Ugly Black Plane – LEGO Super Heroes, Shuri’s Sunbird (76211)

Last week was a bit of a mess. I had two days of Internet outage because some construction worker shredded a optic fiber cable and had to make do with my rather limited mobile access and then I head some struggles with my health issues. That’s why I only now got around to actually writing my review for the LEGO Shuri’s Sunbird (76211) set.

LEGO Super Heroes, Shuri's Sunbird (76211), Box

Pricing and Contents

As you might have guessed, I don’t particularly care for the Black Panther – Wakanda Forever movie and haven’t seen it yet. It’s nothing I would go to the cinema for and I’ll wait for it to run on TV some day. It also kind of came and went without making much of an impact here in Germany. It’s almost already faded from people’s consciousness again and while it was profitable in the grand scheme of things, it probably wasn’t the hit Disney had hoped it would be. Viewer numbers dropped pretty sharply after the first week. Anyway, I’m not going to bore you with my ponderings and should probably re-open my old blog to do film reviews.

Regardless of my limited interest in these types of flicks, I often get hooked by some of the story concepts and design work and that basically is what happened here. The idea of a black jet just appealed to me and as someone who rarely buys those Star Wars sets with the Imperial shuttles or TIE Fighters containing lots of Black pieces the prospect of adding some notable ones of those to my collection also had some value to me. Of course I didn’t want to overstretch my budget, so I had to wait a bit as the original price of 50 Euro really seems a bit much. It’s not necessarily bad because there are smaller sets for that same price and they don’t even contain as many minifigures, but you have to keep it reasonable.

I picked up my package for 37 Euro and currently prices have gone as low as 34 Euro. That’s still not the best price ratio when you consider that there are only 355 pieces, but at least some of them are quite large, which offsets the cost a bit. There are also some unique parts and within the whole Super Heroes series the price is still okay, which also balances out the equation.

LEGO Super Heroes, Shuri's Sunbird (76211), Overview


With any big movie the character based minifigures are inevitably a big part of the appeal. the ones you get in this set are (from right to left) Nakia, Ironheart, Shuri and Attuma. The latter apparently is part of the opposing faction and bad guys, Namor‘s army, and it’s easily my favorite one. This has a lot to do with the head piece, which is modeled in part after a hammerhead shark’s skull and it so happens that sharks are some of my favorite animals. The others are okay, but feel a bit generic in the sense that these embroidery like fine patterns of the super hero suits become a bit too common. That’s not LEGO‘s fault, but rather that of the film’s production designers, yet it still feels all to samey. You could put minifigs from different movies in a line and without knowing the finer points you could mistake Nakia‘s body as that of one of the Eternals.

LEGO Super Heroes, Shuri's Sunbird (76211), Minifigures

The Plane that never was

One thing we need to get out of the way is how the model does not at all look like what can be seen in the movie. I haven’t seen the whole film, but what can be determined from trailers and freely available snippets on the web this is a major miss. The actual jet is a small light interceptor type plane that accommodates a single person whereas the model makes it look like a stubby small bomber/ ground attack aircraft. Clearly the proportions are completely out of whack and don’t match minifigure scale. Of course this can be explained away with the designers working off concept art that may not have reflected changes later during the actual production of the movie just like it can simply be blamed on the scale.

In the latter case it would probably have made more sense to go even bigger and omit minifigures entirely to not even give people ideas. In the other case this plane would/ should have been part of a different set and used different building techniques. See where the problem is? This set is neither fish nor flesh, as they say, and therefore comes across as an inane attempt at a cash grab in the sense of “We have to have something ready.” just to be part of the game. That’s typical corporate thinking for you and sadly one of the reasons why many people get a bit tired of LEGO hanging their own success too much on licensed IPs.

The Model

Since it is nowhere near representative of the genuine article, we have to view the model in isolation from the movie and how it holds up on its own merits strictly as a LEGO creation. As such it is just fine and in its blocky appearance rather reminiscent of some Nexo Knights designs of aerial vehicles. It just lacks the glowy orange and green elements those sets had. The standout feature are of course the two big round “fan” hubs, which are actually “magically” powered hover units. In the film this allows for some interesting visuals as they swivel around with every steering motion. On the model they feel out of place, though, and get in the way of grabbing the model in that area.

The wings are not actual aerodynamic wings, but rather just another kind of engine emitters for forward propulsion. In the film they smoothly transition to the vessel’s main body by ways of some elastic skin/ nanotec coating and that includes when they change their angle. This is of course impossible to represent sufficiently with LEGO, so you’re basically stuck with the default position as the only reasonably “good” one. In the end it might have been better to construct the whole thing with rigid, plate-based connections and just leave it at that. The movable wings really don’t add much otherwise.

The model doesn’t offer too many details with the jet engine being basic and the cockpit rather void. This is another of those things where a more realistic representation of the movie original would have allowed for more finesse. It’s actually an elongated cockpit where the pilot has an backward inclined, almost laying position and there would have been plenty of space to add little bits and bobs to this long cockpit with a curved (!) canopy. so even that part is not correct.

There are a few special pieces in this set, which is of course something that always gets my attention. Most obviously are the rings based on the new element introduced one and a half years ago for the Porsche 911 (10295) in White. They’re exclusive to this set in Black for the time being. That also applies to the roller door slats in Trans Satin Purple and of course the cockpit piece is unique as well. A hidden gem are the two angled wedges/ dumpster tray walls in Black. This long-existing element has seen a resurgence in the Monkie Kid series recently and with only a few of such “studs on slope” elements even existing in LEGO‘s parts catalog, it’s always good to have those options.

As you can see the model is quite compact even if you slick back the wings and you can fold it up to an even smaller package. This facilitates storage or just stowing it away in a box after play.

Concluding Thoughts

Ultimately this set is kind of a fail. It does not bear the slightest resemblance to the vehicle in the film and as it stands once more one can only wonder who signed off on this in Disney‘s licensing department. On the other hand, and that’s one of those bittersweet irony things, it would have made for a nice Nexo Knights or Ninjago hover jet on its own with the necessary modifications, namely a different color scheme and some bling-bling. Otherwise it does not deliver on what it promises to be. It’s still okay as a generic play set, but then naturally we’d have to open up an endless discussion about the price being too high and how the minifigures figure into the overall value.

With all that in mind I would only recommend this to people who have a special connection to the film and want to own all the paraphernalia associated with it or if you are a minifigure collector who has a desire for a complete line-up. I’m not in either of those camps, but at least I got something out of with the exclusive parts and I still think the hammerhead shark head piece is genius. That’s about it, though, as the rest feels like a minimum effort on LEGO‘s part that doesn’t live up to expectations.

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.

