Sunday, May 9th, 2010 at 12:35am
It appears that it's time for another set review. Our last one covered one of LEGO's most recent licensed themes, and this one will look at the oldest. Blog Assistant Valenti has picked up the Star Wars TIE Defender, an amazing piece of starship technology. Read on to see how the LEGO version stacks up.
It was a long, long time ago, in a country far, far away...
In 1980, the movie "Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back" was unleashed onto an unsuspecting Earth. It told an epic tale of friendship, love, betrayal and Force-powered excellence. When the movie was first released, it was met with mixed receptions, but ever since "Return of the Jedi" was released, "Empire..." is seen by many as the best movie of the saga.
Flash forward 30 years, and the movie has aged really well and LEGO found it necessary to celebrate the movie's anniversary, so they chose to create a buildable model of the TIE Defender. ...I'll overlook the fact that the Defender was designed some time in the 1990s for a computer game.
From the design of the box to the instruction manual, these are the first things you see before building the set.
The first thing you'll notice when you look at the box, is the TIE Defender in all its Dark Side glory. The explosion in the background is very nice and one can assume it was caused by the firepower of the fully ARMED and OPERATIONAL battle station in the far back! In the lower left-hand corner, partially obscured by the Stormtrooper and TIE Pilot minifigures, is what I can only assume to be the forest moon of Endor.
I must say, the red and white at the top of the box look quite stylish. The Clone troopers are a bit of a nuisance and LEGO should've used Imperial Stormtroopers in this case. The red Star Wars logo makes me want to hum the 'Imperial March.'
The back of the box shows us a shot of the TIE from a different angle. The troopers are hanging out in front of it, possibly conversing about the latest Rebel attack. The pilot is holding one of the laser cannons, which seems to imply that the cannons are missiles.
Other pictures show the various features this set has. These include the aforementioned cannon-missiles, swiveling main body and the opening cockpit front. In the bottom left hand corner, you'll also see images of other sets, all of which are from the animated Clone Wars series.
Half the fun is had building the set. How fun is it to build and how easy or challenging is it?
I have a bad feeling about this...
The pieces come in three large and two small bags. Large Bag 1 is for the cockpit and engine compartment, and Large Bags 2 and... 2... are for the solar array wings. The small bags hold things like the connectors, axles and pins. The instruction manual looks very much like the front of the box.
I am by no means an expert on new pieces, but there are some interesting pieces to be found. The base parts for the wings looks nice and sturdy. The pieces from which the cannon-missiles are formed, are also interesting to behold, because they look like different pieces fused to each other.
The parts in the top center look like they could become useful in system/technic fusion MOCs.
And now comes the interesting part: Building the Defender.
We start with building the Stormtrooper and TIE Pilot minifigs. They aren't very hard to build.
Building the main hull is pretty straightforward, with few to no surprises to be found. When finishing it, you'll find that this component looks pretty much like a small submarine.
The solar array wings are interesting and fun to build. The quickest way to build these, is to do all three components at the same time.
After you're done with them, you're going to connect them to the main hull. Now look at THAT beauty!
Now that the set is complete, we can critique how it looks from every angle. New or interesting pieces can also be examined here.
Now take a very good look at what you just created in the last 45 minutes. You'll find that there's a very menacing ship in front of you, designed to intimidate the populace into submission. The color usage is what you'd expect from the First Galactic Empire, all shades of white/grey/black, with the only actual colors being the red parts under the cockpit window and the blue in the engine.
Now let me say this: The parts on the wing tips that are being advertised on the box aren't missiles at all. They're cannons. 4 laser cannons on the bottom and 2 ion cannons on the top. The actual missile/torpedo launchers are the red parts under the cockpit window.
The one thing that does bug me is that there are no controls in the cockpit. It's as if the pilot is controlling his ship through the Force.
The Stormtrooper is nicely painted with black details. The TIE Pilot, however... Because his flight suit and helmet are black, you can't make out a lot of detail.
The other half of the fun is in playing with the set. How well does the set function and is it enjoyable to play with?
The ship holds together very well and aside from the swiveling cockpit, the TIE Defender has a high amount of playing value. You might want to re-create the TIE's engine roar for better emphasis. It's especially fun when you buy another LEGO Star Wars space fighter and have your Defender chase it.
Or you can pose it like this.
Once it's all said and done, how does the set stack up? Should I get it?
What's to like?
- A great model.
- Some interesting MOCing pieces.
- Great playability.
What's not to like?
- $50 might be a bit expensive for some.
- No cockpit controls!
- No vehicle for the Stormtrooper.
So yeah, if you have $50 to spare, you like LEGO Star Wars sets and/or you wish to commemorate the 30th anniversary of "The Empire Strikes Back", you'll find a lot of pleasure in this set.
Big thanks to Valenti for reviewing this set, I know I've had my eye on it for a while now, so maybe I'll pick it up. Be sure to thank him in the Talkback. As always, keep checking back for more reviews and news!
« Return to News