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  1. WesternOutlaw

    ARTICLE: Pirates 2009

    Pirates 2009: A Critical Review Article by TheBrickster 11/27/08 Ahoy Maties! It’s been a great year for Lego with a number of outstanding City sets, Indiana Jones, and the highlight of the year, the early release of the new 2009 Pirates theme. For the Lego Pirate fans that live in the United States, many Toys R Us stores have the complete Pirate 2009 line-up, and what a great thought considering Christmas is just 27 days away. The Collection The Pirates 2009 theme offers a nice collection of sets from Impulse to “Big Ship” providing buyers with a variety of different sets and price-points to choose from. Of course, if you’re any “die-hard” Lego Pirate fan, you will soon find yourself with the complete collection with even multiples of the smaller sets. 8396 Soldier’s Arsenal - 17 pieces (Impulse) 8397 Pirate Survival - 16 pieces (Impulse) 6239 Cannon Battle – 45 pieces 6240 Kraken Attackin’ – 78 pieces 6241 Loot Island – 142 pieces 6242 Soldier’s Fort – 367 pieces 6243 Brickbeard’s Bounty – 592 pieces 6253 Shipwreck Hideout - 310 pieces Minifigs Lego really did an outstanding job with the new Pirate minifigs. This time around, what makes them extra special is the two-sided torsos. For this first wave of sets, there are two distinct opposing forces, the red-coated Imperial Guards, and marauding Pirates. Imperial Guards A total of six different Imperial Guards and variations are contained in the eight-set Pirate collection. Unfortunately, one minifig (third from left), makes itself into the majority of the sets creating a number of “clones”. A total of 11 Imperials are contained in all the sets. The Imperial minifigs have three different types of hats including the Bicorner, Tricorner, and Shako. This time around, the Shako is printed with a gold emblem and red top feather for added detail. All of the Imperials have blue Epaulettes, with the exception of the blue-coated Imperial commander found in 6242 Soldier’s Fort. His is red. Imperial Guards & Backside of Torso Pirates The Pirates outnumber the Imperials at a total of 15 for the eight-set collection. Out of these 15 Pirates, 13 are unique with only Brickbeard, the Pirate captain, duplicated in three of the sets. Three of the additional Pirates from 6243 Brickbeard’s Bounty are not pictured. The highlight of the Pirates is the new female pirate with green torso and eye patch. She’s a real “beaut”. All of the new pirates, with the exception of Brickbeard, have sleeveless shirts and vests with yellow arms. Unfortunately, only dark green and blue hat rags (or scarves) are used, but this does allow one to create two factions of pirates. In addition, one of the minifigs that I’ve labeled a pirate is a castaway contained in 6241 Loot Island. He has a nice long grey beard and sad face expressing his discontent with the small island. Pirates Additional Minifigs Two additional minifigs are included within the Pirate theme, both contained in 6243 Brickbeard’s Bounty. These include the white dressed Imperial queen/princess and a mermaid used as part of the ship’s bow. These minifigs and the pirate wench bring a nice female element to the new Pirates theme. Set Variety Lego did an excellent job in offering a wide collection of different types of sets in this first wave. Pirates can hop aboard the flagship of the collection, 6243 Brickbeard’s Bounty in search of lost treasure. If any of the pirates have to walk the plank, they may find themselves marooned on 6241 Loot Island; but they can cook a fish while they polish their gems from 8397 Pirate Survival. For additional adventure, they can build a makeshift raft and venture out to sea in 6240 Kraken Attackin’, but beware the “Little Kraken”. The pirates have the perfect place to hide on a nearby island in 6253 Shipwreck Hideout. During all of the pirate adventure, the Imperials can organize their assault from 6242 Soldier’s Fort, building up their army with 8396 Soldier’s Arsenal and 6239 Cannon Battle. With these numerous types of sets on land and sea, children (and AFOL) have an endless possibility of imaginary play. Unique Pieces (Not Necessarily New) The new Pirates theme offers an abundance of unique pieces including but not limited to the new metallic painted shooting cannon, a great piece for those of us from the U.S. that never had a shooting cannon. With the new “metallic grey pearl” color, the cannon look terrific. For those wanting to stock up on the cannon, 6239 Cannon Battle is the perfect