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    The 30th anniversary of Pirates is coming up!

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  1. You know what, you have me there--this could indeed be wishful thinking on my part. I got overexcited. And I should clarify, I'm not thinking that there's going to be anything like a re-release of classic sets--the major structural elements and colors of the classic Pirate sets have changed significantly since the last re-release. But here are the pipes down which my dream travels: #1: Precedence--The 2009 Pirates were released in the 20th anniversary year. I don't think that was a coincidence. And while this may be a coincidence, Castle had a pretty sizable wave of sets in 2008. (All that said, good point about every year being an anniversary for something--I just realized 2018 is the 20th anniversary of Adventurers, and I doubt that Johnny Thunder will make a comeback that year. Although that would be awesome, just saying.) #2: Timing--It's pretty clear by now that Pirates are a once-every-couple-of-years kind of deal. By 2019 there won't have been anything in about four years, so it seems likely they'd be thinking about it anyway. #3: Importance as a Theme--Again, Pirates isn't out very often, compared to Castle and Space, which get pretty regular releases. So it makes sense to take full advantage of a return by tying it in with another event like the anniversary. Also, Pirates isn't just an awesome theme; it's the first theme of the "modern" era of LEGO. With Pirates came specially printed minifigures, the first attempt at a cross-media storyline, more new elements than in any release in years, an attempt at creating characters, etc., etc. So it's special. (Admittedly, I am biased. ) #4: Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: Even if I'm completely wrong on all of the above counts, it's just remotely possible that a LEGO Ambassador or someone will read this thread and go "Hey, the 30th anniversary of Pirates is coming up! We've got to do something cool--that's a great idea!" TC
  2. I think there's a lot to unpack there. The truth is that we only have one year's worth of recent Pirate sets that doesn't compare favorably with the previous couple of waves. There's no evidence to suggest that future Pirate sets won't improve--I mean, just put the Black Seas Barracuda, the Red Beard Runner, the new Imperial Flagship, and the Queen's Anne Revenge next to each other--it's hard to argue that quality is definitely trending downward in each case. The Red Beard Runner doesn't even compare with the Barracuda, but the most recent ships are far, far better than the Runner. As for increasing prices/fewer pieces and minifigures, I would like to see someone crunch the numbers--I suspect that accounting for inflation, the difference isn't that severe. And the minifigures are of much higher quality than they were in the 90s too, at least. But taken as a whole, the 2015 Pirate line isn't quite as good as the 2009 line. I think the individual sets tell a slightly different story, though. I think 2015's Shipwreck Defense and Treasure Island are far better than the equivalent 2009 Cannon Battle and Loot Island. (I'd go so far as to say that Shipwreck Defense is one of the best small LEGO Pirate sets of all time.) It's the larger sets that just don't measure up, the Soldier's Fort and the Brick Bounty. (Though I much prefer the Brick Bounty's skull-and-swords over the goofy jolly roger of the 2009 line--one of the best things about LEGO Pirates is that they have a little edge to their general whimsy.) I think that on the surface the 2009 and 2015 lines are pretty similar in terms of play experiences, but the builds are quite different. The overall quality of sets is higher in the 2009 line, but I think the 2015 sets have a more appealing aesthetic with some really great sets. I don't think the real issue is that we've had a "bad" year for LEGO Pirates--IMO the real sticking point for most of us Piratical die-hards is that Pirates has been and most likely will be kept alive with sporadic releases every couple of years, with the same basic factions and types of sets. The good news is that it gives all kids a chance to make LEGO Pirates a part of their childhood. The bad news is that LEGO's rapid release cycle means that the window in which to even get the sets is shorter and shorter. And there's no second wave to build on the first. I think the clone brands have, unfortunately, stepped in to fill that gap somewhat--there are a number of smaller ships and other sets that aren't direct ripoffs of LEGO design that could easily fit right into a second wave of Pirate sets. I think that's a good question to ask. It's not so much that we were easily impressed at the time--LEGO went above and beyond with the boxes and catalogs and other media to create an immersive Pirate world that felt real. And a lot of sets were genuinely impressive. But nostalgia is powerful--some of the older sets are either uninspired (Forbidden Island, Shipwreck Island) or have really weird builds when you look at them up close (Imperial Trading Post), and don't compare favorably with some of the more recent sets. Also, time and better sets in the future will probably change people's opinion of the 2015 line. I remember seeing the 2004 +4 Pirate sets, and just shaking my head. By themselves, they were a poor substitute indeed for minifigure pirate sets. But now I wish I had bought them, as they are a pretty cool and unique incarnation of LEGO Pirates. I'm seeing a lot of love now for the Islanders and the 1996 Pirate sets, which were generally disliked by AFOLs back in the day. It would be hard to recapture the popularity of the Pirates theme at its hight...but I think that has more to do with the wide range of themes LEGO has had in the past few years compared to 1989-1994, when Pirates was the newest of only four core minifigure themes. When you think about it, it's kind of weird that it was that way for five years. LEGO is much more open now to new ideas and settings than it was at that time, and that's not a bad thing. We've had dinosaurs, monsters, mummies, alien invasions, water worlds, cowboys, time travel, secret agents, ninjas, swamps, arctic, farms, and on and on and on--and that's not even counting all the licenses and video games. Pirates just has to wait its turn amongst the dozens of other potential themes and revisits of older themes. This isn't the worst it could be by any means--from 1997 to 2009 there were no new minifigure Pirate sets at all, and it was awful. By comparison, 2009-11 and 2015 seem like a new golden age of LEGO Pirates. And it seems a little indulgent to sulk over the lack of Pirates in terms of specifically Pirate themed sets when we've had some nice Pirateish releases from other themes in the meantime; Ninjago, the LEGO Movie, Spongebob, etc, and some nice representation in the Collectable Minifigures. But still, the lack of anything on the horizon is a bit of a letdown. (I'm more dissappointed about the lack of new Pirates of the Caribbean sets than I thought I would be.) BUT. 2019 will be the thirtieth anniversary of the Pirate theme--LEGO can't let that go unobserved. I can't imagine they wouldn't bring their A-game to at least one big set--I'm looking forward to it. TC
