Submitted by Matt Cooper
“This just looks dumb.”
I can’t help it. Every time I look at this thing at first glance I have that thought. It just looks too odd for words. And it’s not just me. This morning when my 4 year old saw it he said, “Daddy, the Lego set you built last night is too silly.” The structure looks awkward, like a duck that didn’t know it was supposed to be a pigeon. This set was released the year after my dark age began, back in 1996. So while I was skateboarding in the streets and Marilyn Manson was shocking people on TV I never even noticed this quaint little theme ever existed.
After my dark ages ended I started going back through old catalogues. I wondered where I left off. Whenever I saw pictures of Time Cruisers I had a “what were they thinking?” reaction. The parts usage is so bizarre, like they just mashed up a bunch of themes. I get the idea. Build a crossover for kids who had Lego from various themes, as most likely did, and allow them to connect. Lego is all about building connection.
So when I got this set for a great price I thought I was just going to use it for the parts. There’s a lot in there for classic Space, Castle and especially Pirate collectors such as myself. But it was while I was building it that I realized that this set was so much more than a mash up. A lot of love went into this weird little build, which I now call Duckie.
Duckie isn’t a mashup at all, it’s an homage. And not just any homage, it specifically honours the years that I was Lego obsessed as a child. As a time machine it’s a Pirate ship with Space wings and jets with a Train cockpit with Dragon bow and stern. The story is of an equally awkward trio, an eccentric man, a curious boy and a saucy monkey. What new mischief will they find exploring the Lego timeline?
It also has amazing play features. The wheels are geared to turn the propellor and flap the wings, something I hadn’t ever noticed in pictures. It has a rotating telescope, classic Space lasers, a look out, and classic Castle mounted crossbows. Also included is storage with costumes for the two in each time period. How cool is that? It even includes time period weapons to equip your crew for any adventure. Ice Planet, Explorians, Pirates, and Dragon Masters all get big nods. In many ways this set is exactly what I want to come from Lego now, a set that is almost exclusively built for play.
In many ways I feel like this line was wrapping up a specific time period of Lego themes. Most were soon after discontinued for long periods. This was a series that sort of said goodbye to a generation by tying them all together for one last hurrah. And it was my generation!
Too bad it’s so dumb looking though.