Since my last Lego article, I have continued rebuilding my remaining castle Lego sets, and also have gone through my pirate and space minifigures to determine what I have minifigure-wise from those lines. It’s been a lot more work than that short description may suggest.
Where has videogame content gone? Well, I have been working on my 3DS Game Opinion Summaries list again, after a too-long break, and am almost done with the next part. It will post very soon — expect it this week. But first, more Lego stuff.
Let’s start with summaries of the sets I have newly rebuilt.
Table of Contents
Set Rebuild Summaries
Town Wall Tavern (Guarded Inn)
Minifigure Inventory: Space, Pirate, and Town
Minifigures, and Sets, from Other Themes
Conclusion: The Sets We Got
Set Rebuild Summaries
King’s Oarsmen – This ’80s set is a small boat manned by two Crusaders. I found most of the parts of this set, only missing one piece and some of the weapons as usual. This set has a blue hull with a white layer above it and black details on the ends, including short fences on the sides and little dragons on the ends of the boat. The sails are made from square white flag pieces, with blue highlights. A sail made of flags may seem silly, but I think it works. This is a simple set but I like the look and think it is good to great. Looking at this set, I like it. It’s an incredibly charming little boat and the details are well thought through. Both soldiers even get shields! It looks great. I would say that ’80s Lego sets were usually good, simple but good, and this set is a great example of that. The set doesn’t have Viking Voyager’s size, but I think I like it just as much, or maybe more. I do like its blue and black color scheme more than the Viking Voyager’s colors, and the small size helps make it really charming. I don’t have too much to say about this set, but it is great. King’s Oarsmen is all-around cool.
Viking Voyager – This ’80s set is the larger of the two Crusaders boats. While not as wide as the impressive Sea Serpent, this boat is just as long as that one. It’s just only four studs wide instead of six. The concept here was a Viking-style longboat, long and sleek, and its crew compliment of five, with three at the ‘oars’ made of spears since Lego did not have an oar piece yet, certainly suggests that. The boat’s midsection, with short fences along the sides holding the area for the three rowers, is my favorite part of this set. Poor guys, they always have to look backwards in order for the boat to be rowed forwards. The front looks okay, but not amazing. The little ‘dragon’ bits on the front and back are very simple. Given the parts budget I get what they were going for, but I don’t know, the front one doesn’t look the best. It’s alright, though.
As for the rear, however, it has four white rubber hose pieces over a treasure chest. This is a not the only Crusaders set I have with rubber hoses used this way, but in both cases it looks kind of silly in a not good way, and how medieval is it anyway? I guess they are supposed to represent some kind of curved wooden enclosure beams or something, and Lego sure loves their treasure chests, but while the hoses on the back make this set stand out I don’t think that they do so in a good way. I don’t like this set as much as King’s Oarsmen.
On a more positive note though, I do like the height of the boat; it uses two hull pieces stacked on top of eachother on the front and end of the boat in order to create raised fore and aft castles. It’s a nice look. The length is somewhat impressive as well, and the boat looks good from ahead. This is certainly an okay to good classic Lego set and it’s awesome to finally be able to see it again. I see why I didn’t keep it assembled, though. Still, this set is nice and it has a quite impressive amount of stuff: five minifigures, five shields (though I only have two left), eight spears, an axe, three lances, and four flags in different colors for those lances. It’s a crazy good for army building for your Crusaders! I am missing three of the shields, the axe, the lances, and the red flag, but found everything else. This one set makes up a significant percentage of my Crusader force.
Town Wall Tavern (Guarded Inn) – One of Lego’s most popular Castle sets of the ’80s, this 1986 set is one I got in Europe in ’90-’91. The Town Wall Tavern / Guarded Inn (the former is the European name, the latter the American) is a legendary set for good reason. I had long been wanting to rebuild this set, since far before I started doing this a few months ago, but thought I wouldn’t be able to find a lot of the pieces and kind of liked our own builds, so I didn’t. Well, I still don’t know if taking apart our town and such was a good idea but it’s gone too far now to turn back, and I do absolutely love that I have this set assembled again! This set has an iconic look at uses some custom pieces you won’t find anywhere else, most notably the red half-timber wall pieces unique to this set. It’s always odd when Lego makes an amazing part, or print, and then uses it in very few sets or only a single set before discontinuing it, but that is what happened here yet again. This is also one of the few Classic Castle sets with a female character alongside the knights; she is the tavern-keeper. That’s great to see.
