Thursday, 14 July 2011

Set 10221 UCS Super Star Destroyer review : Part 2

So, now the set is unboxed and assembly of the minifigures and the mini Imperial Star Destroyer is complete (Part 1 of this review) it's time to get to work on the Super Star Destroyer itself....

The first task involves construction of the lower surface of the ship (picture below; as ever, click to enlarge) which consists of 2 layers of plates with a partial third layer adding extra rigidity to the outer and central areas. The pieces you'll need come packaged with the minifigures and mini Imperial Star Destroyer parts in the bags labelled with a '1'. You'll also need a bunch of plates from an unmarked additional bag.


One thing that struck me early on during the build was the frequent appearance of dark tan 1 x 2 plates and light blue grey modified 1 x 4 plates with 2 studs. There's really no reason to use either of these pieces - the dark tan 1 x 2 plates are seldom if ever visible and could just as easily have been light or dark blue grey like (almost) everything else, and standard 1 x 4 plates could have been used in place of the modified 1 x 4 plates with no perceptible effect on the build. I therefore reckon that the designer included these uncommon (dark tan) and brand new (modified 1 x 4 plates) parts as a kind of 'Easter Egg', to give the builder a nice little supply of these parts for their own creations.... You'll also find yourself blessed with a respectable number of the new-ish light blue grey 2 x 4 tiles if you buy this set when it appears at retail.

Oh, and another thing - what quickly becomes apparent is how much space you're going to need when building this monster. My desk space was quickly exhausted as the lower surface of the ship grew ever larger. So clear a large space before you start - the lower surface of the ship is just a taster of what's to come....

Once the lower surface of the ship is complete, it's time to open the bags labelled with a '2'. You'll also need the rest of the plates from the unmarked bag I mentioned earlier. All these parts are used to construct the rigid spine and outer frame of the ship, upon which the super-structure and upper surface of the ship will eventually sit. Predictably enough, the spine is made up of long Technic bricks joined with pins, and it attaches to the lower surface of the ship. The outer frame attaches to the spine via a series of hinge plates aligned at specific angles in order to recreate the characteristic 'dagger' shape of the craft. Notable on the outer frame is the use of a number of modified 1 x 2 plates with clip on top. This is another new part appearing for the first time in 2011, and the reason for its inclusion will become evident later on.


On we go to the bags labelled with a '3', and after applying some decoration to the outside of the frame, it's time to embark upon the most time-consuming part of the build - the construction of the command bridge and the super-structure. This includes gradually mapping out 2 internal spaces within the body of the ship with stickered control panels and walls which will become the command bridge.

The Command Bridge

Vader briefs the Bounty Hunters





































As previously stated, it's disappointing that in a set of this size and cost we get stickers rather than printed parts, but the saving grace is that at least we're not cursed with STAMPs. In truth, it's hard to get too exercised about the few stickers in this set; aside from the name plate, none of them are even visible from the outside, being hidden inside the command bridge, and if you're going to be buying the set as a display model rather than as a playset (which I suspect will almost certainly be the case) then you'll never see them anyway. So not a big deal in the great scheme of things.

It's at this point that we go into full-blown greeble overdrive; as you'll no doubt have seen from the publicity shots of the model, the super-structure of the ship features extensive surface detailing, and it's this aspect which occupies much of the building time. It's certainly not the most exhilarating part of the building experience overall, but the final effect is I think well worth the effort, eventually creating a pretty good illusion of what is effectively a small city in space.






















The next phase of construction involves opening the bags labelled with a '4' and building the two display stands, which fix to the underside of the ship via a couple of Technic axles and lift the ship by around 14 cm. Then it's time to carefully apply the sticker containing the set information to the black 6 x 12 tile supplied and attach this to the base of one of the stands. I remember the old days when we had to put a whole bunch of 1 x 8 tiles on top of a large plate and then apply the set info sticker on the top of the tiles. I've been critical in the past of the unnecessary use of large pieces in sets when a number of smaller more generic pieces would do just fine, but in this case I will definitely make an exception - applying the set information sticker to a large 6 x 12 tile gives a much neater result.


The remaining parts in the bags labelled with a '4' are used in the construction of the removable roof section which covers the command bridge; this greeble-covered construction slots into place over and around the stickered command bridge structures and rests upon tiles; it's not physically attached to the surrounding structures by studs, but it's nevertheless held quite firmly in place by virtue of its position.

Removable Command Bridge Roof Section
I suppose that if for some reason you were inclined to lift the ship above your head and turn it upside down, there's a fairly good chance that the command bridge roof would fall off and land on your head. But given that there's absolutely no reason to do that, you'd only have yourself to blame.


Once the command bridge roof section is in place, the super-structure extends uninterrupted for more than half the length of the ship, which is a lot of greebles...


