This year seems to be the Official Year of the Diorama, with 3 LEGO® Star Wars dioramas announced last week, as well as one in Jurassic Park. Last week we took a look at the new LEGO Star Wars Diorama Dabobah Jedi Training Ground. With a clearly defined border, an exclusive R2-D2 minifigure, along with Luke and Yoda, this set gave us a glorious rendition of an organic swamp landscape, with different earth tones, greens, a swamp of varying depths and plant life. Today, I would like to go the the other extreme in design for these Star Wars models: occupying the same footprint as Dagoboh, the 75329 LEGO Star Wars Death Star Trench Run diorama features 3 visible colours in the scenery, a more induction, inorganic design than Dagobah as well as no minifigures, 2 TIE Fighter’s; Darth Vader’s Advanced TIE and an X-wing fighter – All in microscale.
So, how does it fare? Is it a reasonable build, with interesting details? Or is it a big slab of grey, missing all of the things that made the Dagobah set such a highlight in the release calendar for the year? Read on, and perhaps you might decide that this is the set you have long been waiting for. Or not…
I am sitting in the Belgrave Cameo in March, 1978. It’s my 9th Birthday Party. My pre-reading of ‘Everything I can get my hands on pertaining to Star Wars’ tells me that, right now, the film is approaching the final triumphant moment: The Rebellion are assaulting the Death Star, and are being picked off one by one, particularly since Darth Vader and his escorts have entered the fray. I know Luke Will Survive. But everyone else is an unknown quantity. To be honest, the summaries written in different places (Cereal boxes, letraset transfers, actionfigures and so forth) were inconsistent with regard to the number of survivors of the Battle of Yavin.
Hurtling down the trench, Luke prepares to line up his shot, while Darth Vader observes that “The Force is Strong in This One”
Another few seconds, and the Millennium Falcon will come hurtling over the horizon, fire a quick salvo at the TIE fighters: enough to knock out one of Vader’s escorts and spook the other enough to take Vader out of the picture. Luke continues his run, reaches the thermal exhaust port, and the Death Star is Destroyed.
While there are occasional shots to the pilots, and the various bases during this sequence, the highlights are the ships and the surface of the Death Star: the landscape appeared to go on for ever, while not looking like it was constantly repeating. Having recently seen the Doctor Who story ‘Revenge of the Cybermen,’ where a planet being approached was depicted as papermache on a spinning cardboard roll, this was particularly impressive.
And so this diorama focuses on that moment when Darth Vader is about to launch the blast that knocks out Artoo, before lining up and preparing to end Red Five’s assault.
But enough about any personal nostalgia that I might by personally experiencing…Lets start with the set
This is an intermediate size box, featuring the requisite ‘For Adults’ black background. After punching out the tabs on the bottom, we open the box and 6 numbered bags, along with three 8×16 plates, fall out.
Ann has, once again, knolled out the elements. As you can see below, the majority of the elements are medium stone grey: there are few black elements, a few darker grey and a wide variety of small elements, which in my younger days I would have referred to as ‘fiddly bits’ – both modified plates and bricks, and a collection of elements designed to exploit 3.18mm bar connections. Inparticular, lightsaber handles and telescopes, studs on the end of a bar and rollerskates!
As with the Dagobah set, we start out by building up the base, giving us a place to fill in the details.
Unlike Dagobah, there are 2 slots around the back of the diorama: these provide an opportunity to plug in the backdrop for the set. We also include the printed tile with LEGO Star Wars as well as “The Force is srong with this one”
The next two bags build up the contents in the base”
With a mixture of tiled spaces, grille plates and more, the area builds up like a fantastical microscale city.
We assemble small clusters of greebling, which are then attached to the base. I particularlt like the texture provided by the ingot elements, as well as the ‘bar with stud’ elements.
My favorite aspects of the back plate (making up the wall of the canyon) include the use of the square fram element, capped off with an inverted steering wheel, as well as the illusion continuous pipes running through the structure. The backplate attaches to the back of the base, fixed in place using technic bars with stoppers on.
Finally, we build up the turbolaser turret, as well as the microscale fighters: we have 2 regular TIE Fighters, as well as the Prototype TIE Advanced, flown by Darth Vader. We also have a new design for a microscale X-Wing fighter. This gives us great engine detail, thanks to a cluster of gem elements attached to the stern.
The TIE Fighters all share a round printed tile featuting the characteristic octagonal window frame, while the X-wing has a tile printed with R2-D2’s details behind the cabin. Clips pointing downwards hold onto some trans green bars, serving admirably as laser bolts.
The turbolaser looks really neat, and you have the opportunity to addjust the andle of the guns.
The final model comes together looking like this…
I really like the way the final build looks: The transparent bright green bars look great as the TIE laser bolts. as the flotilla of TIE Fighters close in on Red 5. I’d have liked a few spare green bars to use as turbolaser bolts.
This small diorama (I say small, but it has the same dimensions as the other dioramas in the series) – packs a lot of drama and action. The angle of the X-Wing and the staggered formation of the TIE fighters brings us a feeling of excitement, as the Imperial Cats chase the Rebellious mouse along the equatorial trench. I suspect that the lasers being fired by Vader at this point are the ones that cripple R2-D2.
But is something missing?
One of the highlights of the other dioramas is the minifigure selection – Artoo, Luke and Yoda on Dagobah; Han, Chewie, Luke, Leia R2 and C-3PO in the trash compactor model. Would this set be improved if we added Darth Vader, 2 TIE pilots as well as Luke (X-wing pilot) and R2-D2 (An opportunity for another exclusive version, with an exploded head)? While they would be fun to display alongside the model, I dont think they are necessary for the model to work.
As I mentioned earlier, this set captures a snapshot in time. But what if it was a second or two later? Artoo was damaged and the Millennium Falcon appears, firing at the imperials, causing Vader to be knocked out of the trench. The Microfighter Millennium Falcon might not quite be to scale here, but is can certainly add to the moment…
Perhaps adding the Falcon makes a difference, perhaps it doesn’t. I’ll let you be the judge of that. Feel free to offer productive suggestions as to which guns were likely to be firing on the Falcon in this sequence.
To be honest, I think adding the figures and/or the Falcon to the set would probably add unnecessary cost to the set. But, what is the point of a set derived from a toy system, if it doesn’t provoke at least some level of play!
I really like this set, and for the price, I think it has all the details we need. And I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the attention to providing a high level of detail here, particularly given that the Greebles make up the larger proportion of the build. It’s a complete little vignette, and priced as it is, enters the realms of a birthday present for someone of a certain age. Probably older than somebody you might normally be buying presents for. I give this set 4.5 Arbitrary Praise Units out of 5. I’d wholeheartedly recommend it to someone whohis a fan of the original trilogy, but doesn’t want to fill their shelves with the next iteration of an AT-AT or Landspeeder (or have the display storage for multiple UCS sets). Of course, it might serve as a gateway drug, from that perspective.
This set is available for Preorder in some markets now, and will be available in others later in April, 2022. In Australia it is expected to ship around May 5th. If you wish to pick this set up, please consider using our affiliate links. The Rambling Brick might receive a small commission on any purchases you make. Money raised is used to support the costs of the blog.
- Australia: Preorder: AUD 89.99 Ships May 5th
- USA Preorder:USD 59.99 Ships April 26th
- Canada Preorder CAD 79.99 Ships April 26th
- UK Preorder: GBP54.99 Ships April 26
I’d love to know what you think of this set. Does it have a place on your shelf? Or will another vehicle take the shelf space? Why not leave your thoughts below, and until next time,
This set was provided by the LEGO Group for review purposes. All opinions are my own.