The original Pirates sets included the first Lego minifigures without the traditional head with simply two eyes and a smile; they had a variety of different printed features including hair, eyepatches and facial hair.
Alongside the Pirates released for 1989 were Governor Broadside's blue-coated troops who were to fight the Pirates. These forces were based upon the French navy and marines of the colonial era, being known as "Imperial Soldiers" by fans, though explicitly identified as "Governors" on page 16 of the 1990 American catalog. A comic book entitled "The Gold Medallion" was also released in that year, as well as a Ladybird Book series. From 1992-93, the Governors were gradually replaced by the red-coated Imperial Guards, while existing Governors sets that continued in production were considered part of the Guards. Both the Governors and the Imperial Guards used two crossed cannons under a crown as their emblem.
A sub-theme loosely based on a Polynesian concept, the Islanders, was released for 1994. For 1996 Lego changed the entire "feel" of the Pirates line and made it Spanish-influenced. This meant the Imperial Guards were replaced by the Imperial Armada, heavily based on the Spanish Armada. Along with this change, the pirates were also given new faces. For 1997 Lego discontinued the Pirates theme; the theme's end at this time came as a shock to fans, because the Pirates line had always been a big seller.
Two 1996 Pirate sets, "Red Beard Runner" and "Armada Flagship", and one 1994 Islanders set, "Enchanted Island", were re-released for 2001. The 1989 Pirates set "Black Seas Barracuda" was updated and re-released for 2002 for the Lego Legends series. The Pirates theme was brought to 4+ for 2004 and Duplo for 2006. Lego reintroduced Pirates in minifigure scale for 2009, just in time for the theme's 20th anniversary. However, the series was only continued with a single set the following year to make room for a series of licensed products, Lego Pirates of the Caribbean, based on the series of films of the same name.
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Famous quotes containing the word pirates:
“Well, you Yankees and your holy principle about savin the Union. Youre plunderin pirates thats what. Well, you think theres no Confederate army where youre goin. You think our boys are asleep down here. Well, theyll catch up to you and theyll cut you to pieces you, you nameless, fatherless scum. I wish I could be there to see it.”
—John Lee Mahin (19021984)