Brickset news archive: January 2012
Here are the latest LOTR posters direct from LEGO. I read on Eurobricks that the LOTR microsite at LEGO.com is now live, but there's not much on it yet.
As I got dragged into Home Sense (with locations across Canada), I was pleasantly surprised to find a small selection of LEGO in their kids' section; some of which has recently gone on clearance.
I just picked up a City of Atlantis set for $44 on sale. Great pieces to go with the roman minifig from series 6.
Another set to note on "double clearance" was 7326 Rise of the Sphinx (which I believe is regularly 64.99) on sale for around 35.
I found a new appreciation for Home Sense that day!
A couple of people emailed to say that Tesco has some decent discounts on large sets and a discount code as well at the moment.
25% off three of the larger sets from the Harry Potter, Star Wars and Pirates of the Caribbean ranges, plus they are offering £10 off any £75 or more spend, thus reducing the set prices further. Use code TDX-7PKF at the check-out.
- 4195 : Pirates Of The Caribbean Queen Annes Revenge (sale price of £66 after the discount code) http://direct.tesco.com/q/R.211-5600.aspx
7964 : Star Wars Republic Frigate (sale price of £69 after the discount code)
4842 Harry Potter Hogwarts Castle (sale price of £67 after the discount code)
(Thanks bigospedros and Andrew H)
LEGO has done a good job of keeping these under wraps, until now...
(Thanks to ansel.and.ethan for the news!)
This time last year we reorganised the database to group all 'non-core' products into the Gear theme.
I am now considering the following changes to the items that Brickset records in the database:
- I want to remove virtually all products that do not contain regular bricks, such as bedding, clothes, bags, books, DVDs, video games, pens, clocks, watches, stationery and so on.
- I want to remove all product collections that existed only as line items at shop.LEGO.com (i.e. items in this list after 78800) as opposed to those that had special packaging (the remainder of that list)
- I want to reserve the right not to include licenced products that contain bricks (e.g. Nintendo DS covers, LEGO annuals, Muji sets, Moleskine books etc.)
My rationale for these changes are
- To improve the overall quality, accuracy and completeness of the database. If its scope is reduced it will be easier to maintain a high quality of information.
- The products listed above are generally of little interest to LEGO collectors and to some extent they 'clutter up' the database and consequently the search results. You may well own some of them but you probably don't really collect them.
- There are so many LEGO-licenced products nowadays that it is impossible to keep track of them all and record information about them accurately.
Books/DVDs that come with bricks, keychains, magnets, coin banks, idea books etc. will of course remain in the database and I will strive to improve our coverage of them.
We are discussing this in the forum and I welcome your comments either here or in the forum if you feel strongly about this.
The Mini-modulars can now be ordered from shop.LEGO.com, but you have to be logged in to be able to do so. Mighty Wanderer emailed to say they were available but when I first looked it said 'coming soon 1st Feb.'
It seems that if you search for 10230 at LEGO.com and you are not logged in you end up at product landing page that says 'coming soon' but when you click on 'full details' it takes you back to the shop home page.
It has just been announced that a group of AFOLs in Sydney are organising a LEGO Fan event and exhibiton, The Sydney Brick Show, to be held at the Powerhouse Musem in Sydney, Australia this coming June.
From the website:
The Sydney Brick Show will held on 2-3 June at the Powerhouse Museum. We invite you to join us in displaying your creative genius at Sydney’s first LEGO® fan event in 2012. The new Sydney Brick Show will bring together the best in LEGO® fan conventions with a family fun showcase of AFOL creations.
The amazing two day event will include public viewing, interactive activities and a spectacular evening fan reception with competitions, guest speakers, everyone’s favorite “Dirty Brickster” and MORE! Proceeds from the Saturday night reception will be given to the Westmead Children’s Hospital for the inspirational work they perform everyday!
More info at: sydneybrickshow.com.au
This time last year I published some figures for the size and value of our collective collections. Between us we had 1,992,000 sets and just over 500,000,000 parts worth $52,000,000.
This year the numbers are, as you can see from the sidebar, 2,900,000 sets, 750,000,000 parts and worth just under $79,000,000
36,205 people have registered their collections which is just under 10,000 more than had done so this time last year. The average size of people's collections has risen from 74 to 81 sets.
So while the headline no doubt grabbed your attention, it's not entirely accurate because the 10,000 new users may have added sets purchased in previous years. If I get time, I'll devise some algorithms to come up with more accurate numbers.
Still, they are impressive statistics and if nothing else, go to show that collectively we own a lot of LEGO and spend a lot of money on it.
If the growth continues as it has, this time next year we'll own 1 billion pieces!
To help you budget, I thought it worth summarising the release dates for the sets that'll be available in normal shops:
- March: Disney Princess, Ninjago spinners (second wave)
- April: Marvel Super Heroes
- May: Series 7 figs
- June: Ninjago spinners (third wave)
- August: Games, Friends, LOTR, Star Wars, Monster Fighters, Creator, Technic, Ninjago play sets, Mining, Hero Factory
- September: Ninjago booster packs and spinners (fourth wave), Advent calendars, Series 8 figs
So, not too much new until August, so you have plenty of time to save up!
What with all the Toy Fair excitement yesterday I didn't get a chance to mention the other big news story that broke on the Cuusoo blog:
"We're happy to announce that the Minecraft project on LEGO CUUSOO has passed the LEGO review and we are now developing a concept that celebrates the best aspects of building with the LEGO system and in Minecraft. We can’t wait to show it to you—but it isn't ready just yet. These things take time, so we appreciate your patience. More details are to come."
Thanks to everyone that emailed!
There'll be four more play sets, all of which are weird and in their own way, wonderful. The largest features a four-headed dragon, apparently because last year's dragons were very popular. It's predominantly white and green and when you lift it by its handle, its wings splay out. They also come with a large variety of snake-like minifigs, with new tail and head pieces in several colours.
City: The only sets being released in the summer are the mining sets, of which there are five. They looked OK, but I thought some of them were a bit juniorised, and not as good as the other 2012 City sets that have just been released. These'll be out in August.
Advent calendars: This year there will be three: Star Wars, featuring two unique minifigs, Darth Maul in Santa garb and a R2 snowman (with carrots on his body!); City, which this time is fire themed, and Friends which contains two of the girls in Christmas outfits and a host of accessories and mini-models.
Hero Factory: Didn't pay any attention...
Cars and Dino, no more sets on the way, Alien Conquest, Harry Potter and PotC 'exit' in July...
Games: A new Heroica set 'Ilrion', which seems to be water-themed, and Maya Mystica were the only ones slated for release later in the year, in August.