This set is a tavern set alongside a city wall. The tavern has a guard tower on the roof, a passage along the wall either for people to pass through or perfect as a stable to keep your horse in, and a tavern room with a fireplace and table with chairs. One side of the building is open and the other sides enclosed, but the wall opposite the open side opens up fully on hinges so you can easily reach in from either side. It’s a fantastic look. Of course I could complain that I wish that the missing back side of the building was also a part of the model, folding out on hinges like the front wall does, but I understand that Lego has a parts budget so it would probably have been impossible. Adding one would be a great modification to make, though. Even as it is, though, this set is one of the best looking Lego sets ever. And better yet, despite how long it had been since it was built, I actually found most of the pieces! I am missing some — I had to substitute a good six or seven pieces, plus I’m missing a lot of weapons and such — but still, pretty much the whole model is there.
There is one real issue with this model, though. That is, while the outside of the building suggests a second story, with upper-level windows, unfortunately this is fake. Instead, the inside has a high vaulted ceiling and the only second story is a very tiny space under the rafters that is too small to even fit a single minifigure in. And that really is the only fault to this set — if the set is the “Guarded Inn”, as the American name suggests, where is the inn? There is indeed a tavern here for sure, but an inn requires somewhere to sleep and that would require an actual second floor. As nice as the high ceiling looks, a lower ceiling that allows for a second floor probably would be a better design. Maybe I will modify it to that eventually, now that I have it built again. For now though, Town Wall Tavern, the version of the set I actually have, is a better name. Regardless, this is a fantastic set with an iconic look and great design. This set is popular both for being a civilian building and for looking so great, and indeed both of those are good reasons to admire it. The only question is why Lego has made so few civilian buildings in the Castle theme, whenever they do they are fan favorites. I need to get some more ’80s Crusaders wall sets to attach this to though, it does look a little silly on its own. This is supposed to be the town wall, after all!
Knight’s Stronghold – My most recent rebuild, Knights’ Stronghold is a Black Knights wall and Black Falcons catapult and horseback knight set from 1990. The Black Knights are kind of an odd faction. The line was launched in 1988 with the pretty fantastic looking Black Monarchs’ Castle, but there were no other sets in the line until this one and Black Monarchs’ Ghost in ’90. After this, in ’92-’93 the theme got a refresh with a wave of new sets, most notably the exceptional Black Knights Castle / Dungeon Masters Castle, one of Lego’s best sets ever. Then the Black Knights finally got more sets, though apart from the Sea Serpent ship the others are mostly very small sets with a single guy and some object. And then after that the theme ends, since starting in the late ’80s Lego decided to phase in and out themes in most of their lines every few years. I have never entirely understood why Lego does this, why not keep making sets for good themes? There are a few themes Lego keeps returning to, such as trains and police stations, but for most themes, after a few years out they go in favor of some other thing the next year. Ah well. The Black Knights kind of got shorted — they are the only Classic Castle theme without a torso design unique to their theme, and are probably the only ones to never have their guys appear in a Castle Minifigures pack. I do like their scale mail look, but you often do need shields and such to definitively identify their soldiers. Building a Black Knights army isn’t easy if you only buy their official sets, most of their troops are in the two castles.
