Grab your musket and defend your station! LEGO Icons El Dorado Fortress needs you!
It was not too long ago that LEGO reinvigorated the world of LEGO Pirates with their Creator 3-in-1 pirate ship and Pirates of Barracuda Bay LEGO Set. But it’s now time for the Navy to get their own base of operations with the LEGO Icons Eldorado Fortress! But is the Fort ready to withstand the tide of Pirates coming to them? Can it hold fast against the onslaught of reviews? Read on!
- LEGO® ICONS Eldorado Fortress (10320)
Available from LEGO.com and LEGO Stores from 4th July 2023.
El Dorado Fortress is a deceptively big and small LEGO set. Sporting a number of different hinge pieces hidden throughout the build. The build can be displayed as a small closed up fortress, or spread out like a wall and fill up the volume of a space.
The Fortress is built up on a large rocky outcrop which is meant to be reminiscent of the large raised baseplates of old. After building the Batcave Shadow Box not long ago, the PTSD is still raw. There is a lot of detail work that goes into this waterfront rock shaping. Including a hidden chest and small waterway. That being said, I feel like this space could have be used a bit more efficiently to be able to hide some more things down here, or maybe something not as obvious as a hidden chest.
The actual structure itself showcases the all new repertoire of parts that LEGO have made since the original set’s conception. The commitment to using a lot of parts to make the rundown pattern on the fort was a well paid off exercise.
I do feel like there is something somewhat lacking here in the fort however. Something just feels a little amiss. The design against the source material cannot be faulted here, but the Barracuda Bay set manage to grab something old and fill it with character. Here, it’s just not quite there?
The two boats that come in this set are a simple paddle boat, and a renewed version of the trading ship from another old Pirates set. The rowboat is now here in a dark brown, which is a nice colour to get, but otherwise isn’t noteworthy.
The trading ship features a really classic retro design but with a very faithful new crest on the sails. The build does well to try and cram detail into this small ship of a build, and I’ve ultimately got no quarrel with the ship. It just doesn’t feel very market-like or military-like without some more things to add to it. Maybe some barrels or a cannon? Hmm.
The Minifigures for this set are all almost exclusive to the set. Although we only have two pirates, the female pirate is almost identical to the one from Black Seas Barracuda; however her torso is new and exclusive here.
And although it would be quick to assume that the guards are dime-a-dozen, they all feature new torsos. Particularly the addition of the white string printing. It’s also nice to see some new recolours of the hair/hat combo for female pirates here, but I do wish the solider hats had some sort of printing. These helmets detract in a simple one-colour option. It feels weirdly outweighed by the fantastic commodore hat we also get in the set.
The El Dorado Fortress set feels like a faithful recreation of the source material, but with something amiss. The Pirates of Barracuda Bay set (21322) is a set with less than 100 parts more than this set, but somehow feels more inspired and lively than the El Dorado Fortress.
Maybe it comes from the subject matter? Pirates are definitely more quirky and bright coloured. I’m not quite sure. There is a lot of parts committed faithfully recreating the Fortress, but maybe not enough towards also giving a sense of fun or comedic joy. Maybe the inclusion of destructible walls, a cannon for the pirates and more items like food or maps for them to steal might have gotten me a bit more excited about the set.
It’s a Pirate fan’s dream to have a set to balance against Barracuda Bay, but it’s not a day 1 purchase for me.
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