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Brick Breakdown: LEGO Pirates Island

by admin on May 6, 2015

in Building Techniques

(Written by William)

In this Brick Breakdown series I review official LEGO sets, from the perspective of looking at interesting building techniques we can all learn from. Today we will be looking at the #70411 LEGO Pirates Treasure Island. You can also check out the previously discussed LEGO techniques found in official LEGO sets at the end of this article. 🙂

#70411 LEGO Pirates

As you know, LEGO Pirates are back this year. As the movie license of Pirates of the Caribbean is now over, there is no competition for the high seas. This means we’re back to the original LEGO Pirates, with simpler designs, but more freedom in what can be created. Since this is essentially a re-launch of LEGO Pirates, it was necessary to reestablish the two sides of the conflict. This is done with some fairly basic, tried and true designs; the soldiers get their various fort/outpost bases and the pirates get wrecked islands and a cool ship. So now let’s find out what valuable techniques are buried on Treasure Island…

NOVEL PULLEY USE WITH LEGO

Often when you see a LEGO pulley design it is used in a very functional way; basically to lift things up – like a crane in a LEGO City set, or for closing a LEGO Castle gate. In the #70411 LEGO Pirates Treasure Island there are some minor twists to the pulley. First, the pulley is hidden behind tree leaves and is threaded among one of the pieces on the rocky outcrop. This makes the chain the pulley uses only partially visible – which differs from most pulley designs where you can see the full pulley action.

#70411 LEGO Pirates Treasure Island

The next major difference is that when the pulley mechanism is activated, it pulls on a fixed object. The skull wall features a hinge that prevents the wall from leaving its position. The end result is a very specific redirection of how the pulley’s force is applied. In this case, the skull lifts like a hidden passageway. With all the decorations it can be easy to miss this simple yet very clever and effective technique. If you control an object’s movement with things like hinges, then the standard use of a pulley will change its effect. The real task will be figuring out the right placement to anchor the pulley and position the hinge.

➡ DECORATIVE & FUNCTIONAL WALLS WITH LEGO

I would like to begin by saying that you can make these types of walls in any thickness with a variety of styles. The one style I am going to cover is probably the most common and is what is featured in this LEGO Pirates set. I would encourage builders to only view this technique as a starting point and explore more complex designs using the principles found here. In the #70411 LEGO Pirates Treasure Island set a wall that is both decorative and functional is the skull wall section; it has a clear decorative look and it is used as a hidden passageway.

#70411 LEGO Pirates Treasure Island Details

So let’s look at its basic principles applied here. For starters, the wall is two studs thick. This is very important because each row can be dedicated to a different facet of the wall’s construction. In this example, one of the stud rows is all about forming the skull with slopes and shaped elements. The second row is used for solidifying the wall by making it stable and features the hinge that gives it its functional aspect. This represents a clear separation of the two main qualities we are looking for in something that is both decorative and functional. I recommend anyone attempting this type of design to start with a two stud thick wall. It is easy to keep things in their proper place and it doesn’t take up a whole lot of space.

#70411 LEGO Pirates Treasure Island Review

APPLYING WHAT YOU LEARN

The novel use of the pulley seen in #70411 LEGO Pirates Treasure Island set is just one example of how you can alter a simple mechanism. Often by adding your own restrictions to a device, you can dramatically change what the device is capable of accomplishing. Consider any LEGO model you designed with an action element. Then think of ways you can change that action with a hinge or additional mechanisms.

As mentioned in the section about decorative and functional walls, the style described is only the simplest one to understand. You could build the wall sideways to add new complications, or make the wall thinner by using plates in a sideways fashion. You can even go the other direction and add more stud rows because you may want the middle to be functional and the opposite sides to be decorative. Your options will dramatically expand with just a little experimentation. For the LEGO Pirates sets see the Online LEGO Shop.

Shop LEGO Pirates

So what do you think? How do you like the LEGO The Pirates sets? Did you get any of them already? And did you learn from the interesting building techniques used in the sets? Feel free to share your own experiences and tips, or ask questions in the comment section below! 😉

And you might also like to check out the other reviews in this series:

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Kim May 6, 2015 at 12:32 PM

Wow, what a coincidence, I actually just built this last night. It was a fun little build. I chuckled though because beneath the brown platform one left next to the skull on the back there is a gray car door that seemed out of place. I was puzzled as to why they chose that element. Ha ha but it’s a cool set.

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admin May 6, 2015 at 1:06 PM

The pirates probably stole a car and incorporated the door in their hideout place. 😀

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LegoGeekOffical May 6, 2015 at 1:53 PM

Awesome, I know there is another legogeek here but I am going to trademark that so you will have to change your name.
p.s. LegoGeek is a popular name.

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admin May 6, 2015 at 2:53 PM

Yeah, we are all LEGO geeks here! 🙄

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LegoGeekOffical May 6, 2015 at 5:00 PM

Yes we are. 🙄
But you can use it as Lego geek or a Lego geek something like that.

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David Tennant Lover May 6, 2015 at 3:26 PM

Cool techniques, but I don’t plan on getting any Lego Pirates…Mostly because in 2008 when they existed, I bought a lot of those sets. I used to really like things like Pirates, City, and stuff like that. I have begun to realize I now like the movie themes such as Star Wars, the Lego Movie, Marvel Superheroes, etc. the only movie theme I really got was Star Wars in those years. And of course, I miss the Lego Harry Potter theme from the early 2000’s and late 2000’s

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admin May 6, 2015 at 3:31 PM

If you have the original Pirate sets there is really no need to get these as they are quite similar. And yes, sometimes your focus may change, and there is nothing wrong with that. I expect Star Wars to have a very strong revival at the end of the year, tied in with the new movie. And the Super Heroes sets are really good this year. So yeah, this is a good time to get into them. 🙂

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Kimono Jay-Mouth Of Lightning May 6, 2015 at 10:16 PM

Ahhh…. beautiful set. I love the pirates theme! Reminds me of the days when I would be at my grandparents house playing with my uncles (broken) LEGO sets. I remember re-building the old Pirate sets! 🙂

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Ike May 8, 2015 at 1:01 PM

Reminds me a lot of set #6241, the old pirate island.

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