But enough of that, I should talk about the actual set. You get three Black Knights and two Black Falcons with the set. This set is from the first wave of the Black Knights. The figures are similar to those of the second wave, but especially in this set are a bit simplified. Instead of the multicolored look most Black Knights figures have, with a mix of blue, red, and/or black on their torsos, arms, and legs, in this set the figures are solid red except for a black waist piece. I have never liked this look, it is visually bland compared to the more distinctive look of the Dragon Master’s Castle Black Knights figures. Even the original Black Monarchs Castle figures are not this bland looking, so I’m not sure what happend here. I know Lego likes to mix up their minifigure coloring on a set by set basis within a theme, but I don’t think it worked here. And they don’t even get shields! The only two Black Knights shields in the set are attached to the wall. Disappointing. They do each get a different weapon, though, one each for axe, spear, and crossbow.
In comparison, the Black Falcons figures here turn out pretty well. They get an impressive armored knight with the only Black Falcons knight with a modern-style opening helmet and plastic plate armor, and a soldier with a crossbow who mans the catapult. The knight is great, one of the Black Falcon’s best, and the soldier fine enough. The catapult looks good, I like its blue and black design, but its function is only decent. The idea is that there is a Technic bar, and when you pull it out the weight is supposed to drop down and fire the ammo. You will need to make this happen with your hand, though, because unlike the Dragon Defender, this catapult won’t fire on its own, but only if you move its arm after removing the pin. If you do make it fire with your hand it has good motion and will fling its ammo a good distance, though. It is a decently nice looking model but it could be better.
The wall is perhaps a bit better, but I remember this set being not exactly my favorite set back when it was new and I can certainly see why. The wall has three sections, with a large central gate, a prison behind the wall on one side, and just a raised bit on the other side. The wall, with black wall sections surrounded by grey bricks for all the highlights around those black walls, looks nice for the most part. Lego used some black flagpole pieces as window bars on both sides of the wall, though. This is the only castle set I’ve seen which does this and it is an okay look but a bit flimsy feeling. These are not exactly the best Lego windows ever. I kind of get the prison one, but why is there an identical window on the other side? Surely they could have put something better looking than that there. I get it, it makes the set look a bit closer to symmetrical, but again, the set isn’t symmetrical so why not put a nicer looking window build on that side? Ah well.
Still, the black-and-grey design style is pretty nice. This is the Black Knights look and it stood out at the time from the grey castles everyone else had. However, black walls would be the primary wall color of Lego castles for rest of the ’90s, so this look stands out much less now than it did when this set released in 1990. Most of those later sets do have grey battlements, though, so this set’s black battlements do stand out a bit and make this set and Black Monarch’s Castle perhaps look a bit blacker than the many black-and-grey castles that would follow. So, this look is not unique, but the color scheme does look good. For another criticism though, I don’t know why a prison was really necessary, come on. Additionally, there is no way built in for you to bar this gate to actually block entry, you need to add your own block for that. And again, why does the non-jail part have the barred window? Even so, this is a decently made town wall gate and I like that I have reassembled it.
Overall, despite my having some issues with this set, I think I like the look of this set a bit more than I remember, and there is more grey in it than I remember. However, where do you put it? The only other compatible sets you can connect this little wall segment to are Black Monarch’s Ghost, which I do have reassembled of course and may attach it to though you can’t really do so properly since the clip and flag on the side of that set blocks you from using one of the attachment pins unless you add a custom spacer bit or move the flag or something, and the original Black Monarchs’ Castle, which I do not have. The Dungeon Masters’ Castle on its hill is not compatible unless you add an attachment pin brick yourself somewhere on its edge, and as after 1990 Lego moved away from the attachable wall segments design idea the second run of sets has nothing to attach this to either. You could attach it to other ’80s sets from the Crusaders and Black Falcons, but then you have a wall that’s an odd mishmash of colors and factions… though considering how I have considered the Black Knights and Crusaders to be allies for so long, perhaps I should just attach it to the Guarded Inn anyway even if the colors look a little odd together. I’ve tried it, it’s a bit of an odd look but kind of works. It works on the Crusaders’ front as well, because while the Crusaders have several sets with wall sections, they don’t have any gatehouses like this one other than using a King’s Castle set itself as a gatehouse. It is kind of amusing to have a set where the Black Falcons and Crusaders are getting along fine attached to one where the Black Falcons are attacking the Crusaders’ longtime allies the Black Knights, though. Heh.