Next we open the bags labelled with a '5' and turn our attention to the rear section of the ship and the engines. The two smaller lateral engine sections were quickly completed prior to embarking upon the much larger central section. All the engine sections attach firmly to the frame of the ship via a combination of Technic axles and pins. There's certainly no shortage of engines on this ship, although compared with the engines on an Imperial Star Destroyer or even Tantive IV Rebel Blockade Runner they look suspiciously small to propel such a massive beast through the void. That'd be a question for Kuat Drive Yards, however, or maybe even George Lucas; LEGO designer Kurt Kristiansen seems to have done a pretty good job of recreating the source material in LEGO form, which is all we can really ask of him....





















Once the rear engine sections have been attached, we're on the home straight. Bags labelled with a '6' and bags labelled with a '7' contain the pieces for the upper surface of the ship, which is constructed in two parts. These take no time at all to build considering their considerable size.


Once built, they attach to the outer frame of the ship by way of the modified 1 x 2 plates with clip on top that I mentioned earlier. Pleasingly, they slide into the clips with a satisfying and reassuring 'clunk', and once in place, they take some shifting. A few final greebles later and we're done ! All that remains is to suitably position the mini Imperial Star Destroyer alongside it's (considerably) bigger brother and Set 10221 Super Star Destroyer is complete.






In conclusion, the Super Star Destroyer is the 18th official UCS set that LEGO have released, and it's clear that they've learned lessons as they've gone along. Notably, the ship has a much more robust and stable feel to it than its nearest relative, 2002's Set 10030 Imperial Star Destroyer. I often joke that it wasn't even possible to look at that set without it breaking, the principal culprit being the magnets which hold its upper and lower surfaces in place, but which are barely powerful enough to manage the weight. The Super Star Destroyer thankfully dispenses with the magnet system. Instead, a more stable arrangement of 1 x 2 plates with clip on top to hold the upper surface in place is employed. Truth be told, despite its size, the ship just feels better bolted together than Set 10030, and for that I'm grateful.

I'm also grateful for the numbered bags. I never thought I'd ever say that, but there you go. Thinking back, some past UCS building experiences have been at times a little frustrating, the frustration borne out of spending too long wading through literally thousands of pieces looking for the one small part I needed to proceed. While the piece hunt is to a certain extent a necessary part of my LEGO experience, in sets this big it sometimes risks crossing that line between pleasure and pain.... Within an hour or two of starting to build the Super Star Destroyer, however, it occurred to me that something was missing, and that something was episodes of frustration as I struggled to locate a necessary piece, interspersed with a nagging fear that the piece might actually be missing completely.... Take that away, and the build was actually quite relaxing, and no less enjoyable.

So what of the ship itself ? Well, compared with iconic Star Wars craft such as the Millenium Falcon, X-Wing, Imperial Star Destroyer and the like, the Super Star Destroyer appears relatively infrequently in the Star Wars films, and when it does, it's not on screen for long enough to be burned into the consciousness the same way as the household names above have been. This means that beyond recognising the basic likeness, I can't really comment on the accuracy of LEGO's reproduction other than to say that it looks about right, an impression which is reinforced by scrutinising the surprisingly uninformative images of the ship on the web. The only aspect which doesn't look quite right to me is the bottom of the ship which seems too flat; otherwise it seems to be a respectable LEGO likeness.

Overall, therefore, given that I can't get enough of the UCS Star Wars sets, you'd expect me to love this set, and you'd be absolutely right ! It's ridiculously huge, looks great, and is guaranteed to have all but the most fervent UCS fanboys shaking their heads in utter bemusement, which is exactly what a good UCS set is all about IMHO. Also, the finished model is stable, everything fits together as it should, and the numbered bags mean that frustration is kept to a minimum during the build. It's certainly not perfect - the flat lower surface doesn't look quite right to me, it has stickers rather than printed parts, and then there's the price - but it's indisputably a set in the grand UCS tradition and therefore a no-brainer to get hold of if like me you're a sucker for the big Star Wars ships. It'll be available at retail in September, so time to start saving....

And that's it for now, apart from one final reminder that this very model will be on display over the coming weekend (16th & 17th July) alongside the other 17 official LEGO Star Wars UCS sets, some spectacular fan-designed UCS-style models, and a host of other LEGO creations, at an exhibition being put on by the Brickish Association at the UK National Space Centre in Leicester. So come on over !

EDIT : Set 10221 Super Star Destroyer is now available to buy at retail ! UK readers can click on the image below to be taken to the relevant page on the LEGO S@H website; readers elsewhere please direct your browsers to your local LEGO S@H website and place your orders....

icon
Happy days !

<-- Super Star Destroyer review Part 1          Super Star Destroyer on Display at NSC -->

34 comments:

  1. Martin14/7/11

    Great review - can't wait to get my hands on this set in September!

