December 2, 2023

I is for Islanders

In 1989, LEGO launched one of my childhood favorite themes: pirates. Five years later, the pirates Minifigures became a little more ethnically diverse with the addition of the Islanders. The Islanders were an indigenous people who inhabited the tropical islands of the pirates world. I really liked pirates, but I loved the Islanders. I collected all six of the sets in the subtheme. The Enchanted Island was the first “really big” LEGO set that I ever bought for myself with my saved up pennies and dimes. In retrospect, it was not that big. It is only about 10% of the size of the Ghostbusters Firehouse Headquarters in terms of brick count. But, at the time, it was colossal to me. It came on two base plates after all. My sister and I had all sorts of epic adventures with the Islanders.

For my sister and I, the Islanders were a tribe known as the Hutuchus. They were a sea-faring people who preferred to be left alone on their jungle islands. Their infrequent contact with the outside world was in the form of trade with the mainland Native American tribe (from the LEGO Western theme of the late ’90s). They were one faction of our little LEGO world that included knights, pirates, wizards, witches, and shamans. The good king and his knights ran the imperial guards and their outposts. The evil knights allied with the pirates. The indigenous peoples mostly tried to steer clear of both factions, though the Native Americans did trade with the Robin-Hood-like rebels of the forest in addition to the Hutuchus. We mostly played with official LEGO sets in this imaginary world, but that comes back to a point I made in my letter C post on creativity (click here to read it). Even though we followed the instructions to make these sets (which many people say destroys creativity), we were still pretty creative in our play that spanned multiple LEGO themes and interwove several imaginary cultures.

LEGO’s King Kahuka from the Islanders theme.

There were three basic Minifigures in the Islanders subtheme. A male Islander, a female Islander, and King Kahuka, the leader of the tribe. They came variously equipped with spears, bows, and arrows. King Kahuka sported a carved red mask most of the time, but came without one in the Forbidden Cove set.

LEGO Islanders

What was your favorite LEGO theme growing up?

This post was written as part of the April A-to-Z challenge. You can read more about it by visiting the official website. Be sure to check back tomorrow for my LEGO themed letter “J” post!

Until next time,



9 thoughts on “I is for Islanders

  1. TNB – my favorite Lego theme was the City theme. Growing up I regularly set up my sets on top of the family billiard table complete with road plates. I only stopped when my older brother and his friend would terrorize my city lol. However, I also enjoyed the Pirate collection. I never got the big pirate ship but had the good guys clipper.

  2. How fun! I love the staged pictures. I feel like my childhood was slightly stunted in that we never had any Legos. My brother borrowed a set from a friend once, and it was awesome playing with it, and then he had to give it back. It sounds so sad now haha. ;P

  3. Actually, the pirates were probably my favourite. I have fond memories of having many adventures with the pirate island and the ship. The parrots and sharks were cool. I didn’t really mix it up with other themes though. Never seen these Islanders before – I think they must have come after my parents had deemed me too old for Lego!

  4. I didn’t have any Islanders sets (in fact I didn’t even realize they were a full series until you just pointed it out). I had numerous different sets, too, that usually ended up blended together: Pirates, knights & castles, space – I think space was probably my favourite – even my pirates and knights eventually incorporated sci-fi elements.

    These days we have mostly Star Wars sets, which my son loves and probably would have been my favourite, too, had they existed when I was a kid.

  5. Nice to meet the Islanders . I love the last picture (a bit scaring!).

    When I was a child, in Spain, Playmobil were far more popular than LEGO. I know they are very different, no real construction involved in Playmobil. However, it still offers a lot of possibilities for playing. My first playmobil were American indians.

    I don’t think that following the instructions kills the creativity. On the contrary, I think it can suggest you more ways to use the pieces.

    EvaMail Adventures

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