set. The new theme also includes some great minifig accessories including a dynamite stick and banana contained in 6242 Soldier’s Fort. I also love the gold, blue, and red epaulettes, esp. the gold one used for Brickbeard. A new fish has been added to the theme, this one with an open mouth that allows it to be attached to a pole/stick, as contained in 8397 Pirate Survival. In addition, a new multi-colored parrot provides nice tropical colors for island scenes. Shooting Cannon Unique Pieces The new theme also introduces a new color for the classic 5x14 boat, dark blue. For those of you who dislike the new color, 6242 Soldier’s Fort does contain one in brown. The dark blue boats appear to be for the Imperials while the brown is for the Pirates, based upon boxart. Paddles for these boats are white and brown. Imperial Blue Boat & Brown Pirate Boat One of the nicest elements of Pirates 2009 is the new tan base plate found in 6241 Loot Island. The base plate serves as a sand mound representing an island. Its middle section is open allowing one to place an 8x8 vignette-sized plate in its center. The small pit inside makes a great place to store pirate loot. It will be interesting to see what new creations others will make utilizing this new piece. Island Base Plate Imperial and Pirate Flags It’s great to see the use of the old classic cannon insignia on the Imperial flags, but the Pirate skull and crossbones is a bit different. The new skull and crossbones has a Jolly Roger that has a larger top skull section giving it a more cartoon-like appearance. I hope the clips of the smaller flags hold together better than the old ones from the Classic Pirate collection. Flags The Kraken Set 6240 Kraken Attackin’ introduces a new dark red/maroon octopus that serves as a Kraken to attack pirates aboard the masted raft. The Kraken has been criticized for being too small to be a creature of formidable attack. Options could have been to create a larger sea creature like the dragon in the new Castle theme, or a brick-built creation similar to that of the Vikings theme. If one considers that the Kraken is “just a large octopus”, rather than a huge sea creature from the depths of the ocean, it isn’t too bad. Kraken Theme Colors Pirates 2009 offer a nice selection of colors including many Earth-tone colors like browns, grays, tan, and white. Accent colors include a splash of gold and red. Unlike Imperial forts found in the Classic Pirate theme, 6242 Soldier’s Fort delivers a nice combination of white, tan, and brown, with no yellow (except for a single banana). The Earth-tone colors work exceptionally well for 6253 Shipwreck Hideout giving the set a “more natural” look. 6243 Brickbeard’s Bounty is mostly brown, black, tan, and gold, with bright red and white striped sails, two bearing a large Jolly Roger. I’m surprised the new dark blue color was not used as “water plates”, but rather Lego stayed somewhat true to the classic color scheme in keeping regular blue. Dark blue is used for a sloped rooftop in 6242 Soldier’s Fort. Overall, the colors were nicely combined to create a more realistic palette to the theme. Modular Construction Set 6242 Soldier’s Fort offers a nice modular construction design that allows one to attach sections of buildings and walls with two technic beams. It will certainly be great if Lego continues to expand this building method and offer additional add-ons to future pirate sets. 6242 Modular Construction 6192 Pirate Construction Set Special mention must be made to a new Pirate set not included within the theme. Targeted for a younger audience, set 6192 Pirate Construction set is more along the “basic creator” variety and utilizes mostly standard bricks. The set does offer one exclusive blue-torso minifig not contained within any of the eight-set collection. 6192 Basic Pirates and Exclusive Pirate Minifig Set Reviews With special thanks to all of the individuals who were kind enough to share early image reviews of Pirates 2009, Eurobricks has pictures of the complete line-up. The following reviews and comments can be found for each set: 8396 Soldier’s Arsenal & 8397 Pirate Survival: NewRight 6239 Cannon Battle, 6240 Kraken Attackin’: TheBrickster 6241 Loot Island & 6242 Soldier’s Fort: Lego12 6243 Brickbeard’s Bounty: Svelte_Corps 6253 Shipwreck Hideout: Moose and TheBrickster 6192 Basic Pirate Construction Set: TheBrickster Note: If I've failed to mention/miss a review, please forgive the oversight. Eurobricks Rating With polls for each of the Eurobricks’ reviews, an analysis of the ratings based on the 1 to 5 point scale was performed. As of November 27, 2008, this is how Eurobricks’ pirate fans rank each of the sets. Based on the polls; surprisingly, no set scored in the 90 percentile category. The highest ranked set was 6243 Brickbeard’s Bounty at 89.7%, the “flagship” of the new theme. The small impulse set, 8396 Soldier’s Arsenal was the 2nd highest ranked set at 88.4%. 