Oh, as far as missing parts go, the model is complete but I did end up with a bunch of weapons, flags, and small bricks I couldn’t find and had to substitute other parts for. Ah well, that happens. If I really can’t find them I will eventually buy replacements. I do seriously wonder where so many of my castle weapons went, though… heh.
Castle Guard is a small guard shack for the Black Falcons. The set has a white guard house with an interesting red roof and a pair of soldiers, one a footman with an axe and the other a horseman on a black horse with lance and white flag. I’ve always kind of liked this set, the covered guard position is kind of out of scale with other classic castle sets — it’s a full story tall, as high as regular castle walls — but it looks pretty nice and certainly fits with a medieval setting. I particularly like the octagonal sloped red roof, it’s an interesting piece you don’t see often. With that roof and the white sides, it kind of looks like a tent without a front. That could be the idea, or it could be supposed to be a small building. Either way this is a pretty good small little set which I really like the look of. I will be putting it in front of Black Falcon’s Fortress for sure. This is a good set with a short summary.
The only Forestmen set I owned until this year, Forestmen’s Hideout, or Forestmen’s Tower as I have almost always called it, is perhaps the line’s most iconic set. This was the smallest of the Forestmen sets, though it is not small, it’s a decidedly medium-sized build. This set is a pretty nice tower designed to look like a tree. The build is great looking from the outside, and opens so you can put minifigures inside as well. Because they did not use brown for regular bricks or wall pieces at the time Lego went with black for the tree’s main color, but I have always thought that the color works well. Particulalry dark trees can look black, after all. The organic look of the tree is nice too, with green leaves on the ends of branches all over. I like the tower outlook with its barred windows, too. It uses cone pieces for the bars in a pretty interesting way.
The main issue I had with this set when I got it as a kid in the late ’80s, though, is that it’s a bit fragile. And indeed, it is — some of those branches are only lightly attached, and moderate play will knock them off. I found it a bit tricky to build as a child, and hard to keep assembled without it falling apart as I played with it. Black Falcon’s Fortress is much more durable. If all you are doing with this set is looking at it, though, the set is great. For play it’s decent, though not the best. At least the plates the set is built on are solid so you can pick it up without it falling apart from underneath, unlike most modern Lego sets.
As I mentioned in one of my last Lego posts, though, I don’t only have this set, but I recently got its modern update, Forest Hideout, the gift with purchase set from 2022. Of course I had this set long before that one, but it has been probably going on 25 to 30 years since I had this set assembled, but comparing the two of them now, they’re pretty close. I like the classic look of the original set a bit more than the more organic trees of the modern one, but I do really like that they got a ladder in the new one inside the tree, it’s really annoying how Lego loves to make inaccessible spaces. In the original set there is no way to put a ladder inside without a major redesign that would make the set larger. On the other hand, the new one doesn’t come with any vines, while the orignal has two vines hanging from the tree, perfect for having your Forestmen swing from in the forest. They are both very good medium-sized sets and it’s great to have them both next to eachother. I wouldn’t be surprised if an objective observer would prefer the new one, it does look very nice. But there’s something about classic Lego design I love, so maybe I like the original slightly more.
Either way, this is a good set. I don’t absolutely love it like some do and Forestmen wasn’t one of my favorite themes, as the fact that I left this set unassembled for so long suggests, but it is a good set for sure. I like that finally my Forestmen have their tower back, and looking better than ever since I’m more able to build it correctly as an adult than I was as a child, and don’t hae to just hang out on the tree in Dark Dragon’s Den as I mostly kept them in the ’90s and beyond.
This set is a small boat with two minifigures. It’s surely intended to be a Black Knights set, as the minifigures are dressed in classic Black Knights scale mail and the boat has Black Knights colors, a red flag, and a nicely made dragon head build on the front. The boat has one guy rowing in the front, and the other with a crossbow in a raised platform in the back. It looks okay, but is pretty average really. It’s fine, and would look a little better if I wasn’t missing one of the two minifigures… ah well. I will replace him. I do like the somewhat silly dragon head on the front.
