Disclaimer note: I have bought this set with my own money from the local store, paying full price. The Lego Group had no entanglements with the way I aquiered this set and is probably unaware of my existence anyhow. The opinions here are therefore my own; they are not reviewed before being posted here by anyone else but myself.
Box, Instructions and Building experience
The box art shows the built set and some details (including set number, title, the number of parts, age rating) on the front side and some play features and some advertising for the new iOS and Android "Force Builder" app on the back side. It is basically just a standard Lego box, nothing special about it.
|Front side of the box|
Rear side of the box
After opening the box and spilling its contents on (hopefully not the carpet in your room) a table, you are left with 7 bags numbered 1 to 6 (there are 2 no. 6 bags, both contain the parts required for the wings of the TIE Advanced x1), a sticker sheet and 2 instruction booklets wrapped in some plastic for protection.
The instructions provide clear directions, I could not find mistakes or anything. The building of the A-wing was relatively simple and basic, but the TIE had a more innovative overall building process (I do not mean the wings, only the central pod). However it got very boring towards the end as you had to assemble the wings. They are exactly the same (and are build the same way). On the other hand, I am not sure how it could have been done differently since the Starfighter itself is symmetrical.
You get a lot of extra parts and an orange brick separator (including an extra pair of missiles), but that is normal with all of those larger sets.
Minifigures and accessoriesAs I mentioned earlier, this set contains 4 minifigures: Grand Moff Tarkin, Darth Vader, Sabine Wren and a generic female Phoenix-Squadron A-wing pilot.
She is clearly based on Phoenix Two from the season two episode 'Homecoming' which is interesting as the character only appears for a matter of seconds before being brutally shot down while trying to escape a skirmish. The color scheme of her fighter matches that of the model in this set as well which shows impressive attention to detail. She also does have a double-sided face, as all minifigures in this set: A smiling one and a worried one.
This is Sabine Wren's first appearance in her form from season two and I think the updated version is significantly better than the previous figure which was included in a couple of sets last year. Unfortunately her skin tone has not been altered and it is still too light as a result, although I like her colorful hair very much.
Darth Vader now has a new printed design on the torso which reflects the more angular appearance of his animated character model as opposed to the version seen in the films. His helmet has not been updated and is therefore rather inaccurate to Star Wars Rebels, although I do like it.
Finally there is is Grand Moff Tarkin, who has been a thorn in the side of the Rebels since the end of season one. Incredibly, this is only Tarkin's third appearance in a set and the first since the 2008 Death Star, so the minifigure has undergone and enormous update as one would expect. His uniform is now dark tan to reflect the Imperial attire seen in Star Wars Rebels and his hair has also been altered to more closely reflect his onscreen appearance.
General info about the spacecraft (source: Wookieepedia)
The RZ-1 A-wing interceptor was a starfighter manufactured by Kuat Systems Engineering. They were used by the early rebellion against the Empire and the subsequent Rebel Alliance, seeing action during the Age of the Empire and the Galactic Civil War. It was still in use 30 years later during the conflict between the Resistance and the First Order. Influenced by the designs of the Republic starfighters flown during the Clone Wars, the A-wing was wedge-shaped with dual sublight engines mounted on the stern and came equipped with a hyperdrive. The fighters were armed with two laser cannons and twelve concussion missiles. A-wings measured 9.6 meters long. A group of A-wing fighters codenamed "Phoenix Squadron" was part of a rebel cell led by Commander Jun Sato.
Darth Vader's TIE Advanced x1 was a starfighter used by Darth Vader during the Galactic Civil War, leading Black Squadron, and flown by him during the Battle of Yavin. It was a modified early prototype of the TIE Advanced line. The TIE Advanced x1 featured a greater speed than the standard TIE. It was armed with heavy twin blaster cannons on fixed mounts, and was also capable of carrying secondary weapons such as cluster missiles. In addition, unlike most TIE models, the TIE Advanced x1 was equipped with both a hyperdrive and a deflector shield generator and even a much more effective solar ionization reactor and stronger hull. It also had more cockpit capacity than other TIEs, thus catering to the larger-than-average figure of Darth Vader. It was built to Vader's specifications by Santhe/ Sienar Technologies at the Sienar Advanced Projects Laboratory. Unlike the class standard, Vader's TIE Advanced apparently possessed a life-support system.
The completed modelThe A-wing fighter has been a consistent presence in Star Wars Rebels since the end of the first season and we have seen it more than once in the films. Its design departs quite dramatically from earlier versions such as the 2013 75003 A-wing Starfighter but at the same time it is more accurate to what we see on-screen.
It is over seven years since Darth Vader's TIE Advanced x1 has been seen in a LEGO set and building techniques and parts available have advanced enormously in that time. It is therefore somewhat surprising that this model has changed relatively little since 2009, although many of the alterations which have been made are certainly for the better.
The wings are angled appropriately but tend to wobble a bit due to the way they are attached to the main body of the TIE.
There are no truly perfect sets out there, because there is always something bothersome about them. For this one, it's the price. The two models contain about the same number of parts but neither are worth the 45$ you would have to pay if they were sold separately, so they are not worth the current 90$.
However, in all other respects I like this set very much. The minifigures are splendid and the two fighters are also very impressive, striking a perfect balance between play features and faithfulness to the source material. I think a reduction of around 25% would be reasonable and at that price point I would certainly recommend this set if you are a fan of Star Wars Rebels and if you are willing to live with the hole it would leave in your pocket.
Interested in buying this set? Check it out at the link below:
Interested in buying this set? Check it out at the link below: