Posted 25 November 2009 - 05:16 AM
Set: 10210 Imperial Flagship
Theme: Creator/ Theme-Killing Grand Finale for Pirates!
Price: US $179.99; CA $229.99; UK GBP; 139.99; Germany Euro 149.99. (No price was announced, but it's something probably truly terrifying in $AUD, since the Fire Brigade and Tantive IV were $US150 and UK GBP 97.85 and were already $AUD280 - I would guess between $AUD320 and $350, which is why with the dollar at near parity with US price I didn't mind getting this off Bricklink. Yay for early Xmas present!).
Resources: Brickset; Bricklink
With Brickshelf perpetually on the blink, I've finally abandoned it as a hosting site in favour of flickr. The 500 wide pics below contains link to higher res pics on flickr; most of the review text remains the same. The order of the pictures should be near identical. In some way this has improved the succinctness of my review, as flickr allows you less blather. So you can either read the review here or on flickr, zooming in on those pics which interest you and leaving comments there. The flickr stream is here; I recommend clicking on 'Detail' view so you can see the commentary as well.
Like the 10193 Medieval Market Village before it, the January 2010 Exclusive slot comes as a theme-killing extravaganza, an end-of-world party to beat all others: the enormous 10210 Imperial Flagship is a behemoth unlike anything that has gone before it, and it will be a long time before we see anything like it again. Buy one. Sell your grandma! Buy several more! It's not perfect by any means, but for me it's easily the best and most enjoyable non Star Wars Exclusive since the release of the 10185 Green Grocer of March 2008. Beautiful parts, a fun build, an impressive model, and loads of playability - this is what LEGO should always be about A must-have for any AFOL and probably lots of kids too - once they offload grandma
Part 1: Box, Parts & Instructions
The front of the box - it's the collapsible version with side tape, thankfully. The box is the same size as that of the 10196 Carousel.
The rear of the box, with a nice angle shot and lots of closeups. Annoyingly, these aren't reproduced in the instruction manual so I've posted closeups.
The minifigs - 9 in all, only one of which is new. There are a few animals and the shark to round out the complement. No monkey! I am pleased to report that all the figs are great quality and lacking the lemony tinge which afflicted many of the 09 range.
A lovely piece of artwork on the bottom of the box - it's been a while since we've seen this much attention to detail! Those lights in the cabin almost make me want a light-up Power Function included!
Another piece of artwork showing a parchment-style rendering of the cannon bays. More lovely attention to detail.
This piece of artwork would make a great Piratey poster. Too bad Pirates is being discontinued in 2010!
Set function pics include the Captain's organ (!), anchor overboard, and Brickbeard in bondage.
Brickbeard still in bondage and the wheel in operation.
More box art showing the Piratey-looking cook (I forget the nautical term!) in his compact galley and some soldiers playing with cannonballs.
Two instruction manuals, 70+ pages each. Colour consistency is OK but I found Book 2 suffered from blurry print - like everything else from LEGO these days, seems to be suffering in the quality control department.
The instructions aren't up, so below are links to the inventory. Heavy reuse of the dark brown Castle parts palette from 2008, with some new stuff thrown in, mainly the hulls, sails, red-brown masts and dark brown curved slopes.
A random instructions page shot showing the attachment of the figurehead.
Lots of polybagged goodness and some unbagged parts. Lots of double up bags. Yes, there are some large hull pieces but you certainly do feel the 1600+ piece goodness. As for the beautiful sails - we get 7 of the large ones and one small one. The canvas is the type that's been in use for a few years and is slightly off-white. They really are pleasing to the eye and much nicer than the 6243 Brickbeard's Bounty sails.
All the hull pieces come in the choc-o-goodness deliciousness of dark brown. Brickbeard's Bounty used only 2 of the mid sections; the Flagship has 4. I do wish they'd designed the bottom mould to be a bit more stable as the parts tend to come apart during early parts of the build.
These pillars are new in red-brown.