The main issue with this set, though, is the included shield. You see, to reprise a subject I previously mentioned, instead of coming with a Black Knights shield, this set came with … a Black Falcons one for some bizarre reason. It really does not makes sense why Lego sometimes messed up the theming on their sets, this clearly wasn’t supposed to be a Black Falcons set! This isn’t Lego’s worst theming mistake, that would probably be the carriage in Dark Forest Fortress, but it’s on the list for sure. That Dark Forest Fortress carriage is just insane, though — it is clearly a Royal Knights carriage and looks like a Royal Knights vehicle with their classic blue and black color theming, but both minifigures are Dragon Masters and the shields on the carriage are both Dragon Masters and Black Knights. Yeah, it’s bizarre.
I don’t know how that happened, or how Battle Dragon got its Black Falcon shield on an otherwise all Black Knights set. You can make your own choice about how this happened here, though — are they Black Falcons who stole a Black Knights’ boat and armor? Black Knights who looted a Black Falcons shield, since the two factions were shown fighting eachother in multiple sets? Or something else? That’s for you to decide. For a long time, after disassembling the boat, I put the blue torso guy with the Black Falcons, and the red torso guy with the Black Knights, so I kind of split the difference. That works too.
Minifigure Inventory: Space, Pirate, and Town
And with that, all of my Classic Castle Lego sets are reassembled. I will need to move on to either buying ones I don’t own, or reassembling Pirate, Town, or Space sets, next. Or, more likely, both, once I figure out how to find more space to display the sets in… heh. And on that note, I completed my minifigure inventories for the remaining three themes, Space, Pirate, and Town.
Yes, I am really enjoying reassembling Lego sets. I find I want something to keep this going a bit longer. Well, trying to reassemble my Town, Space, and Pirate sets is certainly a way to do that. I am not starting on that yet, though. Instead I decided to go through all of the rest of my minifigures and see what, exactly, I have. The results are interesting, at least to me.
I spent a while recently making a spreadsheet of my Lego collection, as I do with my videogames. I list all the set names and numbers and added a few columns, for the factions represented, release year, type of set and such. For now it’s not much but the results are interesting. Essentially, I have almost no sets from before 1986. This makes sense, I was too young for Lego before that. The only set I have the box or instructions for from before ’86 is a universal Technic set that was on the market for a long time. From ’86 to ’90, I have a bunch of Castle, Town, and Space sets. During this period I mostly got small to medium sized spaceships and vehicles from Town and Space, along with some small and a few larger Castle sets. The Black Falcons’ Fortress was the only bigger set I got during this period, followed by the Town Wall Tavern and the Alien Moon Stalker. The only Town set we even maybe got during this time with a building, and not only a vehicle, was Derby Trotter and that was likely my sisters’ and was more likely purchased in the early ’90s. In the ’80s all of the Town and Space sets we got were vehicles. During this time we got ~9-plus sets for each of the three themes.
My Space sets, which, again, are almost all small vehicles apart from the larger Alien Moon Stalker (and Light & Sound Robot), are mostly Classic Space, but the last three are Futuron. I diassembled all of them long ago and it’s been a very long time since I have seen any of these assembled.
After the late ’80s, however, I mostly lost interest in buying Space sets. I only have a few space sets from ’91 or later, and they are very small sets. I have one little set each for M-Tron (a set too small to even have a magnet), Space Police II, Ice Planet, and Spyrius, and that’s it. Several of these are still assembled since I didn’t use them that much. I got one Lego Star Wars set early on when the line was first released and that’s the only Star Wars Lego set I own. I like the Endor Biker set I have, but like original sets much more than licensed stuff, as I have said before.