6253 Shipwreck Hideout was the second largest set ranked at 87.4%. The rest of the scores as well as the number of voters appear on the graph: Eurobricks' Polls My Rating All things considered, if I were to go out today and buy just a few of the sets, I would start with 6242 Soldier’s Fort that surprisingly was only rated an 82.3% (my personal favorite of the collection), followed by 6253 Shipwreck Hideout (rated 87.4%). To help build my Imperial army, I would pick up a few of 6239 Cannon Battle sets because I really like the cannon. Between these three sets, they offer a great amount of diversity and play to really create some fun pirate adventures. Opportunities for Improvement I have only a few complaints over the new theme. 1) Although the gold chests contained in a few of the sets are a nice change, I still prefer brown over gold. I was surprised to find a brown chest in 6242 Soldier’s Fort. 2) When trying to attach the upper mouth/snout of the crocodile contained in 6241 Loot Island, the piece was so hard to fit into the main crocodile body piece, the mouth showed white stress marks once attached. This is poor quality on the part of Lego. 3) The multiple use of the face of the Imperial soldier contained in 8396 Soldier’s Arsenal is too redundant. I think a more standard face would have been a better option, esp. for 8396 which will most certainly be used as an army-builder. 4) As mentioned above, the Kraken is too small. Pirate fans like their Krakens big! 5) More palm trees are needed. With the entire collection of eight sets, only one palm tree is included in 6242 Soldier’s Fort. Surprisingly, 6253 Shipwreck Hideout has none. 6) The new Indiana Jones crate appears in the theme more than classic-style barrels. I prefer barrels, but would enjoy seeing a better balance of both. Future of the Theme I can’t wait to see what new sets will be added to the 2009 Pirates theme. I’m sure we’ll be seeing some sort of Imperial ship, and perhaps the expansion of the modular 6242 Soldier’s Fort. I’m really looking forward to adding more walls and buildings to the fort. Another faction of soldiers like Spanish Armada or Blue-Coat Soldiers would be nice, not to mention some adventure with a large Islanders set. Whatever the set, I’m sure the continuation of the new Pirates theme will be welcomed. Summary I’m a big Adventurers and Indiana Jones fan who also likes the historic themes like Castle and Pirates. Unfortunately, I really missed out during a long dark-age period when collecting Lego was not something that I would be proud to admit. I only received a few Pirate sets as a gift choosing not to buy any on the store shelves. Although I really missed out on the great Classic Pirate sets, I think Lego did a fantastic job at creating the new Pirates 2009 theme. Lego stayed true to its building style and pieces, while still introducing new colors and elements. The theme is close enough to the old classic collection that its sets might integrate well for those individuals with an older collection. With more Indiana Jones sets, the introduction of the Farm sub-theme, and potential for more Castle sets including 10193 (Medieval Market Village), Pirates 2009 is certainly an exciting theme that will appeal to AFOL and the kids who enjoyed Pirates of the Caribbean. Good luck finding the sets at a store near you! References Brickset Eurobricks: Classic-Pirates.com Peeron Wikipedia: Lego Pirates
  2. It possibly would come as no surprise that my childhood favourite LEGO theme was Adventurers. Some of my fondest playtime memories are of sprawling bedroom wide Adventurer Expeditions that ranged from the archeologically accurate dig site to a cartoon caper of chasing down the baddies while being chased by the Mummy or jungle tribesmen. The focal figures (literally!) were always Johnny Thunder and Pippin Reed. Johnny Thunder was part of the Theme Logo, he has appeared in eight LEGO video games. This chap was cornerstone enough to feature in The LEGO Movie and have a re-issue in the Super Secret Dropship set. So why don’t we get to know about our be-hatted hero. A Man of Many Names Back in the long ago days of the 90s there were