Y oh why… ? – LEGO Star Wars Magazine, June 2023

We’re in that weird time of the year where one public holiday here in Germany seems to follow one week after another, so time seems to fly past even faster with some weeks only having four or three business days. I wasn’t really paying attention to my calendar when I saw the LEGO Star Wars magazine for June 2023 popping up on another blog, but yes, it’s definitely here at the right time. Let’s see what it has on offer this time.

LEGO Magazine, Star Wars, June 2023, Cover

In the comic the Millenium Falcon quite literally takes a dive, with it crashing into a planet consisting of a huge body of water. The usual troubles ensue from sprung leaks to sea monsters getting involved. The ridiculousness aside, we do get some interesting colorful panels which is a nice diversion from what could have been very drab illustrations with lots of greys and browns for this old flying rust bucket.

LEGO Magazine, Star Wars, June 2023, Comic

The second comic deals with some test flight procedures going awry and naturally serves as a reference for the extra, that being a Y-Wing fighter.

LEGO Magazine, Star Wars, June 2023, Comic

The poster brings us the “alphabet wings”, that is the A-, B-, X- and Y-Wing fighters. They’re all the UCS versions, though interestingly enough they did not use the latest incarnation of the X-Wing that just came out (75355) but the one from a few years ago. The B-Wing is also very old and overdue for an improved reissue. With the new parts that have come out in recent years it could look so much better. Either way, the poster is done reasonably tastefully. The reverse isn’t quite as good, but if you’re a fan of The Empire and like Palpatine staring at you it should do the trick.

LEGO Magazine, Star Wars, June 2023, Poster

The people at Blue Ocean now seem to have settled on an alternating pattern, so every other month we do get a minifigure and inbetween a buildable model. As you well know I much prefer the latter, being that I’m not a minifig collector, but I understand that many others would prefer it the other way around and could go for one of those highly coveted rare Star Wars characters in this magazine.

Anyway, while X-Wings, TIE-Fighters or Imperial Star Destroyers have made regular appearances, the Y-Wing has made itself scarce. In fact the last time it came in this miniature form was way back in 2017 before I even started this blog. I think I then picked it up later in one of those special editions where they bundle up two or three of the leftover mags and sell it for a good price. This new version looks markedly different from the older one in the sense that the engine gondolas are more accurate in their proportions. The rest is open to discussion. This particular fighter seems to be notoriously difficult to render in LEGO due to its tricky design and even the larger builds suffer from limitations like an inaccurate canopy for the cockpit. Even the UCS version (75181) didn’t get that right and used the wrong mold. So for what it’s worth, we have yet to see the “perfect” brick-built Y-Wing. This small version is certainly okay, but nothing revolutionary, either.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock or have been away on a very long holiday in an isolated region you surely have heard of the upcoming new LEGO Dreamzzz theme. The first episodes of the animated companion series are available on YouTube and some commercial streaming services and they’re promoting it left and right. The new sets have already been revealed and personally I’m looking forward to them. After the botched Hidden Side and VIDIYO some slightly crazier theme with wacky colors and fantastical characters is certainly needed. It seems like they indeed even had the good sense to not force it to be tied to an app. We’ll find out the definitive truth in August when the sets should be available.

LEGO Magazine, Star Wars, June 2023, Dreamzzz Teaser

At that point we likely also will already have the first issue of the new magazine to go with it for which we get a sample/ teaser/ preview bundled with the Star Wars mag. What can be seen looks enticing enough, but that’s of course easy to say when something is brand new. The real test will be how varied and fresh they can keep it in the long run. Hopefully we don’t end up with always the same minifigures and perhaps there will even be some small builds. We just have to wait and see.

LEGO Magazine, Star Wars, June 2023, Dreamzzz Teaser

If “average” is a negative term to you then perhaps this issue isn’t great, but if you view it more charitably it simply means that this mag neither causes excitement nor major disappointment. Funny enough the Dreamzzz add-on is more interesting to me than the rest of the content, but that’s just me. The rest is just acceptable with neither any highlights nor massive flubs standing out.

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…

April X-Wing – LEGO Star Wars Magazine, April 2023

The LEGO Star Wars magazine lately seems to have taken a turn to the dark side, that is it has become very minifigure centric. You know, those surveys asking whether one prefers buildable spaceships or minifigures seem to have had an effect. I always favored buildable extras, which I know inevitably put me in the minority. Most would simply have the same Stormtrooper a hundred times than a single TIE-Fighter. For me this kinda sucks, so I’m even more happy that at least for the April 2023 issue we’re getting something based on studs and not just a tiny mannequin.

