Wednesday, June 10th, 2015 at 6:22pm by Jason, BZPower Reporter
It's time for another BZPower set review, and this one is taking us across the seven seas. Today, BZPower Reporter examines one of the new Pirates sets, 70412: Soldiers Fort. Is this set worth the treasure hunt, or should it be fed to the sharks? Read on or watch to find out!
From the design of the treasure and goodies to the map leading the way, these are the first things you see before building the set.
The front of the box shows off the scene between the pirates and the Imperials, at their fancy fort. Among other things, you can see that this set has 234 pieces. It costs $29.99 USD, do that not a quite optimal price per piece ratio. The back of the box features some more action scenes, as well as an advertisement for the larger pirate ship set, 70413: The Brick Bounty.
Half the fun is had digging where X marks the spot. How fun is it to find and how easy or challenging is it?
There's not a lot that's particularly interesting about the build, which is primarily studs up. However, the tree and crane constructions are neat.
Now that the goods are ransacked, we can judge how it looks from every angle. New or interesting pieces can also be examined here.
There's a decent selection of parts here, mostly consisting of brown and white, with a few black and grays mixed in. There are a few interesting pieces, such as the string with studs on the ends, brown angled plates, red masonry / brick-bricks, row boat, 1x16 white brick with groove, lime leafs, and green frogs. And, of course, no pirate set is complete without a canon with a red base. You also get two flags for the pirates and imperial soldiers, and both are printed on; there are no stickers in this set.
The set does come with a decent inventory of figs, including the Imperial Bluecoat Soldier, two pirates, the Admiral's daughter, and the Admiral himself. They all have some great torso designs and fancy hats, but all the heats are one sided, so no dual expressions. The Admiral's daughter is the only one with any leg printing, and interestingly enough, she uses the same hairpiece as Elizabeth Swan from the Pirates of the Caribbean set, which is fitting since both characters seem to share a few traits. Additionally, it's always good to see more female figs included in adventure sets like this, especially one who's not a damsel in distress.
This set does have a low piece count for a $30 set, but they do come together to make a fairly sizeable structure. All in all, you get a fort with some docks, and a small boat for the pirates. The boat is nothing special, but it comes with some oars and gives the pirates something to travel around in. It does come with a stud shooter, to give the pirates some more firepower.
The docks are pretty puny, especially the front plank with is very basic. It does include the canon on a turntable, as well as an interesting tree design. The tree uses brown technic connectors with the leaves clipped on the top, and the base is attached to a rod so it can rotate. There's also a frog on it. Unfortunately, the leaves do have a tendency to fall off.
The top of fort has a deck where the admiral can spot incoming pirates and fire his stud shooter. The second level features the loading crane, which is mostly brick built. Finally, the ground level features the prison to hold the captured pirates in. One notable design flaw is that the prison only has three walls, so seemingly the pirate can escape out the back. I'm sure it was left opened to allow for access during play, but still seems like an odd choice. Next to the prison is supposedly a waterway, which the pirate's boat can fit through, although not with the oars in place. Above that is a neat design that uses sign clips to create an angled roof.
Overall, the fort has a nice color scheme with brown and dark red highlights, and is large enough for lots of play value. Theoretically, they could've made it more substantial if they had made this a more expensive set and increased the size and detail. But this offers plenty of play value for a set of its price.
The other half of the fun is in playing with the set. How well does the set squawk like a parrot and is it enjoyable to set sail with?
This set does have a fair amount of playability to it. There are three launchers in this set; one stud shooter on the pirate's boat, another stud shooter on the top level of the fort, and a canon on the docks. Each stud shooter has a few spare studs for ammunition. The one on the fort is angled up, which makes it impossible to strike the pirates when they're ransacking the fort. However, it would be good for shooting them at a distance, presumably sinking them out at sea before they even get to the fort. The canon is the most powerful launcher, and it has a good range of movement due to being on a turntable. Two round bricks are provided for ammunition, as well as a bar that can be used as a rammer to load in the canon. Both sides of this conflict will have plenty of ways of shooting each other.
My favorite part of the set is the loading crane and winch, which is entirely brick built. It uses a technic base to wrap the string around, and then the custom crane extends the string out over the water, allowing the treasure chest to be lifted up out of the water. A minifigure could also grab onto the chest and use it to swing around the fort. While the crane works great for lifting up the treasure chest, it doesn't lower it, because the chest isn't heavy enough to drag the string down, so you'll have to pull it down manually. The crane also tends to angle towards the docks when pulling the chest up.
LEGO jail cells never seem to be designed very well to hold criminals, because there always seems to be some way to knock down a wall and escape. This prison is no different, and one of the pirates can grab the clip on the outside and tear the wall out, giving his shipmate a chance to escape. (This is assuming the captured pirate never noticed the lack of a wall behind him, of course.)
One final feature is pointed out in the instructions. It seems that some of the smaller sets are meant to be combined together to form a larger scene. This set is meant to be combined with 70410: Soldiers Outpost. There is a pin at the end of the docks that will attach the two landscape pieces together and enlarge the Imperials island presence. It's a bit of a gimmick to make you buy more of the sets in the theme, but it's a neat way to integrate them all the same.
Once it's all said and done, how does the set hold up at sea? Should I give it a second look through my spyglass?
What's to like?
Five great figs, especially the Admiral's Daughter. Both sides are well represented.
Sizable fort with good color scheme.
Neat tree design.
Brick built and functional loading crane.
Decent play value, with plenty of projectile weapons for both sides.
Affordable, good way to get into the pirates theme while on a budget.
What's not to like?
Docks are unremarkable.
No back wall on the prison.
Loading crane doesn't lower very well.
Tree leaves fall off easily.
Low piece count for the cost.
I ended up liking this set more than I thought I would. It doesn't quite have as many pieces as I would expect, but they come together to build a large enough fort that looks pretty good, and there are plenty of play features and great figs to go around. It's not a full on pirate ship, but it offers enough of the theme at a decent price to be acceptable.
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