I have been feeling a hankering for Mandalorians, following the series finale of ‘The Mandalorian’ on Disney+ last week. Unfortunately, I have been unable to secure either of the sets associated with the series at this time. So I had a look through my shelves and found the next best thing: a set with Boba Fett: the 75423 20th Anniversary Slave I. The LEGO® AFOL Engagement Team sent this set to me last year, along with other sets in the 20th Anniversary range (20th anniversary of LEGO® Star Wars that is). However, by the time I got those sets built, I was a little exhausted by LEGO® Star Wars – and so I put the set on the shelf for a while, awaiting inspiration. And today inspiration had finally arrived, so I opened up bag 1 and started to build . All opinions are my own.
Slave I is one of the spaceships from Star Wars most frequently represented in LEGO® form. Despite having less than 2 minutes of screen time between 1980 and 2000, Boba Fett’s spaceship has appeared in at least 10 sets – 1 UCS, 5’minifigure’ scale and 4 microscale, 2 magazine cover gifts, a keychain and two Advent Calendars. Certainly it has a distinctive shape, and is readily amenable to representation in LEGO bricks, at any scale. That said, none of these representations is perfect.
It is also one of those sets that is ripe for updating periodically: The colours and the curves on the ship mean that as new colours and shapes are added to the palette, chances are that improvements can be made to the shape, and screen realism of the final model.
This is particularly obvious when we look at the 2000 model – Predominantly green, grey and brown sloped bricks, but barely a curve in sight.
The next iteration – 7153 from 2002 is based on the ship, as seen in Attack of the Clones – when the craft was predominantly silver and blue.
As time passed, we have seen the use of reddish brown curved slopes in 6209 from 2006, which also saw the use of curved bow elements around the side of the ship. Almost 50% of the curved, sloped elements used in that set debuted in 2006.
The next significant iteration for this set came in 2010, set 8097, which coincided with the development of the 6x6x2 arch brick, in dark green, used for the cowling around the stabilizer mounts.
Next, we saw the the UCS version – significantly larger than any of the other ‘Minifigures scale’ models over the years – approximately 50% larger in each dimension – this model increased the level of detail, the quality of the curves and loyalty to the cinematic source material. With more layers for the curves, the fuselage towards the back incorporates panels to add the detail to wall of the ship, while this was previously achieved with limited SNOT elements and colour blocking with profile bricks.
The latest version looks like a scaled down version of the UCS Slave I, taking full advantage of the curved elements available, as well as SNOT panels for details on the fuselage.
The nature of LEGO, and this ship, means that it is unlikely that we shall see a ‘picture perfect’ rendition in the foreseeable future.
75423: the 20th Anniversary Edition.
But today, I would like to look a little closer at the 20th Anniversary Slave I – 75423. Released in early 2019, it arrived just after the retirement of the UCS model, which it was unable to equal in scale or style. As such, I think its reception was lukewarm (which, incidentally is the temperature of a tauntaun’s belly). For fans who had already secured the larger set, it had little to offer. Except for the minifugre debut of the bounty-hunter Zuckuss. How did it take 20 years for this minifigure to arrive? Previous incarnations of Slave I have included Bossk, IG88, Dengar, as well as Boba Fett (Child and Adult), Jango Fett, Stormtroopers, Bespin guards and Han Solo. This one adds 4-LOM and Zuckuss to the mix. 4LOM is not new – it is a reissue of the same figure featured in 75167: Bounty Hunter Speeder Bike Battle Pack from 2016.
But to look at 75423 now, in the absence of recent alternatives readily available on the shelves, how does it compare? I sat down in front of a New Hope, realising the errors of my ways. The build took slightly longer than the film, and all of the other builds I had planned for the day related to that film. However, I would not have completed the build while watching the (slightly longer) Empire Strikes Back.
Let’s start out by looking at the Minifigures:
Boba Fett has undergone more iterations over the years than his ship. This version seems to be the same as the version seen in 75137: Carbon Freezing Chamber. He would not be complete without his prisoner: Han Solo. The torso here has Han wearing the dark blue jacket he is wearing when captured by Darth Vader and Boba Fett in Cloud City. The figure also features the tousled hair, first seen in 2016.
The Block of Carbonite fits nicely into the hold of the ship, but has not been significantly updated since its introduction, despite the change in Han’s hair, which now better reflects the source material. Perhaps there is a subtle change in colour, to titanium metallic for this set, compared with a metallic grey used previously – Unfortunately, I cannot find an older version to compare it with at this time.
As mentioned earlier, the 4LOM minifigure is a reissue of the figure from the Bounty Hunter Speeder Bike Battle Pack – with a Silver metallic head, with a detailed mould, as well as nicely printed titanium metallic torso and legs. Lines from his torso line up well with the lines on his legs. Zuckuss, making his debut here, also has a brilliantly moulded nougat head, with lines joining up nicely with the lines on the torso of the figure. The legs are made using a dark brown ‘miniskirt’ element, first seen 2018. This simulates the robe worn by Zuckuss nicely.
The final figure included in this set is the 20th Anniversary Princess Leia. With an expressionless yellow face, and reddish brown hair, her torso print is quite a contrast from the 2019 version. She carries a brick built gun, as was the pattern back in the day for these figures. A small black base is built for her too, designed to stand next to the other commemorative figures released as part of the 20th anniversary collection.
We start out building the cowling for the engine – the base of the vehicle as it were. In 2019, we saw several new sloped elements, including Roof Tile 3X3, Deg. 45/18/45. These elements fit nicely on the wing, plate, as demonstrated. The core of the ship is built of technic elements.
