Set Review: 4191 The Captain's Cabin
Wednesday, June 1st, 2011 at 8:14pm
As the fourth Pirates of the Caribbean movie hits theaters, LEGO fans can capture a piece of the movie in the new sets like 4191 The Captain's Cabin. This set features the ever famous Captain Jack Sparrow fighting two other pirates between a table, a globe, and a shelf. At $11.99, this is the cheapest PotC set, but is it worth picking up? Read on and see for yourself.
From the design of the box to the instruction manual, these are the first things you see before building the set.
The box art certainly shows the full set, as the three minifigures fight between the three pieces of furniture. The usual stuff is all there: logos (for LEGO, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Disney, all accompanied by an image of Jack Sparrow) age limit (6-12… yet again I am too old for this set) piece count (95 pieces) and a warning label (hint: don't swallow the pieces, you might choke on them.) The background on the box is a nice blue pattern that calls to mind voyages out at sea.
If you flip around to the back, you get another view of the components of this set, as well as a closer look at some of the more interesting features, like the ship-in-a-bottle and the globe. The legal jargon has been moved to the side of the box, which makes the back seem nice and clean.
The one thing that stands out the most about this box is its size; it's small. It is 5.5 inches wide and 4.5 inches tall (which is about 14 cm by 12 cm, or 17 studs by 15 studs). By comparison, it is much smaller than the Harry Potter set of the same price. I actually think it is closer to the size of the $6.99 Ninjago set Ninja Ambush. So in conclusion… the box is smaller than I would expect for its price. I do applaud LEGO for trying to use less packing material by creating smaller boxes, but this will take some getting used to.
Upon opening the box, we find the booty inside. We get two bags of parts, plus the individually wrapped globe pieces. Additionally, we get a bag for the instructions, which are backed by a cardboard piece to keep the papers all nice and crisp.
But the set doesn't just come with an instruction manual. No, included (in my purchase, at least) was a poster and a character card. The poster is double sided; one side features a promo for the new LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean game, featuring a close up shot of minifig Sparrow holding a pistol and cutlass in a way that I'm sure no minifigure would ever be able to manage. The other side features the minifig cast from the forth movie, as well as some from the previous three. The character card features Captain Jack Sparrow, and on the back is a special code that can be entered online.
But enough about the paperwork; let's get to building the set!
Half the fun is had building the set. How fun is it to build and how easy or challenging is it?
The builds are simplistic enough. The table and globe are over in 6 simple steps, and it doesn't take much longer to build the shelf either. You hardly need the instructions; for the most part, you can tell how they're build just by looking at the front image. Clearly, this set isn't about the building process, but rather for quick construction so you can get onto playing.
Now that the set is complete, we can critique how it looks from every angle. New or interesting pieces can also be examined here.
This set comes with roughly 100 pieces, including 6 extras. On first glace, this seems a little low for the price of this set, even for a licensed theme. But the pieces that are included are worth it. There's lots of gold and brown to go around.
What this set lacks for in piece quantity, it makes up for in piece quality. Here are a few notable parts that come with this set. You get three new long Ninjago bones, which is more than you could get in any individual Ninjago set. You also get the new shoulder strap sword holder. Ben described this in his earlier review as "a mix of Indiana Jones' satchel and the Prince of Persia back sword holder." It works great, but now I want a similar piece to act as a hoister for the pirate's pistols. Maybe next time.
You also have the round map tile (which only comes in one other set), two copies of the magic compass tile (which comes in every PotC set), two clear ship-in-a-bottle pieces (exclusive to this set), and two globe pieces (also exclusive to this set). The ship-in-a-bottle pieces have some really nice details printed on them, and are probably the main reason collectors will want this set so badly. The globe is also nice, although some of the geographic details may be off. (For example, Canada's shape is way off, and it looks like California has already broken off from the mainland and is drifting out to sea. Oh well, I guess the zombie pirates aren't the best Cartographers out there.)
Another highlight of this set is the minifigures. Jack Sparrow is included, and he has to spare off against two dreaded zombie pirates. There is a lot of detail in these characters, as the torsos and heads all have back printing. Plus, it's nice to see some skin tones other than the basic flesh color.
To be honest, the two zombie figures look utterly disgusting in my opinion. But that makes for great zombies, so it totally works. Maybe Jack will get lucky, and his two undead opponents will follow the Collectible Minifigure Zombie's lead and start craving chicken legs instead.
The three pieces of furniture are all simple designs, but they work well. The table makes good use of the traditional Lego skeleton feet and looks fitting for a pirate's cabin. The connection also allows for the table to spin, which cuts down on stability but could be a play feature. (Jack, cornered by the zombie pirate, jumps onto the table and spins himself out of harm's way.) The globe makes excellent use of SNOT (studs not on top) and also allows for the globe itself to spin independently from the stand. The shelf works well as storage for the ship-in-a-bottle pieces. You can raise the hinges to "lock" the bottles in the shelf, but it doesn't make for great functionality. Still, it looks good and stores stuff well, and that's what shelves are supposed to do.
The other half of the fun is in playing with the set. How well does the set function and is it enjoyable to play with?
When all is said and done, this set is mostly about the characters. The zombies have swords and pistols, and Jack will have to defend himself if he wants to get out of this alive. The pieces of furniture, while nice, don't add much to the play value. Rather, they might be more in place if you had an actual Captain's Cabin in an actual Pirate Ship to put them in. So with that said, this is almost a supplemental set for the Queen Anne's Revenge. But if you can't afford that ship, you can still have fun with the three minifigures that come with this set.
Now, I would say that you could act out this scene in the movie… but the movie did not have a scene like the one described in the product description. Sure, Jack fights zombie pirates, and he does find a cabinet with ships-in-bottles stored inside… but those were separate scenes. So this set represents a hybrid scene from the movie. Or else you can create a new one of your own. "Can Jack Sparrow get the ship-in-a-bottle, so he can flip it upside-down at sunset, which will allow him to locate the heart of Davy Jones and lift the ancient Aztec curse?" Or something like that.
Once it's all said and done, how does the set stack up? Should I get it?
What's to like?
- Great detailed minifigs
- Lots of useful pieces
- Ship-in-a-bottle pieces!
- Globe stand is a good SNOT design!
What's not to like?
- Pricy: $11.99 USD
- Furniture doesn't offer much play value
In the end, this doesn't feel like much of a stand-alone set. It comes with some great minifigures and some fabulous pieces (ship-in-a-bottle, globe). From a MOCer's standpoint, it's a must have. And it's also the cheapest way to get your hands on Jack Sparrow. But if you're willing to save your money for something a bit more expensive, you could hold out for one of the larger sets that will offer a little more play value. Or, if you do have the cash, it would be a great addition to the Queen Anne's Revenge. (I assume, since I don't actually own that set yet.) It depends on what you want out of your set.
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