LEGO® Pirates is the third-oldest of the existent product lines, having started in 1989. It was known as LEGOLAND® Pirates from 1989 to 1990, just as LEGO® City, LEGO® Castle, and LEGO® Space were originally known, respectively, as LEGOLAND® Town, LEGOLAND® Castle, and LEGOLAND® Space. Piracy has actually been a problem for thousands of years, but these sets harken back to the Golden Age of Piracy romanticized in Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island and J. M. Barrie’s Peter Pan. In addition to the three iterations of LEGO® Pirates and LEGO® Pirates of the Caribbean™, The LEGO Group has produced pirate sets in three product lines marketed toward very small children: LEGO® 4+ Pirates, LEGO® DUPLO® Disney’s™ Jake and the Neverland Pirates™, and a single LEGO® Juniors set. MetalBeard (voiced by Nick Offerman), one of the Master Builders who turns up in Cloud Cuckcoo Land in The LEGO Movie (2014), is also available in tie-in sets.
LEGO® Pirates was the first theme to be introduced with Minifigures that had diverse printed faces instead of the standard Minifigure™ smiley face. A number of the Minifigures had beards and/or mustaches. Some had eyepatches. There was also a Lady Pirate with lipstick.
This was the first theme (product line) to be introduced with clearly demarcated heroes and villains because the theme pitted pirates against the militaries of colonial empires and Polynesians in the Caribbean Sea and Pacific Ocean. By contrast, LEGO® Castle had armies arrayed against each other from the very beginning, but it was up to each individual child to decide which army he championed. There were no clear-cut villains with LEGO® Castle until the Wolfpack Renegades appeared on store shelves in 1992. The Imperial Soldiers represent the French, the Imperial Guards represent the British, and the Imperial Armada represent the Spanish.
The flintlock pistols, muskets, and canons of the LEGO® Pirates theme were the first unequivocal firearms in any of The LEGO Group’s product lines. [As mentioned in “Lego Space Product Lines”, there was some ambiguity about where some features of the spaceships in Classic Space sets were energy weapons, because at least some of the designers wanted to include weapons, while the company initially wanted to depict space exploration as an entirely peaceful venture.] A new sword was introduced with the Pirates, a cutlass.
The LEGO Group developed a number of elements for LEGO® Pirates. These include the bandanas many of the pirates wear on their heads; the monkey; the parrot; cloth sails; 6×4 Jolly Roger flags; and the brown boat stern and boat bow. Two-part sharks with a head and body connected at the jaw, introduced with LEGO® Pirates Rock Island Refuge (Set #6273) in 1991, have appeared in sets from other themes, such as LEGO® City Deep Sea Submarine. A new, fiercer-looking shark head black eyes and white teeth and a new body with white teeth in the lower jaw, appeared with Blackbeard’s Bounty (Set #6243) in 2009.
The original LEGO® Pirates theme was discontinued in 1997. Three sets were re-issued in 2002 as Legends. A second iteration of LEGO® Pirates appeared on store shelves in 2009 and 2010. A third iteration appeared on shelves this year. Steve’s LEGO Blog has an overview of the first two iterations of LEGO® Pirates and an in-depth review of the first iteration of LEGO® Pirates (1989-1997) as four waves: Wave 1 (1989-1991), Wave 2 (1992-1993), Wave 3 (1994-1995), Wave 4 (1996-1997), and treated the second iteration of LEGO® Pirates (2009-2010) as Wave 5 (2009-2010).
The first pirate leader was Captain Roger, better known as Captain Redbeard (also spelt Captain Red Beard). All subsequent LEGO® pirate captains – aside from the licensed Pirates of the Caribbean theme – have strongly resembled Captain Redbeard. Like him, Captain Ironhook, Captain Brickbeard, Pirate Captain, and the forthcoming Zombie Pirate all have an eyepatch, a peg leg for a right leg, a hook in place of a left hand, and a bicorn hat with the Jolly Roger on it. Redbeard’s printed face included bangs, an eyepatch over his left eye, and a full mustache. Originally, His beard consisted of lines, suggesting he had not shaved and was growing a beard. He had a hook for a left hand and a peg leg for a right leg. His printed chest included an ascot, a frock coat with yellow (gold) trim, a belt with a yellow (gold) belt buckle, and a bandoleer belt ran from his left shoulder to his right hip. Redbeard wore brown epaulets. Captain Redbeard appeared in the video game LEGO Racers in 1999.
Figure 1 Credits: Courtesy of The Lego Group Caption: The first Pirates chief was Captain Roger (a.k.a. Captain Redbeard). Like him, Captain Ironhook, Captain Brickbeard, Pirate Captain, and the Zombie Pirate all have an eyepatch, a peg leg, a hook, and a bicorn hat with the Jolly Roger.
His original right-hand man was First Mate Rummy. He had an eyepatch over his left eye, a brown tri-corner hat, a blue jacket over a red-and-white striped undershirt (printed on his torso), and gray pants. Rummy appeared in five sets. In sets from 1996 and ’97, he seems to have been replaced by Black Jack Hawkins. His face included gray eyebrows, mustache, and beard. He wore a tricorne hat, an open frock coat with striped shirt underneath, and gray pants. Hawkins appeared in eight sets. Rummy and Bo’Sun Will, the youngest member of Redbeard’s crew, came as Minifigures with the comic book The Golden Medallion, also known as “The golden Sovereign,” published in 1989. Will also came with Lagoon Lock-up (Set #6267), released in 1991. Bo’Sun Will, the youngest member of Redbeard’s crew, had nearly monochromatic clothing with a red bandana on his head, red-and-white striped shirt, and red pants.
Figure 2 Credits: Courtesy of The Lego Group Caption: Two of Captain Redbeard’s men – First Mate Rummy and Bo’Sun Will – came as Minifigures packaged with the comic book The Golden Medallion, also known as The golden Sovereign, published in 1989. Bo’Sun Will was the youngest member of Redbeard’s crew.
Governor Broadside and Lieutenant de Martinet (called Lieutenant Martinez in the British Isles) led the Imperial Soldiers. Note that this is a name fans gave this faction. Gov. Broadside and Lt. de Martinet both wore yellow epaulets. Broadside was readily distinguished from his men because his bicorn hat had white trim and a feather plume. His printed face included a mustache, sideburns, and stubble on his cheeks. Governor Broadside appeared in LEGO Racers like Captain Redbeard. Martinet wore a tri-cornered hat (like the Imperial Marines or Imperial Sailors aboard the Sea Hawk) and had a mustache and beard while the men were clean-shaven. The big set for the Imperial Soldiers was the 517-piece Eldorado Fortress (Set #6276), released in 1989. It was comparable to the hill-top LEGO castles produced in that period, and although it had more white than yellow pieces, compatible with the brick-built Yellow Castle, which was the first castle in the LEGO® Castle theme.
Figure 3 Credits: Courtesy of The Lego Group Caption: These are four of the eight Minifigures and the rowboat that came with Eldorado Fortress (Set #6276), released in 1989. These include Captain Redbeard, Gov. Broadside, and Lt. de Martinet.
A smaller outpost of the Imperial Soldiers, a three-story tower, was the focal point of the Sabre Island (Set #6265), released in 1990. The parts could easily be used to expand the Eldorado Fortress (or the two could be combined to build something altogether different). The 92-piece set also included a palm tree, a rowboat, a canon, Lt. de Martinet, and two Imperial Soldiers.
Released in 1989, the 393-piece Caribbean Clipper (Set #6274) had the flagship of the Imperial Soldiers, the Sea Hawk. She was a two-masted, square-rigged brig that was only about half the size of the Black Seas Barracuda. Governor Broadside appeared in both sets.
The flag of the Imperial Soldiers looked very much like the flag of Quebec. It consisted of a white cross on a blue field with a black fleur-de-lis in each corner, a crown near the head of the cross, and crossed canons under the crown. Imperial Soldiers wore blue jackets with white belts (printed) on their chests, red epaulets, white pants, and backpacks. Most infantrymen were armed with muskets (muzzle-loaded, smoothbore rifles or long guns fired from the shoulder). The backpacks slipped down the necks of the torso pieces like the epaulets, between the torsos and heads, but were over the epaulets. They wore shakos.
