May the Obi-Wan be with you! – LEGO Star Wars Magazine, May 2023

A lot of Star Wars fans probably already have their underwear in a knot in anticipation of May the 4th, a.k.a. Star Wars fan day, and so the companion LEGO magazine for this theme gets an even greater relevance. Let’s find out how excited you should get (or not).

LEGO Magazine, Star Wars, May 2023, Cover

The comics are pretty much hit and miss with this particular magazine, with a lot of misses and only few hits. For this month we luckily end up more on the side of the latter, though, so that’s good. Though it is still a bit of an infantilized “The Play that goes wrong” sort of thing, it at least is varied enough. More importantly, it doesn’t try to turn Vader into a clown.

LEGO Magazine, Star Wars, May 2023, Comic

The second comic is based on the Attack of the Clones movie and that scene on the landing platform, but of course with its own silly and unique twist.

LEGO Magazine, Star Wars, May 2023, Comic

The posters are standard fare and I had an immediate dèja-vu when I first saw the one with Grogu and Din Djarin. It doesn’t take a Photoshop wizard to realize that they simply flipped over The Mandalorian from this poster and then rearranged it together with the little green guy to fit into the shield shape. I’m really baffled how little content Blue Ocean seem to have at hand or create and how they always recycle and remix in such an obvious manner.

LEGO Magazine, Star Wars, May 2023, Poster

LEGO Magazine, Star Wars, May 2023, ExtraThe extra is a minifigure of Obi-Wan Kenobi. The character is not the most interesting to begin with and it has been done to death even in the LEGO world, but die-hard fans of his will appreciate getting this version from the Obi-Wan Kenobi’s Jedi Starfighter (75333) set without actually having to buy the full package. It’s not the most expensive on Bricklink, anyway, but in light of those pesky shipping costs just getting the mag may still be cheaper.

In light of what I wrote in the intro section, this issue is slightly underwhelming and not very celebratory. On its own merits it is acceptable in the “It’s not entirely awful!” sense. It would just be nice if they actually made an effort every now and then, especially at this time of the year. It really feels like their planning ahead is just a continuous flow from month to month with not much consideration given to those special dates in the calendar…

Gunship incoming! – LEGO Star Wars Magazine, December 2021

The monthly cycle of LEGO-related publications begins anew and so here we are having a look at the December issue for the Star Wars magazine, as apparently with it coming out at the end of the preceding month it always kind of is the first in the ones I review here on my blog.

LEGO Magazine, Star Wars, December 2021, Cover

Last month’s main comic was pretty decent, which makes it even more apparent how weak and uninspired the one for this issue issue. I could of course endlessly repeat my criticisms of dumb stories, lack of dynamic perspective, too much white, too much sky and so on, but suffice it to say that this just isn’t that good.

LEGO Magazine, Star Wars, December 2021, Comic

The secondary comic fares better, but that’s easy enough, given that the shape of certain vehicles and the droids is generally more interesting to begin with. The puzzles and quizzes sandwiched between those two comics literally book-ending the mag are not worth a second mention as usual, either.

LEGO Magazine, Star Wars, December 2021, Comic

The posters have me stumped this time. The front poster is the umpteenth cheap rehash of Kylo Ren and his fractured helmet whereas the back is a really adorable spin on The Mandalorian with The Child (or Grogu, as he has become known as ever since) popping out of a gift box. This is beyond cute and I’m likely actually going to hang it up in the spirit of the season.

LEGO Magazine, Star Wars, December 2021, Poster

The extra is what’s commonly known just as “that gunship” (from Attack of the Clones where it was first introduced) and more precisely referred to as the LAAT (Low Altitude Assault Transport), i.e. the Star Wars version of an armored infantry tank/ troop transporter. When the movies were fresh LEGO did a number of sets, but these days outside the large and expensive UCS Republic Gunship (75309) there aren’t any official offerings. I’m pretty sure you could find a ton of custom MOCs, though, if you set your mind to it and do a search.

Given the cost building a larger version would entail one way or the other, this small extra is as good as it gets for me for the time being. The tiny model captures the overall silhouette well enough, but inevitably is light on the details. Most notably this affects the canopy and glass cupola pieces, which are just plugged on transparent round tiles. At the risk of beating this to death this is again a matter of scale and a few more and different pieces might have provided a more “realistic” look. I for instance think that this would have been a good opportunity to use this element in plain Trans Clear for the wing domes at least.

While it’s a mixed bag for me, the Christmas-y poster certainly saves this issue. It just fits my mood. Otherwise there’s unfortunately not really much to write home about.

Wheely Tank – LEGO Star Wars Magazine, October 2021

I’ve been out of town for a few days, so I’m a bit late with my article, but I guess two days isn’t that bad and there’s still plenty of time to get the latest LEGO Star Wars magazine should you decide that what you see here is to your liking.

LEGO Magazine, Star Wars, October 2021, Cover

In the main comic Vader once again becomes the subject of ridicule in a weird chase across planets while at the same time being busy with homemaking and his ambitions as the TV star in his own show. Whether you like it is of course up to you, but I’m just puzzled by them taking such liberties even if you concede that not everything to do with the black man needs to be doom & gloom.

LEGO Magazine, Star Wars, October 2021, Comic

The secondary comic inevitably connects with the extra, the Clone Turbo Tank or Heavy Assault Vehicle HAV A6 as it is called more correctly, even if in fact it is more of a glorified infantry troop transporter like the Russian BTR-80, not an actual tank or truck-based vehicle.

