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30 Jahre LEGO Piraten: Special im Brick Fanatics Magazine

LEGO Pirates Brick Fanatics Magazine 4

30 Jahre LEGO Piraten | © Brick Fanatics Magazine

Wie doch die Zeit vergeht: 30 Jahre gibt es nun schon die LEGO Piraten und gerne teilen wir das Special aus dem Brick Fanatics Magazine.

Im Folgenden eine Pressemitteilung von unseren lieben Freunden des Brick Fanatics Magazine in englischer Sprache mit vielen tollen Bildern: Ahoi, ihr Landratten!

Pirates – 30 years of LEGO treasure


LEGO Pirates overcame development challenges to launch 30 years ago and sail the LEGO Group to new worlds of story-based play

Pirates is a theme that has endured many a barren year in the last three decades, but at its height, it was responsible for a number LEGO sets that stand as classics today, and from even before its launch it helped shape a creative direction that remains true in much that the LEGO Group produces to this day.

Theme of firsts

The LEGO Group’s fourth ever theme following 1978’s Space, Town and Castle, Pirates built on what a decade of minifigure-based play had established, and then sailed to new lands to pave the way for future generations of LEGO themes. For every Friends, NINJAGO and Hidden Side theme that launches today packed with complete backstory, developed characters, a selection of specifically-designed new elements, and clear, eye-catching aesthetic tones all expertly interwoven into a range of designed LEGO sets, it is with the legacy and history of Pirates behind it.

Three decades ago, Pirates launched as a LEGO theme with many firsts – named characters, multiple facial expressions and female minifigures to name a few – as well as very many new specifically developed pieces, including the first inclusion of firearms ( clarified by the LEGO Group as historical and fantasy).

The sets ranged from small collections of crew-building minifigure packs and castaway rafts to large-scale islands and towering pirate ships, whilst many in 1989’s first wave of releases in particular are still heralded today as classics for their design and innovation. Two that remain fan favourites (and highly collectible) are that year’s flagship sets 6276 Eldorado Fortress and 6285 Black Seas Barracuda. Packing everything an eight-year-old LEGO fan could dream of for an ultimate Pirates set, they offered great quantities of minifigures, numerous play points, and thanks to their large scale, most immediately established what each faction stood for – settled order or unbridled adventure – in a world that was very cleverly constructed just as much outside the boxes and with what came in them.

Story-based play

This was a world imagined not only through beautiful box art, resplendent catalogue layouts typical of the LEGO Group at that time and very many (sometimes unusual) print adverts across the languages, but also through narrative. The battle between Captain Redbeard’s Pirates and Governor Broadside’s Imperial Soldiers (who later became the Redcoat Imperial Guards) was the subject of a comic book, a series of children’s books and even a collection of German-language audio dramas that together helped define the characters and conflict that drove this theme.

The story used characters, locations and ships that were all sets and was continued across marketing, even including a stop-motion film created for the 1989 launch. The US market also had a synopsis on the larger sets‘ box art, inside of the front flaps you used to be able to lift up. Across print media, television, marketing and even box art, it meant that before even opening the set, you knew what LEGO Pirates was about, what was happening in the set in your hands, and why you needed to build it as soon as you could.

LEGO Pirates was developed during an era where narrative-driven play was reshaping the toy landscape. Star Wars, Masters of the Universe and Transformers were all prominent, early examples of how capturing imagination through story and character could inspire play. Entire worlds were created on screen and on the page, through content driven directly back to the latest releases available in toy stores. Pirates opened the door into this new playground for the LEGO Group and, three decades on, they haven’t looked back. The roots to almost every new theme that comes out of Billund, with all the bells and whistles that come with it, can be traced to what was tried and tested with Pirates 30 years ago.

Design challenges

For all that Pirates pioneered for the LEGO Group, it’s remarkable to consider how small the team behind it was, and how far ranging their responsibilities were. It is also interesting to consider now how this was a theme not without hurdles and delays before reaching market in 1989.

