Posted 19 April 2010 - 09:41 PM
The Forbidden Island was the first place where Captain Redbeard and his new crew of swashbuckling swashbucklers found refuge. They built the place from a small ship, which crashed and nearly sunk by the cliffs of the Eldorado Fortress. The Pirates gave up stealing the mighty treasure at the Eldorado Fortress to save themselves and the remains of their small ship, and followed the stream southwards until they found a suitable island to set up camp. Thus came the Forbidden Island to be, and the Pirates used what they could find on the island, and the driftwood from their ship, to build a place to fulfill their basic needs: A prison cell in which they could keep soldiers imprisoned for ransom, and a crows nest, in which they could scout the far corners of the Caribbean seas for ships passing by.
A few years later, Captain Redbeard and his crew sailed further south, to build a much larger island, the Rock Island Refuge, but that is a completely different story.
For now they would have to suffice with what they had, here on the Forbidden Island. As we know, there has been quite a few piratey islands, but this was the very first one, and Captain Redbeard still holds this place close to his heart.
Let's begin with the box and the building instructions:
I simply love the boxes of the old pirate sets. I have quite a few of them, but unfortunately I do not have this box, so I have found som pictures of the front of the box on ebay. A member of eurobricks.com - "Tully" - has made a "Box Art" topic for this specific box. You can check it out here
The box art of the old pirate sets were magnificent, because they did multiple things all at once: They presented the set as it was, with a clear picture on the front of the box, but the boxes also had suggestions for alternative models, on the back or the inside of the box. Furthermore, some of them had a background design as if it was a treasure map, and I just loved to look closely at the design even as a 9 year old boy. Eurobricks/classic-pirates.com use a similar design, so it must have made an impact to more than just me.
A nice A4 sized manual, with two nice simple pictures of the set on the front page.
The first things to assemble are the minifigs, the shark and the rowing boat:
On this same picture you can see that the baseplate has some white dots, and the first building step shows how to put the basic structure correctly onto the baseplate. Pretty clever, although it limits how much you can MOD the set, if you don't want to see those white dots.
Why can't LEGO draw the tricorne hat properly? It looks so stupid
You can see that there are smaller building steps within the building process. This is a good idea if you want to keep the younger kids' interest in the building process.
Here are two pictures taken from the back of the manual, showing alternate models, using the bricks from this set:
As you can see, the playability in this set is great.
Minifigs, special pieces, animals and accesories:
You get 4 minifigs with this set: 3 pirates and a soldier.
This is great because the set is actually not that big. It is only the baseplate that is big, so 4 minifigs is a fair amount. The fact that one of them is a soldier adds to playability, while the pirate captain is a must have for every LEGO Pirate fan.
Accesories, and special pieces:
You get a good number of weapons with this set and even a cannon with cannon balls - excellent!
Suspense bridge, ship riggings, stairs, prison doors, barrel... so many possibilities for MOCing - excellent!
Animal life was rich on the Forbidden Island.
Be carefull with that shark, you cunning parrot, you!
As you can see, there are white dots on the studs, to help the builder. It is 32x32 studs and great for MOCing.
One thing that puzzles me, is how the edge of the island is further from the edge of the actual baseplate, than it is on all official pictures I have ever seen of this set. The stairs go directly into the water, which must have been extremely annoying for the pirates. But I guess they could live with that... I mean, they were probably pretty drunk all the time.
The rowing boat:
Along with the four minifigs, the three animals, the many many palmtree leaves, the suspension bridge, ropeladders, stairs, prison doors, gold chest and cannon, you ALSO get a rowing boat.
Look at him, enjoying life on the open sea.
Onto the actual island...
Here are a few pictures of the island itself, and the design. You will notice how green the island is, full of plants and stuff. This is because Captain Redbeard wanted to keep the island and their loot secret from the Bluecoats and Governor Broadside.
The set has some nice features, and one of the many, is the clever little trap in the floor above the prison cell. If an enemy is unfortunate enough to walk across this certain part of the floor, he will most likely fall through the secret hatch in the floor, which will open if one of the pirates pull the technic bar from the side:
... and the poor soldier is trapped for good.
