While building sets using plastic bricks and pieces have been popular with children for decades, more recently they have begun catering to adults and teenagers who grew up building models out of bricks and want to continue as a hobby. Often these more advanced models are larger and more detailed than those for children. JMBricklayer, a relative newcomer in the building set scene, caters to these builders with a variety of different model sets including a series of sailing ships. One of these is the Flying Dutchman, the ship captained by Davy Jones.
The Flying Dutchman building set comes with over 3600 plastic building pieces that can be assembled into a sailing ship. The set also includes a display stand that you can build. It is suggested for builders ages 14 years and up and made by JMBricklayer, a relatively new company that has a variety of different types of sets. The Flying Dutchman building set is currently available directly from JMBricklayer (with free shipping) as well as the JMBricklayer store on Amazon for the suggested retail price of $163.99. Currently, you can save 15% with coupon codes. Use MichaelVIP15% at the JMBricklayer site (good through the end of 2023) or VIPMK40101 on Amazon (January 8 to February 8, 2023) to get the discount, which makes this ship less than $140!
When I first picked up the box that had been delivered to my porch, I was surprised at how heavy it was. Then when I opened the box, it was stuffed with bags of pieces which had numbers on them from 1 to 11. The 209 page instruction manual, which was bound like a paperback graphic novel, was also organized into eleven parts so builders only need to open the bags with the pieces that will be used for the current section they are building. Each step in the manual lists the parts needed for that step and then shows where those new pieces go with the new pieces highlighted with a green border to make it easier to see exactly where the new pieces for the current step go. I like how each step only involves a few pieces at a time and some constructs are made separately over several steps before being added to the main model.
The Flying Dutchman is a large model. It is 33 inches long, more than 6 inches wide, and nearly 24 inches tall. Its three masts feature tattered sails and two crow’s nests. Seaweed hangs from the sides of the hull as if the ship has just risen from the murky depths of the sea. There are two gun decks holding 18 large cannons as well as 20 smaller cannons. There are even two three-barreled chaser cannons located in the bow of the ship. There are a lot of other details including string rigging, a cabin below the helm, and the bow of the ship has the look of a giant mouth complete with sharp teeth. Even the railings look like they have been damaged and then patched back together. The entire ship looks incredible.
All of my children were home for the holidays. While we often have a puzzle set out at a table for the family to build, this year, I set out the Flying Dutchman. While my oldest son and my son-in-law took the lead in constructing this ship, I and other members of the family got involved as well. Even with all hands on deck—or seated around the table—it took us several days to complete this model. Everyone had a good time and the ship was proudly displayed and shown to visitors who stopped by the house. While I usually build models myself, I have found that working together with others is a great way to spend time with family or friends.
This set is definitely not for younger children, and the age range of 14 years and up is appropriate. Some of the steps can be challenging. Yet this makes building the ship more enjoyable, just as struggling to complete a puzzle can be satisfying. As such, this makes the set great for adults as well as teens. Children younger than 14 may enjoy working on it with the help of an older sibling or parent. My family was very impressed not only with this model but also with the way in which the manual is designed. We even found the unique tool which resembles a hammer to be useful in “hammering” some of the larger pieces together. The Flying Dutchman is one of a series of ships by JMBricklayer. After building this one, my family wants to build the others as well.
Disclosure: GeekDad received a sample of this item for review purposes.