not quite so many linked multi-media goodies for LEGO themes as there are these days. There were some small features in the LEGO Club magazine, the advert-comics that featured in kids magazines and sometimes the odd TV advertisement were all we really had. These might give you a few titbits to broaden the world presented on any bonus pages in the instruction manual or the little sheet that presented the other avaliable sets. Of course, many times you only learned the character names by purchasing the set they came in. With each language and market location there could be differences between the promotional material because no one had any communication or a single platform to access. This led to curiosities like multiple identities for the same character. Johnny also went by Sam Grant or Joe Freeman in other parts of the world. I was introduced to Sam Grant from the back of a cereal box promoting their giveaway (only six tokens and the p&p!) that included our intrepid hero and his desert car the Scorpion Tracker. Despite alll the names he still had his moustache, sideburns and the dimpled chin of a hero! Many Adventures Johnny Thunder and the Adventurers theme appeared in 1998 to 2000 with a revival in 2003. In this time the Adventurers, heroes and villains, travelled to many lands. The tomb filled deserts of Egypt where an undead Pharaoh lurched. Up the Amazon river with jewel thieves and lost tribes guarded gold. To a mystery island that time forgot with dinosaurs to protect from poachers and finally the Orient on the trail of Marco Polo's treasures. Johnny Thunder also gained his first acting credits in LEGO Studios, tumbling through a booby-trapped tomb and being chased by less friendly dinosaurs. Well Stocked Wardrobe As Johnny Thunder had plenty of adventures in a number of places quite sensibly he had a well stocked wardrobe to go with his trademark hat. While the well known tan shirt served well in the desert, the jungle and tracking dinosaurs there were varients for each of the locales of the Orient he ventured to. Classic, India and Tibet outfits. The tan shirt followed the same outfit archetype of the serial-film heroes Indiana Jones was drawn from and the later variations fitted in to the different locations visited in Orient Expidition. The reissue figure for The LEGO Movie follows the classic look with sharper printing, details on the back and the new colours LEGO brought in after Adventurers were no longer in production. This figure is a really nice inclusion on the part of both the Movie team and TLG, a little 'classic' nod to all of us AFOLs and something for my peer group to notice even if they aren't super LEGO fans. Media Man Just like any other superstar, Johnny Thunder appeared in many media ventures, from a simple 'easter egg' to a feature character in games and of course The LEGO Movie. A number of LEGO video games were released during the Adventurer's heyday and plenty of them featured the characters and theme locations to play through. The LEGOLAND game had Adventure Land attractions and features to unlock as you progressed with cutscenes too. http://youtu.be/diHcA6wtyC4 The next game to feature Johnny was LEGO Racers as an opponent to race with a number of circuits based on the Adventurers theme. In LEGO Island 2 Johnny and co help Pepper Roni in his mission to collect Constructopedia pages on Adventure Island. In Racers 2 Johnny was once again an opponent in races and also an NPC interaction for mini-games and returned again as an NPC racer in LEGO Stunt Rally. In LEGO Soccer you had to face off against an Adventurer Expidition team made up of characters from the theme and once defeated Johnny became an optional player for your own soccer team. This was a time in LEGO history where a lot of video games were made so of course Johnny would feature often. He was a major LEGO character at the time after all! Once Adventurers ended and slowly left recent and target market memory and game development moved out-of-house to developers like Travellers Tales, Johnny Thunder and co didn't feature. However with the launch of LEGO Universe he was back as a member of the Venture League. While the character was intended to be the same Johnny Thunder from the Adventurer theme, he underwent many design tweaks, even appearing in a rather different guise during Beta Testing. Fan feedback (of which I was most certainly a part!) managed to return him to a more classic look as seen above, the only minor changes in accessories and 'printing'. In LEGO Universe the player had to complete missions