With the final (?) chapter of the Pirates of the Caribbean saga now in theaters, it seemed like now would be a good time to look at another set from Chinese building block brand Enlighten’s Legendary Pirates theme: set 1307, “Son of the Ocean.”
The online seller from whom I sourced this set unfortunately did not offer the option to purchase it with the original packaging, but they did ship all three numbered bags and the instruction booklet. There also was a small bag containing two rubber bands important to the build which I discovered much later at the bottom of the seller’s bubble mailer. If you do purchase this set, make sure to have those bands before you begin building.
As with Lego sets of a certain size, the numbers on the bags correspond to sections in the instruction booklet. This makes building relatively painless and greatly speeds up the building process.
The set contains two printed elements, excluding the minifigures. The flag element is printed on both sides.
This transparent yellow mug is also included…
… I probably would have chosen any color other than yellow for the mug. I guess potable water was something of a rarity on the high seas whenever this theme is supposed to take place.
For the most part, my overall impressions on the completed model are positive. The parts that make up the ship’s hull have strong clutch. The golden cannon is mounted to a turntable, allowing it to be aimed both port and starboard. Like Lego’s cannon, Enlighten’s version is also spring-loaded and is capable of firing 1×1 cylindrical bricks (four are supplied).
The packaging doesn’t really do justice to the ship’s fire-breathing dragon masthead and how well it’s shaped. The masthead has two jewel elements for eyes. I would probably store my precious gems below deck if I was a pirate, but they do look pretty striking. Unfortunately, the masthead is only held together by one or two studs at certain points, and the clutch power isn’t strong enough to keep the build together under moderate jostling.
The ship has a cabin where the map and mug of mysterious yellow liquid are found. The cabin is mostly decorative, though, as there is very little space for the crew to move around in it. You can get them in there, but it won’t be without some effort.
Perhaps the most pleasant surprise to the build was discovering that the paddle wheels are geared to move when the ship is pushed or pulled across a flat surface. It’s a pretty cool feature and works really well!
The model isn’t without its flaws, however. For one thing, how is this ship powered? Is it steam-powered? Internal combustion engine? If it’s either one, where’s the smokestack? Is it magic-powered? Maybe it’s pedal-powered. I like the idea that there are two half-dead crew members on treadmills below deck.
This leads to my second gripe with the model: how does anybody steer the thing? There’s no pilot wheel! You could maybe say turning the cannon steers the ship. That doesn’t really make it an effective attack craft, though. Even a couple of levers would have gone a long way to give some indication of how the characters change the ship’s course.
Finally, how does one get to the upper deck? It’s fenced off, but there’s no access hatch in the cabin. The very least the set’s designers could have done was added a ladder going from the main deck to the upper deck. As it is, I guess characters will have to magically materialize on the upper deck. Not that they have any reason to travel to the upper deck. It would have been a good spot for a pilot wheel.
The two included minifigures look pretty cool! The printing is crisp, limbs are tight. No printing on the back of the figures, though.
One final note: a brick separator was included with the set, which was a most welcome bonus. It’s the first one I’ve received with any Enlighten set. Perhaps the most surprising thing is that Enlighten didn’t take the easy route and copy Lego’s brick separator.
It should go without stating, but I give this set a qualified recommendation. Despite a few unfortunate omissions, I found a lot to like about Son of the Ocean (That’s the name of the boat, right?). It’s got a great play feature, and it’s got a cool look. The minifigures are nearly on par with those of Lego. It would have been nice if they had included some element of conflict in the set, but the absence of conflict doesn’t necessarily make it a poor set. And some pirate booty (treasure, you dirty scoundrels).
One thing that I sort of glossed over in the main body of my review is the quality of the parts. While the elements that comprise the ship’s hull do clutch well, other elements do not have the same power. Some of the gold claws at the ship’s fore have a tendency to come loose. The 8×10 plate that makes up the cabin’s roof was slightly warped and did not want to stay seated on studs without some pressure. Not the end of the world, but it still shows that Enlighten still has a little way to go if they want to compete with the major brands in the global market.
In the time since the launch of the Legendary Pirates theme, Enlighten has been on a tear and rolled out five other themes. It’s a bold move that seems to announce to the world their ambitions to be seen as a major brand. It’s a shame then that their availability outside of Asia has been limited to online marketplaces like eBay or AliExpress. With wider distribution, Enlighten could see their major brand aspirations become a reality.