Figure 4 Credits: Courtesy of The Lego Group Caption: Pirates Minifigures (set #6251), released in 1989, included Captain Redbeard, Lt. de Martinet, a Bluecoat, a Lady Pirate, and a Pirate.
Figure 5 Credits: Courtesy of The Lego Group Caption: Released in 1989, Buried Treasure (Set #6235) includes a Pirate, Spinoza the Monkey, a treasure chest, and gold coins. The LEGO Group introduced monkeys with this set.
Figure 6 Credits: Courtesy of The Lego Group Caption: Released in 1989, Castaway’s Raft (set #6257) included a raft, dark-gray shark, First Mate Rummy, and two other Pirates. The LEGO Group introduced sharks with this set.
Figure 7 Credits: Courtesy of The Lego Group Caption: Harbor Sentry (Set #6245), released in 1989, consisted of Lt. de Martinet in a rowboat implausibly armed with a cannon. The flintlock pistols, muskets, and cannons of the LEGO® Pirates theme were the first unequivocal firearms in any of The LEGO Group’s product lines.
Captain Readbeard’s first flagship was the Black Seas Barracuda (Set #6285), released in 1989. She was a brig with two square-rigged masts. The Black Seas Barracuda had a total of four cannons, with two on each side. She was equipped with a crane. The LEGO Group re-issued the Black Seas Barracuda as part of the LEGO® Legends theme in 2002, but, as Brickipedia points out, the 896-piece Black Seas Barracuda (Set #10040) had more pieces than the original set. She also appeared in the Nintendo DS video game LEGO Battles in 2009. In 2010, she appeared in the video game LEGO Universe: A Massively Multiplayr Online Game, under the command of a new captain, Captain Jack Knife, a character created for LEGO Universe that was not available as a Minifigure™.
Captain Redbeard’s first headquarters was Forbidden Island (Set #6270), issued in 1989. The 176-piece set included four Minifigures: Captain Redbeard, First Mate Rummy, another Pirate Minifigure, and an Imperial Soldier. The outpost was a black tower comprised of parts from LEGO® Castle and therefore compatible with LEGO® castles, especially of the Black Knights faction. In that way, it was like the Eldorado Fortress.
Figure 8 Caption: Captain Redbeard’s first headquarters was Forbidden Island, issued in 1989. The black tower was comprised of parts from LEGO® Castle and therefore compatible with LEGO® castles, especially of the Black Knights faction.
Redbeard’s second headquarters, like his first, was a black tower comprised of parts from LEGO® Castle and therefore compatible with LEGO® castles, especially of the Black Knights faction, as had been the case with his first headquarters. It further had a similar baseplate to the Eldorado fortress. Rock Island Refuge was, however, a much larger and more complex set. The 396-piece Rock Island Refuge (Set #6273), issued in 1991, had Captain Redbeard, First Mate Rummy, the Lady Pirate, two other pirates, Lt. de Martinet, and an Imperial Soldier. The Pirates had a raft with a sail and the Imperial Guards had a rowboat that had been converted into a skiff.
Sets with Imperial Soldiers remained on store shelves until at least 1993, but they were superseded as the opponents of the Pirates by the Imperial Guards in 1992. Admiral Woodhouse commanded the Imperial Guards. He wore the same black bicorn hat with white trim as Governor Broadside. The flag of the Imperial Guards had red and white horizontal stripes with crossed canons surmounted by a crown. The Imperial Guards also wore shakos.
The printed part of their uniforms were different from the Imperial Soldiers because they had red jackets (instead of blue) and white belts (printed) on their chests. The common troops had blue epaulets instead of red. Again, most infantrymen were armed with muskets. As with the Imperial Troops, the officers had yellow (representing gold) epaulets.
Rather than having a fortress, the big land-based set for the Imperial Guards was the Imperial Trading Post (Set #6277), released in 1992. This was one of the largest sets in the LEGO® Pirates theme. It was a dock with three buildings, two cranes, a merchant ship, and a rowboat-turned-into-a-skiff. The 592-piece set came with Admiral Woodhouse and eight other Minifigures. The buildings had the same color scheme as the Eldorado Fortress. As with the Eldorado Fortress, the buildings in the set were compatible with the Yellow Castle, although it had more white pieces than yellow like the Eldorado Fortress. It also could have easily been combined with the Eldorado Fortress. The original retail list price was $85. Someone is now trying to sell it on ebay for $259.95.
Released in 1995, Imperial Outpost (Set #6263) was a small structure that had a jail cell and a canon. The pieces could be used to expand the Imperial Trading Post. The 211-piece set included a palm tree, a rowboat, Admiral Woodhouse, two Imperial Guards, and First mate Rummy.
The 317-piece Imperial Flagship (Set #6271-1), released in 1992, had the flagship of the Imperial Guards. She was about half the size of the Black Seas Barracuda and Captain Redbeard’s second flag ship, the Skull’s Eye Schooner, was even bigger. Although the word schooner was in the name of the ship, she was not, in fact, a schooner. She was a two-masted, square-rigged galleon. Issued in 1993, the 912-piece Skull’s Eye Schooner (Set #6286) also called the Black Skull in Europe, included nine pirates and a shark. Armed with four canons on turntables, the ship was equipped with a crane. This remained the largest sailing ship The LEGO Group produced until the (second) Imperial Flagship in 2010.
Figure 9 Credits: Courtesy of The Lego Group Caption: The Imperial Flagship, released in 1992, was the first flagship of the Imperial Guards. She was about half the size of Captain Redbeard’s first flagship, and his second was even bigger.
A new pirate chief, introduced in 1992 with Raft Raiders (Set #6261), Captain Ironhook, fought King Kahuka and his Islanders as well as the Imperial Guards. Like Captain Redbeard, he had an eyepatch over his left eye, a hook in place of his left hand, and a peg leg in place of his right leg, but otherwise the unkempt Captain Ironhook looked like a poor relation of the dapper Captain Redbeard.
Figure 10 Credits: Courtesy of The Lego Group Caption: King Kahuka led the Islanders, a LEGO® Pirates subtheme from 1994 inspired by Polynesian culture. He wore a carved red mask topped with white feathers, a necklace made of teeth, and a medallion, a red sash, and a grass skirt.
Captain Ironhook had a full mustache printed on his face, but a beard that consisted of lines, suggesting a man who has not shaven recently rather than one who had deliberately grown a beard. He wore no coat and his shirt was in tatters.
Ironhook had a dagger tucked into his bandoleer belt worn from his right shoulder to his left hip (printed on his chest). He did, however, wear the exact same bicorn hat as Captain Redbeard.
Released in 1993, the 171-piece Renegade Runner (Set #6268), had Captain Ironhook’s only ship. She was a small, one-masted ship. Armed with a single canon that was mounted on a turntable so it could swivel, she lacked a ship’s wheel, which would have made it impossible to steer her if she was a real ship at sea. One of the sails had the Jolly Roger on it, as did the flag. Given that Rummy was one of Ironhook’s three crewman aboard this ship, he must have (unwisely) defected from Redbeard’s crew to Ironhook’s.
King Kahuka’s mask, the hair pieces of the Male Islanders and Female Islanders, and the clothes printed on King Kahuka and his subjects are Polynesian or Polynesian-influenced. While Captain Redbeard seemed to be a menace to the Caribbean Sea, based on the appearance of King Kahuka and his Islanders, it would be reasonable to assume that Captain Ironhook and his men and the Imperial Guards are in the Pacific Ocean. The Islanders appeared in six sets, all of which were released in 1994. The most elaborate, the 412-piece Enchanted Island (Set #6278), was re-released in 2001 as Enchanted Island (Set #6292). King Kahuka and his Islanders appeared in the video games LEGO Racers (1999) and LEGO Battles (2009).
