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…

Orange Trooper – LEGO Star Wars Magazine, March 2023

February is of course a short month, so here we are already again with the latest LEGO Star Wars magazine for March 2023.

LEGO Magazine, Star Wars, March 2023, Cover

The first comic has The Mandalorian and Grogu in it, which is a bit unusual, given that last month we got a similar comic already, though it was the shorter one.

LEGO Magazine, Star Wars, March 2023, Comic

In the second comic we see General Grievous facing off against some Storm Troopers, which of course is a not so subtle hint at the included extra (no, it’s not Grievous)

LEGO Magazine, Star Wars, March 2023, Comic

For the poster I picked the back side featuring Yoda‘s unforgettable “Do it or don’t! There is no try!” quote. If the text was slightly smaller it would be even better. The front side has a standard Death Star trench chase scene. That’s okay, just nothing special.

LEGO Magazine, Star Wars, March 2023, Poster

LEGO Magazine, Star Wars, March 2023, ExtraThe extra has some people’s underwear in a knot and to some degree makes them go bonkers. The facts are simple: The  212th Clone Trooper so far has only appeared in the AT-TE Walker (75337) and there are only three in this set. This apparently makes this coveted minifigure quite costly on Bricklink and other secondary markets. That seems to be reason enough for people to buy stacks and stacks of this magazine to deck out their battle dioramas. It’s basically still cheaper to pay 5 Euro for the mag instead of 7 Euro (in an optimistic case; most times it’s around 10 Euro), but it’s still a lot of money to throw around you could just as well on some real sets. It always amazes me how people fall into this “battle pack (substitute) craze”!

That said, the figure itself is just fine and has some detailed prints. With its Orange demarcations it will look distinct to the 501th Storm Troopers with their Blue insignia or the upcoming Dark Purple ones (forgot which unit they are) as well as the many standard white and grey ones. Personally I will be happy that the next issue comes with a buildable extra again, though. I get why people want minifigures, but at the end of the day you clearly cannot cover enough ground to make everybody happy, anyway, for a multitude of reasons. Having something brick-built will make a nice change after four minifigs in a row.

For me this is one of the more enjoyable issues because it doesn’t veer too much in the “silly nonsense” direction with the comics and there’s at least one serviceable poster. If you’re part of the Storm Trooper/ Clone Trooper crowd you cannot avoid buying this, anyway, multiple times if necessary.

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 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  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…

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.