Here we have the weird stairway to heav... to the ocean.
I love this set, and have spent countless hours playing with it as a kid. Back then at the age of 9, I even built a butt-ugly ship using all the ship parts from this set. Maybe, if you're lucky, I will share an old photograph of me standing beside that dreadfull MOC-ship
This set is certainly great for many reasons:
- It has a classic LEGO Pirate design that has proven very popular among both young and old LEGO fans
- It has three animals and four minifigs with a good variety, and army builders get the popular soldier, along with a large amount of weapons
- It has a suspense bridge, ship riggings, a mast, a barrel, stairs and prison doors. The building variations are endless
- It has a large quite special baseplate
- It has lots and lots of green leaves which are great for MOCing
The only major negative aspect is the stairs that go directly into the water, but I could live with that as a kid, and I can live with it now. An so can the drunken pirates.
I will not grade this set, but it is high up top of my "Classic Pirates" list, and as this review has shown you, it is not merely because of nostalgia - it has so many positive things about it, that it deserves all our praise and attention. With SO many usefull parts in one set, and with MOCing being one of the most important parts of the LEGO experience for most young and old LEGO fans, this set is one of THE best sets released in this size category (below 200 pcs)
I hope you enjoyed my review - don't forget to vote.
Posted 19 April 2010 - 09:59 PM
I find many modern sets to be "sterile". Some may be quite detailed, and have loads of those ever popular cheese slopes, but many lack that good old fashioned bricky feel. I realize that this set has a handful of larger parts, but I don't find it to be cheating in this case. Overall I think Forbidden Island has a nice organic feel.
As you mentioned, the piece count for this set is relatively low, however each piece is used to it's maximum potential to create a fantastic looking final product. The 2009 Shipwreck Hideout has significantly more pieces, but in my opinion doesn't do as good of job of recreating a small island hideout.
Edited by ZO6, 19 April 2010 - 10:06 PM.
Posted 19 April 2010 - 10:15 PM
Your pictures are nice and clean. Also, the parts in this set are great for any builder
Posted 19 April 2010 - 11:15 PM
I think this set is still in my old loft, these pictures are making me want to go and dig it out !
And@ ZO6 i can see where you are coming from with the comparison to the 6253. I think its because there isnt a base plate or any land based pieces, its literally all the ship. I still really like the set though, i think its the best of the 2009 line.
Posted 19 April 2010 - 11:20 PM
"I am not having him flogged for fighting, Mr. Gerard." - Horatio Hornblower
Posted 19 April 2010 - 11:26 PM
Posted 20 April 2010 - 01:05 AM
I'll add this to the index.
I really like this set, it was one that I won from the first Pillage the Village contest. Good memories!
Posted 27 April 2010 - 12:28 PM
I voted above average, it has this nice classic feel and overall pleasing look. But it has some design flaws, like the mentioned stairway to the ocean, or the fact that the prison is also partly in the ocean.
Funny thing about those white dots on the baseplate, in all those years I had no idea about their existence...
Posted 27 April 2010 - 12:35 PM
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Posted 28 April 2010 - 06:32 PM
Posted 29 April 2010 - 02:25 PM
I also think that the Rock Island Refuge is better than this set, but it is also a much larger set, with more features and accessories. For a set this size, I think it is a great design and a perfect mix of bricks
Posted 29 April 2010 - 05:19 PM
Only problem is, how do you work one of those crow's nest into your ship? I notice none of the ships actually use that piece, and it doesn't have a hole in it for the masts to run though, or any real way to attach from the bottom, for that matter. I suppose you're just supposed to make one out of bricks on one of those dark gray platforms with the clips?
Posted 24 May 2010 - 09:14 PM
anyway. Great review! Now I really want that set too. lmao i didnt notice the stairs going into the water until you said so, and then it kinda annoyed me too, but hey, the probably went up there from their boats anyway..
also, that trap just made this set a lot better imo. I didn't know it had a trap! ooh i want this set now, lol!
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