[REVIEW] LEGO Star Wars UCS Tie Fighter

Lego-Tie-Fighter-UCS-2The Ultimate Collector Series TIE Fighter set has been out for a number of months now, but I finally got around to putting it together over the last few nights. So, like before with the Red 5 X-Wing, and Slave I, here’s a quick rundown and review of the build, and the final results.

While the Empire’s TIE Fighter may not be the most sleek looking of the ships in the Star Wars universe, it’s still iconic. I’m sure most of you reading this already know that TIE actually stands for Twin Ion Engine – so it’s name has nothing to do with neckwear or how they attack people. I honestly don’t know what the Empire was thinking when they designed these things because the giant solar panels on each side of the cockpit keep the pilot from seeing anywhere but in front of him. Serious tactical disadvantage there. But, they’re bad guys anyway so who cares, right?

Alright, on to business.

The instruction booklet is beautiful just like all the previous UCS ones – giving lots of details about not only the ship itself in the Star Wars universe (as if it were real) but also information from the designer of the model at LEGO. Some kids may not care, but to adults it’s a quick interesting read and I’m glad LEGO goes to the lengths they do to make the entire process engrossing right from the start. The directions are easy to follow, as usual. However I think one of the reasons these last few UCS booklets have been so big is because each step only adds between 1-5 pieces at a time. Most instructions add a lot more per step depending on the model. This isn’t a drawback because it helps me make sure I didn’t miss anything – which I often do.

OK, onto the build pictures…
Read the captions beneath each photo for more information about each!

As usual there were lots of bags to start off...

As usual there were lots of bags to start off…

The cockpit was really neat because I love how they made the pilot's chair. There were no special computer consoles or anything just a stripped down bare necessities cockpit.

The cockpit was really neat because I love how they made the pilot’s chair. There were no special computer consoles or anything just a stripped down bare necessities cockpit.

The frame of the ship begins to take shape around the cockpit area.

The frame of the ship begins to take shape around the cockpit area.

24043653646_ed1febed82_c

Now the cockpit window has been attached and the entry cap as well. It does lift up easily (pictured) should you want to put the pilot minifig inside.

Now the cockpit window has been attached and the entry cap as well. It does lift up easily (pictured) should you want to put the pilot minifig inside.

Here is the reverse side showing the engine compartment.

Here is the reverse side showing the engine compartment.

This part was probably the most fun of the entire build. Putting the final details on the wing panels and attaching them to the main body was a close second. There are a lot of little pieces and details here, but it’s fabulous once the shape starts to come together. When you built out the support struts for the large panels you start to wonder about how they are going to attach to each other securely.

The large side panels were quite tedious, actually. The directions had to be repeated numerous times since you were creating multiple copies of a number of the components. The payoff is good in the end, but it takes some of the fun of watching things come together when you do the same thing over and over again. Here’s a closer look:

As you can see the top/bottom of the panels are assembles 4 times. The middle piece that connects them is created twice.

As you can see the top/bottom of the panels are assembles 4 times. The middle piece that connects them is created twice.

Here is one of the panels connected, before all the outer coverings have been added.

Here is one of the panels connected, before all the outer coverings have been added.

With one of the panels outside covering complete, here it is compared to the still in process second one.

With one of the panels outside covering complete, here it is compared to the still in process second one.

This is the back side of the completely covered panels. The details of the 6 struts are being attached. At first after attaching them I thought they were very flimsy and just flopping about and was curious how they were going to stay in place.

This is the back side of the completely covered panels. The details of the 6 struts are being attached. At first after attaching them I thought they were very flimsy and just flopping about and was curious how they were going to stay in place.

Then after attaching the details on the front side of the panel, this little piece clasps at the bottom of each of the 4 main corners connecting the front and back struts, securing them. Genius!

Then after attaching the details on the front side of the panel, this little piece clasps at the bottom of each of the 4 main corners connecting the front and back struts, securing them. Genius!

Sorry that last one was a little out of order - here are the two panels, front side up, with all their outer coverings on.

Sorry that last one was a little out of order – here are the two panels, front side up, with all their outer coverings on.

After the outer panels were constructed I was curious how they were going to securely connect. Needless to say I wasn’t disappointed. The arms from the main cockpit body slid nicely into the opening on the inside of the panel, and locked into some bricks. To further secure, there were two flaps that swung up and also locked in place to the body’s frame. Overall, the connection feels very solid.

23774080070_b4f4f52922_c

Here is the connection point. You can see the flaps that lock securely on the right and behind left.

Here's an up close look at the outside center of the panels on the Fighter. Looks great!

Here’s an up close look at the outside center of the panels on the Fighter. Looks great!

All done! Head on view. Note the minfig for scale.

All done! Head on view. Note the minfig for scale.

As you can see, like previous UCS ships, it's pretty good sized!

