Well, it's been forever and a day since I posted anything other than a comic here--and even longer since I reviewed a set! I can't say I foresee putting a lot of them up in the near future, but here's one anyway: the first set from my collection that I've rebuilt as a more-or-less standing addition to my permanent collection in a long time. It's a small set, mostly meriting a place among the "rebuilt" part my collection because it's a Pirate set--and I have a powerful nostalgia for Pirate sets.
I am speaking, as you can see from the picture below, of 6232 Skeleton Crew.
Skeleton Crew, despite being the smallest size of regular LEGO set (as opposed to impulse sets or polybags) that was available its day, has two minifigs: the sailor/pirate standing in front (who was known as "Billy" in my collection) and the skeleton bearing an Imperial Armada (conquistador) helm, lying prone behind him. This was the smallest Pirate set that released as part of the 1996 wave of sets that included the two Imperial Armada sets and a somewhat larger wave of Pirate sets proper. After seven years (1989-1995) of reusing the same Pirate designs against the largely similar Imperial soldiers and Imperial Guards, as well as against the strikingly dissimilar Islanders, LEGO produced a number of new faces and torsos for the Pirate faction in 1996, including both such elements on Billy.
I have long thought that this was one of the handsomest Pirates in my official LEGO collection, and the torso sported remains one of my favourite "historical" torsos, despite the fact that it's now seventeen years old. The head was part of a change in the mid-to-late 1990s from simple designs modelled around the classic Smiley to a much wider and versatile collection.
Nowadays, Skeleton Crew is worth picking up for Billy alone--throw in the conquistador helm, barrel, gold coin, and old grey bricks, and there's nary a piece here that isn't useful in large quantities. In my own collection, though Billy and his dead compadre have returned at last to their standard form, I've decided that Billy is no longer necessarily a Pirate. Obviously, he's no Imperial Guard or Armada soldier but, since he doesn't sport a patch eye, hook, peg leg, or the skull and crossbones, perhaps I can legitimately call him a non-Pirate. I'm running with that for now anyway.