Just over a year ago, the spectacle that was #ForceFriday unleashed joy and excitement across the world with every big name in toys launching new Star Wars merchandise ahead of the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. With a new Star Wars movie set to hit cinemas in December of this year, expectations were high for a similar event rolling out a new hashtag, #RogueFriday, ahead of what should have been an equally impressive event, and yet it wasn’t.
Set Number: 75155
Minifigures: Jyn Erso, Bistan, Rebel Trooper, U-Wing Pilot, Cassian Andor
The fan excitement was there, the crowds were gathered for midnight launches with stormtroopers on hand for photo opportunities, but these were all local events, the global phenomenon of the previous year just wasn’t anywhere to be seen really. That’s not to say that every toy company with a Star Wars licence didn’t release a plethora of merchandise, it’s just the announcements trickled out in the weeks leading up to release rather than at a big release event.
One of the top dogs, however, stuck to last year’s format, a little teaser but no big reveal until the day arrived and that, of course, was LEGO. The construction toy company’s highly popular and successful Star Wars franchise is now well into its second decade and couldn’t be more at the forefront of what is considered awesome in the world of toys. So, unsurprisingly, LEGO had a list of new sets released to celebrate the upcoming movie, ranging from a medium priced Imperial Hovertank to a stunning £80 Imperial Shuttle. The buildable figures range, first released last year with a second wave in early 2016, has also been extended to include new characters from Rogue One, there is definitely lots of new LEGO Star Wars goodies to choose from.
The set that caught my eye in this new wave of LEGO Star Wars was the high-end Rebel U-Wing Fighter, and despite initial reservations regarding its look, it still really appealed to me. The new movie’s story is primarily focused around the rebellion so it seemed only fitting that those brave souls get the first review.
Before I delve into the inner workings of the U-Wing itself, the minifigure collection alone deserves some considerable attention. These new sets are based on brand new canon content from a Star Wars movie which is yet to release, so with that in mind, it’s fairly safe to assume that every minifigure here is exclusive to the collection. The five included here range from unnamed Star Wars generics, Pilot, Rebel Trooper, to named characters, Cassian Andor and Bistan, even the main central character for the movie, Jyn Erso – suddenly the value of this set to a collector went up.
It’s this five minifigure collection that peaked my interest with regards to the set, you have this nice range of new Star Wars characters, all of which in some form will appear in the movie. Yes, the ship may be why the price tag is a little high, but in my mind, prior to actually building, this set was all about the minifigures.
Let’s start with the star of the movie, new Star Wars heroine Jyn Erso. The minifigure is exquisite, featuring more add-ons than a Batman utility belt. Getting the two most generic pieces out of the way, the legs are solid black with no detail and the head features two fairly standard female faces, one angry and one looking very somber. The torso is impressively detailed, the printing recreating a military-style rebellion vest over a gray long-sleeved top. The unzipped vest comes complete with buckets, chest pockets, and additional metallic detail, it looks great and wouldn’t feel out of place on any Star Wars rebel.
Sadly, this detail is covered when the full figure is put together as a soft fabric poncho covers most of the torso. It’s not all bad, though, as this additional feature adds a new layer of detail that sets the character apart as special. A shoulder bag is also included, similar to that used with the Green Goblin figure included in the Spider-Man Bridge Battle set from earlier this year. The helmet looks awesome, a light military brown mixed with additional detail making up a metallic earpiece, a strip of what would be visible hair under a hat, and white goggles which are the only separate piece to connect. The completed figure looks superb, it’s clear that a great deal of attention has been placed on this character, made even better by the inclusion of a standard pistol and a bazooka created using a spanner shaped piece, a lightsabre hilt, and two rounded pieces.
Another character joining the LEGO Star Wars universe is Cassian Andor, an accomplished Alliance Intelligence officer whose skills will likely be in great demand when Rogue One hits the cinemas. In LEGO form, the character debuts with an impressively detailed figure as the printed detail quite literally goes from head to toe. Far more impressive than Jyn, his legs piece is two-tone, with the bottom half orange doubling as his boots. Move up above the knee and the superb detail begins, with a design carrying over from the torso. The navy blue primary printed colour contrasts brilliantly against the orange on the bottom of the legs.
