Avast ye scurvy sea-dogs and feast ye eyes on my ship ‘o bricks.
Terrible pirate impressions aside, our latest giant LEGO build has been last year’s LEGO Ideas Pirates of Barracuda Bay set. Forming a shipwreck upon an island – or a full ship if you’d rather – it’s an impressive set. Especially for fans who fondly remember the LEGO Pirates series from the 90s.
But is it a fun build, and is it worth your hard-earned money? Read our review to find out.
LEGO Ideas 21322 Pirates of Barracuda Bay
- RRP: £179.99
- Number of pieces: 2,545 pieces
- Release date: April 2020
- Age rating: 16+
- Time to build: ~7-8 hours
What’s in the box?
LEGO Ideas Pirates of Barracuda Bay is one of those sets that features a box-within-a-box. Some bags are in the main outer box, while others are inside the inner box. There are fifteen sets of numbered bags in total, including a handful of un-numbered bags containing sails and masts.
There’s a large instruction booklet and, happily, not a single sticker sheet in sight. The set also contains eight minifigures, distributed across the numbered bags.
LEGO Ideas 21322 Pirates of Barracuda Bay is essentially built in two parts; it’s made up of two island sections that, when finished, slot together to display the full model. You’ll build one island section first, before moving onto the next one.
Each island section starts with some beautiful aqua blue plates to make up the ocean. Rounded beige plates are used to give the impression of a small island. Some decorations are then added to make the sand stand out; some small rocks, an old stone statue, some palm trees and flowers. You’ll also build a decking structure, which essentially forms a stand for the pieces of shipwreck which sit upon it.
The boat itself is in three pieces, two of which sit on one island and one on the other. You’ll build each part of the boat separately, before setting it upon the island. It all fits together surprisingly well; it’s hard to imagine how it fits together while you’re building, so seeing it all come together in the last few stages is a rather magical feeling.
Be warned, though: Pirates of Barracuda Bay is a BIG set. More than most, we feel that images do not effectively show off just how grand the scale of this set is. Thanks to the flags, masts and sails, it’s incredibly tall (60cm), and is 64cm wide and 32cm deep. So you’ll need a good amount of surface space to display this on.
It’s a fun set to put together, though, and there are a lot of fun details included. Each ship part is internally decorate with tables, sleeping quarters and other bits and pieces; and, of course, no pirate set would be complete without some hidden treasure. The masts, despite their sheer size, act as an eye-catching focal point, and the placement of the decking means that each part of the ship seamlessly fits together once it’s all built. We particularly like the yellow detailing at the front of the ship, and a half-minifigure adding impressive decoration to the bow. The addition of some shrubbery around the outskirts of the ship really finishes it off; you get the impression that this really is a ship that’s long been lost at sea.
As you’ve likely seen in the promotional pictures however, LEGO Ideas Pirates of Barracuda Bay doesn’t need to be a shipwreck. You can forget about the island base and put the ship together, back to its full glory if you’d prefer. For this, there’s an additional bag of bricks – you’ll not need bag 15 unless you want to display the ship as a whole – and some extra sails. You’ll need to undo some of what you’ve built so far – like removing the greenery from the ship – and adding a few extra details.
Personally we much prefer the set as a shipwreck, but the option to display it each way is a nice touch. If you opt for the full ship build, the island is more or less superfluous. It’s a shame, because there are a lot of really nice details on the island itself that you’ll completely miss out on.
Play or display?
Like a lot of larger LEGO sets, LEGO Ideas 21322 Pirates of Barracuda Bay works very much as a play or display set. The amount of detail put in here and the eight wonderfully colourful minifigures make it the perfect playset. But its pricetag and sheer size means you’re likely going to want to put it on display. Thanks to coming in two parts, it’s easy enough to move around, but you’re not going to want to do it very often to play with. The main bulk of the set is sturdy enough, but every time we’ve moved it we’ve ended up knocking a palm tree branch or something-or-other off of it.
Value for money?
At £180, LEGO Ideas Pirates of Barracuda Bay is very much slipping into LEGO’s more expensive realms, but it’s right about what we’d expect for a 2,545 piece set. The fact that this set can be built in two different ways – as a full ship or an island shipwreck – means it has a bit of versatility. And the size of the finished model is certainly impressive, so it’s easy to sit back and think, “yeah, I’ve got my money’s worth there”. If you fondly remember LEGO’s old Pirates ranges, then you’ll get an even greater kick out of this set. But even if not, there’s a lot to love for any LEGO fan. It’s a very nice concept, and one that’s been executed very well.