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kelceycoe

1994's Islanders: First Impressions

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Does anyone remember your first impressions from that long ago? Or about when you came to know about this awesome theme? What were your thoughts?

Aside from being awesome and a welcome addition to a color-bland theme (although I LOVED the use of color and details in Captain Redbeard - he was soo much brighter when he was brand new) they reminded me of the tribespeople at the beginning of Raiders of the Lost Ark film. They also reminded me of other tribes like those seen in some Chip N Dale's Rescue Rangers or The Chipmunks Adventure as well as Time magazine and Discovery shows on TBS about tribal persons.

Now as an adult and after watching cannibal horror movies like The Green Inferno and Cannibal Holocaust I almost wonder, in a sense, if they weren't meant to have a cannibal feel to theme? It's not unreasonable since they do resemble the tribes from these movies and also because LEGO sets were made from the Pirates of the Caribbean line that featured islander-looking cannibals.

Looking back, I am shocked that LEGO allowed the Islanders to exist given the amount of skin they showed or at least cover them up more. Back then, minifigures were yellow, so yellow on their torsos and legs implied skin. But then again these things were overlooked here in the United States and weren't as big as a deal, in some cases, as they are today.

So let's hear your first impressions, even if it's about any other Wave from the Pirates line.

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1 minute ago, kelceycoe said:

Does anyone remember your first impressions from that long ago? Or about when you came to know about this awesome theme? What were your thoughts?

 

At the end of 1993 I went into my Dark Age so I was not collecting LEGO sets by the time the Indigo Islanders were released. :pir-bawling:

However, I was still aware of them and I thought it was a cool direction to take the Pirate theme.  In fact, in the couple of years prior to their release, I'd postulated how an indigenous sub-theme could be introduced to Pirates, so maybe that's why I was so amicable to their release.

BUT!  The Indigo Islanders were quite different to what I'd imagined - they were a lot more colorful with all the red, whereas I imagined a more earthly colour scheme.  Also, they display a more Polynesian aesthetic whereas I'd envisioned a Mesoamerican decor.

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Posted (edited)

Nice. They were definitely a more colorful departure from the Pirates browns and blacks and Imperials blues and yellows.

Having been to Hawaii I bought a lot of figures and small masks that kind of looked like Khuka(sic). Other than the lush, oriental-style landscape, and quasi-bluish Pacific ocean, it wasn't really that colorful. I was on the island of Oahu though, where Honolulu is and even though we drove the whole island, it didn't impress me. I was even let down by the Orient Express just because China is always displayed as so colorful and that theme not so much.

Edited by kelceycoe

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50 minutes ago, kelceycoe said:

Having been to Hawaii I bought a lot of figures and small masks that kind of looked like Khuka(sic).

You don't happen to have photos you could share with us, by any chance?

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I meant the mask. I'll look for it but King Kahuka's mask is honestly a generic tribal mask:

https://www.google.com/search?q=african+tribal+mask&oq=african+tribal+mask&aqs=chrome..69i57.6407j0j7&client=ms-android-verizon&sourceid=chrome-mobile&ie=UTF-8

https://www.foreverbamboo.com/blog/tiki-mask-meanings/

 

 

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1 hour ago, kelceycoe said:

I meant the mask. I'll look for it but King Kahuka's mask is honestly a generic tribal mask:

I disagree with that statement as each tribal culture, or in some cases, individual tribe, has its own style and motifs. 

In my opinion, King Kahuka's mask differs quite significantly from the examples  you've provided, most notably because of the ornamentation protruding like horns, as well as, the rather flamboyant plumage sprouting from the centre.

That said, it would also be good to inject more images into these discussions to stimulate some visual interest and provide reference for those who aren't familiar with what we're referring to.

So here is King Kahuka in all his glory...

Lego-Pirate-Islanders-Theme-King-Kahuka-Rare-Minifigure.jpg

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Posted (edited)

I only had 1 Islanders set and that was the big one, still have it on display with my old LEGO in a different location from my year 2015-2019 parts, after I rebuilt old sets after coming out a dark age.

 Not 100% complete due to kids play or broken parts over the years, however it's still very recognizable, and the figures/accesoires are fine.

One of the best location sets for it's time, 2 baseplates(1 raised), bridge, lots of plants, 2 boats with sails, a croc/parrot/monkey, and lots of good figures (Kahuka, Female Islander, 3 regular Islanders, Captain Ironhook + regular pirate)+ accesoires.

 

We didn't have that many pirate sets in the family, 2 sabre islands  set 6265, with 16x16 island baseplate so 2 cannons/small boats and 6 soldiers, and some other smaller sets from early 90s with sharks and regular pirates, so getting a 2 full baseplate set was a big thing as a kid.