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. 😉

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…

Aerial Battle Fun – LEGO Star Wars Magazine, July 2021

The summer heat has waned off a bit this week and things have become a bit more enjoyable, despite me still feeling like a lazy slob a lot of the time. At least the various LEGO magazines arrive on schedule, so let’s see what the latest edition of the Star Wars version has in store.

LEGO Magazine, Star Wars, July 2021, Cover

Jumping right in with the comics, we get a quite epic aerial battle between some TIE Fighters and X-Wings in the main one and the Millenium Falcon is involved, too. It’s still a bit weird and not adhering to the main canon very well, but still way better than those weird Vader stories. It’s also visually very pleasing with lots of nice blue sky shades, but at the same time the panels not looking empty as I criticized for one of the Jurassic World magazines not so long ago.

LEGO Magazine, Star Wars, July 2021, Comic

The second comic takes a play at the training scenes with Rey and BB-8 at the beginning of The Rise of Skywalker and is equally acceptable, not just because it serves as the tie-in for the extra, which of course are our two protagonists in minifigure format.

LEGO Magazine, Star Wars, July 2021, Comic

I’m just gonna say it: The posters are both terrible. It’s what I call uninspired hack jobs. One is cobbled together from existing stock photos. Nothing wrong with that and people do it all the time, but you can literally see that exactly zero effort went into it. Even I could probably bash this together in five minutes. They could at least have properly layered and color corrected the “ghost” overlay instead of just reducing opacity. The backside poster doesn’t fare much better. Though graphical in nature and playing with the idea of a brick mosaic, it just doesn’t look good.

LEGO Magazine, Star Wars, July 2021, Poster

That being the case, I wish they had used the wimmelpicture instead and ideally as an XXL print at that. The shameless promotion for the Mos Eisley Cantina (75290) and a few other sets aside, it has some interesting and funny details and would look gorgeous as a decently oversize poster. There’s always the chance they may do so in the future, of course, so not all hope is in vain.

LEGO Magazine, Star Wars, July 2021, Wimmelpicture

The minifigures of Rey and BB-8 at this point feel like clearing leftovers from their stockpile. The funny thing is that  the movie may be only one and a half year in the past, but it already feels like an eternity, yet at the same time it’s to early to celebrate any anniversary and anyone who bought several of the sets is probably sitting on piles of Reys. Surprisingly the BB-8 has a decent value, though, as this new version with the larger eye has not been in that many sets. At the same time, my old version with the smaller eye which I got kind of accidentally with this set seems to be equally coveted. At least it’s rather pricey on Bricklink. Go, figure!

LEGO Magazine, Star Wars, July 2021, Extra

All things considered this is an okay issue, but it doesn’t make the globe spin faster. I’m particularly miffed that some good ideas were not used and for the extra they could at least have thrown in one of them palm leaves and a Dark Tan plate or something to create a little patch of the training jungle and make it more enticing. With that in mind, a lot of people are already much more excited about the next issue, which will include a Sith Trooper and as usual some people have already vowed to buy it in bulk… We’ll see how that works out!

TIE Bombastic – LEGO Star Wars Magazine, May 2021

After last month’s surprisingly nice V-Wing edition, we’re now back in more mundane territory with the latest issue of the LEGO Star Wars magazine for May 2021.

LEGO Magazine, Star Wars, May 2021, Cover

That level of ordinary is true both for the model (more on it later) as well as the rest of the content. Where we got a nice comic that actually made some sense in the lore of the greater Star Wars universe, it’s now back to weird hijinx with Darth Vader. It’s almost tragic how such an iconic character gets ridiculed over and over.

Apart from the comic there is little to nothing to do. Aside from the many advertisements/ advertorials sprinkled in, there are literally only two (!) pages of activities, one with a labyrinth and the other with a “find the match” puzzle. The posters are okay in the grand scheme of things, I guess, but of course do not compare to the graphical finesse of the ones in the last two issues and therefore certainly feel like a step down.

LEGO Magazine, Star Wars, May 2021, Poster

The TIE Bomber mini model pretty much follows the standard pattern of every other such model and I’m slowly beginning to really be offended by the low effort. In particular the inverted sloped bracket pieces are getting on my nerves as they really look extremely unattractive. If at least they had prints for the radiator patterns! Similarly, the double fuselage looks underwhelming with its all too obvious cylindrical pieces. I really feel they need to sit down and come up with a new way to build these vessels.

Say what you will, but this is simply a lame issue. You can totally skip over this without even feeling the slightest bit guilty over having missed something. i seriously hope the next edition will turn out better and gets me more pumped… 

2020 – A Space Tragedy – LEGO Star Wars, Nebulon-B Frigate (77904)

Today we are going to have a look at a set that most of us actually never will get their hands on as a real, packaged set in a nice printed box. This is of course due to the specifics how the LEGO Star Wars Nebulon-B Frigate (77904) came into existence and the circumstances surrounding its limited availability. So without further ado, let’s have a look at what brought us here.

LEGO Star Wars, Nebulon-B Frigate (77904), Front Left View

The Haves and the Have-Nots

When it comes to this set there is a huge divide between those that were lucky enough to get an original package, those who didn’t and the large rest of the community, whose only option is to rebrick it from scratch. I belong to the latter, pretty obviously, but I wanted to share my thoughts on the matter, regardless.

Originally intended as an exclusive only sold on-site at what was supposed to be this year’s San Diego Comic Con, inevitably there were ever only going to be limited numbers of this set out there. This has been the case with other sets in the past years as well, and while it always has rubbed me the wrong way not having access to them, I was mostly fine with that, given that they were small sets that would, though fun to rebrick, not necessarily be something I would go crazy about. that and of course that without the equally exclusive minifigures just rebuilding them would not have the same value. I may not like it, but I do get the mechanics of a “collectors” market, if you get my meaning. However, with the Nebulon-B Frigate things were a bit different and perhaps that why things went sour so quickly when due to the Corona pandemic things changed.

With Comic Con being cancelled, but the sets already produced (due to the long-ish lead-in times required for manufacturing and logistics), LEGO had to look for a different way of distribution and wouldn’t you know it – sadly all too predictably they did so in the most stupid and moronic fashion possible. They only distributed it through their own web shop and Amazon – both times only in the US, apparently. So far, so good. However, what then aggravated many American fans even was the way it was handled: There were no clear dates of availability announced, so people never knew if and when they could actually order their copy, yet somehow scalpers managed to order sets in bulk off Amazon long before. Similar things happened on the LEGO online store, where the set appeared out of nowhere for one day and was quickly sold out.

