Set Number: 6243
Set Name: Brickbeard's Bounty
Year of Release: 2009
Number of Pieces: 592
Part 1: Box, Parts, Instructions
It's been a shamefully long time since my last review, or indeed, post. So I thought I'd announce my return with a bang! Or three of them, since this set contains that number of the new gunmetal cannon pieces Setr 6243 Brickbeard's Bounty is the flagship (so to speak) of the new Pirates line, with its striking image on everything from the large sets right down to the teensy Impulse sets. Mixed feelings have been expressed about the new ship's design, with opinion ranging from those who think it is a worthy-looking successor to such gems as the Black Seas Barracuda, to those that think having the skulls-and-crossbone emblems on pirate sails is tacky and cheap looking (!). However, in Lego as with lemons, the proof is in the sucking (or in this case constructin') and a 2D image can hardly do justice to fresh bricky goodness. A good build can make or break a set. Join with me, ye scurvy knaves, as we journey together to discover whethere 6243 is indeed king of the high seas, or would have been better sunk beneath the waves...
Front of box:
Back of box. Yes, that's right - this baby is 56cm by 44cm. You won't believe how big it is until you see it!
8 glorious figs:
Instructions! Two books as now seems standard, and not too mangled. Best of all, no DSS (Dreaded Sticker Sheet).
Random instruction page:
Parts - four numbered bags, a bag of rigging and a shark, hull pieces and the sails.
Lots of rigging pieces:
The hull pieces. The two end pieces sit on top of each other seamlessly - you don't even realise they're separate pieces until you see them apart.
End pieces attached. See what I mean?
End on view:
Sails sealed in plastic sleeve:
Sails seem to be made of a slightly nicer (read: less cheap) canvas than the Indy tent and truck canopy, although I could be hallucinating this. There are only 2 sails marked with skulls and crossbones, so you could buy another set or Bricklink the plain red-and-white striped ones if you really feel strongly that Pirates shouldn't advertise their presence so indiscreetly
As for the pieces themselves, there's some nice stuff. Lots of dark red including arches (which we haven't seen since 10132), lots of the new accessories, 6 1 x 6 dark tan bricks, and in case you hadn't realised that this was a Pirates line, a heapful of GOLD. GOLD! - in all its pearly bling. In fact, Captain Brickbeard is such an aureophile that he even has his home furnishings made out of the stuff. Check out those window shutters! Frankly it's a miracle that the boat even sails considering the load it carries. Sometimes Brickbeard does a Scrooge McDuck and just likes to roll around in his hoard... be thankful he has kept his clothes (and peg) on for the following pic:
Interestingly, the chest here is pearl gold, not metallic gold like the Indy sets. I'm not sure which I prefer.
In short, nice part selection. As you'd expect, the hulls, sails and rigging are all large parts, but everything else is small and MOCtastic.
Part 2: Minifigs
Eight minifigs, a parrot, rat, monkey and shark. It's a floating zoo! Two female minifigs - it's also a floating harem! It's great to see a bit more female representation in System sets. (Maybe this is just a marketing strategy for colonial countries such as Australia which are built on the naval traditions of rum, sodomy and the lash - probably not what little Jane or Johnny is thinking of when they rip off the wrapping paper come present time.)
I love the new shark. A shark that can eat a whole minifig! Come on, how is that not cool?
The Imperials and the mystery lady - I don't think we've seen any official description of who this comely lass is supposed to be? If she ends up being the Governor's daughter then Disney should definitely sue, or at least send Keira Knightley round to Denmark to beat up the set designers. The new plume in red and the shakos are great, although the printing of the red part on the ones I've seen is a little iffy.
Back view - note mystery lady's lovely dress has a reverse side. Look at the detail! That ribbon is just designed for ravishing!
The Pirates! Note the gold hook and epaulettes. Great figs and pieces. Brickbeard's hat with the skull print is fantastic, it is a shame we don't have a plume for it. Apart from that we are truly blessed! That bare-chested pirate with the anchor tattoo certainly is... manly. I've never seen a minifig with a snail-trail before His dental hygiene isn't anything to write home about either if that gold tooth is anything to go by. I wonder what else he has that's gold...
And my favourite from this set - the mermaid, seen here in minifig rather than masthead form. I've never had the mermaid tail before and it is wonderful. This lass is also a tad more attractive than the fish-lipped people from the 2005 Harry Potter set. The shell-bikini torso is especially cheeky. You just know the SW fans are waiting for this print to come out in flesh tone so they can swap it on their Slave Leia. 2009 - Year of the Shirtless Minifigs! You read it here first.
Alas, on day 23 of her imprisonment, Mystery Lady succumbed to Brickbeard's offer of a celebratory egg-nog with disastrous results:
Part 3: The build
The build time took about 2 hours - it wasn't too complicated. Both the Viking Ship and Troll Warship I found to be very weak in connecting the hull pieces together, resulting in a flimsy overall construction - bits were always falling off. I am pleased to say this is not the case here. The complete base is solid as a rock, strengthened both underneath and also in brick-built reinforcing housing along the sides. The build is really divided into three sections - hull, the stern with Captain's cabin, and the rigging and sails. (Unfortunately instructions aren't up yet and the code starting with 4 that Legomilk always asks for on the back of the booklets doesn't work yet!) I will save my reviews of each part until the end section - here a just a few teaser pics. I kind of got tired after doing the cabin so it's a bit of a jump to the finished product
The bottom hull plates:
Space for four cannon bays:
The prow and stern are building up:
The interior of the detachable cabin:
Big skip to the fully assembled thing. Sadly my ocean of blue cardboard didn't extend too far to the left there. For the purposes of display I've rearranged 2 of the the modular sections of the base of 10189 Taj Mahal to form an Imperial port (I haven't built the official one yet). The Taj - it's very useful for things like this!