for Johnny in order to receive Venture League approval and open that faction as a choice to join. Master Builder Of course, now we come to his latest major role. A Master Builder in The LEGO Movie! First spotted early on in a call-back to Indiana Jones, he rescues his hat just before slipping through the perimeter walls to escape the forces of Lord Business. He is present for Emmet's, ah, stirring speech and is seen fleeing the golf ball once again reminscent of Indy. Later, as the citizens of Bricksburg fight the micromanagers Johnny is noticeable riding a horse that is riding a bigger horse. Thus we can conclude that I really am a bit weird and look out for a minor character when watching the movie! I'd love to post some clips but there aren't any to be found online that feature Johnny but if you missed him before we all know that no one needs an excuse to watch the film again! So, Johnny Thunder was and is a pretty cool character and while his moment in the sun might be over and Adventurers was continued in a new guise we can surely look forward to his next heir in whatever form he or she takes.
  3. Today,when I searching the Internet about Lego knock-off brands,I accidentally found this article from Brickset.com.You can read the article at the URL link below. http://brickset.com/article/15793/review-cheap-chinese-rubbish What's your opinion of the article?
  4. A History Hello Eurobricks users! I am here to explain, educate, inform and entertain with an article on this very subforum you are reading. Whether you are a regular to this section or are here because you accidentaly clicked something on that pesky touchscreen (you could have sworn you tapped that other one, right?) I hope you bear with me and take a look at Action and Adventure Themes. Action and Adventure Themes Here is an elegent and finely crafted timeline-ish of Action and Adventure themes. Spanning 1995 right up to the here and now of 2015 (twenty years..Peppy feels old). Subthemes missed for space, else this baby would be massive-er, Click to embiggen.. Just what is an Action and Adventure Theme? Action and Adventure Themes isn't an official LEGO name, while Pirates, Town and Technic are taken from current or past LEGO branding, Licensed is pretty much self explained and Star Wars is a no-brainer. Action and Adventure came about as a place for some of the outliers that needed a home. Story driven themes that had named characters front and centre with a mission or quest to undertake. Of course, plenty of SciFi themes have a storyline and named characters but Action isn't quite SciFi. Those themes just aren't Skiffy enough to be SciFi or normal enough to live in Town. ATV, Goodguy, Badguy. ATV, Goodguy, Badguy... Giant Space Mantis ATV, Goodguy, Badguy... A Badguy made of Toxic Slime. Sure, there are helicopters and motorboats, even ATVs that would happily fit into a City, but that chap there has a super lazer and he is chasing a man made out of radioactive slime. Not enough spaceships or aliens, but too much toxic ooze and lazers. There are a few more features of an Action and Adventure theme. Take a look at some Classic advertising I have re-discovered.* *X Soft, a big ol' nostalgia bomb! You might have noticed a little something. There was some sort of linking line through all of them that can be found even in the latest (including the one marketed at girls) Action and Adventure themes. Collecting things! Collections and Crystals It is a surefire perfect way to get people buying and buying, or more accurately getting children to ask for/demand all the things. A Collection gimmick. Gotta Catch 'em all! To do that you have to buy all the sets, from that nicely priced set a little pocket money will get, right up to the huge cornerstone big-box build that has a princely sum attached. There are Baddies to be captured, keys in all forms, weapons that grant powers, weapons that will grant a bad-guy a power the good-guys have to stop. They come in pretty colours with printed designs and all fit neatly into something on the biggest set. All of them are unique and only one in each of the sets. Unlock the gates, collect the weapons, stop Pharaoh getting his mummy mitts on the kit! If it isn't unique things to collect it is something a little more basic. Crystals! Lots and lots of crystals. Amass more than the enemy or enemy factions, collect them with a cool play feature or fight it out with a game mechanic. They came in all sorts of colours and finishes, shapes and sizes and reasons to collect. Power source or valuable