Sunday, 26 April 2015

Ghost Rider – Funko POP! Marvel

Today's review is best enjoyed while listening to Hell Bent for Leather, from Judas Priest. 

Series: POP! Marvel
Company: Funko
Year: 2013

I’ve been on a bit of a Marvel kick over the last week or so, a lot of it driven by the release of Avengers: Age of Ultron. So we continue that today with the Ghost Rider Funko POP!

Now I must confess that I don’t think I’ve ever read a complete Ghost Rider comic – I know a little bit about his backstory, but I think that like Silver Surfer, Ghost Rider is a character who you can appreciate on a purely visual level, without knowing too much about the character. He looks like a total cliché tattoo design – a biker with a flaming skull for a head –but that’s what makes him so cool!  

However, I did watch the first Ghost Rider film, back in 2007 – as many of you will know, it was dreadful. I didn’t get around to seeing the second, though trusted friends assure me it’s far worse. It’s a shame, as it could have been really great, but was hindered at many points. I’m sure this was at least in part (though not entirely) due to his “hellish”* origins and the way some of that had to be tiptoed around for a mainstream movie – what probably should have been quite a dark and disturbing movie was turned into a near-unwatchable embarrassment.
Nonetheless, in early 2013 Ghost Rider got a POP! release from Funko, probably at least in part as a result of the second film coming out in 2012. There have been a few different people who’ve taken up the Ghost Rider mantle over the year, and this one most resembles the second iteration, Danny Ketch.

The original Ghost Rider (Johnny Blaze) was a stunt rider, and his outfit was kind of like a jumpsuit, with a big 1970s collar. Danny Ketch, by contrast, wore a biker outfit – grey pants (probably jeans), leather jacket with spikes and massive chains. He got a Judas Priest makeover, basically. It’s the look I prefer for the character, but that might also be because it’s the one that was current when I was a kid. In his hand he holds one of his signature chains, which is a great touch. Would be nice if it was flaming but you can’t have everything. Aside from that, it looks like a major retool of the basic Funko body -- distinct from other figures in the line, but without deviating massively from their signature style.     

Paint is mixed. Funko are generally fine with paint these days, but two years ago they tended towards “adequate” and not much better. Ghost Rider fits that mould – his face has been notably touched up around the nose and mouth. The spikes that dot his belt, gloves and wrists are all sloppy, too. But that said I like the solution they came up with for his flaming head – the whole thing is cast in a semi-translucent orange plastic, with the “skull” parts being painted on later. Though the execution is a little off, it’s a good concept.  

There are three versions of this POP that I’m aware of – the regular one (reviewed here today), glow in the dark and metallic. The metallic one doesn’t look so might be expected, the glow in the dark version would be my preference, but it’s now quite expensive, and I’m not really willing to fork out exorbitant sums for him. Indeed, just the regular one will probably cost you a little more than you might expect, as he doesn’t seem to be in production any longer.       

I skipped Ghost Rider on first release and picked up on a bit of a whim when it turned out I had the chance to get him again – but he is a good POP that will look quite distinct from the masses of other superhero POPs on your shelves. I spent about the same this figure as I did for a ticket to the movie back in 2007, and I can tell you with great certainty that this was better value. 

It would be nice if they eventually redid him and included a flaming Hell Cycle, similar to the other vehicles Funko has released over the last few years, but unless he gets a new movie or TV series anytime soon, that seems quite unlikely.

*Neither DC or Marvel really draw firm answers about cosmic matters, but DC have hinted on numerous occasions that the Judeo-Christian view of things is more or less correct (though it’s obviously more complex, what with the existence of the Greek gods in Wonder Woman, and the various different spiritual powers from Hellblazer/Constantine, Dr Fate and Swamp Thing, just to name a few). Marvel has deliberately played it vague over the decades, at least in part to avoid alienating readers. This has included Johnny Blaze's Ghost Rider powers being retconned as coming from Mephisto as opposed to being a side effect for selling his soul to the devil.The forced distinction may seem quite silly to some (including me), but that's the way comics often are.       