Figure 11 Credits: Courtesy of The Lego Group Caption: Released in 1995, Rocky Reef (Set #6254) included a small island, a rowboat, a palm tree, a parrot, First mate Rummy, another Pirate, and a Skeleton. The LEGO Group introduced Skeleton Minifigures with this set.
Released in 1996, the 698-piece Red Beard Runner (Set #6289). One of the three tattered sails had the Jolly Roger and a second had crossed swords. One of the two masts could tilt and the back of the ship could come off, apparently to simulate battle damage. This set was re-released in 2001 as Red Beard Runner (Set #6290). This set was also known as Pirate Battle Ship. Armed with three non-firing canons, the two-masted, square-rigged ship was equipped with a crane and had a rowboat. The set came with Captain Redbeard, Black Jack Hawkins, five other Pirate Minifigures, and a monkey.
The Imperial Armada superseded the Imperial Guards in 1996. Their flag featured a crown over a shield that appeared to be the coat of arms of a royal family. Modeled on 16th Century Spanish Conquistadors, they wore morion-type helmets and officers had chrome-colored breastplates. The common soldiers had red tunics (printed on their torsos). They were armed with cutlasses, except for one who came with the small set Armada Sentry (Set #6244) who had a musket.
Their leader was The Admiral. He wore a gorget around his neck (printed on his chest). Over this, he wore a breastplate. The morion he wore had a white feather plume. He had gray pants. His printed face included eyebrows, a mustache, goatee, and stubble. Captain Valiant, also known as Green Captain Conquistador, commanded the Armada Flagship, also known as the Santa Cruz and appeared in two other sets. He wore a cravat and a medallion around his neck (printed on his chest) and did not always wear a breastplate. His printed face included eyebrows, a mustache, and a goatee. He wore gray pants. The Conquistador from Minifigures Series 8 (Set #8833), issued in 2012, looked like a more detailed version of The Admiral and Captain Valiant. Armed with a rapier rather than a cutlass, his helmet, breastplate, and pieces of plate armor (printed on his legs) were gold-colored.
Both The Admiral and Captain Valiant, as well as Captain Redbeard and Black Jack Hawkins came with the small Buccaneers (Set #6204), released in 1997. The set also included a Pirate Skeleton Minifigure™.
Released in 1996, the 284-piece Armada Flagship (Set #6280) did not make for much of a warship, much less the flagship of a fleet. Armed with a single canon, the two-masted ship was equipped with a crane and an anchor. The ship appeared in the video game LEGO Racers in 1999 and the set was reissued in 2001 as Spaniard Ship (Set #6291). The set included Captain Valiant and two other Minifigures.
Figure 12 Credits: Courtesy of The Lego Group Caption: Released in 1996, the 284-piece Armada Flagship (Set #6280) included Captain Valiant and two other Minifigures. The ship appeared in the video game LEGO Racers in 1999 and the set was reissued in 2001 as Spaniard Ship (Set #6291).
Captain Redbeard’s fourth and smallest ship was Cross Bone Clipper (#6250). She was a one-masted, square-rigged ship equipped with a crane and armed with a single canon. The sail had a symbol very close to the Jolly Roger with a skull and two swords that form a V. Released in 1997, this was the last ship set in the first iteration of LEGO® Pirates. The 151-piece set came with three Minifigures: Captain Redbeard, the Lady Pirate, and a Pirate Minifigure.
Pirates Perilous Pitfall (Set #6281), released in 1997, looked like a designer or design team received orders to use a similar baseplate as Eldorado Fortress to make a set where the pirates have turned a ship wreck into a dock. The set includes a rope bridge that’s raised in the box cover picture… as if a rope bridge could be raised like a drawbridge. Pirates Perilous Pitfall included Black Jack Hawkins and two other pirates, Captain Valiant, another Imperial Armada Conquistador, and an Imperial Armada Conquistador Skeleton.
The original Redbeard appeared in Filming of a Pirate Scene (Set #1411), released in 2001, as part of LEGO® Studios (2000-2004). The set had three other Minifigures: Skeleton, Director, and Camera Man. Arguably, Redbeard in this set was supposed to be an actor playing Redbeard, instead of an 17th Century or 18th Century pirate, in a metafictional twist.
A Pirate Minifigure appeared in Vintage Minifigure Collection, Volume 2 (Set #852535) in 2009. That same year, an Imperial Soldier appeared in Vintage Minifigure Collection Volume 3 (Set #852697). An Imperial Soldier magnet also appeared in 2010.
LEGO 4+ Pirates
Another version of Captain Redbeard appeared in 4+ Pirates. This was a subtheme of 4+ (2003-2005), a theme (product line) aimed at preschoolers four and over). Unlike with LEGO® DUPLO®, 4+ LEGO® sets featured the same LEGO bricks (and other elements) one would find in sets for older children, teens, and adults, but, as with LEGO Juniors, designers used a small number of large pieces for each set to make the sets easy to build. Instead of Minifigures, they came with Creator Figures from the LEGO® Creator theme.
Creator Figures, also known as 4+ Figures, were similar to the old Belleville Figures from the LEGO® Belleville theme (which was marketed to girls) and the current Mini-Dolls introduced with LEGO® Friends and now also available with LEGO® Disney™ Princess and LEGO® Elves, all of which are marketed to girls. Available in sets between 2003 and ’05, the Creator Figures were larger than standard Minifigures, and were more detailed. They came assembled, and could not be dis-assembled.
Another interesting difference between 4+ Pirates and LEGO® Pirates was that the type of sword the pirates fought with a scimitar rather than a cutlass. All of the LEGO® 4+ Pirates subtheme sets were released in 2004. A board game and two mini-comic books were released in 2005.
The 134-piece Captain Redbeard’s Pirate Ship (Set #7075-1) included a two-masted, square-rigged brig, Captain Redbeard and three pirates. Unlike with Minifigures in the LEGO® Pirates theme, in the 4+ Pirates subtheme, his men had individual identities: Harry Hardtack, Jolly Jack Crow, and Scurvy Dog.
Captain Redbeard’s nemesis was a fellow pirate leader, Captain Kragg, whose symbol was a skull with a dagger clenched between its teeth. He had two men: Drake Dagger and Cannonball Jimmy. Captain Kragg has two sets. Captain Kragg’s Pirate Boat (Set #7072-1) was a rowboat that with some additions was turned into a skiff. The seventy-six-piece Skull Island (Set #7074-1) included Captain Kragg and both his men, a crocodile, a dock, a raft, and a cave with a skull-shaped entrance.
The LEGO Group released a second iteration of the LEGO® Pirates theme in 2009 to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of the theme’s original introduction. It had a Pirates emblem with stylized crossed bones behind the capital A in “LEGO PIRATES.” A third pirate leader came with the second iteration of LEGO® Pirates, Captain Brickbeard. He looked like a fiercer clone of Captain Redbeard, an eyepatch over the left eye, gold-colored (instead of brown) epaulets, a gold-colored (instead of gray) hook in place of his left hand, a peg leg in place of his right leg. The beard on his printed face was fuller and scruffier. The skull in the Jolly Roger on his bicorn hat had an evil appearance. Instead of being a simple black dot, his right eye was a black iris with a white pupil. He had an eyebrow over this eye. His face also included sideburns, and his mouth was open in a snarl with a white line representing teeth. Captain Brickbeard also fought the Imperial Guards. This time, they were led by an unnamed Imperial Governor, an Admiral, and a Lieutenant.
The Imperial Governor wore red epaulets, and white pants. He wore a bicorn hat sideways like the pirate captains (or the real Napoleon Bonaparte), without feather plume. His printed face included a mustache connected to mutton chops. The Admiral had a bicorn hat with blue feather plume, gold epaulets, and white pants. His printed face was similar to, if not exactly the same as, the Imperial Governor’s. Armed with a cutlass, his other accessories were a gold-colored telescope and a sextant. The Lieutenant wore blue epaulets and a tricorn hat with red feather plume. His printed face included a trim mustache, soul patch, sideburns, and stubble along the jawline. He was armed with a flintlock pistol.