LEGO Magazine, Star Wars, October 2021, Comic

The poster is one of those situations where the disconnect between the original artwork and the slapped-on text becomes evident. Of course they do so to produce the localized versions for different countries/ regions, but my feeling is that a simple “501st”, possibly with the battalion’s crest would have worked better with the specific point being that the lettering cuts off too much of the helmet.

LEGO Magazine, Star Wars, October 2021, Poster

Other LEGO magazines from Blue Ocean have been doing it for a while already and it seems that the Star Wars one is now following suit and also offering coloring pages. Whether this will become a permanent fixture remains to be seen, of course. for an October issue it is more than adequate to have a Halloween them and Grievous with his many Jack-O-Lantern buckets is a fitting subject, if a tad on the small-ish side. Your kids will be done with it rather fast and the few simple puzzles on the preceding pages won’t extend the time they are occupied by much.

LEGO Magazine, Star Wars, October 2021, Coloring

The extra is the aforementioned Turbo Tank in miniature form. The vehicle itself never struck me as particularly attractive, so I never took much interest in the bigger LEGO versions with their somewhat flimsy and lofty construction, making this my first rendition of this vehicle. It can be seen quite a bit in Attack of the Clones and the Clone Wars series and plays some role there, but as a lightly armed support vehicle it doesn’t really do that much.

The model is okay, though I wish they had settled on a different approach for the wheels. Maybe it might be time they produced a plastic wheel mimicking small tires like this one to represent the ones used on the larger models. The Dark Bluish Grey 2 x 2 round bricks of which you get ten (!) just with this model are serviceable, but just don’t look particularly believable. Other than that there is a number of other pieces in greys and Black such as this T-shaped bracket and a bunch of different slopes. All usable stuff, just nothing too extraordinary.

Overall this is a well-rounded issue that manages to convince on multiple fronts, give or take a few minor criticisms. There have definitely been a lot worse editions in the past and you’re getting a good value for your money here, in particular with the model turning out larger than average due to it using some voluminous parts.

Jedi Dart – LEGO Star Wars Magazine, June 2021

Things are slowly looking up for the Corona pandemic, but everyone still has to be careful, so getting your LEGO fix is still not easy. That’s why I enjoy my little excursions to the newsstand even more, be that just as a means of getting to build a small model once a week. That is also the case for this months LEGO Star Wars magazine, technically the June 2021 edition.

LEGO Magazine, Star Wars, June 2021, Cover

The main comic is again of the slightly weirder type with the Mos Eisley Cantina band having been transplanted into some sort of other musical venue and the blue guy, Rebo, being chased by Boba Fett. Aside from the plain strangeness of the concept it unfortunately looks rather sterile and empty, not just  because of the blue colors. It kind of fails on both fronts, that is idea and execution. The other, shorter comic as usual ties in the extra, which is Obi-Wan‘s Jedi Starfighter, and is much more vibrant and vivid, though equally crazy.

The posters are okay-ish with the primary one taking a stab at the original Drew Struzan movie poster style from the 1970s made so famous by Star Wars, Indiana Jones and many other films. The backside poster is at least interesting in that it depicts the three different Darth Vader minifigure helmet styles we’ve gotten so far, but otherwise doesn’t offer much.

LEGO Magazine, Star Wars, June 2021, Poster

The already mentioned Jedi Starfighter extra is serviceable, just a bit on the sparse side. That’s not entirely LEGO‘s fault, though, as even the original is skinny as a paper plane. Still, I feel they could have added some more elements for the central fuselage. Also the whole thing is pretty apparently much too short, so just throwing in some more of them wedge plates could have made a difference. Interestingly, the 1 x 1 studs used for the engine exhaust rings are in Pearl Dark Grey, not he more common Flat Silver, so minor as it may be, it’s at least something special.

This is pretty much a very average issue. Not really bad, but not particularly exciting, either.

July Walker

Look who’s back! Yes, as hinted last month, Boba is indeed smiling (?) from the cover of the July LEGO Star Wars magazine. The reason? He’s in one of the comics, of course!

LEGO Magazine, Star Wars, July 2020, Cover

Said comic also features the Slave 1 in its full UCS glory and re-imagines parts of the meteorite chase from The Empire Strikes Back mixed with the similarly structured stealth hunt from Attack of the Clones as some sort of space race between the Millennium Falcon, Boba‘s craft and several other vehicles. Talk about everything and the kitchen sink! And because naturally there has to be some relation to the included mini model, there’s another comic with an AT-AT at the heart of it.

The model itself is unfortunately a “Been there, done that.” affair. True, there’s only so many ways to skin a cat or build a walker, respectively, but in my short time of buying these magazines I feel like I’ve already seen way too many of the ever almost identical builds using spindly hinge-based legs and some other parts. Maybe the should consider stretching out one of these builds across two or three mags to build a larger AT-AT to reinvigorate this. So as it is, there’s not much to gain here beyond the generic nature of the Light Bluish Grey parts making them universally usable for many projects, including the four 3 on 2 jumper plates.

The rest of the magazine is your average fare. Not much in the way of activities stuff and of the posters I only find the one with the dirty sand trooper/ mud trooper breaking through the wall acceptable. Next month is going to be bring some suspense. Likely not because the magazine is going to be particularly outstanding, but rather because it will have a Stormtrooper minifigure (new type) and some people already have threatened to buy up some newsstands’ entire stock to complete their squadrons. 😉 If one is not quick enough, this issue could become tough to track down later…