Space Wedge – LEGO Star Wars Magazine, December 2022

The LEGO Star Wars magazine remains one of the staples of that whole LEGO magazine business and while not always outstanding, it usually has at least something interesting to show. Let’s see if the December 2022 issue lives up to that.

LEGO Magazine, Star Wars, December 2022, Cover

I’m not a friend of those “Palpatine behaves like a teenager” as you know, so the main comic doesn’t really go down well with me. Too much implausible nonsense and too way off the mainstream canon even if you take a liberal approach and allow for some wackiness.

LEGO Magazine, Star Wars, December 2022, Comic

The secondary comic isn’t doing much better, in particular since the vehicle it is supposed to promote as the extra, the Imperial Light Destroyer, isn’t really shown that much.

LEGO Magazine, Star Wars, December 2022, Comic

The poster on the front features Captain Vaughn from the Armored Assault Tank (AAT) (75283) set in all his glory. Stylistically it is similar to the one in the last issue, so they would look nice next to each other. The backside has an X-Wing zooming toward the Death Star, but it’s not nearly as interesting.

LEGO Magazine, Star Wars, December 2022, Poster

The extra is the Imperial Light Destroyer mentioned earlier. It was introduced in Rebels and recently played a bigger role in The Mandalorian. As you would expect the model is pieced together from a few wedge plates, which is sufficient to match the contour, but does not really provide the necessary volume for the ship’s body. In terms of pieces there isn’t too much special here. There’s a pair of triangular tiles in Light Bluish Grey, which are always nice to have, but the rest is standard fare – with one exception: Inside there’s a Black 1 x 5 plate (!) for the central spine, which I think is the first time ever this element has ever been used in one of those foil packs on any of the LEGO magazines. If you never encountered it up close and personal in a set (since it’s still being used rather sparingly) here’s your chance to get acquainted with this marvel of modern engineering. ­čśë

This edition of the magazine holds very few surprises, but is overall a solid affair. The posters are decent and the comics are serviceable, though I’d prefer them to be a bit more serious and in line with the rest of Star Wars. Though personally I prefer buildable models, fans of minifigures will be pleased that next month there will be another one in the form if a Hoth Luke Skywalker with snow goggles, vest and all.

She’s that Girl – LEGO Star Wars Magazine, November 2022

I decided to take things easy last week with my birthday and all, so I’m a bit behind on my schedule and only present you with the latest LEGO Star Wars magazine today.

LEGO Magazine, Star Wars, November 2022, Cover

The comic takes us underground into some crystal caves and as a result everything is very colorful. It’s always nice to see stories play out in such locations as opposed to the rather sterile imperial ships or the Death Star. The story arc itself is just another of those “Vader chasing someone and being a moron about it” things, though.

LEGO Magazine, Star Wars, November 2022, Comic

The shorter secondary comic introduces us to Princess Leia as she tries to escape some admittedly cool looking bounty hunters on an abandoned imperial base.

LEGO Magazine, Star Wars, November 2022, Comic

The posters are really nice this time. As you know i prefer a clean graphical style without too much “noise” and the “For Mandalore!” certainly delivers. it immediately reminded me of the poster for the The Rocketeer movie, both in terms of composition and that 1920s/ 1930s graphical style. That reverse poster mimics the style of some movie openings with scenes stenciled into the text, only of course this one uses comic panels.

LEGO Magazine, Star Wars, November 2022, Poster

LEGO Magazine, Star Wars, November 2022, ExtraThe extra this month is a minifigure of Princess Leia and it’s actually a pretty good one because it’s rare. This version with the new skirt piece depicting her in her classic white dress from A new Hope so far only had been included in the ill-fated (because bad) Tantive IV (75244) and the current Luke Skywalker’s X-Wing Fighter (75301) I also reviewed here on this blog. Therefore the little lady has been an expensive investment if you wanted to buy it without getting any of those sets. Just buying this issue of the magazine will give it to you at much lower cost, even if the devaluation probably has Bricklink sellers grinding their teeth.

Already having owned the minifigure I could have skipped this issue easily, but of course this will be the main attraction for many readers. I still prefer buildable stuff and the next edition is going to give us a nice Imperial Star Destroyer once more, so I can live with that. Overall this is a decent issue that will be a nice bit of fun.

Enjoy the Silence(r) – LEGO Star Wars Magazine, October 2022

Time flies as fast as a TIE Fighter and so here we are again at it with the LEGO Star Wars magazine only four short weeks after the last one. This is because next weeks holiday weekend here in Germany is messing with the calendar and release schedule, so we’re getting the October issue almost one week earlier.

LEGO Magazine, Star Wars, October 2022, Cover

The comics are getting a bit concerning. Every second one of them is in some way ridiculing Darth Vader and Blue Ocean really need to stop it. It’s not that everything needs to be dead serious and strict to canon, but these “Vader is bored and messes up his surroundings” stories are really reaching a level of nonsense where it’s hard to enjoy them if you’re not a three year old.

LEGO Magazine, Star Wars, October 2022, Comic

The secondary comic follows in a similar vein and makes even Kylo Ren look bad and the empire once more like a congregation of morons.

LEGO Magazine, Star Wars, October 2022, Comic

The posters have a distinct 1970s early 1980s vibe with striped patterns, but don’t quite mange to pull it off. The back side with Obi Wan is a bit better than the front with Vader, though.

LEGO Magazine, Star Wars, October 2022, Poster

The extra is Kylo Ren‘s TIE Silencer from The Rise of Skywalker where it gets sliced to pieces by Rey. The model more or less follows the standard build pattern for these vessels we have seen so many times, but swaps out shorter panels for more elongated ones. Just like the Mandalorian Starfighter it uses the new 2 x 6 wedge plates, this time in Black of course, so if you don’t have any yet, here’s a good way to start adding some to your parts collection.

The extra once more saves the day, but otherwise this isn’t a great issue. There’s very little to gawk at and beyond the “I buy it every month, anyway.” There’s really not much to say about it. There’s just nothing standing out.

Mandalorian Blue – LEGO Star Wars Magazine, September 2022

Being a lazy slob in the summer heat unfortunately doesn’t actually make time flow slower, so here we are again already with another edition of the LEGO Star Wars magazine, this time the September 2022 issue.

LEGO Magazine, Star Wars, September 2022, Cover

I really like the comic this time around, which is rare enough, as you know. It takes us back to Solo – A Star Wars Story, a film which hasn’t been covered that much in the magazine to begin with, and it’s done in an interesting way. Yes, of course the story has nothing to do with the actual movie, but it’s credible and could be a real side quest. The Corellian Hounds remain ugly, though, and the colorfulness of the drawings can’t make them any more appealing in my eyes. Anyway, the comic as a whole is still pretty to look at.

LEGO Magazine, Star Wars, September 2022, Comic

The second comic is not nearly as colorful, but that’s inherent in what it depicts. When you come to think about it, the Star Wars universe is oddly monochromatic at times, not just when it comes to the many white Stormtroopers. The denim blue Mandalorian troops are just as unusual once there’s more than one guy.

LEGO Magazine, Star Wars, September 2022, Comic

It’s not yet quite a standard feature in this particular LEGO mag, but coloring pages are always a good way to beef up the content in that apparently it takes a while to fill them in and thus keeps the kids busy for that much longer. I only wish they’d start making this really good with a full-sized blank page on thicker, more felt pen friendly paper.

LEGO Magazine, Star Wars, September 2022, Coloring Page

The poster is once more giving us Din Djarin, a.k.a. The Mandalorian and his little fella Grogu, formerly known as The Child. The reverse side isn’t bad, either, with a decent rendition of Darth Maul.

LEGO Magazine, Star Wars, September 2022, Poster

While in the last issue we got one of its occupants, we now get the actual Mandalorian Starfighter in miniaturized form. Compared to the big version from set 75316 of course the detail level isn’t anywhere near as good with the absence of the longitudinal blue stripes being the most apparent omission. The grate tiles really don’t make up for that. Similarly the tips should actually be sharp and pointed, so I wonder why they didn’t include some of these wedge slopes. On the other hand there’s three pairs of the relatively new 2 x 6 wedge plates, which is nice for people who haven’t bought a set yet where they would be featured. They also implemented a swivel mechanism for the landing position, but the smallness of the model apparently prevented them from also rotating the wings vertically like on the real thing.

Overall this is a nice issue and I really enjoyed it more than usual. It’s definitely worth a look, be it just to get a glimpse at what this magazine can look like if only Blue Ocean put in enough effort.

Mando Unknown – LEGO Star Wars Magazine, August 2022

The current weather conditions really make it hard to even get some simple things done as one just wants to be a lazy slob in that summer heat. That’s why I’m three days late with my review of the latest LEGO Star Wars magazine for August 2022. Had it floating around, but just wasn’t in any way feeling energized enough to actually cobble together an article. Anyway, on to the good stuff.

LEGO Magazine, Star Wars, August 2022, Cover

The main comic is once again one of those odd ones with otherwise stern characters clowning around. This time it’s Palpatine making a scene. Whether that’s up your alley is entirely up to you, but at least it’s drawn well enough. No real poster bait panels that stand out, though.

LEGO Magazine, Star Wars, August 2022, Comic

The second comic ties in with the extra as usual and has some Mandalorians dukeing it out in mid-air powered by their jet packs. I wonder what that could mean? ­čśë

LEGO Magazine, Star Wars, August 2022, Comic

The poster has Boba Fett sit on the throne at formerly Jabba‘s palace as is apparently part of The Book of Boba Fett mini series’s story arc. The back has C3PO and R2-D2 running from some Jawas and escaping their Sandcrawler.

