Although this is a pre-release copy, I suspect the packaging is in it's finalised state. The set arrived in a sturdy outer carton with "LEGO" printed on it, just like the UCS sets I've bought at retail. The outer carton fits tightly over the set box within - so tightly in fact that it took gravity and some energetic shaking to free the set which eventually slid out (pic below - click to enlarge).
At 58 cm wide by 48.5 cm tall and 18.5 cm deep, the box is larger than the one which accommodates Set 10212 Imperial Shuttle, but considerably smaller than the box for the UCS Millennium Falcon, and somewhat smaller than the box for Set 10143 Death Star II which I happened to have to hand for comparison. The stylish dark blue branding is consistent with the other 2011 Star Wars sets, and the front of the box shows the Super Star Destroyer and the accompanying mini Imperial Star Destroyer above what I assume is the forest moon of Endor, with Death Star II in the background. Intriguingly, something seems to be attacking the Death Star, as evidenced by an explosion on it's surface, but no obvious assailant can be seen. There's also a graphic which reveals that the completed SSD model is almost 125 cm long, which I believe makes it far and away the largest model (in terms of size rather than its 3152 pieces) that LEGO have ever made, comfortably exceeding the UCS Imperial Star Destroyer and Tower Bridge, both of which are around 100 cm long if I remember rightly.
The back of the box (above) shows the Super Star Destroyer from the back, plus the mini Imperial Star Destroyer, the minifigures and some close-ups of various aspects of the model such as the name plate, engines and removeable bridge. There's also some advertising for a number of other LEGO Star Wars sets and the LEGO Star Wars III : The Clone Wars videogame.
The 5 minifigs which come with the set are shown on the side of the box, as is currently the fashion for LEGO Star Wars sets. We'll return to them later.....
Cutting the seals on one of the end flaps of the box reveals a number of inner boxes (below) numbered 1 to 3 and similar to what we've seen in other UCS sets in the past. The instruction manual gets its own slimmer box which it shares with the DSS. All the inner boxes are glued shut and quite challenging to open neatly; I slid a sharp craft knife down the end flaps and prized them open.
The instructions, all 226 pages of them, are spiral bound and heavy. The front and back covers reproduce the main images from the front and back of the box.
UPDATE : you can now download a copy of the instructions here. Warning - it's a big download !
Opening up the instructions, and then the inner boxes, reveals something I don't recall having seen before with a UCS set - numbered bags ! I've stated in the past that I'm not a fan of numbered bags - it makes the build too quick and easy for my liking, and removes some of the challenge. I'm sure this speaks volumes about my masochistic personality, but there you go. That having been said, with sets of this size, it can get frustrating spending ages looking for one small part amongst thousands of others, so maybe numbered bags are not such a bad idea for the biggest sets. We'll see....
The instructions are typical LEGO high quality, with easy to follow steps and part call-outs to help ensure that pieces aren't missed. The only real downside is that colour discrimination isn't ideal - black doesn't really look like black on the instructions, which has the potential to cause confusion for the unwary. The instructions also contain a full parts listing (below) as well as some advertising.
You can see the sticker sheet below. Half of it is taken up with the characteristic UCS name plate, and it's good to see that a typo evident in early publicity shots has already been corrected. The other stickers are dressing for the ship's bridge - windows, control panels and the like. I'll make the predictable comment that it would have been nice to have been provided with printed pieces for the bridge rather than stickers, particularly as the licensed Cars sets seem to be overflowing with printed parts, but I think we're all resigned to the fact that stickers are here to stay in the Star Wars sets.
So enough of the preamble, and on to the build ! The first task is the assembly of the minifigures, followed by the mini Imperial Star Destroyer, and then the lower surface of the Super Star Destroyer (which I'll cover in Part 2 of the review). All the necessary parts for these steps can be found in the bags labelled with a number 1.
The set comes with 5 minifigures - 3 bounty hunters (Dengar, Bossk and IG-88), Admiral Piett and Darth Vader.
A version of Dengar has only appeared once before, in Set 6209 Slave 1. The new version (below) has a more complex torso print, more printing on the head including a white wrap and scars, and different headgear. He also has a rather nice backpack, which includes a 1x1 Plate modified with Tooth in an interesting metallic dark grey colour.
Bounty hunter Bossk (below) appeared for the first and only time in the recent 8097 Slave 1 set, and it looks to me like the figure included with the Super Star Destroyer is exactly the same as the Slave 1 version.
A version of the assassin droid IG-88 (below) has also only appeared once before, and again it's in Set 6209 Slave 1. The new version (below) is slightly taller than the previous iteration, has a printed head, and is Dark Bley in colour as opposed to the silver colour of the original version.
Admiral Piett (below) has never previously appeared in a LEGO Star Wars set, although truth be told thanks to the uniform he doesn't look a great deal different to any number of previous Imperial Officers released over the years... There are differences, though - more red/blue insignia on his uniform, a different belt/buckle combination and a more serious facial expression set him apart from his previously-released underlings....
Last but definitely not least, Darth Vader. As far as I can tell, it's the same version of the Darth Vader figure that appeared in the 10212 Imperial Shuttle set, right down to the markings on his torso and the light bley head with dark red scars under his helmet.
|Lord Vader, of course...|
Once the minifigures have been assembled, there's still one further step to be negotiated prior to embarking on the build of the Super Star Destroyer itself - the mini Imperial Star Destroyer. This is slightly smaller than the only other 'official' mini Imperial Star Destroyer to have been released, 2004's Set 4492 Mini Star Destroyer, and it attaches to the side of the completed Super Star Destroyer by way of a couple of transparent 12-stud long bars. It certainly gets the thumbs up from me - it's cute and eminently swooshable !
Having just finished building Set 10143 Death Star II which, coincidentally, comes with a mini Super Star Destroyer, I couldn't resist grabbing a picture of the two minis side by side; it can't be often that the Super Star Destroyer, in the foreground, gets an inferiority complex, but for once it's the little brother....
I hope you enjoyed Part 1 of my set review; I'll post Part 2 over the next few days, which will walk you through the construction of the Super Star Destroyer itself, plus my overall conclusions.
Super Star Destroyer review Part 2 -->