Lego Noir


I’m working on turning my Detective’s Office into the site of a Lego Noir-style mystery. The cast of characters is being assembled. Stay tuned…

Lego Pirates and Inflation

As you know Lego used to make some really awesome Pirates sets. Now they are releasing some again after 5 years of no Pirates sets. I was wondering how the new sets compare price and piece wise to the classic sets and the 2009 era sets. All inflation calculations were made with the US Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Inflation Calculator and the prices listed on Brickset.

I thought I’d start with a ship and an entry level set from each era to compare.

From 2015’s new collection we have:
70409 Shipwreck Defense 84 pieces and $12.99
70413 The Brick Bounty 745 pieces and $99.99

From 2009:
6240 Kraken Attackin’ 78 pieces and $9.99 [$11.02 in 2014]
6243 Brickbeard’s Bounty 592 pieces and $99.99 [$110.34 in 2014}

From 1989:
6260 Shipwreck Island 71 pieces and $12 [$22.91 in 2014]
6285 Black Seas Barracuda 909 pieces and $110 [$210.01 in 2014]

The piece counts vary but all three of these ships are your standard double masted schooners.

As we can see, compared to 1989, Lego Pirates has become a lot cheaper. I believe this is true for all Lego from the early days. More recently though, the price inflation has been turned on for the little sets. I think everyone who collects Lego will not be surprised by this. With the bigger sets it seems it could depend. A 745 piece ship for $100 beats a 592 piece ship for $100 in 2009 (or $110 in todays dollars). In 1989 none of the pieces were Made in China though and I would assume worldwide distribution was not even close to what it is today.

I think the next question to be asked, at a later time, is whether it’s worth buying basically the same set over and over…

Review: Lego Pirates 70412 Soldiers Fort

Pieces: 473  Minifigures: 5  Retail Price: $29.99  Price I Paid: Retail from Amazon

70412 box f

I’m trying something new with the box images – more 2D than 3D.

70412 box b

70412 box marching

I like the method of showing the minifigues on the top of the box, it’s a little parade!

70412 minifigures

Five minifigures included, the Admiral/Governor, Soldier, Governess (this appears to be an Elizabeth Swann character), two pirates, one with eyepatch. This set does include Lego bricks/pieces Made in China but it does not seem to be any of the figures.

70412 pirates

The pirates get the standard brown rowboat with Pirate flag. The flag is at the front of the boat, though in Classic Pirates it was at the back. Now on the back is one of the new gun-cannons that fire 1×1 rounds. I could do without them, if I wanted to lose 1×1 round pieces I could do it quicker than 1 at a time.

70412 fort

Then there’s the fort. The Soldiers Fort (notice no possessive apostrophe – this is the official spelling) comes with just one soldier. But it’s not really much of a fort so maybe they’ll be ok with a light armament.

70412 fort 1

You’ve got the cannon and some frogs. Tree frogs if I had to guess.

70412 fort 2

The treasure chest (that the Pirates are no doubt interested in stealing) can be hoisted up from the bottom level which could be a boat.

70412 fort 3

70412 fort 4

The prison cell, which coincidentally is the largest room in the “fort” has a false wall so prisoners can escape easily.

70412 set

All in all, it’s an ok set and may sate your appetite for a Lego Pirates set. But there are a lot of problems if you choose to look at it with a critical eye. There are less than 250 pieces in this $30 set. This is the second most expensive set to the Brick Bounty and so it should be the base. But you don’t get much base, it’s more like a fort washed up on some rocks. There’s hardly a place to have a good sword fight. There are quite a few pieces in colors I haven’t seen before. If not for that and the fact that it is a Pirates set, this would be a total dud. I’m not sure what Lego is playing at with the Pirates line, if they will ever release a big base set again is hard to tell. But as soon as the newly released Brick Bounty shows up, this “fort” doesn’t stand a chance. I’ll give this a 5 of 10. I’d wait for it to go on sale before you buy it unless you really want it now.