See where this is going? Yes, many fans ended up empty-handed and even YouTubers like Jangbricks rightfully criticized how this was handled, as even he struggled to get a box for his reviews. As a result, this ended up being a situation of those who have an d those who haven’t and everyone was jealous of their neighbor who was lucky enough to snatch a package. This situation could probably not have been entirely avoided, given what the product was originally intended for, but it certainly could have been mitigated with better planning and communication, leaving a lot more potential buyers a whole lot less frustrated. In fact one wonders why LEGO themselves didn’t deal with this better, given that it caused quite a shitstorm of bad PR for them.

To rebrick or not to rebrick, that is the question!

Things being what they are, most would-be customers that might have bought the set were faced with the question of either buying it for a whole lot of money from them scalpers or rebricking it from scratch using their own parts. This is usually a tough decision, as rebricking a set can be many times more costly than the original package. This in particular happens when a set contains specific minifigures, rare parts or rare color variants of a piece and you have to scrape things together from multiple sources, including expensive additional purchases from Bricklink and similar sites.

However, fret not! Surprisingly, rebricking this set is quite affordable. German site did the math using LEGO‘s official Bricks & Pieces service and arrived at a total cost of around 55 Euro. This may change a bit depending on where you live and what exchange rates are for your own country’s currency, but all things considered this is not bad and a far cry from the insane amounts of money I feared this would cost. This is perfectly manageable even on a limited budget and even I might have considered it, despite my reluctance to ever even rebrick official sets or build other people’s MOCs. Also the set does not contain any minifigure at all, so you don’t have to go out there and buy expensive old figures just to kit-bash/ fig-barf together that Rebel officer that might have been included.

However, what really won me over despite my usual reluctance to rebrick official sets or build other people’s MOCs, is the fact that I knew that I had a considerable number of pieces already in my repository, including some more elusive ones like e.g. the new binoculars/ droid head and the single (!) grey skeleton foot I had. Funny enough, after those last few years my buying weird Friends sets and LEGO magazines seems to have paid off at least a little. Knowing that I could get about  70 percent of the way soothed my nerves and made the whole operation viable.

Going through my boxes and picking out sometimes tiny parts was still a pain in the butt, though. It costs a lot of time to sort this stuff into their little partitions and then just as long to fish them out using tweezers when they hide in that corner you can’t get your fingers in. In addition I still had to order some elements, most notably a bunch of those brackets in Dark Bluish Gray. I have tons of them in other colors, but LEGO only did the darker grey version in some sets last year, none of which I had bought. I also threw in some other items such as a bunch of studs and the Fez cones for the engine exhausts (had a few from the Hidden Side Ghost Firetruck 3000 [70436], apparently, but not enough), but nothing too dramatic.

For other items I decided right out of the gate to substitute colors or not bother about any of that, because they either wouldn’t be visible at all or the different colors would not affect the overall appearance. I did so after carefully studying the digital instructions and in fact later during the build realized that I could have taken this even further. For instance many of the Dark Tan 1 x 2 plates are merely used as fill elements underneath other pieces and you can basically use any color your have at hand. You only need to go with the original suggestion for a handful of locations where they are genuinely visible and help to convey that rusty, slightly rugged look.

Some elements I would have liked to replace, but things didn’t coalesce in a favorable way, meaning mostly I would have had to waste another 10 Euro on shipping costs on buying a few tiny pieces from another Bricklink seller, so I didn’t. One such piece are the many 1 x 1 teeth elements used to hint at streamlined coverings, hatches and protrusions. I used the Pearl Silver ones I had in many places instead of the Light Bluish Grey version, the latter of which – you guessed it – is kind of rare and thus not readily available in sufficient quantities with every of my favorite parts dealers. I might fix this at a later point, though.

The Model

After my long-winded ponderings let’s have a look at the actual model for a change. What can I say? I think it’s beautiful in every way and manages to hit the right balance between looking like an adequate representation of the original, capturing the scale and proportions and yet still recognizably looking like a LEGO model. Hard to say what exactly it is, but it simply looks very elegant with its long center beam section and the greebly surface.

LEGO Star Wars, Nebulon-B Frigate (77904), Front Left View

Some of the elegance of course has to do with color choices. The original, while not exactly flamboyant and mostly a flat grey, has a few colorful areas, but the model designers instead opted to give it a classic “paper” look and pretty much keep everything in Light Bluish Grey, with a few Dark Bluish Grey and Dark Tan highlights peeking out here and there. This no doubt has to do with a) LEGO not having all the correct colors in their portfolio, anyway and b) the so-called “scale effect” where colors despite technically being exact matches look different on differently sized objects. More to the point it seems they realized that going with those greens, yellows and browns sprinkled in that you can find on the original movie models things would have gotten too noisy and distracting. I’m also pretty sure they even tried this out on their prototypes and it looked kind of wrong.

LEGO Star Wars, Nebulon-B Frigate (77904), Aft Left View

With that in mind, it’s clear that the appearance is defined by the surface structure much more than actual colors and to that effect they essentially throw every small part (and the kitchen sink) into the ring. There’s a ton of 1 x 1 studs and modified plates, similar 1 x 2 plates and tiles, including the ingot piece as well as some of the weirder stuff I already mentioned. Additionally, there is a considerable number of tiles, slopes and jumper plates and some of them have only come out in the last two years, so no matter how you skin it, this model couldn’t even have been done in this way, shape and form until recently. I guess one could say they had all the pieces in place (no pun intended) just at the right time.

LEGO Star Wars, Nebulon-B Frigate (77904), Aft Right View

The model itself is around 30 cm long and about 20 cm tall. In terms of scale it fits what in the model ship building sphere would be the 1/350th or 1/400th scales, meaning every detail would be pretty tiny and thus simplifications and creating the illusion of geometry with light and shadow are common techniques. Thankfully this set does not have any prints or special stickers to take this even further, or else rebricking it would have been even more of a pain. Could have been cool, though, to have some numbers, badges and squadron insignia as well as perhaps some tiny dots for the windows on some elements.

LEGO Star Wars, Nebulon-B Frigate (77904), Front Right View

Despite the model looking relatively straightforward, building it isn’t always that simple. The most obvious limitation is that you are often dealing with very long, but also very thin parts just one stud wide. This means that handling is delicate and things are not always as stable as you would like. This is in particular the case with the forward section, which uses a lot of 1 x 1 bricks with studs on the sides that are stacked into small towers and then only stabilize once you add the plates on the sides. It’s not a big deal, given that this is a display model and some fragility has to be expected, but some attention and care is required. I had some of these bits fall off a number of times.

LEGO Star Wars, Nebulon-B Frigate (77904), Detail Front, Top View LEGO Star Wars, Nebulon-B Frigate (77904), Detail Front, Bottom View

With regards to the many smaller elements it pays off if you spend a little time orienting the pieces so they have uniform and straight gaps and run in parallel or perpendicular to the edges and surface they are aligned to. I’m sure I still missed quite a few, but it really helps or else your model can look pretty crooked. On the other hand there some limits to this with many elements literally only hanging on on stud and thus remaining movable later. I also was particularly irked by the slope pieces used to shape the upper deck of the rear section not fitting as close together as I would have liked. That’s one of the areas I might have constructed differently if this were my own MOC. Of course that’s always easy to say and other options like using for instance this brick instead may have other disadvantages. you never know until you try, obviously.

