Welcome to my fifth review on Eurobricks! On my way to review every old Pirates set that I buy new (full story on my 6247 - Bounty Boat review), it's time now to make a leap in time to the last Classic Pirates wave that came in 1997. With only 4 sets, only released in the American market, it was clearly the end for our beloved theme. Today I'll present you the medium-sized one, a small Pirates base. Last Pirates waves are often overlooked for several reasons, let's see if it's justified : was the Pirates Ambush a buyer trap?
Set No: 6249
Set Name: Pirates Ambush (USA - Not released elsewhere)
Purchase Price: $115 new on Bricklink
Great picture, although it's cropped here and there. No doubt here : it really is a Pirates Ambush! The unlucky Armada soldier really should look behind from time to time if he doesn't want to get so easily caught!
Two nice alternate models (there are one more on the box side) on a map-like background. However, unlike older sets, some elements are cutout (the crocodile, the flag and the net) and the three minifigs are also pictured. For close-ups of the alternate models, see next section.
Although it was only released in American Market, there are translated names in French and Spanish.
Two another views of the alternate models.
A new alternate model.
Alternate model 1
A close-up of the Armada soldier capturing the crocodile.
The whole model. It seems the Armada soldier finally teamed up with the two pirates . Overall it's a nice fort, which looks great.
Alternate model 2
Again, a close-up of the boat. Looks like a real war machine!
The whole model. Due to the high amount of parts used for the boat, the pirates fort looks too simple, with a weird cannon design.
Alternate model 3
Another boat, another fort, but this time it looks good. However I don't quite get what the net is supposed to be.
Yo-ho-ho! Every remaining MISB Pirates Ambush now has gone up in value!
Inside the box
As you can see, the box is quite full. Let's see its content!
As usual, the baseplate comes apart, alongside four bags full of Lego goodness.
Under all those bags, we find the holy paper trinity of classic sets : instructions, catalog, and Lego Direct flyer. Let's have a closer look :
Strangely, the artwork is really trimmed here.
Back of instructions
Exactly the same artwork as the back of the box.
Random instructions page
In my opinion it's the best compromise between old "40 Bricks added per step" instructions and new "40 pages per brick added" instructions. No part callout, but it's hard to miss one. The colors are perfect.
A space diorama that doesn't move me : Lego was slowly getting into its dark years with models far from their ancestors in terms of look and design, but...
Random catalog page
...there were still very good themes like those beautiful Western ones!
Random flyer page
These are really fair prices don't you think? $6,75 for five minifigures (including the rare shiny armor) is quite a good deal. I wish I had bought tons of these...
~Parts and minifigure~
Lovely colors here, with lots of these "new" (at that time) brown log bricks. Parts of interest are the cloth Jolly Roger flag wich really looks fantastic compared to old clipped ones, the small palm leaf, the net, and the crocodile, even though it has been in too much Pirates sets in my opinion.
How refreshing to see new faces! The new pirates (left and right ones) are perfect, and the only downside of the Armada soldier (or conquistador) is its torso printing which lacks some details and/or colors in my opinion. However it's still a very great alternative to our beloved (blue/red)coats.
Building the boat
Your classic rowboat, with yellow seats though.
After step 3
Foundations are very small as you can see. The back of the prison is made by superposing two fences.
After step 8
It's starting to take shape. Note the red/yellow hinge brick that will be used to set the trap.
Building the trap
This structure will be covered by another 1x10 black plate and will act as a weight for the net.
Here one side of the net is enclosed by the lance.
At the other side we have a hinge bar which will not be movable.
We have positioned the trap, let's see how it works.
The weighted side of the net is enclosed between two 1x1 bricks with hole, and if we pull the red handle...
The net falls, there's no way out! It's actually a very clever design, and it works very well.
~The finished model~
A very nice model, isn't it? The structure is good, the play feature isn't too apparent (Lego had a bad habit at this time, favoring play features over design, as we'll see in some of my next reviews). However something strikes me as odd in this setup (same as the box cover) : how will the pirate activate the trap if he's standing on it? Is it supposed to be a rope bridge?
Again, nothing bad here. The only downside is the weird color choice : red bricks seem out of place, it would have been better in light gray.
I don't really get what the red brick is supposed to represent. A table? Then why would it stand in the water?
Simple yet effective. It would have been better with a plate on the floor, actually any prisoner could swim under the door and escape...
I really LOVE that flag. The cannon is put on a small turntable, but with those cannonballs and flag its movement is rather limited. It also lacks a ladder to access it. I could forgive it for older sets like Lagoon Lock-Up or Broadside's Brig since ladders didn't exist, but there's no excuse here.
Design: 7/10 - Good but not outstanding. With better color choices and ladders it would have scored a 8. However, considering the period it came out it was still a good looking model.
Parts: 6/10 - The cloth flag really stands above all here, since it's pretty rare. Other than that, there's nothing interesting, just common parts.
Minifigs: 9/10 - I love them. With a better torso for the Armada soldier I would have given it a 10.
Build: 7/10 - The trap building is clever, the rest is quite simple.
Playability: 10/10 - Two pirates, one soldier, a cannon, a trap, a crocodile... Nothing to add, it's just great!
Alternate models: 7/10 - They are nice overall, but it's always the same scheme sadly (boat + fort)...
Price: 6/10 - $22 was okay for this set back then. Today it can be found at about $55, which is too much in my opinion for a set like this. It would have been much cheaper if it was released worldwide.
Conclusion: 7/10 - A nice little set, considering it was the end for the Pirates theme, but it cannot stands comparison with older Pirates forts like 6270 Forbidden Island which almost have the same parts count.
Now I'll introduce a little game I want to put at the end of every upcoming review : can you guess what will be the next Pirates set I'll review from this picture? There's nothing to win, just have fun guessing!
Edited by Boomchil, 27 September 2012 - 12:42 AM.