Launch & Load Seaport

LEGO Classic: LEGO 6542 Launch & Load Seaport
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Community rating:
LEGO Classic
LEGO Classic
(17 votes)
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LEGO Classic
Place: Poland
Joined: 2015, jan 21
Seen: 20h 27m
2016, jun 4 01:12

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Catalog entry
New sea sets debuted in 1991 year. Exactly three larger sets were released. 6540-1: Pier-Police and 6541-1: Intercoastal-Seaport sets, which were described earlier at Clabrisic are strongly associated with the largest set in Town theme - 6542. All those sets have a seaport. 6540-1: Pier-Police is a police on water, where two boats were included and a small police station. In contrast, 6541-1: Intercoastal-Seaport is a set of closely linked with the 6542. I can say it supposed to be one giant port consisting of two different types of cranes, two container ships, two trucks and a forklift. This can be seen even in the numbering of the docks, where 6541-1: Intercoastal-Seaport has a dock number 1, and the 6542 has a dock number 2 and 3. However, if LEGO designers would decide to release it as one huge set consisting of 1650 bricks, I suspect that the sale of such enormous set would be a bit problematic. Dividing the seaport into two sets were in my humble opinion a very good move. A set of 6542, however, is much larger than the port with yellow crane and is much more functional. Crane with a gantry operates simplier and seamlessly. Besides the long port and crane couple of more things can be found in the set: the big red container ship, pilot's boat, forklift, truck with trailer, five containers and  guard's booth, who guards it all behind the openable gate. The set consists of 1080 bricks and at the same time it is the largest set in Town theme. Lego was very proud from this set in the early 90s. It was present in every water scenery from 1991 to 1993 year. No wonder, because it looks great and I think every kid who liked bricks in those days wished to possess it, assemble into whole and play in the container's transport endlessly.
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Source: 1992uk.pdf Catalogue 1992 UK: Page 26 and 27: Town
I present below one my sceneries as part of the Bebricton city - , where I have used the loading port from this set.
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Bebricton - Seaport


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Loading at seaport
Port in this set consists of six foundation plates, including five straight and one lowered entrance. The port is bigger on photos, because it is the destination seaport in Bebricton city consisting of two additional sets of 6540-1: Pier-Police and 6541-1: Intercoastal-Seaport. The main dock number 2 is the largest, long on the three parts of the foundation plates. This is the loading zone of containers to a ship. The main element here is, of course, port crane with gripper on the gantry. The base of the crane have wheels beneath, which offers the possibility of moving the entire structure along the port through the rails. It is a possibility, which was not available in 6541-1: Intercoastal-Seaport. Red container crane can move in each axis separately. With the use of wheels in base along the port, with the use of gantry in breadth of the port and vertically by means of a rope, through which it is possible to raise or lower the gripper.
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The crane's cabin
The crane's cabin is very easy to access. This was resolved much better than in the yellow equivalent from 6541 set. The roof opens up on the hinge together with the downwardly inclined windscreen. Access to the operator's seat is easy. Two knobs available on both sides moves the gantry. Handle protruding from the right side is used for winding or unwinding the rope, which is attached to the gripper and is responsible for its lowering or raising. It is quite interesting construction, because the rope is interwoven between the mounted wheels, thereby moving the gantry does not change the height of the gripper.
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Lifting the container
Gripper has two black rubbers on the inner side, so that the lifted container has no chance to fall out. While grabbing the container and lifting it, the gripper will clutch it harder when it will weight more. It is really a brilliant solution, and there is nothing to complain about. The crane is polished to the limits. I've especially checked if I'll be able to move container with the crane only and lower it onto a truck's trailer. It is possible to the millimeters. The crane is stable during the operation and no part falls off. Moving crane on rails is smooth and hassle-free. Finally, you can move the gripper very accurately. The mechanism is much better than available in the 6541 set, where the crane's cabin could sometimes fall off from the rotatable 4x4 base.
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The dock number 2 and 3
It is worth to mention couple of words about the port. Two docks are available here with the number 2 and 3, as I mentioned earlier, which you can see in the attached picture.
Dock number 2 is reserved for the container ship, and a small dock number 3 is ment for the pilot's ship. In my Bebricton city layout I hid the dock number 3 replacing it with the connection to the police port. Nevertheless, the pilot will find the place to moor, because there are couple more locations.
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The employees
The port is handled by 7 employees. The two captains, one is steering the pilot's boat and second is operating the container ship. On board of the container ship one sailor is present. Next are three workers.
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The guard's booth
The worker in black apron is a crane operator, in blue is a forklift operator and last in red is a truck driver. The last person is a guard. In the port there are three barriers, including one openable. The guard watches everything that is in the port by blocking the only one entrance with openable barrier, which he opens only to authorized vehicles. He sits, or I should say he rests in a small booth, where he has a computer and a swivel chair.
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Source: 1991us.pdf Catalogue 1991 US: Page 8 and 9: Town

