“Lego® Group Releases Shipwreck Tribute to Original Pirate Flagship”

Thirty-one years after Lego System A/S (doing business as The LEGO® Group) released the Black Seas Barracuda (Set #6285) in 1989, The LEGO Group has released 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.  [I previously profiled the LEGO® Pirates theme, LEGO® Pirates of the Caribbean™, and other themes with pirate ships in “Lego Pirates Sets.”]  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. Based on a design submitted 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.  Currently, it is out of stock at the online LEGO® Store, but one can sign up to be notified when it is back in stock.  Several vendors are selling lighting kits for the set via Amazon.com. Piracy has actually been a problem for thousands of years, but this set and the themes to which it pays tribute are an homage to the Golden Age of Piracy romanticized in Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island and J. M. Barrie’s Peter Pan.[1] 

      When constructed as a building, the set measures over 23” (59cm) high, 25” (64cm) wide, and 12” (32cm) deep.  According to The LEGO® Group, “With 2,545-pieces in total, the model contains everything a pirate or LEGO fan needs to create the ultimate shipwreck – including a captain’s quarters, food store and supply dock.  LEGO builders can even uncover buried treasure on the island by removing parts of the ship to explore new areas and create new stories.”  The “food store” may be a reference a galley (kitchen).

      The set comes with ten Minifigures™.  These include Captain Redbeard, Lady Anchor, Robin Loot, twins Port and Starboard Broadside, as well as three other pirates, and two skeletons.  There are also animal figures including a parrot and a shark.   Obviously, the names Port and Starboard are a joke, as the portside of a ship or boat is the left side and the starboard side is the right side.  While I am at it, on a ship or boat the fore is the front and the aft is the back.

      When constructed as an intact ship, the Black Seas Barracuda is a two-masted ship with square sails. As a two-masted ship, she is a brig.  Both the foremast and the aftmast have topsails.  The headsail (the sail ahead of the foremast) is triangular and therefore it is a jib.   The rear mast is also gaff-rigged. 

      The first LEGO® Pirates theme lasted from 1989 to 1997.  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.    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 in 2015. 

      The original Black Seas Barracuda 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™. 

      The set features the return of Captain Redbeard.  Now, he has a curly brown mustache over a sneering smile. His beared is still red, except under his mouth and on the chin, where it is gray.   His right eyebrow over his good eye is arched.  Notably, his eyebrows as well as his mustache are brown.  He has a blue and yellow parrot. His epaulets gold.  On his printed chest, he wears a detailed green ascot, a black frock coat with gold trim, and a brown leather bandoleer belt.  His pants are black.  He has a right peg leg. His left hand has been replaced by a hook. Originally known as Captain Roger, Captain Redbeard was the first LEGO® Pirates captain.  All subsequent LEGO® Pirates captains were modeled on him.  Captain Ironhook, Captain Brickbeard, Pirate Captain, and the Zombie Pirate all also have an eyepatch, a peg leg, a hook, and a bicorn hat with the Jolly Roger.

Lady Anchor is based on Pirate Princess from the Pirates II theme and Anne from the original Pirates theme.  Her hairpiece is similar to that of the Pirate Princess, but it is not curly.  Unlike the Pirate Princess and like Anne, she does not wear an eyepatch.  She has a similar smile to the Pirate Princess but is the mirror opposite.  Her printed torso appears to suggest three layers of clothing under a leather belt: a red frock coat or vest over a brown leather corset over a white shirt with an open collar.  She wears a gold necklace around her open collar.  Her belt buckle is gold.  She wears light brown or tan-colored pants. She is armed with a knife and a flintlock pistol.

      Quartermaster Riggings is based on First Mate Rummy.  He wears a tricorn hat.  His printed face includes an eyepatch over his left eye, sideburns, a sneering smile, and beard and mustache stubble.  His printed chest has a tattered open blue jacket over a striped shirt.  He is armed with a cutlass and he also carries a map.

      Robin Loot is another female pirate. She is a gunner and seems to be an amalgamation of a male gunner and a female pirate from the original Pirates theme.  According to the Instructions for Pirates of Barracuda Bay (Set #21322) she was gunner for the Cross-Bone Clipper.[2]  Her printed face has two arched eyebrows, wide-open eyes with eyelashes, an open smile, and smudges on her face.  She wears a tricorn hat over a light brown hairpiece.  She wears a green frock coat or vest with gold buttons over a white shirt with an open collar.  Her pants are brown.  She is armed with two flintlock pistols.

