March, 1978. The Belgrave Cameo Cinema. 3:30 pm. It’s my 9th birthday, and for the last eight months I have wanted to do nothing more than see Star Wars. Some how it hasn’t happened until today. In later years it would be renamed Episode IV: A New Hope, but for the time being, there was only one. The movie opens, the opening crawl runs and the camera pans across the surface of Tatooine to reveal what looks like a big spaceship. Then we see it being chased down by a much larger one. It does not end well for most of those on board, but an adventure into the imagination that now spans generations was launched…
Jump forward to 1980. Episode Two of the NPR Radio drama of A New Hope: ‘Points of Origin.’ We find Princess Leia taking her ship on a number of missions of mercy, to planets with ‘coincidental’ links to the rebellion. Such stories are likely to be relegated to Legends status now.
The end of Revenge of the Sith, in 2005, we see a member of the Senate travelling across the galaxy to aid the Jedi in the face of Order 66, before becoming the adoptive father to the daughter of Padme Amidala and Anakin Skywalker.
Jump forward to 2016, and the end of Rogue One: Our heroes are in peril, doomed on Scarif, but the data they retrieved is beamed to one of the Rebel Nebulon B Frigates. As the frigate is attacked and boarded by Darth Vader, a smaller, but still suitably sized ship is released from the docking bay, and we find our selves going full circle, back almost forty years…ready to start again.
The common link in all of these scenes is the Tantive IV, referred to in some material as the Rebel Blockade Runner, although I remember hearing the name in the NPR Series back in the day.
Announcing 75244: The Tantive IV
This ship has been released as a UCS/playset scale set on a number of occasions: In 2001, 10019 Rebel Blockade Runner, with 1513 pieces was released. In 2009, 10198 Tantive IV with 5 figures and 1405 pieces was released, ostensibly to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of LEGO® Star Wars. As 2017 came and went, some thought “40 years of Star Wars, they just released Rogue One…Where is the Tantive IV? It’d be great to see it this year!.”
And now cut forward to 2019: it’s the 20th Anniversary of LEGO Star Wars, and at Star Wars Celebration this Weekend, the LEGO Star Wars team are unveiling their first big set for 2019: 75244 Tantive IV. With 1768 pieces, and measuring 62 cm long, it looks like a great way to commemorate the 20th Anniversary of the LEGO Group and Lucasfilm.
Aimed at Builders over 12, this set has 1768 Pieces, and is due for release on May the Third.
US $199.99 – CA $269.99 – DE €199.99 – UK £179.99 – FR €219.99 – DK 1799DKK – AUD $329.99*Euro pricing varies by country. Please visit shop.LEGO.com for regional pricing.
See how this ship has evolved over the years:
With each iteration, this set seems to get more and more greebling, as well as fewer studs. This version of the set is also designed to be picked up by the radar dish, for easy, worry free (?) carrying. The model is big! Sixty two cm long and nineteen cm wide.
The model also features a conference room, and room for a pilot and copilot. One advantage of this set over previous versions is the relatively reduced count of large stickers, with brick built greebling replacing many of the previous stickers and printed elements. They are still there, just not in as high numbers.
This is a set which has been updated compared to both the 2001 and 2009 versions. We now have 6 figures: Captain Antilles, Rebel trooper, R2-D2 and C3P0, Princess Leia, with optional skirt rather than legs, and finally Bail Organa.
Is it a UCS? Lets discuss that below the press release…
Minifigures and Build Shots
Evolution of the Tantive 4 Minifigure Collection (10198 on the right)
75244 Tantive IV™
Ages 12+. 1768 pieces
US $199.99 – CA $269.99 – DE €199.99 – UK £179.99 – FR €219.99 – DK 1799DKK – AUD $329.99
*Euro pricing varies by country. Please visit shop.LEGO.com for regional pricing.
Own an iconic Rebel blockade runner—Tantive IV!
