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Showing posts with label advent. Show all posts
Showing posts with label advent. Show all posts

Set Review - 75097 Star Wars Advent Part 3

Final day! With our time travel back to the OT it's been fun reminiscing over these vehicles and seeing what have been wortwhile changes (few) and repeats (too many). As of late I've been having a hankering for little droid bots as well. The mouse droid from the Death Star has been sitting on my desk for a while now. I think he needs some company.

Aren't I in luck! Day 3 is a squeeful little LIN Demolitionmech. I don't know what that is but look at its little antenna-wenna! I just want to eat it all uh... sorry. Well if I were to picky I'd say the treads were too big. But it's cute. Maybe it can make little origami cranes with that arm. Or lay mines? Yeah sure, that would be fine too. Adorable little miney-wineys. Shaped like cranes.

Day 20 (hey that's today!) brings us this little Imperial Probe Droid. Given the glut of 'probe' in modern alien pulp culture, I'm not so fond of that name. More importantly, this is a Viper probe droid, with the hanging down arm leg thingies. If I were to be critical there should be more than four appendages, a bettershaped "head", and an antenna on top. Luckily there's an extra antenna included; wish granted! The body would look better as a black travis brick instead of dark bley too. I like the looks of fig sw171 better but this is smaller.

This was a little bit of an eye-opening experience for me. Apparently, I love droid bots. Due to this year's advent calendar I searched back in the archives and started building a bunch of the smaller non-humanoid type droidbots. Let the squeefest begin!

Set Review - 75097 Star Wars Advent Part 2

Funniest quote I've seen so far this season: "Jango bells, Jango bells, Jango all the way". Sadly, there is no Jango this year. Nor is there much of anything new. The LEGO Star Wars Advent calendar seems to have timewarped back to the OT with comfortable characters and settings. But is it... too comfortable?

Set Review - 75097 Star Wars Advent Part 1

Ho ho ho and welcome to this year's scrutiny extravaganza of the LEGO Star Wars Advent Calendar! *yeah*. I've tried to break the relevant micro ships into several categories but the pickings this year are a little slim. This week will focus on new micro-ship designs, next week will focus on repeats upgrades and the final week I'll look at the little droids. Without further ado let the squeefest begin!

Set Review - Star Wars Advent 75056

Back at it then with part 3 of my Star Wars Advent Calendar Micro Ships Review (SWACMS#3).  Acquiring a Bricktober Pizza Parlor in time for this review was a bust, maybe next week.  The last two weeks, I have been sorely underimpressed by the offering of micro ships for this year.  This week is the possibility of a new hope.


2014 leading the way for 2011.  2003 not shown
First up, Snowspeeder, snowspeeder, wherefore art thou snowspeeder?  2011, that's where.  Oh, and 2003.  This is not a unique ship.  Nor is the design all that unique.  It's been advented before and this is just a rehash of the design.  I think I prefer the mini version from long ago with it's downturned wings.  In fact, the trend seems to be worsening.  Last advent had a nice cockpit.  This year, the cockpit has been snubbed and an enormous gun has been set at the rear.  So enormous in fact that the rear gunner has no chance of getting a visual of what he's shooting at unless it's an AT-AT from 20 feet at ground level.  By then, sadly, it's too late.  Rest in peace, tail gunner.





Next is an AAT.  But wait, why is it all bluey and stuff?  I saw the movie, it was tan!  Oh wait, this is a clone wars thing, isn't it?  Apparently so.  I love that we get a (NEW SHIP ALERT) new ship!  I don't recall seeing an AAT in prior years.  I do wish it was the movie version, not the cartoon version, but I'll still give it a good solid 4 stars.  And here's to guaranteeing that we'll get an almost identical tan version in 1-5 years.





Finally is something completely different!  TLG seems to be on track with including some sort of unique present delivery vehicle each year.  Last year was the rocket sled which looked nothing like anything that Star Wars ever hosted.  This year it's a (NEW SHIP ALERT) real vehicle from the movies!  I was so excited I could hardly contain my build in a bag skills.  A speeder bike!  Long have I awaited thee (or anything new).  The bike seems a little big for a microbuild and there's a big flat 2x2 spot on top of it.  I suppose this is where Santa Vader sits to make his grand entrance.  I don't quite understand the blaster stuck on the back, but I'm guessing it has to do with Santa Vader's naughty list.