So, first I looked at the boxes we have, and got out the instruction books. Then I matched figures to sets. The figure inventory I did revealed something quite interesting, and which I had entirely forgotten: we have a BUNCH of classic Space stuff that does not come from sets we bought. Like, at least one large set’s worth, plus more. Thinking about it, my best guess at a memory is that perhaps our older cousins gave us some Legos at some point in the early ’90s. This may have happened; otherwise I have no idea where we got this stuff, Lego would have been too expensive to get cheap at a yard sale or something I’d think. I guess we COULD have gotten it that way but I’d call it less likely. Regardless, these parts happened to include most of the parts for a set I have never seen built and did not know until just now that I apparently have a lot of the parts for: the big 1983 classic Space ship Galaxy Commander. It looks pretty cool from pictures, I am very interested to see how much of it I have. I know I have a lot of the ship, though many parts are certain to be missing; I don’t have the radar dish piece, for example. If we ever had it, it is sadly gone now. And I only can find 13 or so blue 1×1 sideways clip plates, while the set uses 20. The ones I have are surely all from that set, though, I don’t ahve any other sets they could have come from. Still, I do have a bunch of the sets’ custom pieces, which is how I know it was from this set — I’ve got all four of the big 4×4 slope ship inside parts, in both white and trans-blue, the blue supports, blue steering wheels and white bazookas that could only have come from this set, and more.
So, what are the Space minifigures I have? Well, for the sets I have boxes and/or instructions for, I’ve got the figures from the Classic Space sets Starfire I, Alien Moon Stalker, Light & Sound Sonic Robot, Cosmic Charger, Terrestiral Rover, and Satellite Patroller, the Futuron sets Strategic Pursuer, Twin-Wing Spoiler, and Auxiliary Patroller, the M-Tron set Beacon Tracer, the Space Police II set Galactic Chief, the Ice Planet set Ice Planet Scooter, and teh Spyrius set from the Space/Castle Value Pack. Additionally, I have five minifigures matching the ones included with Galaxy Commander. And last, I have four more Classic Space figures from unidentified sets, likely also from my cousins or something. The ones from unknown sets are one each in white, yellow, red, and blue. I’ve also got some random extra helmets and air tanks in several colors, perhaps from missing figures or something.
So yeah, it’s interesting to not only have a lot of a set I didn’t know I had, but also to have some extra minifigures on top of that. I really wonder how many of the parts of the set I have… though to figure that out I would have to take apart my favorite own creation, my spaceship build, so I don’t know if I really want to find out. And yes, while I don’t have any castle builds I liked enough to keep assembled, I do have a spaceship I built back in the ’90s and quite like. I think it’s a good design. If I rebuild my space sets I’ll have to buy replacement parts or something, I don’t really want to take it apart…
As for Pirate, I really liked the first wave of Pirate sets but lost interest after that. To explain, the first run of Pirate was from 1989-1997, after which Pirate was killed off. They brought it back several times, but it’s never lasted nearly as long: the modern runs are in 2009-2010, again in 2015, and one set for adult builders currently on the market now. The first run of the Pirate theme can be broken up into three or four parts. For their adversaries, the Imperials, the eras are easy: first are the Imperial Soldiers, the French-inspired bluecoats, from 1989-1991 and also 2015. This line got six sets of its own in its first run, several in its second, and appearances in other sets. Next came the Imperial Guards, the British-inspired redcoats, from 1992-1995 and also 2009-2010. I’m not sure why I didn’t end up getting any of these sets, they’re alright. The earlier bluecoat sets are better in my opinion, but the redcoats had some good sets as well. This line got seven sets plus several split between the two sides. And last and very much least as far as Lego was concerned was the [Spanish] Armada, from 1996-1997. This line only had two or three sets of its own, never had a large or even medium sized land base, and mostly lived in appearances in the Pirate sets. For some reason Lego gave the Pirates a whole bunch of bases and fortifications in 1995-1997, but the Armada got almost nothing. It was a major contrast from the first era, when the Pirates and bluecoats were on almost even ground. But in the mid ’90s Lego did start declining, as you can see when you look at the pirate sets over time, so them starting to make poor decisions like that makes sense, unfortunately.