Creator: Three new sets, a helicopter, a pick-up truck (both so-so) and Seaside House which looks every bit as good as last year's lighthouse! It's light blue with a red roof and looks like an idyllic place to live...
Technic: Only two previously unseen sets were on show, although the catalogue shows a third. 9393 tractor was not on display but 9396 helicopter and 9398 4x4 crawler were. The helicopter is huge (60cm long), red and yellow, and features new blades whose pitch can be adjusted. It's not motorised but it can be, there's space in the body for the battery box. The 4x4 crawler is a IR-remote-control vehicle which had half-black and half-white bodywork which looked a bit odd, and odder still I suspect if you don't apply the stickers.
However, more importantly it comes with new motors and a new servo motor. The two axles were driven by separate motors which were squarer than those we've seen before, although it was difficult to see their geometry exactly. The servo motor would have been used for the steering and it also was a different shape to current PF motors. I don't get too excited about wheeled Technic models, there are too many of them, but I'll definitely be buying the Helicopter which looked to be the best Technic one ever!
Friends: I've left the best until last! There are another eight sets on the way: three more £10 ones: Mia's bedroom (she plays drums, it seems), Andrea's Bunny House, Olivia's Speedboat; Heartlake Flying Club (£15 I think) and four outdoor/horse themed ones. The horses are new, and different to those in LOTR. They are designed so the girls can ride them. They have a new saddle and holes for the attachment of rosettes, bows and so on. Their back is the same profile as the 2x2 rounded-top brick.
Three of the sets feature horses: Emma's Horse trailer (one white horse, trailer looks like a light blue version of the City one from a few years back), Heartlake stables (2 brown horses) and the largest, Summer Riding Camp (3 horses and an open-top VW-like camper van). It seems that, at the camp, Steph and Em have made new friends: Theresa and Ella!
The last set is Adventure Camper which is also similar to the old City set, but in pink and lime green -- it looks a bit of an eyesore to be honest!
So, I think that's just about it. There were no trains, no exclusives, and I didn't see series 7 and 8 figs, partly because there was a crowd of people round the display when I was there.
While there I met up with Pete Croxon, the UK correspondent for FBTB, who was going onto the LEGO stand later in the afternoon. I'm sure he will have remembered some details that I haven't so be sure to check over there for more Toy Fair news and views!
(Please excuse any typos in these reports, I'll get and correct them when I have more time...)
They are being released to 'cash in' on Halloween, apparently. I got to hear the back-story of the theme: each set comes with a monster and a good guy. The monsters are after six crystals, one of which appears in each set. When they have them all, they take them to the vampire castle and unleash evil (or something like that... :-) )
There's no doubting the monsters looked great, although many of them use parts from the collectable minifigs and some appear to have been copied almost exactly (the Mummy and Dracula, for example). However they did appear to be proper figs, as opposed to Chinese ones. The glow-in-the-dark ghost is back, but a new design featuring 'a piece of sheet' trailing in the wind behind its head. The Werewolf head is superb as are the vampire-bat-minifig-thingys in the castle. Other monsters include a swamp creature, 'Dracula's' bride and glow-in-the-dark skeleton horses.
The good guys resemble characters from the Adventurers series and the vehicles are similar, too: sort of 1930s style.
With so many other good themes coming out, I can't see this one being particularly popular, and I don't think I'll be buying it.
I won't go into a lot of detail about the set names and minifigs because we already know it from the faux-pas at Hamleys, so instead I'll tell you what I thought of them.
The three Planets sets are the same concept as those in series one. The X-Wing looks cool, the Cloud Car is orange, and not red as might have been expected, and the AT-ST is a new design, although similar to old micro-scale ones.
The Malevolence is a long sleek ship, dark blue and grey. I'm not that familiar with the ship, but I'm guessing that it's nothing near minifig scale (a bit like 6211 in that regard). The minifigs all appeared to be recycled Clone Wars ones, so it may not have any unique figs in it. If that's the case I'll probably pass on it.
The striker-class starfighter is a bit strange. It's red and dark red, with wings that can be rotated to be forwards-facing or 90deg. to the fuselage. Saesee Tin's starfighter is similar to other starfighters but with a different cockpit design. The Fury class interceptor is a big black and grey thing with interesting shaped wings that rotate in various places. These four are so-so and if it weren't for the minifigs I'd be happy to pass on them. However things get interesting with the next three...
The Desert Skiff is more substantial than the 2000 one and comes with Scarlacc. Lando looked good, different to the one in Jabba's Sail Barge, and I think Boba may have been slightly different to the last version of him as well.
The Gungan Sub is far far better than the previous effort and features an escape pod that detaches from the back. It comes with 4 figs including Queen Amidala. We have waited 13 years for Queen Amidala and I tell you, it was worth the wait! She is stunning! She has a custom-moulded skirt piece, not the usual 2x2x2 slope, white head and ceremonial headgear, exactly as she appears in this image as Wookiepedia. I can't stress enough how excellent she is!
But it gets better: Jabba's Palace. Yes it will cost £120 (or £150 in Hamleys :-) ) but it is fantastic and actually looks like a proper, solid building. I think Jabba is the same mould as used before but he's a different shade of green, possibly the olive green we've seen in the Dino sets, and also finely printed. Salacious Crumb was small but perfectly formed and printed and the other minifigs were all absolutely stunning. So, well worth the asking price, IMO!
Year on year LEGO push the boundaries with the SW minfigs, they just keep getting better and better!
All the minifigs on display appeared to be the final versions and looked excellent. Iron Man's mask does indeed hinge up to reveal his face.
Some of the sets were not on display in their entirety: LEGO was not allowed to because doing so would provide spoilers for forthcoming movies, so while Captain America was on his 'avenging cycle' in set 6865, the other character and vehicle in the set was not on display. There was only five sets on display: the Spider-Man one wasn't there so perhaps that will be a store exclusive.
Other than thinking they all looked great, I can't remember much about them! They are to be released in April.
Update: Pete from fbtb, who I met up with at the fair, recalled more information than I did about these so I'll copy it verbatim here:
6865 Captain America’s Avenging Cycle … this was the only set on display to feature Captain America, who was sat astride a motorbike. The rest of the set was missing, because Marvel had asked Lego not to show it, because it would spoil part of the movie?! Anyway, there’s another un-named minifigure and vehicle … one can only assume it’s an enemy of some sort. Priced at £11.99, so a bargain whatever!