Featuring what looks like additional ammo or possibly grenades, the printing also includes a belt, straps and the fur hood of a large winter coat around the neckline, like that seen on the character in the movie’s promotional material. The back of the torso clearly shows the rest of the hood as well as the rear of the belt around the waist. Cassian’s head piece is brilliant, it looks like a new variant of Tony Stark, unsurprising given the very similar facial hair the characters share, the striking goatee beard with some length stubble going up to where the ears would be. The head is dual-faced, though both looks relatively similar, with little emotion shown. Completing the look is a hair piece that looks slightly off the normal, a bit messier than more common styles. Unfortunately, Andor isn’t given his own custom-made weapon and instead opts for a more out-of-the-box pistol.
Even by Star Wars standard, Bistan is an odd looking character, he looks like the offspring of Chewie and a chimp, if I’m entirely honest. That said, he’s an alien named character from the Star Wars universe and that alone will see this figure as a collector’s item moving forward. Much like Andor, this character has detailed printed from the legs up to the neck, a light green uniform that doesn’t look unlike a pilot’s jumpsuit, possibly a spacesuit? The light colour is offset from two stripes of darker green down each side of the torso, both covered in straps which actually form a circle around a main circular design at the center of the torso.
Unsurprisingly, the characters head piece is entirely custom-made and in addition to making up the head, it comes complete with a large neck, metal-like rim, which again reinforces the theory that this guy is wearing a space suit. The head features a great deal of detail, using black, orange and gray to create a three-tone layered hair look which features a slick back receding main patch, light sideburns and beard combo and his main skin colour. All in all, this character looks fantastic, a possible stand-in for Chewie? Everybody loves the rebellious fury six-foot alien.
On to the unnamed souls of this adventure, and let’s start with arguably the most important person on this mission, the U-Wing Pilot. Given that this guy is flying the ship, you’d think that LEGO could at least have given him a name. In fact, I hereby name him, Kenneth. So Kenneth here is a fantastic minifigure, the perfect design which just screams LEGO Star Wars pilot, well he basically looks like an X-Wing pilot but with dark blue instead of orange/red. The printing on the body clearly, and in impressive detail, shows his breathing apparatus as well as a hint of a belt under the hose and the padding in the chest you’d find in any pilots jumpsuit in the real world.
Even Kenneth’s head is unique, featuring two faces which not only have facial features, but also his orange visor, a neck strap and ear piece (despite the fact he has no ears). While I’d loved to have seen the visor as an actual piece which connects to the helmet, the printing still works exceptionally well once the minfiigure is complete. Speaking of the helmet, well just look at it, it’s an X-Wing helmet, in fact, it’s a rebellion helmet and it looks fantastic, featuring a number tiny printing details.
The rebel fighter is a bit of a let-down if I’m honest. Yes, he looks like he belongs in the Star Wars universe, especially thanks to the spade-style helmet which the movie Space Balls had such fun mocking. Again, as LEGO have failed to give him a name, I shall call him Terrence, he looks like a Terry. So, Terry’s helmet is definitely the winner here, it’s actually quite large and comes with a number of little bits of detail, including an insignia on one side. The head, on the other hand, couldn’t be more generic face if they tried, it is literally like they took LEGO Movie’s Emmet, changed the skin colour from yellow to a light peachy pink and that was it.
The legs and torso do help Terry out quite a bit as well, the printing on the legs to simulate cargo pants with the large pockets looks subtle yet perfect, and the torso front adds to this with a number of ammo cylinders on large straps making up the majority of the printing. The most interesting part of the minifigure, however, is the back which features a buckled shoulder strap, hood and belt with a pouch. All in all, someone has to be the least good-looking and in this group it’s Terry.
So on to the main event, the U-Wing, and the first thing I have to say is that the ship exceeded all of my expectations. I’m not entirely sure whether it was that far less global enthusiasm I mentioned earlier or the promotional material, but the ship didn’t overly excite me in the same way as say last year’s X-Wing. Thankfully, my first impressions were drastically wrong because this is definitely a ship worth adding to your LEGO Star Wars collection.
