Images have leaked over the last few weeks, but today, you can preorder the latest LEGO Star Wars Scultpure: The Child. Unless you are in Australia, where preordering doesnt really work. This set will become available globally on Mando Monday…October 30th, just in time for series 2 of The Mandalorian to start screening on Disney+.
Over the last couple of years, we have started to see two different lines developing in ‘Things that used to be called Ultimate collector Series’ – Direct to Consumer, highly detailed, Star Wars sets, with lots of detail: True UCS sets – such as the Millennium Falcon, Imperial Star Destroyer, Awing Fighter and so forth, and the Master Builder Series: Essentially a large, detailed playset – First seen last year with Betrayal at Cloud City, with origins a few years earlier in the Attack on Hoth, this year we move to Tatooine, and that first wretched Hive of scum and villainy: Mos Eisley, and more importantly, the Cantina.
With 3187 pieces, a jaw dropping 21 minifigures, and a recommended retail price of $AUD529.99/ £319.99/€349.99/$USD349.99 this is the most detailed version of the iconic location seen to date.
Last year, we saw the LEGO® sets aimed at younger builders shift from the the ‘Juniors‘ branding, to their respective themes, but with the added labelling of 4+. These sets feature the nifty aspects of the Junior sets: easy to build, no stickers, some cool minifigures, but with out the stigma of build specifically aimed at ‘Junior Builders.’ Now you can be 8 years old, and confident in the idea that these sets are OK for you to get: 8 is still on the plus side of 4. Previously, these sets had been limited to LEGO’s in-house ranges (City, Friends, Ninjago), as well as Disney Princess, Marvel Superheroes, and DC Superheroes. With this change in labelling, we have also seen LEGO Star Wars enter the fray, with a range of spaceships labelled 4+. Quick to assemble, and easy to start playing around with, these sets feature some large elements, which might be described as POOP: Pieces that could/should be made Out of Other Pieces.
Around the turn of the century, a new type of LEGO® set was released. Star Wars starfighter kits, designed for the AFOL to display, rather than to swoosh around the room. There were two released that year: 7181, TIE Interceptor, with 703 parts and the one we had all been waiting for: the 7191 X-Wing Starfighter was the largest Star Wars Set to have been released at the time.
Twenty years have gone by and almost every major starfighter from the Rebellion and Empire has been represented.
It’s mid March. Over recent years, sometime around now, we hear about the new LEGO Star Wars release, normally an Ultimate Collector Series set, that gets released in April, in preparation for Star Wars Day (May the Fourth Be With You). This year its a little different. A little more… Adult.
Breaking a tradition of spaceships, and bases, this year we see the first ever ‘Build to Display’ Helmets, aimed to provide a more adult audience with an 18+ age recommendation.
Promising a more challenging building experience, these models, based on some of the more malicious characters in the Star Wars movies. Depicting a Stormtrooper, Bounty Hunter Boba Fett and a TIE Fighter Pilot, there models set out to provide an interesting brick building experience.
These sets will be available to pre-order later today, with general availability from April 19 2020.
Back when I first saw Star Wars, after the spaceships, one of the things that captured my imagination was the exotic location of Tatooine – a desolate planet, where people survived in an environment where they should not. We had strange indigenous races: the Jawas and Sand People, and exotic reptiles, such as Dewback Lizards. Somewhat restricted in their first cinematic outing, due to desert sand interfering with the animatronic mechanisms, they came back with a vengeance in the Special Edition, as the imperial presence on Tatooine increased with the addition of multiple CGI ships, troops and dewbacks. This is of course somewhat ironic, as they were employed by Sandtroopers as mounts in an environment where their conveyences were unable to work well, due to interference from the sand.
Of course the Sandtroopers are searching for the missing Death Star plans, carried by R2-D2, who accompanied by C-3PO, escaped from the Tantive IV during the opening battle in an escape pod. There have been a number of versions of the Escape pod released over the years, and dewbacks have previously only appeared in sets centred around Mos Eisley.
In 75228: Escape Pod vs. Dewback Microfighters, we have the first brick built version of the dewback, as well as a small version of the Escape Pod. this set has now retired from LEGO.com, but is still available from many retailers around Australia. Your local individual results might vary.
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.
March, 1978. The Belgrave Cameo cinema. I was attending a matinee screening of Star Wars (in those days, there was only one) with friends for my birthday. The film had been out for 5 months. I’d read every book and magazine article I could. I’d read the comics adaptation. And now I was seeing it for the first time. I knew what was going to happen, on an intellectual level. A battle. A ship, that looks bigger and more detailed than anything I had seen before. But this was followed by another: bigger, more greebling than we had everseen before, and associated with a low, sub woofer grumble (although, technically, subwoofers weren’t much of a thing in the cinemas in 1978). It was shooting to disable the first ship – later identified as the Tantive IV (I first heard this name in 1980, on the NPR radio play). Successful in its mission, it hovered over the Tantive, and took it into its hold. Revealling the absolutely massive scale that we were dealing with here. This was a massive vehicle – starting off a massive story, that still continues, over 40 years later.
Announced on May the 4th this year, the ‘official’ launch date for the Droid commander has arrived. The inverted commas have been provided for the benefit of the set becoming available a couple of months ago on LEGO.com.
To celebrate the launch, LEGO have released a video, presented here in widescreen glory.
Jens Kronvold Frederiksen has worked for the LEGO Group for over 20 years: initially as a designer, and more recently as the Creative Director for LEGO® Star Wars™. On Saturday, May 4th – as part of the LEGO Star Wars Day Celebrations, he took part in the Worlds Largest LEGO Star Wars Unboxing at Westfield Chatswood in Sydney with Ryan ‘Brickman’ McNaught. This is his first trip to Australia.
I had the opportunity to speak with Jens on the eve of this event – we spoke about the importance of Community events, the evolution of LEGO Designs, stickers and how he came to one of the coolest jobs in the world.
As I write this up, unboxing has occurred, and the model inside has been completed… the event continues until 5pm Sunday May 5th.