Telling the eras apart on the Pirates side is harder, however. Basically, I can think of two ways to think about it: do you go by the major pirate ships, by the land bases, or by changes to minifigure design? Major pirate ships released in 1989, 1993, and 1996. Meanwhile, large land bases released in 1989, 1991, 1995, and 1997. As for minifigure design, the first style of pirate figures were used from 1989-1991, after which they started mixing in some new figures with the old ones in ’92 and changed things more as the years progressed. So, whether there were three or four waves of Pirate sets is really open to debate, as is which years exactly each wave includes. I’m not sure, myself, what I think; Lego made things kind of messy.
But if I had to choose, I’d lean towards going more by the land bases than the ships, because I think that 1992 was when a new generation of Pirate sets started releasing with clearly different designs from the previous ones. The sets that year were still great, even if I didn’t end up getting any of them, and Rock Island Refuge is a fantastic set, but they weren’t different enough from the early ones to make me want to buy them. Still, the new minifigures and base that year diffrentiate it from the earlier sets. And after that, while Lego released new waves of sets, initially good and then degrading rapidly as Lego went towards its juniorized gimmick-heavy years, they didn’t get me back. The sets of ’95 to ’97 are the main issue here. The third pirate ship is a gimmick-laden mess and the later bases are so silly looking, it’s too much.
Just before that, though, in 1994 a third faction was introduced, the Islanders. It was shortlived but interesting. These South Seas Pacific natives don’t really fit in with the Carribbean theme of the rest of the Pirates line at all, but Lego didn’t care about that when they designed the sets and so they released anyway. Islanders sets only have Pirates and Islanders, never any of the Imperial factions, but they are the same Pirate minifigures from the other sets so you’d think it is somewhere nearby and not halfway around the world apart… heh. These Islanders are a cultural mishmash of course, heavily relying on very outdated ‘cannibals in the south Pacific’ stereotypes, but still I like the look of the theme and would like to get more of them sometime, I only have two of the small sets.
Regardless of where you put the dividing line for Pirates waves, however, not up for debate is what we bought back then: only first wave and Islanders sets. I have three Pirate sets from the 1989-1991 first wave, three Imperial Soldiers (bluecoat) sets from ’89-’91, two Islanders sets from their one year run of sets, and four extra minifigures from who knows where, two of them first-run Pirates and two bluecoats. The sets: for the Pirates, Black Seas Barracuda, Forbidden Island, and Renegades’ Raft; for the Imperial Soldiers, Carribbean Clipper, Harbour Sentry (and I do have the European one with the firing cannon), and Broadside’s Brig; and for the Islanders, King Kahuka and Islander Catamaran. I have all of the figures for these sets, though one pair of white legs is missing a leg. The four extra figures are two generic pirates, one a redshit and one blue, a blue shirt Imperial Soldier with tall hat and backpack, and… the torso and head of a second Governor Broadside, except without his unique hat; he just has a regular black tricorn hat instead. This figure is somewhat expensive and only appeared in the Carribbean Clipper and El Dorado Fortress sets, so I really wonder how I ended up with this guy… I have mine from the ship, so it’s not that. Somehow someone elses’ governor from El Dorado Fortress must have gotten mixed up with my stuff some time I was playing at another persons’ house, I do remember playing with that set sometimes with people who had it. That’s a pretty interesting find.
And as for the two attempted reboots of Pirates between ’09 and ’15, I wasn’t paying much attention to Lego at that point apart from Castle to some extent. But looking at them now, they’re okay looking but not great, I don’t regret not getting them.
I may in general prefer fantasy settings to the real world in my media and games and such, but we did have a decent amount of Town stuff, and a Town we built. I have mentioned in previous posts some of the newer Town sets we had, in the Paradida line and such. In the ’90s, we got some Town sets with buildings — Sand Dollar Cafe, Dolphin Point, Gas Stop Shop, Rocky River Retreat, Surf Shack, Seaside Cabana, and two that I haven’t reassembled yet, Pizza To Go and Derby Trotter. The only one of those sets that is from the ’80s is that last one.