As you can see, like previous UCS ships, it’s pretty good sized!

Here is the connection point. You can see the flaps that lock securely on the right and behind left.

And here are some more detailed views of the finish product. Sorry for the shitty lighting. But you get the general idea.

IMG_2885 IMG_2890 IMG_2886 IMG_2889 IMG_2888

So there you have it, the LEGO Star Wars Ultimate Collector Series TIE Fighter. It’s a simplistic build in the end, but has some interesting LEGO mechanics to get it to work. Frankly, I love that they have minds that can come up with ways to connect simple blocks to produce these things. Either way, it’s a must have for your Star Wars collection!

Oh, and one last word of advice – make sure you try to put the stickers on before you put the pieces onto the model because some of them are hard to get at, and then you end up with crooked stickers. I HATE STICKERS.

Build Experience: C+
Build Time: A
Price:  C ($200 – a lot for limited complexity)
LEGO Star Wars UCS Tie Fighter Overall: B-

Advertisements

Expectation levels for The Force Awakens are reaching critical mass

This past week we’ve seen some brick-shitting new stuff in the way of trailers and fresh looks at The Force Awakens.

After the official final trailer dropped here in the US, a slightly different version dropped overseas (which is usually the case) and offered folks even more new footage.

Now a new 30 second TV spot has dropped and we’ve got even more nerdgasm-ing to do.

I have to say I’m supremely impressed that Disney has managed to create so many trailers and peaks and the movie without giving very much away (seemingly).

All I know is that we’re in the home stretch now, and they keep giving us new bits. It’s getting harder and harder to keep waiting. Expectation levels are basically going through the roof at this point.

Watch the new TV spot, and the Japanese trailer below.

LEGO Ultimate Collector’s Series: SLAVE I

So with a whole weekend’s worth of hurricane rain keeping me inside and away from yardwork I decided what better time to finally sit down and put together this monster. It took me two afternoons and about a season of M*A*S*H on Netflix. But, let’s be honest, I wasn’t totally concentrating on putting the bricks together. A dedicated builder could easily assemble this over the course of a full afternoon and evening. So here’s a quick look at the building process and the final result
IMG_2317 IMG_2320 IMG_2321 IMG_2322 IMG_2323Despite the complexity of the build, the directions were pretty easy to follow. The interior workings of the ship are simply something to marvel at. I don’t know how these guys come up with the different ways to connect pieces to make it look like the real damn thing – but they are damn good at their jobs!

There are many, many tiny pieces in the build, so be careful when you’re pouring them out.
IMG_2325I neglected to take a photo of it, but the ‘minifig’ of Han Solo frozen in Carbonite is tucked away up inside of the ship at the top of the loading ramp. It’s a small detail that you really never see but you love it because you know it’s there.IMG_2326 IMG_2327The way the stabilizers are connected to the main body is tenuous at best, which is probably why this is more for show than for play. A nice detail is they change position on their own depending on the orientation of the ship. When you lift it to its vertical traveling position, they flop down, but tuck up horizontally when the ship is in landing mode (as you can see).IMG_2328 IMG_2329The cockpit starts to take shape and the overall shape of the ship begins to become apparent.
IMG_2330 IMG_2331The nose of the ship comes together in multiple pieces that are attached via the sticks through the holes. It works well enough and provides enough solidity.IMG_2332 IMG_2333 IMG_2334Another fabulous detail is the cockpit seat itself. It turns 90 degrees to match the flight mode of the ship (as seen in the movies).It doesn’t flop around freely, which is for the best. But once again the computer panels and overall display of the cockpit experience is top notch for being made of tiny little plastic pieces.
IMG_2335The side panels can be touchy since they are so skinny, but once they are on they’re OK.IMG_2340 Pulling the missile doors out is hard because there isn’t a handle, and when you do it pulls on the whole side panel which is only attached at the front of the ship – there is no connection to the big red drive section of the ship. So use caution.IMG_2341 And finally – finished! You can see both Boba Fett in the cockpit, and another one of the included minifigs for scale. This thing is large and in charge, and it’s fabulous. Nothing but the best for the galaxy’s most badass bounty hunter!IMG_2347 IMG_2349

The stand for this ship is better than the stand for the UCS Red 5 X-Wing – at least in my opinion. I didn’t like how that one leaned back but still gave you the option of keep it straight up and down…….if you fought with it long enough. So here’s a pic of it on the stand – again with the minifigs for scale.IMG_2351 The back side of the ship is equally as impressive. The bottom section is covered up by the stand in this photo – sorry!IMG_2352Overall, this was a great build. Sometimes the larger builds can get sort of tedious but I had a good time doing this – especially spread over two afternoons. One thing that was a little annoying was having to repeat build something reversed because of the symmetry of the ship. So instead of building a new piece – its the same thing you just built – only backwards. But, it is what it is. It looks badass though. The colors are pretty accurate, and the overall look is pretty true to the movies.