The based consists of a number of curved slopes. Some are stacked to create the bulk of the curve, others are attached using SNOT techniques, taking advantage of some 3×1 offset plates with 2 studs:
The triumph of this set, as has been the habit in some of the larger models recently, has been including a carry handle, allowing you to easily swoosh the model around, without inadvertently removing any greebling from the sides. In the base of the model, there are also 2 red switches, which launch 2 spring loaded missiles. While not in the same location as the missiles in previous models, or the source material, the concealed mechanism works quite well here. The technic core allows for the more detailed greebling, but decorating plates, and attaching them to hinges, on a slight outward angle.
As we build up the model, it becomes apparent that the core is made predominantly of technic elements – providing a strong core on the ‘handle’ of the iron, allowing it to be angled up slightly – better resembling the source material.
Next, we had the stabilisers, and the cowling over them: the 6x6x2 curved slope element provides the general shape, and this is reinforced by a layer of bricks behind it, featuring some clever placement of curved slopes, to imitate the shape of the curve.
We have also added our final details: the missile launchers, fired from underneath the base; the guns on the hull, as well as the cabin.
The model is very much a similar size to the previous model from 2010, and the curved elements that make up the base of the engine cover are built up more here, compared with the older model. These smoother lines are contributed to by the use of the new Roof Tile 3X3, Deg. 45/18/45.
This model does not have the same number of doors and hatches compared to the 2010 model, but I do not think it is lacking for it: the more accurate angle of the body of the ship, and better design of the curved body make this a superior model to 8097. It is also probably a bit more robust, for play purposes than the UCS version of 2016. The recent departure of this larger set from the shelves may have caused a more negative response to this 20th Anniversary Set at the time of its release, than it might have deserved.
The curves appear to be truer to the source model in the new model ( Right) compared to the 2010 model.
There are a couple of stickers on the outside of the model, several on the stabilisers and also the screens inside the cockpit. The seat and stabilisers rotate and level as you adjust the position of the model.
The advances in LEGO elements, colours and building techniques over the last 20 years means that there has been a significant evolution in the design of Slave I models, since the first was released in 2000. These changes have, on the whole, reflected an improved parts palette, and curves appearing more true to the source material than previous models at this scale.
Of course, looking once more at the image from Empire Strikes Back, I find myself wondering if this current colour scheme is, in fact, the best to use? I am wondering particularly about the use of dark green on the stabiliser support cowl, and the choice of dark red for the lower part of the hull. Was, perhaps, the reddish brown from 2006 a better color match, or perhaps dark tan might be a better than the dark red. And the dark green might be better as an olive or sand green. What do you think? Have we succumbed to a collective groupthink, where having seen LEGO Models on the shelves for far longer than the vehicle was ever on the screen, that we just take it as read that this is the definitive colour scheme? The way things should Be? Perhaps this was a squandered opportunity for the 20th anniversary edition.
Is It Value For Money, Compared With Its Predecessors?
Does 75423 represent reasonable value for money, compared with the 2010 version(8097)? Lets look at the prices in USD. The release price of the 2010 model was $89.99. Applying historical CPI increases to the price of the set, to calculate its value at today’s rates, we see the set is effectively priced at $92 in 2019 (adjusted for inflation). Looking at the new/exclusive figures present in this set, and applying the Bricklink average prices for thew last 6 months of $AUD18 for Zuckuss and $AUD 12.70 for the 20th Anniversary Princess Leia – brings the price up to approximately $USD110 after currency conversion – approximately $10 less than the 2010 version. For this, we also have a more accurate model, as well a more sturdy frame. The part count has increased from 573 to 1007 elements – which certainly represents a collection of smaller Technic elements – but I think it represents reasonable value. Perhaps effectively a little more expensive than the previous model, but not outrageously more so.
The build was satisfying, and I have enjoyed swooshing the ship around the house. Who should buy it? If you are a Star Wars completionist, you will probably be annoyed by this set: you already have the UCS from a few years ago, and it looks, from a distance, pretty similar to the 2010 version. Of course, if this is your first Slave I, you will probably enjoy it. It goes well in combination with the Bounty Hunter Speeder Bike Battle Pack from 2017, as it means you will now have a complete set of the Empire Strikes Back Bounty Hunters. An additional Bespin Security guard would be welcome, but otherwise the mix is pretty good. The 20th Anniversary Leia figure is either something you will want, or be indifferent to, in which case you might use it to offset the cost of additional Cloud City security…
Overall, I quite enjoyed the build, as well as the play features of this set. The shape of the model is one of the closest yet, with regard to the source material at this scale. Zuckuss makes a welcome arrival here in the pantheon of LEGO Bounty hunters. If you already own 8070 or the UCS 75060 versions, you might not feel the love for it as much, but I think it offers significant improvement s in design, for display and play, over the 8070 from 2010. I give the model 4 out of 5 arbitrary praise units, as I had the rest of the bounty hunters, and had not built this ship previously.
The Slave I 20th Anniversary edition has 1006 elements, and has a RRP of $USD119.99/€119.99/£109.99 and AUD $189.99. It is still available from LEGO Branded Stores, and other toy sellers.
What do you think of this set? Is it one Slave One too many? A welcome arrival of a bounty hunter, or something in between? Why not leave your comments below, and until next time,
While you are here…
You have probably heard about the current Bushfire Emergency, affecting
the Eastern many of the states of Australia. My friend Jay, of Jay’s Brick Blog is running a fundraiser for the Australian Red Cross, who are helping to provide relief during this time, and in recovery.You can read about Jay’s Appeal Here, and make a donation – he has some great prizes as well. [I have also contributed to Jay’s Prize Pool] Entries close this Sunday evening (AEST)