LEGO Star Wars, Nebulon-B Frigate (77904), Detail Front, Side View LEGO Star Wars, Nebulon-B Frigate (77904), Detail Aft, Left View

There are a few other slightly annoying things like the frontmost upper antennae always falling off easily due to the binoculars piece they are plugged into not even having a full depth anti stud to connect to the jumper plate that holds it, but overall everything is where it needs to be and you’d be hard-pressed to find alternate solutions to some design problems.

LEGO Star Wars, Nebulon-B Frigate (77904), Detail Aft, Rear View

The Stand

As you already may have noticed, I constructed a slightly different stand for my model than the one proposed in the original instructions. This came about for a number of reasons. For one I didn’t have the curved slopes they used in their version just as I didn’t have a sticker or a printed tile to use for the plaque. Therefore the forward protrusion with the hinge mounts would be redundant.

Second I also think the original design is simply slightly too large for what is necessary plus that weird construction at the top with the curved slope standing out so much just looks ugly to my eyes. I’m not claiming my solution is the ultimate achievement, but it feels better to me. You can of course come up with a million other designs just as well as long as you keep the general positioning and structure intact. The model is very front-heavy and thus in order to balance things out the stand’s pivot also has to be very close to the front section.

At the same time you don’t need a super large pedestal as long as it has enough surface area and is reasonably heavy so the model doesn’t tip over because the center of gravity is too high. I would even wager you could construct something pretty small from a bunch of 6 x 6 plates and Macaroni round pieces, if you add some fishing lead inside. Well, whatever floats your boat will do in a pinch.

Concluding Thoughts: Everything wrong with LEGO Star Wars

In my headline I called this a tragedy and sadly it is – just not in the way you may think at first. The point here is that this set on so many levels illustrates what is wrong with LEGO Star Wars by getting so much right. It’s a well thought-out model that looks amazing, is reasonably enjoyable to build and at 40 Euro is very reasonably priced. Most importantly it brings something entirely fresh to the whole line by representing a vessel that previously hadn’t officially been done and to boot, it does so in a very collectible scale. This would have sold like crazy as a regular retail set!

Now compare that to the umpteenth X-Wing or TIE Fighter, half-baked “Battle Packs” models of iconic scenes and locales that are barely recognizable because they have been reduced to a mere shadow of the original. Need I go on? To me, the Nebulon-B Frigate is a perfect example of how things could/ should be vs. the crappy reality of what we actually get. The model shows that it’s absolutely not the fault of the designers – if they can come up with this, they sure could crank out a whole armada of vessels in this scale – but rather that the decision making further up the chain is to blame, be that LEGO or Disney/ Lucasfilm.

With all that in mind one would hope LEGO have learned some lessons from this little debacle and are working hard on it. Re-issuing this set as a regular one would be a start and I would even buy it, despite already having rebricked it and then from there they could move on to all those other big crafts like alternate Nebulon variants such as the Y-shaped C version or the Empire‘s armored one, a Tantive, a Hammerhead and yes, of course all the Star Destroyers you could want.

I certainly wouldn’t mind having a line-up of approximately equally sized models on the shelf in the 30 cm range even if it means different actual scale, not dissimilar to what Eaglemoss did with their collectible Star Trek vessels. Am I hoping for too much?

Post-Christmas Double – LEGO Star Wars and Jurassic World Magazine, January 2021

The festive season this year has resulted in a bit of an odd timing for the release schedule of some of the various LEGO magazines, so this week the newsstands are full with new issues. That’s why I’m going to wrap two of them into a single article to not drag things out too much. Let’s begin with the LEGO Star Wars one.

LEGO Magazine, Star Wars, January 2021, Cover

It comes in with relatively little fanfare, by which I mostly mean its utter lack of something genuinely fresh and innovative. In fact I intentionally chose the sample pages from the second, shorter comic because at least the raspberry-like pink fruits give it some pop. The bigger one is for the umpteenth time about Storm Trooper target practice, this time packed into a winter-y scenario. The posters are not worth talking about and feel like unused older designs and even if they aren’t, they’re just not good. Once more this issue is also very light on puzzles, so not much to do, either.

LEGO Magazine, Star Wars, January 2021, Comic

The buildable model is yet another TIE Fighter, this time as the TIE Interceptor flavor more commonly seen in the newer movies. It distinguishes itself mostly by using this old clunker in a quite creative fashion and I must admit that at first it looks extremely lazy, but works surprisingly well, all things considered. It’s in fact even a bit of a missed opportunity that they didn’t actually include a printed transparent dish for the cockpit front, as due to the construction there’s a small hollow inside that would have perfectly passed as the pilot’s little cubicle office. BTW, the foil pack (and a free sample pack of the latest Ninjago trading cards) was stuck on using some very strong tape and that’s why I shredded the cover. It just wouldn’t peel off without damage.

LEGO Magazine, Star Wars, January 2021, Extra a  LEGO Magazine, Star Wars, January 2021, Extra b

On to more interesting things, we have the latest edition of the LEGO Jurassic World mag. Okay, the comic isn’t that exciting, either, it merely being yet another dinosaur chase, but at least one of the posters is halfway decent. The puzzles and activities are also pretty thin, so not much to report there as well.

LEGO Magazine, Jurassic World, January 2021, Cover

LEGO Magazine, Jurassic World, January 2021, Comic

The comic stubbing your nose at the featured Stegosaurus of course has a clear reason, that being the inclusion of the herbivore in model form. Some describe them as one the dumbest dinosaur species, given their super small brain, but I suppose that doesn’t make him any less appealing at least in terms of the appearance. Those large, pointed armor plates sure are impressive as is the spiked, mace-like tail. I vividly remember when as kids we used to watch this old Czechoslovakian movie, prominently featuring a Stego vs. T-Rex fight.

The model captures the proportions well enough, though personally I would have wished it was slightly bigger. Though the color scheme is consistent with the earlier Triceratops and by extension the Mighty Dinosaurs (31058) set I also would have loved the colors to be somewhat more realistic. Those armor plates definitely weren’t grey! Either they were extremely colorful to serve as signal posts for peers and potential mating partners, were patterned and camouflaged to confuse the enemies or covered with meshes of blood vessels and skin to regulate body temperature. Whichever explanation you prefer, there would have been many better color choices.