LEGO Magazine, Star Wars, August 2022, Poster

LEGO Magazine, Star Wars, August 2022, MinifigureAs you would have guessed from my tongue-in-cheek comment earlier, of course we’re getting a minifigure. That makes two in a row after Darth Maul in the last issue. The figure is simply called Mandalorian Loyalist and it’s from the Mandalorian Starfighter (75316) set. This was introduced last year to mixed reception and apparently hasn’t been selling that well, not least of all due to limited distribution, so it’s earmarked to be EOL‘d. That makes it even better to be able to get the minifig on the cheap in this magazine and not having to resort to buying an expensive, yet unattracticve package. How generic the little guy is meant to be can be gleaned from the fact that he doesn’t even have a face, just an unprinted black head under the helmet. The Uzi style blasters seem to have a bit of a renaissance lately and have been in several sets, but it’s always good to have more.

Overall this is an okay issue, but as someone who isn’t collecting minifigures the value is of course limited. That’s why I’m already looking forward to the next issue that will have a buildable vessel from the vast selection of space ships in the Star Wars universe again…

Insignificant Helmet – LEGO Star Wars, Luke Skywalker (Red Five) Helmet (75327)

Before we dive into the details of the Luke Skywalker (Red Five) Helmet (75327) from the LEGO Star Wars theme series, let me clarify a few things.

The collectible “Helmets” series has been around for two years now and this (unofficial) moniker not only covers various Star Wars headgear but also some notable Super Heroes stuff like Batman‘s cowl, Iron Man‘s helmet or Venom‘s entire head for instance. Again, there is no “Helmets” series per se, as they’re all filed under their respective other themes, but people habitually call it that because of the undeniable similarities and commonalities they all share with regards to scale, overall style etc..

When the first one was announced, which of course had to be a Stormtrooper Helmet (75276), I was mildly enthused, but not over the moon. The idea had merit and it could be cool to have some iconic helmets lined up on the shelf. Still, even back then I already feared that LEGO would milk this and the pricing would be outrageous, so I remained slightly skeptical. And wouldn’t you know it, what I suspected indeed came to pass, so my reservations were warranted (more on pricing considerations in the next chapter below as usual).

What made this even worse is that the actual results looked rather naff and by that I simply mean way too many visible studs, gaps and recognizable building techniques. That may get some fans drooling, but I decided it’s not for me and basically swore to myself to never buy any of these things. I just want my collectibles to look nice and in case of these helmets that would have meant much more of an effort to make them smooth and rounded and solid without resorting to cheap tricks, which badly enough also includes having to use stickers because even with these expensive items LEGO can’t be bothered to just print everything.

So how did I end up buying the Red Five helmet, after all? I’m not going to pretend otherwise, but the core motivation was simply a number of distinct and unique parts I could add to my collection just by buying this set. Some are also in other sets, but still rare, some are exclusive to this one for the time being. I also of course wanted to check if my own prejudice against these helmets was justified and if a positive build experience could not sway me and convince me otherwise (hint: It didn’t!). So let’s see how things went…

LEGO Star Wars, Luke Skywalker (Red Five) Helmet (75327), Box

Pricing and Contents

As already mentioned, I find these sets shamelessly overpriced. That’s nothing new in the LEGO universe and you’re probably tired of me complaining about it, but it still stings/ stinks. Worse yet, they don’t even pretend that this is in any way related to the parts count or other factors. The smallest set, the Classic TV Series Batman Cowl (76238) with its meager 372 pieces costs just as much as the others – 60 Euro. There are a few exceptions with the Darth Vader Helmet (75304) at 834 pieces even costing 70 Euro, but at the same time the Scout Trooper Helmet (75305) with 471 pieces costing only 50 Euro. Does that make sense to anyone? There’s just no rhyme or reason to it and it seems totally arbitrary.

Luke‘s helmet is somewhere in the middle with 675 pieces and on paper when applying the old formula of 10 Cent * piece count the math turns out just fine. However, as you would expect many of the elements are just 1 x 1 and 1 x 2, so this is not necessarily a good price. All things considered, what’s there really feels more like it should have cost you 40 Euro from the outset. Of course you can get this price with discounts at many retailers, but ultimately this is not a sustainable model in the long run. While LEGO keep raising MSRPs and wholesale prices, those vendors barely make a cut. When their businesses crumble, everyone may feel the repercussions.

Anyway, for now I’m a beneficiary of this policy and even if I don’t feel good about it (Wouldn’t it be fantastic, if those products were simply sold for reasonable prices from the get-go and we all could afford that?), in my situation I’ll take whatever discounts I can get. I bought the package for 36 Euro and only recently I saw a special promo for 32 Euro. So keep your eyes peeled! There’s always a chance to get this for a better price if you’re not in a rush.

