Posted 22 February 2010 - 02:51 AM
Set Name: Shipwreck Island
Set Number: 6296
Number of Pieces: 216
Price: 30.00 USD (Now worth approximately 40.00 USD used)
Theme: Pirates I
Year Released: 1996
First up is the box, full of Classic Pirates touches, like the sculpted backgrounds, logo, and snapping crocodile. A certain skeleton seems to be the life of the party over in the corner, while one Pirate gets launched from a mechanism.
The back is occupied solely by alternate models. What's more, the sides are also adorned with even more alternate models! My favorite has to be the lower center one, featuring a crocodile-activated closet skeleton.
As with most Classic Pirates sets, this box has a sliding tray. I find this quite handy for storage, because without the tray, the box can be easily collapsed.
Box:: Thoughts: It's space-efficient, cute, and not overly ad-packed. Some of the alternate models are pretty funny!
The instructions are a similar to the box cover, with less set information. Although the cover is Landscape, the contents and back cover are all Portrait.
The inside of the booklet shows how to build the minifigs, crocodile, palm tree, and small raft. Also note that the first step includes a piece call-out and a birds' eye view to help the process start easily.
A random page of the instructions, around two-thirds done with the build. There are no regular piece call-outs, but mini boxes for small submodels. Also note the lovely and not very distracting parchment background.
The back cover features a mini picture of the set as well as two of the box's alternate models. That's right- absolutely no advertising!
Instructions:: Thoughts: Very clean and to-the-point. I'm so used to piece call-outs that I missed some pieces the step they were added, though.
The pieces of the set are mostly black, but also have a decent amount of white, gray and yellow. A giant baseplate is a great touch for a medium-sized set, and the sail is nice and tattered. Remember, click the pic for a larger version!
Pieces of interest:
Here are some of the more interesting pieces of the set. The blue cannon base is really awesome, as well as the printed flag and map. I also like how Lego went all-out and provided two sets of coins. I also like that there are two rifles, three pistols, and three swords for four minifigs- fantastic addition!
Pieces:: Thoughts: Considering there aren't too many of them, there's a nice blend of specialty and generic ones.
The four minifigs of the set are all 100% Classic Pirates. The first has a lovely torso, beard, and hat, as well as green legs, an uncommon touch. The second one has a nice torso and face too. The Conquistador has a standard torso and hat, but is still interesting and uncommon. The skeleton also has a unique torso print, and well as very-detailed headgear.
No back printing for them, but then again how would you print the back of a skeleton anyways?
Minifigs:: Thoughts: Very nice torsos, and a good selection. The Conquistador is a nice addition, that many of the later Pirates sets had thrown in.
The build progresses very smoothly, in 21 steps. The pictures are at approximately 5 step intervals. There is nothing questionable about the build, and it uses no spectacular building techniques.
Build:: Thoughts: Simple and a bit hard to follow, but adding in a piece a step later isn't a huge problem.
The whole set:
And we have our completed set! the little raft is a great touch which adds more playability. The one thing that stick out at me is, what is it supposed to be? A shipwreck? An Island? If it's a shipwreck, the mast looks out of place amongst the mostly-wrecked hull. And if it's a wreck, why is it floating, and why is there a giant skull at one end? And if it's an island, why is there a ship lodged in it, and why is it so puny? I don't see what the designers were trying to do with this. It's just so weird.
A side view shows a good view of the skull, as well as the net with the skeleton behind the sail. The net has a very wide range of motion, which is a great feature. Also note the bent edges near the sail. Another great touch!
I think the skull deserves a close-up. It's not very dense, but still well designed. I love how the mouth is eating the treasure chest! See that black lever? Press on it, and the panel behind the treasure goes flying into the air!
The back view gives another perspective on things. You can see a palm tree, a cannon, a sword-in-a-barrel, and a jail. The sword is conveniently placed and is easily accessible.
Taking a closer look at the jail, we can see a cup on top, as well as hinges.
The hinges allow the jail to open, revealing our Conquistador friend. It's a little cramped, and a little hard to open, but it's not bad considering.