LEGO Magazine, Jurassic World, January 2021, Extra a  LEGO Magazine, Jurassic World, January 2021, Extra b

As it is, you do get these six Dark Bluish Grey flag pieces and they’re attached using the same number of Green hinges (plus another two to which the neck and tail clip on) and you also get a whole lot of 1 x 1 pin hole bricks, also in Green. On the other hand there’s the Tan pieces such as the 1 x 2 inverted curved slopes and my highlight, the three T-style brackets. At least those should be more universally useful. All things considered I’m not complaining, though. The parts yield is good.

Overall nothing special for the end of the year in both magazines, but things do look a bit better for the upcoming issues. Some people already have the shorts in a knot for the green Mandalorian from the The Mandalorian Battle Pack (75267) coming to the Star Wars magazine and the next Jurassic World also looks okay according to the preview page, but I’m not going to spoil that one for you… 😉

Azure and White Excursion – LEGO Creator 3in1, Camper Van (31108)

When it comes to my love for nature, I’m full of contradictions. I enjoy long walks by the lake or in the forest, yet not to the extend where I would derive pleasure from crawling through the underbrush. All the same, I have this weird thing where I would enjoy the solitude of the wilderness in a lonely log hut, but only if I had all the comforts like electricity, satellite TV and Internet. Weird? For sure. That’s probably why I have this odd fascination with caravaning as well, despite very limited actual experience with it and maybe my love for similarly themed LEGO sets is just part of this dichotomy and a way to live out my dream as long as I’m not actually able to afford one of those luxurious RVs. Who knows? Anyway, let’s have a look at the Camper Van (31108) and see what its qualities are and how it fits as a surrogate for my pipe dream.

LEGO Creator, Camper Van (31108), Box

That Money Thing again

I’m beginning to hate it myself, but first we again need to talk about the monetary value of the set vs. its actual content. The proposed street price for this set is 80 Euro, which, to put it directly, is just completely and utterly bonkers for a set of this type in the Creator 3in1 series with around 750 pieces. I’m not much of an advocate for that inaccurate price per piece metric, but anything above 10 Cent a piece is clearly not a good value, even more so if, as is typical for this theme, those pieces are 99 percent common standard elements, not expensive specialized parts.

This is ridiculous and outrageous at the same time and clearly feels like someone at LEGO went completely off the rails when setting the final price. The proof for this is in the pudding – I patiently waited for several months until retailers were desperate enough to reduce the price down to the 50 Euro mark just to get rid of their stock after initially this set recognizably didn’t sell very well. Even the typical news outlets that do their reviews right after release and get their samples free from LEGO were not shy to point out that they thought the set was massively overpriced if you had to buy it.

LEGO Creator, Camper Van (31108), Overview

Now it may sound like I’m in permanent complaint mode, but if you look at the above image you can easily ask yourself: Would the contents be worth 80 Euro to you? I’m pretty confident that most people would say “No!”. I’m not saying that you don’t get plenty of stuff, but the volume/ bulk just isn’t there. You know, it’s that old thing where ultimately something like a Star Wars TIE Fighter feels more valuable simply due to its impressive size, even if it may have a lot fewer pieces and cost less.

Minifigures and Creatures

The perceived lack of value for this set can no doubt also be attributed to the lackluster minifigures. There are just three of them and they are very, very mundane with their legs and torsos having been used a million times in other sets. There isn’t a single new or original print and even the faces and hair pieces feel very run-off-the-mill. It just lacks that tiny bit of originality we all love to see, let alone the numbers. Point in case: Given that there are a number of side builds, there could easily have been double the number of figures ore more to populate those extras. Another group of wanderers passing by and sitting down at the table is really not that far-fetched, you know.

LEGO Creator, Camper Van (31108), Figures LEGO Creator, Camper Van (31108), Critters

There are also a bunch of critters built from bricks, in this case a skunk and a beaver, but on that one I stand by my old criticism: It really wouldn’t hurt if LEGO included custom-molded animals in this series just like they do elsewhere. Yes, extra molds cost money, but it should not be much of an issue in the day and age of computer-based manufacturing processes. And even if they didn’t produce new molds – dragging out an old bear mold or similar would have totally worked for this set as well.

Side Builds

As mentioned in the previous paragraph, the set comes with a couple of small buildable extras, contributing notably to this feeling that something is missing or incomplete in the minifigure department because ultimately they end up being lifeless scene decoration.

The first such bit is a picknick table like you can often find it in national parks and wilderness reserves, either completely built from logs and raw wood, or as in this case, from pre-fabricated concrete elements with a bunch of wooden plates bolted on. in this case it’s apparently supposed to be near the edge of a lake with the fishing rod and all, but this idea is conveyed pretty poorly simply because there isn’t enough of a discernible shore line. The blue parts would have needed to be extended quite a bit along with some more grass or sand beach around the table. That might also have allowed space for adding a trash can and fire cage, which would have made the scene more interesting.

LEGO Creator, Camper Van (31108), Camping Table, Left View LEGO Creator, Camper Van (31108), Camping Table, Right View LEGO Creator, Camper Van (31108), Tree
Undeniably the most superfluous bit of scenery is the pine tree. At this point I really think this has been done to death and there have been uncounted variations on this in every Christmas or nature themed set, including in the various LEGO magazines. On a general level there’s nothing wrong with that, but they really need to shake up the formula. In this case the tree could at least have been part of a group of many such younger trees on a clearing or in the opposite direction, they should have opted for a huge tree. The way it is in its current form feels neither here nor there.

LEGO Creator, Camper Van (31108), CanoeThe canoe isn’t that great, either. I get what they were going for, but to me this is similar to the point I made about the animals: Why not simply throw in one or two of the molded version from City, in new colors if need be to make things more worthwhile and interesting?


The Combo

One of the possible reasons for the limited success of this set, and many, many people have already pointed this out, is perhaps that it doesn’t fit the minifigure scale. In this particular case this means that the car/ trailer combo itself is about one third too large at least. This can be seen in the overview image further up. However, once you take the minifigs out of the equation everything looks nice and proportionate in relation to one another.

LEGO Creator, Camper Van (31108), Car and Trailer combined, Left View

Still, you mustn’t underestimate how big the model actually is, especially when both vehicular components are combined. Those approximately 40 cm in length also make it a bit unwieldy when handling things freely, so you may always want to separate the two sections. That’s going to happen a lot, anyway, simply due to the weight and the small tow bar not being able to handle much resistance. Other than rolling around the combination on a smooth surface, the risk of it self-decoupling is quite high as soon as something gets stuck.

LEGO Creator, Camper Van (31108), Car and Trailer combined, Right View

The Car

The car in my opinion is the more interesting part of the whole set and I think if they had sold it standalone as a set would have made for a reasonably popular item. Of course with its white stripes it is on some level reminiscent of the Ford Anglia from the respective Harry Potter sets, but its overall shape is more in line with a Mini Cooper or older Fiat 500 models, I think.

