LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean Review: Isla de Muerta #4181

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With the Pirates of the Caribbean license, LEGO didn’t just make sets related to the new movie – they also went back to the original series! This set goes back to the very first movie The Curse of the Black Pearl with a fine set piece of the Isla de Muerta and most of the pirate cast you would want.

Protect Elizabeth and gain control of the Black Pearl! Only the descendant of Bootstrap Bill can free the Captain Hector Barbossa and his undead crew from their horrible curse. Is Elizabeth Swann the key? They think so! Help Captain Jack Sparrow to defeat the transformed Skeleton Barbossa then free Elizabeth Swann and gain control of the Black Pearl!

Right off the bat, this set includes four different minifigures – and one of them twice! Captain Jack Sparrow is identical to his release in the Captain’s Cabin with one change to his face. Instead of showing off a smug or scared Jack, this figure has Jack sneering on one side and the other side is a skeletal face! It’s a great way to show off the climax of the film when Jack becomes cursed.

The rest of Jack is the standard with multiple layers and an over the top hair and bandana piece. For accessories, he comes with a cutlass and a 1×1 navy tile with a compass painted on it.

Elizabeth Swan looks downright regal in her fancy dress (a gift from Barbossa). Using a dark red slope for her dress, the paint is impeccable. Black and maroon with golden trim, the whole outfit is amazing. Around her neck is a golden pendant. Her hair is the color of butterscotch pudding and flows over her shoulders.

Like most figures, Elizabeth has two faces. One is her politely smiling while the other is her looking pissed. Not scared mind you, actually pissed off. It’s very fitting for the character but she doesn’t come with any accessories.

Barbossa was the pirate that led a mutiny against Jack Sparrow and accidentally cursed his entire crew with Aztec gold. But even without that knowledge, this figure is a fantastic looking pirate captain. Wearing a black duster over a maroon and gold robe, his outfit commands attention. Across his shoulder is a holster for his sword, while his head is topped with a large billowy hate like a Musketeer.

Barbossa’s face is slightly smirking with wild facial hair on it. Unlike other figures, he doesn’t have an extra face painted on. For accessories, he comes with a cutlass, a bright green apple and the sword sheath.

The final figure is also Barbossa – but his skeletal form! Utilizing the newer Ninjago skeleton designs, Skeletal Barbossa is wearing big black boots and has a sheath over his shoulder. All of his accessories match human Barbossa, so you get another cutlass, apple, sheath and large hat with a navy plume in it.

Skeletal Barbossa’s face is new showing off the same beard and mustache. The eyes are sunken and his lipless mouth looks very angry. It’s a very unique looking head.

Instead of being one large build, LEGO decided to make three smaller builds to give this set more play value. First is the rowboat, a design that hasn’t changed in decades. Cast in brown plastic with matching oars, the boat looks great. A lantern is on the bow and two benches are in it for seating. It isn’t exciting, but it’s a great little piece.

The second standalone part is the chest full of the cursed Aztec gold. The stone chest has a removable lid and is filled with gold LEGO pieces. These are new LEGO gold pieces and are cast in the gold plastic but aren’t vac metalized like the old coins.

The lid is kept in place by a single peg so it can be slip open. The base is covered in some golden numbs, a new gold brick and a large golden crystal since this was where the pirates kept their treasure. The whole thing kind of reminds me of the Ark of the Covenant.

The largest build is part cave and part water, with the whole thing covered in gold. Bricks, a goblet, a gem and ingots of gold cover the rocky ground and water floor. A large mast can be swung back and forth via a switch.

The main part of the build is a rotating stone wall. It can just spin around to reveal either Barbossa or Skeletal Barbossa (or Batman). It’s a nice little play feature to round out the set.

While I would love a larger play area, I’m impressed that LEGO went ahead and made two different versions of Barbossa instead of just making a skeleton face for him. The four figures are all amazing and only Will Turner is really missing from the mix. The boat, chest and cavern are relatively small and easy builds but they have such a high play value I would recommend this set to anyone who is a fan of LEGO and Pirates of the Caribbean.

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