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Thor (Marvel Legends Infinite: Allfather Wave)

Series: Marvel Legends
Company: Hasbro
Year: 2015


I’ve never been a big fan of Marvel’s take on Thor. I was a huge fan of the Norse myths as a kid, and the Marvel portrayal of the character was just too incongruent with my understanding of the violent,  RED-HEADED Thor for me to enjoy.* A doctor with a walking stick that turns into the Norse god of thunder? No deal. Though purists may disagree, I much preferred the Ultimate version of Thor, where you weren’t sure if he was a lunatic or the real deal for most of the time, and the Ancient Aliens approach that has been taken for the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Why then, are we looking at a figure of Thor which is clearly from neither of those preferred sources? Well, that’s a good question – you’ll have to read on to find out.  


Well, I never said you’d have to read very far. Basically, this Thor just plain looks great – and that’s why I decided to give him a go after my positive experience with the Scarlet Witch.

This Thor heavily reuses elements from this figure. The arms are different, the helmet has been retooled and I think the cape is new, but other than that it looks to be the same, even down to the hammer. Normally I’d be annoyed by so much reuse, but the original figure was a convention exclusive back in 2011, so the odds are reasonably strong that you don’t already own one. And, as OAFE predicted, it has now been used again, in a plainer paint job. It’s taken a bit longer than perhaps was anticipated, but I suppose it’s not a massive surprise – movie Thor has cast a long shadow over any merchandise related to the character in recent years.

I initially thought he was something of a “greatest hits” figure, but closer inspection indicates the absence of a few key elements – his chest circles have been greatly scaled down, for instance. As you probably saw in the above link, the closest reference point is Olivier Coipel’s art. His redesign of the character was pretty big news when I was in my comic-collecting prime (2007), but I don’t think I ever actually read any of it. Overall though, he looks fantastic – it’s particularly impressive when you consider that most of the sculpting is now 7 years old. Plenty of figures from that era have not aged anywhere near as well.    

There are just a couple of questionable points. Though his golden locks do flow from the back of the helmet, they’re partially covered by some kind of brown cloth – the effect, when viewed from behind, is not dissimilar to one of those dorky flapped caps you probably had to wear in primary school. Asgard, it seems, is not afraid to fly in the face of fashion. My only other real irritation beyond the mullet-cap is that Thor also seems to be looking down slightly. You can’t do a lot about this, but I suppose given his massive size he’d be looking down on just about any other figure he was paired with anyway.  

Thor’s articulated in the following ways:
*ball-jointed neck
*swivel-hinged shoulders
*swivel biceps
*ball-jointed torso
*swivel-hinged elbows
*swivel-hinged wrists
*Swivel-hinged hips
*double-hinged knees
*hinged ankles

As might be expected, the shoulders are somewhat restricted by the cape and the biceps appear to be as well, particularly when you’ve got the arms sitting in a neutral position. The hips are also restricted by the “skirt” overlay. None of these are dealbreakers for me but your own mileage may vary.  
"Do you even lift, bro?"
His knee joints, calves and feet are cast in a slightly softer plastic, which feels almost like rubber. Just be careful when you’re bending them; though I didn’t have any issues it did seem like tearing might be a bit of a risk.


Thor comes with two accessories – his iconic hammer, Mjolnir, and an enormous sword. Presumably this has been used in the comics at some point, but I haven’t seen it before. Mjolnir is cast in a slightly softer plastic than the sword, so you may have some minor issues with warping on the handle.  
For his Build-A-Figure piece, he comes with one of the Allfather’s legs -- not particularly exciting, but essential for him to stand. 


At an initial glance, there isn’t actually a huge amount of paint on Thor – however, there’s a lot of stuff all over him. The brown on his legs and belt, little spots of silver and all the little details on his face and head, for instance. Like Scarlet Witch, he has some nice airbrushing on his cape too, which adds some additional depth. The only problem area is on his neck – it’s cast in black plastic and then painted skin colour, so there’s been some wear.  