6866 Wolverine’s Chopper Showdown … Comes with Wolverine, Magneto and Deadpool … the figs were all pretty amazing. Wolverine has normal hands holding the claw pieces, rather than anything moulded like the collectable minifig boxer, as we feared. I can’t actually remember the vehicles included in the set, sorry! Priced at £19.99.
6867 Loki’s Cosmic Cube Escape … Comes with Loki, Hawkeye and Ironman. Hawkeye is driving a jeep type vehicle with Loki in the flatbed at the back … he comes with a custom headpiece and staff and the “Cosmic Cube” (a 1 x1 clear brick!). I spent most of my time drooling over the Ironman figure, which was brilliant. My fears over the head being too large were instantly eased and I was amazed to see that the front of the helmet lifts up to reveal whichever of the double sided printed head you’ve got facing forward. Priced at £19.99, this set is a must buy purely for that fig!!
6868 Hulk’s Hellcarrier Breakout … I think this was Bruce Banner’s lab? Not sure … but anyway, the set comes with Hulk, Hawkeye, Loki and Thor. The Hulk figure was pretty damn cool, articulated and I liked the fact the head was in the shape of a normal Lego minifig head, albeit it bigger to be in scale. The Hawkeye figure seemed to have a new bow & arrow type weapon. Priced at £49.99
6869 Quinjet Aerial Battle … A pretty substantial set, with the Quinjet being pretty large, very sturdy and eminently swooshable. Quite a bit of play features (moveable wings, cockpit, pop out undercarriage thingy) and minfigures Black Widow, Ironman, Thor and Loki. Priced at £69.99, I think … although I don’t seem to have written the price down!
You can read more of his reports at fbtb.
Although photography was not allowed on the stand, there was nothing stopping photos being taken of the stand: the sides and, for that matter, from the balcony above. This picture was decorating the side of the stand and as you can see it shows the whole Fellowship of the Ring.
So, what was on display inside the stand? Everything. Or at least everything that LEGO will let normal retailers sell. Of particular interest to us was the Marvel Super Heroes; LOTR; Summer Star Wars, Technic, and Ningago; Monster Fighters and Friends.
In this article I'll tell you about LOTR and will discuss other themes in later articles.
First, to answer a quesion I can see has been asked in the comments of the article below, the ring IS a real gold-chromed ring with a hole big enough for Frodo to grip it in his hand. All seven sets were on display and I'll tell you what I remember of them. Actually, before I do that THERE IS A NEW HORSE! Yes, the minifig horse has been redesigned and its hind legs now swivel so it can be made to rear! I'm not sure if all the horses in all the LOTR sets were like this but the ones in Attack on Weathertop certainly were.
9469, Gandalf Arrives: 2 minifigs: Gandalf and Frodo, Gandalf on horse and cart with fireworks and snake in the back. I think the price was £9.99.
9470, Shelob Attacks: 3 minifigs: Frodo, Samwise and Gollom! Gollum looked great, hunched over with movable arms, a bit like skeleton arms but different. Shelob the spider looks fantastic and scary!
9471, Uruk-Hai Army: 6 minifigs: Eomer, Rohan soldier and 4 Urak-Hai. The set consists of a small section of wall, a horse with moving legs and a small siege machine. The wall can be joined to the Helms Deep castle, apparently, so this will make a great battle pack to extend the castle and build your armies.
9472, Attack on Weathertop: 5 minifigs: Frodo, Merry, Aragorn and two Ringwaiths on horseback. The set builds a small section of Weathertop with spiral staircase and ruins at the top.
9473, The Mines of Moria: 7 minifigs: Pippin, Gimli, Legolas, Boromir, a cave troll and two Moria orcs. The set builds a selection of sub-assemblies for mine walls, doors, pedestals etc.
9474, The Battle of Helm's Deep: 8 minifigs: Gimli, King Theoden, Haldir, Aragorn and 4 Urak-Hai warriors. The castle itself is fairly substantial, complete with the 'side door' used to gain entry
9476, The Orc Forge: 5 orcs with a forge, various metalworking tools and weapons.
Overall I was VERY impressed with these sets. Legolas' ears were attached to his hair like the elf in the collectable minifigs but looked to be slightly bigger and better quality. The sets were well designed and highly desirable. As was pointed out to me by the stand guide dressed as Gandalf, you need to buy every set to get the whole Fellowship but I suspect many of us can't wait for the day when we can! They are to be released in August.
The first toy fair of the season, the London Toy Fair, starts tomorrow and I will be there. I have an appointment at the LEGO stand and I'll be reporting what's on show.
If it's anything like previous years, I won't be allowed to take photographs so don't expect any images but I do intend to make copious notes and will describe what I see there tomorrow afternoon or evening.
If there's anything you want me to look at specifically, post a comment and I'll see what I can do.
The other toy fairs coming up are Spielwarenmesse International Toy Fair in Germany on 1-6th February and the New York Toy Fair, 12-15 February. LEGO is usually a bit more lenient at these events and phototography will probably be allowed so you won't have to wait too long for pictures to appear.
A new Friends polybag has been found in TRU in the USA, for a whopping $5 for 5 pieces (4 for the minidoll and a 2x2 brick!). Definitely one for completests only (Atkinsar... :) )
(Picture from Toys N Bricks)
Last year's Ninjago spinners were a real turn-off for me. I had no interest in the game, I didn't like the skeletons and, worse of all, the majority of the parts, including the minifig, were made in China.
While in Argos today I picked up 9562 Lasha on impluse to get my spend over £30 so as to get a free £5 voucher and I'm pleased to confirm earlier reports that this year it's a different story altogether.
The minifig is made in LEGO's own factories from high-quality materials. The snake head 'hat' piece comes in a polybag, indicating Chinese origin, but as with most other heads and hats that come packed like this, there's nothing at all wrong with it, perhaps because it's not made from ABS (as far as I can tell).
Last year's spinner piece was pretty poor, too. I only have one but its base is all scratched up and the metal weight is visible through the transparent top cover. This year's have been redesigned completely and are much higher quality.
On the way to the till in Argos, I noticed they had the three booster packs so I grabbed a Kendo Cole (9551) as well, purely for research purposes of course, and I was pleasantly surprised to see that it, too, has a non-Chinese minifig in it.
So, it's not all bad news about LEGO quality: the company IS improving it in some areas. As a result, I suspect I'll be buying more of this year's Ninjago: the weird snake-things are growing on me :-)
It costs £25 and comprises 272 parts, including 32 microfigs which I think is the most to appear in a LEGO game. What makes these special, of course, is that they are Star Wars characters which, despite their size, are instantly recognisable as Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader, Boba Fett, Chewbacca, Han Solo, General Veers, snowtroopers and rebel troops.
