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.
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.
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,