|Set 7965 Millennium Falcon - Deja Vu ?|
It's not the first time that I've had blasphemous thoughts like this. Some of you may have read a piece I wrote last year complaining about LEGO Star Wars remakes, and picked up on the odd grumble about a lack of creativity and imagination in the Star Wars line up. These feelings were intensified when I first caught sight of the LEGO Star Wars line up for the first half of 2011 and was, to be frank, massively underwhelmed, although the quality of some of the Summer 2011 sets calmed me down a bit. Even so, just look at the number of rehashes and remakes occupying the Summer 2011 line-up - Set 7965 Millennium Falcon is the third System scale Falcon we've had, Set 7961 Sith Infiltrator is the third System scale Sith Infiltrator we've had, Set 7877 Naboo Starfighter is the third System Scale Naboo Starfighter we've had, etc. etc. - see a pattern emerging here ? The new Naboo Starfighter has particularly irked me - minifigures apart, it's virtually identical to the previous version, an accusation I've previously levelled at the Set 8097 Slave 1. Pretty much all that's different bar the minifigures is the price, in fact - a 37% increase from the previous (2007) version.
|Oh no - not another Naboo Starfighter...|
Let's face it - it's increasingly all about the minifigures, isn't it ? It's sometimes hard to escape the conclusion that the actual LEGO models themselves are becoming a side show for the minifigure main event. For instance, pretty much the only reason that many people bought Set 7754 Home One or Set 7879 Hoth Echo Base was because LEGO were clever and included exclusive minifigures in these sets; certainly I've struggled to find many positive impressions of the models themselves. This focus on the minifigures might be wonderful for the minifig collectors, but it's pretty lame for those of us for whom it's the building experience and the finished model that gets the pulse racing rather than the minifigures, which in the main I can take or leave.
|Set 7879 Hoth Echo Base - just about the minifigs ?|
OK, so it's not all bad. LEGO haven't started to remake the UCS sets yet; in truth, they could keep pumping out a couple of UCS Star Wars sets every year for years to come and not exhaust all the possibilities, and that would suit me just fine. Similarly, I've been rather taken with the Midi-Scale ships that LEGO have released over the past couple of years, such as the Imperial Star Destroyer; it's just a pity that I seem to have been one of the few people to have liked these, and that we don't seem to be in line for any more of them....
Thing is, it's all very well for me to moan about all the remakes and repetition, but I suspect that the problem is actually with me rather than with the sets themselves. More specifically, I fear I'm outgrowing the theme. Even a cursory glance on the various discussion boards shows that this year's sets are, by and large, being extremely well received, and by the younger demographic in particular. And even I have to acknowledge that the newer renditions of some of the ships aren't at all bad. The Sith Infiltrator set is, for instance, better than previous versions IMHO. Similarly, while you could argue whether the new Millennium Falcon set is better than Set 4504 Millennium Falcon from 2004, it's still not a bad version of the ship at all.
The reality is that a whole new generation of Star Wars fans is starting to emerge. Whether this is down to the first generation of Star Wars fans indoctrinating their kids (and I have to hold my hands up on that score), the popularity of the Clone Wars TV series, the appearance of ever more versions of the movies on DVD and Blu-Ray, or a combination of all of the above, I don't know. But some of these kids weren't even around when the first or second iterations of the Falcon and other iconic ships were released by LEGO. Furthermore, many of the older sets are now rare and/or prohibitively expensive to get hold of, so for the youngsters the new versions are their first chance to own LEGO versions of the Falcon and other great Star Wars ships and vehicles. I therefore have to concede that it makes perfect sense for LEGO to release new versions of these sets, and that I'm so not the target market for these sets any more....
|Set 10212 Imperial Shuttle - more like this please, LEGO...|
So, given all this, will I keep religiously buying all the Star Wars sets ? Well, the urge to do so in order to keep my collection complete is a strong one, but I sense that there'll come a time when common sense will finally prevail and I'll stop buying them all; God knows my wallet will certainly thank me for it. When that point comes, I'll continue to pick up the new UCS sets, plus any remakes which are an advance on their predecessors, and any interesting original stuff, and that's it. Will that time come in 2012 ? I guess it just depends on what LEGO have in store for us....