I’ve always had an interest in the Star Wars expanded Universe, I love the way that shows like Star Wars Rebels bridge the huge gap between the movies and introduce us to new and exciting characters. However, since Disney announced that pretty much anything outside of the movies is now considered non-canonical, the impact of these stories seems to have lost a lot of power on the franchise.
Set Number: 75147
Minifigures: Rowan, Kordi, Zander
Despite being popular, these ‘spin-offs’ will never see the level of popularity which the official saga enjoys, yet companies like LEGO still plow on with the merchandising and in some cases, the Rebels sets from last year as an example, they bring something unknown and brilliant to the table. I’m happy to own as many TIE fighters and X-Wings as LEGO are willing to throw at me, but every now and again it is nice to see something unique from a galaxy far, far away.
Released as part of June’s wave of new LEGO Star Wars sets, the Star Scavenger is a prime example of using something completely unknown, though set within the same Star Wars universe – the source material for this set literally debuted two weeks ago on Disney XD. LEGO Star Wars: The Freemaker Adventures is a brand new animated series set between The Empire Strikes Back and Return Of The Jedi during the height of the Empire’s rule and it follows a family of scavengers whose youngest member discovers he is strong with the Force. As you can imagine, the Empire gets wind of this situation and before you know it we’re getting cameos from a few familiar faces from the canon history.
This new set, released in time to get Star Wars fans attention more than anything, brings the Freemaker family and their ship to life. LEGO have made the show, designed the characters and their ship, this should be an easy hit.
The set includes the entire main cast of Freemaker’s, that’s three minifigures plus their recommissioned ‘friendly’ battle droid. If like me you are a fan of the extended Star Wars universe and love any opportunity to expand your minifigure collection then the exclusivity of these figures should at least entice you enough to give it a second glance, the fact that the series’ complete main cast are included is definitely a bonus.
The family is made up of three siblings, Kordi and her two brothers Zander and Rowan. When I mentioned that one of them becomes Force-aware, it’s the younger brother, Rowan, though sadly there is no Jedi paraphernalia included in this set, this is obviously pre-lightsaber. What is interesting about the three is their skin colour, everything about the characters suggest that they are human and so with that assumption, they look Hispanic in origin with a slightly tanned look rather than the obvious pale or dark skin colour we see on other human-inspired minifigures.
Starting with Kordi, the sister, the minifigure has a wealth of detail on her from top to bottom. There is definitely a very Star Wars look about the character and yet she wouldn’t look out of place in some of the out-of-town LEGO City sets. The head and hair pieces are the only really generic aspects of the figure, the expressionless standard female face and dark brown ponytail are regulars in LEGO sets.
The rest of the body, however, is the polar opposite. Printing covers the entire torso front and back, as well as on the large majority of the available space on the legs, all making up the one outfit design. The legs are predominantly blue in colour and include additional detail for skin guards and straps and pouches coming off of the belt which appears on the torso. From the waist up, every millimeter of figure space is used brilliantly for detailed design. The overall print sees the character wearing a cropped green jacket over a light yellow t-shirt, a shoulder strap going across the chest and also goggles. The back of the figure continues this design with the other end of the shoulder strap and the back of the cropped jacket and lower yellow of the t-shirt. It’s a fantastic character, and as I’ve already said, could easily be used on other sets outside of the Star Wars collection.
Zander, the older brother, looks a little more other-worldly in the way he is dressed, he looks like one of the space mechanics you see in the movies pottering across in the background with X-Wings before the big battles and that’s kind of the point, he’s the pilot of a salvage vessel, he’s no Poe Dameron. Disappointingly, his minifigure suffers from the same generic face issue as his sister – seriously they might as well have used Emmet’s face here. His hair piece is fairly interesting, though, with subtle sideburns and long slicked back hair, it looks very late 70’s/early 80’s, much like the style of the original trilogy.
The legs piece used is exactly the same is that used for Kordi, which makes sense, we’re assuming that they have some kind of uniform, I guess. Where Zander differs is on the torso, it’s very different from his sister, continuing the light blue of the legs up to create a sleeveless jacket – I assume it is sleeveless given that the arms match the characters skin colour. Like his sister, he is wearing a yellow t-shirt under the jacket, though the brown straps which running across this design look more like those you’d find on a pilot, a main buckle in the centre and three straps coming off of it.
The back of the figure continues those straps, though there is very little detail other than that on the back, apart from what look like grease stains? It’s a solid minifigure, I’m just a little disappointed with the generic face, given how much effort LEGO Star Wars sets usually put into their characters faces to make them look as unique as possible.
The last of the proper minifigures in the set is the Force-sensitive Rowan, the youngest of the group. His age is made obvious on the minifigure by the use of the short legs which don’t bend, usually found of characters like the Hobbits from the LEGO Lord Of The Rings sets. On this figure, these legs are dark green and don’t feature any detail at all. Rowan differs further from his siblings by actually having a facial expression, mouth wide open, there’s an excited look about the character – let’s face, if you found out you had Jedi powers, you’d be a little excited too, I’m still waiting for mine to come in. The hair piece used here is the same one as the newer LEGO Marvel’s sets used for Hawkeye, the spiked up, light-brown look, it actually helps this minifigure look younger when put side by side with his siblings.
Rowan’s torso detail is probably the most interesting of the three, despite having less detail, it just looks more awesome. The design features a bright-yellow jacket over a loose-fitting blue top with a belt and shoulder strap which continues on to the back of the figure. This is a great minifigure, it’s just a shame we didn’t get a lightsaber. We do, however, get a cool helmet for the character which has goggles to attach, it’s a simple white pilots helmet which makes the minifigure look like Anakin Skywalker from the pod-racing scenes in Episode I.