Exclusively inside Issue 10 of Brick Fanatics Magazine, design legend Niels Milan Pedersen reveals a remarkable story behind Pirates‘ creation as a theme, and what it truly meant in the 1980s to be responsible for designing everything in the box – from photography and graphics to raised baseplates and fabric sails.

The man behind the LEGO Group’s first character-based minifigure face prints, Niels lived and breathed Pirates and, alongside never-before-seen concept art and specially-created Pirates-inspired photography, he provides Brick Fanatics Magazine with insight and intrigue truly worthy of this classic theme, the first that brought adventure and treasure to our world of LEGO.

Pirates inside Brick Fanatics Magazine

Issue 10 is available to order now at brickfanatics.com/magazine and features exclusive imagery, concept art and an in-depth interview with lead Pirates designer Niels Milan Pedersen.
Issue 9 features a statistical look at the numbers behind 30 years of LEGO Pirates, in collaboration with Brickset – available in UK stores now and online at brickfanatics.com/magazine.
Issue 3 sees concept artist Christian Faber detail the work that went into realising the visuals of the LEGO Pirates line.


Images: The LEGO Group, Christian Faber, Eurobricks, Rambling Brick, Brick Fanatics

Andres Lehmann

Einst mit LEGO City und der 12V-Eisenbahn durchgestartet, Sammler von Creator Expert, Ideas, Architecture und City Modellen und baut gerne MOCs, die hoch hinaus gehen.

5 Kommentare Kommentar hinzufügen

  1. Das waren tolle Zeiten.

    Ich finde schade, dass in dieser Richtung seit Fluch der Karibik nichts mehr gekommen ist.
    Habe ja die Black Pearl verpasst. Und jetzt 700 Ocken will ich dafür nicht zahlen. Wir brauchen Piraten.

  2. Mhhmmm…ein Special zu Lego Piraten???
    Ob das ein verborgener Hinweis sein könnte, das die Piratbay bald released wird?
    Wir werden sehen… ; )

  3. Es ist schon ein Hohn den Piraten Fans Salz in die Wunde zu reiben

    Sollen lieber wieder sets bringen am besten ohne Lizenz

  4. Was ich mehr vermisse, als jedes Thema sind die tollen Artworks and RL-Dioramen aus Katalogen und anderem Marketing, bis hin zu Comics (Piraten-Comic war super) usw.

    Ich muss leider ehrlich sein, dass die aktuellen Kataloge da einfach zu langweilig sind und nicht die Möglichkeiten der Spielwelten zeigen. Im Katalog sind fast ausschließlich dieselben Bilder von den Verpackungen und keinerlei Beispiele, wie die Sets interagieren.

    Ich war gerade bei meinen Eltern und habe ein paar M-Tron Sachen sortiert. Da gab es ein tolles Diorama im Katalog, tolle Bilder und sogar ein großes Poster. Und der ganze Aufwand für ein Thema, was insgesamt ca. 200 DM gekostet hat.

    Zugegeben, die Verpackungen haben seit ein paar Jahren wieder tolle Bilder auf der Rückseite, das war schon deutlich schlimmer.

    Aber hier bei den Piraten fällt es extrem auf, wie toll und stimmungsvoll die Sets präsentiert werden als kleine Spielwelt, man kann sich mit wenig Fantasie da sofort die Welt vorstellen und reindenken, will das Zeug haben und damit spielen (auch wenn es zuhause im Kinderzimmer natürlich trostloser aussieht als hier). Die Verpackungen waren damals extrem gut, die waren im Stil von Schatzkarten und die Lego-Sets waren als Comic-Zeichnungen darauf vorhanden, das sah sensationell gut aus. Diese kleinen Elemente machen das aus, dass man mehr von dem Thema haben will und dass man sich besser reindenken kann.

    Ich denke, gerade bei Themen wie Harry Potter, Speed Champions, Friends, die so kongruent sind, bietet sich das wunderbar an. Zugegeben, bei anderen Themen ist das schwierig, das zu vermischen (Star Wars, Technik)

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