LEGO Star Wars, Luke Skywalker (Red Five) Helmet (75327), Front Left View

The Helmet

As mentioned in my intro, I’m not that terribly enthralled by these helmets due to the designers not even attempting to make them more rounded and smooth. This becomes extremely apparent on this particular example due to the stark contrast between the center ridge, the ear covers and the rest. It is even more noticeable when you compare the overall shape to images of the original or other replicas and it just feels wrong on so many levels. Even if you allow some room for the usual limitations that come with brick-built designs it just feels inadequate.

On top of it, the build is of course quite tedious and repetitive. By that I don’t just mean the inevitable symmetrical building, but also some decisions in how elements are laid out and which items are used. For instance there are several locations where the 1 x 5 plate introduced late last year could have been used favorably, but instead you are forced to piece together several sections using 1 x 1 plates in conjunction with a 1 x 4 or a 1 x 6. It is highly questionable why nobody gave this a last minute polish and substituted the elements, even if you consider the potential delays in production due to additional lead-in time. It really would have helped to minimize some frustration.

In a similar vein I found it quite annoying to piece together stacks of plates that barely overlap or are only held together by tiles. Typically you end up building three or four plate high sub-assemblies that are very wobbly and only stabilize once they connect to the various SNOT bricks and brackets on the central block. That can be really annoying if you don’t have a large flat table to built your stuff on and like me prefer to “freestyle” holding them in your hand.

LEGO Star Wars, Luke Skywalker (Red Five) Helmet (75327), Detail StandThe socket/ stand is more or less the same standard type as used on the other helmets and heads, but has been extended quite a bit towards the top to allow for the hollow construction and disguising the attachment points. in the upper dome and rear. This works, but naturally only by creating a “black hole” illusion where you can’t discern any of the interior details because it’s all dark.

LEGO Star Wars, Luke Skywalker (Red Five) Helmet (75327), Detail Print DamageThe prints in this set are a pain, which really doesn’t surprise me anymore, given how LEGO have dialed down the thickness of their paint application (faster drying = more throughput = larger quantities in the same time). The white stripes on the central ridge are rather faint and thus look pink-ish plus they appear oddly frizzled and uneven. The prints on the various dishes are actually okay, but leave it to LEGO to even screw that up. Yupp, there’s some damage on one of the dishes with the Rebel Alliance insignia where clearly the paint has been peeled of by the stencil or shortly thereafter. This should have been caught at the factory. The irony here is of course that this would actually be cool in a way if the helmet had been designed to represent a worn out version that has seen battle many times.

Now I’m gonna sound like a hypocrite when I tell you that I didn’t request replacements despite my complaining about it. Yes, LEGO would have probably sent them without much fuss, but I just didn’t wanna go through the steps, knowing that the bust would not have a long shelf life and after disassembling it I would just stash the printed pieces somewhere until I may one day have an idea on how to use them for something else.

One thing that is causing me outright agony is the simulated pin stripe on the central ridge. This uses a yellow “rigid hose”, which despite the fact that you can pre-bend it to mimic the curvature is still an element that has tension. Even more critically it is only affixed at two points at the start and end, respectively, which does not bode well once you consider that the elements used are 1 x 1 modified plates with a bar holder on one and a C-clamp on the other. Here’s the thing: This isn’t much of an issue for the few weeks and months I usually have my models around, but in the long run you may end up with a damaged model.

LEGO Star Wars, Luke Skywalker (Red Five) Helmet (75327), Detail Strip, Lower Back AreaAs the plastic ages and gets more brittle there’s a good chance that in particular the C-clamps are going to go *kerplang*. The forces here are simply too strong and I find it incomprehensible how this could pass quality control (QC). It’s just one bad decision on top of another. There would have needed to be two more fixation points along the perimeter of the tube. Not only would that have relieved the tension and stress on the material, but it also would have helped to lock the whole thing in place and better retain its shape.

The inside of the helmet emulates the real thing by having the typical earmuffs to isolate the radio voice from exterior sounds. I’m not too sure about the color, as most images suggest that inside it’s actually clad in sheer pig’s leather, but of course anything is possible and I’m not that deep into Star Wars that I would nerd out about it. For all I know, across multiple films there could have been different props with different coloring. The way the inner headphone padding is constructed is interesting, but I honestly felt that the designers really had to stretch their imagination to make it work for the simple truth that to this day LEGO does not have direction inverter plates. If they had, this would have been a walk in the park and they could even have made it more elaborate using different pieces.