LEGO Creator, Camper Van (31108), Car, Front Left View

LEGO Creator, Camper Van (31108), Car, Aft Left View The main attraction, if you want to call it that, are the many Dark Azure parts, some of which premiere on this model like the 1 x 2 x 1 curved slope. This is of course subject to point of view, as it’s a divisive color. Some hate it for not being blue enough, some dislike it for already being too blue. Personally I’m okay with it, but it’s true: LEGO have yet to come up with a set where they use this color and make you go “Yes, they couldn’t have gone with anything else!”. If you will, it’s kind of too replaceable and unremarkable, both in the good and bad meaning of the word.

LEGO Creator, Camper Van (31108), Car, Aft Left View with open Trunk LEGO Creator, Camper Van (31108), Car, Aft View with open Trunk

LEGO Creator, Camper Van (31108), Car, Aft Right ViewThe car has a decent play value, as both the doors and trunk can be opened and offer sufficient space inside to place your minifigure and load up some equipment. Sadly, though, the set doesn’t provide any of that. not a single piece of baggage or even a spare tire, so you have to source them from your own stock.


LEGO Creator, Camper Van (31108), Car, Front Right View

The front hood/ bonnet on the other hand cannot be opened nor is there even a hint of a motor imitation. One thing you will also notice is that all transparent parts kind of drown in the blue surroundings and disappear or turn into ugly dark colors. Here the designers should really learn their lesson and always underpin these spots with White or Pearl Silver elements pretty much like real car lights’ reflectors.


The Trailer

The trailer, while recognizably modeled after a larger real world example that may in fact even exist somewhere, is still a lot less interesting than the car, all things considered. i don’t know what it is, but somehow this didn’t click with me at all.

LEGO Creator, Camper Van (31108), Trailer, Front Left View with open Stowage Boxes

From the exterior the most noticeable thing is of course the stripe pattern. It’s done decently enough and flows around the whole perimeter. other than that there is very little to say about the external design, the combined window/ air conditioning unit on the roof perhaps being the most noteworthy. The two integrated stowage boxes above the tow axle are also nice, though ultimately not that useful for actually keeping stuff in there.

LEGO Creator, Camper Van (31108), Trailer, Front Left View LEGO Creator, Camper Van (31108), Trailer, Aft Left View LEGO Creator, Camper Van (31108), Trailer, Aft Right View

On the right hand-side there’s a sun roof. Unfortunately the designers opted, of all things, for the regular green color, which to me makes the whole thing look very unpleasant. they also didn’t bother to at least create an even stripe pattern, further reducing the aesthetic appeal in my view. that aside, what bugs me the most about the roof is that it cannot be stowed away elegantly. LEGO Creator, Camper Van (31108), Trailer, Exterior Sun Roof detachedNeither does it properly butt flat against the side wall nor is there a compartment to slide it in. You have to genuinely remove it if you don’t want it to get in the way, but have no storage option other than dumping it inside the trailer. This hasn’t really been thought through that well.




The interior can be accessed in multiple ways. Naturally, within the play world’s logic there is a door to get inside. This is nice in that it’s the version with the horizontal bars in black which oddly enough is a pretty rare commodity. One would think that since this element has existed for a while it would have been used in a ton of sets, but no, so far only three…

LEGO Creator, Camper Van (31108), Trailer, Front Right View

The second way of gaining access is to simply remove the roof. That is also pretty much the only sensible option if you actually want to change something of the internal layout and reach certain areas. The basic arrangement is already “realistic” in a sense, nicely reflecting the crammed space in these types of vehicles. Funny enough, despite the model being oversized for minifig scale, it feels just as constricted.

LEGO Creator, Camper Van (31108), Trailer, Top View with Roof removed

Finally, you can open the left hand side wall’s rear two-thirds. This is not that different from the Surfer Van (31079), but it has been executed a bit better here. Instead of a very long plate element that cause the whole section to bend multiple shorter plates and bricks are used, allowing for the small gaps from the manufacturing tolerances to balance things out and compensate the tension. Opening up this segment is also the only way to access the bathroom/ toilet. It’s in its own way a cute touch, but somehow always gets in the way and feels a bit unnecessary. If I were to use the model for serious play, I’d probably simply rip it out to free up the space.

LEGO Creator, Camper Van (31108), Trailer, Top View LEGO Creator, Camper Van (31108), Trailer, Left View opened

Concluding Thoughts

I’ve had worse sets in my short LEGO career, but at the same time my enthusiasm for this set is limited. Personally I don’t even care for the minifig scale issue and on the face of it, all components are designed well enough, yet the spark won’t jump over. I suppose it’s a combination of this being ultimately still rather mundane and a bit boring plus the off-putting price. You know, I understand that they need to have this subject covered in every other product cycle, yet after a while it gets a bit stale because you’ve seen it before.

That and the fact that I can’t fathom who they are targeting with an 80 Euro “play set”. If I had kids, I would think very long and hard to get them a set that you also could buy an even nicer collectible car for like the Fiat 500 (10271), which kind of is the point. A collector’s item this set is not, it just has an outrageously insane price. To me it still comes down to that selling the car separately at half the cost would very likely have made for a much more satisfying experience. So if you are considering this one, make sure you get it as cheap as possible. Otherwise take your money elsewhere.

Flying Triangle – LEGO Star Wars, Sith TIE Fighter (75272)

After the latest LEGO Star Wars magazine came with a mini version of the Sith Eternal TIE Dagger and I already posted a size comparison to the actual commercial model, it only seems natural to follow up with a full review of the Sith TIE Fighter (75272), late as it may be.

LEGO Star Wars, Sith TIE Fighter (75272), Box

As you may know, I won this set in a little building contest a while back. This opens up the question whether I would actually ever have bought it myself. I think I can pretty much answer this with a firm “No!” without much pretense and dancing around like that it would depend on the circumstances and whatever other excuses one could make up. The only exception from that is of course when I would need the parts for a project and buying the box would be cheaper than ordering the pieces individually from Bricklink.

The latter is, however, unlikely to ever happen, considering how pricey this set actually is. At a suggested retail price of 70 Euro for a meager 470 parts the price-to-piece ratio is terrible. You can’t even rationalize this with some of those elements being larger plates or for that matter some of the wedge plates used on this model being “new” (more on that later). They will be common pretty soon and lose their “exclusivity”, given in how many sets they are already being used and latest at that point nobody will be willing to pay a premium just to get them. This will be penny stuff one day soon.

