I’m very proud to introduce a new series of content on the blog called Retro LEGO Reviews! As you could probably infer from the name, it’s just like my usual run of LEGO reviews, except that I’ll be reaching deep into my vault (I don’t really have a vault) of vintage LEGO sets to photograph and revisit some really classic (not the theme) sets.
The Retro LEGO Review series won’t see me being critical about these sets – in fact, these posts won’t be real reviews but more of a celebration of a time when LEGO was a lot more simple, when instructions were a lot more complicated and to re-experience some of my most cherished Vintage sets. I’ll aim to do one of these every so often!
Most of all, I’d like you to enjoy the photography and indulge in a little bit of nostalgia.
A bit about my LEGO hobby and how I collect – over the past few years, I’ve been steadily building up my collection of vintage LEGO sets.
It first began when I decided to buy sets that I owned in my childhood that my mum “accidentally” gave away. I didn’t have a lot of LEGO growing up (7 year old me would be pretty damn proud of current me), so those sets were intertwined with very special memories of my childhood.
Because my parents couldn’t afford to buy me a lot of LEGO sets, there were always sets that I didn’t own but had always wanted – mostly because I had seen them at some of my wealthier friend’s homes, or longingly stared at the boxes at the toy store. My vintage collecting then shifted towards chasing down those sets that kid-me had always dreamed of owning.
So here we are. Growing up, one of my favourite themes was Wolfpack (I did a short review of Wolfpack Tower 5 years ago. It’s pretty bad and I will update it one day), and I was always intrigued by both factions – Wolfpack and Forestmen. I didn’t have any Forestmen sets growing up, just the odd minifigure or two but I’ve always been enamoured by them.
So for my inaugural Retro LEGO Review, I’ll be revisiting one of the rarer Forestmen sets – 6071 Forestmen’s Crossing from 1990. At the time of publishing, there are only 13 of these sets listed on Bricklink. It’s not the biggest Forestmen set, but Forestmen’s Crossing more than makes up for its low piece count with a lot of charm, and a very rare minifigure.
Name: Forestmen’s Crossing [Brickset page]
Set Number: 6071
Year of Release: 1990
Price: US$28.50 – View sets on sale on Bricklink
Current Bricklink Average Sold Price: AU$184.98
I was quite lucky with the used set that I bought which came with the instruction manual in pretty good condition. It’s quite large, almost A4 sized and I also love the alternate designs at the bottom.
There were no instructions for the alternate builds, so if you wanted to replicate them, you had to figure out the designs on your own (not that difficult most of the time). They also encouraged taking apart your LEGO sets and to build something with the parts – something that is sorely missing from contemporary LEGO sets outside of Creator.
One of the reasons why Forestmen’s Crossing is so special is the gorgeous printed base plate with a stream running through the middle, as well as a small pond the corner. The white studs on the baseplate act as reference points for the build.
I really miss base plates in LEGO sets – they added so much character to older LEGO sets and I think that we’re all poorer for not having them in most modern sets.
There are 5 minifigures and a white horse included in the set. Don’t mind the plumes, which aren’t 100% accurate! Forestmen is clearly LEGO’s take on Robin Hood.
Despite all of them having the classic LEGO smiley face, each Forestmen has its own personality, or insignia thanks to the different colours, iconic Forestmen hats and their plumes.
I’ve always thought of the Forestmen as kind-hearted bandits who were not caught up with the other warring Castle factions.
Much like Robin Hood, I take it that Forestmen steal from the rich to help the little guy out, and are not afraid to hold their ground when their principles or way of life is threatened.
The Forestwoman minifigure is another factor behind this set’s rarity and novelty. It’s the ONLY female Forestmen character and is exclusive to this set, making her quite rare.
In an time where male minifigures far outnumbered female minifigs, the Forestwoman stood out as a pretty rare occurrence. She also stands apart from her Forestbros with her detailed minifigure head, which does look kind of out of place against the classic smiley faces.
In a theme where women were often relegated to being princesses or damsels in distress, it was really forward thinking of LEGO to give her a bow and quiver, demonstrating that she could more than hold her own amongst the ranks of Forestmen.
The Forestwoman is a pretty rare and desirable minifigure and will cost you close to AU$30 on Bricklink if you would to pick her up. She’s not a minifigure that you’d typically attribute an expensive pricetag to, but due to Forestmen’s legacy and popularity, I can see why she’s in such high demand, especially from collectors of Classic LEGO Castle.
Here’s the complete set! It was such a pleasure to put it together. The build techniques and selection of elements may seem primitive by today’s standards but the aesthetics of Forestmen’s Crossing still manages to retain a lot of its charm for a 27 year-old set.
The set consists of a large tree that connects to a small tower structure on the other side of the river via a wooden bridge.