 

 

Edited by TeriXeri

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By the time I was getting into LEGO Pirates it was around late 1990/early 1991, and while Pirates was still the newest and coolest theme, it was well established. The 1992/1993 waves really just streamlined the set designs and played around with the color schemes. I didn't witness the original sea change of 1989 with all the new molds and accessories, so when the Islanders dropped in 1994 that was my first exposure to radical new things in the Pirate theme. It was incredibly exciting.

Back then there was no leaked images or internet rumors, so the first I saw of the Islanders was seeing the sets on the shelves in Target. It seemed crazy to have so many totally new minifigures and accessories, but the biggest draw was the crocodile. Up until that point, our LEGO minifigure animal kingdom basically consisted of birds, horses, and sharks. That was it. There were already dragons by that point, but we didn't have any. And because LEGO had basically no readily available green bricks at the time, you couldn't build a crocodile either--and I really, really wanted one.

I was a huge fan of Fox's Peter Pan and the Pirates cartoon show, and had already made the best versions I could of Captain Hook and his crew. But without a crocodile, I was forced to use a shark with an upside down head. This is obviously a ridiculous solution, but I had no choice. The series was pretty much gone and forgotten by the time the Islander sets came out, but my desire for a crocodile was as strong as ever.

The silliest thing was that these sets were released in our area just after my birthday, which is in the first half of the year, so I would have had to wait until Christmas to get one. But my younger brother was still little enough (4) that my mom would buy things on impulse for him, so I pretty much got him to get my mom to buy Crocodile Cage for him, and that was the first Islanders set we had. :rofl: One of us got a King Kahuka somewhere along the way, and that was it for awhile.

I spent a lot of time staring at the 1994 catalog, with its dramatic scene of Red Beard confronting Kahuka on a cliff with all the Islander sets tucked away in a lush green cove beneath them. It felt epic. Even the centerpiece of the previous year, the Skull's Eye Schooner, was just a bit of background scenery in this new Islander locale. I was equally obsessed with the commercial for the Islanders, which heavily featured the Enchanted Island bridge trap sending what seemed like dozens of pirates to a watery grave. (It was actually five.)

I have a journal with pictures I drew of the Islander sets from this time, including a two-page spread with every pirate designed between 1989 and 1994 falling from the bridge to be eaten by crocodiles. :laugh: In real life, the bridge trap is not that great and doesn't even extend over the water, but in my imagination it was basically the bridge scene from Temple of Doom, only with hundreds of pirates and more crocodiles.

I got a Crocodile Cage of my own that Christmas. The next year I received the Islander Catamaran for my birthday. One of us got a King Kahuka somewhere along the way, but the larger Islander sets remained elusive.

After the all-at-once exotic explosion of '94, it seemed like the Pirates could go anywhere. It was a little disappointing that 1995 didn't really bring anything new to the table, without even a single new Islanders set. (I now think that 1995 is an incredibly underrated year for Pirate set designs, but at the time it seemed like a letdown.) The Islander's reappearance in the Treasure Chest set helped, though, and the long shelf life of sets at the time meant that they were still a part of the line and lore well into the 1996 re-design.

I had a bit of an Islanders renaissance years later, when I was in college. The Islander sets were much less expensive to get than any of the other Pirate sets, and I quickly bought all of them--for a time, 1994 was the only year I had a complete Pirate collection for. My best finds were a never-opened Islander Catamaran (my original had long since fallen apart) and a Forbidden Cove with the original box and a very large, very nice poster of the enticing catalog scene I had spent so much time poring over. I still hope to have it properly framed and displayed one day. Around that time I also found the European Islander commercial on YouTube, an incredibly cinematic 30-second adventure that put even my imagination's wildest memories of the US commercial to shame. Good times.

TC 

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22 minutes ago, TalonCard said:

Up until that point, our LEGO minifigure animal kingdom basically consisted of birds, horses, and sharks. That was it.

And monkeys... and dolphins... :pir_tong2:

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*oh2* Of course! How could I forget the monkeys?! :laugh: I don't think the dolphins came along until 1995, though. (I ended up buying a Bellville set, of all things, from the US Shop at Home to get one.)

TC

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15 minutes ago, TalonCard said:

I don't think the dolphins came along until 1995

Right you are, TalonCard, the original grey dolphin debuted during 1995, in the Paradisa set 6414 Dolphin Point then appeared in the Belville, Town and Diver themes throughout the proceeding few years.

6414 Dolphin Point [Paradisa].jpg

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