Build, play and display a legendary Star Wars™ starship! This LEGO® Star Wars 75244 interpretation of Tantive IV, seen fleeing from an Imperial Star Destroyer in the opening moments of Star Wars: A New Hope, faithfully recreates all of the Rebel cruiser’s signature details, including an elongated hull, detachable escape pods, elevating gun turrets, cargo hold and 11 massive engines at the back. Remove the hull plating of this fantastic LEGO Star Wars vehicle to reveal a detailed 2-minifigure cockpit, conference area with table, weapon rack and a control console with 2 seats. The radar dish also doubles as a convenient carry handle, which makes it perfect for flying around the room. When the mission is over, this amazing kids’ buildable toy also makes a great centerpiece for any LEGO Star Wars collection. The set also includes 5 minifigures and an R2-D2 droid LEGO figure.
Includes 5 LEGO® Star Wars™ minifigures: Bail Organa, Princess Leia, Captain Antilles, C-3PO and a Rebel Fleet Trooper, plus an R2-D2 droid LEGO figure.
Tantive IV LEGO® Star Wars™ construction toy features a radar that doubles as a carry handle, 2 detachable escape pods with space for a minifigure inside, opening cargo hold and removable cargo box, opening 2-minifigure cockpit, rotating and elevating stud-shooting turrets on top and 2 spring-loaded shooters underneath. The top hull detaches to reveal a detailed interior including a conference table, weapon rack and a control console with 2 seats for the minifigures.
Weapons include a blaster pistol and 3 blasters.
Also includes a pair of electrobinoculars.
Captain Antilles minifigure is an updated version from 2009, while Princess Leia’s skirt and Bail Organa are new for April 2019.
This highly detailed building toy construction set includes over 1,750 pieces.
Recreate amazing moments from the opening scene of Star Wars: A New Hope or play out your own exciting adventures!
LEGO® Star Wars™ starship measures over 5” (14cm) high, 24” (62cm) long and 7” (19cm) wide.
That’s all very well, but is it an Ultimate Collectors Series (UCS) Model?
In short …NO!
Now, there has come an expectation that at least one large LEGO Star Wars set each year will earn the badge “Ultimate Collectors Series.” This has been controversial in recent years, particularly with the application of that label to the 75098 Assault on Hoth, leaving a bitter taste in the mouth of many fans. To overcome this issue with ‘playset’ type sets, we saw the release of a “Master Builder’s Series” in the form of Betrayal at Cloud City last year.
This set does not appear to have any such branding. Perhaps it is just a big set – or else UCS and MBS labels have been left off to avoid any significant negative commentary. In the quest for further clues… we do not see the traditional UCS nameplate with explanatory sticker, nor any of the regular markings on the box. And then there is the line in the press release…”…this amazing kids’ buildable toy…” Play is certainly not the domain of a ‘proper UCS’ set.
Where Next for UCS?
Now, there are a few ships overdue for a UCS makeover, and we could only hope that one might come this way later in the year. In my mind, this would include an A-Wing; Nebulon B Frigate; Imperial Star Destroyer; TIE Bomber and TIE Interceptor. B-Wing’s and X-Wings have been made in (relatively) recent years and would also be welcome. Time will tell. Typically the next large Star Wars Model is announced around early to mid October. But it is an anniversary year: anything could happen.
So, this looks like a great set to build, and has some great figures: the update to the rebels is appropriate (the Trooper had been updated since 2009, but Antilles is a new design), and at last we have a Jimmy Smits minifigure. The addition of the curved skirt element for Leia is a welcome change.
The set goes on sale on May the Third, just in time for the LEGO Online store/Retail store to hold their May the 4th Promotion…
I am unsure as to the availability of an Early release for LEGO VIP members: we will see what we can find out. In Australia, this set will cost $329, on par with 10198’s Australian price of $299 in 2009, with 10 years inflation.
What do you think? Easy Buy?? Easy Pass? As someone who only emerged from his dark ages around 2009, and missed the previous version, this set holds some appeal for me. But do I have the shelf space? Time shall tell! Until next time
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It will also be available in other independant retailers from August.