Sunday, September 17th, 2017 at 4:13pm by Benjamin, BZPower Reporter
There is always a fancy new LEGO Star Wars set with a big shiny box, a display stand, and a heavy instruction booklet. Released earlier this year is the Snowspeeder, a ship known for its tricky leg work at the beginning of The Empire Strikes Back. This is no ordinary T-47 Airspeeder model though, this is the Ultimate Collector's Series set. The UCS sets are larger than minifig scale and the center of attention when displayed. Does this set hold to that standard, or is it shot down by an AT-AT walker? Read, and watch, the review to find out!
First, a big, UCS-sized thank you goes to LEGO for providing BZPower this set so I can share my opinions on it. It's my first UCS set and the largest set I've built myself. I was pretty excited for this chance. You'll see the large box below, but you should know it has 1,703 pieces and retails at $200 USD. While not pictured, in the video I show off the instruction booklet's contents as it discusses the Snowspeeder and the set design process.
From the design of the box to the instruction manual, these are the first things you see before building the set.
The box shows off the Snowspeeder flying through the icy environ of Hoth as AT-AT walkers fire at it in the distance. My guess is that it's circling around to get ready for another shot. We see the usual info: Logos, set number, name, and age suggestion, plus the UCS seal in the corner. We see the air vent flaps in use near the rear of the wings, and we find even more play features highlighted on the back of the box, like the huge windshield and the gunner handles. The top of the box talks about how large the set is and shows off the included minifigs that are part of the display.
Half the fun is had building the set. How fun is it to build and how easy or challenging is it?
Like any big build, a sturdy frame is a must. The Snowspeeder frame is composed of some Technic connections and layers of bricks and plates. With each new layer, we see small details emerging on the top, sides, and bottom. Some slopes here, some ice skates there, and a touch of orange sometimes. We really start to see things take shape when the white pieces start getting added. To achieve particular angles, different forms of click hinges and ball-joint connections are utilized.
Once the wings start being built, the sticker sheet comes into play. I am not a fan of stickers, but with a steady hand they can be applied precisely where they are needed and help with a few smaller details of the Snowspeeder design. The wings themselves have a couple of layers of plates topped by plenty of greebling, but still things fall off sometimes. The bottom wing portion is attached via ball-joints and are held up by rubber bands. I hope they don't snap over the years.
A few extra details to the wings bring them together, from the flaps near the back to the gun barrels along the length of the ship. Everything joins together in a neat point with each wing.
The final details are more engine details in the back, and building the windscreen for the cockpit. After that, it is time to display it.
The display stand comes with some classy curves, a plaque (applying the sticker perfectly is daunting!), and Snowspeeder pilot and gunner minifigs.
Now that the set is complete, we can critique how it looks from every angle. New or interesting pieces can also be examined here.
The Snowspeeder did not seem to come with too many new parts, but there are certainly some interesting ones. It would make sense that not too many of the parts used would be new, unless they were new for the year and being used in other sets too. My favorite would be the white collectible minifigure baseplate, as I think using it not as a minifig base is pretty cool, and something I've wanted to do in MOCs with my abundance of black ones. It is unlikely this set will be scrapped for building parts though.
Look at how sleek this is! It looks very swooshable. The angles are beautiful and the details are solid. Mostly, things do not fall off. Sometimes in aligning a wing piece or panel something will pop off, but it is not that big a deal. I still mind, but it's not the end of the world.
The display stand seems rickety at first, but completely holds up the Snowspeeder without even thinking of falling over. However, the speeder must be displayed at a slight angle, for when propped upright the stand will quickly lean it a few degrees over until it is secured against Technic parts. This tilt will give a scare, but it will not fall over, just make one wish for a slightly larger base.
The other half of the fun is in playing with the set. How well does the set function and is it enjoyable to play with.
The Snowspeeder just begs to be picked up and swooshed around, but you have to be a little careful. First, it is heavier than it looks. Second, while you get a good grip in the back, your fingers will slide over the ice skate details on the bottom, possibly knocking them loose.
The Snowspeeder has a few cool functions too. Turn the cylinder engines on the wings and the vent flaps open up or close, due to some impressive Technic tricks. Turning the gun turret in the rear of the ship will turn the gunner's handlebars and screen, or vice versa. Finally, while the cockpit seats are too large to hold the minifigs, they look very cool in their own rights for this type of scale. Building your own characters might be in order.
Once it's all said and done, how does the set stack up? Should I get it?
What's to like?
Sleek design. Nice angles.
Clever play features.
Looks impressive on display.
Stickers actually aren't that bad, when necessary.
What's not to like?
Sticker sheet is still daunting at times.
Little bits fall off due to fragile nature (like ice skates and plates).
Really rounds out the display shelf.
The Snowspeeder, being the largest set I've build by myself, took at least four hours to build. It was worth it. To see this iconic Star Wars ship at such a large scale, with such detail, really takes your breath away. Despite a few small parts possibly falling off, it is great to pick up and fly around, ultimately settling back down on its display stand that all UCS sets come with to be shown off. There are not too many new parts, but something like this is unlikely to be taken apart, because the end goal is a display. And the Snowspeeder deserves it.