Pirate MOCs

“Van Dyke Island” by Cincinnati

Successful plunder ventures go hand in hand with illegal trade and money laundering, so where better to establish a murky business operation than in the heart of the pirate infested Spanish Main?

One such shady business can be found on the remote Van Dyke Island, the smallest of the four islands nowadays known as the British Virgin Islands. A place where intrepid sailors and other seafaring-rats (that is pirates) can safely unload their stolen goods and recuperate, all under the protection of the finest Italian mobster master builder in the Caribbean, the infamous Cincinnati.

Redbeard enjoying the air of freedom

It appears that Captain Redbeard secured his escape to a new hideout when those pesky Imperial Guard bounty hunters stormed his villa conveniently named Readbeard’s House

Cincinnati writes:

I wanted to build an island where every pirate could rest after his raid: in particular, I was inspired by the LEGO comic “The Golden Medallion“, when on page-9 Redbeard and his pirates dock on a bay to have a happy feast.

I really like all the dark colours (and in fact I used for the buildings the dark red, the dark tan, the dark bluish gray and the dark orange), because I associate them more with rustic structures of the 16-17th century. I also like the dark brown for wooden structures: if I can, I always mix it with reddish brown.

The name of “Van Dyke Island” resumes that of the homonymous island of the archipelago of the Virgin Islands which owes its name to the Dutch pirate of the seventeenth century who made it one of his refuges.

Cincinnati’s Source of Inspiration

Did yer know in 1989 The LEGO Group published a comic book named The Golden Medallion to coincide with the launch of the LEGO Pirates theme?  Well, now yer do!

Inspiration from the Golden Medallion

Scans from the Golden Medallion comic

As part of their marketing initial strategy, The LEGO Group decided the LEGO Pirates theme should revolve around a narrative that fueled imaginations and encouraged hours of play. Along with The Golden Medallion comic, the following year, they released four children’s stories published by Ladybird Books.  These stories threw more fuel on imaginative fire by fleshing out the characters, along with the locations and ships they inhabited.  Some were inspired by official LEGO Pirate sets, others appear to be inventiveness of the books’ authors – or were they actually prototypes that never saw an official release?  We may never know…

In addition, background stories were printed on the box artwork, particularly on larger sets which contained a flap that opened to reveal the cursively written content. Each set had its own unique tale, although they didn’t necessarily adhere to a strict canon with the other promotional literature. Like Bo’Sun Will in the 1989 LEGO Catalogue….

Now three decades later, this cunning strategy still inspires lost boys master AFOL builders to create fantastical MOCs based on these fictional locations and vessels.

The Build Overview

To ensure the fun never stops and access is possible to every corner of the island, Cincinnati again employed a popular, yet challenging modular building technique that had worked wonders for him in Readbeard’s House.

Exploded view of the Van Dyke Island

Cincinnati’s signature building style – hard to master and even more harder to copy – but give it a go, if ye dare!

Two sides, left and right

Yes… with those rock solid foundations this establishment is built to last

Van Dyke Island east side

The daring use of colours and how they all blend together to give that rustic feel, even the colour-blind pirates will nod their heads in the agreement, because this is simply stunning!

The Busy Docks

The dock and the guard

The far east bank of the island features a small and well guarded pier, suitable for loading and unloading the stolen goods, all under the ‘Lady of the Pier’ seductive smile watchful eye

The row-boat and the rocky shore

Shallow and rocky shore is too dangerous for ships, thus all the hot goods must be transported to and from the island via row-boats which provides excellent psychical activity for pirates to stay in shape

Pigs and chickens - meal

When not engaged in larger than life adventures with Captain Jack Sparrow, Joshamee Gibbs can be found safe and sound asleep in the nearby pigs barn

The gardens of Van Dyke

Caribbean pumpkins have a smooth and sweet flavour paired with dense, deep orange flesh – a few reasons why these pumpkins have become so popular among the vicious pirates

The palm and the ananas stand

Boiling the peels and the core with added sugar and ginger for some extra zing is the traditional Caribbean way to make the best pineapple juice you have ever tried – even better than rum

The Base Level

The bar at the base level

At the base level we have the heart and soul of the infamous cozy inn, a place where all the important action occurs – this place being of course is THE BAR!

The warehouse at the base level

Secured with bars and thick ABS wooden doors, next to the bar is the storage room with all the goodies our mind can conceive

The First Floor

The balcony and the monkey business

Hey look, there’s Spinoza! But does he have half of the golden medallion?

First floor sleeping quarters

Right above the bar are the sleeping quarters for the drunken sailors (guess we know what to do with them after all)

First floor cannon room top view

Next to the sleeping quarters, and just above the storage room, is the gun port, the only means the island has of defence (if yer choose to ignore all the pirate ships anchored nearby)

First floor cannon room

Not sure the gunner ought to have a candle and a torch inside the cannon room… but anyways, we will probably hear if ”something” unexpected happens

The Second Floor

The study in the attic

Nerds Pirates seeking power through study and knowledge are kept locked away in the attic (for their own safety)

Second level crane

The top level features a second crane which is used to haul crates… and apparently pirates

Return to the Redbeard’s House

Back in early 2022 Cincinnati emerged from the depths of Davy Jones locker and took the LEGO Pirates MOC Forum by storm with his reenvisioned version of 6279 Skull Island, which he named Redbeard’s House. Now, a year later he’s opened Van Dyke Island for business by amalgamating these two MOCs into one stunning creation.

Do we have here a start of yet another Pirate modular diorama? (See “Lagoon Lock-Up Revisited” by SleeplessNight and “Treasure Island” by Filibbooo)

And if so, will there be enough space at the Cincinnati’s home for future creations? We do not know, so we shall wait and see… very optimistically!

Vand Dyke Island & Redbeard's House

Divided apart, both of these MOCs are works of amazement, but unified they become work of sheer wonder and delight

But Wait, There’s More!

Before we return to the open waters (and daily life), Cincinnati has one last treat in the form of a demonstration video. For those who do not understand a word of Italian (other than arrivederci), YouTube offers helpful subtitles in the language of your choosing. Enjoy, and arrivederci!

About the Builder…

Cincinnati hails to us from Italy, and one thing his MOCs and country have in common is that they are both simply drop dead gorgeous! If you like what you see, you can follow his work on Instagram and his YouTube channel where he regularly shares updates on his brick passion.

If you want to get your mitts on the instructions, visit his Rebrickable account and commit to at least one impulse purchase. It’s OK! We’ve all done it at some point – and we don’t regret a thing!

What Do You Think?

Has Cincinnati surpassed his previous MOC, or you find Redbeard’s House to be a superior build? Would you like to own this MOC? Do you even have room for it? Tell us within the comfy confines of the LEGO Pirates forum by clicking the big red discussion button below.


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