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  2. Anonymous15/7/11

    Thanks for this review. Been waiting impatiently for this since your part 1. Any change of putting it side by side with other Lego sets for comparison?

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  3. ^ Yep - I'll get some pics of the Super Star Destroyer displayed alongside some of the other UCS sets this weekend and post them when I get a chance.

    In the meantime, check this out :

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/50821086@N08/5938659512/in/photostream

    :-)

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  4. Esmerillon15/7/11

    Thanks for the detailed review! Is there any chance of you posting a straight-on side shot, so that we can get a good look at how the flat bottom affects the ship's profile?

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  5. malloon15/7/11

    How long did the build take?

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  6. ^ Hard to estimate - building was split over 5-6 nights and I kept taking breaks and coming back to it. Maybe around 20 hours ? I am however a pretty slow builder - I like to take my time and savour the experience ! I'm therefore certain that the build could easily be completed faster than that.

    ^^ Regarding the request for a side-on shot, check out the link below :

    http://www.1000steine.com/brickset/AdditionalImages/10221-1/10221_cover-inset.jpg

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    1. Anonymous29/6/12

      II spent two days on mine. Probably a total of 12 hours actually spent working. I put the ship together on my dining room table and did NOT put the display stands under it. They seemed too prone to slide and will hinder putting the engine sections on. Just hang the rear end over the side, she wont fall. In fact mines still sitting like that now fully assembled.

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  7. Esmerillon15/7/11

    Thanks for the link. If that's accurate, it doesn't look TOO bad. My fear is that I will have to display this on a high shelf, leaving a prominent view of the ship's underside. We have only really seen BENEATH the ship from the rear, so far -- emphasizing the engines. It would be nice to have a shot of how it might look bearing down on you. Without the classic "Star Destroyer seam" or the distinctive "lower city" which was characteristic of the original model, I fear it will not be very accurate or attractive. Do you perhaps have any better shots of the underside -- either straight on, or at least from a forward angle?

    My only other area of concern is the "mottled" look of the upper city. I think I'd have preferred a more uniform darker gray. Maybe that's just me.

    In any event, thanks again for posting this review! It's great to have this kind of preview so far in advance!

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  8. I don't have further pictures of the underside of the ship; you might want to check out the URL below which gives you some idea of what to expect, however :

    http://www.1000steine.com/brickset/AdditionalImages/10221-1/10221_func-A.jpg

    The underside is, to be honest, mostly flat and rather plain apart from the rear engine area - not offensive, just not much to look at. If all you'll see when the SSD is on display is the underside then this may be a problem for you...

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  9. Amazing set! Love the review! To commenter Esmerillon: Maybe it would be possible to put the ship in a slight downward angle so it is size and the top that shows, not the bottom, when you display it higher on a shelf? Dave, what do you think?

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  10. Anonymous15/7/11

    It's a pretty good shot by lego, but still not quite what the community created.

    Lasse Deleuan created a masterpiece years ago (http://mocpages.com/moc.php/1549) is simply amazing with only a few hundred more bricks (3540) than the official Lego version.

    I have this beast and it is simply stunning. The Lego UCS set will join it on my wall, but I'm afraid that the UCS set will not remain there permanently like Lasse's does =)

    Still, looking forward to the "official" set =)

    ~~lovaquero

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  11. Anonymous15/7/11

    You said the engines look suspiciously small, however they are practically as big as the ISD and there are 13 of them.

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  12. ^ I think you're mistaken. The Imperial Star Destroyer has 3 colossal engines - substantially bigger than the Super Star Destroyer engines - as well as a number of smaller ones.

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  13. Anonymous15/7/11

    Sorry, I meant that in pretend reality where these ships actually exist in real life, the engine size of the executor is nearly as big as the entire imperial star destroyer. So while small looking on the executor themselves, they are 13 massively large engines.

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  14. Thanks for the review. How much does the completed model weigh?

    -Toa Of Justice

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  15. ^ I didn't weigh it, I'm afraid, and am no longer in possession of the beast....

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  16. Anonymous19/7/11

    Brilliant review and thank you!

    I love the thought and care that seems to have been put into this beast with the numbered boxes and the ring binded instructions. I'm 33 and hadn't touched lego since I was about 12 but became interested again after receiving a small set as a joke for Christmas and can't believe I've missed out on all the UCS sets in the last 11 years. Having since picked up the X Wing, Y wing and AT ST, and looked at the ISD, Death Star and Mill Falc with an envious eye, I'm looking forward to getting my teeth into this monster which will be my first really large scale UCS model. Now if only I had the money to buy Tower Bridge as well...

