Ask a LEGO Fan

The Future of LEGO Pirates

Posted in Set Design by lfanquestions on November 16, 2009

Robin writes:

Hello LFan:

Great job with the blog as always. I grew up as a fan of the original Lego pirates and was ecstatic when I saw that the theme made the return.


Unfortunately, I thought the new pirate sets were far less impressive than their old counterparts in the late 80s and 90s. The current sets don’t even compare to the old classics like 6276/6277 and 6285/6286. It seems TLG did not put much emphasis on the theme like it had back when it introduced the line. There were more pirate sets released, better design (imo), and more pieces than are now.

There certainly seems to be a good following for the pirates line so I am not sure why TLG seemed to pull back from a theme that has had a significant following over the years.

What do you think?

PS: While the Imperial Flagship looks impressive, it is not part of the main set theme.

 

Dear Robin,

Designers in the 1980’s had three years of development time before a line was released.  This was an obvious factor in the strong design, art direction, and new elements for Pirates in 1989.

In my opinion, the new line of pirate sets are much stronger for their theme than Knight’s Kingdom 2 was for Castle or Mars Mission was for Space.  This is due in part that two of the original designers who worked on Pirates still work for TLG.  Usually it takes new designers several years to produce high quality sets in a new theme.

The original line benefited from elements such as raised baseplates for forts and hulls, rigging, and masts for ships.  Many fans feel that the new versions of these elements are not superior to the old elements.  Better elements would have improved the hulls and yardarms of BrickBeard’s Bounty.  A raised baseplate would have made the Soldier’s Fort more of a fort than a dock.

According to sources the new theme sold fairly well.  Hopefully, TLG will put more faith in core lines such as Pirates in the future.  Instead we have one year revolving themes lines like Atlantis, which we all know is just Aquazone III.  The key for TLG is to view Pirates as an evergreen theme and not a one-year theme.

Sincerely,

LFan

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