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Lego Maniacs' Guide: Reviews: Pirates : Skull's Eye Schooner

[Purchase Lego at Amazon.com] 6286 - Skull's Eye Schooner

Rating: 3 Stars
Pros: This is a classic ship that is excellent for playing with or just looking at.
Cons: The only cons with this set are the escaped ones that make up the crew.
Contents: 892 pieces including 9 mini-figs
Price: Discontinued
Reviewed: 03-Oct-1996
Reviewed by: Joseph Gonzalez

6286 Like a prowling vulture or a black predator cloud from sinister skies, the dark massive schooner, Scurvy Kiss, swoops down on unsuspecting merchant ships in lightning-fast raids leaving any survivors confused or terrified and causing some to rechristen the ship Last Kiss. Led by the ruthless Captain Joan (pronounced Joe-On) Antonio, Imperial ships have gone against him time and again only to be beaten back to return with splinters that once were ships, or worse yet, to be sent to an early murky grave. His character is merciless, his battle tact is legendary, and his ship is the Scurvy Kiss, terror of the seas!

Of the three large pirate ships that Lego has produced, the Skull's Eye Schooner is without a doubt the finest model. The three-masted masterpiece has a solid base of 16-peg-wide fore and aft sections with three 8-long center pieces. This is opposed to medium ships' 14-wide sections that only use one 8-long mid-section (a la the 6271-Imperial Flagship).
This impressive craft has some great features including a working rudder that actually moves as the ship's wheel is turned, four cannons that rotate and slide from port to starboard for firing out either side, a covered cargo area in the fore section of the ship, and a spacious aft cabin section with hinged walls on each side that open to allow you to get your hand inside to move the mini-figs around for battle tactic talks or fist fights (pirates are SO ill-tempered). Another interesting feature is the fact that instead of a standard winch to raise anchor, the anchor chain (okay, it's actually a string) wraps around the vertical shaft of a propeller unit so that as the propeller is turned, the anchor is raised. This particular design looks realistic and I like it a lot.
Unique pieces include green cannon hatches (most pirate ships have these in blue) and a lot of 1x2 and 1x3 slanted bricks and 1x2 rounded-corner "ender" bricks in white. There are also extra goodies like a shark, monkey, parrot and a working winch located at mid-height of the main mast to raise a treasure chest or to lower the additional rowboat into the water.
My only complaint (you're thinking "that'll be the day") is not regarding this ship but rather the direction our beloved Lego Company is going with these ships. This year's large-size pirate ship (a new ship seems to come out every three or four years as the previous ship is discontinued) costs less than the Skull's Eye Schooner, but it also totals at 200 bricks less than the SES. If you compare the two ships side-by-side, the difference is terribly obvious (how could it not be?). The Skull's Eye Schooner looks great on the mantle over the fireplace; that other model might look good behind a fish bowl. I'm a pirate fanatic, so I'll probably buy that other ship (on clearance) but it will be with a begrudging heart and high hopes that the next ship is more substantial.
The pirates are a great theme and eye-popping models like the SES are the main reason why. This beauty of a ship is discontinued but like a sunken treasure of Spanish gold, it's worth a high-seas search.

226 readers have rated this set as 4.685 out of 5 stars.
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