The shakos of the new Imperial Guard Minifigures had an emblem printed on front. Instead of actually wearing backpack elements, backpacks were printed on their backs. Some of the Imperial Guards had trim mustaches and goatees. At least one had facial scars.
The headquarters of the Imperial Guards, this time out, was Soldier’s Fort (Set #6242), released in 2009. This 367-piece set resembled the 187-piece Lagoon Lock-up from 1991. LegoSteve, the fellow behind Steve’s LEGO Blog, pointed out that this was a dock rather than a fort, but found it “beautiful.” The set included a crane.
Shipwreck Hideout (Set #6253), released in 2009, was a small pirate fortress that came with six Minifigures: Captain Brickbeard, a Pirate Minifigure, a Lady Pirate, a pirate skeleton, and two Imperial Guards. Given the appearance of hull ribs, the implication was that Captain Brickbeard and his men turned a shipwreck into a tower. In the U.S.A., this was a Toys R Us exclusive.
Pirate Tic Tac Toe (Set #852750), released in 2009, was a LEGO® Pirates-themed board game that came with ten Minifigures: Captain Brickbeard, three pirates, one Lady Pirate, and five Imperial Guards (one of whom is a colonel). The set originally cost $19.99, and speculators are now trying to sell it on ebay for between $35.65 and $100.39.
Both Shipwreck Hideout and Pirate Tic Tac Toe featured a new, vampy Lady Pirate Minifigure with a ponytail hairpiece, a printed face that included an eyepatch over her right eye. This new Lady Pirate appeared in The LEGO Movie (2014). A Lady Pirate appeared in the video game LEGO Battles.
Captain Brickbeard’s flagship was Brickbeard’s Bounty. Released in 2009, she was a two-masted, square-rigged brig equipped with a crane. The 592-piece Brickbeard’s Bounty (Set #6243) included three canons, a rowboat, Captain Brickbeard, Admiral’s Daughter, three pirates, two Imperial Soldiers, and a Mermaid, as well as a monkey and the aforementioned shark. The Mermaid Minifigure was mounted on the bowsprit. Exclusive to this set, the Admiral’s Daughter, called Camilla in LEGO Battles, was a damsel-in-distress held captive by Brickbeard. In the box cover photo, she was being forced to walk the plank while a shark swam below and Imperial Guards struggled in a rowboat with one of the Pirates. She wore a white dress. The Admiral’s Daughter had a hairpiece with a French braid around the sides, as did the Mermaid. Like the Black Seas Barracuda, Brickbeard’s Bounty had red-and-white sails, but two of the new ship’s sails (as well as its flag) bore the Jolly Roger. Also like the Black Seas Barracuda, she appeared in the video game LEGO Battles. In 2011, under license from The LEGO Group, DK published Hannah Dolan’s book DK Readers L1: LEGO® Pirates: Brickbeard’s Treasure.
Figure 13 Credits: Courtesy of The Lego Group Caption: Captain Brickbeard’s flagship was Brickbeard’s Bounty from the 592-piece Set #6243, released in 2009. The set included a new, fiercer-looking shark; Brickbeard; Admiral’s Daughter; three Pirates; two Imperial Guards; and a Mermaid mounted on the bowsprit.
The Queen from the first LEGO® Pirates Chess Set (Set #852751) strongly resembled the Admiral’s Daughter. The Lady Pirate was her opposite number. There were a total of twenty-four Minifigures and two monkeys with the set. There were six brick-built chess pieces to complete the chess set. The set pitted Pirates against Imperial Guards. LegoSteve opined it would have been “an awesome and cheap army builder” if the Imperial Guards were not wearing tricorne hats.
The 148-piece 2009 Pirates Advent Calendar (Set #6299) was sold in the U.K. with a retail list price of £15.79, and was not available in the U.S. and Canada. It included Captain Brickbeard, the Lady Pirate with a telescope, the Castaway (otherwise only available with Loot Island), Lieutenant, an Imperial Guard, a Mermaid, a Skeleton Minifigure, a raft, a sawfish, a crocodile, a map table, a pagan skull shrine, and a treasure. People are trying to sell this set now on ebay for between $81.61 and $138.03.
The 1,664-piece Imperial Flagship (Set #10210), released in 2010, was sold exclusively by LEGO Shop and LEGO shops. The three-masted, square-rigged ship was 29.5” (75 cm) long and 23.6” (60 cm) tall. Armed with four canons, she was the flagship of the Imperial Guards. Nine Minifigures came with the set: Admiral, Governor’s Daughter, Lieutenant, Cook, four Imperial Guards, and Captain Brickbeard (a prisoner). The Admiral, Lieutenant, Cook, and the Governor’s Daughter were exclusive to this set. The Cook had a Fu Manchu mustache and wore a bandana on his head like the Pirates, but was identifiable as a cook because his accessory was a frying pan. He had short legs like The LEGO Group has used with LEGO® Castle, LEGO® The Lord of the Rings™, and LEGO® The Hobbit™ for dwarves and hobbits. The Governor’s Daughter was easily distinguished from the Admiral’s daughter because she had a blue dress. The Captain’s Quarters featured a pipe organ for the Admiral to play. A sawfish (also known as a carpenter shark) decorated the bowsprit. The retail list price in the U.S.A. was $179.99. Someone is now trying to sell it on ebay for $1,195.
Figure 14 Credits: Courtesy of The Lego Group Caption: The Imperial Flagship, released in 2010, was the largest ship The LEGO Group has made. Armed with four cannons, the three-masted, square-rigged ship was the second flagship of the Imperial Guards. Nine Minifigures came with the set.
LEGO® Pirates of the Caribbean™
In 2011, under license from The Walt Disney Company, The LEGO Group released fourteen Pirates of the Caribbean™ sets. There were four “classic kits” sets that combined two sets. The LEGO Group also sold a LEGO® Pirates of the Caribbean Bedding Comforter and a LEGO® Pirates of the Caribbean Bedding Sheet Set.
Tt Games developed the video game LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean for the The LEGO Group. The construction toy sets and video game covered the first four movies in the series Disney and Jerry Bruckheimer made based on the Disneyland ride Pirates of the Caribbean.
The first three films in the series were Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003), Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest (2006), and Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End (2007). The first three films formed a trilogy, with all three being directed by Gore Verbinski.
They starred Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow; Orlando Bloom as Will Turner; Keira Knightly as Elizabeth Swann (later Elizabeth Turner), Jack Davenport as Lieutenant (later Captain, still later Commodore, and finally Admiral) James Norrington; and Geoffrey Rush as Captain Hector Barbossa. Mr. Bloom and Ms. Knightly did not participate in the fourth film, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (2011). Screenwriters Ted Elliot and Terry Rossio, who wrote the screenplays for the first four films, adapted the fourth film from the fantasy novel On Stranger Tides by Tim Powers, with Jack Sparrow replacing the novel’s hero. Rob Marshall directed it.
Ian McShane played a fictional version of the notorious pirate Captain Edward (“Blackbeard”) Teach and Penélope Cruz played Blackbeard’s fictional Spanish daughter (and Jack Sparrow’s one-time love) Angelica. Depp, Rush, and Bloom will return for Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (2017).
The 804-piece The Black Pearl (Set #4184) depicted Captain Jack Sparrow’s ship as seen in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest (2006). The set included six Minifigures: Captain Jack Sparrow; Will Turner (played by Orlando Bloom in the first, second, third, and fifth films); Joshamee Gibbs (played by Kevin McNally in all five films); Davy Jones (played by Bill Nighy in the second and third films); Maccus (played by Dermot Keaney in the second and third films); and Bootstrap Bill Turner (Will Turner’s father, played by Stellan Skarsgaard in the second and third films). The ship had a black hull, six black cloth sails, a pirate flag, an anchor, and canons that really fired. The Black Pearl was a three-masted, square-rigged ship that measured more than 21” (53cm) long, 20” (50 cm) tall, and 5” (12 cm) wide. The retail list price is $99.99. People are now selling it on ebay for between $180.50 and $370.
