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Lego Maniacs' Guide: Reviews: Pirates : Eldorado Fortress

[Purchase Lego at Amazon.com] 6276 - Eldorado Fortress

Rating: 5 Stars
Pros: This most impressive Pirates structure, in my opinion, stands well alongside other Castle structures of the early Lego era.
Cons: None
Contents: 496 pieces including 8 mini-figs
Price: Discontinued
Reviewed: 16-May-1998
Reviewed by: Joseph Gonzalez

6276 Looming over the Eldorado coast like a gull over flotsam, El Moro Fortress adequately protects the San Juan bay. With near impregnable walls, long-range cannons (and the experienced soldiers to man them), and an underground entrance to numerous tunnels that burrow beneath the fortress and empty out along various well-protected exits along the coastline, this main storehouse for black powder is an effective bane to land and sea attack alike!

While the original Pirates theme has seemed to slip into obscurity a few models will live on in the memory of fans as some of the best models the Lego Group has or ever will produce. The 6276 Eldorado Fortress is one such model that stands out above many. I was an average collecting fan in the mid-to-late eighties and purchased a few of the models but somehow the 6276 escaped my grasp and only recently became a part of my collection.

The Eldorado Fortress is the first large good guys' fortress that the theme received and was also the first set to utilize the oddly-shaped large ramp and pit plate. A low dock/runway runs along the lower front (east) edge of the plate. The southern end of the dock gives way to a ramp which leads into double wooden doors. These doors give entrance to a foyer-like anteroom which in turn opens into a small courtyard which is the central body of the fortress. In the northwest corner of the yard is a holding cell and at the northeast corner is a guard booth with stairs leading back down to the east dock. A cannon situated in the southeast corner of the courtyard looks over the ramp and east dock. In the center of the courtyard is a hinged trapdoor that covers a spacious cargo storage basement.

Second story structures include a room and balcony above the main entrance, an open balcony above the holding cell and a swinging crane (simple cable and hook, no winch) above the guard booth. There is even a third level open balcony above the main entrance.
The fortress is constructed with a Spanish-Caribbean style including lots of open arched windows and brick structures layered with whitewashed plaster (with the plaster flaking off in a few places to show the bricks beneath, a very nice realistic touch). Two cannons, a palm tree, and torch sconces scattered throughout the structure further accent the model.

The set comes with six bluecoat soldiers: four infantry types with the tall shako hats and backpacks with bedrolls, and two commander types (one with a bicorn, the other with a tricorn hat) with different colored epaulets. There are also two bad guys: Redbeard himself and a tanktop sailor. The mini-figs come well equipped with two rowboats and lots of weapons (about seven muskets, seven swords and seven pistols).
Interesting bricks/elements include the 1x5x6 wall sections in white (some showing the plaster and bricks effect) and the similarly preprinted yellow wall corner section with bricks showing through (this one is particularly unique in that it only showed up in two or three sets), plus the 2x6x7 door frame with a barred door (frame is yellow). A side note includes the fact that my set came with the U.S. replacement cannons that included black firing pins without springs.

I have purchased older sets where the actual acquisition involved some disappointment upon assembling the model but this was not one of those. It fulfilled my every hope (except the firing canons) and was a great addition to my collection. The fortress makes a great companion piece to the 6277 Imperial Trading Post and I personally feel there could have been many more models like this to give more "commerce" character to the Pirates theme.

123 readers have rated this set as 4.67 out of 5 stars.
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