Container ship and the pilot

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The container ship
The ship transporting the containers in this set is greater than the blue counterpart called Diana from the adjacent set, even though the captain's cabin is exactly the same size. Red ship holds inscription 'Atlantic' at the prow and stern, which suggests water transport by the ocean. It is worth mentioning at this point about a possible reference to the brotherly company Maersk. It is the world's largest conglomerate since 1996 offering services of containers transport by sea. Maersk is a company from Denmark, and of course, as everyone knows, Lego also comes from Denmark. The two largest companies in the world, one offering transport services by water and the other producing the world's best toys. I will mention one more curiosity during this digression. The most well-known and widespread programming language C ++, which the operating system Linux is based on along with millions of other software also comes from Denmark, because its author comes from this country. It is indeed interesting how many things is delivered worldwide from a such small country. Returning to the ship under the review, it was in 1988 when the Maersk company started to provide containers transport services through the atlantic ocean. It is possible that not accidentally red ship holds such and no other inscription on the stern.
I managed to find a photo from 1989 of two container vessels (source) called ASL Sanderling and ASL Cygnus, which were used to transport containers through the atlantic ocean (ASL is short for Atlantic Searoute Ltd). The similarity can be seen.
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Similiar real container ship (1989)

Sticker with the sign of a transportion is placed on both sides of the ship, which is universal sign used in Lego sets of 90s. Exactly the same sign has been used in cargo airplane from a set of 6375-1: Trans-Air-Carrier. Originally, the sticker is in one line, but it is terribly difficult to store it in that way. Side of the ship is composed of at least 15 bricks. It is dangerous to stick them together with one sticker. Therefore, I decided to stick it a little differently, as seen in the photo. As a result, every line is placed on one 1x8 brick and the sign of transport is placed on two 1x8 bricks.
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Under the deck of the container ship
Storage is easier and dismantling the ship is much safer. I have lesser chance that I will destroy stickers. Transportation sign is also present on flag at the roof of the captain's cabin and another one is on the chimney. It can not be overlooked, it is visible on each side of the ship. Four containers can be transported on board, which have designated areas. Smooth bricks define each position, which is also important. You do not have to connect container to the deck to make it stable. Placing it at the position is enough.
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The captain's cabin
At the bow of the ship a rope with a hook is located, which is used to connect with the pilot's ship. Below the deck of the ship is one more curiosity. Each container's position can be opened up with two flaps, and inside there is an extra storage of 4x8 size to transport more things you like. Inside the captain's cabin a steering wheel and navigation computers are available. The roof opens up easily, there is no problem to put the captain inside.
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The pilot
Boat of medium size available in this set is a pilot, which sometimes is required for container ships of this size. The captain despite of making very complex calculations and with the large baggage of experience is not always able to perfectly moor at the port, which is why the help is required. Pilot clings to the ship using a rope with a hook. This way he is able to assist in mooring at the port. Pilot's boat has additional storage area also under the openable roof at the front. It is a similar design to the black police boat from 6540-1: Pier-Police set.
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The containers
Five containers were included with this set. Two ordinary and empty containers with a transportation sign, but capacious. The container with the tractor is virtually a common element of each set of container transport, because even a new mobile crane from 6352-1: Cargomaster-Crane set has one. Blue container carries round and square goods. The last container contains a great 8-cylinder engine. I suspect that this is the engine of the ship.

