Pirates of Barracuda Bay (21322) Review

Growing up, Pirates LEGO® sets were my favorite. Of all the sets that I owned, most of them were from that swashbuckling theme. Consequently, imagine my joy when I opened a plain brown box from the LEGO Group and found The Pirates of Barracuda Bay (21322) inside. In my prime KFOL years, I saw the end of the original Pirates theme in 1997. I was fully into my dark ages during the resurgence of the theme in 2009, a fact that I deeply regret. Getting a pre-release copy of this new set was beyond exciting for me. I was giddy like a kid at Christmas. Now, I have the distinct pleasure of sharing my thoughts on the set with you.

NOTE: The LEGO® Group provided this set for review purposes. However, the provision of products does not guarantee a favorable review. I will use my usual rating system (click here to learn more) and provide my honest opinion.

Front box art for Pirates of Barracuda Bay.
Front box art for Pirates of Barracuda Bay.

PIRATES OF BARRACUDA BAY SUMMARY

  • NAME: Pirates of Barracuda Bay
  • SET #: 21322
  • THEME: Ideas
  • COST: $259.99 CAD
  • BRICK COUNT: 2545
  • MINIFIGURES: 8.5 (The figurehead is half a Minifig.)
  • OF INTEREST: one shark, two parrots, two skeletons, a pig, 3 crabs
  • RELEASE DATE: April 1, 2020
Rear box art for Pirates of Barracuda Bay.
Rear box art for Pirates of Barracuda Bay.

PIRATES OF BARRACUDA BAY QUICK REVIEW

  • VALUE: 97% (Excellent all-around value.)
  • BUILD: 97% (AMAZING build, full of details. Minor flaws in the alternate setup.)
  • MINIFIGURES: 86% (Nice characters, loads of accessories, but high brick: fig ratio.)
  • ENTERTAINMENT: 100% (WOW is all I can say.)
  • OVERALL SCORE: 95%
Box contents in shipwreck form.
Barracuda Bay.

PIRATES OF BARRACUDA BAY REVIEW

VALUE: 97%

This pirate set  costs $259.99 in Canada. Additionally, the set contains 2,545 bricks. As a result, the cost-per-brick for this kit is $0.10. Given that my current average cost-per-brick is $0.14, you get a good deal even when purchasing this set at full price. I rate the value-per-brick at 94%.

Barracuda Bay docks.
There be treasure on this island, I can feel it in my bones!

There are two variations of the build. The main one depicted on the box is a shipwreck-turned-island-hideaway. That took me nine hours and thirteen minutes to build. However, the shipwreck converts into an actual pirate ship as well. That conversion added 37 minutes of build time. In total, I spent nine hours and fifty minutes putting this set together. That equates to a cost-per-minute of $0.44, and a score in this category of 100%.  Even if you stop with just the first build, I still rate this set at 97%. Averaging my full-time value score with the cost-per-brick score gives an overall value grade of 97%.

José's Inn.
José’s Inn at Barracuda Bay.

BUILD: 95%

To summarize the build for this set in one word: EPIC. You learn a lot by following the 459-page manual. Everything joins in clever fashion. Additionally, there are some amazing build techniques used to achieve the rounded shape of the hull and the tapered stern. As a fan of the original Pirate theme, one of my favorite side-builds here was the Islanders totem head that appears partially buried in the sand. The piece is simple to build but achieves great effect.

A throwback to Islanders.
A throwback to Islanders.

The whole set-up has barrels, hidden treasure, and accessories galore around every corner. There is not a nook of this build that does not have some interesting detail tucked into it. Additionally, everything re-arranges in order to become a full pirate ship. In ship form, all the dilapidated mini builds pull off. Additional sails go up, while crates and barrels of supplies get on-boarded. The result is truly impressive.

Pirates of Barracuda Bay doubles as an actual pirate ship!

The set rearranges into a pirate ship.
The set rearranges into a full blown pirate ship.

However, I do have some complaints about this build. First, in ship form, the interior becomes hard to access. Second, the hold does not incorporate the cannons. They would look great sticking out of the windows of the ship. Finally, in terms of the island, I found that the two pieces of the base do not fit perfectly together with the ruined hull in place. I wish for a better connection there.

Pirates of Barracuda Bay

Overall, Pirates of Barracuda Bay is amazing. The set features near flawless execution in its shipwrecked form. As a complete vessel, it is still impressive. However, there are minor design flaws. With that in mind, having an all-in-one set that comes with two variants is no small design challenge. Since the primary build is practically perfect, I will not deduct much for minor issues in the secondary ship build. I rate this category of the review at 97%.

The galley of Barracuda Bay.
The galley of Barracuda Bay.

MINIFIGURES: 86%

Pirates of Barracuda Bay includes eight Minifigures. Sadly, one of them is a stumpy-child character. That loses some design points right from the get-go for unbending legs. Otherwise, the rest of the characters come with all the standard Minifigure parts. Additionally, they all have front and back torso printing. However, only two have double-sided faces, and none have any leg printing. While these characters pass based on my design criteria, they do not do well on their own. Luckily, this set also contains too many accessories to count. As mentioned earlier, the set includes so much detail. With all the canons, swords, animals, guns, barrels, food, bottles, skeletons, boat, etc., Pirates of Barracuda Bay easily lands a Minifigure design score of 100%.

Smuggler's dock.
Robin Loot at the smuggler’s dock.

Sadly, this set falls into the same trap as other large kits. You don’t get many Minifigures for the brick count. Counting just the proper Minifigures, this set would not even pass. However, the kit also contains two complete skeletons and a shark. I include the shark because it has some articulation. The figure head on the ship is also half of a proper Minifigure. Including those yields a brick-to-fig ratio of 189-to-1, which I rate at 71%. Averaging the ratio and design scores gives an overall Minifigure rating of 86%.

Lady Anchor of the Pirates of Barracuda Bay.
Lady Anchor.

ENTERTAINMENT: 100%

I can’t think of any good reason not to award this set the full 100%. Kids will love playing with this, and adults get an amazing display piece whether it be a ship or shipwreck. As an AFOL who grew up with pirates, I love this set even more for nostalgia. There are a huge number of throwbacks to the Pirates theme of old, including familiar faces, accessories, and even an Islanders ruin. I discussed those more in another post (click here to read). All that to say: I love this set. It has joined the ranks of sets like Ninjago City, Destiny’s Bounty, and Welcome to Apocalypseburg in terms of wow-factor.

Inside the inn of Pirates of Barracuda Bay.
Inside the Inn.

OVERALL SCORE: 95%

This set took me back to my early days as a KFOL. It also fulfilled all my AFOL desires in terms of a throwback, as well as a detailed display piece. I do wish the set contained more Minifigures though. However, despite the high overall price, Pirates of Barracuda Bay is an excellent value in terms of bricks and build-time. I cannot sing the praises of this kit enough. I love it, I highly recommend it. What do you think? Be sure to share your thoughts below or on social media.

Until next time,

-Tom

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