On that note – the rounded corner pieces used here were one of the reasons I committed to this set. They appear useful and currently there is no other package that has them in Dark Bluish Grey. That may of course change at any point. The situation is pretty much the same for the 3 x 3 round tiles in Yellow that in large part are hidden under the rounded bulges on the side to again create the illusion of some decorative pin striping.

LEGO Star Wars, Luke Skywalker (Red Five) Helmet (75327), Detail GlassesFinally there’s the Trans Orange curved brick/ slope that premiered in the Porsche 911 (10295) last year put to good use on the glasses/ protective goggles/ anti-glare shield, complemented by some other elements. Personally I’m inclined to think that this might also have looked good in Dark Orange with the 3 x 3 pancake piece and some extra slopes and in fact the extra curvature might have produced more convincing highlights and reflections on the shelf. It’s up for debate, though, and the way it is is just fine.


Concluding Thoughts

The short summary of my review could be: “This sucks!”, but that wouldn’t be useful. So who is this actually for? I can basically only see two groups of buyers for this – people who buy all the helmets because they want a full line-up on their shelf and on the other hand Star Wars┬ádie-hards who would be interested to at least add the relevant sub-set of the helmets to their collection. None of that does preclude the random anomalies where people just pick it up for other reasons and enjoy it, but those two core demographics probably make up the biggest chunk.

Outside that I cannot see the appeal. As a pure LEGO set it is simply too boring and even for casual Star Wars fans there are enough alternate options to get a helmet in their home from expensive premium collector’s replicas to moderately priced smaller toys. Funny enough, even some cheap toys beat this model hands down in the accuracy department be that with better proportions or proper prints. At least the latter should be a non issue, but no, LEGO once more chose to annoy their customers with stickers, which of course I haven’t applied anywhere.

Combined with the outrageous pricing the many shortcomings make it a hard sell and I wouldn’t really recommend this. You get a relatively small model the size of an adult man’s hand that has notable issues and won’t stand scrutiny from up close. Given the small price gap to some alternate offerings you may forever wonder if those 60 Euro couldn’t have been spent better. I guess the real point is that i get what they were going for, they just weren’t terribly successful. A lot of that clearly has to do with their usual half-assed-ness and cutting corners and it’s all too apparent…

Horned Killer – LEGO Star Wars Magazine, July 2022

Outside it’s hot like on Tatooine, so it is oddly fitting that this month’s issue of the LEGO Star Wars magazine also sort of touches upon this iconic location, if only tangentially in a very “think around five corners” sense. After all Darth Maul only was there rather briefly. ­čśë

LEGO Magazine, Star Wars, July 2022, Cover

The first comic once more brings up the question of whether Vader doesn’t have anything better to do all day than coming up with weird ideas and pestering his underlings. I mean, if I was the second most powerful person in The Empire I’d sure know a lot of better ways to spend my time than trying to build something as impossible as an AT-ST and TIE Fighter hybrid…

LEGO Magazine, Star Wars, July 2022, Comic

The second comic inevitable loops back to Darth Maul and his adventures ever since they brought him back for The Mandalorian to get entangled in some encounters with the eponymous guy and his brethren. That and of course his presence is teased left and right in other recent Star Wars series just as well, at least from what I can gather.

LEGO Magazine, Star Wars, July 2022, Comic

I haven’t spotted anything noteworthy in the activities section as the few puzzles and quizzes are just very ordinary standard fare. the posters are okay. I elected to show the back side for its graphical clarity and it actually looks quite good in reality, even though the colors are too bright and technically “wrong”. The front poster could be just as good, had they made an effort to clean it up and do a pit of overpainting on top of the “crusty paint” Photoshop filter cascade. Since they haven’t, it’s a bit of a missed opportunity.

LEGO Magazine, Star Wars, July 2022, Poster

LEGO Magazine, Star Wars, July 2022, ExtraThe “that evil guy” minifigure seems to be exactly the same as in the Duel on Mandalore (75310) set, one of those with barely any substantive parts to speak of and clearly designed to mostly sell the Darth Maul and Ahsoka Tano minifigures to collectors. Therefore this is a good opportunity to just get the red devil if you don’t want to shell out the full money. By LEGO standards the print quality is actually quite good this time, as, despite slightly darkening on the black background, the Red is bright enough. That is something that cannot be taken for granted, unfortunately. So you’re getting some pretty decent value this time around.

Overall this is an okay issue, but if you have no interest in the minifigure it will be of limited value. The rest of the content isn’t worth much and regrettably doesn’t even make for a good distraction while sizzling in the sun…

Mando Fighter – LEGO Star Wars Magazine, June 2022

Just this week we had this year’s Star Wars Celebration and the sheer number of announcements of new series, movies, books and of course merchandise makes my head spin. Because of that it seems certain that the LEGO Star Wars magazine is here to stay for many more years and given the amount of content they could even produce a second line perhaps more aimed at adults and with more serious extras. Anyway, for now the existing series will have to do, so let’s see what the June issue provides.