LEGO Magazine, Star Wars, April 2023, Cover

The first comic once more delves into the goings-ons of a Stormtrooper‘s mundane everyday life inside The First Order, which is all well and good, but still makes me cringe.

LEGO Magazine, Star Wars, April 2023, Comic

The second comic is more in line with what I would expect. It pokes some fun at Yoda living in a swamp and Luke crashing his X-Wing there. You know, it’s based on established lore, but with a twist and that comment about Luke possibly needing a dry stand for his clothes is in fact genuinely funny.

LEGO Magazine, Star Wars, April 2023, Comic

the posters are very graphical, which in my world is always a plus. The front has yet again Vader asking to join The Empire and the back has Bo Katan set against some imperial troopers.

LEGO Magazine, Star Wars, April 2023, Poster

LEGO Magazine, Star Wars, April 2023, ExtraThe extra is an X-Wing for like the hundredth time, but since the actual build is always slightly different I’m not complaining too much. I just wish they’d occasionally go for the lesser known variants of other pilots with different color schemes and not always for the main ones piloted by Luke. The model is in fact quite similar to the currently available polybag version (30654), only slightly smaller and with less pieces. I didn’t pick up the polybag or else I could have offered a direct comparison.

This is by no means the most exciting issue of this mag, but it’s okay overall. It would really be nice to get a few more innovative vehicle builds, though. With so much new stuff having come out in the last three years or so I’m surprised we’re still stuck with repeats based on the movies. I can’t imagine why it should be so hard to do a Ferrix attack shuttle or an N-1 Fighter from The Mandalorian.

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.

Bo-Bo-Bo Katan(a)? – LEGO Star Wars Magazine, February 2023

It seems like Christmas was only yesterday, yet here we are again already one month into the new year with the LEGO Star Wars magazine for February 2023 knocking on the door.

LEGO Magazine, Star Wars, February 2023, Cover

The main comic is yet again one of those stupid “Vader gets himself into trouble” things that I don’t look particularly favorably at. It just doesn’t do it for me, no matter how well the panels are composed and drawn.

LEGO Magazine, Star Wars, February 2023, Comic

The second one is more realistic and shows an encounter on one of the barren worlds as they are see in the The Mandalorian series. As you would expect, it also serves as the glue that brings the mag and extra together.

LEGO Magazine, Star Wars, February 2023, Comic

The posters are okay in that they’re not too ugly and not covered in pointless text and fake effects, but at the same time we definitely had better ones just as well.

LEGO Magazine, Star Wars, February 2023, PosterLEGO Magazine, Star Wars, February 2023, ExtraThe inevitable extra is Bo-Katan Kryze in minifigure format. Apparently she’s been in some animated Star Wars series as well and was introduced in season 2 of The Mandalorian. Since Disney+ subscriptions don’t fall out of the sky I still haven’t seen any of that beyond what the various trailers and snippets on YouTube reveal, but it’s notable insofar as the character is played by the great Katee Sackhoff who really made a splash in the early 2000s as the cocky Starbuck in the Battlestar Galactica series remake.

The figure is remarkable in that previously it was only available in the Mandalorian Starfighter (75316) set. The set itself clearly wasn’t a hit with audiences, but the figures are in high demand and thus relatively costly on the secondhand markets. The inclusion in the mag should mitigate the situation a bit. The other interesting observation here is that the package comes with the small foil bag for the helmet shields and visor “hammer”. Why am I telling you this? Obviously this little gimmick isn’t included in the latest Microfighter Boba Fett’s Starship (75344). Therefore buying this magazine would be a simple way to fix this omission and also give you two more spares to possibly repair other such appendages on other minifigures.

As so often the extra saves the day on an otherwise just average magazine and if minifigures are your thing, then next month will be another treat with a 212th Clone Trooper. I have a feeling this will be one of those issues that some people will buy in stacks to deck out their dioramas and displays with walkers…

Frosty Luke – LEGO Star Wars Magazine, January 2023

It’s been one of the warmest New Year’s Eves in history, so the title of this article is diametrical to the real conditions, but it is nonetheless appropriate. In the run-up to the end of year celebrations this was supposed to come out a bit earlier, but somehow it only appeared at my newsstand on Friday and I didn’t get around to finishing my review earlier. Now lets see what the LEGO Star Wars magazine has to offer on this exact first day of the new year.