At 600 plus pieces, the build itself is not a short experience and there are a few challenges for younger master builders which may require a parental helping hand. In general, though, the construction is definitely a fun and interesting experience, taking a good couple of hours at a nice pace – I like to take my time with my LEGO builds, appreciate the design as I’m building.
The build is split up into a few different sections, first building the main body of the ship, a fairly flat construction that will later house the cockpit area. It’s early on in this initial construction that you realise just how large this ship going to be once finished. To put the size into perspective, from nose to thrusters the U-Wing is longer than the Millenium Falcon released last year. Now, obviously you shouldn’t be expecting to get Falcon level detail and weight with this ship being considerably more streamlined, but at nearly half the price the U-Wing is surely impressive enough in size.
As you continue the build and attach the wings you not only realise that this is an incredibly intelligent design, with plenty of bells and whistles which I’ll get on to in a minute, but it also has a wingspan that a 747 would be proud of. One of the major features of the ship is the ability to move the wings from forward-facing, such as is shown in the promo images, out and rotate them so that they clip to the back of the ship and stick out, turning the ship into a sort of Y shape, and a mahoosive one at that, my poor X-Wing looks tiny in comparison.
Continuing with the build and it’s at this point that you’ll be constructing the extended hull which sits on the underbelly of your current construction. This part of the ship is hollow and large enough to fit at least four minifigures in at any one time. Inside this area, you’ll find two stud shooters either side on hinges so that they can be folded back inside and out of the way. It’s the way that this part of the ship is connected to the main hull which is the clever bit, though fairly standard for Star Wars ships in my experience, a mixture of clips and technics pins secure it in place. The doors for each side of this area are also brilliantly designed, well more how they open and close than the mostly gray flat pieces which aren’t too inspiring. They’re connected via two technics rods which are pinned into place on the main hull and the clipped to the doors. These rods are then free to rotate left and right, restricted just enough to work as dual hinges for the doors. A simplistic, yet very effective design.
The final part of the build is the four thrusters which sit on the back of the ship, unsurprisingly. Not only do these complete the look and extend the length of this behemoth, but they also look stunning. Constructed from all existing LEGO elements, these thrusters use the pieces in ways I’ve not seen previous and to great effect, the wheel rims on the end look absolutely brilliant. It’s the mixture of the light and dark gray which just sets off the one piece in the middle which adds an extra level fo detail. One thing LEGO does extremely well is the little details, using the simplest of elements and that is very clear here with the pickaxe-shaped pieces used just inside each thruster, there’s no real practical value to it, but aesthetically it just adds that little something extra.
I’ve already mentioned the wings and the stud shooters, but there are a couple of other interactive points on this chip. Obviously, as is the norm, the cockpit door can open, but what is nice about this design is that there is a neat mechanism built in just behind the area which will flip the door open nicely. There’s also the obligatory spring-loaded missile launchers on the front of the craft which are activated by cleverly hidden buttons on the front of the hull, just in front of the cockpit. The design is similar to the Batmobile from the Jokerland set which had a button hidden in the hood which shot off the missiles when pressed.
The Set Overall
Overall, I don’t think I can praise this set enough, you get a lot for your money by LEGO Star Wars standards and the fact that actually getting my hands on the set blew my first impressions away and wowed me is enough to promote this ship.
The minifigure cast is a superb collection of characters, the heroine of the movie and a couple of her sidekicks all look fantastic. The inclusion of the unnamed rebel trooper and U-Wing Pilot are just bonuses, and great ones at that.
The ship itself it full of play potential, there’s so much you can do with it and the size will blow your younger master builders away that’s for sure. The interactivity of the set is superb, from the wings to the multiple weapons on board, this is sure to please the kids. Collectors need not worry either, this ship looks stunning.
- The size of the ship well exceeds the price tag
- The cast of minifigures is superb, even including a couple of the main cast
- The amount of interactive play available makes this a worthy Christmas gift for any young Star Wars fan
- The promotional images do not do this ship the justice it deserves
- A few too many stickers, but that’s me looking for flaws
This set was provided for review purposes. However, all reviews reflect the authors own personal views and are not influenced in any way.