Personally, I think that container ship and the gantry crane is the biggest success of this set. The huge ship makes an impression on each presentation in catalogs and I  sincerely doubt that any kid fond of bricks would not like to have it. Gantry crane tempts with its functionalities and innovation.
One more presentation with the use of this seaport in the catalog can be viewed below, this time from 1993 year.
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Catalog's presentation from 1993

Land vehicles

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The forklift
This is not the end, because two more land vehicles were included in this set! Red forklift, which has an interesting design and is operated by worker in blue apron. The fork is 4 studs in width and perfectly fits under the container to grab it. Forks are on the spring, and it is quite easy to operate them. Pressing the protruding button at the top will lower it. However, trying to move the container by grabbing it perpendicular would be unpractical, because the burden is significant. The container could fall off or the forklift could tilt to the front. Therefore, the trolley has an additional function to tilt the entire fork inside with raised container. The container can be transported safely this way. Another example of an ingenious solution to the problem.
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The truck
The second vehicle is a truck with a trailer. It is analogous to the counterpart from 6541-1: Intercoastal-Seaport set. However, there is one interesting difference. New thick tires on wide rims were introduced in 1991 and used in the truck from this set, which in my humble opinion presents a bit odd as the large wheels of heavy vehicles in sets of Lego. Aren't they a bit too wide for this purpose?
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The truck from 6541 set.
However, since this year they began to appear in the trucks gradually replacing the old high and narrow tires on small rims, which are still present in the truck and trailer in an adjacent 6541 set. You can compare the two trucks and see for yourself whether the new the tires are better or not. New mechanism was used to connect tractor and trailer through the spline and a saddle, just like in a real truck. If anyone remembers the old trucks such as for example LEGO-6692-1, he knows that back in the days semitrailers were linked using a standard 2x2 rotation brick. This was a poor idea, because the trailer could easily fell off, you had to watch out to not tilt it even a bit. New ways to solve this problem could already be seen in 1984 in the transport truck from 6367-1: International-Transport set. However, a solution for spline and a saddle from this set is quite nice, because it differs from the previous ones. Spline is finished with a ball attached to the trailer, which gives the ability to tilt it without falling off. Two containers can be placed on the trailer. The positions are made of smooth bricks and containers stick to it by two protruding 1x2 bricks from the base. The solution is sufficient and the container will not be lost during the transport.


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Source: 1991uk.pdf Catalogue 1991 UK: Page 22 and 23: Town
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In my humble opinion this is one of the best sets of Lego released in 90s. Ever since I saw it in the presentation from 1991 I wanted to have it and even after 25 years the desire have not passed. It is definitely spectacular. Huge red container ship and unparalleled gantry crane is impressive. All that have been arranged in the ideal layout with the modeled land. It was simply brilliant. I suspect that not only I have such opinion and every fan of Lego, even when he disliked Town theme, he can admit that this set is worth attention.
It is worth to mention one more thing. Containers are made of universal bricks and it is not a problem to create more of them by buying bricks separately. In the scenery of Bebricton city seaport you can see that there is much more containers present than those available in all presented sets. I present below few additional containers, which I made with tractors of different colors. You can see them unpacked in the main gallery.
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More containers!

At the end I invite you to view an additional gallery, which presents one day of work in the loading seaport available here.
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The day at work

Alternative constructions

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Alternative proposal
Posessing 1080 bricks, where most are small and universal - only the imagination limits us. It is worth noting that even the container ship was designed with universal bricks. The prow and cockpit windshield were composed of unique parts only. The rest were ordinary bricks used in many other sets, from which you can produce all kinds of things. Designers prepared for us couple of interesting ideas on the back of the packaging, such as an oil rig or the port to build ships with a gantry crane transporting the parts. This is definitely one of the better aspects of the classic sets, where having the desire to build, we can create more wonderful structures providing fun for the next long hours!
Alternative sets:
2016, jun 1 08:44 (23 months, 4 days ago) by Rogdush
2017, apr 9 13:13 (12 months, 22 days ago) by Rogdush
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