- This article is about the faction beginning in 1992. For the faction from 1989-1991, see Imperial Soldiers.
Imperial Guards are a faction of the Pirates theme. With their introduction in 1992, they gradually replaced the Imperial Soldiers as main adversaries of the pirates. The older Imperial Soldiers' sets that continued in production were then categorized as part of the Imperial Guards faction in the catalogue until their discontinuation at the end of 1993. It can be suggested that the Guards and Soldiers were not actually different factions, rather the Guards was just an update to the Imperial side.
The Imperial Guards were essentially the same as the Imperial Soldiers, the only main difference being the color of their livery and uniforms. Instead of the Soldiers' traditional blue jacket with red or yellow epaulets, the Imperial Guards wore a red jacket with blue or yellow epaulets. The blue epaulets are worn by normal soldiers, and the yellow are worn by officers. Their flag also saw a change to a red and white horizontal striped flag with a crown and crossed cannons in the center, in contrast to the Soldiers' blue flag with a large white cross that divided it into four small blue fields at each of the corners with black fleurs-de-lis on them and with a crown and crossed cannons in the centre. The Imperial Guards seems to be based off of the British redcoats of the colonial era (Napoleonic Wars), particularly the Royal Navy and Royal Marines, while the Imperial Soldiers seems to represent the French.
Along with these new good guys came a much larger base, 6277 Imperial Trading Post, in lieu of the 6276 Eldorado Fortress. But once again, they were outmatched on the open sea, because their new ship, 6271 Imperial Flagship (replacing the 6274 Caribbean Clipper), was still only half the size of the Pirate's 6285 Black Seas Barracuda, which was succeeded in 1993 by the even bigger 6286 Skull's Eye Schooner. This changed in 2010, with the release of the new Imperial Flagship, the largest LEGO ship ever released.
The Imperial Guards took over the mission the Imperial Soldiers had started. They protected the seas and fought Captain Redbeard's Pirates over treasure, but they were more concerned with the merchant side of events since their main base was a trading post instead of a fortress.
The 1992 television advertisement in Canada and USA introducing the Imperial Guards depicted a narrative where the 6271 Imperial Flagship successfully attacks the 6273 Rock Island Refuge to rescue an Imperial Soldier officer bluecoat from the shark and release an imprisoned Imperial Guard redcoat trooper from jail. In the 1993 Canadian and USA commercial, played to the tune of a rap jingle, the cannons of the 6277 Imperial Trading Post destroy the newly introduced pirate ships, the 6286 Skull's Eye Schooner and 6268 Renegade Runner. In the ad for France, the 6286 Skull's Eye Schooner intercepts the 6271 Imperial Flagship leaving the 6277 Imperial Trading Post.
In 1994, when the Pirates first came into conflict with the Islanders, the Imperial Guards continued battling the Pirates. There were perhaps no documented direct encounters between the Guards and Islanders, if any, as none of the Islanders sets featured the Guards as guests while only the 1995 catalogue diorama featured the Guards and Islanders.
By 1995, when the 6263 Imperial Outpost was released it was the sole Imperial Guards set available worldwide, as all other of the Guards' sets released in 1992-93 had been discontinued, as Lego seemed to be winding down the Guards faction in favor of a largely two side conflict of Pirates versus Islands. The Imperial Guards were also guests in the new Pirates HQ, 6279 Skull Island. While the Imperial Guards was replaced with the newly launched Imperial Armada faction in 1996, 6263 Imperial Outpost remained available that year reclassified as part of the Armada side.
In the 2009 sets, they reappear again in a slightly visually updated version, as the Minifigures are seen wearing red jackets with blue epaulets, but their new leader Governor Tierney is seen wearing a dark blue jacket with red epaulets (or gold epaulets in the Imperial Flagship). Also, the troopers wear shakos printed with golden badges and now have bearded faces. The faction is now simply referred to as Soldiers in the set names. The flag of this faction is the same as when it was introduced for the Imperial Guards in 1992.
The soldiers now have a new dedicated military building at their disposal, in contrast to the more civilian trading post from 1992. At first they only had small boats, but the exclusive set 10210 Imperial Flagship was later released. It is double hulled with three masts, and it is by far the largest ship in the Pirates theme to date with 1664 pieces.
- Admiral Woodhouse: Replacement for Governor Broadside.
- Governor Tierney: Wears a blue coat with epaulets and a bicorne with feathers.
- Imperial Officer: Redcoated version of Imperial Officer.
- Lieutenant (2010): Most likely Governor Tierney's second-in-command.[source?]
- Imperial Guard (Minifigure): Also known as "Redcoats" or soldier or trooper, very similar to their Imperial Soldiers equivalents, sharing the shako tall hat and backpack. The Guards' soldiers have red uniforms and blue epaulets. Interestingly, they resemble soldiers of the British Army instead of the Royal Marines during the Napoleonic Wars era.
- Leigh Tierney: The daughter of Governor Tierney.
- Admiral's Daughter: The daughter of an unidentified admiral.
|Image||#||Set||Number of pieces||Minifigures||Price||Release|
|1723||Castle/Pirate Combo Pack||67||Dragon Master Burnabus, Imperial Guard - Officer||1994|
|6263||Imperial Outpost||211||Admiral Woodhouse, First Mate Rummy, Imperial Guard (×2)||1995|
|6271||Imperial Flagship||317||Pirate/sailor, Imperial Officer||$49.99||1992|
|6277||Imperial Trading Post||592||9||$86.99||1992|
|Image||#||Set||Number of pieces||Minifigures||Price||Release|
|6239||Cannon Battle||45||Pirate, Imperial Soldier||$5.99 / €5.99||2009 (First sold in 2008)|
|6242||Soldiers' Fort||367||Captain Brickbeard, Soldier (3)||$49.99 / €49.99||2009|
|8396||Soldier's Arsenal||17||Imperial Guard||$3.49 / €2.99||December 28, 2008|
|10210||Imperial Flagship||1664||Governor Tierney, Leigh Tierney, Captain Brickbeard, Pirate Deckhand, Lieutenant, Imperial Guard (x4)||$179.99 / €149.99||January 4, 2010 (US and UK)|
- They also didn't have that much of a base at first.
- They were also the first to have a Admiral.
- Appearances in sets dominated by pirates
- 6258 Smuggler's Shanty (1992), includes a Officer with a boat
- 6252 Sea Mates (1993), includes two Redcoats
- 6237 Pirates' Plunder (1993), includes a Officer
- 1729 Barnacle Bay (1994), includes two Redcoats
- 6279 Skull Island (1995), includes two Redcoats with a boat
- Appearances in sets dominated by pirates (2008-2009)
- 6241 Loot Island, includes a row boat with a cannon and one Redcoat
- 6243 Brickbeard's Bounty, includes a row boat with a soldier and an Officer
- 6253 Shipwreck Hideout, includes a row boat with a soldier and an Officer