These red-brown Technic connectors are used for the masts (91x pieces). The curved slopes in dark brown are new in this set (18x).
Other cute inclusions include the sawhead shark, a pearl silver pan (goodbye pearl silver!), the blade from the 8962 Crystal King set, and 12x dark tan jumper plates.
Yay! 5 dark blue plumes, previously only available in the 7079 Drawbridge Defence sets! Lots of red-brown umbrella handles and bars with stops (lots more than pictured here, anyway). Exo-force arms seem kind of out of place and 8 clip flags in ordinary blue.
Loose in the box came the correct new minifig dress as seen on the right (blue detail print). Bagged was the version on the left in red - it looks as if Lego realised their mistake last minute and tossed in the extra dress. Woo! I wonder whether this means the red dress is in a different set or was just a total cock-up? In any case, we get two new dress prints from this set!
Part 2: The minifigs!
As I said before, the figs are all good quality and much better than some of the dodgy lemon-handed horrors in last year's sets!
The Imperial Captain has a blue plume and gold epaulettes, while his lieutenant has the tricorner hat with a red plume.
Four standard Imperial redcoats with printed Shakos. Nothing new here.
The chef has short legs but oddly on the box art is battling an Imperial solder - a spy, perhaps? Brickbeard doesn't get the printed Pirates hat - boo! - but the Captain's daughter does look delicious in medium blue. The face is the same as the Cranky Queen from 7079 Drawbridge Defense.
Reverse print of the new torso.
Blue definitely looks more colour-coordinated. Maybe she wears red when she's angry. Like the Hulk!
An interesting choice for the vessel's figurehead, but less odd-looking than the realistic mermaid fig adorning Brickbeard's Bounty. Comes in dark bley as in the 6299 Pirates Advent Calendar.
3. The Build - Lower Decks
We start the build with the base section attached via 2x4 bricks underneath the hull plates and 2 end hull sections attached via Technic pins. The bottom of the ship remains delicate until reinforced with bricky goodness as the build progresses.
A lovely palette of dark brown, black, tan, medium blue and dark blue plates add colour but is not overwhelming. Very tasteful and quite original for an Exclusive set. Lovely work! Amazingly, the top 2 sections attach only via 4 studs each in the middle there when the ship is complete!
The new dark brown slopes are used in an attractive SNOT technique to bulk out the prow. However this is the weakest design element, in my opinion.
The SNOTTY sections attach to the large hull piece via the hole in the modified bley plate ONLY and at the top via the half Technic pin when the upper deck sits over the top! Weak! This means that you have to be super careful when handling this section as it is very liable to break. Really bad design and I'm amazed it passed the review, frankly. I admit it looks nice but it's a bad, bad idea.
A great play feature is the ability to raise and lower the anchor by spinning the wheel on the top deck. Here, it's lowered.
And when rotated, the chain coils up and the anchor is raised! Brilliant! Of course, when this section collapses due to the delicate prow SNOTwork, this feature makes it more annoying to fix as the chain and anchor get in the way.
Poor Brickbeard only gets a tan plate as a bed inside his little cell. Boo! Not sure it's wise to lock the prisoner in with the anchor mechanism...
The completed base section with prow and masthead. You can see that each of the sails will be independently attached to each modular section. This is a clever solution to the problem of making a giant ship that is easily movable and accessible. From the originally released pics, I did find the rigging technique a little simple but I have come to really love it and the aesthetics of the Flagship honestly don't suffer from not having string rigging run all the way through the sails.
Closeup of the prow. I can't say I love the soft Technic bars added as detail and the 1x1 redbrown cones do tend to pop off.
And here we have the exploded SNOTTY section! You will soon learn to pick it up the right way, kids
4. The Build - Middle & Aft Sections
The second stage of the build is the middle deck and masts. The masts each contain a 32x Technic axle through the centre for stability, which works a treat. At this scale, the pillar pieces look good too. The build is a little repetitive using Technic axles and connectors to make the wooden side poles but they are mainly of different lengths, so it's not bad at all. Certainly I found this build a very enjoyable one, and with a minimum of repetition compared to other large exclusives like the 10196 Carousel or 10189 Taj Mahal.
