I've always been a big fan of the Pirates of the Caribbean films. They're filled with adventure, mystery, swashbuckling and otherwise pirate-y content. I've also been a big fan of the world's favorite building toy: Lego. With the new film, On Stranger Tides set to release in a few weeks, the Lego fan community has been graced with amazing Pirates of the Caribbean sets, something they've been begging for for years. Now we've finally got it, and I'm excited to both see the movie and build these new sets. But how do the sets stand up to expectations? This review will comprehensively take you through one of the larger sets of this theme: 4193 London Escape!
Set Name: 4193 London Escape
Number of Pieces: 463
Number of Minifigures: 5
Price: 50 USD
Theme: Pirates of the Caribbean - On Stranger Tides
Box and Content:
Let's start with what you see on the store shelf. The front of the box shows a dark cobblestone London street serving as the background for this set. I like how the action and minifigs are organized, and the special effects are nice. The color scheme is sharp, and the dark blue ocean pattern with Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow all complement the theme well. There’s a small advertisement for a poster included in the set in the bottom right corner.
The back of the box is much less hectic than the front, which shows the set in more detail as well as several of the play features. The background is also less complicated—a faded parchment-colored image of a map further adds to the theme of the adventurous pirates theme.
As was said earlier, there is a poster included with the set. Here is an image of it folded up (and a little crumpled from being in the box, naturally). What could it be? A secret chart to lost wonders of the world or a map to valuable hidden treasure? You’ll have to find out for yourself!
The set also came with an interesting trading card. One side shows a character in Lego form, and the other has a code for the Lego PotC site. I got Gibbs, anyone want to trade?
The instructions are divided up into two separate booklets. Unfortunately, one of mine was severely crumpled and folded, as shown. I’ll let that sit underneath the rest of today’s Lego haul to straighten out while I build the first part of the set.
The build is divided into four numbered bags, to be opened one at a time. Each have several smaller bags enclosed. There is also a fifth polybag in the middle of the above picture, which includes “gold” bars and coins. I’ll get to those in a bit.
I was pleasantly surprised at the amount of interesting or otherwise useful pieces in the first bag alone. Here we see a dark green 1x1 brick with clip on side (the first bag also includes a multitude of other basic dark green bricks, which I can never seem to get enough of), a 1x4 light bley plate with some sort of ball socket, the PoP arch in black, and a brand new 1x2 dark brown tile. There’s also a light bley Z-shaped carriage brick that is an older mold, a dark blue 1x1 tile printed with a compass pattern (the set comes with two), and Jack Sparrow’s hat/hair mold that comes separately in its own little polybag.
I know that Lego piece quality is always increasing, but wow, I was simply amazed by the sheer amount of detail in these figs. The torso and face printing is just spectacular, and the new accessories are pieces that Lego fans could’ve only dreamed of a few years ago. There’s no doubt that the minifigures are the centerpiece of this theme, which is why I’ll spend quite a bit of time talking about them in this review.
Anyway, from left to right, we have an Imperial Officer, who is fully decorated with a new torso print, a printed tri-corn hat, gold epaulettes, and a new scabbard piece (white). The scabbard is not only something Lego fans have been wanting for a while now, but what makes it especially cool is the fact that it’s wider than just the basic cutlass piece, which means it can hold just about any Lego sword! The officer’s face print is that of Indiana Jones—does this mean there are more IJ sets to come? Probably not, but one can dream, right?
Next is an Imperial Soldier (The box calls it “King George’s Soldiers”), which has a torso print identical (or nearly so) to the 2009 Pirates theme soldiers, as well as a printed tri-corn. In the middle is the infamous Captain Jack Sparrow, with ultra-detailed leg and torso prints. This iteration of the Sparrow face doesn’t really scream Johnny Depp to me. In my opinion it’s too devious-looking, and not comical enough.
The final two figs are Joshamee Gibbs and the horse coach driver. I like the Gibbs minifigure a lot—its face print is accurate, and the torso is very neat. I’m pretty sure the hairpiece is identical to Will Turner’s, and I may be wrong on this, but
Thanks to Privateer, this is actually the first dark grey hairpiece, and Gibbs' would be the second.
The coach driver also has a nice torso print. The face print is a copy of a Prince of Persia head, but I don’t really mind.
There are also some nice prints on the back of the torsos, as well as double-sided heads.
Here's a close-up of those coins and the gold bullion bar. I was quite disappointed with the lack of chrome after reading other PotC set review, but I have to say, they look even worse in person. "Pearl" gold as it's called (I think it's closer to a dull gold), is just the worst choice in this instance. Why couldn't they at least be metallic gold?
Here's the first bag, the carriage, completed. It has a simple design, but it works. I love the dark green and black color scheme, and the overall shape is very reminiscent of the time period (I'm guessing late 1600s, early 1700s).
