You probably remember from past posts that I’ve always loved LEGO. In fact, I’d put LEGO at a solid number three right behind G.I. Joe and Masters of the Universe as far as favorite toys of all-time goes. I was pretty fortunate back in the day that my mom was supportive of my love of LEGO, and would buy me small sets on a fairly regular basis. Every once in a while, I would get a big set, but those times were mostly like birthdays and Christmas.
A while back, I got my hands on some of the old LEGO Shop at Home catalogs. As a matter of fact, one of the first Time Capsule posts I did here on Retro Ramblings featured the 1987 LEGO catalog. Being how it was a Time Capsule, I refrained from adding any context or memories to those pages. But today, I want to highlight some of the offerings in the 1989 catalog. Let’s check out some of my favorite things from the line in ’89!
Big Rig Truck Stop
I’ve covered this one before in the Highlights From the 1988 Sears Wishbook post, but I’ve salivated over it for so many years, that it’s worth covering again here. I grew up fascinated by big rigs since my dad had to drive them on occasion for his business. Beyond that, they were always around because there was a trucking company across the road. So I had a lot of exposure to them.
And being as how I was a big fan of LEGO and had numerous other vehicles, wanting these rigs and the truck stop just came naturally. It looks like the set comes with one tractor and trailer, one tractor without a trailer, and a big rig wrecker. Not to mention the truck stop itself, and several minifigures.
I could have certainly put this set to good use with my other LEGO city sets.
Victory Lap Raceway
Here’s another one from the city section of the catalog…the Victory Lap Raceway. I had the smaller version of this once upon a time. My dad had come home from a trip, and we took mom out on that Friday night for her weekly shopping trip. While killing time just walking through the store while mom shopped, we found ourselves in the toy section. It didn’t take much of an ask, and my old man said I could get it. But that set only had two cars and not much else with it.
This set features four racecars, two pit stalls, numerous figures, a press box, a walkway above the track, a car hauler, and two base plates! That’s an incredible amount of play time built into this set. And what cityscape would be complete without a raceway on the outskirts? Not a city I would want to live in.
Black Monarch’s Castle
The Castle System for LEGO always fascinated me, but I never had enough of it to do much with. On an episode of the old TRN Podcast, I told the tale of my cousin, Stevie the Tyrant, having the King’s Castle set at my grandmother’s house. I told how he would never let me help put it together. Instead, he would give me a knight on a horse and have me go into another room and pretend to hunt while he built the castle. A-hole.
This castle wasn’t the largest one offered in the line, but it is the largest one in this catalog so it’s going on my list of highlights. I count twelve figures, and four horses. That’s an impressive lot to go along with the castle. Especiall if you had other sets from the castle system to enjoy with this one. Just imagine the many scenarios that could be played out with this set. I know I would using it to create some of my own scenes from Willow or stuff like that with it.
Futuron Monorail Transport System
From the golden age of castles to the futuristic age of space travel. Now while I never really fancied the space sets from LEGO, this monorail always interested me. Back then, I had these dreams of building a whole LEGO city, and wanted this monorail to run through the city.
I don’t know any of my friends who had it, so I have no point of reference as to how big it was, but if it had any size to it at all, it would probably have been pretty cool to surround other space sets with it.
This was the introduction year for the Pirates sets in the world of LEGO. THey first came to my attention in and ad in the back of an issue of Brick Kicks magazine before their release, and when I saw that ad, I was instantly hooked without ever laying hands on them. I dreamed about them so much, I featured one of the ships as a gift under my virtual Christmas tree in an old post.
After the castle system sets, it should have been a no-brainer to go with a pirate theme. That or a western theme (which would come later) would have been logical choices. They went with Pirates, and the sets they produced to back up the idea were great. I mean, just look at these two sets. Let’s start with the Caribbean Clipper on the right. A pirate ship makes a great playset as theres plenty of adventures to be had just with it. From “sailing” it around to waging battles on it’s deck, I can think of numerous things to do with it.
And then the Eldorado Fortress on the left looks like a perfect island based playset. Just think about how much fun could be had by combining the two sets. With the Clipper trying ti raid the fortress, and the fortess having to fight off the pirates…damn, I can still think of numerous adventures to be had with these things. And what you’re not seeing here is another ship that was available, and several, smaller, playsets.
I never did end up with a single piece from the Pirates system, but that never stopped my imagination from running wild everytime I saw them featured in ads or in box art.
While this entry may seem a little mundane, remember that I said I had dreams of building a LEGO city. To have done that would have required accessories just like the ones featured here. The roadway plates, the trees, and the minifigure sets all would have been necessary to pull it off. And I can’t forget to mention the train accessories at the top. I know I wanted to incorporate the monorail system, but a train system would have been awesome as well.
There were plenty of more sets I could have highlighted in this post, but those were the big ones for me. At some point in the near future, I’ll get the entire catalog loaded to the site as a Time Capsule, so keep your eyes open for that.