Thor is a character I don’t have a lot of interest in, but this figure was able to overcome that issue. Though I don’t plan to pick up any of his comics anytime soon, I’m still quite pleased with the figure and am glad I decided to take the plunge. I do still want to complete the Allfather -- and then I could have father and son side by side.

*I should add that for whatever reason, it has never been an issue for me with Wonder Woman or Kratos and their respective (frequently questionable) portrayals of Greek mythology.

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Hulk – Avengers: Age of Ultron (POP! Marvel -- Gamma Glow variant)

Series: POP! Marvel
Year: 2015
Company: Funko

Hulk has never been one of my favourite comics characters. Visually, he’s pretty spectacular, and I appreciate that he taps into some Jekyll and Hyde archetypes and all that sort of thing, but I don’t feel like I’ve ever read a really good take on him. The Ang Lee Hulk movie was a step in the right direction (controversial as that opinion will be for some) but it lacked a good villain, which severely undermined it.

The Ultimates version was probably the most entertaining for me, as it laid a good framework for just how frightening a creature like the Hulk would actually be – unpredictable, full of rage and genuinely as dangerous to his allies as to his enemies. The regular version just seemed to be a little bit more of a sooky la-la most of the time.

Nonetheless, today we look at Funko’s take on him from the soon-to-be released Avengers: Age of Ultron. What can I say, I’m a sucker for glow in the dark stuff.

There have been a few Hulk POPs already – a comic-based one, an Avengers one (which was the comic-based one with a different paint job) and Red Hulk. There are also a few paint variations floating around there too (e.g. Compound Hulk). However, this sculpt appears to be all-new, looking bigger and buffer than his original iteration.  

No longer wearing his ripped trousers, he’s now decked out in a set of purple Avengers bike shorts.  I don’t know if this look will catch on; it doesn’t seem quite as iconic, though it does skirt the whole “how do Bruce Banner’s pants fit the Hulk” issue which is often raised.

Appropriately, the look on his face is one of rage, eyes wide open, heavy brow locked in a scowl and mouth clenched into a grimace. I tend to have mixed feelings about POPs with mouths, but in this case I think it was a good call.

The hair on top of the head is sculpted and is actually quite dense, which makes the whole figure quite top-heavy. Not a big deal on a regular POP, where the head is firmly connected to the body, but it’s a bit trickier for these Marvel ones, which are all bobbleheads. I initially had a bit of difficulty getting him to stand, and you may need to fiddle with his neck a little to get him to balance. His left foot doesn't sit flat, and I'm not sure if it's a molding fault with mine or a more widespread thing.       

There are three versions of this sculpt I’ve seen doing the rounds at the moment – the original, the glow in the dark version (which looks virtually identical) and the Savage Hulk repaint, which looks kind of like Grey/Ultimates Hulk with a severe case of conjunctivitis. I assume this is some sort of plot point in the movie, but as I haven’t seen it yet I can only speculate. All have been released in Age of Ultron packaging. As might be expected, the glow in the dark version is my pick – if you weren’t told and the lights were on I think you’d have a hard time picking it as distinct from the original. The glow is not amazing, truth be told, but considering they’re the same price you may as well go for a 2-in-1.

For Hulk fans, this is a pretty essential buy. For a more casual non-fan like myself, it’s the best Hulk POP they’ve done yet and a good addition to my small but growing collection of Marvel POPs. Additionally, it allows us to see how Hulk would fare against Thanos (probably not well, just quietly).  

