RRP: £179.99 / $199.99
Release Date: 1st April 2020
No. of pieces: 2545
Build Time: 7 Hours approx.
Rekindle nostalgic memories of childhood LEGO® construction projects with this LEGO Ideas Pirates of Barracuda Bay shipwreck island model for display and play. Enjoy some calm, quality time alone building – or share the fun with others.
Discover the captain’s cabin, food store, kitchen, bedrooms, supply dock, farm, toilet, jail cell, tavern and hidden treasure, plus lots of fun accessories, 8 pirate minifigures, assorted animal figures and 2 skeleton figures to inspire action-packed stories. This set includes an island that can be split in half and rearranged. The shipwreck can also be dismantled and reassembled to make a ship inspired by the Black Seas Barracuda pirate ship LEGO model from 1989.
The LEGO Ideas range has provided some truly fantastic products over the years, but nothing with quite the nostalgia appeal and sheer scale that Pirates Of Barracuda Bay  brings to the party. It also brings with it a loving nod to a much-loved set from 1989 (Black Seas Barracuda ), and together with the retro box art, we knew this was going to be a special release.
30 years have passed since the Black Seas Barracuda took to the waves, and what’s now left of the Barracuda has been washed up on a deserted island, with various parts of the ship repurposed to suit the lifestyle of the island’s inhabitants. Explore the Captain’s cabin, Jose’s Inn (named after the father of this particular set’s designer), the kitchen, bedroom and jail – not to mention the many other attractions and features on the island itself.
Due to the layout and the many different angles, it somehow always feels like you’re seeing something new. There’s so much that is familiar, but the disjointed way in which the 3 ship sections form the island structure is refreshingly complex and unfamiliar.
The 460-page instruction booklet offers a great introduction, giving a potted history to Captain Redbeard and the Barracuda, ending with the wonderful line: “Now it’s up to you and your imagination to continue the advetures…”. It really sums up the genius of LEGO; creating a set, a brief story and leaving the rest to you. There’s also a backstory for the set’s creator, Pablo Sanchez, with images showing how his initial concept looked. It then shows how LEGO model designers (Milan Madge & Austin William Carlson) took Pablo’s concept and made the finished set we see today.
The build itself begins with the island. The teal baseplates with the curved sand pieces help give the feel of oceans and sandy beaches, and grey ‘rock’ pieces add further detailing, making it truly feel island-esque. Add to that some vegetation, palm trees and crustacea, and the foundation of this island is complete.
Then comes the brown brick pieces which make up the wooden elements; ladders, jetties and platforms help finish off the structure and once you add the 3 ship parts, they all seamlessly connect together and blend into the island. With all these different colours, levels and elements, the overall aesthetic is incredibly impressive.
Build time clocked in at around 7 hours for us, and the whole experience was thoroughly enjoyable. I cannot recall any lull or tedious moments, it was just so fun to see something from so long ago, coming together in a new form right in front of my eyes.
As for minifigures, you get a total of 8 in this set; Captain Redbeard, Lady Anchor, Tattooga, Quartermaster Riggings, Robin Loot, Jack “Dark Shark” Doubloons and the twins (Port and Starboard). There’s also a shark, a pig, 2 parrots, 3 crabs, 2 frogs and 2 skeletons.
On top of all this, you can actually separate the 3 ship sections from the island and connect them together, along with Bag 15 to create the standalone, undecayed Black Sails Barracuda ship. It’s a sight to behold, but the only drawback is how it leaves the island portion of the set. By building the Barracuda it involves removing portions from the island as well as the decayed sections of the ship, and it makes the island seem bare. There’s a lot of leftover parts with no instructions on how they can be incorporated into the island to help bulk it out again, and whilst there is an arguement that you can just use your imagination, it would be nice to have some guidance from LEGO on how to use the parts.
As well as being a highly functioning set that pulls some of the best bits from the LEGO Pirates theme of old, Pirates Of Barracuda Bay is also a statement piece. It’s something that deserves to be displayed for all to see, and no matter what angle you view it from, there’s always some new aspect that catches your eye.
**Check out Issue 67 of Blocks Magazine for an in-depth feature on this set!