Review: 6281 Pirates Perilous Pitfall
Posted 18 August 2011 - 04:58 PM
To celebrate three years of the wonderful Reviewers Academy, I decided to fix up a classic set to share with all of you. This set is by far the largest Classic Pirate set I own, and it has always had a special place in my heart. However, it's time to put it to the test- RA style! Beware this dangerous review of set 6281 Pirates Perilous Pitfall!
Set Name: Pirates Perilous Pitfall
Set Number: 6281
Number of Pieces: 364
Minifigs: 6 (3 Pirates, 2 Conquistadors, 1 Skeleton)
Price: $73 USD (according to Peeron)
Theme: Classic Pirates
Year Released: 1997
I no longer have the original box, so I'll skip straight to the instructions. The art depicts the action-packed set without being in your face, like some of the newer instructions. Although less prominent here compared to other Classic Pirates sets, the molded background has always been a favorite feature of mine.
The minifigures page is quite extensive as the boat, cannon, and palm tree are built here as well. Note that the instructions are all horizontal, an appropriate formatting for a set with a large base.
The instructions have a burnt parchment background that makes them seem like a treasure map to the completed product. Substeps are usually small enough to fit in small boxes, as seen here.
There are a few bonus action shots at the end, which may have appeared the original box. I like the Jesus Conquistador who can walk on water.
The back features a cute scene where the minifigs and accessories are stranded on an archipelago of adventure. As I mentioned earlier, I really love the molded backdrop!
On to the pieces! Like many Pirates sets, the color scheme is dominated by black. There's a good assortment of tiles, bricks, slopes, railings, and everything in between. This set certainly showcases a variety of molds!
Gray and Brown:
Next up are the grays and browns. There aren't as many uncommon molds, but there ate still plenty of piratey pieces like the rigging and the bridge. Curves and slopes are always good to have. If you need toothpicks for a party, this set has plenty.
The rest of the colors appear in lesser quantities, although you do get a good supply of greenery, including two different sizes of palm leaves. Also to note are the cool flags and the good 'ol crocodile.
To top off the incredible variety of molds, we get a rare baseplate, and a soda can's worth of BURPs.
I just love the printed foliage and mini waterfall on the big plate. The bright color scheme is just fantastic. One of the best large Lego bricks I've ever seen!
Pieces of Interest:
As I mentioned before, the set has a lot of excellent molds, many of which I've never seen before. The castle wall mold is fascinating, as are the Technic plates. The hinge is new to me, and the red window is a nice touch.
In addition to an army of toothpicks, Lego provided us with a plethora of accessories, treasure, and weapons. I guess they're necessary for such a big set, but I still feel like a kid in a candy shop looking at all of them.
There are six minifigures in the set: three Conquistadors and three pirates. Well, it's mote like two-and-a-half Conquistadors. The shiny armor and fancy plume make these guys some of the nicer Armada Soldiers. Note the the green commander has white hands according to Bricklink (and in the picture) but the set's art depicts him with yellow hands. I've changed them in the main set pictures.
The Pirates are a pretty nice looking bunch themselves. The pirate on the far right is apparently a captain, which is surprising considering he isn't as fancy as Redbeard and Iron Hook. The pirate in the center has a cool vest and a manly anchor tattoo. The older pirate on the left is a standard design, although I still like the brown hat and blue jacket. They're simple, but detailed enough to be interesting years later.
An extra view of each special minifig feature: some impressive plumes, shiny armor, hidden printing, and spiffy backpack.
Bits and Bobs:
As I mentioned before, the first things to be built are the boat and cannon. Despite the fact that the cannon is non-firing (I'm from the US), plenty of ammunition is provided. The boat is the perfect size for two, and I like the way it looks like the commander is threatening the rower.
Although the building process is quite captivating, it's actually quite unstable, The main culprit is the disjointed baseplates are stabilized by weight rather than brick connection. The build jumps around, which makes it a bit tough to follow without piece call-outs, but of course that's part of the fun. The bulk of the set is the baseplates, so for an expensive set it was a short build. (You can click the pictures for a bigger version!)
The Whole Set:
And we have our completed product! Between the opposing factions, bridge and booby-traps, we have a lot to look at!