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Iron Man Mk. 43 (POP! Marvel)

Iron Man Mark 43

Series: POP! Marvel
Company: Funko 
Year: 2015

Marvel owes a lot to Iron Man these days. Before 2008, he was something of a B-list hero; the average man in the street had probably heard of him, but couldn’t tell you much beyond the fact that he wears a red and yellow suit of armour. But when Marvel decided to take a risk with the release of the Iron Man movie in 2008, that all changed. The Marvel Cinematic Universe was built around that core, with Iron Man himself emerging as its breakout star, above and beyond more famous Marvel heroes like Captain America. 

7 years, 10 movies and 3 TV series later (and more on the way!) we stand on the edge of the release of Avengers: Age of Ultron. Which naturally means there is a whole buttload of merchandise coming to accompany it, including the subject of today’s review – Iron Man, bedecked in his Mark 43 armour, from Funko.

The Mark 43 looks to be the main suit that Iron Man will be wearing for Iron Man 3, though the Hulkbuster suit (Mark 44?) looks set to get some screentime too. It’s a nice return to the classic red and gold look, but still subtly distinct from the other suits we’ve seen across the other movies. Perhaps most importantly, it looks a lot better than the mostly-gold (and ugly) Mark 42 seen in Iron Man 3.

But to the layman, the main feature that distinguishes this particular Iron Man from the roughly 39472358923749 other Iron Man Funko POPs currently available is the blast-off effect. Shooting blue blasts from the respulsors on his hands and feet (which also act as a stand), he’s one of the most distinctive POPs that Funko has put out in a long time. He’s got lots of intricate little details all over him in his armour plating;  it’s maybe a little more detailed than I would like in this format, but the overall effect is so impressive I really don’t mind.

Paint is mostly good, though it does look a little thick in a few areas. It’s quite glossy, which I think is the paint itself, rather than a separate layer. You may see a couple of spots on the gold where the red shows through a little, but nothing major. I don’t know if they’re planning a metallic variant of this guy, but it would be virtually redundant.   

This POP is yet another great addition to the collection from Funko – they’ve gone gangbusters the last couple of years, getting their hands on an absolutely huge range of licenses. The whole Avengers: Age of Ultron range looks great. Now I just need to figure out how to get my hands on one of the Hulkbuster POPs…   


Sunday, 19 April 2015

Thanos (POP! Marvel)

Series: POP! Marvel 
Company: Funko
Year: 2015

“The Universe will now be set right. Made over to fit my unique view of what should be. Let Nihilism reign supreme!”
Thanos, Infinity Gauntlet

One of the coolest cameos in 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy was Josh Brolin as Thanos. Though the film didn’t really touch on his backstory in any great detail, Thanos is one of THE big bads in the Marvel (comics) universe and his appearance bodes big things for the future of the Cinematic Universe.  

My experience of Thanos is primarily through the Infinity Gauntlet miniseries, from back in the early 1990s. George Perez and Ron Lim did a fantastic job on the artwork, and though the story shows its age in a few ways these days, it’s still a fun read. There’s a lot going on, but basically Thanos gets hold of a glove which gives him god-like power and then uses it to wipe out half the life in the universe, solely to impress his paramour – who is the female personification of Death. Naturally this doesn’t go over very well with the remaining heroes and they team up to stop Thanos from causing any more mayhem. In between there’s a good deal of pontificating on the nature of power, nihilism and love, all while floating in space. It’s pretty pretentious, but when comics go this route it can turn out really well; Alan Moore’s run on Swamp Thing is still right up there for me. 

This figure is based on his appearance in Guardians of the Galaxy, rather than his classic comic outfit, but they both share considerable similarity. The most obvious differences are the darker blue on the costume and the lack of gold codpiece – both of which are fine in my book. He’s been sculpted with his disturbing smile, which in the movie lent a sense of unnerving reality to the CG creation. Uncanny valley successfully crossed! It’s not as unnerving here, but it’s still creepy. Thanos is frequently a bad, bad guy and if he’s plotting something it can’t be good for mankind – or the rest of the universe.   