The 1,094-piece Queen Anne’s Revenge (Set #4195) was Captain Blackbeard’s ship from Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (2011). Queen Anne’s Revenge was 22.9” (58.2 cm) long, 14.9” (37.8 cm) tall, and 3.4” (8.7 cm) wide. She was a three-masted, square-rigged ship with a black hull and six black cloth sails. Instead of a Jolly Roger, Blackbeard’s flag featured a skull with fangs. The set had nine Minifigures including Captain Jack Sparrow, Captain Blackbeard, Angelica, The Cook, and three of Blackbeard’s zombie crewmen: Quartermaster Zombie, Yeoman Zombie, and Gunner Zombie. The retail list price was $119.99.
The Mill (Set #4183) is a three-story tower (compatible with LEGO® Castle) and wheel for recreating a famous setpiece from Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest (2006). The 365-piece set had four Minifigures: Jack Sparrow, Will Turner, Admiral James Norrington, and Hadras (one of the crewmen from The Flying Dutchman).
The 462-piece The London Escape (Set #4193) has a two-story tavern (the “Captain’s Daughter”), a horse-drawn carriage, and a horse-drawn wagon for the recreation of a scene from On Stranger Tides. The set came with five Minifigures: Sparrow; Gibbs; Lieutenant Theodore Groves (played by Greg Ellis in the first, third, and fourth films); King George’s Soldier; and a Horse Coach Driver.
The 746-piece Whitecap Bay (Set #4194) was the largest land-based set. It consisted of a lighthouse from On Stranger Tides. It had six Minifigures: Captain Jack Sparrow, Philip Swift (played by Sam Claflin), Syrena the mermaid (played by Àstrid Bergès-Frisbey), Tamara the mermaid (played by Gemma Ward), Scrum (played by Stephen Graham), and a Gunner Zombie.
The Mini Black Pearl (Set #30130) was a fifty-piece set that came in a polybag (instead of a box) was a promotion for the British newspaper The Sun in May of 2011. In the U.S.A., one could only acquire it first-hand by purchasing Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides on 3D Blu-ray for $50 in October of 2011.
The third iteration of LEGO® Pirates, released in 2015, had a different emblem. It is a ragged flag with the word Pirates in all caps “PIRATES” rendered in metal gray to match a cutlass running under the word. The sword handle is under the capital I and the tip of the sword is under the capital T. The letters R and A have tails that cross. Captain Redbeard and the Imperial Soldiers have returned.
There are several differences between the new Captain Redbeard Minifigure™ and the old one. Starting with his bicorn hat, the Jolly Roger now has crossed swords under the skull instead of crossed bones. Also, the skull in the Jolly Roger on his hat has a sinister expression like Captain Brickbeard from the second iteration of LEGO® Pirates in 2009 and Pirate Captain from Collectible Minifigures Series 8 in 2012. His face now includes eyebrows, gold studs on his eyepatch, a fuller beard, freckles, and a snarling, open mouth that has teeth. Some of the teeth are gold. His epaulets are now gold. On his printed chest, the ascot, the gold trim of his frock coat, the belt, and bandoleer belt all have more detail.
Also of note, there was yet a third version of the Pirate Lady. She is called the Pirate Princess. Her hairpiece element consists of long, black, wavy hair topped by a bandana. [The first Lady Pirate had a bandana instead of hair. The second had an elaborate hairpiece that included a ponytail.] She could easily be used for a 19th Century Gypsy fortuneteller. This is with god reason. Her hairpiece is a reuse of that from Fortune Teller, a Collectible Minifigure from Minifigures Series 9 (Set #71000), issued in January of 2013. The gold medallions hanging from the bandana atop the Fortune Teller’s hair have been colored black. Presumably, they are curls in the hair of the Pirate Princess. The Pirate Princess has an eyepatch over her right eye. According to her biography, “The Pirate Princess loves adventure. She is an expert swordfighter who never steps away from a duel…which explains the eye patch.”
The Imperial Soldiers ware now called Bluecoat Soldiers. They wore shakos with printing on front like the Imperial Guards from the second iteration of LEGO® Pirates. Unlike the Imperial Guards from the second iteration of LEGO® Pirates, Bluecoat Soldiers wear real backpacks. They have white epaulets, except for their Admiral. These troops are armed with a combination of muskets, flintlock pistols, and cutlasses.
The Admiral has a white powdered wig, gold epaulets, blue coat with gold braid (printed on his torso), white gloves, and white pants. He is armed with a cutlass. His civilian counterpart, Governor Hacienda, has a blue coat with gold braid, a blue bicorn hat with gold trim and blue feather plume, white pants, and white gloves. He wears the hat sideways. His printed face includes a gray facial hair: eyebrows and mustache connected to mutton chops. He is armed with a cutlass. His other accessory is a telescope.
There were two Bluecoat Sergeants. They were unimaginatively named Bluecoat Sergeant 1 and Bluecoat Sergeant 2, but they were easily distinguished from each other. Bluecoat Sergeant 1, with an open-mouthed smile, had a mustache with connected goatee. Bluecoat Sergeant 2, with a close-mouthed smile, had stubble as if growing a mustache, soul patch, goatee, and sideburns. The Bluecoat Sergeants had hairpieces instead of hats. They had different hair pieces, with Bluecoat Sergeant 1 having a widow’s peak. Both hairpieces look like they belonged on action movie heroes.
Captain Redbeard’s third flagship was The Brick Bounty (Set #70413). The two-masted ship has a crane. She is more than 17” (45 cm) high, 18” (48 cm) long, and 5” (14 cm) wide. The Brick Bounty strongly resembles Brickbeard’s Bounty. She has the Jolly Roger on two of her sails (as well as her flag), as was the case with Brickbeard’s Bounty, but instead of crossed bones, the version of the Jolly Roger on these sails has crossed cutlasses (like on Redbeard’s hat). The set also included a sawfish and a rowboat. It comes with seven Minifigures; Captain Redbeard, Pirate Boy, Pirate 4, Pirate Cook, the Admiral, a Bluecoat Soldier, and Bluecoat Sergeant 2. Pirate Boy replaces Bo’Sun Will from 1989. The retail list price was $99.99. The name for the set was thought up by the winner of the LEGO ReBrick (formerly LEGO Octopus) Name the Ship contest, as The LEGO Group announced through the ReBrick social media platform on May 1, 2014.
The 234-piece Soldiers Fort (Set #70412) is another set that seemed inspired by Lagoon Lock-up. It has two buildings (one of which has a jail cell), a crane, a rowboat, a crocodile, a palm tree, and five Minifigures: Governor Hacienda, Governor’s Daughter, Bluecoat Soldier 3, the Pirate Gunner, and Pirate 3. Clearly inspired by Elizabeth Swann/Turner (Keira Knightly) as depicted in the second and third Pirates of the Caribbean films, the Governor’s Daughter anachronistically carries a cutlass. For the Governor’s Daughter, the designers figured out a way to give the Minifigure™ legs, by placing her a frock coat instead of a dress and printing the lower part of the frock coat on the top of her legs. The Governor’s Daughter was the first civilian woman Minifigure™ in the LEGO® Pirates theme to have legs instead of a backwards-facing slope representing the skirt of a dress. The Pirate Gunner has an eyepatch over his right eye. Armed with a cutlass, he wears a tricorne hat. Pirate 3 wears the more typical red bandana on his head, and wears a tank top (printed on his torso). He is armed with two flintlock pistols. The retail list price of the Soldiers Fort was $29.99.
In 2015, The LEGO Group also released a second LEGO® Pirates Chess Set (Set #40158) with a brick-built chessboard and a total of twenty Minifigures. The 857-piece set pits the Pirates against Imperial Soldiers (identified as Bluecoats). Captain Redbeard and the Pirate Princess are King and Queen on one side. An officer is King on the other side. He has a blonde Queen (likely the Governor’s Daughter). The retail list price was $59.99.