The bright blue and green hues on the baseplate create a very pleasing contrast against the black tree and grey tower. The large black tree on the right is quite decently sized and is also hollow, which allows a Forestmen to hide between the trunk and surprise their enemies.
There’s a treasure chest on the tower side of the set, right along the river banks for the Forestmen to store their valuables. They seem pretty confident that no one is going to steal their treasure!
I guess you can leave your treasure lying around – which thief is going to risk three arrows to the face to steal from the bandits of the woods?
On the exterior of the tower proudly hangs a shield with the Forestmen coat of arms, featuring the iconic Stag motif.
The tower is a really clever bit of design. In typical Forestmen fashion, the structure is incorporated into a tree, evident by the black branches erupting from the grey walls.
On the second level is an ideal vantage pointfor the cunning Forestmen archers to defend their home from any intruders or detect any enemies from afar.
On the ground level is a familiar Forestmen fixture, a hidden door which opens up to reveal a fairly cavernous room/chamber.
One of my favourite parts of this set is the rope bridge that connects both parts together. It’s rustic and adds a really nice dash of brown to the whole set.
Final thoughts: 27 years on, Forestmen’s Crossing still manages to exude plenty of charm that is sorely missing from modern LEGO sets. I had a really delightful time restoring and putting this set together, and was very glad that I was lucky enough to stumble upon a really well-preserved copy.
This is such a creatively designed set – I really love the two sections connected by the rope bridge. The set is also extremely generous with foliage – rightfully so for a Forestmen set.
It holds up remarkably well and doesn’t look dated at all. Like really well-designed 8-bit video games, good design truly does stand the test of time.
The tower merged into the tree is also such a hallmark of the Forestmen sets, given their propensity to build their fortifications and structures into trees and the natural world.
With 5 minifigures, there are plenty of characters to play around with. The Forestwoman is also a historic and special minifigure which I’m very proud to own.
I’m kinda glad that this set doesn’t include any bad guys or villains. Without adversaries, this set represents a very tranquil, conflict-free snapshot of Forestmen life.
In that sense, it’s the perfect set that embodies all the things that make the Forestmen theme so endearing – camouflage, nature and a bunch of men (and woman!) having a merry time.
Thanks for reading! I had a great time photographing and writing about 6071 Forestmen’s Crossing!
I’ll definitely be doing more Retro LEGO Reviews down the road – perhaps I’ll do something Spacey next!
I’d also love to share more of my vintage LEGO collection with you guys, just to give you guys a sense of the kind of stuff I collect – and maybe inspire you to revisit and enjoy LEGO sets from your childhood.
I’d love to know what you think of this series and if you’d like to see more. Let me know in the comments if there are any Vintage LEGO sets that you would like to see featured here, or if you’d like to share your memories of playing with Forestmen sets from your early days as a LEGO fan!
Great review and pictures! I definitely hope to read more reviews of retro sets on your blog. I have older sets that I absolutely love, like a large pirate ship and some smaller space sets. Like you, in recent years I have purchased a couple sets that I dreamed about owning as a child: the Blacktron Message Intercept Base (an amazing set) and a larger Ice Planet set. I’d like to add several more retro sets to my collection in coming years. I enjoy the detailed body printing and impressive animal molds that Lego produces nowadays. There are also a ton of innovative pieces in new sets. But childhood themes that I grew up with will always hold a special place in my heart. Plus, they are still well designed and so fun to build!!
I need to put together both my Blacktron bases and the Ice Planet one too! They’re super large and take up a lot of space, which is a bit of a headache.
I really enjoyed this review and hope to see more “retro” ones. Like you, in recent years I have collected several sets that I dreamed about owning as a child. It’s so fun to finally build those sets and see that they are just as great as the modern sets. I also have some treasured sets from childhood that it is fun to break out and build every now and then.
Thank you! I’ve also found that I’m a lot more appreciative of these retro LEGO sets now that I’m slightly older and wiser. I’m planning to get these vintage sets on my display shelves, to create a small “vintage” corner!
I really like this idea of reviewing old sets. I’m too young to remember these classics (My classics are the lotr and potc from 2011 lol) but I think it’s great seeing early sets. It would be kind of nice to go back to the old ways of plain smily face where the buyer can create their own personality for the characters, something I never got to experience. I liked this review and hope you do more. Oh yeah and I agree, there needs to be more baseplates in modern sets
I think given enough time, those sets will become classics themselves. That said, this series could go anywhere and even include recent-ish retired sets. I have such a huge backlog of unbuilt sets that I could always just get into stuff from 5 years ago etc.
Make LEGO baseplates great again!
Excellent review and I look forward to more retro reviews! I am definitely interested in vintage Space and Castle sets. Keep up the good work!
Thank you! Looks like I’m leaning towards Space in my next one!
Lovely review and awesome photos as always. Had never heard of the forest theme but recently saw some at Brickfest and adored them. I love any lego with plenty of foliage!