      Port Broadside wears a white shirt with red horizontal stripes, a blue cap, and blue pants, while Starboard Broadside wears a white shirt with blue horizontal stripes, a red cap, and red pants.  Starboard has a proper belt, but Port has a rope belt.  Port has a quizzical expression on his printed face while Starboard has a fierce expression.  Both twin brothers have magnificent walrus mustaches.  Significantly, these are not printed on their faces, but are three-dimensional objects.  In the Instructions for Pirates of Barracuda Bay (Set #21322), it states Port joined the crew on Rock Island Refuge[3]  It would be logical for fans to assume they are sons of (or at least related to) Governor Broadside, but there is no official statement confirming that is the case.

      Tattooga is a master craftsman.  He has a bare chest covered with five tattoos and a single large tattoo on his back.  The tattoos on his chest consist of a large anchor at the center flanked by two mermaids and a large parrot under each mermaid.  His torso is also printed with a blue belt held in place with a gold medallion. Further printing on the chest indicates he is supposed to be muscular.  His printed face has a pencil mustache and a soul patch-type micro-beard and some stubble.  The legs are green in a way suggesting his pants and shoes or boots are the same shade of green.

      Jack “Dark Shark” Doubloons is the bosun. He wears a white shirt with blue horizontal blue stripes, a blue cap, and blue pants with a brown leather belt.  His character is a reference to Bo’Sun Will from the original LEGO® Pirates theme.

Figure 1 Credit: The LEGO® Group Caption: This is the front of the box for LEGO® Ideas™ Pirates of Barracuda Bay (Set #21322).  In French, it is called Les Pirates de la baie de Barracuda and in Spanish it is called Piratas de Bahía Barracuda.

Figure 2 Credit: The LEGO® Group Caption: This is the back of the box for LEGO® Ideas™ Pirates of Barracuda Bay (Set #21322), which gives the dimensions of the set as a building, shows how the ship can be reconstructed with an intact hull, and also shows closeup pictures of tableaux one can setup with the kit.  

Figure 3 Credit: The LEGO® Group Caption: When constructed as a building, the set measures over 23” (59cm) high, 25” (64cm) wide, and 12” (32cm) deep.

Figure 4 Credit: The LEGO® Group Caption: This is how the Black Seas Barracuda looks when built as an intact ship.  Notice the Black Seas Barracuda is flying the Jolly Roger flag, which indicates she is about to attack, in three places.

Figure 5 Credit: The LEGO® Group Caption: This picture of Pirates of Barracuda Bay (Set #21322) on display was taken last December.

Figure 6 Credit: The LEGO® Group Caption: This is a new printed face for Captain Redbeard.  The backstory for LEGO® Ideas™ Pirates of Barracuda Bay (Set #21322) is that Redbeard’s flagship Black Seas Barracuda shipwrecked thirty years beforehand and Captain Redbeard and his crew converted it into a fortress.  Hence, the gray in his beard.

Figure 7 Credit: The LEGO® Group Caption: This is Quartermaster Riggings.  He wears a tricorn hat.  His printed face includes an eyepatch over his left eye, sideburns, a sneering smile, and beard and mustache stubble.  He is armed with a cutlass and also carries a map.

Figure 8 Credit: The LEGO® Group Caption: This is Lady Anchor.  She is armed with a knife and a flintlock pistol.

Figure 9 Credit: The LEGO® Group Caption: This is Robin Loot.  She is gunner and is armed with two flintlock pistols.

Figure 10 Credit: The LEGO® Group Caption: This is a cannon with linstock in a barrel.  The round bricks represent cannon shot.  As Robin Loot is a gunner, she should be kept near one of the cannons.

      Also in 2020, The LEGO® Group released Collectible Minifigures Series 20 (#71027), which included a Minifigure™ that is compatible with the LEGO® Pirates theme, as I added in an addendum to “Lego Pirates Sets.”  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.

      The fan who proposed the set, Pablo Sánchez Jiménez, is a Spaniard who resides in Madrid. Sam Johnson, Design Manager for LEGO® Ideas™, oversaw the design of the final product.  Model Designer Milan Madge worked on the design of the structure.  Graphic Designer Austin Carlson designed the characters and decorations. 

