Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Perfecting 4184 The Black Pearl

When the first images of this set appeared the response from the AFOL community was largely disappointment bordering on disgust. 

I personally felt, and still feel, that this was unfair.  To Lego's credit, with the parameters they had to operate in, I thought they did a pretty good job.  There is a front deck (unlike the Brickbeard's Bounty) and the rear cabin is enclosed (unlike the Queen Anne's Revenge).  There are three masts and the center one has three sails (unlike any of the older ships).  On top of that you get some exclusive minifigures, if that floats your boat (pun completely intended) or could get it even cheaper if you were willing to pass on them (I bought mine on Bricklink for 40% off sans figs).  Furthermore, if you take into account inflation this set costs the same amount in today's dollars as the original good guy boat: 1989's Caribbean Clipper. 

Put those two side by side and I wager you will begin to think that maybe the Pearl isn't so bad after all!  For the price you pay I think you get an excellent model.  Thank you your honor, I rest my case!

However, if you compare the Pearl to the ship as seen in the movies, or even the Lego video game, even I will admit that it is not at all a faithful recreation.  The cost of the exclusive parts for the minifigures and the pressure to maintain the $100 price point meant something had to give.  Accordingly, movie accuracy was sacrificed. 

So I set out to see if, without adding hull sections, I could make the model more movie accurate. Along the way I added a few details that I think all Lego ships should have and the result was fantastic.  Below are some pictures illustrating what I did. 

I completely redid the back.  I added more windows and changed their color as well as making the entire shape more accurate by cantalevering out the cabin and adding the sloped roof.  The ship in the movie also had decorative supports underneath the windows which I mimicked using minifigure megaphones.

I added a working mechanism for the anchor to the front, extended the deck, added stairs up to the deck and installed hatches to access the hold below which I sealed off. 

The middle section was finalized by adding a walkway from the front to the back which tied into the stairs that came as part of the original model.  You can also see the cantalevered windows in the back and the redone shape of the top deck.

Just like when I modified the Queen Anne's Revenge I also made instructions for how to do these modifications so I will be able to recreate them in the future.  Overall I really liked the improvements and felt that they make a great ship even better.

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