please note that the picture of the green guys is without a chestplate however he did come with one in set 6280) and one type of soldier. please note I have included a picture of the captians with and without there armour, just so you can see their torsos.
It is often seen that the green captian is the leading officer due to the fact that the basic soldier is in red (meaning the lower orders wear red whilst the leader wears green).

Wave 5 Overview (2009 -2010)
The new pirates have arrived, a lot of old school LEGO collectors dislike the new style because they don’t fully fit into the old theme, but I say progression is the way of life and fully embrace the new pirates and their foes.

This wave saw the new pirates against the third faction released (the red soldiers), both teams had a nice overhaul. This wave also released the best ship ever (in my humble opinion) know as the Imperial Flagship (the second one), it costs quite a bit but is well worth the price to finally see the Imperial guys have the best ship, sadly though this ship is one of the only highlights of the wave, with other sets missing baseplates and seeing lower quality sails.

Pirates now had a new Captain (by the name Brickbeard), new wench and 4 new torso type, there is also a great number of new heads available which makes also each minifig unique in some small way, below is a picture of as many variations as I could find. As you can see there is some similarities from the old style but also some new ideas mixed in.

This wave also features a castaway. Poor Guy

The Soldiers also have an upgrade; the commander has gone back to being called Governor, though his uniform has changed from red to blue, he now has two daughters available to rescue (though the one in the blue dress is called the captians daughter and is safe aboard the Imperial Flagship, the one in the white dress is refered to as the Admiral's daughter and is in need of desperate help aboard the dirty brickbeards bounty) . Whilst the basic soldiers have been improved with new face variants (sadly only one torso style still) and a print on the top of their shako (tall black hat), Officers now have a feathers in their tricorn’s (other hat shown) as well, sadly there is now no backpack anymore, just a back printing which is not as good. On a special note, sets from this era featured shooting cannons in all countries, where as sets from the previous era's acually featured non firing cannons in the US.

Below we have the Governor, his daughters and then the Officers and Soldiers


Well as you can see these are the themes that where once available to the LEGO pirates, sadly now none of these are available anymore, in fact only the Imperial Flagship released in 2010 is available to buy from the actual LEGO store.

The old pirates might have gone

The blue and red soldiers might have gone

The Islanders and Armada might have gone

The new pirates are already going and the new red Soldiers only have one ship left available to buy.

But the future of LEGO pirates will see this theme go in a whole new direction.

Pirates of the Caribbean (the fourth Movie)

We will see how that turns out.

On the Links Below we have a closer look at the waves described above

First Wave  1989 - 1991

Second Wave  1992 - 1993

Third Wave 1994 - 1995

Fourth Wave 1996 - 1997

Fifth Wave 2009 - 2010

Monday, 28 March 2011

Imperial Lookout Post

Hello Everyone,

I thought you would like to see some pirate posts what with two castle ones previously.

This is my first pirate Moc I ever made, I wanted to make a small lookout post designed to see across the vast ocean(for my Blueies) with a small ship as transport, to warn the main fort if anything is approaching.

Sadly I don't have the greatest number of bricks, and my sails are a little small, but overall I'm quite pleased.

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The Ship Close Up
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The Front Door
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And most Importantly the Top of the Tower
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The Post's only Cannon
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Inside the Fort, The Kitchen Space
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The Dinner Table
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Thanks for looking, I hope you liked it

Comments would be nice.

The Lion Knights Tower

Hello Again Everyone.

This is a second example of some of the stuff I do, here we have a tower specially made by me, this is the beauty of lego, people can make whatever they want and then it is unique to them, this tower you see below is the only one of its kind and I don't remember how I made it, if I broke this up it would never come back again, as such it is precious (to me at least).


The Story behind this, is that the King has been Murdered and the Son and Wife have fled to a distant tower on a lake with only a few of their most loyal servants.

Front Of Tower
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Side of Tower
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Side of Tower
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Dock with an old ship I had, plus the depressed price with his Body Guard
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Shot from the Back
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Further up the Back
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And Finally the Queen with her Loyal Bodyguard(Lover)
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Hope you Like it :laugh:

Comments Would Be Nice.

Wolfpack and Falcon Moc

Hello Again Everyone.
This is a little example of some of the fun I have with my Lego

The two teams show are called wolfpack (the ones in Brown) and Black Falcons (the ones in Blue), I shall be writing reviews on them more later.

Hope You all Like it

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Poor Guy!
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Climbing Wolves
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Lord Wolf
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Baron Von Black Falcon
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The Wolves that opened the gate
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Thank you for Looking