The playing pieces are miniature versions of Hoth vehicles and creatures and are very detailed. The Tauntaun is my favourite and it would not have looked out of place in the Advent calendar. As well as the figs, there are some unique parts in it: four printed tiles and four 1x4 trans-clear tiles which have never appeared in a set before.
Here are pictures of the box and contents, the set under construction and the playing pieces:
Update: I've played the game now. I don't know how it compares with other recent LEGO games, but basically it's a strategy game with the roll of a dice thown in to add an element of luck. The object is to either wipe out your opponent's forces or reach their base. Like chess, different pieces attack in different directions. It's not too bad I suppose, and, like other LEGO games, there's plenty of variations suggested to keep it interesting.
The new Argos catalogue is out today, but as they started stocking the 2012 sets on Boxing Day there isn't much new LEGO in it.
They are however stocking three new games: Mini-Taurus, City Alert and the Star Wars game 3866, Battle Of Hoth.
My branch was out of stock but Stuart C, who managed to get one in his local branch, says "32 microfigs including Luke, Han, Chewie, Vader, Boba, Veers, rebels and troopers. Also brick-built AT-ATs, AT-STs, snowspeeders, Tauntaun and two kinds of gun position. Frankly it's so cool I'm tempted to go back to Portsmouth and buy another!"
Two months ago, we reported that LEGO were recruiting staff for a new store they had planned for Saarbrücken in south-west Germany.
Brickset member fabien7857 has emailed us to say that the store opened last Thursday. You can check out the store page on lego.com here.
Great news for LEGO fans in south west Germany, and north east France. Thanks for passing on the info fabien7857!
The data feed from LEGO that provides us with prices and availability of sets at shop.LEGO.com seems to be broken today, and as you can see there are just a handful of old products being shown in the 'New at shop.LEGO.com' list above.
I hope it's sorted soon, but I don't suppose it'll get fixed over the weekend, so I apologise for the inconvenience.
Update, still not fixed but I've adjusted the database so it uses yesterday's data.
Canada seems to be left until last in most cases (cases of mini figs that is), so I am not surprised not seeing them on the shelves yet.
That being said, three Brickset users have spotted them in Canada already:
2 people have found them at Mastermind Toys in Toronto (Canada), and London Ontario (Canada).
1 person has spotted them in Walmart in Halifax Nova Scotia Canada.
Someone has started a Roll Out Map on Google maps for series 6 so please add to it as you see them pop up in Canada.
It can be a bit awkward going to the till with a whole box of figs under your arm. For one thing there's no guarantee the shop will sell them to you and the barcode on the box doesn't scan so you often have wait about while the cashier works out what to do.
So, here's a solution to the problem: Amazon.fr is selling complete boxes of 60 for €110, which is about £90, so it's not only convenient, but also £30 cheaper than in the UK!
Order them here: Series 6 minifigs.
We've had a couple of reports from people saying S6 are now in their local stores:
evomackey: "Just saw series 6 minifigs at my TRU in Lexington, KY"
legorebel: "Series 6 is finally available in the US. At Smiths Marketplace in Utah, which is called Meyers elsewhere"
You can also order them from shop.LEGO.com now as well.
Happy hunting -- let us know where you find them!
The toy shop in the centre of London, Hamleys, recently added the summer Star Wars sets to their website, with prices and descriptions. I believe they've been removed now but forum member cephaser thankfully grabbed them before they went. So, this is what we have to look forward to. Bear in mind Hamleys' prices are usually at least 25% above RRP.
Star Wars X-wing Starfighter & Yavin 4 9677 £14.00
Jungle planet Yavin 4 is home to the headquarters of the Rebel Alliance. In Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope, X-wing starfighters lead the attack against the Empire's Death Star superweapon, signa lling the end of the Empire's evil rule! Set includes an accurate model of Yavin 4, an X-wing pilot minifigure, an X-wing starfighter mini-model, a weapon, and a display stand with name plaque. Collect the other Series 2 sets: 9678 Twin-pod Cloud Ca r & Bespin and 9679 AT-ST & Endor!
Star Wars Twin-Pod Cloud Car & Bespin 9678 £14.00
Gas planet Bespin plays a key role in Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back when Luke Skywalker travels to Cloud City to rescue his friends. However, it's a trap and he is forced to battle e vil Darth Vader. This set includes an accurate model of Bespin, a Lobot minifigure, a twin-pod cloud car mini-model, a weapon, and a display stand with name plaque. Collect the other Series 2 sets: 9677 X-wing Starfighter & Yavin 4 and 9679 AT-ST & Endor!
Star Wars AT-ST & Endor 9679 £14.00
In Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi, the forest moon of Endor, which houses the second Death Star's shield generator, comes under attack from a Rebel assault team. Aided by the indigenous Ewoks, they ove rpower the Imperial AT-STs and destroy the shield generator. This set includes an accurate model of Endor, an AT-ST driver minifigure, an AT-ST mini-model, a weapon, and a display stand with name plaque. Collect the other Series 2 sets: 9677 X-wing Starfighter & Yavin 4 and 9678 Twin-pod Cloud Car & Bespin!
Star Wars Jabba's Palace 9516 £151.00
At Jabba's Palace on Tatooine, Princess Leia is disguised as Boushh as she tries to rescue Chewbacca and carbonite-frozen Han Solo. Can she get past the roof-mounted missiles, defense guns and surveillance equi pment to reach them? Or will Jabba and his motley band of followers capture the princess and entrap her beneath Jabba's sliding throne? Includes 9 minifigures: Jabba, Salacious Crumb, Bib Fortuna, Gamorrean Guard, Oola, Han Solo, Princess Leia in Boushh outfit, Chewbacca and B'omarr Monk.
Star Wars The Malevolence 9515 £139.00
The Malevolence is General Grievous' flagship and one of the Separatist military's most feared weapons. Unbeknownst to Grievous and his crew, Anakin and Padme have entered the giant craft in an attempt to rid the galaxy of this deadly curse. The Malevolence features a cargo bay with transport train, detailed interior with removable-opening sections for easy access and twin quick-fire missile launchers. Includes 6 LEGO minifigures: Anakin Skywalker, Padme Amidala, General Grievous, Count Dooku, Battle Droid Commander and Battle Droid.