All in all I would say I'm fairly disappointed in this year's offerings.  There were too many repeats and rehashes to get anything excitingly new.  Last year was pretty epic with all the new ship offerings.  I guess TLG had better things to do this year.  In case they are reading, here's a non-inclusive list to consider for next year:
  • ARC-170
  • AT-AP, maybe?
  • B-Wing (how has this not happened yet?)
  • Clone Turbo Tank (roller skates would be great with this)
  • Corporate Alliance Tank Droid
  • Droid Control Ship
  • Hailfire Droid (oh, yes please!)
  • MTT, better than the last one, dark blue if you must
  • Pod Racers.  Many designs available
  • Jabba's Sail Barge
  • Skiffs, too.
  • SandCrawler.  Yeah, that would have been a nice tie-in to this year
  • T-16 Skyhopper.  Sure, why not?
  • Swamp Speeder.  Meh, why not too?
  • V-wing
  • V-19 Torrent
  • General Grevious' Wheel Bike
  • Wookiee Catamaran
  • XJ-6 Airpseeder to chase Zam Wessel

This should give at least a couple years worth of ships.  Anything else NOT from the obscurity of the clone wars cartoons?

Set Review - Star Wars Advent 75056

Welcome back to part two of the Star Wars Advent Calendar Micro Ships Review (SWACMS#2)

Last week I railed on TLG for their lack of creativity.  This week we'll enjoy the fact that they did not outright repeat themselves on three more ships.  Instead, we'll call it plagiarization.  These three ships are technically unique, but likely only in their colors.  Perhaps there is a reasonable design difference from a past micro ship.  Remember, we don't just have previous advent calendars to refer to but also the mini ships from the early 2000's as well as some TRU and other store promos.  Let the scalpeling begin!

First off is the Vulture Droid.  We got this one in 2010.  The basic technique is the same but this time we get dark blue livery instead of reddish brown.  The cockpit design is a little different too due to the introduction of the baby bow 11477.  It's a little sleeker looking but the regular blue jumper plate doesn't quite fit nor does the dark bley tile on the nose.  One or both needs to be dark blue.  But I do love the technique of attaching the wings to the body!


Next is Anakin's Delta-7B Jedi Starfighter (not to be confused with his Eta-2).  Again, same design but different colors as the 2013 Jedi Starfighter.  Though unnamed, I'm guessing that one would have been Obi Wan's.  There are two very minor design changes.  One is that one of the jumper plates was changed to a grill tile to effect a sort of stripes pattern.  The problem is, I don't think Anakin had black stripes on his Starfighter.  Since there's now a missing stud, the geometry of plates and tiles directly above is slightly changed so that there is now a stud showing.  In my opinion, last year's design is better.  Overall the design is a single stud shorter adaptation of the 2003 Mini Jedi Starfighter.  Of course, TLG knows that we will forget about these sets after about 5 years and swoon all over rereleases of the same thing.  Obviously, they're trying too soon.


I suppose next year we should look forward to Plo Koon's blue or Saesee Tiin's green or Mace Windu's white or perhaps Aayla Secura's purple ship...

Finally, a TIE Fighter.  Bigger and better than the 2011 advent calendar version, but with the same cockpit.  Same attachment to the wings as the 2003 polybag.  Same wing design as the Toys'R'Us promo.  This is essentially a hybrid.



Next week: Can we find anything original?

Set Review - Star Wars Advent 75056

It's that time of year again, back to school, where TLG puts their Christmas Advent Calendars up for sale.

Really?

I was a bit sad to see Christmas lights available already in my local department store.  Technically it's still freaking summer.  WTH, Kroger?

But, if you remember last year, you gotta get these quick.  By the time Halloween rolled around, these were on the grey market for $50 and up.

Also from last year, I only focused on the micro ships and broke it into two reviews.  This year, for reasons that will soon become obvious, I'm breaking it into three.  And, in the interest of saving the best for last (and TLG's face), I'll start with the crappers.  I'll also be building in the little polybag, if that matters.

Star Wars Advent Calendar Micro Ships Part 1 (SWACMS#1):

This first review will focus on everything that's wrong with the calendar.  The Star Wars Universe is pretty doggone huge.  Granted, the EU is no longer supported by Disney but it's still a large galaxy.  So why, oh why, would we be subject to repeated builds.  I am deeply saddened.

First disappointment, the Y-wing.  This little ship is a ver-ba-tim copy of the 2011 Y-wing.  Not one single difference.  Except that the white and yellow colors have more of a tendency to be "off".  I don't even feel like building it.  Instead, I feel ripped off.


