Friday, August 10, 2012

Flashback - Black Seas Barracuda 6285

When I first started playing with actual LEGO sets in the early 80s, my main love was the Castle theme. I have distinct memories of drawing brick-based castles on place mats when my family would go out to eat, and most of the sets on my Christmas list each year were from that theme. Oh sure, I had a few space sets here and there, but they just did not seem as cool to me as castle sieges and knights on horses. That all changed towards the end of the decade though. That's when the Pirates theme sailed on to store shelves.

I grew up around my grandfather's sail boat. During the summer, I can remember driving up to Chicago and sailing out on Lake Michigan. I guess it should be no surprise then that the idea of building sailed ships in brick form would be so appealing.

When Pirates launched in 1989, I managed to score several sets from the theme. I have a few of them still around in my tubs. They still need to be cleaned before being rebuilt. New sets are kind of getting in the way of finishing up that effort.

While I did land the Caribbean Clipper as the flagship of my Pirates collection, the ship many view as the pinnacle of the line was out of my reach at that young age...the Black Seas Barracuda. The retail price was just too much money and I can imagine my parents taking one look at it on the store shelf and going right for the blue sails at half the price.

Thankfully, this story has a happy ending.

My birthday was in July and I decided earlier this year it was time to remedy a nearly 23-year-old injustice. I began watching every single auction for copies of the BSB that came up on ebay. I set a reasonable price limit on myself with the goal of just getting a complete copy with instructions.

Then, after nearly a month of watching, a wonderful thing happened.

Someone posted a near-complete set (missing just a few common plates) with instructions...and the original box. Also thrown in were two smaller sets, Harbor Sentry (with box/instructions) and Buried Treasure (instructions only). Even better, the Buy it Now was only $10 above my price limit.

I thought about it for all of about 30 seconds before hitting the BIN.

The set arrived wonderfully packed just days after my birthday. After doing an inventory, filling in the $0.50 worth of missing pieces, and giving the bricks a very vigorous cleaning, I am now the proud owner of the ship that's been the LEGO Holy Grail I always thought about, even when I was in my dark ages.

If you have never had the joy of seeing this ship in person, I highly urge you to pick up a copy. It's a great build and really is a shining example of the Pirates theme. Yes, the Imperial Flagship truly is an amazing ship and I'm so very happy to have it in my collection, but the BSB will always hold a special place in my heart.

Of course, now I can hear the Skull's Eye Schooner calling my name...

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