Technically not a minifigure, but he deserves a mention with the other characters, R0-GR (Roger to his friends) is the family’s droid and the LEGO figure shows that he has been built from a number of spare parts. He’s a hodgepodge of different coloured battle droid pieces, it’s a simple yet very effective approach to creating a droid which looks like he’s be put together by scavengers from parts unknown, I’m a fan.
Once you’ve got to grips with the new Star Wars family, it’s time to start some proper building, and before you jump into the main event, this set eases you into the Freemaker Adventures with the Shovel Cart.
Let’s remember that this is a team of scavengers, their missions are likely to involve digging things up on remote alien planets and so the shovel cart is definitely going to help with that. Also thinking about this from a make-believe view, this is a toy after all, kids are going to be able to reenact the many missions of the family thanks to this add-on.
It’s an interesting design which I wholeheartedly expected to have wheels, then I remembered that this is a Star Wars LEGO set and they love giving impractical machinery legs, the shovel cart is no exception. Once you’ve constructed the main body – which is mostly just layer upon layer of light and dark grey pieces – the main shovel piece is connected using a Technics hinge to allow movement.
The legs are the most interesting piece because during the build you never see this coming. Two pieces make up each leg, connected by a Technics hinge so that the can be straightened out or put into an ‘L’ shape as a leg and foot. The reason for this design may not be apparent instantly, but once you realise that the main ship build includes a hollow section to insert the shovel cart, it makes perfect sense to be able to flatten the legs.
The Star Scavenger
When I look over at my LEGO X-Wing and Millenium Falcon I think, “damn they’re pretty”, they look stunning and I admire the aesthetics of the models, the same cannot be said about the Star Scavenger, it appears to have been severely beaten by the ugly stick. Let’s face it, this ship isn’t going to see the same glory as those aforementioned beauties, but that’s ok when you think about this more practically. The Star Scavenger is, as its name would suggest, a scavengers ship, used to haul collected cargo from one end of the galaxy to the other, it doesn’t need to be pretty, it needs to be practical and in LEGO, practicality can lead to some very interesting and interactive designs.
There’s a good couple of hours worth of building in this ship, not because of the pieces used, more because of how it is constructed, it’s split up into segments with the front and back of craft built entirely independently before connecting via multiple axle pins. What this does allow you to do is actually detach the pieces fairly easily during playtime, I’m not sure whether this was a design feature for play but it does enhance the interactivity of the set.
The front of the ship isn’t quite as big and bulky as the back and it is very easy to see that this isn’t just a generic spaceship, this very much looks like it belongs in the Star Wars universe, the geometric design adds a sleekness to the look that isn’t entirely obvious at first glance. The cockpit area is impressively sized, more than spacious enough to fit two full-size minifigures in there and it is easily accessible via a hinged roof panel which can be slipped up. Weaponry wise, we shouldn’t be expecting much given that this is a scavenger ship, but lo and behold, there are two spring-loaded missile launchers, one at each end of the short, wide structure. On its own, the best way I can think to describe the front sections would be a TIE Advanced without the wings.
Prepare for the interactive element to this ship with the main hull of the back segment of the ship, it’s reconfigurable. The main platform for this section is actually made up of a hollow square of technics pieces which essentially create a section to sit the shovel cart in which doesn’t have a floor underneath. With the shovel’s legs flattened and horizontal, it slides comfortably into position while remaining loose.
The rest of the back section is where the really impressive design comes in, after all, this isn’t the bulky slab of bricks you’d expect. The roof and sides of this section are actually balanced on four centrally connected bars which are free-moving. The roof is split into two mirrored sections which meet in the middle and connect via two axle pins. The wings, which are connected to each of the roof sections can then be rotated down into place, providing the hollow hull with walls. This roof can, of course, be separated again and flattened to reveal the shovel cart.
This whole design is brilliant and practical as it not only provides a great way of dismantling the ship to allow the shovel in and out but also minimising on the pieces needed to construct such a large container. My one and only issue with it is the fact that splitting out the roof sections can be quite tough, the axel pins need a bit of encouragement to pull apart, not great for younger Star Wars fans.
Detail-wise, the back of the ship has three brilliantly simplistic engines, which when the roof is up form a triangle of blasters. There are a couple stickers dotted throughout the model, all used to brand the ship with the Freemaker’s logo. This may not be the best-looking craft that LEGO has ever designed, but it has so much play value that they alone may be worth the purchase.
The Set Overall
Overall, the Star Scavenger isn’t going to sell on its looks alone, it is a fairly ugly creation when sat next to an X-Wing, however, the impressively interactive design may be enough to sway those looking beyond….never judge a book by its cover, etc, etc..
The ship design, while not pretty, offers a massive amount of playtime, there’s so much you can do with this ship and the inclusion of the shovel cart will surely add to the missions that young Star Wars fans are likely to go on with the Freemakers.
If I’m honest, though, this set has a very niche market to hit, that sub-culture of Star Wars fans who are obsessed with every spin-off, add-on, and expansion that the Force-infused universe has to offer, well that and all of the kids who watch Disney XD – a slightly larger group. It’s difficult, though, because, for the £50 price tag, I could point you in the direction of a number of other Star Wars LEGO sets that will surely appeal to the more mainstream fan.
- Huge amount of interactivity on the ship, so much to do so playtime will last a while
- Pretty much the entire cast from the TV show included in the minifigure collection – all exclusive to this set
- Very interesting build design, makes the whole construction worthwhile
- The ship isn’t the most stunning creation that LEGO has produced and that may put people off
- No lightsaber for Rowan