LEGO Magazine, Star Wars, June 2022, Cover

Let me start by saying that I really, really love the primary comic this time. Sure, the story is┬á ridiculous again, but look at how colorful it is! There’s literally a new color scheme on every page ranging from yellow/ gold to blue to purple to pink to green. It’s fantastic! Perhaps a bit too much for some people, but totally up my alley.

LEGO Magazine, Star Wars, June 2022, Comic

The second comic of course is referencing the extra – like a lot – which is the Razor Crest or The Mandalorian’s Starship as it was called for a while when Lucasfilm/ Disney forgot to register the trademark and someone else had snatched up the name. *lol* It’s more conventional and not nearly as flamboyant, but it serves its purpose.

LEGO Magazine, Star Wars, June 2022, Comic

The Razor Crest also makes an appearance on a coloring page, but unfortunately it’s really just the upper third and rather tiny. The reasoning behind this eludes me. For me it’s simply too small and I find the already filled in background distracting or else I might actually have spent an evening or two coloring and shading it if it was a full page or double spread with just the lines. On the other hand the smallness is an issue for kids who may not be able to stay within the lines, even more so since this is a rather detailed drawing with many studs and bits and not e.g. a smooth Naboo Starfighter.

LEGO Magazine, Star Wars, June 2022, Coloring Image

The posters are rather *meh* in the sense that they feel like you’ve seen it a million times, though at least they appear okay from a technical point of view. At least there’s no obvious Photoshop hackery or skewed colors.

LEGO Magazine, Star Wars, June 2022, Poster

As mentioned before, the extra is the Mandalorian‘s original vessel from season one. Well, at least it’s supposed to be because just like LEGO have yet to produce a bigger version that even comes close to resembling the genuine article, this one also barely bears any actual similarities. All the problems that plague the other model renditions are also present here – not enough separation (or exactly none at all in this case) of the engine pods, the fuselage not being tall enough and lacking the typical forward inclination and a few other things. I won’t complain about a freebie, naturally, but I’m sure even in such a limited format it would be possible to construct something that comes closer to the one in the series.

This is not a bad issue by any means, but I find myself again regretting Blue Ocean not going the full mile on some things and squandering the potential. Will we ever see a near perfect issue in this series? I’m not too sure about that…

Shrunk Slave 1 – LEGO Star Wars, Boba Fett’s Starship (75312)

In this consumerist world we live in I’m usually not bending over backwards to catch special promotions on those “special” days made up by the industry trying to sell you stuff, but then again I enjoy getting a good discount as much as the next guy and not just because of my budget constraints. The very least one can do is keep an eye peeled and hope to make a good catch. I got sort of half-lucky with Boba Fett’s Starship (75312) on this year’s May the 4th event, so let’s see how things turned out.

LEGO Star Wars, Boba Fett's Starship (75312), Box

Pricing and Contents

I’ve had this set on my wishlist for a while, but regrettably it never entered a price range that I found acceptable. After all, I’m not a die-hard Star Wars fan who would pay anything and it really comes down to how much I like a certain vehicle from the show and how affordable it is.

The crux of course is that of course Boba Fett’s Spaceship or Slave 1 as it was known in the good old days (and I’ll keep calling it that because I honestly think it’s kinda stupid that they are trying to be overly correct here and avoiding the word slave entirely even if it doesn’t bear any relationship to current day politics) has always been a popular ship due to its unique and distinct appearance. Because it basically sold itself and everybody wanted it, anyway, retailers could ask for relatively high prices. That and of course the The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett series have boosted that demand even further. In fact this really thwarted my plans to purchase the 20th Anniversary Edition Slave 1 (75243) because it was equally coveted by fans the world all over and prices never dropped to a level I would consider sensible (me missing out on a few special promotions I just didn’t catch notwithstanding). Arguably a case of bad timing, even if just coincidental.

LEGO Star Wars, Boba Fett's Starship (75312), Overview

With all that in mind I was actually glad I was able to obtain this package for 35 Euro down from a recommended price of 50 Euro. As mentioned already I consider myself only half-lucky because there was a slightly better price that day at only 32 Euro. I was just going back and forth way too long and my inner struggle prevented me from clicking that button. Come back an hour later and the price was higher again already. You really can’t flinch with Amazon‘s fluctuating prices and them adapting to competitor’s pricing almost in realtime.

Was it worth it? The answer may not surprise you: While I’m okay with those 35 Euro, I still feel the set is seriously overpriced. The model turns out tiny and one really has a hard time believing it actually uses the 593 pieces as advertised. From the exterior it feels more like there are only 250 elements, with the real point once again being that many other parts used are 1 x 1 and 1 x 2 items hidden underneath what’s actually visible. Not just that, but also many of the bits constituting the surface and the underside structure are equally small. With only a few exceptions you barely build any volume and just don’t get this satisfaction of working on what should be a relatively bulky model and making notable progress with each building step.