I became less interested in lego in the mid eighties before I hit me teens so I’m sure I’ve missed out on some great sets. I always kept my lego though and so did my husband. Now our kids love incorporating our old sets in with their lego city and friends. We probably kept close to 100 vintage sets and my husband continues to buy more vintage train track to this day. (Can’t afford any old trains though – hopefully one day we’ll find a bargain!)
I had a lot the castle themed lego (no doubt my Dad’s input there) but the horses won me over. My favourite sets as a kid would be the riding stables and horse float. I feel horses were the only animals available in the eighties. Is that right? When I look at all the gorgeous animals my daughter has now from her friends lego I am a tad envious!
Thanks! Forestmen aren’t as “popular” as traditional LEGO Castles or Knights, but that’s why I love them so much.
Vintage trains are expensive! Even regular trains are pretty pricey, and that’s also an area where I haven’t really dabbled in. I do love watching a really good train circuit though.
I think in the 80s there were parrots and dragons in addition to horses? Crocodiles came a bit later.
Kim Westrom says
As always, it’s such a pleasure to read your reviews but it’s great to see you doing a retro one. What a great looking set! I grew up on Legos and some of my best memories were building stuff with my two brothers. I am now 46 and have two children that love Legos(thank God!) and Legoland. We live fairly close to Legoland Florida, so we go at least once a month. But this blog hits close to home as I tell my kids all the time that we will never give away or sell their Legos. I will store them however I have to and keep them for them to have and possibly share with their children one day! They’ll appreciate having them for their kids I think. I’d love to see any reviews on any of the Knights sets in the future if you have any. Thanks for the great read and great pics!!!
That’s so lucky that you’re so close to Legoland Florida, bet the kids love it!
I fully intend to pass (some) of my LEGO down to my kids, who will then pass it down to theirs. The very fact that this set, that’s 27 years old still holds up so well is just testament to LEGO’s quality and timelessness.
I actually don’t have a lot of Knights/Castle sets but I’ll see what I can do!
Anna Gregg says
Great photos Jay! I love the old sets. Keep the reviews coming!
I agree, the current day LEGO Sets just don’t have the same charm as these old ones. The minifigs have such focused, determined expressions, and the sets play features are very lame. I do like the new sets, their pieces, and techniques, but they just don’t have the same charm as the old lol…..
I do admit that I have rose tinted glasses on when I look back at these sets. I guess maybe in 20 years time, we will look a lot more kindly at today’s LEGO sets.
I am almost forty and never had any LEGO growing up. I just started buying LEGO for my kids (plus some for me) 🙂 I dont recall even seeing LEGO at the store. Its neat seeing what was available. Thanks for the review!
There’s no better way to enjoy LEGO than with a kid 🙂 I can’t wait till my daughter is old enough to play with LEGO myself!
Matt Merrill says
I’m looking forward to more reviews like this, Jay! I’m a 40+ yr old proud AFOL, and I have a very clear memory of these sets from my teen years when I was a Lego fan but had to make due with smaller sets. My favorite/most collected themes were the Forestmen, Knights, Pirates (and whatever the good guy soldiers were called), Wolf Pack, Blacktron and the red and white space guys with the “M” on their uniforms (can’t remember what they were called). I had a few pirate ships, smaller space vehicles, a little folding castle, and some pirate themed island sets I managed to scrape money together to buy. Ah, the good old days!
I’ve grown so used to all the different Lego faces these days, it comes as quite a shock to see the classic smiley faces so abundantly again!
Your most collected themes sounds exactly like mine! I didn’t have a lot of Pirate Ships, but I’m trying to close that gap now. It sounds funny but I was never a big fan of LEGO castles, mostly because I couldn’t afford them, but I may look into hunting a few down if I have any spare LEGO money lying about.
I really like the classic smiley faces – they just seem so innocent, even if they’re on warring Castle factions and knights.
This set will forever hold a special place in my heart. I credit it for bringing out of my dark ages. My wife, girlfriend at the time, gave me this set for Christmas. We had been dating for a year, and she said everyone should get a toy for Christmas. The rest is history!
Thanks for sharing your story. Your wife has excellent taste in LEGO – I can see why you married her!
very nice review and pictures (as usual) and great idea to make reviews of old Lego set!
Could you also do a poll, like the one made for upcoming sets, to show the readers favourites sets of the past.
For what concers me, I would really appreciate some reviews of old space Lego sets.
I add a lot of them put somewhere in my cellar; sooner or later I will get them and do some pictures to show you.
Thank you! I had a really great time shooting the photos 🙂
I’ll add that Idea to my next poll or survey!
Space sets are great as I have a decent collection, so I think that will be my next focus. I’d love to see some of your photos as well! I really love seeing other people’s collections or displays, especially vintage sets!