First up is the shipwreck. It's really cool that Lego built an actual weathered ship hull, but the best part is that it actually has a rock that it crashed into front first! My one quipe is that the last slopes curve outward around the rock in an odd manner compared to the other slopes that go inward.
Somehow the mast and sail are still intact, and certainly contribute to the perilous pitfall atmosphere. Note that this is the same weathered sail as can be found in other Pirate sets, including the Cross Bone Clipper and Shipwreck Island (check my About Me page for reviews of them).
The wreck of the cabin is another neat feature. There are a few weapons left in the ruins, and the very back has two red windows, interestingly secured by a 1 x 3 plate.
Now let's take a look at the bridge between the wreck and land. The bridge is hinged on land, allowing pirates to strand other pirates on the cannon area of the wreck (maybe not the best idea!). The rope bridge is appropriate for an island wreckage, and it looks fantastic in the context of the set.
By attaching the string to a different part of the parapet, the bridge can be held open for the Conquistadors to row underneath. Another good feature, and we haven't even gotten to the really sinister traps!
Since the hinge and parapet are so foreign to me, here's a closer shot so you can see how they work.
Hiding around the side is a Conquistador skeleton! Lego knows their dramatic irony. And that baseplate print is just perfect too.
Hidden behind the outpost tower is a treasure chest full of gold! This is a great place for it, because like the skeleton, the pirates can't "see" it as they complete the course, but it's accessible for the user. Also here is a map and a glass, some simple but appropriate details.
From an upper view, you can see that a Jolly Roger proudly flies above the outpost, while a palm tree, some foliage, and a parrot adorn the surrounding area.
Now we're going to take a look at the Pitfall itself. The spear cage and crown display both look good, but the black and gray really clash. The BURPs on top suffer from a similar color blending problem, but the thing that bothers me more is the fact that there are huge rocks on top of a tiny little tower!
Here's a view of what a pirate would see while coming up. I love how the two trap doors blend in very well, especially the gray plank.
String Trap Activated:
When a pirate steps on the gray plank, it lowers a keypin by pulling on its string. This causes the boulder to roll down and crush the unwary pirate!
Here's the mechanism that holds the boulder in place. Unfortunately, it's hard to keep the boulder rolling straight down, because its pathway is wider that the rock, meaning that it often leans. The keystone also can alter the boulder's course, typically making it fall too far to the left.
Around the back, you can see how thorough the hidden jail is- there's even a little set of bars underneath the plank!
From this view, you can see the mechanism that activates the trapdoor into the jail. It's that little sliding handle under the vertical plant. I really like the plant because it allows the room to seem like a dead end, but opens up to allow you to play inside.
Next up is the jail itself. As I pointed out, it's thoroughly blocked on three sides. Thus, the spear door at the front is the only way to access it.
The door swings smoothly on a hinge. This is a great example of the set combined functionality with a pretty looking design.
Inside the jail is pretty bleak. No furniture, only rock walls, bars, and water. There's plenty of space though.
The crown is what lures pirates into the trap, and it certainly looks enticing! The palm leaves are a cool way of highlighting it, while adding an air of mystery about it.
The trap door (that drops into the jail) lies directly behind the crown, and has a pin that makes it easier to re-lift and lock it back in place. There are no tiles for minifigures to stand on, which makes it difficult to pull off a successful drop.
Pulling the switch I pointed out earlier drops the trapdoor in a nice swift motion.
Another minor problem with the set is that you can see through part of the rocks on top, revealing a conspicuous and out of character hinge.
Rock and Roll:
However, when loaded, the BURPs are complimented by the boulder's smooth curves. We're ready to roll!
Design: 9/10 The set's bustling with activity, colors, and functions. From the cool-looking shipwreck, to the strong outpost, to the perilous spire, nothing is out of character. There are a few instances of poor color blending and funky designs, but they're very minor issues.
Parts: 9/10 Lego's provided us with a great selection of molds over a variety of different colors. And besides, who doesn't love that amazing baseplate?
Build: 5/10 A bit unstable coming together and too short for a set this big. However, because it skips around the baseplates, the builder is drawn in to the experience, making it fairly enjoyable.
Minifigs: 8/10 Great, simple designs and enough balance to create a battle. A good 'ol skellie and some nice accessories don't hurt.
Playability: 9/10 This set really has its play features down. A moving bridge, a rock trap, trapdoor, and opposing factions make this set one big play station.
