Tuesday, 6 September 2011

LEGO Star Wars Summer 2011 Range: Part I

With the second wave of sets recently released, it seems a good time to take a look at this summer’s LEGO Star Wars offerings. A total of seven new regular release sets are available, with a variety of price points. These views are all based on the official images that have been released, so are preliminary thoughts rather than product reviews, take that as you will.

Unfortunately this article is not as topical as it was when I actually wrote it, but it got bumped to make space for the 2012 Rumour Lists.

Ewok Attack (7956) [above] is clearly not the best designed we’ve seen come from the LEGO design team, the tree looks a bit unusual – but then the Ewoks have modded it to bludgeon Imperials from. What will really sell this set is the fact that there’s finally another lower priced set with Ewoks and a Scout Trooper in. Frustratingly only one of the latter, but it still helps those Endor battles a bit. It’s been nine years since the last one (7139) [right], which ironically had the exact same name, although that one at least threw in a Stormtrooper as well. Although now we get printed Ewok heads… so for what we lose, we gain something else. So yub yub, more Endor sets are definitely overdue, this will nicely complement The Battle for Endor (8038).

Moving onto the Sith Nightspeeder (7957), I must declare an ignorance… I am a season behind on The Clone Wars, as keeping up with that series on UK TV has proven too much like effort for me, and each year I just await the season box sets (the initial showings in this country are on a premium cost movie channel!!??). However the set does look like a vehicle straight out of Star Wars, right down to the same design flaw as the twin pod Cloud Car… who is actually flying the damn thing!? We also get a double dose of the dark side with a Savage Oppress mini-fig (an inevitable one, since we have the head piece to also use for Darth Maul and his episodes being very heavily promoted) and Assaj Ventress popping up in a low-priced set – then the obligatory Anakin mini-fig for some balance. A decent looking release.

Wahoo, Geonosians! I appreciate I’m probably the only person who cares, but I like having a few Geonosians and Geonosian ships on my shelf to battle the Jedi. So much so I purchased two of the original Geonosian Fighter (4478), again nine years ago. The new Geonosian Starfighter (7959) has a more movie accurate design and certainly seems an improvement on the previous release. The mini-fig selection is also good, with Ki Adi Mundi being a more prominent Jedi, Commander Cody never being available so cheaply and a Geonosian being overdue.

The last Sith Infiltrator (7763), released in 2007, was a poorly design set and aimed to get an exclusive at a cheap price point. Really though, it felt like an excuse to get Darth Maul back out in LEGO form as there aren’t many sets you can put him in. This latest release (7961) improves on the original (7151) by making the ship less blocky and also replaces the blue for more grey. This is an upgrade to a previous design that feels deserved. Long time collectors will already have Qui-Gon, Padme and Darth Maul – but this is the first fleshie Padme and Darth Maul now has horns to add to his head. Thrown in to give us something new is Captain Panaka, a ‘why not?’ addition to the LEGO mini-fig collection.
And now onto the pricier additions to the year’s line up… of which there are three. The first is Anakin and Sebulba’s Podracers (7962), which wisely ditch the third Podracer included in the 1999 version (7171) in order to keep the price down. The size of the racers has also suffered slightly, but the detail looks nice. The mini-fig roster is very different to last time, with Watto and Sebulba now printed like the Ewoks, Wald making his first appearance, obviously Anakin, and bizarrely Obi-Wan Kenobi (although maybe it’s so the full Phantom Menace gang is spread across this set and the Sith Infiltrator).

Visit again on Friday for the second part of this article.

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