My only negative comments would be a) the gun turret nose of the ship hangs low and covers the name/info plate, and b) stickers. Goddamn stickers. LEGO, get your shit together and start printing the images specially on the bricks. There is nothing more frustrating than having this gorgeous build that is completely ruined because you didn’t quite get a sticker on straight. It drives people mad for the rest of their existence! Also, the info plate is one giant sticker that is so nerve wracking trying to put on straight I had to get up and take a walk after. Seriously; stickers are terrible.

LEGO Star Wars UCS Slave I: A+
Build time: B
Build difficulty: B
Price: C+ ($199.99)

[Review] LEGO Star Wars Republic Gunship (75021)

This is the third Republic Gunship LEGO has released, but I think it’s also probably their best. There are two features missing that would have made it perfect, but I’ll get to those later. Overall, the build is very impressive. I’m glad I’m at a point where I can build the larger sets that make incredible decorative pieces. This one turned out to be a little larger than I was expecting – but I’m OK with that. Being able to have a good sized model of something you love, and have that model made of LEGO, is just really frickin’ cool.

I had a lot more fun putting this set together than the Parisian Restaurant – obviously because it was much less tedious. It was also much less of an undertaking which has its merits. All of the bags are numbered in an increasing order, with each bag building a different section of them ship. I was most fascinated with how the separate sections built on to each other and snapped together to form a mostly solid and coherent shape. I know it’s not new, but I love the numbered bags because it allows you to only have the pieces on the table you need at that moment, instead of dumping out 1,000 pieces and wading through them to find what you need.
IMG_0562There are a total of 9 individual bags, mostly about the same medium size, and the instruction booklets are easy to follow and let you know what bags you need to be working with.

IMG_0563The set comes with 5 minifigs (which I didn’t take photos of), and a few are pretty unique. I didn’t do any real research (because honestly I really don’t care) but from what I’ve read the Padme included is rare. It’s the terrible cropped shirt with claw slashes from the pit on Geonosis in Episode II (which let’s just put out there is one of the stupidest parts of any movie ever – oh hell that whole movie is just painful). The Obi-Wan figure is sporting some crazy hair, and Anakin is probably whining somewhere. Plus there are two clone troopers. Oh, and there are also two droids I threw in the trash because they are without a doubt LEGO’s weakest “minifig” to date, and I already have some.
IMG_0567
IMG_0566Overall, I think the set is pretty sturdy, save for the wings. Don’t get me wrong they are on there pretty good but they’re definitely the weak point. The rest of the skeleton of the ship is pretty solid. As you go through the bags, more and more gets added onto the top building out the structure making it more stable. The cockpit doesn’t have many secure points, but the way it lays makes it alright I think. The sliding doors are pretty awesome, and easy to work back and forth. However this is one the negatives I mentioned earlier – the doors do not close all the way like they do in the movie/Clone Wars TV series – they only close about half way (as you’ll see the pics to follow).

My other gripe is the ball turrets in the wings should be a full sphere, while these are only half. I’m sure it has something to do with how to fasten the smooth sided pieces into the wing, but hey, those LEGO folks are geniuses or something, aren’t they? Figure it out!

IMG_0568

So that’s about it. There isn’t much else to say about the set. It took about 3 hours to assemble – again, while I was watching TV, so a less distracted person could easily do it in 2 I bet. It looks fantastic and is a pretty spitting image of the gunships in the movie and the show. It’s definitely playable, but as I said it also makes a great decorative piece of memorabilia on the shelf. Currently, mine is sitting on top of the bookshelf in my office. Looks great.

The set is kind of old and I think it’s probably nearing the end of its life cycle so I’d hop on it soon if you can. Here’s the rest of the pics of the completed product.

IMG_0570 IMG_0578 IMG_0573 IMG_0572 IMG_0575 IMG_0574 IMG_0571 IMG_0577 IMG_0576

 

Republic Gunship:
Overall Look: 5/5
Detail: 3/5
Clarity of instructions: 5/5
Fun to build: 5/5
Price: 3/5
Time required: 5/5

 

Anakin, I totally get you

star-wars-the-clone-wars-the-movie.14870So I’m just now finally getting to watch through all the remaining seasons of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, and I’ve come to a conclusion:

It’s no surprise Anakin turned to the dark side. Dude got shafted so many times. They plainly show the gradual downfall, culminating in the events in ‘Revenge of the Sith.

As far as I’m concerned the galaxy had it coming.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens first teaser trailer is here! AND IT IS AWESOME.

It’s safe to say I’m aroused.

The cut scene of the X-Wings and the Falcon required me to change pants.

 

Visit your local Harrison Ford dealer for great savings on these models!

Sorry, this was just too funny not to post. I don’t know where it came from so credit goes to whoever made it.

friday-dgaf-16