[Wookiepedia entry for The Malevolence, I had no idea what it looked like until now]
Star Wars Gungan Sub 9499 £76.00
Jar Jar Binks guides his friends Obi-Wan Kenobi and Qui-Gon Jinn through the watery core of planet Naboo in the elegant Gungan Sub. Built to resemble some of the many creatures that inhabit the underwater world, the Gungan Sub features a large cockpit, cargo bays, storage boxes, rotating tail propulsion, missiles and even a mini-sub with harpoon. Includes Queen Amidala, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Qui-Gon Jinn and Jar Jar Binks.
[Yes, Queen Amidala! Just about THE most sought after and ovedue minifig from the Star Wars universe!]
Star Wars Desert Skiff 9496 £39.00
Hovering over the deadly Sarlacc Pit, Luke prepares to meet his fate aboard the Desert Skiff. Will he be made to walk the plank and be eaten by the ferocious Sarlacc? Or will his friend Lando Calrissian help him escape the clutches of the renowned bounty hunter, Boba Fett? You decide! Includes 4 minifigures: Luke Skywalker, Lando Calrissian, Boba Fett and Kithaba.
Star Wars Saesee Tiin's Jedi Starfighter 9498 £39.00
Jedi Master Saesee Tiin is patrolling for Separatist forces in his Jedi Starfighter, ready to go into battle with fellow Jedi Master Even Piell. As well as being extremely light and agile, Saesee Ti in's green starfighter is equipped with 4 missiles, an R3-D5 droid and if the action gets a little too intense, a cockpit section that detaches to become the Jedi Master's very own escape pod! Includes 3 minifigures: Saesee Tiin, Astromech Droid R3- D5 and Even Piell.
[Image at Wookiepeida of this ship]
There are prices and descriptions of some of the Marvel Super Heroes sets in the forum.
I've made a couple of changes to the site that I'd like to tell you about:
- On the set details pages, alternate images, minifig images and related sets are now shown in tabs 'behind' the main set image. This should allow for future expansion into providing scans from instruction covers, boxes and maybe even user-contributed images.
- Also on this page, the dates of availability from shop.LEGO.com have been reinstated in the menu panel, by popular demand.
- The My Sets page has been tidied up a bit and a new Collection analysis page has been added that will show you which themes/subthemes you have a complete collection of and makes it easy to see the sets you still need to complete a collection. For more information, read the discussion in the forum that first suggested this feature.
Remember you need to be logged in to use the My Sets features so if you haven't signed up yet, get and do so! It's free and easy.
The most anticipated of them was probably 6862 Superman Vs Power Armor Lex in part due to the incusion of the Superman and Wonder Woman minifigs.
Unfortunately I have some bad news for those that can differentiate the quality between normal figs and Chinese-made ones.
Until the release of the Black Pearl last year you could be confident that the minifigs in regular sets (as opposed to collectable minifigs, Ninjago spinners and extended product lines) were high quality, moulded in LEGO's own factories in Europe and Mexico using high quality materials. Then the unthinkable happened: Davy Jones in the Black Pearl was entirely made in China (packed in his own polybag which is always a giveaway) and the quality difference was noticeable.
Now, I'm sorry to say that that wasn't an isolated case: in this set both hair pieces and Wonder Woman's legs are Chinese-made, so we have what I think are our first hybrid minifigs. The hair actually seems pretty good and better than those found in collecable minifigs but the lower quality of WW's legs is definitely noticable. The printing is exceptionally good, but the plastic has that cheaper look and feel, which really is a shame. I suppose this will become the norm for the more expensive-to-produce figs in future which is a worry.
I know I have a 'bee-in-my-bonnet' about this and a lot of you probably don't care but I thought I'd bring it to your attention anyway...
Update: a couple of people have asked in the comments how to tell the difference between regular figs and Chinese-made ones. Here's how:
- Legs: the matt sheen and transparency of the plastic usually gives it away but to be sure turn upside down and look under the foot. If you don't see (c) LEGO they are Chinese-made.
- Torsoes: Look at the inner arms. If they have a recess with numbers in, they are Chinese-made. Also, there is usually a number on the wrist part of the hands of Chinese-made ones.
- Other parts: As far as I can tell all Chinese made parts have an underlined suffix on their mold numbers, for example 'B01'.
I took some photos to illustrate the differences a while ago:
Smashing Bricks has posted pictures of the forthcoming Disney Princess sets, scanned from a retail catalogue, which I think are the first to appear on the Internet.
These pink and purple sets feature Snow White, Cinderella, Prince Charming and Sleeping Beauty and are bound to go down a storm with little girls and probably a few older ones as well... :-)
He's currently building it and taking photos as he goes which he's posting in the forum. So, while we wait for an official announcement on the set's release and accompanying images, take a look at the model under construction.
The set is expected to cost around €210, £170, $250, based on the Romanian price of 900 RON.
LEGO has noticed the negativity generated by the launch of Friends, which I think most of us here agree is totally unjustified and unnecessary, and issued a statement on their website: LEGO Group commentary on attracting more girls to construction play.
It's an interesting read, in particular: "We want to correct any misinterpretation that LEGO Friends is our only offering for girls. This is by no means the case. We know that many girls love to build and play with the wide variety of LEGO products already available. LEGO Friends joins this global collection of products as yet another theme option from which parents may choose the best building experience for their child’s skill and interest."
I hope you like the picture I took to accompany this article, Olivia stroking her, er, cat...
(Thanks to Gary D for posting about this in the Brickish forums)
It's been a few weeks since I reviewed the minifigs in this set, so this concluding look at the X-Wing itself is a bit overdue.
I wasn't able to photograph it satisfactorarily in my 50cm light tent so I ordered up an 80cm one from eBay (for about £15/$20). It's certainly big enough now but it's huge and a bit unwieldy to use in my LEGO room. The photos here and on flickr are the first I've taken in it and, while they are not bad, I'm sure they'll get better as I refine the lighting setup.
Anyway, on to the model itself. This is the fourth minifig scale X-Wing to be made (7140, 1999; 4502, 2004; 6212, 2006) so if you have any of the others you'll want to know whether this set is any better and whether to buy it. The simple answer is yes, this is the best X-Wing yet. However I think there's room for improvement...
The first thing you notice when comparing this to previous versions is that the wings on the other three were all 'studs-up' whereas on this one, the lower wings are 'studs-down'. It seems such an obvious way to build it to ensure symmetry that you have to wonder why LEGO hasn't made them like this in the past. It makes such a huge difference to the final appearance that if this was the only change made it would be worth 'upgrading' to this model for this reason alone.
The use of SNOT doesn't end there though. Clever use of upside-down sections round the wings has further ensured the symmetry between top and bottom: the 65 degree 2x2x2 slopes at the bottom of the back are, of course, upside down because LEGO doesn't make an inverted slope at that angle.