Lego Ideas gets a little more specific

Lego Ideas has updated it’s blog, which is a rare occurrence in itself. It/they have posted further clarifying some of the rules for submissions. The review months have stayed the same, there are supposed to be reviews in January, September and May. They mostly seem to have a problem with people not using current Lego bricks or unmodified Lego bricks.
They also say: “From here forward, all projects must contain an original LEGO model to illustrate your project. Believe it or not, before today our Guidelines allowed projects containing only photos of real-world objects, as long as the description mentioned how a LEGO version would be constructed. We want to underscore that LEGO Ideas is about sharing LEGO brick-based product concepts, so we’re closing that loophole.”
But this just means you can’t put a picture of a real dog on there and suggest they make a Lego dog. They are still going to accept 3D renderings. I’d like to see this limited to photos of actually built models but they didn’t go that far.

So anyway, where is that Big Bang Theory set?

Review: 70812 The Lego Movie Creative Ambush

Pieces: 473  Minifigures: 4  Retail Price: $39.99  Price I Paid: $23.98 from Lego S@H a true deal!

70812 box f

70812 box b

I wanted this set for a long time for it’s old west pieces and figures and I finally got it for a great price, nearly 50% off.

70812 minifigures

All the minifigures are named, you get from L to R, Rootbeer Belle, Sudds Backwash, Executive Ellen and Kabob Bob.

Since it’s a Lego Movie set, of course you get a Micro Manager, which is ho-hum. Spare black pieces anyone?

70812 micro manager

70812 kabob stand car

Then there’s the kabob stand which is transformed into a plane.

70812 saloon plane 1

The best part of the set is the saloon pieces built into a biplane.

70812 saloon piano

Lot’s of little details, the piano being my favorite. They must use a different notation system in the Lego universe, the staff only has 4 lines.

70812 saloon plane 2

I think this is the first set to come with dartboards and cannons. (The dartboards are stickers though.)

70812 set

I’m really happy with this set and looking forward to attempting to build a saloon and kabob stand out of it. It was a real deal for less than $25 and the western minifigures are excellent.

New Pirates (and other) Lego Sets Available on Amazon

Click the picture above to see the listing on Amazon.

Scheduled for March 1st release, some of the new sets are already available on Amazon.
Along with the newest Lego Pirate sets are the Elves sets which could be cool, but because they are based on the Friends line and have “minidolls” are automatically not cool.

These are the first Pirate Lego sets in five years, so welcome back Lego Pirates (and Imperials).

Lego Classic Thursday 7413 The Passage of Jun-Chi – Lego Adventurers 2003

Returning to Lego Classic Thursday with another Adventurers set, 7413 The Passage of Jun-Chi. This is from 2003 so it’s only 12 years old but it is part of the Adventurers line which was originally introduced in 1998. 2003 was the last year of the line and they were part of Orient Adventures, all inspired presumably by Asia. We have our here, Johnny Thunder:

7413 Johnny Thunder Hat

And without his hat so you can see his lovely classic printed hair:

7413 Johnny Thunder no hat

This set contains exactly 100 pieces. Johnny is just wandering along when he stumbles along this beautiful ruby.

7413 set a

Presumably he and Indiana Jones went to the same school of ethics when it comes to Archeology. So when he tries to take the ruby…

7413 set b

A large scary monster/guardian/yeti appears and dissuades him from doing so. The ruby and the monster/guardian/yeti are on opposite sides of a rotating platform.

7413 set c

The monster’s construction is interesting, it consists of single legs piece, then a plate with two bricks on it which the arms connect to, then the outer body that goes on top and over the construction.

7413 monster or yeti

These days this would likely be done by a single big figure that was all one piece of plastic like the Wampa or Hulk.

And there you have it. 2003 was the last year of Lego Adventurers, even though Indiana Jones didn’t start until 2008. I think it’s time to bring this line back, even if Lego just does a revamp of the past sets. Of course there also might be some new Indiana Jones sets, but that’s a discussion for another day.