Yay for working access to the below deck sections! Great touch. I was always annoyed that you couldn't drop through the top grille plate on 6210 Jabba's Sail Barge!
The Flagship takes shape as the midsection is placed in position. As I said before, it only attaches via 4 studs in the middle. Amazingly sturdy!
The last part of the Flagship is the aft section with Captain's Cabin.
Another working access hatch - woo!
The rear of the Captain's cabin. Check out the plumage window detail! Personally I think Brickbeard has the better colour scheme (dark red and gold) but this is nothing to sniff at and the Captain wins on acreage. Notice the lights in the lamp are 2 shades of trans 1x2 round plates - more superb attention to detail.
It's a very bulky and solid construction - one of my favourite parts of the ship.
The poop deck lifts off to reveal the interior of the Captain's cabin. Yes, he has a large organ which he likes to operate when noone's around.
On the other side, we see a chest of drawers with a map, a treasure chest, and a 'poison bottle' (trans blue cone with sapphire stuck in it). What with that enormous organ, I'm not sure if this really is poison or the Captain's lubricant of some kind.
Close-up of the organ. It's cute! Not as good as some of the entries in Eurobricks' own Captain's Cabin contest early in the year, but sweet for an official model.
Below deck is the galley, which has drumsticks on a rotisserie, a cook chopping a carrot (including a 1x1 round plate representing a slice!), fish and some pots and pans. Wonderful! Notice also the rudder there.
5. The finished set!
And here we have it! The last section clicks into place onto its 4 studs and the Flagship is complete! It is indeed amazing to behold and will easily dwarf any non-UCS Star Wars set in your collection. It was a fun build, with just the right amount of detail, and with some clever techniques.
This is one of those rare sets which actually looks better in real life than on the box art! I was a bit dubious about the sails and masts at first but I am completely sold. Look at those billowing sails! Fantastic stuff!
Again, look at the way those sails sit - stunning! The edges of colour along the cannon deck are just right - not too gaudy but enough eye candy to brighten the ship!
A pic from the other side. Still beautiful! The subtle colour of the sails really makes a difference. You can see the reverse of the front sail doesn't look out of place, but with bright printed cloth as in Brickbeard's Bounty, you can't really say the same. The dark red is very noticeable on the reverse side.
Heaven for Pirates fans! Who would have thought we'd ever see such a beautiful official model produced in-house?
The shape of the complete assembly, from bottom deck through to the poop deck, is wonderfully resolved with great natural-looking curvature.
A closer view of the cannon decks. I don't mind 4 cannons but only having 2 ammo crates in white is a bit cheap. Boo!
Reverse view - nice rear! You can see how subtle the sails are here once again.
I almost forgot to put the figs on! The set works great as a display model by itself but for some, figs are everything
Imperial Soldiers take to the high seas!
"No offence, fellas, but where's Johnny Depp when you need him?"
"I don't suppose I can interest you in the purchase of a Caribbean timeshare, Captain? No?"
"You'll never take me alive! Brickbeard always find an escape route!"
And finally, a comparison shot with the Brickbeard's Bounty. As a wise Stash2Sixx once said, 'Brickbeard just pooped his pants!'
Parts: Great dark brown parts pack, with some new stuff in red-brown and the amazing sails 9/10
Design: Pretty spectacular, apart from the dodgy SNOT prow. Boo! 8/10.
Figs: Nothing new for Brickbeard or the Imperials, but at least we get 2 dresses for the Captain's daughter 7.5/10.
Build: Very little repetition and broken into easily manageable subsections. A solid and immensely pleasurable build. 9/10.
Playability: Lots of fun features like working hatches to lower decks and the anchor. Lots of fun! 9/10.