Now of course actual retail prices are lower, but even then the usual metrics of 10 Cent a piece don’t work out when you still have to pay 50 Euro when that’s what it actually should cost before discounts. Point in case: These TIE Fighter sets just don’t have enough bulk, use mostly standard parts and in this particular case there aren’t even any fancy extras to justify an extra profit on top. In fact one could even be majorly upset by the way the minifigures are distributed, so let’s have a look at that.

The Minifigures

This set only has three minifigures to offer. On a general level that is adequate enough, but more or less feels a bit underwhelming, given how large the model will be. Most notably, aside from the pilot himself there aren’t any actual figures associated with the craft itself. In some other sets you get at least a guard and a mechanic. Funny enough, the opposing side, The Resistance, more often than not gets a much richer selection of characters, with even some smaller sets having more minifigures than this one.

LEGO Star Wars, Sith TIE Fighter (75272), Minifigures

Aside from the sheer number of little guys, there is also something very, very cynical (to the fans) going on here: Critical characters from the The Rise of Skywalker movie have been scattered across multiple sets from this series, forcing people who want to collect them to spend big just to obtain a complete selection of figures. Of course I’m referring to The Knights of Ren first and foremost, but this has happened to some others as well. It’s just sad to see and while I have ambiguous feelings about obsessive collectors, I still feel for anyone who had to shell out big just for a special minifig, as much as I may then benefit from buying sets bereft of the figures for cheap on secondary markets.

The characters themselves are executed nicely with some fine details and prints. Finn even got his utility bag and wears his leather jacket! The TIE pilot isn’t anything special, but may still be valuable for a larger diorama with an imperial squadron if you want to mix up things a bit and need different helmet types. Maybe that becomes even more a thing when the new Star Wars – Squadrons game comes out? Finally there’s of course the single Knight of Ren. Since I’m not that deep into the overall canon and lore I’m not going to bother with his name, but it’s interesting to me what crazy prices this would fetch. Again, I’m stunned what consequences such a very corporate move can have in practice…

Is it real?

One thing that really drives me up the wall with this particular TIE Fighter is the scarcity or even utter lack of any references and background info. Aside from one or two rather generic official concept drawings there is nothing for interested fans to verify and obsess about actual dimensions, technical details, tactical combat use and so on. There’s not even a cutaway drawing in one of the usual The Art of Star Wars… books that accompany every movie.

The big stinker is that very, very, very clearly detailed plans for this vessel existed/ exist somewhere. This can be easily proven by the amount of detail that not only the LEGO model tries to squeeze out, but also other model renditions like the Metal Earth version folded up from etched frets or more toy-ish versions from other vendors.

The unfortunate and very frustrating conclusion therefore has to be that this vehicle is a victim of circumstance in that it simply fell between the cracks some time during production of the movie and what little remains of all the conceptual work cannot be recognized and appreciated because quite literally this fighter has been relegated to act as background filler in a big battle scene. So if anyone at Disney or Lucasfilm is reading this: Give us that dang concept art from your vaults!

The Lady comes in Pieces!

One thing I’ve always appreciated as a bit of an engineering nerd myself even way back then is the way those TIE Fighters are split into sensible sub-assemblies not just to facilitate the building process. It really helps with transport and storage. On the other hand, once plugged back together, things are extremely stable and robust, making for a very “swooshable”, i.e. playable, model. As you would expect, this model separates into the two main wings and the central cockpit section with it’s beam-like mounting points and then there’s an extra small support pylon.

LEGO Star Wars, Sith TIE Fighter (75272), Sub-Assemblies

The Cockpit Section

If you’ve ever built any TIE Fighter, you know what to expect here. The only real difference compared to similar models is that this time there was an actual effort made to give the cylindrical cockpit some real volume with some round 3 x 3 x 2 dome pieces used to give it a shaped butt. The proportions otherwise are still wrong, though, with the glass canopy being too large and not bulbous enough.

LEGO Star Wars, Sith TIE Fighter (75272), Cockpit Section, Front Left View LEGO Star Wars, Sith TIE Fighter (75272), Cockpit Section, Opened Interior

Another major flaw or shortcoming it least is that no attempt was made to reproduce the wedge-like shaping of the front edges of the support beams. There may not be many resources to draw on, but at least this part is very clearly visible in the concept artwork, more so than on any other TIE craft ever before. I find it almost tragic, given how the beams are built, as in my opinion it would have taken minimum effort to squeeze in some suitably shaped wedge and slope pieces like this one and this one perhaps.

LEGO Star Wars, Sith TIE Fighter (75272), Cockpit Section, Aft Left View LEGO Star Wars, Sith TIE Fighter (75272), Cockpit Section, Aft Right View

The Wings

The wings, or more precisely the radiator plates for the TIE drive constitute the bulk of the build and ultimately are what makes any of these fighters appear so large. The basic triangular shape has been around for a while on Kylo Ren’s TIE Fighter (75179), Major Vonreg’s TIE Fighter (75240) and a few others, but this extreme symmetrical, almost equilateral form was never used before.

Does it make sense? Probably not? Is it cool? I don’t agree on that one, either. The whole thing feels forced as if they were trying to come up with yet another shape for the fighters just for the sake of it when there really was no need to. An iconic design like the original hexagonal TIE simply does not need to be reinvented over and over again. It also doesn’t make much sense from an engineering point of view, as the internal tubing for the cooling fluid would be a nightmare and sharp turns cause hot spots and potential congestions.

LEGO Star Wars, Sith TIE Fighter (75272), Right Wing, Top View

The red border is also kind of pointless. As stated, the fighters are barely visible in the movie and this outline is so thin, you just don’t recognize it enough. and not to state the obvious: With such large areas available any TIE Fighter pilot would be more likely to just paint on large squadron badges, diagonal stripes or other insignia. Point in case: Had the edge been copper, brass or silver colored I could have accepted it as being a different material for technical reasons, but being as it is it is simply the lamest way they could have designed this.

LEGO Star Wars, Sith TIE Fighter (75272), Right Wing, Side View

The double sandwiched wings could arguably have some purpose on a real vessel by massively increasing the available surface area for cooling, but of course this rationale is lost in the way the LEGO model is built with the secondary wing foil just stacked on the first one by ways of standard bricks, thus not allowing anything to stream through the gap. It might be possible to build this differently, but arguably just hanging by a few axles and brackets this would be too flimsy and unsafe for mainstream consumption, so I guess it’s okay on some level. At the same time of course it could be merely a misinterpretation of the original artwork just as well. We’ll likely never know…

LEGO Star Wars, Sith TIE Fighter (75272), Right Wing, Aft View

The rear edge of the radiator panel is actually a completely separate entity. if you study the few original sources, it appears to be shaped like a broad sward with an irregular blade, which kind of brings us back to my point about the leading edges of the cockpit section: It seems the whole thing was supposed to look a lot more aggressive and intimidating in the first place, leaning much more in the somewhat rough Knights of Ren design direction. Given, what a mess the movie was and we already mentioned the various failures of this TIE Fighter I’m not at all surprised things turned out that way and not in a good sense.

