Wednesday, December 9th, 2015 at 8:24pm by Andrew, BZPower News Manager
We're taking a quick break from our Bionicle 2016 reviews to look at a set from the 2015 Star Wars range, namely 75101 First Order Special Forces TIE Fighter. BZPower Blog Assistant Ta-metru_defender has picked up this latest iteration of the Twin Ion Engine-powered craft in order to share his thoughts on it with you all. Will you score a kill by picking up this set, or will it crash and burn into your box of unused bricks? Read on to find out!
From the design of the box to the instruction manual, these are the first things you see before building the set.
It's a TIE Fighter! Except with an inverted color scheme! And a red stripe!
I'm really digging the look of the new Star Wars boxes. Kylo Ren is appropriately eye-catching as the TIE Fighter soars over what-I-assume is Jakku and a gunner and officer are, for some reason, running on foot. I guess being special in the First Order means you get to walk instead of flying in a space ship. Bummer.
The back of the box reminds me of when LEGO Star Wars first became a thing with the schematics and all that. Action features, website, oh the good stuff.
Chances are, you recognize this view. There are four numbered bags and another bag with the instruction manual and sticker sheet. I don't know why it's in a bag; this is new for me. Maybe so it doesn't get ripped? Ah well. Time to put this thing together.
Half the fun is had building the set. How fun is it to build and how easy or challenging is it?
Befitting a larger set, the TIE is a fun build. You put together the cockpit first, then the wings, then snap the wings on. It's not super innovative or anything, but it's a fun build - certainly more so than some of the, say smaller Marvel sets. So put on some music and enjoy the process.
Now that the set is complete, we can critique how it looks from every angle. New or interesting pieces can also be examined here.
The TIE comes with four minifigs, even though the fighter only sits two. The pilots and officer are unique to this set with the gunner also being in Kylo Ren's Shuttle.
That said, all these 'figs are new to The Force Awakens line. The TIE Pilots' helmet have a hose part on their helmet which certainly adds to the whole fighter pilot vibe (Soviets in Top Gun, anyone?) and I really like it. They've got what's become the standard issue Storm/Clone Trooper head underneath, but, ah well. It's not like a Stormtrooper ever takes of their helmet, right?
The gunner's a little dull. He looks like those guys on the Death Star, only this is for the new Star Wars (guys, there's a new Star Wars coming out!). I wouldn't have minded getting a Stormtrooper instead or even Finn since the TIE's somewhat related to him and all anyway.
The officer is a good addition. Partially because his really nifty hat (Gotta say, those First Order guys have their fashion in order), and partially because it means we get a not-caucasian minifig. The Force Awakens is shaping up to be quite diverse so it's nice to see that mirrored in LEGO form.
But let's face it, this is LEGO Star Wars. There's more to it than minifigs.
Looking at it, it is unmistakably a TIE Fighter. It's interesting that The Force Awakens is somewhat recycling looks and ideas from the Holy Trilogy (what does this mean for the movie!?) far more than the Prequels did, but it means we get more takes on classic Star Wars vehicle. In the LEGO sense, this gives us what might be the best minifig scale TIE yet.
The cockpit/center hull sits two crew, presumably a pilot and a gunner. The top hatch opens, as does the front and back ones so you can get the 'figs in and out. There's also a control stick for them, a clever use of the Battle Droid torso. The best thing about this is is how circular it looks, a really hard shape to nail with LEGO, especially at this scale.
Now, there's the matter of the red stripe. Which I like. In theory.
Some of the stickers in the set are there to give it some continuity around the hull, but for some reason the 1x3 slope doesn't have a sticker on it to keep the red going. It seems like the designers said enough was enough and let it be ever-so-slightly not quite perfect. Which is a bit of a bummer, especially in light of how great the rest of the cockpit is.
These wings are solid. They take a lot of cues from the last TIE Fighter (9492) with its design, just streamlining it and making it somehow more. Also, look! Roller-skate parts as greebles!
But what's really new is the attachment. Unlike past TIE's this one attaches with:
Clicks. It just clicks in. I was skeptical of it at first, but it actually holds together really well and can still be taken apart without too much drama. If this is how future LEGO TIEs are gonna be done then I'm into it.
My favorite detail, though, may just be that panelling done right where the hull meets the wings. It's simply done, but it gives it a round, textured detail that's absolutely fantastic. Sets this TIE apart.
So that's it for desi...
Oh, right, I did call it the best minifig scale TIE Fighter yet. Let's compare!
Look at that shape! Though the wings are very similar, you can really see just how sleeker the new TIE is. It's heftier too (and with the price to match it), but it simply looks great. These TIEs just keep getting better.
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?
Given that it's a spaceship it'd better be able to do the spaceship thing. And it does. The build is sturdy enough that you can run around making whooshing sounds with it and not worry about it breaking.
There's also the spring loaded missiles, but, c'mon, it's a spaceship.
Once it's all said and done, how does the set stack up? Should I get it?
What's to like?
- Best minifig-scale TIE Fighter to date.
- Fantastic design.
- STAR WARS!
- Cool minifigs
- Extreme Wooshability
What's not to like?
- Would've been nice to get Finn or someone in this too.
- The red stripe isn't as perfect as it could be.
What I love about Star Wars sets is how you really get what you pay for. I wanted a spaceship and dang, I got a cool spaceship. The new TIE Fighter is a great set. Sure, the red stripe isn't perfect and it would've been really nice to have gotten a more important character as a minifig in this, but honestly, I feel like I got my money's worth.
It's hard for me to not speak highly of this set since, well, it's Star Wars, it's a spaceship, and it's a great build. If you're on the fence, go for it.
Thanks once again to Ta-metru_defender for reviewing this set; we hope you found it informative and engaging. Any questions or comments you have may be left in the Talkback topic, where we'll do our best to answer them. Don't worry, the Bionicle reviews will be back soon, so keep checking back, right here on BZPower!
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