There were three medium-sized sets in the third iteration of LEGO® Pirates, thus far. The 164-piece Soldiers Outpost (Set #70410) had a retail list price of $19.99. It came with Bluecoat Sergeant 1, Pirate 1, Bluecoat Soldier 1, a squat tower, a canon, a raft with sail and crow’s nest, a treasure chest, an octopus, and accessories. The 181-piece Treasure Island (Set #70411) had a retail list price of $19.99. It came with the Pirate Princess, Pirate 2, a Bluecoat Soldier, a cave with a skull-shaped opening, a rowboat, a canon, a treasure chest, a crocodile, a parrot, and accessories. The eighty-four-piece Shipwreck Defense (Set #70409) had a retail list price of $12.99. It came with Bluecoat Soldier 2, Old Pirate, a crow’s nest, a canon, and accessories.
Figure 15 Credits: Courtesy of The Lego Group Caption: Shipwreck Defense (Set #70409), issued in 2015, comes with Bluecoat Soldier 2, Old Pirate, a crow’s nest, and a cannon.
Figure 16 Credits: Courtesy of The Lego Group Caption: Soldiers Outpost (Set #70410), issued in 2015, comes with Bluecoat Sergeant 1, Pirate 1, Bluecoat Soldier 1, a squat tower, a cannon, a raft with sail and crow’s nest, a treasure chest, and an octopus.
Figure 17 Credits: Courtesy of The Lego Group Caption: Treasure Island (Set #70411), issued in 2015, comes with the Pirate Princess, Pirate 2, a Bluecoat Soldier, a cave with a skull-shaped opening, a rowboat, a cannon, a treasure chest, and a crocodile.
Figure 18 Credits: Courtesy of The Lego Group Caption: Soldiers Fort (Set #70412) has two buildings, a rowboat, a crocodile, a palm tree, and five Minifigures: Governor Hacienda, Governor’s Daughter, Bluecoat Soldier 3, the Pirate Gunner, and Pirate 3.
Figure 19 Credits: Courtesy of The Lego Group Caption: Captain Redbeard’s third flagship is The Brick Bounty, released in 2015, which resembles Brickbeard’s Bounty from 2009.
Figure 20 Credits: Courtesy of The Lego Group Caption: Imperial Soldiers are now called Bluecoat Soldiers. This is Bluecoat Soldier 1, who comes with Soldiers Outpost (Set #70410).
MetalBeard from The LEGO Movie (2014)
Compared to Captain MetalBeard, Captain Hook from Peter Pan, the Dread Pirate Roberts from The Princess Bride, Captain Shakespeare from Stardust, and Captain Jack Sparrow from The Pirates of the Caribbean are grounded in reality. MetalBeard (voiced by Nick Offerman), one of the Master Builders who turns up in Cloud Cuckcoo Land in The LEGO Movie, thirsts after revenge because Lord Business (voiced by Will Ferrell) is supposed to have stolen his body parts. The character has been reduced to being a head. He has fashioned a new, much larger body for himself, making him something of a (comically over-the-top) cyborg. His head rests on an object that is supposed to be a metal beard. A LEGO® shark is attached to his right arm. A curved sword even longer than the shark is clenched in his right hand. A ship’s wheel is attached to his left arm. He has a double-barreled canon (instead of a giant hook) in place of a left hand. An anchor is attached to his left leg, which, for some reason, is a peg leg.
When the film’s heroes and heroines build a submarine and flee for their lives as the other Master Builders are captured by the minions of Lord Business, the submarine takes on water and the heroes and heroines survive the destruction of the sub by climbing into Emmet’s double-decker couch. MetalBeard’s Sea Cow rescues them at sea. The Sea Cow is a crazy, souped-up pirate ship with three masts, propellers in back, and a turbine on the port side. She is festooned with cannons. Captain Metalbeard’s mascot is a winged cow.
A full-size version of MetalBeard comes with MetalBeard’s Duel (Set #70807) . The set includes a Micro manager with legs and three Minifigures: Frank the Foreman, Robo SWAT, and a Skeletron. A smaller version of MetalBeard that Brickipedia calls MiniBeard appears with the 2,741-piece MetalBeard’s Sea Cow (Set #70810). The listed retail price is $249.99, but it is sold out at LEGO Shop. The set includes four Minifigures – Benny, Emmet, Vitruvius and Wyldstyle – as well as Mini MetalBeard and Queasy Kitty. MetalBeard’s Sea Cow features a chimney, two anchors, four back propellers, two huge side turbines, lanterns, two gold keys, two bottles, a bottle with printed ship, a hammer, a wrench, a shovel, a gold crowbar, a barrel with two rammers, and a cow with wings. The cannon and ammunition deck has six cannons and two boxes with cannon ammunition (twelve pieces), and boiler room with two flintlock guns, two flintlock pistols, and two swords. The captain’s room with treasure chest (containing six gold coins and four jewels), two blueprints, two maps, a globe, a sextant, an ink vial and quill, and a portrait of MetalBeard. A large flying Micro Manager and a small flying Micro Manager come with the set.
The Return of LEGO® Pirates of the Caribbean™
The LEGO® Pirates of the Caribbean™ returned in 2017 to coincide with the release of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (2017), the fifth film in the series. Silent Mary (Set #71042) includes eight Minifigures: Captain Jack Sparrow, Henry Turner (played by Brenton Thwaites in the film), Carina Smyth (played by Kaya Scodelario in the film), Lieutenant Lesaro, Captain Armando Salazar (played by Javier Bardem in the film), Officer Magda, Officer Santos, and the Silent Mary Masthead. The 2,294-piece set also includes two sharks. In addition, there are buildable Captain Jack Sparrow (Set #41593) and Captain Salazar (Set #41594) figures in the new BrickHeadz theme.
Figure 21 Credits: Courtesy of The LEGO Group Caption: This is a fantasy picture of the Silent Mary with the main mast tilted to the starboard side. One of the zombie sharks is swimming beside the ship.
Figure 22 Credits: Courtesy of The LEGO Group Caption: As in the movie, the LEGO version of Silent Mary has a hinged bow that opens as if the ship was a sea creature that devoured other ships.
Collectible Pirate Minifigures
Pirate Captain was part of Minifigures Series 8 (Set #8833), released in September of 2012. His eyepatch was on the right eye instead of the left. Overall, his face was more expressive than Captain Redbeard’s from the first iteration of LEGO® Pirates. Like Redbeard, he was armed with a cutlass. Unlike Captain Redbeard and Captain Brickbeard and like Captain Ironhook, he lacked epaulets. Like Captain Redbeard and Captain Brickbeard, he wore a cravat (printed on his chest). He had a bandoleer belt worn diagonally across the chest, but from the right shoulder to the left hip. The skull in the Jolly Roger on his hat had a sinister expression, as with Brickbeard. The Jolly Roger was surrounded by orbs in the shape of an arch. Pirate Captain’s printed face had a black beard and mustache. He had a red coat (printed on his torso). The orbs, the Jolly Roger, the coat buttons, the hook, and the cutlass were gold-colored. His bicorn hat had a white feather plume. Pirate Captain appeared three times in The Lego Movie as one of the Master Builders.
Zombie Pirate will be part of the horror-themed Minifigures Series 14 (Set #71010), which fans expect to be released in October of 2015. The clothing printed on his chest will be very similar to, but not the same as Pirate Captain. This included a bandoleer belt worn diagonally across the chest, but from the left shoulder to the right hip. He has a cravat. He will have a beard element instead of a beard and mustache being parts of his printed face, a gray hook instead of a gold one. This is a reuse of the Prospector’s beard from Minifigures Series 12, released last year. He has an eyepatch over his left eye. His hat lacked a feather plume. The skull and crossed bones on his hat will be white instead of gold and be smaller than on Pirate Captain’s hat. They will be about the same size as on Captain Ironhook’s hat. The skull also looks like a standard Jolly Roger skull, as with the one on Captain Ironhook’s hat, rather than having a sinister expression like the skulls on the hats of Captain Redbeard, Captain Brickbeard, and Pirate Captain. Due to having the gray beard element, which slips down the torso element’s neck, between the torso and the head, he, like Captain Ironhook and Pirate Captain, lacks the epaulets worn by Captain Redbeard and Captain Brickbeard.
