Saturday, August 4th, 2012 at 7:53pm by Jason, BZPower Reporter
The latest idea to come out of LEGO Star Wars is the new Planet Sets, which includes a planet model with a related minifigure and mini vehicle. The second wave of Planet Sets is out, and today BZP Reporter xccj looks at the Bespin set with Lobot and the Twin-Pod Cloud Car. Is this set worth flying across the galaxy for? Read on to find out.
The Twin-Pod Cloud Car is not exactly the most iconic Star Wars vehicle in my opinion, but it does a good job of representing the cloudy planet of Bespin. A larger version of the Cloud Car was released in 2002 with a yellow Lobot, so it's been a while since this vehicle has been released in brick form. And it is also another colorful addition to the Planet Set series, and at $9.99 USD, it is affordable too.
From the design of the box to the instruction manual, these are the first things you see before building the set.
The Planet sets come in some unique packaging. Basically, the cardboard box is built around the spherical planet pieces, which extend out from the box. The only other thing inside the cardboard is the instruction booklet; all of the individual pieces are locked inside the sphere. This is kind of cool because it limits piece size, so the largest element you get is simply a 2x6 plate. I think this is an interesting restriction for designing the models.
Back to the actual packaging; it quite clearly shows you the three models you'll be getting: the planet, the Cloud Car, and Lobot. On the back, it also gives you a preview of the other two Planet Sets in Series 2. And it has a fold out tab so it can be hung from store shelves. When you pull everything apart, you see that the planet splits in two to reveal the bags of bricks. This reminds me of the Metru lids from 2004, which could also be combined into spheres. It's a fun idea.
Half the fun is had building the set. How fun is it to build and how easy or challenging is it?
The main construction here is for the Cloud Car. It's only a mini model, so it's not too big and doesn't take long to piece together. But man is the build crazy. It utilizes a ton of SNOT (Studs Not On Top) techniques, and if you follow the instructions, you flip the model a couple of times, so it takes a while to figure out which part of this ship is going to be up. It's not overly complex, so younger users can easy follow through, but it shows off a very neat design, and it was fun to build.
Now that the set is complete, we can critique how it looks from every angle. New or interesting pieces can also be examined here.
Overall, the set has 78 pieces in it, including a couple of extras. It's a little high for the price per piece ratio, but that's to be expected for Star Wars sets, especially the affordable ones. A good portion of the elements are in bright orange, which definitely adds brightness to the collection. There are lots of plates and brackets and technic bricks and stud-on-side bricks, which all work together to utilize the SNOT build.
There are a couple of interesting pieces. First off are the largest ones; the two halves of the planet, which have a tanish cloud design on them, as well as a 2x2 portion with studs. Next comes the printed 4x4 black tiles, with a printed title for the three main models included in this set. Additionally, the set comes with two of the 1x4 curve slopes, which are a relatively new piece, and this is the first time they've appeared in orange.
Up first is the Lobot minifigure. He has some decent printing on both the front and back of his head and torso. The screens printed on the back of his head look pretty cool. He wasn't the most prominent character in The Empire Strikes Back, but LEGO Star Wars is known for releasing all sorts of vague characters nowadays, and they do a good job at remaking Lobot, especially since this is the first time he's been released as a flesh toned fig. I don't see collectors complaining too much about him, even if he isn't quite an army-builder fig.
Next up is the planet itself. It's basically the two half sphere pieces snapped together. Both pieces are the same, but unlike some of the other Planet sets, there's no real problem lining them up because of the subtle cloud designs. It includes a small piece for a stand and another that allows you to hook a string through and use the whole planet as a decoration. Overall, it's a little tacky and bulky, but a fun idea.
Finally, we get to the Cloud Car. It does a decent job of interpreting the vehicle from the films. But the use of SNOT really allows the design to flow, and there are only a few portions that are not sloped or tiled. The orange and dark grey work well together and it is quite a colorful ship. I suppose if you weren't aware of the source material, it would look a bit odd, since the ship isn't as iconic as some of the other Planet Set models, like the X-Wing or TIE Fighters. But Star Wars fans will be pleased.
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?
In some ways, I feel that this model is best left on display. The set includes a basic stand that even lets you show off your minifig and ship together with the printed slope. But beyond that, there really aren't that many other features. Lobot can be played with as a standard fig. The planet can turn into a Christmas tree ornament. You can swoosh the Cloud Car around and pretend you're flying towards Cloud City, and it's fairly sturdy so it won't fall apart. Or you could purchase another planet set and have the mini models engage in combat.
Once it's all said and done, how does the set stack up? Should I get it?
What's to like?
- Awesome SNOT designs on the Cloud Car
- Lobot is a cool fig
- Good amount of orange pieces
What's not to like?
- Not the most recognizable ship from Star Wars
- Bad price per piece value, but that's to be expected
Overall, I think this is an excellent set design, and does Lobot and the Cloud Car justice in recreated them in plastic form. There's also a good selection of orange pieces to add to your collection. The planet model itself is kind of odd, but the idea is cool and now MOCers have the challenge of incorporating it into MOCs. Plus, the set is affordable, and I'm sure a lot of fans will impulsively buy it like I did. For the average LEGO Star Wars fan, I don't see a reason why you shouldn't pick this one up.
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