      The way LEGO® Ideas™ works is that a fan (1) designs a plan for a set, either (2) physically builds the set or virtually builds it with a computer program, (3) submits the plan submits the plan via https://ideas.LEGO.com with a fun description and pictures, and then promotes the plan both online and in the real world.  If a plan gets 10,000 votes, LEGO® master builders evaluate the plan and determine if it is feasible to bring the set to market.  If so, they begin to collaborate with the fan-designer.  Mr. Jiménez joins the ranks of Christoph Ruge, who designed the LEGO® Ideas International Space Station (Set #21321), released this year; Leandro Tayag, who designed the LEGO® Ideas Voltron set, released in 2018; Andrew Clark, who designed the LEGO® Ideas The Flinstones set, released in 2019; and Máté Szabó, who designed the LEGO® Ideas Disney Mickey Mouse Steamboat Wlllie set, also released in 2019, as I explained in “Lego® Group Releases International Space Station.” This process can take several years.  The LEGO® Group stated, “LEGO Ideas offers fans the opportunity to submit their own brick creations with the chance to have their concept brought to life with the help of LEGO master designers and a share of the profits.” 

      According to The LEGO® Group, Mr. Jiménez “has a passion for all things pirate and was inspired after building LEGO brick models with his dad when he was young.”  The “Jose’s Inn” banner that comes with the set is an allusion to Mr. Jiménez’s father, but also incorporates imagery from the Guarded Inn (Set #6067) released in 1986 as part of the Castle theme, a picture of which I included in “Lego Castle Product Lines, Part II.”  Mr. Jiménez’s proposal reached 10,000 supporters in just twenty-five days, making it one of the sets to reach the milestone quickest.

      Until 2014, LEGO® Ideas was known as LEGO® Cuusoo.  It is a partner of The LEGO® Group. 

      The partnership began as the Cuusoo Community in Japan in 2008.  Cuusoo means “I wish” in Japanese.  The host was the Japanese company Elephant Design.  It became a worldwide platform in 2011.

      Today, the LEGO® Ideas Website is operated by The LEGO® Group and Chaordix, Inc.    The Chaordix Community Platform enables companies to create a branded social network that is combination of public forum and insight panel.

      LEGO® Ideas succeeded LEGO Design byMe (originally known as LEGO® Factory), which allowed customers to design sets with the program Lego Digital Designer (which The LEGO® Group no longer supports) to create custom-made kits.  By its nature, most people found this process to be cost prohibitive.  The LEGO® Factory theme also included a few sets that were fan-designed.  This included Market Street (Set #10190), the second Modular Building kit released by The LEGO® Group.[4] 

      In 2014, Roland Harwood of 100%Open in London, England described the re-branded LEGO® Ideas as “a new customer-led innovation platform.” Upon the launch of the LEGO® Ideas Website, Mr. Harwood stated, “The new LEGO Ideas platform launched today, built in partnership with Crowdsourcing experts Chaordix, one of 100%Open’s innovation service provider network partners.  It builds directly on the LEGO Cuusoo community and allows you to do various new things.”

Credit: The LEGO® Group Caption: Sam Johnson and Austin Carlson relate how they designed the kit LEGO® Ideas™ Pirates of Barracuda Bay (Set #21322).   As they explain, they took the set proposed by fan Pablo Sánchez Jiménez for a LEGO® Ideas™ set of a pirate fortress built out of salvaged shipwreck and grafted on the shipwreck of the Black Seas Barracuda as a tribute to the original LEGO® Pirates theme.

Credit: BrickVault Caption: This is BrickVault’s review of LEGO® Ideas™ Pirates of Barracuda Bay (Set #21322), including a comparison with Black Seas Barracuda (Set #6285).

ENDNOTES


[1] 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.

[2] 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.

[3] The kit Rock Island Refuge (Set #6273) was released in 1991.  It was a 372-piece set that consisted of an island fortress, a row boat, and a raft, seven Minfigures™ (five pirates and two Imperial soldiers), and a shark.

[4] The LEGO Groeup now releases a Modular Building kit about once a year and the most complex kits are released under the LEGO® Creator Expert subtheme for adults and teens, such as Bookshop (Set #10270), which I wrote about in “Lego® will Release Bookshop in 2020.”

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