1st 2020 Addendum
In 2020, The LEGO® Group released Collectible Minifigures Series 20 (#71027), which included a Minifigure™ that is compatible with the LEGO® Pirates theme. In English, she is called Pirate Girl. She wears a tricorn hat with a feather plume. Her hairpiece is short. Her printed face includes arched eyebrows, a sneering open-mouthed smile, and a mole on her right cheek. She is armed with a cutlass. Her torso is printed with a white, frilly blouse and two belts. The belt at her waist has a yellow (gold) buckle. She wears a second belt that runs diagonally from her right shoulder to her left hip. Unusually for her era, she wears pants (so she has a pair or legs rather than a slope that would represent a skirt). Her legs and feet are printed to represent black pants with vertical red stripes tucked into black boots.
2nd 2020 Addendum
I devoted a dedicated article “Lego® Group Releases Shipwreck Tribute to Original Pirate Flagship” to The LEGO Group’s release of the kit LEGO® Ideas™ Pirates of Barracuda Bay (Set #21322). The LEGO® Group announced the forthcoming release on Sunday, March 22, A.D. 2020, and it was released worldwide online through the LEGO® Shop, at LEGO® Stores, LEGOLAND® giftshops, and LEGOLAND® Discovery Center giftshops on Wednesday, April 1, A.D. 2020. It is a two-masted ship designed to be constructed as a building strung out over four shoals, indicating it is a shipwreck and the pirates were supposed to be able to salvage enough material to convert the ship into a building. However, it can also be built as an intact ship, the Black Seas Barracuda and a separate island base. Designed by fan Pablo Sánchez Jiménez, the 2,545-piece set is for adults and teenagers ages sixteen-and-over. The list price is $199.99 or €199.99.
3rd 2020 Addendum
The set Lego Creator 3-1 Pirate Ship (Set #31109) can be built as a two-masted pirate ship accompanied by a brick-bult shark; a sinister island with a skull-shaped shrine, a raft, and a brick-built rowboat; or an inn with a water wheel for a watermill and a horse-drawn cart where the horse, as well as the cart are brick-built. These models are called the Pirate Ship, Skull Island, and Pirates’ Inn. This 1,260-piece set is for children nine-and-over. The list price is $99.99. The set comes with four Minifigures™: three pirates and one skeleton.
The Pirate Captain looks very much like Captain Redbeard as his printed face, which has an expression like he is shouting out orders, has a red beard and eyebrows , and he also has a right pegleg like Captain Redbeard. In terms of his clothing, he also has a black bicorn hat with emblazoned with a white Jolly Roger, gold epaulets, and black pants like Captain Redbeard. However, he has two hands instead of a hook in place of a left hand. He also wears a blue coat instead of a black one. He wears two brown leather belts, one around his waist that is visible under his open coat, and the other runs diagonally across his chest from his right shoulder to his left hip. He has two pirates, both of whom wear red-and-white striped shirts. One is an old man with a gray walrus mustache on his printed face, a black tricorn hat, and blue open vest over his shirt on his printed torso, and gray pants. The other is a young man with a clean-shaven face, a red bandana instead of a hat, a rope belt on his printed torso, and brown pants. The pirates come with a treasure chest.
The Pirate Ship has brick-built white sails, one of which is emblazoned with a black Jolly Roger. [Every other LEGO® pirate ship has had a proper name, such as the Black Seas Barracuda, but this one is generically called the Pirate Ship.] She is armed with four canons. The Pirate Ship measures over 14 inches (37 centimeters) high, 18 inches long (46 centimeters) long, and 7 inches (19 centimeters) wide. Despite the brick-built sails, she could fit in with a fleet of pirate ships if a father, grandfather, uncle, or big brother wants to give this set to a child to whom he has already given a collection of old LEGO® Pirates sets or before giving him such a collection. Alternatively, an adult fan of LEGO (A.F.O.L.) who has returned, or wants to return, to building with LEGO bricks as a hobby like a builder of model railroads or a builder of model military vehicles could use this new ship to a supplement an old collection of ships.
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The brick-built shark that accompanies the ship would look ridiculous next to a more realistic shark that came with one of the old LEGO® Pirates sets, but a child who had not been given one of those old sharks would not know the difference. If an adult or teen purchases the set for a child (almost certainly a boy), and has already given him one or more old LEGO® Pirates sets, or an A.F.O.L. purchases the set for himself (or herself) to supplement a collection of LEGO® Pirates sets, the owner of the LEGO Creator 3-in-1 Pirate Ship set may, however, want to avoid placing the brick-built shark next to the more realistic sharks that came with those sets, except, perhaps for the sake of whimsey.
If the owner of this set, whether and adult or a child, likes this brick-built shark, though, he or she may also like the larger blue-and-white shark from the kit LEGO® Creator 3-in-1 Deep Sea Creatures (Set #31088). That shark measures 8 inches (21 centimeters) long, 3 inches (8 centimeters) high, and 3 inches (9 centimeters) wide. The kit has a list price of $14.99.
In its Skull Island configuration, the set consists of an island with the skull-shaped shrine, a raft with a sail, and a rowboat. The rowboat and its oars alike are brick-built. There is also a brick-built monkey on the island. Some adults and teens might like this configuration because Skull Island could be used as a pirate haven to supplement a collection of pirate and pirate-hunter ships from old LEGO® Pirate sets.
The Pirates’ Inn has a mast with a crow’s nest on top, so an owner of the set who builds the inn could easily come up a backstory for it being built out of the salvaged wreckage of a ship, as with the larger building from Pirates of Barracuda Bay (Set #21322). The Pirates’ Inn has a winch on the opposite side from the water wheel that in the picture from the box is shown lifting the treasure chest off a horse-drawn cart. If a father, grandfather, uncle, or big brother gives old LEGO® Pirate sets to a child who has this set, or an A.F.O.L. purchases it for himself (or herself) to go with a collection of LEGO® Pirates sets, the inn could easily fit in with other buildings from those sets as an 18th Century or early 19th Century seaside buildings. Without the mast and crow’s nest, this inn/watermill could also fit in with civilian buildings from LEGO® Castle sets.
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The SpongeBob SquarePants Pirate Ship
One of the fourteen sets The LEGO Group produced in the theme LEGO® Nickelodeon™ SpongeBob SquarePants™ (2006-2008, 2011-2012) under license from Nickelodeon had two characters from the cartoon series dressed as pirates with the legendary pirate ship The Flying Dutchman. Issued in 2012, The Flying Dutchman (Set #3817) had a one-masted, square-rigged ship and an island. The ship was more than 7” (17cm) long and 7” (17cm) tall. The 241-piece set included three Minifigures: SpongeBob SquarePants, Patrick Star, and The Flying Dutchman. The latter was a ghost who only appeared in this set.
LEGO® DUPLO® Pirates
There were four sets and two activity books in the LEGO® DUPLO® Pirates theme (2006-2007). These were the sixty-piece Pirate Ship (Set #7880), a two-masted, square-rigged ship; the thirty-three-piece Pirate Ghost Ship (Set #7881), which was a single-masted, square-rigged ship; the thirteen-piece Shark Attack (Set #7882), which consisted of a pirate DUPL® Figure on a raft and a shark about the same size as the raft; and the fourteen-piece Treasure Hunt (Set #7883), which consisted of a pirate DUPLO® Figure armed with an oversized flintlock pistol and a ghostly pirate skeleton DUPLO® Figure armed with a cutlass.
Lego® DUPLO® Disney’s™ Jake and the Neverland Pirates™ appeals most to those wee tots (of both sexes) who are fans of the preschooler-friendly animated series Jake and the Neverland Pirates, which is set in Disney’s version of J. M. Barrie’s Neverland as seen in Peter Pan (1953). As was the case with 4+ Pirates, Lego® DUPLO® Disney’s™ Jake and the Neverland Pirates™ is a good way for grandfathers, fathers, uncles, and elder brothers who want to get little boys interested in collecting LEGO® Pirates sets to introduce them to the idea.