Other differences between this and the last X-Wing were neatly summarised by Kulturkampf in a comment to the last news article, so I will copy those here:
- The laser cannons are at a more correct length.
- The engines are now placed correctly off center.
- The nose is now 3 studs wide instead of 2 before it hits the 6x4 slope, giving a much better ease into the nose.
- The pieces on the side of the cockpit are the new, longer slopes, making it sleeker.
- The fuselage is now correctly hexagonal.
- There are now slopes at the side of the engines down to the wings, like there's supposed to be.
- There are now markings inside the engines (even though they are stickers.... :/)
- This one has proton torpedos.
- The best one - on the old X-Wing, it took ages to open the wings. On this one, they snap open with only half a turn.
So, what can be improved? Well I'm not totally sold on the colour scheme. Apart from the first 1999 version of the craft, all others, at all scales, have been predominantly white with splashes of red and grey. Correct me if I'm wrong but don't the pictures at Wookiepeida show that they should be red and grey without any white at all? Why then do LEGO insist on making them white? It would be a useful and interesting exercise to convert this one to grey to see the result.
An excellent rendition of the most iconic Star Wars vehicle and some superb minifigs to boot: the set deserves a place in everyone's collection!
More pictures on flickr. Which do you prefer -- a black or white background?
I have to say, I'm not overly impressed. It's a valiant attempt to model a complex structure at a small scale but I think it's just a bit too small and resembles little more than a random collection of curved wedges at odd angles.
Maybe I'm being too harsh. What do you think?
According to Brickshop.nl, it will cost €40 and be available in June.
Now, this year, we're getting one at Windsor. We've been sent this image and a press release to whet your appetite:
March 2012 will see the opening of LEGOLAND Star Wars™ Miniland Experience at LEGOLAND® Windsor Resort.
The new indoor fully themed Star Wars Miniland Experience will painstakingly recreate seven of the most famous scenes – six from the beloved Star Wars films and one from the smash hit animated series: Star Wars: The Clone Wars, using around 1.5 million LEGO bricks.
Planned in close consultation with Lucasfilm Ltd, Star Wars Miniland Experience will follow a chronological path through the Star Wars timeline and feature around 2,000 LEGO models in 1:20 scale from the planets Naboo, Geonosis, Kashyyk, Mustafar, Tatooine, Hoth, Endor and Christophsis. Created by dozens of model designers and builders, landscapers, animation electricians and technicians, the area will also feature authentic Star Wars sounds, actions and lighting effects further immersing visitors into the Star Wars saga and bringing the experience to life.
Sue Kemp, Divisional Director of LEGOLAND Windsor Resort commented, “We are delighted to have Star Wars as a permanent part of LEGOLAND, having successfully tested the water with our extremely popular Star Wars events. The Saga’s universal story about the battle between good and evil has transfixed adults and children over many decades and we expect it to be phenomenally popular with our visitors of all ages.”
LEGOLAND Star Wars Miniland Experience will be located in the centre of the Resort, which is set in 150 acres of beautiful parkland. The park features 55+ interactive rides, live shows, building workshops, driving schools and attractions and a LEGOLAND themed hotel which is opening in March 2012.
Find out more at www.legoland.co.uk.
We hope to bring you more news and photos nearer opening time!
In what will probably be regarded as a controversial move, LEGO has started issuing different versions of the club magazine to female members. I know this because I enroled my wife last year so I could get the exclusive Max minifigure :-)
So yesterday, my 'male' version arrived featuring Ninjago, Super Heroes, Star Wars, Creator, City, Dino and Technic and today my wife's 'female' one landed on the doorstep featuring Friends, City, SpongeBob, LEGO Champions game and a 'cool creations' page featuring just girls. The only common content is the City (forest) spread.
What do you think? I understand totally that no self-respecting 7-year-old boy would be seen dead with a Friends set, but what about the other way round? Does this move reinforce stereotypes and dictate what is acceptable for girls to play with? Or is it a sensible and acceptable marketing move?
LEGO has posted a video of the second Cuusoo set, Hayabusa, being packed for sale in Japan on Facebook. The accompanying text reads:
"The second LEGO CUUSOO product, Hayabusa, is making its way from the warehouse in Denmark to Japan for release in the Japanese market. Here's a little behind-the-scenes look at the boxes being packed. Exclusives are packed in a smaller factory, which as you can see, is still done by hand.
"The LEGO Group has worked with CUUSOO in Japan since 2008 on a Japanese site that has attracted hundreds of ideas and seen thousands of votes cast. The first product, the Shinkai 6500 submersible, went on sale in Japan in February 2011. The second Japanese LEGO CUUSOO model is the Hayabusa unmanned spacecraft launched in the first quarter of this year."
There have been rumours that the next modular building would be a town hall for, oh, at least a year. Now, pictures have emerged on a Romanian toy shop website. I can't actually find them there, but someone has posted them to Eurobricks so you can check them all out there.
It weighs in at 2766 pieces which is more than the other modular buildings. I have to say, I'm lovin' all that dark orange!
Update: bonaparte at Eurobricks kindly sent me the direct link to the set at the shop.
Update: The Brickset effect has struck again. The page at the Romanian shop, linked to above, has been removed, probably as a result of TLG reading this article or the Eurobricks one. I hope you saved the images!
If, like me, you didn't want to buy another Diagon Alley just to get a mini Hogwarts Express, you'll be pleased to know that you can now buy it from shop.LEGO.com.
Although it was never sold for what is claimed is its full price of £7.99, it's now included in the sale for £6.39. That's still vastly overpriced for a 64 piece kit but if you're a polybag collector and you don't already have it, I suspect you'll buy it whatever the price...
(Thanks ljames28 for the news)
To conclude my review of 9494 Anakin's Jedi Interceptor, today I take a look at the ship itself and the duelling platforms that are also included in the set.
The ship is very similar in design to the two previous Jedi Starfighters (Anakin's yellow one in 7256 from 2005 and Obi-Wan's 7661 from 2007) so I'm not sure why its name has been changed to Interceptor this time.
As is usual though, new parts and building techniques have been used to improve it and one definite improvement is that R2-D2 fits in the wing in his entirety rather than having just his head plokned on top.
Someone asked in the comments to part one whether the set contained many useful dark green parts. So, discounting the wedge plates, it has just 16: 8 2x4 plates and 4 each of 1x4 and 2x2 tiles.
The duelling platforms are an interesting build. I can't remember the scene in episode 3 to know what they they are supposed to look like, but one seems to resemble some sort of robot. (I must watch the Hexalogy (right word this time!) on Blu-Ray my daughters bought me for Christmas ASAP!). They certainly add some playability to the set, though.
