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Lego Maniacs' Guide: Reviews: Pirates : Pirates Perilous Pitfall

[Purchase Lego at Amazon.com] 6281 - Pirates Perilous Pitfall

Rating: 3 Stars
Pros: Principal model is kind of cool with some Indiana Jones-ish traps
Cons: None noted
Contents: 392 pieces including 6 mini-figs and 1 alligator
Price: $55.99 - Discontinued
Reviewed: 21-Jul-1997
Reviewed by: Joseph Gonzalez

6281 King Dandelion Four ruled ruthlessly and died in the same fashion. His death was commemorated (celebrated?) for three months with festivities and the construction of a burial chamber specifically designed to maintain the otherworldly peace of the king. With intricate traps and death machines to dispense the ultimate price to any that would dare invade his journey to the land of his forefathers, the Dandelion Temple on Uxmal inlet has been a very unyielding treasure site to many explorers (few survive the encounter, and NONE have come away with anything other then their lives). Evidence of the last attempt testifies to the futility of such a venture: the skeletal remains of the royal schooner Prince Phillip jut menacingly out of the water The Prince Phillip's demise was assured by the treacherous reefs laying just beneath the lowtide surface. On a clear moonlit night, it is said one can see the captain of the Prince Phillip standing on what is left of his deck and shouting curses at the silent fortress/chamber of King Dandelion Four.

I was once quite impressed with the Pirate sub-theme and while it seems their last best year was probably 1993, subsequent years' models have still shown signs of possible promise but on the whole I've been sadly disappointed with the offerings. In an attempt to raise my spirits I took a chance and picked up 6281 Perilous Pitfall with hopes of finding some good points to the current models. I wanted to see what kind of alternate models I could make and I have had some fairly good results (padding this with other small sets).
The land layout of this set is that of an "L" shaped inlet with what first looks like a dock structure (reached by way of a small bridge), but closer inspection reveals the dock structure to actually be the remnants of a sunken ship. Outlines of what was a deck and prow with a mast sticking out of the water give the ship just enough characteristics to let you know what it is supposed to be. Personally, I like the idea of using the partially sunken ship for part of the inlet structure. I like it much more than the other "shipwreck" sets we have seen lately that seem to be just a bunch of pieces scattered here and there. The land section features two small building structures, one is a wooden shack while the other is a two-level stone structure with a small prison cell on the first level and a second level treasure chamber. A short but wide walkway leading to the second story stone structure is so constructed that putting pressure on the walkway will release a large round stone to come rolling down on intruders. If you manage to escape that trap, once inside to grab the crown, the floor has a built-in trapdoor which can drop would-be stealers down into the prison cell below (or alligator cage if you prefer no survivors). Both traps set up well without being set off prematurely.
The set comes with six mini-figures including three pirates, two Spanish soldiers and a skeleton.
Some parts that make set worth purchasing (at least at a discounted price) are the brown wall sections, 4x4 crescent bricks in grey (make the rolling boulder look like a giant cookie), the king's crown (definitely unique to Pirate sets) and wide-leaf plants that don't stick to bricks very well (but they stick on top of each other just great!).
I wouldn't run out and pick this set up today, but watch for it at clearance time (almost no one is buying these sets) and get it at a good discount price for lots of bricks and a goofy baseplate.

41 readers have rated this set as 4.16 out of 5 stars.
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