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6296-1: Shipwreck Island
Published 6 months ago
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The build is ~98% exact—everything is complete and correct beside the mast. "Flexing" the net correctly wasn't easy, so I gave up with some geometric imperfections. (I made that 10x10 net out of 20 individual strings.)

=MISSING PARTS=
1. https://rebrickable.com/parts/6067/boat-mast-section-base-4-x-4-x-1-23/
2. https://rebrickable.com/parts/2538b/boat-mast-section-top-16-h-with-4-stud-holes-at-bottom-with-bottom-nubs/
3. https://rebrickable.com/parts/71155/net-10-x-10-square/
4. https://rebrickable.com/parts/upn0333/sail-tattered-with-red-stripes-skull-and-crossbones-print/

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The set no. 6296 'Shipwreck Island' came out in 1996, the pirate's biggest "ground base" and the third-largest model overall that year: following the iconic 'Red Beard Runner' no. 6289 and set no. 6280 'Armada Flagship' (that introduced the theme's latest protagonists, Imperial Armada).

The general concept of this build leads back to the Pirates theme's launch in 1989 when LEGO first presented the wrecked ship's crew settled on the deserted island—the iconic set no. 6270 "Forbidden Island." (See https://www.mecabricks.com/en/models/Qb82xnx9v1z by @MVi). In the same '89 lineup, there was even a same-titled set 6260 released (only with 70 parts).

The '96 'Shipwreck Island,' however, for the first time featured the actual brick-built wreckage of the ship: not just the mast and the cabin like all predecessors. The entire scene fits on a 16x32 baseplate, and with only 216 parts, it's packed with features and fine details.

My favorite aspect, which is only evident from the rear, is the massive skull incorporated in the hull's carcass! (It even has a moving lower jaw, acting as a catapult "trap.") Indeed, it's quite a mystery—does it mean that the original imaginary sailship featured such a unique decorated stern? In a certain way, Niels Milan Pedersen's '93 set no. 6286 'Skull's Eye Schooner,' I think, tried to introduce that concept, but not to a full extent. Or could it be the actual skull—perhaps, one of those giant sea monsters, a blood-thirsty killer whale that drowned the ship in the first place? Or an ancient sculpture uncovered on the island? (See the '94 short-lived Islanders faction). One way or the other, it's a very striking and unique design.

Besides the skull-shaped aft, the wreckage scene features a tiny prison cell, a hidden stash of weapons underneath the deck (the panel with a rotating turret slides sideways), a crane with a 10x10 net mounted on the mast, and numerous accessories. Altogether, again, quite a lot of actionable elements and decorations for such a compact build. I only wish we'd know the designer's name!

In 1997, as part of the USA-exclusive lineup, LEGO presented a more extensive set no. 6281 'Pirates Perious Pitfall,' which incorporated similar-looking wreckage in a larger scene. Thirteen years later, as part of the theme's relaunch in 2009, set no. 6253 'Shipwreck Hideout' came out, which is also loosely inspired by this model, in my opinion.

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=SEE ALSO=

6281: Pirates Perilous Pitfall (1997)
https://www.mecabricks.com/en/models/VzvMywxRvJp

6253: Shipwreck Hideout (2009)
https://www.mecabricks.com/en/models/WRaZ6wegapZ

6248: Volcano Island ('96)
https://www.mecabricks.com/en/models/07vNZ3DVvAm

6249: Pirates Ambush ('97)
https://www.mecabricks.com/en/models/79a85GyX28w

1729: Barnacle Bay Value Pack ('94)
https://www.mecabricks.com/en/models/7l2B6wmy20N

1788: Treasure Chest ('95)
https://www.mecabricks.com/en/models/eDvVXGB82BR

6278: Enchanted Island ('94) >> Islanders
https://www.mecabricks.com/en/models/qxv41Z9ladJ

6204: Buccaneers ('97)
https://www.mecabricks.com/en/models/KbjQrBGgvdG

6251: Pirate Minifigures (1989)
https://www.mecabricks.com/en/models/LyjWYNZpaJr
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