To summarise then, this is a great set. The craft is very swooshable, the minifigs are excellent and the extras in the form of the platforms add an additional dimension to the playability. Of course you know there's a 'but' coming... The price, at £35, is as usual, probably higher than it should be, particularly when you consider that the price of 2005's 7256 was just £15!
More pictures on flickr:
Toys R Us in the UK now seem to have a decent stock of 2012 sets including Super Heroes, Dino and City. Chillybreeze101 points out that they are stocking 6857 Dynamic Duo Funhouse Escape, which is proving hard to get hold of elsewhere. The brand stores I've been in are out of stock and although it was briefly available from shop.LEGO.com, it's now out of stock until March.
Super Store appears to be clearing some of their christmas stock with some decent deals. Be careful though as I have found some of the "regular" prices on their sale signs to be inflated thus tricking consumers into thinking it's a better deal than it really is.
Thank you to Brickset user "mine" for this news.
It appears London Drugs has a number of sets marked down. One to note is the Sith Infiltrator (7961) marked down from 89.99 to $60.00.
A few of the other Star Wars sets were also marked down so its worth checking out.
Today I'm taking a quick look at 9494, Anakin's Jedi Interceptor, in particular the minifigs. I'll finish building the ship and photograph it tomorrow.
This set is the most elusive of the new Star Wars sets in the UK at the moment. I believe it, and the Y-Wing, are not part of the normal retail assortment offered to most shops, so Argos is not stocking them. The Brighton shop was also out of it when I went in just before New Year's day, so I had ro resort to good old shop.LEGO.com...
It comes with five: Anakin, with new head, Obi_Wan with new head (which is less cartoonish than the other Clone Wars one) and torso, a dark red battle droid, R2-D2, and leaving the best until last a brand new Nute Gunray, the ever popular Neimoidian from The Phantom Menace.
He now sports a 'skirt slope', a new dark red hat and most significantly, olive green head and hands. Compare him to the one in the advent calendar and you'll agree this one is far superior. However quite why he's been included in this set (other than for the reason stated above) is anyone's guess.
Once again, LEGO is pulling out all the stops with the Star Wars minifigs this year: they are improved in every way and it seems certain that minifig collectors will feel obliged to continue buying every set, which is of course what LEGO wants...
Apparently VIP members were asked last July what their favourite collectable minifigs were. The results have been revealed in the latest VIP newsletter and the five winners are going to be released in a VIP exclusive set in the summer.
The winners are the elf, the gorilla suit guy, the space pirate, the mummy and the fisherman. I'm somewhat surprised by the list as all of them are from series 3 and four of these were, in my opinion, rubbish and certainly not ones you'd want multiples of for 'army building'. The mummy was the commonest in the box and surely everyone has too many of him already!
The text reads: "We are delighted to announce the line-up for the VIP Exclusive LEGO Minifigures set, to be released in the summer of 2012. We took the results from our vote poll back in July last year and wherever possible, selected the characters that our VIPs wanted brought back - this time with some unique coloured elements! So… please give a big round of applause once again to friendly Fisherman, mysterious Elf, shadowy Space Villain, kooky Gorilla suit guy, and last but not least, mischievous Mummy!"
I think the key phrase here is "wherever possible" meaning they are bringing back the ones they have spare parts for or are cheap to produce, not necessarily those we'd like to see return the most.
I can't see much evidence of new colours other than the gold scorpion, the space pirate's prosthetics and the fisherman's hat, can you?
Brickset user Nico Maas has just released LEGO Tracker to the Windows Phone marketplace. The description reads "A brickset.com client for windows phone. Keep track of your LEGO collection. Find the sets you own or want and navigate to building plans, reviews and more.
- Search by set-number
- Search by free text search terms
- Store the sets you own or want
- View details about sets with links to building plans, reviews and more.
I don't have a WP7 but I have a friend who does so I got to try LEGO Tracker for myself today. It's incredibly slick and polished, and is probably the best mobile app that hooks into Brickset that I've seen.
You can record sets your own and sets you want into it, but you can't currently synchronise with your Brickset account. Nico hopes to add this in a future version.
If you want to find out about specific sets or themes while on the move with your WP7 device, this is a must-have app.
Now all we need is an Android one. Anyone up for the challenge?
TargetOnMyBack informs us "Found 2012 sets in Australia: Target in Brisbane have 4635 Fun With Vehicles, 6913 Blue Roadster and 9093 Bone Cruncher.
"Big W had Lego still in the cardboard cartons, ready to go on the shelf. There were a few of the later 2011 sets, and for 2012: Creator sets 6912, 6913 and 7291, what looked like all four Racers sets and a couple of the Build and Rebuild sets.
"Kmart did not have new 2012 sets out but they had clearance prices on a few items, including 7189 Mill Village Raid for AUD69 and the Star Wars Advent Calendar for AUD 25."
If you missed out on the calendar but want to have a go at building the mini-models using parts in your collection, Robert K has helpfully created PDF instructions showing the images on the backs of the windows which should make it much easier.
I haven't quite finished building the new 9493 X-Wing, so until I have, please make do with pictures of the minifigs.
The set comes with four, two of which are new.
The first new one is Jek Porkins, left, who was pilot of 'Red Six' X-Wing. He was killed in the Battle of Yavin. You may recall his cockpit filling with smoke when his X-Wing was hit by enemy fire. His helmet and head are unique, and LEGO has done a good job on the markings on the helmet, which look close to those shown in the image.
The second new one is Jek's astromech droid R5-D8. This uses the new conical dome part for its head.
On first glance you could question why LEGO has included two pilots and two mechs. It becomes clear when you view the instructions: you can build either Luke's or Jek's X-Wing: there's an extra set of tiles and stickers in the box to mark up the wings with a 6th red stripe to indicate Jek's machine.
If I can get the X-Wing in my light tent I'll photograph it tomorrow...
Here's a piece of news that'll delight a few but frustrate many: it seems that the Monthly Mini Model Build models that are only given out to under 14-year olds one day a month in LEGO brand stores are now pre-packed in clear, numbered, polybags.
cigpusher sent me this image of the one he obtained in the USA for today's build of a cobra, which you can currently see on the store events page at LEGO.com.
Prior to this development, collectors could justifiably overlook these sets because they were just a 'random' selection of parts in a zip-lock bag but now that they are pre-packaged and have a set number, they will become far more collectable. It's a shame then that the picture card isn't included.
What will atkinsar do, I wonder? :-)
(Update: polybag image replaced with one from the instructions.)