That being said, I can’t help but feel that this is a 30 Euro model, after all, even if you perhaps had to throw on a 5 Euro premium because it’s licensed Star Wars. The original 50 Euro are simply beyond any reason and LEGO just exploit the fans’ hunger for these products. If worse came to worse I’d really not have bothered and simply foregone buying it at all. It’s just not worth it.

The Minifigures

With the vessel being more or less exclusively inhabited by a single occupant it’s only natural that there wouldn’t be too many minifigures bar the occasional person hitching a ride when an opportunity presents itself. That is of course not counting the poor people travelling as frozen Carbonite blocks below decks. Not having seen the series due to not having a Disney+ subscription I have no idea if and when Boba Fett and Din Djarin (The Mandalorian) cross paths, I only know that it happens eventually.

The Mando figure is just the standard version with the cape you find in several other sets. Boba was an exclusive new version for this set when it came out last year but has since made a second appearance in Boba Fett’s Throne Room (75326). It’s considerably different from older versions not just because it uses a black torso as the base, but being ignorant of the actual story I can’t tell you much about the specific whys and hows. That said, both figures are overall pretty nice with lavish prints and certainly have some collector value as well.

The Model

The actual model is based on the simpler design of the Slave 1 from the ill-fated and ill-conceived Betrayal at Cloud City (75222) in the now deceased Master Builder Series. Back then I found the whole concept of a play-oriented yet expensive set in the vein of a dumbed-down and simplified UCS series more than a bit perplexing (or more to the point just another of those LEGO brain farts where you wonder what they were smoking when approving this), but the way this vehicle was built struck me as efficient and desirable as a separate affordable set. Of course things often take a while and I’d almost given up hope of ever seeing this come to fruition, but alas here we are. even better, they really took the time to refine and enhance the concept, including using a few newer and different parts. That way they also made sure that the one in the Cloud City retains its exclusivity and people who bought this expensive mess aren’t too upset.

An iconic shape such as this is of course immediately recognizable in any form and that is pretty much the case here as well. However, and this seems to be a general rule with this ship, the smaller the scale the less compact it looks. Where the original version in the movies was pretty smooth and the various surfaces blended, the smaller models tend to look more separated, not just because of the limitations of brick-built designs. This is also apparent here with the “handle” (upper hull) feeling plugged on to the bottom rather than transitioning elegantly. In particular the front section and the housings for the wing mechanisms feel a bit too small and not voluminous enough. It’s not the end of the world, but worth mentioning.

The tail/ aft boom overall appears just a bit too short and could have benefited from being extended one or two rows of studs. It’s not that the proportions aren’t correct or LEGO somehow got it wrong, it’s more a visual thing where the “scale effect” makes it look a bit too stubby. This is also owing to the overall small size that makes it look more like a toy than the imposing ship it otherwise is. Let’s not forget, that it just has around 24 studs overall length, not even fully covering a 32 x 32 base plate.

There are a handful of functional details like the cargo ramp under which you could actually place the “Carbonite” block as represented by a 1 x 2 x 6 brick and of course you can open the cockpit to place Boba inside, but neither does offer much details beyond that. The wings use a similar approach as their counterparts on the larger variants of this spacecraft, meaning they’re built from a bunch of balanced out round corner plates and wedge plates attached to a Technic axle so they swivel automatically and stay horizontal in every position. To represent the slightly rusty mechanism LEGO even produced this piece in Dark Orange exclusively for this set.

The singular side build in this set is a little push tractor/ servicing vehicle with a ladder and it also doubles as a stand to present the model in a upright position. I was hugely skeptical about this solution, mostly because the tractor is very lightweight but much to my surprise this works quite decently. Of course you still should not try to intentionally tip over the model, but it’s more than serviceable for presentation on the shelf and easy to handle for kids as well. It does not use any pins or such and rather just some simple slide-in trickery so you basically can’t do anything wrong. Also note the ÔÇ×CarboniteÔÇť block – without stickers, of course.

The upright position looks a bit odd, mostly because it exposes the hollowness of the interior unfavorably. In this position also even the slightest misalignment of the guns, which are rather flimsily constructed from black light saber hilts and some other pieces, immediately becomes noticeable. You should be careful with them, anyway, as they use a less than ideal way of being attached. Instead of a proper axle or bar they’re plugged onto this “hook” style plate‘s bar element. While it kind of works it’s one of those things that I would try to avoid and look for other solutions.

