I should preface this review with an admission. Listeners of the latest episode of The Geek Show would have heard me offer my opinions on this set, opinions that I would now like to retract. In the interest of fairness and a determination not to be disappointed by a Star Wars LEGO set, I went back and rebuilt parts of the set before completing this review.
I’m glad I did.
#ForceFriday has come and gone, but the results of it will be felt for a long time. Every major toy brand has gotten a piece of Disney’s galaxy-spanning pie, and to no surprise LEGO are no exception. Already well-experienced when it comes to constructing brick replicas of the multiple vehicles to travel the galaxy, it’s fair to say the newest batch have got a lot of people excited – myself and Mike, for starters, as evidenced by his reviews of the Commander Cody buildable figure and the First Order Snowspeeder.
And my excitement was only intensified when I got my hands on the next entry in the First Order garage – the Special Forces TIE Fighter.
Set Number: 75101
Minifigures: First Order Officer, First Order Crew, First Order Tie Fighter Pilot (x2)
Let’s start with the price, the first thing most eyes will gaze upon when deciding to pick up this set. The fifth most-expensive of the seven Force Awakens sets released, believe it or not, which does make you wonder just how much this would retail at if it were not for the Disney branding found on the box. The first time that has happened, for the record, which may make some fearful for future Marvel sets…
For comparison purposes, take your mind back to 2012 when LEGO last released a TIE Fighter set, featuring a near-identical build and the same amount of minifigs. That set came in at £49.99, so aside from Disney’s name on it and the release coming as part of promotion for the first Star Wars movie in ten years, is this new set worth the extra £10? Let’s find out…
A good LEGO set needs good minifigs, and this set is not let down. Starting with the two TIE Fighter pilots, you will notice a huge upgrade on the original sets. The magnificent-looking helmets come with attached hose, which lines up perfectly with the breathing apparatus on the printed torsos. The printing is very impressive, full of detail and makes a satisfactory figure into a great piece of a collection. The printing continues down onto the legs, and I always enjoy seeing lots of effort go into the figures; it gives the impression that it’s not just the main vehicle/building that has been afforded time and dedication.
The First Officer figure is also an excellent one, for one very good reason; the slightly uncommon skin colour. This suggests either a new character in the film that will play a substantial role, or just LEGO looking to become more racially-diverse. Either way, the variety is a welcome introduction.
Lastly, the First Order Crew member is a familiar figure, as it also appears in the Kylo Ren’s Command Shuttle set. We have yet to see this individual in any trailers for the film, so little is known. However, the design of the helmet is rather unique, which makes me wonder if it is being kept faithful to what we will see on screen.
The TIE Fighter
I have to start this by saying this piece is nothing short of superb. I think it’s safe to say that LEGO have taken the original version that was released three years ago made it so much better. The hinged dishes on the cockpit allowing front, rear and roof access are good, and allow plenty of room to get the minifigures inside. This updated Fighter can now house 2 minifigs.
Through the cockpit runs a solid white piece you would usually find in a Technic set, and while it stands out a little it isn’t a minor thing and with the dishes shut, you can’t see it anyway. The Technic beam does give a third minifig somewhere in the cockpit to position itself though.
My one gripe with this set was just how quick I found myself finished building it. For over 500 pieces, time clocked in at about 45 minutes for me to complete the cockpit and both wings. Don’t get me wrong, it was a satisfactory build experience – indeed, building a Star Wars LEGO set brings an almost-indescribable joy that most LEGO sets cannot – but it failed to escape me at how little time had passed.
The Set Overall
Remembering that LEGO isn’t just for collectors (oh, it’s true), you also have to appreciate the amount of play value this contains for such a pricey and detailed set. The stable and secure build allows for kids to be able to play with it, flying the Fighter through the air in imagination-fuelled space battles.
When the Force Awakens sets were first announced, the Millenium Falcon inevitably is the piece that draws initial attention, however I admit to casting an eye towards the TIE Fighter and I’m glad I did. This is a magnificent set, full of great and detailed design, in both the main vehicle and the minifigs. I was a little disappointed that a set of this piece count (and price) would take so little time to put together, but that one criticism is far overshadowed by all the positives on display here. Let’s face it, £60 for a LEGO set, no matter the franchise or branding, is always going to be viewed as an extravagance, but if you are a collector and/or a Star Wars fan, this is an essential purchase. It can double up as a pricey plaything for your (careful) children or a worthy centrepiece of your growing LEGO collection, either way this is one set that you simply cannot pass up
This set was provided for review purposes. However, all reviews reflect the authors own personal views and are not influenced in any way.