commodity, you have to get more crystals than the other guys. A gemstone. A Chi Crystal While some in-story were more generic and had less of a reason to collect them (or it was outright unexplained) those Action and Adventure theme factions sure loved their crystals. Like I mentioned earlier, these were not just lying around to be picked up. Sometimes you have to play a little game. Game on! Another thing that sets Action and Adventure themes apart from the more mundane of real-life roleplay are games to build and play. A section of the game, complete with a nifty plane! While Time Cruisers was the first Action and Adventure theme to have a board game, the game itself was separate from the sets and came with some LEGO as playing pieces. The Adventurer's Orient Expedition Theme had a trio of linkable game-boards and playing cards included in the three larger sets. Through a combination of item collection and challenges you earned points to win the game. Game Cards featuring heroic characters After quiet a hiatus filled with Video Games and an increasing internet mini-game presence a new Action Theme arrived with a new and exciting game. Ninjago! Spinjitzu Warrior Combining the age-old game of battling tops (gasing pangkah - look it up!) and playing cards, with the popular characters of colourful Ninjas, Ninjago has been going strong for four years. While there has been a spinner-less gap of late, it is set to make a return to a battle game later this year. There isn't much more to be said about this subject, something I am sure other members could tell me more about! Card Games On Motorcycles! With the success of the Ninjago theme there was another attempt to combine a toy and card battle game with Legend of Chima. Flywheel powered Speedorz, launched along by the rip-cord, can navigate obstacles to win Chi crystals. After a slightly unfortunate redesign of the 'fairing' no further speedorz are coming along and Chima is ending, but not every theme can last as long as some. Videogames As well as the good old chunks of plastic pitted against each other in competition, Action and Adventure Themes have a number of computer games to go alongside the storys told in comics and internet material. There have been many LEGO Multimedia games and characters from Action and Adventure themes have featured in them in varying roles. However Rock Raiders was the first Action and Adventure Theme to have a game to itself. *I miss the old LEGO Media bit, that soundbite! On Playstation and PC, you collected the energy crystals to help the heroes escape the mystery planet and return home. Alpha Team was next to get the game treatment, with a PC and Gamboy Colour release. (Aaand now I have to go and sit in a corner and feel old, have a video.) *I miss the old LEGO Media bit, that soundbite! **and that is why Cam and Dash are my LEGO OTP More recently Ninjago has been bringing the goods with the Battles strategy game, Nindroids and upcoming sequel Shadow of Ronin. The RPGs supplied to us by Travellers Tales, purveyors of fine LEGO gaming experiences since 2005. So Now you Know and Knowing is Half the Battle. I hope this article has informed and entertained. Action and Adventure themes have always been my favourite. Fun, strange, sometimes packed with radical new ideas. Certainly loaded with colourful characters and colourful parts. Action and Adventure themes cane burst into life and fizzle out quickly or have a staying power no one expected but always pack in plenty for us to remember. Who knows what will be coming up? Will we dive down to the seabed again or dig out some crystals? Is there a daring Explorer ready to venture out into the unknown? Or some new and unexpected direction to give us even better prints, parts and colours to enjoy? Whatever it is, I hope we all get to come along for the ride!
  5. http://www.theguardi...ting-toys-shell A child expert made this article about how LEGO is harming children in more ways than just the current topic of Shell.
  6. TheLegoChronicler

    Interesting Article on Lego Space Factions

    Came across this article about the old Lego themes. Found it interesting as it appears to be written by a literature student who is not an AFOL. He is starting an analysis of the Lego space factions from a story telling perspective. I wanted to share as I though some other AFOLs out there might be interested, especially those of us who are a bit older and can remember the days as far back as Blacktron I and Futuron when the factions got kicked off. Link is below: http://pendream.blogspot.com/