Price: 3/10 According to Peeron, this set was $73. That's a ripoff! Sure there are lots of big pieces, including the baseplate, but for less than 400 pieces, it's a tough pill to swallow. I'm just glad I got it as a gift.
Total: 43/60 Overall, a good solid set. It features a good balance of parts, pirates, and play features. The major downside is the price, which I imagine has skyrocketed these days. However, the feature that really sets it apart from other sets is that it's great for display AND it's great for play. That's what makes it a true classic.
Thanks for reading, me hearties! Yo ho, yo ho, a Classic Pirates life for me!
Posted 23 August 2011 - 09:53 AM
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Inventory: One potion, a Greatsword (WP: 3) and a Shield (SP: 2)
Posted 23 August 2011 - 09:57 AM
I was never the biggest fan of this set, it felt a little too gimicky rather than a solid construction that could be enjoyed after, but I was comapring it to Enchanted Island, Trading Post and Eldorados Fortress so I could have been a little harse.
Love those Spanish Minifigs though
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Posted 23 August 2011 - 04:09 PM
Is one of the best pirate sets because is diferent and has rare minifigs:
It has another captain, not Roger/Redbeard or Ironhook
It has the pirate with an anchor tattooed in his chest. This minifig only appears in this set and Red Beard Runner
It has 2 spaniards, spaniards are really rre minifigs
Is the only pirate set that includes a crown like part of a treasure
It has a different cannon, a nice shipwreck, etc
This set is GREAT
Posted 23 August 2011 - 07:57 PM
It never ceases to amaze me how much effort the LEGO designers put into making traps and play features. This one certainly has its fair share; though I suspect one might tire of the play functions after a little while. However, I'm impressed with how the whole thing comes together to form an 'obstacle course', as you point out.
And I laughed at this:
Posted 23 August 2011 - 09:27 PM
Level 39 In Heroica RPG, On Quest #89
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Posted 23 August 2011 - 09:51 PM
Posted 11 September 2011 - 09:44 AM
Posted 15 September 2011 - 06:53 AM
The Pirates are a pretty nice looking bunch themselves. The pirate on the far right is apparently a captain, which is surprising considering he isn't as fancy as Redbeard and Iron Hook.
Oh yes, the mysterious unnamed pirate captain! I once started a speculation thread solely about him - it's still there somewhere if anyone wants to read it! I think he's exclusive to this set.
Anyway, I don't own this set, but I think the baseplate is really cool and worth getting one day. Oh, and since this review is new, I shall blog it!
Posted 15 September 2011 - 09:37 AM
Another very expensive set (considering ist size) was cross bone clipper and I think that pirates ambush and buccaneers were also expensive, so there must be somethin with this last wave of classic pirates that make it so expensive.
EDIT: I saw at bricklink that they were limited edition, so I guees that explains it.
Posted 01 January 2012 - 02:27 PM
I gave the set an average rating, as it does have a lot of nice pieces actually, not to mention the whole rack of spears for the prison.
Edited by palathadric, 01 January 2012 - 02:35 PM.
This life isn't the end. We will meet again.
See my work in the Official Lego sets made in LDraw topic
Posted 01 January 2012 - 11:02 PM
Posted 01 January 2012 - 11:56 PM
I know there are a lot of people who don't look very kindly upon these final classic pirates sets that were released. For me, I've always thought that this set in particular looked like a lot of fun. I remember looking through those little catalogues that used to come with sets and eyeing the Perilous Pitfall, trying to figure out how the various traps might be constructed (and thus it's nice to see in detail how this set is put together). I've always been a huge sucker for big sets on baseplates with lots of play functions, and this certainly fits the bill. I love all of the little nooks and crannies and details spread about. The set seems to be a mash-up of so many movies scenes with the intention of providing the owner loads of potential for play. The set isn't trying to take itself seriously, and that's something that I really like about it - it's just good old wholesome Lego-y fun!
I wish the set were a bit cheaper to pick up MISB as it's one that I've always wanted. Perhaps one day I'll finally shell out for it...
Posted 20 March 2012 - 02:28 AM
Anyway, as always, this set is awesome. Hell, i think that i can't find any set is not!
Posted 20 March 2012 - 11:30 PM
To this day, the pirate with the brown shirt and blue jacket is one of my favorite figures.
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