Another view from a slightly different angle:
It's such a huge ship it is very difficult to do it justice with one shot. So on to...
Part 4: Detailed overview
Figurehead on the prow. Isn't she lovely? However, probably one of the few irritants of this set is that the pin that attaches to the mast is a little loose. The redbrown 1x2 log brick attached to the feet is supposed to stop Ms Merwoman cartwheeling but it does mean you can't angle the front masthead too far upwards. Still, it's an excellent touch and really adds class to this classy beast.
Further down the prow... two guns (muskets? some Pirate weapons enthusiast please correct me as this is not my area of expertise!). Notice the red curved slope and dark green tooth - a nice little SNOT detail to smooth out where the brick built walls of the ship meet the hull piece.
There's 4 cannon bays in the middle of the ship! FOUR! Of course you only get three but that's what the smaller sets are for! I can't tell you what a pleasure it is not to have a useless flickfire missile weapons system taking up a large chunk of the ship interior! Top marks.
As you can see, the dark red flags fold up to let loose the fiery balls of war.
And open! How clever is that?
I love the cannons. Their range is probably three to five metres. There's another thread in the forum which bemoans the fact that the new ones don't shoot to the moon and back, but honestly, how far do you need a cannon to shoot? If it's powerful enough to plow across the room and scare the cat, it's good enough for me. Otherwise I'd just lose all my 1x1 black round cones anyway Note that there are 2 crates of ammunition included with antennas serving for those sticks that you use to shove the gunpowder down the barrel.
Mystery Lady Imperial is forced to walk the detachable plank. Those pirate cads! You can pop the plank on either side of the ship. Sadly it's not a sweet swivel one but I guess with all that gold window detailing Brickbeard had to cut corners somewhere.
There's a monkey in the rigging. Don't these monkey moulds look creepy? If I was a 6 year old I'd be more scared of our primate friend here than Cap'n Brickbeard. Look at that evil leer! And creepy minifig hands! It's just wrong! Or is it just me... I bet it's just me isn't it
The lovely billowing front sails seen from behind:
And the evil skull and crossbones from the front! Looks like Mr McSkully here has had a cranial enlargement.
And now we get to my favourite part of the ship build - Brickbeard's cabin! A delicious composition of pearl gold, dark red, and new dark brown. Seriously blingy. This guy has taste! No wonder Mysterious Imperial Lady didn't mind sampling his egg-nog earlier. It sets very sturdily on the stern of the ship but is actually detachable to access various parts. The view from the rear is nicely detailed too.
Full booty! The rudder is a bit flimsy - more an issue with the clips I think.
Top view. One dark brown barrel and the Captain's wheel.
This section lifts off...
It's like a personal emergency escape life raft!
However the interior is disappointingly sparse. One stool and a table with a map and drink! Not good. The Durmstrang ship had lots of flaws but at least it was packed with goodies. On the plus side, at least it's easy to customise and you can see how spacious it is. Room enough for that four poster bed and a pinball machine (well, maybe)!
The whole cabin lifts off. Even the door handles at the front are made of 24 karat gold!
Underneath... a rat and a keg of rum. The rat shares Brickbeard's minimalist interior aesthetic. Or maybe he is just hungry and ate all his furniture. There's no cheese!
The rear sails, front and back:
And lest I forget... the dark blue navy boat with Imperial soldiers. The white/ dark blue combination is very sweet.
Finally, a view of my quick fix Taj/Imperial port. 64 studs long and still dwarfed by Brickbeard's Bounty! At least whats-er-name is now home, safe and sound. Awwwww
Part 5: Final Thoughts
As I said initially, the new Pirates theme has attracted mixed reviews. However I think once people get their hands on this set they will find it hard to resist. Lingering trauma from the horrible Pirates 4 Juniors line of 2004 probably still haunt many a Classic pirate lover's dreams, but my impression is that these new 2009 sets are pretty consistent with the old line as a whole. Those were often small to mid-sized sets on baseplates with lots of figs and cool accessories, and pretty simple buildings. Same as we have now. The larger sets that everyone still drools over (Black Seas Barracuda and the Eldorado Fortress) are exceptional Pirates sets but also exceptional Lego sets in general; these hold their own even amongst today's lines as excellently designed and executed models, but that doesn't mean they were really representative of the whole Pirates I era overall.
I think on the whole 6243 Brickbeard's Bounty is probably one of the nicest looking and best implemented large ships Lego has ever produced, certainly miles ahead of any of the vessels of recent years. It has an elegant design, simple and classic rigging and billowing sails, dozens of beautiful new and rare parts, and a fantastic minifig selection. All the stuff people wanted is here. Working cannons in gunmetal colours! Shakos! *Printed* shakos! Plumes and epaulettes! *Gold* epaulettes! Fish! Maidens in distress! Dynamite! Spyglasses! People may say the $US price is expensive but I'd rather pay more for a beautiful set well-done rather than half-a-ship (Skeleton Ship Attack) or something that felt a bit unfinished (Troll Warship).
This really is a beautiful ship. It's not perfect, but in terms of the balance of playability and design, it's pretty close. Kids will love it. Big kids should too
Edited by SlyOwl, 18 November 2008 - 08:05 PM.