The undersides have some nice texture and even some pieces to emulate thruster outlets, but once you look at it, you also see the most annoying problem of this whole set: The various small plates and how everything is pieced together. This isn’t so much of an issue once it’s finished, but it really tries your patience during assembly. There’s basically only a single layer of plates and the bricks for the shaping are almost immediately on top, however often in such a fashion that they often only connect by two or even single studs. I found this a massive source of frustration that only gets better once you have finished the red socket.

One final thing: The set is apparently (also) aimed at children and to that effect it has a handle based on an L-shaped Technic liftarm so the model can be swooshed around and held easily without risking breaking anything off when grabbing it elsewhere. The caveat here is that the handle tends to get stuck in the recess on occasion and is difficult to push out even when tipping on the opposite end as intended. You may want to have an eye on that and show your children how to do it right or else they may constantly bug you about it. If you are not interested in this functionality you could just leave it out and shim over the hole, but this would require some major changes (using larger/ different plates to close the gaps) early on in the construction process.


Concluding Thoughts

The model isn’t bad by any means and in an odd way quite appealing. It hits the right balance between looking realistic enough, but also being playable. Still, the out-of-this-world pricing is really what puts me off. LEGO seem bent on deterring a certain part of their customers while raking in the big bucks from the other half of the Star Wars fan crowd with UCS sets and all that and that is on some level sad. Sets like this one clearly prove that the designers have the will and abilities to produce more than acceptable models, it just always seems they’re being sidelined by overriding managerial decisions in favor of squeezing out every last penny from customers.

This dichotomy also makes it hard to really recommend this set from the bottom of my heart. As already written, if there wouldn’t have been a good price I’d just passed on this. You can bet that due to the popularity there will be another Slave 1 in the not too distant future and it might even be an updated re-issue of the UCS version from 2015 or at least something more in line with the 20th anniversary version which will be more attractive to serious collectors and adults. You can save your money for the day when they come out. Completists on the other hand will no doubt want to add this to their line-up no matter what and it should also work well for children.

For me as so often it likely will end up being a short journey where soon enough I’ll dismantle the model and scalp the parts, of which it has quite a few unique ones and that’s just fine. At the same time I can think of other ways to spend those 35 Euro and unfortunate as it is, this set also has not done anything to change my mind about LEGO Star Wars being one big scam, so this will likely be my only such review for quite a while again until the next good opportunity may arise come Amazon‘s Prime Day in November

Kashyyyk Tusken – LEGO Star Wars Magazine, May 2022

Dunno, but lately I’ve become less and less enthused about LEGO Star Wars. The models are becoming more and more expensive, yet oddly also more lackluster (not counting UCS, of course). That’s why I’m glad at least the comic magazine stays in an affordable realm and at least every now and then manages to pull off a pleasant surprise. Let’s see if the May 2022 issue can brighten our day!

LEGO Magazine, Star Wars, May 2022, Cover

Say what you will, but jungle-based comics are always automatically at least fifty percent cooler than others just for their visual density intrinsically created by all that greenery. As a graphics guy I can also appreciate how the illustrators and colorists have to put in a lot more work here, so props for that as well. The story of Yoda going through some droid invasion hijinx is okay in that it could totally have happened without breaking the overall consistency of the lore. My only complaint would be that everything is a bit too green. Mixing in some more colorful blossoms and/ or shifting a few of the plant colors towards more turquoise/ cyanide greens would have been nice.

LEGO Magazine, Star Wars, May 2022, Comic

The secondary comic, which of course hints at the extra (no, it’s not The Manadalorian) is a bit odd. The Bantha is a bit too cute-ified and those plumped up lips just look strange. You know, like a harmless looking giant worm that’s gonna suck you up, anyway. Other than that it’s just fine.

LEGO Magazine, Star Wars, May 2022, Comic

The posters feature General Grievous and Anakin, respectively. Not nearly as well done as the one with Ahsoka in the last issue, but acceptable. Mostly it’s just that those non-descript dark backgrounds overwhelm the details and swallow too much of the texture. Lighter and friendlier colors would definitely be preferable.

LEGO Magazine, Star Wars, May 2022, Poster

LEGO Magazine, Star Wars, May 2022, ExtraThe extra this time is a Tusken Raider minifigure. It’s been in a number of sets over the last two years and technically is nothing special nor ist it particularly valuable (and having masses of them on the market by way of this magazine will make prices on Bricklink drop even more) , but at least the unique head piece makes it different enough from your standard Stormtrooper, Obi-Wan, Anakin or the many other standard figures that have been included in the mag over and over again. In fact I think they could have made it stand out by including a coat and perhaps a different weapon/ utensil instead of the staff…

All in all this issue isn’t turning anything on its head or makes you drool, but it feels strangely soothing in its slightly boring normal-ness. That sometimes can be a good thing. So if you need a bit of anti-excitement in these crazy times, this edition would at least do that.