Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Quick Reaction: LEGO Star Wars Summer 2012

Courtesy of HO
Images have turned up online of the second wave of LEGO Star Wars sets due for release next year. Exciting times! There are big ‘Confidential’ watermarks stamped all over them, but they are clear enough to wet our appetites for what’s on the way. 

Massive thanks to Hoth Bricks for sharing these images with the world. Click here to check out their original article. The images and mini-fig listings below are taken from that site.

First things first – how did that rumour list stack up? 
 Desert Skiff
Cloud Car
 Saesee Tiin’s
 Jedi Starfighter
 Felucian Fighter
 The Old Republic Starfighter
 AT-ST Endor
Jabba’s Palace
Clearly the Cloud Car and AT-ST are from the second series of Star Wars Planets, and are not regular sets. It seems that the Felucian Fighter was swapped out, or modified, to become one of the two sets from The Old Republic. The rest turned out to be correct, plus we have a few surprises! The first Gungan Sub (9499) in thirteen years, and the Malevolence (9515) -to give us a big ship from The Clone Wars- are nice to see turn up.
Courtesy of Hoth Bricks
It looks like LEGO are continuing with their 2011 attitude to Star Wars mini-figures, and including a fair few in every box. Even the Desert Skiff (9496) includes four mini-figs – thankfully one is the brand new Weequay Skiff Guard. Some other tasty mini-figures on the way include Even Piell, sneaking into Saesee Tiin’s Jedi Starfighter set (9498), Zuckuss turning up in Jabba’s Palace (9516) means we don’t have to buy another Slave I to get him and apparently two exclusive mini-figs will be included in the Advent Calendar (9509).

Courtesy of Hoth Bricks
Seeing two sets from The Old Republic is something of a surprise – in fact seeing one set would have been a surprise. The last time LEGO released a video game set, Rogue Shadow (7672), it didn’t exactly fly off the shelves. Whether the same fans who are playing the Online Roleplaying Game are the same fans who buy LEGO Star Wars sets is debatable, and while of course there will be some crossover I doubt that many will have these at the top of their wish lists. What these sets do have going for them is that they are new designs, rather than re-hashes of movie based sets (the many Snowspeeder releases come to mind).

Courtesy of Hoth Bricks
The Advent Calendar (9509) looks suitably centred around The Phantom Menace since that film makes its return to cinemas in 3D next year. It looks like Darth Maul will most likely be the Santa mini-figure, a strange choice compared to Yoda (who at least is old and lovable). Perhaps had some say in that choice, as they are pushing Darth Maul big time next year (as the packaging demonstrates!).The other mini-figure choices look good, as they seem to be army-building characters. Much more useful than another Chewbacca or Nute Gunray. 

Courtesy of Hoth Bricks
The Malevolence (9515) is especially surprising as the ship appeared in one of the first story arcs in The Clone Wars Season One, and the series will be launching into Season Five next year. It is one of the most distinctive Separatist ships however, and a set of this size hasn’t yet been released for the villains so it makes some sense. Hopefully the packaging is just preliminary and there will be a couple of interesting mini-figures in there. 

Courtesy of Hoth Bricks
Jabba’s Palace (9516) will hopefully look better in person, or with better images as it is the only set that disappoints on first glance. This could be due to my own high hopes, and if the price tag is reasonable I’ll be quite happy. I suspect, however, that this will be a pricey set and we’re paying for the ten mini-figures. I appreciate that more and more collectors only buy their LEGO for the mini-figures, but if cramming this many into one set means we have a less satisfying set as a result I’m not happy. If people want blocky Star Wars characters, collect Kubrick figures. If you want great buildable sets, with a smattering of mini-figures, buy LEGO. Rant over – at least the alcove bit of Jabba’s Palace looks neat. 

So there we have it – LEGO Star Wars 2012 is no longer a mystery. Only three and a half re-hashes for Wave 2, three and a half all new releases, and another Advent Calendar to boot. That’s not a bad ratio as things go with LEGO Star Wars. So join the debate and share your views!

Courtesy of Hoth Bricks

Courtesy of Hoth Bricks