If I had one complaint it’s that he’s probably a bit too big. He’s been rendered as a 6” POP, which makes him a cool display piece but is probably a bit out of scale. It was difficult to tell how tall he was in the movie, what with being seated the whole time, but I don’t think he was double the size of everyone else. A better option for me personally would have been similar to Cthulhu – sold as a 3.75” one, but notably bigger out of the box.  

Paint-wise he's pretty solid. There's a few fuzzy lines around the place, but no major dramas. The only one that bugs me is on his mouth, where the white has spilled over a little. I'd suggest you check in person, but I only had one to pick from.  

It’s kind of a shame that he doesn’t have an Infinity Gaunlet, so that he could be fudged as a comic-based Thanos too – but I strongly suspect that we’ll see this figure retooled with it in future, perhaps when Avengers: Infinity War Part 1 is released in 2017.

In the meantime, there are two versions available – the one pictured here, and the glow-in-the-dark variant which comes out in a couple of months. I was originally planning to wait for the GitD one, but I had some trade-in credit at EB Games, they had him in-store and I just went for it. I don’t think I’ll double up like I did with Cthulhu, but who knows?   

Marvel has been doing a fantastic job with its movies and it looks likely to continue forward in the future. I’m really looking forward to seeing more of Thanos in the future – though I doubt the battle for the Infinity Gauntlet will take place on the same scale as in the comics, it should still be quite epic.   
"I guess I'm pretty evil. I live under the sea and sometimes I give people bad dreams,"
"Oh, that's cute. I once wiped out half the life in the universe."

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Scarlet Witch (Marvel Legends Infinite: Allfather Wave)

Scarlet Witch 

Series: Marvel Legends
Company: Hasbro
Year: 2015

In spite of having gone through a couple of different phases of action figure collecting, I’ve never bought anything from Marvel Legends, either in its ToyBiz or Hasbro iterations. This is because I really didn’t like a number of things about them when I first came across the ToyBiz range in ’03-’04. Who cared if a toy had 397594579 different points of articulation if the end result looked as ugly as sin? And who were all of these crap, no-name characters?

In hindsight, I was young, ignorant and needlessly harsh on the line. While numerous figures from those early days have not aged well, Marvel Legends was actually a really good line. Lots of original sculpts, good paint and tons of characters who’d never had figures before – not to the diorama bases and ENORMOUS Build-A-Figures. There were a lot of things the line was able to do that would probably just not be possible in today’s climate.

So, today we have my first entry into the line – Wanda Maximoff, aka the Scarlet Witch. Wanda has been a member of the Avengers since the 1960s, after initially debuting as a villain for the X-Men. Imbued with (somewhat vague) mutant powers that allow her to alter reality, she’s since supplemented her natural gifts with the study of arcane and occult arts. It’s kind of a lazy and overly simplistic comparison, but to put it in DC terms she has Wonder Woman’s prominence with Zatanna’s skillset.

She’s quite a prominent character in the comics world, but she’s had a more difficult time breaking through to more mainstream popularity. Last time she got a Legends figure was all the way back in 2004, and what a disaster it was. Figures like that typify why I didn’t like the line at the time. The promo art looked okay, but the finished product was dreadful. ToyBiz knew it too; it was officially cancelled at the time, though a few did manage to find their way to stores. She was then absent from the shelves until 2012, when she popped up the 3.75” Marvel Universe line, looking substantially better.

But here we are in 2015 and on the cusp of seeing her cinematic debut in Avengers: Age of Ultron, which probably explains why we’re now getting a new 6” version. However, this figure is much more heavily based on the comics than her appearance in the movie.

I’m not familiar enough with the character to pick out which artist’s work she’s based on, but over at OAFE they’ve indicated that she’s not based on any particular depiction of the character; rather she’s more of a “greatest hits” version, capturing the overall vibe of the character but not specific to any one iteration. To me, she looks like it’s taken a lot of cues from the 2012 Marvel Universe figure. The head is different, and you can tell the cape is newly sculpted rather than simply being sized up, but the basic look is quite similar.  

