Wednesday, 14 December 2011

The best things....

.....come in small packages, apparently. And having spent the last couple of weeks working my way through the 2011 LEGO Star Wars Advent Calendar I'd have to agree.

Better than expected so far....
Honestly, I didn't have particularly high hopes for this - more expensive than your average LEGO advent calendar and a guaranteed best seller regardless of its quality, LEGO could have been forgiven for going through the motions somewhat. I was therefore pleasantly surprised by some of the gems within....

Highlight for me so far has been the splendid Slave 1 (pic below - click to enlarge) that was lurking behind the door on the 5th December. It's a cracker ! It takes some real design expertise to make an instantly recognisable and more than passably accurate rendition of such an iconic ship with only 20 pieces, but whoever designed this has really nailed it I reckon.

A close second has been the superb X-Wing (below), again really nailing the look and feel of the subject matter, right down to the appearance of R2-D2 who is cunningly disguised as a blue 1 x 1 round plate ! The foils even move, just to add to the effect, and all this has been achieved using just 23 pieces.

Then there's the Republic Cruiser (below), which was behind door number one and first raised my hopes of what to expect from this advent calendar. Once again it's minimal in the extreme and yet manages to capture the essence of the ship very nicely IMHO.

Another of my favourites has been the Snowspeeder (below). Just 17 pieces, and once again a better likeness than we have any right to expect from such a miniscule piece count. With a small flash of orange and smaller guns it'd have been just about perfect I reckon.....

In addition to the models above, so far we've also had a passable Imperial Shuttle fashioned from just 9 pieces, and a decent looking Homing Spider Droid. Looking ahead, the box art promises a few more neat looking ships including the Millennium Falcon, Republic Gunship, TIE Fighter and A-Wing. Honestly, I don't think I've looked forward to opening my advent calendar this much since I was a kid !

It's not all sweetness and light, however. On some days the reward has been a minifigure rather than a model, and thus far the minifigures we've received have been a bit of a mixed bag, to be honest. No complaints about Chewbacca, but Nute Gunray (below) is a bit of an odd inclusion, and did we really need yet another battle droid or unnamed rebel pilot ? Given the very reasonable decision to include some minifigs alongside the small models, the calendar is crying out for the inclusion of some truly iconic figures such as Han Solo, Luke, Leia, Darth Vader, R2-D2 and C3-PO. Perhaps some or all of these minifigs are in fact lurking unseen behind the as-yet unopened doors leading up to Christmas Eve, but I'm not holding my breath.....

Nute Gunray : Why ?
Overall, however, this advent calendar has been an unexpected but extremely welcome win so far, and I'm thoroughly enjoying it.

Webmaster extraordinaire Huw Millington is unveiling the Star Wars and City Advent Calendars day by day over at Brickset, so click here to check out what's behind the doors between now and Christmas. I've also just realised that the excellent FBTB is doing something similar - we're all at it ! Still, IMHO this calendar is worthy of the attention, so far at least. Let's just hope the quality is maintained for the next week and a half.


  1. I couldn't agree more. I've seen the calender get a lot of criticism on various lego forums and I don't really understand it. The quality of the mini models has generally been superb (and often an improvement over previous versions) and the mini-figures are good to. For £25 I think its excellent value for money, not something that can always be said about Lego Star Wars sets. Whilst I understand your misgivings about Nute Gunray, its actually quite an obscure mini-figure, only in two previous sets so I welcome its inclusion. I'm not sure whether its realistic to expect all the main characters as I'm sure Lego does not want to effect sales of other sets which contain those figures. The only disappointment so far was today's model!

  2. Are the minifigures made with what angry AFOLs are describing as "Chinese" plastic like what's used with the Collectible Minifigures and Battle Packs, with the cheapest of plastic being used on the pelvis and legs?

    Another way to tell is if the LEGO TM is imprinted on the bottoms of the "toes", "inside" the feet. This seems to be what Lego has been using since this year or 2010 to distinguish "Chinese" plastic from the better quality plastic.

  3. Nute was in there so he would sit on his mechanno chair...

    lame all the same thou !