Jetflap

Part 2530 (Cutlass) in ABS plastic?

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I came across something I've never seen today in a copy of 6274 Caribbean Clipper I picked up, the Cutlasses were made of ABS plastic. Unlike the old castle short-swords which came in both ABS and the newer soft plastic, Bricklink does not list an ABS variation of the Cutlass. My question is, is this part more common than I think? I've owned many, many classic pirate sets, including my own complete collection, and have never seen one before. The set they came in is clearly an early copy, as the large flag came with stickers rather than printing as in later sets.

Photo shows ABS above soft plastic version:

Cutlass 2.jpg

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1 hour ago, XBrickmonster said:

@JetflapThe ABS version does not bend, right? It is hard like other ABS bricks?

Correct, it is definitely ABS. It's hard to tell from the photo, but it is hard and shiny. Just like the ABS short sword from the castle line.

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5 hours ago, Jetflap said:

Correct, it is definitely ABS. It's hard to tell from the photo, but it is hard and shiny. Just like the ABS short sword from the castle line.

@Jetflap That is very interesting. I have never heard of that or seen it before. I can't find it on BL either, but it could be there, just hard to tell. I'd rather have it in ABS anyway, I think. The normal ones just get bent and don't look so good.

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@Jetflap I am fairly sure that the very earliest cutlasses were made of ABS, just as the early castle short swords were.  The switch to a more flexible material was probably due to the blades snapping off from the handle.  I have seen many of the ABS castle swords that snapped cleanly off at the handle or had very noticeable white stress marks left from a bend that was straightened.  I do not think I have ever seen a sword or cutlass that is made of the newer flexible material get broken.

I have a few of those cutlasses that appear to be made of ABS.  They were found in some collections I bought off eBay that included parts from sets made in the early 80's.  Included were some flags with stickers instead of printing, as well as a number of extra stickers.

I do think these ABS cutlasses are interesting (like the very early version of the bow and quiver that are a darker brown), but I do not think they are particularly rare and valuable.  Some collectors would likely value them higher than the flexible plastic versions, as the ABS version is not nearly as common as the flexible ones.  Most people probably do not even notice the difference.

@XBrickmonster The one advantage of the newer flexible material is that they have to be bent much worse before a permanent effect is made.  Usually, the bends can be straightened without any ill effect.  ABS is much more likely to break or have stress marks from even the slightest bends.

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Just now, Slegengr said:

@XBrickmonster The one advantage of the newer flexible material is that they have to be bent much worse before a permanent effect is made.  Usually, the bends can be straightened without any ill effect.  ABS is much more likely to break or have stress marks from even the slightest bends.

yeah, that's true. I don't use that piece much anywho.

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ive come across a few, but i figured at some point they had just made them that way. I thought mebbe one of the other lines had them as my original pirate lego as a kid werent that way like the castle swords.

The bow/quiver colour issues. really bugs the hell out of me :) brown, reddish brown and another reddish brownish one.. kind of like matching those speckled axes.

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3 hours ago, RonanSai said:

The bow/quiver colour issues. really bugs the hell out of me :) brown, reddish brown and another reddish brownish one.. kind of like matching those speckled axes.

I know what you mean about this.  It is a bother trying to ensure the bows are the right colors when trying to refinish inventory to sort sets.  My earlier reference, though, was to a pretty rare early version in "dark brown" that does not match the modern dark brown exactly but is noticeably darker than the old brown.  This leads me to believe that the weapon plastic, due to the thinner plastic and the play purpose, was different than the ABS used in bricks.  The same applies to the cutlass material, which is currently much more flexible than ABS.

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Funny, I have seen the differences at home, but I never thought about other uses of plastic. :look:

Thanks for sharing. :thumbup:

@SlegengrThanks for the update of the bow and quiver.  

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8 minutes ago, sander1992 said:

Thanks for the update of the bow and quiver.

You are welcome.  I would not have known about these until I got some from purchased collections.

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Posted (edited)

Thanks guys, that all sounds right. As someone who only collects vintage sets and has done so for many years, its pretty rare and exciting to come across a part or even variation that I have never seen before. It's sounds like they made a pretty limited number of the ABS version before switching over, but certainly enough that the part is not truly rare. I went ahead and put in a request to add the variation to the Bricklink catalog, as I think it warrants a separate entry. I agree the ABS shortsword and also cutlass are more prone to snapping, but they are still superior to the soft plastic version from a collector standpoint! The soft plastic variety gets chewed up pretty easily, even just from clipping into a minifig hand, any many of them look bad. By the way, does anyone know the official name for this type of plastic?

With regards to the brown variations of bows/quivers, it is indeed a pain to match them all correctly when refinishing a set. Of course there are at least two different shades of all the brown ABS accessories as well: lances, spears, halberds and all other old brown ABS parts such as the ladder piece and wagon wheels. I just try to keep a good supply of spares on hand!

Edited by Jetflap

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