My wife's been at a football match today (soccer I think most of you call it) so I found myself with time on my hands for a quick trip to Argos. My youngest daughter is a keen piano player so I thought I pick up 3932 Andrea's Stage for her. Unfortunately, being 17, she showed no interest in it whatsoever so I had to build it :-)
However, I do know that if these sets had come out 10 years ago she would have loved them. When my daughters were younger they had both Scala and Belville and enjoyed them both. However, I think they failed as LEGO sets because of the scale of the dolls. Because they were much larger than minifigs, the sets were full of large, specialised, and probably expensive parts which meant the sets themselves had few parts in them and scope for reuse was limited.
Friends, however, are pretty much minifig-scale and the sets and accessories can be used interchangeably with regular 'system' sets. I'm prepared to believe that little girls don't like minifigs and will find these mini-dolls far more appealing, remembering what I do about my two when they were young.
So, what about this set? Well, it consists of a 'stage' with a neat curtain-effect, a piano and another piece of stage with lights and mic. stand. All three parts are well designed but it's a shame they don't all go together with the piano on the stage and the fancy purple stage bit integrated into the main one. Still, I don't suppose it will be too much work to do just that with parts in your collection.
The magenta and medium lavender parts in this set are absolutely gorgeous and the tiles are printed which is always better than stickers, so there's nothing not to like about this set.
I'm going to end this by repeating what Lucy said below because I agree entirely: "I certainly will be buying more of the Friends range, partly for the new parts and colours which I know MOCers are drooling over, but also on the basis of their own merits." If you want to see what skilled MOCers are doing with the parts, check out this spacecraft at Brothers-Brick.
You've probably had enough of reviews of drab Star Wars sets, so I thought I'd bring you some colour in the form of a review of 3061 City Park Cafe by female AFOL Lucy, aka LostInTranslation:
As a girl who has loved Lego since birth (thanks to a 9-years-older brother), when I first heard that LEGO was bringing out a new range of sets specifically for girls – and without standard minifigures! – I received the announcement with a healthy degree of scepticism. Why can’t TLG just produce more female minifigs in girl-friendly settings within City (like Paradisa)? And what’s wrong with girls playing with adventure themes and Star Wars anyway (like I did – ok, still do!)?
But as more information emerged regarding the reasoning behind the decision and the extensive market research that had been undertaken with the aim of getting Friends right, the more intrigued I became, and by the time final images of the 14 sets became available, I was convinced enough to at least give Friends a chance.
One of the Friends sets I’ve purchased is 3061 City Park Cafe, and I’ve got to say, overall I’m impressed. The build is not overly complex in structure and maybe you could expect more parts for your money, but where the design really comes into its own is in the details, including cute little cupcake moulds, a multitude of kitchen utensils and a brick-built burger, while the gumball machine standing outside is also a nice touch.
The colours of the cafe (pink yes, but also red and white and some nice light-blue plates) are not so overwhelmingly girly as to prohibit their inclusion in any City layout, and with a little modification and expansion this set could easily be converted into a 50s-style diner, as the half-dozen or so stickers have a very retro feel to them. I’ve also bought 3183 and my nephew fell in love with the predominantly purple car, so I would also encourage the parents of future MAFOLS to consider buying some of these sets, despite the advertising focus on girls.
But what about the mini-dolls, I hear you cry? Well, I have to say that although I can see that they will appeal to their target audience due to their similarity with toys such as Polly Pockets, I personally will be populating the sets with standard minifigs. I’ve experimented with putting mini-doll hairpieces on minifigures and have yet to find a combination that I like (aside from C3PO à la Brian May), but I hope to eventually find at least one!
I certainly will be buying more of the Friends range, partly for the new parts and colours which I know MOCers are drooling over, but also on the basis of their own merits.
They’re good sets; tell your Friends!
I had fun taking these photos, they certainly look a bit brighter than your average Star Wars set!
The set consists of two rebel troopers, one of whom has a new torso print, two imperial troopers (which you'll recall have the new printed heads), a bit of tree and a speeder bike.
I say it's the least exciting because the tree is unremarkable and the speeder is virtually identical to that in last year's 7956 Ewok Attack.
The minifigs are OK but not a patch on the elite clone troopers in the other battle pack. However there is good variety, each one being different, and if you can afford 10 or so of these packs you'll be able to put together a pretty good Endor battle scene.
This is not an essential purchase like many of the other new SW sets and given it's currently priced at £13 (it'll probably be $13 in the USA), this is definitely one to wait for until it plummets in price at Amazon or can be had in a 3-for-2 offer somewhere.
More photos on flickr:
Over 350 instructions have been added to LEGO.com today including some for previously unknown polybag sets for Star Wars, Super Heroes, Creator, Friends and more.
Start the year as you mean to go on: visit Brickset every day for the latest LEGO news and views!
The TIE Fighter is second only to the X-Wing in terms of its iconic stature in the Star Wars universe but all LEGO's previous attempts at TIE-craft have been pretty poor. Not only were the blue highlights totally inappropriate, but they never managed to capture the shape and distinctive structure of the radiator panels effectively.
Not only is this new version correctly coloured black and grey, it also has a grey band round the edge of the panels which makes it look excellent and pretty much spot on when compared to the prototype. My only criticism, comparing it to the prototype, is that they have used the same huge great 6x6 sloped-bit to attach the panels which is far too bulky. I suspect it will be easy enough to modify it, though.
Previous incarnations of TIE-craft have mostly just come with a pilot, but as has become common in recent Star Wars sets, this one comes packed with minifigs, no doubt in an attempt to make it more appealing to collectors. Not only do you get a TIE pilot, but also a Death Star Trooper who's wearing a new helmet, an imperial officer and R5-J2, who we have discussed before.
I highly recommend this set. It's the best TIE Fighter yet and the minifigs are great. As usual though, it is expensive (£50 in the UK, probably $50-$60 in the USA) so you may want to wait for it to be on offer.
More photos are available in my flickr stream. Due to the size of the model they are not quite up to my usual standard: I probably need a larger light tent...
They are listed for immediate shipping in the UK and parts of Europe for immediate shipping: view them all here.
US prices are
- 9492 TIE Fighter $54.99
- 9493 X-wing Starfighter $59.99
- 9494 Anakin's Jedi Interceptor $39.99
- 9495 Gold Leader's Y-wing Starfighter $49.99
- 9674 Naboo Starfighter & Naboo $9.99
- 9675 Sebulba's Podracer & Tatooine $9.99
9676 TIE Interceptor & Death Star $9.99