LEGO Star Wars, Sith TIE Fighter (75272), Right Wing, Bottom View

When viewed straight on either from the bottom or the top the basic construction and some of the cooler tricks become readily apparent. First there’s that thing with the Trans Clear 1 x 4 tiles used to reinforce the gap between the actual panel and the “cleaver” section I just described. According to Bricklink, this is the first set in like forever to have these tiles and on top of it there are exactly two sets to date that have even used them. I was kind of wowed by this, though I have no concrete idea if and when I actually might need such tiles. They’re not particularly rare, either, but I’ll definitely stow them away safely just in case.

The other interesting thing are of course the tons of the relatively new 4 x 2 and 6 x 4 wedge plates. As I already wrote in my LEGO Star Wars magazine review they will be common soon enough, but I sure don’t mind having a good helping of them right out of the gate. Further incentive is of course provided by some modified tiles which at the very least also will come in handy when that next Star Wars MOC for a competition will require those polished Imperial black floors. 😉

Pylon What?!

LEGO Star Wars, Sith TIE Fighter (75272), PylonNow for the part that wants me make to slap the LEGO designers in their face (or the responsible higher up project manager) – the sad excuse that is the support pylon/ display stand. It really is like they couldn’t be bothered to even put in a minimum of effort to make it look nice nor actually stable. All it does is literally serve as a third leg to prevent the model from tipping forward while it rests on the bottom aft corner points of the wings. This apparently works sufficiently, but it’s still disappointing. There isn’t even a transversal plate to keep the two trusses at the right distance, much less anything in the way of an actual display stand. I yearn for the day when we get a real launch platform/ gantry with any of the TIE Fighters!

Photo Tour!

While there are a lot of shortcomings with the set, there’s no denying that from certain angles it looks good enough. In particular viewed from steep angles that stretch it in perspective you can almost feel it zooming by and making your furniture tremble. Funny enough, it also looks pretty decent from behind. It’s just the sideways views that give away its somewhat clunky appearance and uninteresting design of the radiator panels. As I said, at least that latter point could have been fixed easily with a different color scheme, so it’s a pity things have to be that way.

LEGO Star Wars, Sith TIE Fighter (75272), Front Left View LEGO Star Wars, Sith TIE Fighter (75272), Top Left View LEGO Star Wars, Sith TIE Fighter (75272), Aft View LEGO Star Wars, Sith TIE Fighter (75272), Front Right View

Concluding Thoughts

Would I have bought this set if I hadn’t won it in a building contest? I consider it extremely unlikely. Unless I had a very concrete plan to build a custom model that would require or at least benefit from having those new wedge plate type en masse, this simply doesn’t add up. The vehicle itself is not the most attractive and on top of it the set is extremely overpriced for what little you get in return. I can appreciate it as a free lunch, though, and of course some people will be right in that I probably shouldn’t complain as much under those conditions. Still, I feel that it’s important to give you the full picture, especially when there’s several caveats to consider. Feel free to agree or disagree and voice your opinions in the comments!

October Triangle – LEGO Star Wars Magazine, October 2020

Blue Ocean‘s release scheduling this year has really taken a hit, if not to say it sucks. they were still advertising September 12th as the release date in their other magazines when it was past that already and it became clear that the LEGO Star Wars magazine would be out only one week later.

Now these things happen – a print run may go wrong, distribution logistics may get stuck somewhere and all that – but this hasn’t been the first time. Worse yet, in a day and age where there’s Facebook and other social media and they have their own web site, too, they can’t manage to keep them updated in a timely fashion to inform customers. I certainly don’t need the unnecessary excitement and uncertainty of going to the news agent every other day and coming back empty-handed. Now that it’s here, though, let’s have a look at the October issue.

LEGO Magazine, Star Wars, October 2020, Cover

The main comic is weird. Aside from being utterly non-canonical, would anyone actually believe that Vader could not be recognized posing as an imperial officer? It’s not bad from a technical or stylistic viewpoint, mind you, just not a great story. The second, shorter comic is somehow of lesser quality and displays Luke‘s original X-Wing that isn’t even available as a LEGO model currently, while on another “info” page Poe Dameron‘s fighter is shown. Confuses me!

LEGO Magazine, Star Wars, October 2020, Comic

There is extremely little in the mag in the way of activities and puzzles, with all of them being mazes/ labyrinths of sorts to find your way. It took me under three minutes to solve them in my head without even tracing the lines. Definitely underwhelming even if you account for a kid’s less developed spatial awareness and acuity.

LEGO Magazine, Star Wars, October 2020, Poster

The posters aren’t good, either. the one on the back has this weird Yoda silhouette with the characters peeking through and the front one, as displayed here, fails because someone went crazy with Photoshop‘s lightning filter. Kylo Ren‘s kintsugy-style repaired mask is of course iconic and I get what they were aiming for, but this once again looks like a sloppy intern job.

LEGO Magazine, Star Wars, October 2020, Extra LEGO Magazine, Star Wars, October 2020, Extra

The highlight of the issue and its saving grace is once more the buildable model, this time a Sith Eternal TIE Dagger. Fancy names aside, it is basically the TIE Fighter that never really was, because, as I wrote in my film review back then, it isn’t even that important or prominently featured in the The Rise of Skywalker movie. Further indication of its limited relevance is that there isn’t even a concept drawing/ cutaway in one of the The Art of Star Wars… books. It really feels like an afterthought with no rhyme or reason simply because they wanted something in their movie nobody had seen before, only to then relegate it to the background.

For comparison I took a snapshot of the small version with the bigger model from set 75272 that I won in this building contest a few months ago. The value of the small model lies in the new 4 x 2 and 6 x 4 wedge plates only recently introduced. I had the Medium Azure version of the smaller plates in this Speed Champion set already, but getting a bunch of black ones may turn out much more useful. I could see them being used as spires for towers or similar pointy, sharp stuff already.

Anyway, you get eight of the smaller plates (four left, four right) and two each of the larger ones, so this is a good basis and a simple way to obtain some examples just in case you might need them if like me you are not privy to having the big set (where there’s a ton of those plates, including the red versions of course).

LEGO Magazine, Star Wars, October 2020, Comparison

This issue is not great by any stretch of the imagination. It leaves a lot to be desired and even the model would be just the umpteenth micro scale TIE Fighter if it weren’t for the new parts. Perhaps I’m really getting too old and jaded, but it seems to me that they need to shake up the formula a little, even more so considering how many adults actually read the mag. The insistence on pretending this was primarily still for kids feels more and more out of alignment with reality to me…