Second disappointment, Imperial Shuttle.  Again, a knock-off of the 2011 version, not quite as verbatim.  The major (and only) differences are the color change for the ship side clips, the booster hanging off the back with a bracket (instead of studs up) and a new boat slide on the bottom.  This is all technical.  Essentially, it's the same ship.  I will admit that the new one is a little more accurate though.

Third disappointment, Luke's Landspeeder.  This is the exact same ship as the 2008 glued keychain/bag charm.  I've already improved the design but TLG went with their old version.  But now it's dark red!  Don't get taken in by the "new hat!" hype.  Other insignificant color changes may be present as well.


Next week, we'll look at the ships that aren't complete ripoffs, but have a very, very, very strong inspiration from previous years.  It's a shame I'm not interested in some of the mini builds because the micro Hoth Command Base is kind of cute, if not overly simplistic.  All in the name of part count, I guess.

Set Review - Star Wars Advent Calendar 75023 part II

Last week we looked at the first 6 (no, 5!) microships from the 2013 Star Wars Advent Calendar.  This week we'll finish off the fleet.  I had the pleasure of my 7 year old daughter helping me to assemble some of these, in the bag from just the pictures!  I started her off with any easy one, the Geonosian Starfighter.  Simple connections.  She even aligned the slot in the lever base perfectly.  Then she did the Jedi Starfighter with no issue.  Finally I gave her the Separatist Shuttle which started fine but slowly led to frustration.  Daddy ended up assembling the tail section.  Overall her skills stun me though.


Day 12 - Republic Dropship (LAAT)
In Ep 2 this ship was used to swoop in, release a bunch of AT-TE walkers, and then zoom off again.  One would hope that TLG designers at least put in enough thought to duplicate this scenario with the minis.  Guess what?  This is the shining star of the Advent Calendar.  Two minis, well done, working together.  I think I'm in micro Star Wars, um, Heaven or whatever the Force equivalent is.  As if that wasn't enough, the dropship has got some dark blue... yum.

"I can't put my arms down!"
"Put me down, put me down!"
Day 14 - Geonosian Starfighter
The full size set was one of the first sets that I parted out on Bricklink.  It was also one that introduced me to the world of sometimes mismatched or unmatched parts.  Why would you include a trap door without the trap door frame?  This little craft is instantly recognizable though looks like it was built in the 90's.  Instead of using the video camera brick, it would have been much improved to use two 1x1 Travis Bricks sideways so that the bottom, um, hull would be not only upside down and more visually balanced, but half a plate closer to the upper hull.

Original, all 90's boxy like
My counter offer with 2 sideways Travis bricks
Day 17 - Naboo Royal Cruiser
At first glance I thought this was the thing that was briefly introduced to us at the same time as Jar-jar Binks.  Or a B-2 bomber.  Apparently I was thinking of the Separatist Landing Craft, an untouched opportunity for TLG.  The cheese behind the engines is a nice sculpting touch even though it's barely seen.  Given the amount of single stud connections on here it's very susceptible to warping - or an amazing show of yaw, pitch, and roll.  Barnstorming, anyone?


Day 19 - Separatist Shuttle
I have no recollection of this ship though apparently it was a full size set.  The color scheme is nice as is the use of a headlight clip for some tight SNOT.  The hull design is a little unfortunate.  It appears as though this was a wheeled land transport turned to air mode.  A couple more bleu cheese pieces might not be perfect but better.


Day 20 - Jedi Starfighter
We've seen this ship in UCS size, full size, and planet size as well as bite size.  Yet none of them are so blatant with the red as this one is.  If this is Obi-Wan's craft, it should be dark red and white with a splash of lime. (more yum).  Uh, but this thing looks like a bloody mary exploded on the nose.  Plus it's a lot less sleek than the mini version.  Sure, they could copy the Republic Gunship from 2 years ago but not the starfighter from 10 years ago?


Day 21 - Jango Fett's Slave I
In serious danger of treading on repeat turf is the final ship of the Star Wars Advent.  This uses the exact same design as Boba Fett's Slave I from 2011.  EXCEPT that the wings are grill tiles instead of standard tiles and the color scheme is all bluish instead of dark reddishy green.  It's a solid little design though and forgiveable in my mind.

