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1788-1: Treasure Chest
Published 11 months ago
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The inventory is 99%+ accurate; only a baseplate is missing, plus a 7x7 castle tower corner, which I replaced with a similar part (no rebricking required). All minifigs and decals are exact.

=MISSING PARTS=
1. https://rebrickable.com/parts/6072/castle-turret-top-7-x-7-corner/
2. https://rebrickable.com/parts/3334/baseplate-16-x-24/

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This set no. 1788 'Treasure Chest' came out in 1995 as part of the "Pirates" theme, and it was the last original model to feature "Islanders"—a short-lived civilian faction that complimented "Pirates" and "Imperial Guard" for the '94 season.

Clocking at 160 pieces and four minifigs, 'Treasure Chest' was a limited release, only available in North America and Canada and not featured in consumer catalogs (even Shop-At-Home editions). The model came in a custom gift packaging—a slightly oversized reusable box, opening on the top and decorated like a tiny treasure chest. There's virtually no additional information and sales history online, so the package must be a rarity!

=ABOUT ISLANDERS=
"Islanders," or "Indigo Islanders" as they were known in the UK, began in 1994 as a third, mostly neutral faction that occupied remote islands and tried to stay out of "Pirates" and "Imperial Guard" ventures. A few "Islanders" sets did include pirate prisoners, though (curiously enough, they never captured any Imperial Guards). Islanders are loosely based on the Pacific Islands' native population.

Despite only lasting one season, "Islanders" had five-six tremendous models released, with excellent design and some curious traps hidden in their builds. Frankly, I was always surprised that Lego didn't continue this epic subtheme for a few more seasons, given a warm reception and significant design investments. But then again, Lego also inexplicably shut down the whole "Pirates" theme in 1997, basically at the peak of its success, and to customers' great dismay.

Three new Islander minifigures were designed, featuring elaborate torsos, custom faces with a bodypaint, and even printed legs. (One of the earliest examples in LEGO System, by the way, as the "Spyrius" droid, a.k.a. Major Kartofski, who's typically recognized as the first fully-printed minifig, also debuted in 1994).

Lego designers also created a few original molds for the subtheme. Both ordinary Islanders and their leader, King Kahuka, had exclusive headwear: a carved wooden mask (Lego part #6030) and a hairpiece #6025. These pieces had new detachable decorations, too, Cattlehorns (#6029a) and Feathered Plume (#6029b). Unlike the actual headwear, plumes outlived the "Islanders" and later got embraced by other themes, such as "Castle" or "Western."

Islanders also got a new mode of transportation—a canoe, Lego part #6021. Canoes were one of the rarest one-piece boats of the era, significantly less common than 14x5x2 wooden boats with oarlocks (Lego part #2551). Besides the "Islanders" lineup, the canoe was only ever featured in two Indians' sets in the "Western" theme, plus a few random boxes later in the 2010s.

Some versions of the Islanders' canoe came with a triangular curved cloth sail, sporting a memorable, vivid logo; the same graphics also decorated the boat's hull (as self-applying stickers) and a minifig's shield.

=ABOUT 'RENEGADE PIRATES'=
The pirates in this set represented a curious exception in the overall homogenous and stable faction. In stark contrast to heroes, who went through three distinct phases from 1989 till '97 (Imperial Soldiers, Imperial Guards, and Imperial Armada, all with different flags and uniforms), villains sailed under the same Jolly Roger flag for many decades (a smiling skull and crossed bones) and had many recurring characters.

Captain Ironhook first appeared in '92, in a small set no. 6261 'Raft Raiders,' escaping (or expelled from) one of Captain Redbeard's ships. According to official Lego storylines, Ironhook and Redbeard were neither enemies nor friends. Next year, Ironhook already acquired a full-sized boat, appearing as a captain in the '93 set no. 6268 'Renegade Runner.' In his final year, Captain Ironhook appeared in both "Islanders" headliner models, set no. 6278 'Enchanted Island' and 'Forbidden Cove' no. 6264, and even had a minifig pack (set no. 1873 'Pirates Treasure').

In the 'Treasure Chest,' Captain Ironhook appears in the most detailed variant, with a wooden leg and blue epaulets. His head was identical to Redbeard: messy red hair, unshaven, with a thick mustache and a black eyepatch, plus an admiral's hat with skull-and-bones.

The second pirate is another recurring character, who accompanied Captain Ironhook from the very beginning and retired a few years after his boss, actually appearing in later "Pirates" sets. He wears a red shirt with black stripes, a red bandana, and an eyepatch on his unshaven face with messy red hair. At the very end of his sailor's career, this pirate finally got an official name—Gonzo Goldbar, as per the spring '96 issue of LEGO Mania Magazine.

=ABOUT THE BUILD=
The 'Treasure Chest' portrays a pirates' hideout on a tiny island amidst the ocean, mounted on a 16x24 blue baseplate. The "building," constructed around a dark-grey BURP rock, has a sliding platform with a treasure chest (four golden coins and a yellow goblet). On top, there's a cannon with six boulders, mounted on a rotating stand. The scarce interior has a tiny open fire stove, a barrel with a lid, few kitchenware pieces, and a rather unusual lantern (first time I ever see Lego part #2566, commonly used for palm trees, in blue). A palm tree, as well as a few palm leaves, decorate the scene.

Besides the ground structure, the set included a crocodile and two tiny seacrafts. The Islanders' canoe has a raised seat for King Kahuka and a shaman drum, decorated with a 2x2 round tile with "zebra stripes" pattern (exclusive to the "Islanders" subtheme, and only ever available in six sets).

The second vessel, a tiny pirates raft, comes decorated with a 6x4 Jolly Roger flag (Lego part #2525p01 typically reserved for largescale sailships and used in only eight sets throughout "Pirates" history, unlike an omnipresent 2x2 flag).

Four minifigures are evenly split between opposing parties: King Kahuka and an ordinary Male Islander on the one side, plus Captain Ironhook and his fellow renegade pirate.

As far as weaponry, pirates came packing, that's for sure, unlike Islanders. In addition to typical hand weapons, a pair of swords and flintlock pistols, pirates even have a musket rifle (Lego part #2561), typically reserved for Imperial troops and rarely used by criminals.

Islanders, who are by the way approaching or attacking the pirate's hideout in this scene, are surprisingly light-handed and only took a single spear with them. For some reason, they don't have neither a bow (#4499) nor an arrow quiver (#4498), which were Islanders' weapons of choice. Damn, at least King Kahuka didn't forget a shaman's rod. Maybe, he's expecting to cast some mystic spells to defeat pirates?

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=SEE ALSO=

6264: Forbidden Cove ('94) >> Islanders
https://www.mecabricks.com/en/models/Gejebe03vKX
by @bils21

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

1873: Pirates Treasure ('94)
Captain Ironhook's minifig pack
https://www.mecabricks.com/en/models/b82xN18lv1z
by @Sizter

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

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

=OTHER NA-ONLY SETS WITH '178x' NUMBERS=

1785: Crater Critters ('95) >> Space
https://www.mecabricks.com/en/models/X8jOV9wO2YJ

1786: Jailbreak Joe ('95) >> Town
https://www.mecabricks.com/en/models/0DvY8Nybj9e
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