LEGO Magazine, Star Wars, January 2023, Cover

The first comic takes a page from the original A New Hope movie in that it presents us with a Millenium Falcon chase through an asteroid field, however this time as part of a cosmic race, whose concept somehow immediately reminded me of Star Trek – Voyager‘s “Drive” episode in the seventh season. Someone certainly took some inspiration. It also makes the comic slightly more interesting since we at least get to see some varied spaceships and characters.

LEGO Magazine, Star Wars, January 2023, Comic

The second comic as usual serves as the means to introduce the extra and features some icy action on Hoth with some Wampas and a certain Luke Skywalker.

LEGO Magazine, Star Wars, January 2023, Comic

The posters are quite nice this time. One can never have enough Mustafar-themed ones as the fiery, volcanic glows just look mysterious and cool and Vader with his brooding presence adds to that. The composition feels a bit cheap and could have been done better, but it’s really okay. The back side might be even more interesting to some people. It has a close-up of Luke‘s minifigure head with the Red 5 helmet, which would make for an interesting presentation if you put it up next somewhere to the eponymous set of the helmet.

LEGO Magazine, Star Wars, January 2023, Poster

LEGO Magazine, Star Wars, January 2023, ExtraSince for all intents and purposes it’s extremely unlikely LEGO will revive the Wampa mold any time soon, you knew where this was going when I mentioned the second comic and yes, of course we’re getting the Luke minifigure instead. Regrettably, while it’s actually quite nice, it’s also nothing special. It has been available for a long time in a Microfighters set and just was part of the 2022 LEGO Star Wars Advent Calendar (75340). Chances that you already have it therefore are very high and the minifig as such will drop considerably in value. Therefore its real value is more in using it as a basis for a custom figure with a replaced head.

This edition of the mag on the whole is okay, but unless you really don’t have the minifigure and want it badly, there’s no need to rush to the newsstand. That might be a much more appropriate course of action next month, when we will get a much rarer Bo Katan fig.

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. 😉

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.

Steamrolling into Autumn – LEGO City Magazine, October 2022

Blue Ocean really caught me on the wrong foot. Just when I was ready to ditch the LEGO City magazine for good, they start bundling them up with interesting extras that I can’t resist. So here we are again with the October 2022 issue and a very positive surprise.

LEGO Magazine, City, October 2022, Cover

First things first, though. The comic is what it is – it’s certainly the most interesting across al those magazines in terms of how the visual style has evolved, but the stories really are for the 5+ generation and the flat jokes and repetitions just don’t land with me.

LEGO Magazine, City, October 2022, Comic

The safety and security transgressions in this issue alone would make any building site’s supervisor hair stand on end. I also don’t quite get why we still have to put up with American style hard hats in for a European magazine. It seems like LEGO really need to fix this and create a new mold. It just seems weird, especially when they appear in mass like here.

LEGO Magazine, City, October 2022, Comic

The posters are okay and at least have a sense of visual clarity and communicating their intent, not just being lumped together excuses. The frontal lighting on the one with the steamroller is a bit odd, though. Like they shot it in a studio and not on a construction site.

LEGO Magazine, City, October 2022, PosterLEGO Magazine, City, October 2022, ExtraNow for the goodie, the steamroller itself in miniature form. I so friggin’ love it! When I saw it on last month’s preview page I had to giggle. This is just cool. It makes good use of the 3 x 3 cylinder piece that came out last year and even better, you get four of them without having to buy e.g. a Star Wars X-Wing or similar where they are used as part of jet engine exhausts or intakes. That alone is some decent value and overall the vehicle just looks cute and believable. If they had thrown in some of these discs to cover the ends it would have been perfect. I guess they just didn’t want to go through the trouble, as it would also have required 7L axles and some extra 2 x 2 plates to offset the side skirts holding them. Anyway, it’s still pretty good even without that. I just had so much fun crunching up some cookie crumbs on the coffee table! 🙂

Of course this edition wouldn’t be much without the extra and it’s the major selling point. If I as an old guy can have fun with it, then your kids can definitely have it, too. I seriously recommend this issue for that reason alone.

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.