There are four sets currently available and two retired sets in this subtheme. The retired sets are the twenty-two-piece Jake’s Treasure Hunt (Set #10512) and the thirty-seven-piece Never Land Hideout (Set #10513), both issued in 2013. The former included a DUPLO® Figure of Jake and the latter included a DUPLO® Figures of Izzy (his female second-in-command) and his other sidekick Cubby.
Issued in 2013, the fifty-six-piece Jake’s Pirate Ship Bucky (Set #10514) is a DUPLO® version of Jake’s sentient pirate ship. Bucky is a one-masted, square-rigged ship that has one canon, which does fire. The set, with a retail list price of $39.99, includes a small island, a treasure chest, a brick that represents Skully, and DUPLO® Figures of Jake and Captain Hook.
The thirty-nine-piece Peter Pan’s Visit (Set #10526), issued in 2014, includes DUPLO® Figures of Jake and Peter Pan, a DUPLO® crocodile, a rope bridge, a treasure chest, a gold doubloon, a chair, and a brick representing a map. The retail list price is $29.99.
The thirty-seven-piece Beach Racing (Set #10539), issued in 2014, pits a DUPLO® Figures of Captain Hook against Jake’s parrot, Skully, in a car race with two sail-powered cars. The set includes a prize cup and a brick-built tree. The retail list price is $24.99.
The twenty-five-piece Jake and the Neverland Pirates™ Treasure Island (Set #10604), issued in 2015, has DUPLO® Figures of Jake and Izzy on a small island. The set includes a brick representing Izzy’s bag of pixie dust so she can fly, a brick-built palm tree, a slide element, a treasure chest, and a brick representing a gold doubloon. The retail list price is $19.99.
LEGO® Juniors Pirate Set
In addition, the theme LEGO® Juniors, which is aimed at small children ages four to seven, has a set compatible with LEGO® Pirates, Pirate Treasure Hunt (Set #10679). It features a pirate captain with a map in a row boat who finds a treasure chest in the ruins of a fortress (complete with the skeleton of a pirate), with a shark swimming around the row boat. The fifty-seven-piece-set makes for an intermediate step between LEGO® DUPLO® Jake and the Neverland Pirates™ sets and LEGO® Pirates sets. The retail list price is $9.99. There is a short cartoon to support it, 10679 Pirate Treasure Hunt.
The 756-piece Pirate Ship Ambush (Set #79008) from the licensed theme LEGO® The Lord of the Rings™ was a three-masted ship of the fleet from the Corsairs of Umbar, as seen in The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003). It came with nine Minifigures: Aragorn™ (the human king played by Viggo Mortensen), Legolas™ Greenleaf (the elf prince played by Orlando Bloom), Gimli™ (the dwarf played by John Rhys-Davies), the King of the Dead, two soldiers from the Army of the Dead, a Pirate of Umbar (one of the characters writer-director Peter Jackson played himself), and two Mordor™ Orcs™. In the film, Aragorn uses the army of ghosts he compels to fulfill and oath to his ancestor to slay the Corsairs of Umbar and then to wipe out Sauron’s army of Uruk-hai, Orcs, and Easterlings that besieged Gondor’s capital city of Minas Tirith, bringing an end to the Battle of Pelennor Fields. Speculators are selling it through Amazon Marketplace for $137.26.
Figure 25 Credits: Courtesy of The LEGO Group Caption: Pirate Ship Ambush (Set #79008) from LEGO® The Lord of the Rings™ was a three-masted ship of the fleet from the Corsairs of Umbar, as seen in The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. It came with nine Minifigures: Aragorn™, Legolas™ Greenleaf, Gimli™, the King of the Dead, two soldiers from the Army of the Dead, a Pirate of Umbar, and two Mordor™ Orcs™.
 This is as opposed to the pirates of Cilicia whom Pompey Magnus vanquished; or the Vikings; or the Barbary corsairs who attacked European (and American) Christian ships and raided the coats of Italy, France, and Iceland; or the pirates who plagued Chinese waters in former times; or the Somalian pirates of today.
 In American catalogues, The LEGO Group referred to them as Governors, which makes no sense. A colonist (or a native) might refer to a garrison that supported a colonial governor as “the Governor’s men” but would not refer to them as “Governors” as if they were collectively governors.
 His (American) name was a joke. A martinet is a multi-tailed whip, similar to a scourge, which was formerly used to discipline children. When an English-speaker refers to someone as a “martinet,” he (or she) is calling that person a strict disciplinarian, and likening him (or her) to the 17th Century French drillmaster Jean Martinet, Inspector General of Infantry under King Louis XIV.
 A shako is a kind of tall black hat with sun visor that we now associate with armies from the Napoleonic Wars and the dress uniforms of elite military units that date back to that time period, such as the French Republican Guard.
 By calling this faction the “Imperial Armada,” The Lego Group evoked the Spanish Armada, which is what English-speakers call the Great and Fortunate Navy, a fleet of 130 Spanish warships that Philip II amassed to convey an army from the Spanish Netherlands to invade England in 1588. Queen Elizabeth II, the sister and successor of his late wife, Queen Mary I, had incurred his wrath by sending privateers to attack Spanish ships and colonies and encouraging the Dutch to rebel against him. [He ruled the Netherlands as part of the Burgundian patrimony which had passed under Hapsburg control when his great-grandfather Emperoer Maximilian wed Mary, Duchess of Burgundy.] Fortunately for Elizabeth and her supporters, the English Royal Navy, led by Sir Francis Drake, was able to inflict much damage on the Spanish Armada when it was in port in the Battle of Gravelines before the Duke of Parma’s army had embarked, and the surviving ships were scattered and several wrecked off the coastlines of Scotland and Ireland in a storm the English called the “Protestant Wind.” Most of the warships in the Spanish Atlantic Fleet survived the expedition, but most of the armed merchant ships were lost. English and American history books neglect to mention the following year Elizabeth I dispatched the English Armada, a fleet of 186 English and Dutch warships and armed merchant ships commanded by Sir Francis Drake with an army commanded by Sir John Norreys to conquer mainland Portugal (of which Philip II was also king as Philip I) and the Azores and sack the Spanish Treasure Fleet. They succeeded only in plundering the lower part of the Spanish port-city of Corunna in Galicia, besieging Lisbon, and plundering the Portuguese archipelago of Madeira, before they had to abandon the effort. They lost forty ships due to storms and defensive action by Spanish warships.
 The appearance of the Conquistadors in the theme was anachronistic given that the Pirates, Imperial Soldiers, and Imperial Guards were all dressed, equipped, and armed as if they were from the late 18th or early 19th Centuries, but these were, after all, toys for children in a mood for acting out swashbuckling adventures, not characters in series historical fiction. The Royal Spanish Navy, Royal Spanish Army, and Spanish colonies, did constantly have to fend off attacks by British and French pirates and privateers.
 As with LEGO® Castle, LEGO® Pirates female Minifigures in dresses like the Admiral’s daughter had a backward-facing slope bricks that had the lower parts of the dress (from the waist downward) printed on the back in place of Minifigure™ legs.
 Royalty, nobility, and gentry Europe wore powdered wigs since Louis XIV’s hair began to fall out and he set the trend. George Washington, who was proud of his hair, powdered it, but refused to wear a wig, which killed the fashion in the U.S.A. British judges and barristers continue to wear wigs, as do judges and barristers in some British Commonwealth countries. The Courts & Tribunals Judiciary explain the history of robes and wigs here.
 Hacienda is a Spanish word for a large estate. An American would call a hacienda a plantation.
 Having her dress like a man is also anachronistic.
 This was a matter of Peter Jackson and his co-screenwriters streamlining events from the novel. J.R.R. Tolkien had Aragorn raise an army of ghosts to attack the Corsairs of Umbar, but he released them once his victory was in hand, and used the Gondorian slaves whom the Corsairs forced to row their pirate ships and the Gonodrian troops who had been resisting the attack of the Corsairs of Umbar to relieve the siege of Minas Tirith.
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