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40597 Scary Pirate Island versus 6248 Volcano Island
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40597 Scary Pirate Island VERSUS 6248 Volcano Island

Since September, 2023 LEGO Pirate fans have been ruminating upon 40597 Scary Pirate Island and boy! What a mixed range of opinions have emerged from the depths of their minds!

Many have noted the similarities it shares with the 1996 set, 6248 Volcano Island, both revolving around a raft stricken castaway arriving upon the shore of a geological formation baring resemblance to piratical themed iconography…  which may or may not conceal a heavily endowed treasure chest.

40597 Scary Pirate Island in time for Halloween

Is this our first official Halloween/Pirate crossover set?

But which set executes this concept more effectively?


What Does 40597 Scary Pirate Island Offer?

Let’s give credit where credit is due…  It’s a brand new LEGO pirated-theme set intended to sit along side your existing classic LEGO Pirate set collection, rather than find itself more at home in your LEGO City collection; like a roller coaster, tree house, train carriage, coin operated ride, slippery slide, etc.

Also, let’s award points to the designers for not regurgitating the skull island concept a fifth time, for now we have a cave entrance that resembles shark jaws.

LEGO Creator 40597 Scary Pirate Island by Classic Brick Studios

Is Scary Pirate Island scary enough for you? 1

We also receive some piratey parts, although they’re quite minimal and lack new moulds; There be a pirate minifigure, cutlass, an oar, treasure chest, some “treasure”, and… do we count the skull?

Oh, and for the first time ever, there’s a bat in a pirate-themed set, which your voodoo-themed minifigs will appreciate… Wait! We don’t officially have those in the LEGO Pirates theme… yet…

But does the set offer enough?


The Set’s Biggest Criticisms

Initially, a good many AFOLs failed to recognise  40597 Scary Pirate Island’s* rocky frontage is meant to resemble a shark, while others were unclear what that “thing” is dangling from the back towards the front?

The ruins behind the rock formation have been described as “bulky” and redundant.  To be fair, the set was released under the Creator sub-brand, placing the onus upon brick-building components, but this aspect failed to resonate positively among fans.

The fans’ biggest lament however, be a criticism that reared its ugly head during the discussions surrounding the 10320 Eldorado Fortress announcement; the lack of new minifigure head and torso designs.

Undeniably, some AFOLs possess astronomically high expectations for official LEGO set design… but is The LEGO Group dropping the ball in the current era? Or are AFOLs expectations disproportionate to what’s actually feasible?

* official affiliate link to product page on  LEGO.com provided by Rakuten Marketing


How Does it Compare to 6248 Volcano Island?

Despite jumping missing the shark, many did note the similarities 40597 Scary Pirate Island’ shares with the 1996 set, 6248 Volcano Island,  so let’s take a closer look…

Side by side: 40597 Scary Pirate Island and 6248 Volcano Island

40597 Scary Pirate Island versus 6248 Volcano Island

Which set Executes the Concept Better?

Be it 40597 Scary Pirate Island’s unapparent shark facade with obscure ruins protruding from the rear… and crane thrown in for good measure?

Or 6248 Volcano Island‘s amalgamation of skull and volcano, which fans seem to recognise without too much deliberation?

Let’s get the treasure digging shovel out and dig deeper…

6248 Volcano Island

Volcano Island clocks in at a mere 119 pieces but treats yer with two minifigures, given the skeleton is complete with body.

Minifigures included with 6248 Volcano Island

Not only do yer get a complete skeleton, but a rare morion (helmet) piece is included as well

And let’s not overlook the inclusion of the much prized shiny gold vacuum metal coins.

Treasure: Gold coins

There may not be much in that chest… but it’s worth so much more…

The set also packs two nifty action features; the first allowing you to rotate the skull facade rightwards to reveal a hidden treasure cave.

6248 Volcano Island with secret cave revealed

Here be a good place to store booty where none shall ever find it!

While the second play feature is a mechanism that propels the skeleton and molten rock in the air, as though the volcano be exploding with the blazes of hell!

Page 15 of the Volcano Island instruction manual

Pull the pin and then… hoorah and up she rises!

You can find 6248 Volcano in both used and Mint In Sealed Box condition on eBay.
* official eBay affiliate link

40597 Scary Pirate Island

Meanwhile, at 214 pieces (almost 100 pieces more), Scary Pirate Island* offers a single minifigure and leaves yer treasure exposed for prying eyes to see!