This set is the bees knees' - if a Disney license ever does eventuate for a 'Pirates of the Caribbean' line, it will be a shadow of the former glory that is the Imperial Flagship. Honestly, I can't imagine LEGO ever going all-out on a ship any time again soon. This is one of those classics that will be remembered for years to come. And wouldn't a whole fleet look nice sitting on your mantelpiece? Is it better than the Black Seas Barracuda? I couldn't say, as I don't own the latter - I did think from the first pics that the rigging wasn't so great, but my reservations have been allayed and I like the easy access of having the ship break into different sections. In the absence of any officially designed set by talented AFOLs such as Bonaparte or Captain Green Hair, this set is as good as it gets Forget the January 2010 sets from Atlantis, Space Police 3, Power Miners... scrape together your spare change, do yourself a favour and grab yourself a 10210 Imperial Flagship instead!
Posted 25 November 2009 - 09:56 AM
Seeing all the great pictures, this might be one Pirate set I might get. It is a very cool set to finnish the
Pirate line for this time. Good work!
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Posted 25 November 2009 - 10:09 AM
Incredible detailed looking Imperial Flagship. This has really gotten me so excited right now, that I am speechless for words when I see your pictures. I will take a deeper look later on your pictures. Can't wait to sit still to analysis the details carefully.
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Posted 25 November 2009 - 10:12 AM
Posted 25 November 2009 - 11:08 AM
great box art and great building experience from what i see in the review.
i like the way TLG make the ship masts, more sturdier and strong look.
the organ also very nice built.
color scheme also good for today design.
i wish i can get this set in my country too soon.
Posted 25 November 2009 - 11:14 AM
Posted 25 November 2009 - 11:39 AM
Why don't you just put your linky here? I was too exhausted to look it up!
It is a brilliant set, but it is testament to the creativity of all the Pirates fans that have really kept the flame alive with all the brilliant work here on EB that I can easily think of lots of MOCs that surpass it in some way!
Posted 25 November 2009 - 11:42 AM
Posted 25 November 2009 - 11:42 AM
What I like most about this ship is the use of interesting colors. Dark brown combined with reddish brown, the medium blue, some tan, pearl gold. For those who prefer to build their own ships, this will make a great parts pack. Next to the colors I'm very pleasantly surprised by the organ. It's nice to find such an amazing detail inside the captains cabin. I'll get myself a copy of this ship for sure!
Posted 25 November 2009 - 11:45 AM
And I'm very happy that we're getting the new hull pieces in dark brown, that's very welcome
Posted 25 November 2009 - 11:46 AM
Thanks for reviewing this, I for one very much appreciate your insightful and interesting articles. I'm looking forward to being able to get hold of a copy myself!
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Posted 25 November 2009 - 11:53 AM
Posted 25 November 2009 - 12:12 PM
And knowing me, I´ll grab all the other Pirate sets as well then...
Building Instructions: Golden City Mini-Flyer, Sky Spy
Posted 25 November 2009 - 12:26 PM
I'll wait with my final judgement until I get one myself, but for now I guess that, after 20 years, Lego has finally released a ship that oficially beats Black Seas Barracuda which has so far always been an undisputable #1 for me. And I even see an irony in it, as BSB was the first ever ship of the Pirate theme (along with Caribbean Clipper of course) and this may very well be the last one ever.
Posted 25 November 2009 - 12:50 PM
Posted 25 November 2009 - 12:51 PM
Posted 25 November 2009 - 01:07 PM
Posted 25 November 2009 - 01:42 PM
I was also hoping for a seamen joke in that review... Oh well.
Anyhoo... Great review! I like this set, but I'm afraid this review hasn't convinced me to buy it. I'd wish they'd gone full out on sailors, cannons, rigging and the such. As it is now, it's just a little too bare for me.
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Posted 25 November 2009 - 02:25 PM
Svelte, your review is spot on RA approved, the pics are brilliantly clear and you certainly covered everything. I love the pics.
I love how wide the ship is, it looks like there is so much more playability, plus the height is just stunning. I may seriously consider getting this around Christmas time.
Excellent review and thank you for showing me the ins and outs of this set.
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