Overall, I think she looks pretty good. She hits the right notes for someone like me who has a passing familiarity with the character but isn’t familiar enough with the minutiae to find fault. My main issue from a sculpting perspective is that the tops of her boots aren’t sculpted as on the 2012 figure; rather, they’re just painted on. This is likely to do with the logistics of costing and parts re-use, but it’s a bit of a shame nonetheless.

She’s not quite perfect though. The cape is cast out of a harder plastic than you might expect, and is a little too long. Combine this with the way it’s been sculpted and it makes her teeter backwards, so getting her standing in a neutral pose was near impossible for me – though it does work well is something a little more action-y or combat ready. Invest in a stand if you want her on full-time display though. 

Wanda has the following articulation:
*Ball-jointed neck
*swivel-hinged shoulders
*swivel-hinged elbows
*ball-jointed torso
*ball-jointed hips
*cut thighs
*double-hinged knees
*rocker ankles

Her neck is very restricted by her hair and cape, as are her shoulders (particularly the left one). Some will bemoan the lack of ab-crunch, but I don’t tend to be a big fan of these from an aesthetic point of view.


Most of her is cast in the relevant colours, so there’s not a huge amount of paint. But the paint that is there is well-done over the whole figure; her face was nicely aligned, and her hair has a great wash that hasn’t spilt over onto other areas too. She has some nice overspray on the cape too, which is a great little touch that I didn’t expect to see.

I had a couple to pick from in the store, and there’s a couple of areas to you should check prior to purchase – the bustier area and the pink/red on the thighs/boots are the potential trouble spots I noticed. However, these are pretty minor points on the whole.   


Scarlet Witch comes with two accessories – two of her hex blasts, which can clip onto her wrists. Both are cast in reddish-pink plastic. I had a bit of a tricky time clicking them on her wrists, but it got done eventually. Just be careful that you don’t break the wrists or the hex blasts while you do it -- in fact, popping off the hands and putting them in place is probably a better option. 

She also comes with a few pieces of this wave’s Build-A-Figure – the Allfather. Specifically, she comes with the cape, Odin’s head and Gungnir, Odin’s spear. (Scarlet Witch’s swap figure, Captain Marvel, comes with an elderly Thor head and a different coloured cape, so you have your choice of who you can build).  


Scarlet Witch was a very satisfactory first entry into the world of Marvel Legends, and I can definitely see myself picking up a few more in the future. They’re a little pricey at retail ($35AUD – even more if you’re getting them from a speciality store!) but if you can find them on sale I think they’re worth picking up.

On a side note, I would love to collect the Allfather Build-A-Figure, but I am just not sold on most of the figures I would need to buy to get him. Thor and Captain Marvel both look fantastic. Hawkeye’s designers have done a good job of turning an unacceptable costume into something that looks pretty good…but Machine Man, Iron Fist and Sentry are tougher sells for me. I don’t think I can justify it, unless I suddenly come into some big money.  

Sunday, 5 April 2015

Lego Pirates -- Treasure Island

Lego Pirates – Treasure Island

Code: 70411
Pieces: 180
Build Time: ½ hour

Year: 2015


Pirates was the theme that really made me fall in love with Lego as a child. I don’t remember who bought me my first batch of it – probably Mum and Dad – but it would go on to cast a long shadow over my childhood. So when word began to leak of a new Pirates set in 2015 (which we now know to be the Brick Bounty) my hopes were high that other sets might be announced to accompany it.

My wishes were granted only a few months later when a range of additional regular sets (and one Juniors set) were announced. I was excited that the theme was returning, but a little underwhelmed with the sets themselves at first glance. However, now that they’ve shown up instore and I’m seeing them in person, I’m much more pleased with them. They’re not perfect, but today we look at the first of the  


3 minifigures and two animals are included in this set – a Pirate Princess, a male Pirate, a Bluecoat, a crocodile and a parrot.