The doors open on a loose-hinge system, and you can see the interior here. Simple, yet effective.
The main play feature of the carriage would probably be the roof. I'm guessing there's a scene in On Stranger Tides when Jack Sparrow jumps on the roof of the carriage, and is launched off somehow. The two boards on the roof are lifted by a lever system using Technic pinholes and an axle. It works pretty well, and a Lego minifigure can be launched about 3 centimeters in the air, and maybe 8 centimeters backwards.
Finally, a ball-and-joint system can turn the front wheels.
Bag 2 (Cart):
Moving on, Bag 2 only contains one interesting piece that hasn't been mentioned before. Shown above, there's one of those "wall" pieces as I like to call them, except this is what I think is a new mold. The new version of this piece has ridges on the inside, for whatever reason.
Here's Bag 2 completed, the cart. It might have been a carriage like the one above, but it has since been burned to a crisp. This build was a little awkward because of the "damage", but we'll see how it turns out.
It looks like the second carriage has been reduced to mere ashes. The cart has but one play feature, besides the ball-and-joint turning system, as demonstrated with the first carriage. For some reason, the pile of ashes sit on a pair of pins, and turns 90 degrees to show some flames, like so:
I'm not really sure what the purpose of this is, because you can already see the flames when the "ashes" are in their normal position. You can actually turn the middle section 360 degrees, which is kind of cool. Unfortunately, there's not much else to see on the cart.
Bag 3 (Building Foundation):
Next up is the third bag. There are a few interesting pieces in this bag, including a new wooden door, a new wooden shutter, and a printed flag piece. The printed flag piece is especially nice, because there are metallic gold accents, and tiny golden font says "Captain's Daughter". I'm guessing that's the name of the building in this set, which must be a restaurant or pub.
I'll hold off on the build of bag three for now, as it merely builds the foundation for the fourth and final build.
Bag 4 (Completed Building):
The interesting pieces in the fourth bag are probably the best of the bunch. There's double-cheese in black, a new bottle/candle piece in trans-black (guess that color isn't getting cancelled after all), the cute new small bucket with dark tan handle, and a really neat 2x2 dark tan tile with a sailboat print. Best printed piece ever? I think so!
Finally, here is the building (I assume it's a pub) completed. It took both Bags 3 and 4 to build it, and I have to say that for how few pieces it is made out of, the facade is very well-built. The round 1x1 bricks break up the flat sides nicely, and it would look nice next to the Medieval Market Village set.
Here's the pub from another angle. Part of the front wall is attached by hinge bricks, so you can adjust the wall to many different angles.
And here we will take a look at the interior. Like I said earlier, the pub is more of a facade than a building, but the inside does have a few nice detail. From this angle, you can see a keg of ale in its stand, as well as a table with some bottles/candles and a cup near the window.
One the side, there is a ramp holding two barrels of ale. This is actually a play feature, as you will see in a second.
As you can see, the little torch piece can be removed to let the barrels roll out. The side door can also lift for the workers to move the barrels in or out. This play feature doesn't work very well, however, because the 1x2 plater with peg often ends up sticking to the base instead of being removed with the torch.
Finally, the entire set is complete! It looks good, and there's a lot to do as far as play features go. You can have Sparrow and Gibbs fight the officer, or create a nice pub scene (or hectic pub scene if you've ever seen the Pirates of the Caribbean movies).
What's nice about separated builds is that each bag has to have its own set of extra pieces, so you get a whole bunch of extras by the time you're done with all of the bags.
As we come to the end of this review, I would like to provide my final ratings of this set. Personally, I think that this is one of the stronger sets of the theme so far, and has a lot to offer as far as pieces and minifigs go. One of the only downsides is the price tag, not particularly on this set, but as a theme as a whole.
Build/Design: 8/10. The build was generally fun, and the design is strong. I took just one point off because of the weird cart, which was tedious to build and not very interesting overall.
Playability: 10/10. Full points in this category. There are endless possibilities for adventure in this set, with many play features and ways to imagine.
Minifigures: 10/10. You couldn't ask for better minifigures in a set. These are honestly the best Lego minifigs I've seen yet, with great detail, and new molds and prints.
Parts:4/5. This set is a pretty nice parts pack, with plenty of interesting and new pieces. There's a good amount of basic dark green bricks and light bley 1x1 round bricks.
Price:4/5. Actually pretty decent considering the new molds and prints. If you take those into account, the price-per-parts ratio is about ten cents per part, which isn't bad at all. It's the other PotC sets that will suck your wallet dry.
FINAL SCORE: 36/40. An excellent rating, this set is not one to pass up. If nothing else, the minifigs are totally worth it, but there's also a great deal of useful parts. Plus, the set's play/display value is great. Highly recommended for pirate fans or otherwise.
"We don't serve your kind here."
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