And I heard him exclaim as he flew out of sight,
"Someday we'll have Han Solo encased in carbonite!"
Wrap Up -

All in all I'm mildly impressed.  Some offerings such as the Geonosian Fighter and Cloud Car are forgettable.  The repeat of the Republic Gunship is a serious error.  Several ships could have been improved by minor color or part changes.  Even if that meant a new color for a mold.  But I bet the Advent sets don't warrant new elements in that regard.  Especially not at the relatively dirt cheap price that they are this year.  Thankfully this year's set was saved by the AT-TE and dropship.  Also, regards to Jango Fett's recolored Slave I and a delightful little Naboo cruiser.

Last year TLG tried to capitalize on the SW Advent set by placing it at $50.  I saw so many of them on clearance after the holidays.  This year it appears they are trying a new tactic.  Lower the price to make it look like a bargain compared to last year, and underproduce.  You can not buy a new one any longer nor could you have a week ago.  I bet they use that as a precedent to jack up the price again next year now that we're concerned they will sell out soon.  They'll be banking on us not being good historians.  We shall see, TLG, we. shall. see.

Set Review - Star Wars Advent Calendar 75023 part I

Not the whole thing mind you, but the micro ships.

*** SPOILER ALERT ***

There are micro ships.

Just showing off a little, deedle deedle dee.

If you didn't know that already, let me introduce you to the rest of the world.  But for now back to the show.  The Star Wars Advent Calendar holds one attraction for me; the micro ships.  It's usually worthwhile for me to purchase the calendar and sell off the figs.  Then I can get about a dozen little space rigs for somewhere in the neighborhood of free.

For 2013, TLG proudly presents us with 12 ships.  But I'm not going to review 12 ships, I'm going to review 11.  This is because TLG had the audacity to believe that we wouldn't remember the Republic Gunship from 2011.  Not only that but they didn't even upgrade the build.  They used the exact. same. one.  What a waste of my money and time.  But I'm not bitter.  Thankfully 92% of the offerings are original.

My first draft of this review ended up being very long.  Rather than present you with a wall of text I decided to break it up into two walls of text.  We'll look at five ships this week and five next week.

So more or less in day order, here's what we are presented with:

Day 2 - Count Dooku's Solar Sailer
Compared to the Wookieepedia picture, I am unclear on the purpose of the dark tan dishes.  Perhaps they should have been reddish brown if the attempt was for a slightly bulbous look.  It's also clear that TLG marketing doesn't know anything about solar sailers as theirs appears to have fallen on its side.  Nonetheless, this is a cute solid little model even if the color usage is a touch wide.



Day 4 - Zam Wesell's Speeder
This full size set was one of my favorites and I am pleased to still own it.  I like the color splashes for a Star Wars set and both speeders are fun to swoosh around.  This miniature version looks a little wonky and disproportionate but at least it's recognizable.  Bars stuck in binoculars is always a nice technique and besides, who's going to grumble about green bars?


Day 5 - Twin Pod Cloud Car
*sigh*  I wish LEGO could decide what color this craft is supposed to be.  In their first release it was red which I did not agree with.  In the Planet Series set it was orange which was much better, even though the cockpit was so comically tiny.  For the advent set they've gone back to red with light grey highlights which is a further step away than their first offering.  I suppose it has to do with the limited selection of useful pieces in orange.  I've read other bloggers' reviews and recommendations and agree with them all.


Day 8 - Stupid Republic Gunship repeat
It is well done though.  Using the clip and handle hinge design for the angled cockpit gives a nice smooth look.

Day 9 - Republic Assault Ship
My thoughts as they were on the mini version are still the same.  Looks like a Star Destroyer.  And it's grey.  With some wedge plates.  Have I reached the minimum amount of words for this subset's review yet?


Day 11 - AT-TE Walker
THIS is the vehicle that I anxiously anticipated when I saw the first leaked pictures of the 2013 advent calendar.  Those taps are wonderful little pieces with a stud at one end, an anti-stud at the other, and a bar connection at 90° from the two which seems to give it a never ending variety of uses.  TLG's marketing department was unfortunately unfamiliar with the front vs. back on this and they give us a good view of the tail.  Overall this walker doesn't follow many of the lines of its on-screen inspiration save for the six legs.  Nonetheless this is still my favorite micro ship, er, craft?


My analysis of the first half, fair to middlin'.  Some of the basic shapes are well presented with so few parts.  Some improvements could be had such as an orange cloud car or all unique ships.

Stay tuned next week when we play catch up and present the rest of the micro fleet.