  3. If there's anyone who is just getting into pirates, there are a few non-set LEGO items that are relatively inexpensive NIB but have brand new minifigures, stuff like the 2009 Pirate magnets (from before they started gluing the figures onto the magnets) and the Jack Sparrow Nintendo DS game cases--no one seems to want those for some reason. TC
  4. And "renegades" too, which, admittedly, is a word LEGO likes to use, but considering its past associations it pretty much clinches it. ;) The Rogue's bio even includes the entire description of Wolfpack from the latter catalog image, albeit slightly reworded. TC
  5. Wow, they really went all out in the Spy bio on LEGO.com. It mentions events from Alpha Team, Agents, Galaxy Squad and even implies that the Spy recruited Soloman Blaze into Ultra Agents. It also mentions something called the "Zed Incident"--anyone know what that might refer to? The Arabian Knight/Desert Warrior's bio namechecks Pharoah's Quest too, and the Rogue's refers vaguely to Wolfpack, as expected. TC
  6. That is a really cool background. What is it from? TC
  7. So the LEGO Batman movie trailer has a LEGO Bat-Pirate Ship in the Batcave...any chance we'll see that sometime down the line? With actual sails? TC
  8. Not only that, but the 6765 town set had lots of signage indicating that it was, in fact, the same LEGOREDO town (or at least named after it) as the theme park attraction! Dunno why it ended up being called "Gold City Junction" or "Silver City" in the US and UK, but it seems to have stuck. TC
  9. Ahoy! So I apologize if this is commonly known and has just managed to escape my notice all these years, but there appears to be a pre-Pirates LEGO set featuring Pirate models--and it's way older than I even thought possible! That's the 905 Doll set from 1963, me hearties. Now, it's not a full-on Pirate set--it's a bunch of bricks with many possible figurine builds--but the Pirate Captain is prominently featured on the box, and you can build another Pirate to boot, so I'm claiming it. Thanks to the All Sorted podcast; I may not have known about this otherwise. And yeah, it may not be related to the minifigure Pirate theme...but on the other hand, the Pirate Captain has a black jacket. And an eye patch. And a peg leg. Coincidence...? TC
  10. Purely speculation, but if LEGO were developing Python sets, perhaps it was as part of the Studios line? It was out around the same time this video was made, and the Spider-Man and Jurassic Park series both started out in Studios...TC
  11. Tintin and Monty Python themes? I remember a Holy Grail video on the LEGO website back in the day, but I'd never heard of a Tintin theme. Makes sense, though. I'd love to hear more about those! TC
  12. I mostly only collect Pirate stuff now (for practical reasons--obviously I'd want one of every set ever if I could have it!), and I gotta say that even though the 2015 Pirate theme wasn't continued, this is one of my favorite years. There's the entertaining Angry Birds pirate ship, the pirate Batman figure, the upcoming Collectable Minifigure pirate, the Disney Peter Pan minifigures, the pirate-themed Mixels, and the Ninjago Sky Pirates which I've fallen hard for after building a few sets. My super-picky 11 year old self would have a fit after hearing this, but the Ninjago sets have some of the most exciting pirate-ish builds I've ever had. The Sky Shark is a pretty inexpensive set, for example, and yet you get all kinds of fancy special pieces, and a build that manages to evoke a boat, a shark, and a fighter plane all at once. Love it. My only complaints are that of others in this thread, that the sets are released in such a limited window that they can be hard to collect. I used to save up and buy a lot of the more expensive sets in the post-Christmas sales, even as recently as 2012. But now you've gotta be prepared to strike as soon as there's any kind of deal. That said, though, it's a lot easier to find older (pre-2002) sets than it used to be, and thanks to Bricklink and other sites I'm not nearly as worried about losing or breaking a special part as I was in the old days. (I remember cleaning two entire rooms looking for my only treasure map piece! ) TC
  13. The new Disney Castle set has a nice Tinkerbell figure--not strictly pirates related, but I love the movie and can't wait to get the figure to go with the Captain Hook and Peter Pan figures I already have. Definitely Bricklinking her if she doesn't show up in a more affordable, smaller set, though--that's a lot of money and space to not use on Pirate sets down the road. TC
  14. Woah, I didn't even know about that one! I'll have to add it to the list...it does make it even more likely, assuming there's no conflict with Disney... TC
  15. Blake's 7! Thunderbirds might be more likely. ;) Although given that we have A-Team, of all things, anything is possible. I would be very much surprised, given the attention to detail paid to all eras in the Doctor Who level pack, if there wasn't some kind of substantial reference to the 1960s Mission: Impossible in the level pack. Supposedly the only reason the Tom Cruise film wasn't a direct continuation of the TV show was that the original cast refused to return to be killed off at the hands of the Jim Phelps character in the beginning of the 1996 film. (Understandable!) Given the current partners for Dimensions, and the general 80s nostalgia, my guesses for future Dimensions sets: Justice League The Matrix Looney Tunes Tom and Jerry Home Alone Breakfast Club Weird Science Last Starfighter Men in Black One would think Disney would be likely at some point now that Infinity is no more... Pepperland is from the LEGO Ideas Yellow Submarine, and the Toys R Us universe is from the recent promo set.TC