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  17. ^ Thanks - delighted you liked the review ! I can clearly remember the time a few years back when I emerged from my dark ages and it dawned on me what I'd been missing. Nothing that persistence (and some cash) can't cure, however ! You did well getting the X-Wing - seeing it at the weekend reminded me what a superb set it is - definitely one of my UCS favourites.

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  18. Hi Dave,

    Came across this review and being an avid UCS set fan (i have 6) this one will certainly be my next acquisition :) I know you no longer have the set, but by chance, you don't happen to have written down the measurements fully constructed? I know it's 124.5 centimetres long, but how wide and tall is it?

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  19. I always have and always will enjoy reading your reviews drdave, and I especially enjoyed this one! Keep up the good work :)

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  20. Cheers, ILikePi - appreciate the comments !

    Preest, afraid I don't have the measurements you're after. I do now have the weight of the thing, however - 3.5 kg.....

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  21. Thanks for the weight, drdavewatford!

    -Toa Of Justice

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  22. Thanks for the great review! I plan to just read and leave, but I gotta leave some comment after seeing such a great effort... I'm buying this set when it's out after seeing this review... :)

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  23. Anonymous26/7/11

    Lasse Deleuan's SSD is a real beauty, but some of the angles are off compared to the film model - angles which the official model has slightly better represented.

    Regarding the bottom of the official model, my first reaction was also that the bottom angle was too flat. However after having inspected an SSD reference model in real life, I can conclude that the film model is also almost completely flat on the underside. However the lighting in certain scenes in the film make it seem much more angular.

    So in my view that official model seem like a pretty good representation of the SSD - the size of the model taken into account. My only concern is the shape of the bottom bay which is hard to discern in the screenshots.

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  24. Hi Dave can you post a screen of the bottom front? - I want to know if the bay is there - if not I want to plan ahead and buy extra bricks for it :)

    Another question; how wide is the model at the widest point?

    Cheers

    Morten

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  25. ^ Sorry, MacDaddy - afraid I can't oblige as I don't have the set anymore. If you're prepared to wait a few weeks, however........

    Regarding the bottom bay of the ship, none of the pics I found online provided much detail on this; I would agree with the comment above however that the lighting in some of the shots perhaps makes the underside look more angular than it really is.

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  26. Anonymous21/1/12

    this is cool. i don't like the command bridge inside. it is in the wrong place and it is not meant for play, but for display.

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  27. Anonymous21/1/12

    in the movie the are blue lights on the outside of the super star destroyer. it would have been nice if they added them to the set.

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  28. Hi Dave, have just found your blog (via Brickset) and its really cool.

    This set has only just been released in New Zealand and costs $660 USD (we get WAY overcharged for all sets at retail over here).

    I was wondering if you could give me some advice on whether I should buy this or get the R2-D2 and B-Wing UCS sets instead of just this one set - as I can't afford all three of them.

    I have some UCS sets - Millenium Falcon, X-Wing, Imperial Shuttle, AT-ST, Star Destroyer and some of the mini-fig UCS sets (Cloud City, Sandcrawler, Deathstar, Republic Drop Ship/AT-OT).

    I really want this set, but it seems that for my collection the B-Wing and R2 would be better, seeing as I have the first Star Destroyer UCS. Based on how awesome you think these sets are as a Lego Star Wars fanatic, can you impart any advice?

    Keep up the good work, I love your blog!

    Anthony.

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    1. HI Anthony,

      Glad you like the blog !

      Rather than choose between Super Star Destroyer or R2-D2 & B-Wing, another option might be to try and source the SSD from one of the European Amazons which I think ship Down Under. SSD has recently been heavily discounted at Amazon.fr. Keep an eye on the Amazon European comparison listing at www.brickset.com/buy/amazon/

      If I REALLY had to choose I'd probably go for R2-D2 plus the B-Wing, but in reality I'd probably live on bread and water for a while and get them all...!

      Cheers,

      D.

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    2. Hi Dave, thanks for that advice - in the end I had a dig around, and managed to get about 30% off of R2-D2, Obi Wan's Jedi Fighter and the B-Wing, so ended up getting all 3 for $60 USD less than the cost of an SSD - so am very happy!

      The B-Wing is the final set to come, and is due this week, can't wait to make it up!

      Keep up the great blog! I will be interested to see what your thoughts are on the new Jabba Sail Barge set that is coming out this year, as first impressions to me make it look worse than the 2006 version, when normally the updated sets are a big improvement.

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  29. Thanks for this review! I agree, the Imperial Star Destroyer has three big,massive size engines

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  30. I am trying to decide on which set to buy my 27 year old son for Christmas the Super star destroyer set 10221 or the Death Star set 10188, any advice?

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    1. My choice would be 10188 Death Star, hands down. You can read more about the set at http://gimmelego.blogspot.co.uk/2010/10/love-letter.html - it's awesome !

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