* official affiliate link to product page on LEGO.com provided by Rakuten Marketing

The lone minifigure included with Scar Pirate Island

The sole minfig and crane… or is that a flag? 2

Furthermore, we observe another missed opportunity to innovate because the included torso design be none other than the captain minifig from Creator 31109 Pirate Ship*. Only this time he be sporting two solid legs (rather than a peg leg) and a head design borrowed from the LEGO City Arctic Explorer sets*.

The “crane” appears to have articulation but whether it can extend far enough is another matter.   More to the point; why would yer want to hoist anything up to those castle ruins?  They look fragile and their inclusion seems superfluous.  Or are they supposed to contribute to the set’s overall scariness?

4059 LEGO Creator Scary Pirate Island

The set looks very scary in a well lit room

A suggestion Ondřej Janovský put forth in the Classic Pirates Facebook Group was the crane is actually a “pirate flag with a skull with eyepatch. Oh deary my! Either our imaginations aren’t stretching far enough, or we’re in troubled waters in terms of design!

Pirate flag on Scary Pirate Island

Perhaps some parts are best moulded or printed rather than brick-built and barely recognisable

The Classic Pirates shall reiterate that Scary Pirate Island was released under the Creator sub-brand, so brick-built components take favour over molded parts. But how many AFOLs would have appreciated a printed flag piece more? Oh, and make it the version Niels designed back in the 80s, not the modern block-headed version.

Perhaps the designers could have forwent the ruins to focus upon engineering that enabled the shark’s mouth to open and close – at least then, the treasure would be secure from meandering scoundrels inclined to help themselves.

Treasure included with Scary Pirate Island

Don’t be fooled! Those round things are just fish biscuits

And speaking of booty… there only be fool’s gold here.  While the chest is generously stuffed with a goblet and gems; the coins, or lack of, are merely 1×1 circular pieces with a stud on top. Since the LEGO mint ceased production LEGO Pirate fans can no longer acquire freshly molded coins, let alone pieces with that highly desired lustrous exterior.

Conclusion

As the timeless saying echos; “less is more“, and despite fewer pieces, 6248 Volcano Island offers greater value due to its clever play features, intact skeleton and authentic LEGO doubloons… oh, and a printed jolly roger flag.

At the very least, Scary Pirate Island could have included a complete skeleton, or better yet… a second minifigure, ideally with unique head and torso design.

Skull versus the Build A Minifigure Pirate Skeleton by Charlie Winter

What fans got versus what they may have preferred 3

Acknowledged 40597 Scary Pirate Island be marketed towards kiddies who are none the wiser; but consider how many more AFOLs would be inclined to purchase if the set offered a unique minifigure?  Even if they disdained the actual set design.

And especially since “Scary Pirate Island” was marketed as a Halloween set, t’would be fitting to include an appropriately themed minifig. During early 2023 the Build A Minfigure skeleton pirate joined our ranks, so a new ghost or pirate zombie design would have been much welcomed for Halloween.

Hopefully The LEGO Group will consider these possibilities for future sets because demand for LEGO Pirates remains strong!  However, contemporary economic factors restrict impulse purchasing, thus preventing many fans from acquiring every set containing a LEGO pirate. Therefore, the manufacturer must deliver extra value to justify parting with their hard earned gold.


Photo Credits

A big thank ye to the fans who’ve shared their photos with us:

  1. Classic Brick Studios on Instagram and zusammengebaut.com
  2. First Mate Rummy on Instagram
  3. Charlie Winter on Flickr

Be sure to visit their social media profiles and website for more great content!


Is it Really that Bad?

Are passionate fans behaving over zealously?  Or are their criticisms justified?  Perhaps we should be grateful any new pirate-themed sets are released, given more than a quarter of a century has passed since the original LEGO Pirates theme was discontinued.

In a future blog post the Classic Pirates will explore how AFOLs have modified and expanded upon Scary Pirate Island, but for now here be sets with extended background artwork.

40597 Scary Pirate Island classic LEGO System box art

What if Scary Pirate Island had classic LEGO System box art?

6248 Volcano Island extended box art

THAR she blows! The set’s box art depicted the “volcano eruption” action feature


What Do Yer Think?

Have yer warmed to 40597 Scary Pirate Island or is it a hard pass?  Or will yer give it to yer kiddies while you enjoy your main LEGO.com purchase?*

LEGO Creator 40597 Scary Pirate Island by First Mate Rummy

Here is one final look to help yer make up yer mind 2

What could have been done to make this set more appealing? Or do yer like it the way it is?

Join the ongoing battles discussions in the LEGO Pirates Forum and Facebook Group to share yer thoughts on this new LEGO Pirate themed set.

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