The little palm tree is shorter than many of the other ones, and is awfully cute, but something seems.. off. Perhaps it's the fact that it's growing on a piece of land barely bigger than its base, in the middle of the ocean? This is the second set I've seen this in, the other being Rocky Reef, which was even worse. Why did Lego do this? I have no idea, nor ever will.
The lovely blue firing cannon can swivel in the center of the wreck. The cannon balls are stored on the other side of the mast. Again, this set would be better with a firing cannon, but the change isn't as bad as in the Cross Bone Clipper. Also note, it is on a sliding piece. Interesting...
Just pop off that little blue switch, and the cannon can slide off revealing... guns and a map that somehow don't sink into the ocean! Cool idea, lame execution. A hinge would have been better than having to remove the blue handle, and there could at least be a plate under there!
At the end of the wreck is a cute little telescope, with a simple and effective design. This doesn't seem like the kind of thing they would include in a Pirates set, but this set was a little out of line anyways.
The other side shows the tattered sail very nicely. There's not much else about this view.
Now for a little action scene! The poor Conquistador is being eaten alive by the crocodile, while one Pirate decides to try a human cannon-ball act.
Here's a quick video showcasing the launching function of the set. I think it's really ingenious, because it operates under the treasure without bumping it. It also flings quite far!
Design: 5/10 I'm not sure what it is, so it's hard to judge is the designers reached their goal. However, there are some island touches, like the rock jail, and some shipwreck touches, like the sail and wrecked hull, so I guess the set name isn't very deceiving. However, it looks a little bit thrown together and incoherent, a problem that was rather uncommon among Pirate sets. It looks like a test of some sort.
Parts: 8/10 A decent variety, but the black pieces feel overpowering. There are plenty of accessories, but not too many special pieces otherwise.
Build: 8/10 I missed some pieces going through, but it wasn't a problem in the end. The build is fairly satisfying.
Minifigs: 10/10 Definitely the right amount, and a decent variety. Nothing like some swash-buckiln' sailors, and a good 'ol skellie to do the trick!
Playability: 10/10 This is a high point of the set. There are lots of accessories, some good functions, and enough minifigs to recreate a good battle without any other sets.
Price: 8/10 The price is off a bit, at 216 pieces for $30. Although there is a baseplate, it isn't a very good value.
Total: 49/60 Not the best set, but not the worst one either. It's stronger points are minifigs and playability, but its design is very weak. This set was definitely aimed at kids, since the factors important to kids were emphasized. But the design just kills the whole thing, in my opinion. It's not quite and island, and not quite a shipwreck, but it still floats. I can definitely see why this set was lost in history. And perhaps it rightfully deserves to be forgotten.
Thanks for reading!
Posted 22 February 2010 - 03:09 AM
Indeed, I always thought that this was one of the weakest Pirate set designs.
I particularly dislike the little raft, which looks more like a floating box. LEGO has done so many simple and yet better rafts than this. It really makes you wonder if the designers of this set were trying at all.
If I ever buy this it will be for the great minifigs and and for the parts.
One thing I noticed: the alternate design on the lower left corner vaguely resembles Shipwreck Hideout! Except, of course, that SH is a bigger, much more beautiful set.
Once again, great review! It's good to see that some of the '96-'97 sets are being reviewed lately. There are not too many reviews of those.
Posted 22 February 2010 - 03:50 AM
Great pirate play set, you always need some bones, a croc and a cannon to blow things up with.
Interesting sunken ship to be used as a pirate hideout - very good !
These came out in my dark period of NO Lego so I missed out on it....oh well that's life.
Keep on bricking everyone !
Posted 22 February 2010 - 02:16 PM
Second, the ship obviously hit a sand bar or somwthing of that nature becasue the ship didn't sink, so there is obviously land with a little bit of water on it, which would explain the tiny palm tree.
I personally think this set is great, adn a great review as well.
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Posted 23 February 2010 - 02:18 AM
Even if your explanation is right, it shouldn't take that much thought to figure out what it is, otherwise the designers failed at getting their point across easily.
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