The Pirate Princess is one of the best minifigures I’ve seen in a long time. Decked out in an eyepatch, and bearing a spyglass and cutlass, she’ll take on any man fool enough to challenge her leadership – and feed them to the crocodile that keeps lurking around her hideout. She’s also got two faces – happy and angry – and is a really cool addition to the Pirates range. 

The male pirate on the other hand, is a little disconcerting. Traditionally the Pirates have looked rowdy and raucous, while the Imperials (or Bluecoats as they’re now known) were stern, stuffy and staid. There was no clear good guy or bad guy; just your personal preference, though it would have been easy to assume the Pirates were actually the good guys (and certainly were in my own play). But this male pirate actually looks quite sinister. Liver rings hang under his eyes, and an unpleasant scowl crosses his visage. He’s an impressive minifigure, but I can’t help but think he pushes the line a little too overtly into villain territory. 

The parrot looks to be the same mould as the 1980s/1990s Pirates parrot, and is similarly coloured. The red and green colouring is quite uneven, but this is a result of the moulding process – no two should ever be quite the same. I always loved the parrot and monkey figures from the Pirates sets, so I’m thrilled to see it return again. Hopefully we’ll see more monkeys soon too.

The Bluecoat is probably the least interesting of the three, but that’s not because he’s bad. His face is just a generic smirk, but he comes with some really cool accessories. His hat is a little fancier than the one I grew up with, but it’s been in use since at least the 2009 Pirates series. The feather on the top is a really nice touch. Also, the epaulettes and the backpack really mark the character out as distinguished – he’s clearly a cut above those ruffian pirates!

It seems that the crocodile is a completely new mould, though to me it doesn’t look drastically different to the original one that’s been around since 1994. He’s articulated at two points (a hinge at the jaw and a swivel at the tail). He’s also got holes in his mouth that will let him chomp on one of the oars, in one of two ways – sideways and front on.


Treasure Island itself is a fun playset, consisting of a skull-shaped cave and a small jetty which extends out over the water, supported by a pile of roughly-hewn rocks. If you have set 70409 (Shipwreck Defence) it actually connects up at the jetty, but I haven’t been able to find that set instore anywhere as yet.   

The jetty features a small table with a bottle of grog (presumably rum), and a few different spots for you to perch the parrot. There’s a small half-barrel too, which seems to serve as an improvised boat for the pirates.

Mounted atop the skull cave is a cannon on a swivel. I was really pleased to see that it’s one of the old-style pullback cannons – you could do some serious damage with these back in the day, and I don’t doubt that it’s still the case.

Cleverly concealed within the skull is an action feature – pulling the tree down will raise up the skull face, revealing a hidden chest full of gems! It’s not a super-smooth process, as the tension on the chain varies wildly depending on the angle that you position the tree. You’ll notice that the box and the instructions position it slightly differently – the version outlined on the instructions is much more effective to get it open, but slightly less aesthetically pleasing. But it works nonetheless and is a fun addition.

The back of the set is pretty plain, but not completely – obviously the pirates (or Bluecoats) can access the treasure, but there’s also a hidden compartment where the treasure map can be stored. Not a feature that will make you run out and buy the set, but fun nonetheless.

The other major component is the Bluecoat rowboat. Though the mould is identical to the rowboat featured in the Lego Juniors Pirate set that I reviewed back in February, it’s been cast in blue this time and features a few additional accessories. This one has been kitted out with a rifle at the front of the boat, and features some kind of mortar too. The mortar is one of those new relatively new guns that fires off 1x1 round studs, and includes several spares – which is good, as it’s pretty easy to lose them!  


Treasure Island was the set that impressed me most on release, and I think turned out the best overall of the non-ship sets. Though I’m very pleased with this new Pirates series, I’m hoping that the line is a success and we see more sets next year – and for many years going forward. Whether Pirates have the same pull now as they did in the late 1980s through to the mid 1990s remains to be seen, but here’s hoping they do!