Other than that, all of the other Town sets from the ’80s and ’90s that we had were vehicles. Almost none of these are assembled in any way; the only one that is partially together is Surveillance Squad. The rest are not assembled. Going from oldest to newest (1985 to 1997): Family Car (this one doesn’t have its box or instructions, but I certainly got it as one of my first true Lego sets), RV with Speedboat, Light & Sound Hook and Ladder Truck, Fire Chief’s Car, T.V. Camera Crew, Bulldozer, Turbo Prop I (my only plane), Highway Patrol, Fire Truck, Sprint Racer, Hook & Haul Wrecker, Sand Storm Racer, Road Rebel, Sport Coupe, Street Sweeper, Gas Transit, Snowmobile, River Runners, Mountain Rescue, and one non-vehicle one, Sea Hunter. We also got one minifigures pack, City People.
When I did my minifigure inventory of the Town minifigures, I found that two minifigures, both from Pizza To Go, are missing. I really wonder where they went, they are two of only three minifigures I lost from any set we have a box or instructions for. And considering that that is a relatively late ’90s set that we kept assembled, having two of its figures go missing is very odd — the ONLY other missing minifigure is one of the guys from either Kinght’s Stronghold or Battle Dragon, depending on which one was lost. I’ve got everything else for the sets we got. I do have other figures that use the torsos those figures use, so it is possible other figures are missing and not those, but after assembling all of the other figures, it is these parts that I couldn’t find. Annoying.
In addition to the minifigures from all of the sets above sets, as with Castle and Space there are also some extra minifigures. These figures are mostly pretty old looking and likely come from either Lego Basic sets or the same lot of Lego we may have gotten from our older cousins that had a bunch of space stuff in it. There are two policemen (one missing his hat), a very worn chef with chef’s hat, and two red and one each of black, white, and blue torsos. I have no idea what sets these came from and probably won’t unless I find clearly identifying pieces in the bins sometime.
Minifigures, and Sets, from Other Themes
From Adventurers, I have one adventurer guy in a tiny car. I got one small set from that line just to have something from it. From the Western theme, I’ve got the Bandit’s Hideout set, a mine defended by some bandits and a bunch of traps, being threatened by two (US) Cavalry soldiers. It’s a nice set but I didn’t get anything else from that line, for whatever reason. The blue soldiers would make good Civil War Union soldier Legos, though. I have all of the figures from this set, and it is still assembled, I kept it in a box. And lastly, I have one Star Wars Lego set, an early set from the line which includes two Imperial scouts on Endor speeder bikes and Luke with a lightsaber. It also is still assembled. I like the set, but it didn’t convince me to want to buy more licensed Legos, and I have not since I got that set back in ’99 or so.
Conclusion: The Sets We Got
Looking at those sets, it’s pretty clear that when I was a kid my parents would often get me a small Lego set to keep me occupied. I only very very rarely got a big set. Once I got older what I was getting changed to computer games or books or larger Lego sets instead, so I don’t have a bunch of small post-1990 Lego sets like I do ones from ’86-’90. After that came our year in Europe, and thus some sets missing their boxes. Following that, the change to larger but fewer sets makes sense; I was getting older and we got a computer in 1992, which I almost immediately got hooked on. When I did get Lego sets after that I focused on larger sets that I was really interested in, which particularly meant Castle sets after my fascination with wave 1 Pirates ended, until Castle got significantly worse in ’97 and I mostly stopped buying Legos.
Fortunately, though, the Lego of today is not the Lego of the late ’90s to late ’00s. Lego now makes sets for anyone, not only children. And they have brought me back in with their fantastic Lion Knight’s Castle set. I always loved my memories of Legos, but I have to thank Lego for designing this set and convincing me to start playing with them again after so long. It’s never too late to have fun building Legos!