This year wave of Star Wars sets surely raised a lot of interest in the Lego community, not only becouse they're from a new Star Wars movie that have yet to be released, but also becouse they look objectively cool. Poe's X-Wing Fighter expecially captured my attention with his elegant new color scheme for a very old and well known spaceship. Who is this Poe, and why does he have a custom colored X-Wing? I don't know if there are rumors already circulating about the plot, and i don't want to know either, since i'm trying to avoid any spoiler. But my guess it's either some "boss" of other pilots, or some rogue fighter who customized his (maybe stolen?) X-Wing. What's your guess?
See the full inventory of 716 parts.
The only new part design (except for minifigs) for this set is the cockpit, which is an awesome transparent printed pieces. I've heard that some sets had issues with this part, that supposedly don't close completely on the model, but my version worked just fine. The shape of this canopy reminds of the one in Benny's Spaceship, which is larger at 6 stud width.
There are some existing parts in new colors:
The set comes with three regular minifigs and the much anticipated BB-8 droid. The minifigs are, from left to right: a generic Resistance X-Wing Pilot, Poe Dameron and a generic Resistance ground crew.
The first two share the same dress, arguably a pilot suit for X-Wings, which is dark orange and super rich in details. The two minifigs differ for their helmets, which are the same (brand new) mold but different colors. The ground crew member features overalls and a somewhat alien face.
All of them are printed on the back.
The highlights of these minifigs, for me, are the helmets. They're great, printed with lots of details and codes, and two of them have transparent visors integrated, just like we saw on some equally awesome Ultra Agent minifigs. The other one is just as good with one of my favourite color combination: olive green and orange.
BB-8 is composed of two brand new pieces. They look very useful and i surely hope we'll see them without prints soon. The drone looks nice, but i think the body is a little ruined buy the protuding antistud on the bottom, which makes it impossible to even pretend to rool it in any way. Maybe they could have made a more internal antistud and add a 1x1 round plate to "sit" it. Anyway it's a good representation of the brand new droid (which personally, i don't find that great, but that's just my opinion).
The body part is 5 plate tall (1 brick and 2/3), while the head is two plate tall (it requires a 1x1 round plate to sit properly.
The build starts off with the all-black bottom section, over which we are guided to build a gearbox. This already gives away the main play feature of the set.. but how will it work?
The next step is when i started to worry that the model wouldn't fit in my light box setup. A long pole is added on the front and then covered with a central row of offset tiles. Interesting design!
Now we put the main model aside to create the fuselage which nicely narrows toward the front. to achieve this effect, some hinges are used.
The long light bluish gray plates attach to the main body, while the frontal portion slips on the axle.
The two ends nicely meshes into the model. I noticed that the geometry prevent the frontal portion to adhere completely to the main body, leaving a small gap.
The strange thing about this is that the gap is actually "ignored" in the next steps where the nose is added, with a 2x4 tile spanning the unaligned ends:
I haven't done the math, but if my intuitions are correct, this will add an element of stress in the build, something that lego usually avoids. Maybe the margin was so minimal that they considered it ok, or maybe i got it wrong (which is a strong possibility). If any of our super smart and informed readers can confirm either way, let me know in the comments!
Back to building, the top of our model is now covered with tiles and plates to reach its final form. Now the fighter is starting to take shape! (and i'm definitely worried about its size).
If i'm not wrong, this was the end of bag three (or two?) I forgot to record when each bag started, ops :)
The build continue with the top of the gear mechanism, which will be completely covered with tiles and some curved slopes, with a nice slick effect.Four axles are tacked on the back, waiting to fix the wing.
And with that, the whole body is completed!
The nose include a simple but effective retractable landing leg:
It's now time to build the wings. The shape is made with a couple of layers of wedge plates. It was really strage to see the half of a big hinge here. I was like "what will it be connected to, here in the middle of the wing?". It's a mistery :)
The wing is completed with some curvy bricks, expecially around the engine (or are they air intake?). This is one of the rare occasions in which stickers really add a lot. They're simple but create an elegant stripe around the engine.
The wing of course attaches to the axle we prepared before. You can also see now how the mechanism is designed to work, and maybe you'll also see the reason for the hinge connector :)
Now we build the upper wing and attach it. The wings are similar, but far from identical: you can easily see the underside of the lower wing, not covered by the upper.
And finally, let's reveal the reason for the hinges: they hold a rubber band! The rubber band act as a return mechanism for the function that open the wings, ensuring they stay close.
I don't know why they made them blue. It's a completely out of place color, and while it's not so prominent in the finished build, it's still visible. A friend of mine says that Lego uses different colors for different types or lengths of rubber bands, so that could be the case.
Also it's strange that they used that hinge part as holder, not that it looks bad, but it's an unusual piece. Maybe they needed something with a long plate to make the system more robust. Who knows.
Here's how the wing actually open:
Let's build the other two wings and here we go, the spaceship is mostly done! (and it already looks gorgeous!)
Next step is building the four back engines (or exhousts?). They're identical cylinders with a couple of technic pieces to displace them of one stud.
I really like the look of this things, and the trans-pink cone at the end works great.There's a little problem here, anyway: The axle of the cylinder cannot be pushed all the way into the wing becouse there's a portion of the hinge in the way:
I checked multiple times if i made any error, but it looks like that's the way to build it. It means that the axle is attached with less then a stud of length, and indeed the cylinders fall off quite easily. I don't know, it looks like using a different support for the rubber band, or a longer axle for the engines would have easily solved the problem.
Anyway, with that done, it just takes the four lasers on the wing tips and the model is finally complete!
Here's with the wing deployed:
I think the two or three small problems don't diminish the success of this model. It's slick, colorful and elegant, with a very interesting build process, a couple of play feature, great minifigs, etc.The couple of small side builds is not that great but at least adds playability.
The color scheme works perfectly and set this model apart from the load of gray spaceships we are used to.
So if you're a Star Wars fan or collector, you already had this in your wanted list and i can't but confirm it's a worthy set! :)