Wednesday, 28 September 2011


OK - confession time. I was one of the millions who recently helped to further swell the George Lucas coffers by shelling out for the HD version of the Star Wars hexalogy on launch day. It was with a sense of palpable excitement that I sparked up the plasma, spooled up the DTS, dimmed the lights and watched the opening crawl of Episode IV making its way up my screen, accompanied by John Williams' famous score. And then came possibly the highlight for me - the appearance of Tantive IV, quickly followed by the Imperial Star Destroyer Devastator which rapidly filled my screen while my subwoofer did its best to loosen my fillings and cause structural damage to the very foundations of my house.

Honestly, I love the Imperial Star Destroyer. I'll speak in reverent tones about the Millenium Falcon and go all misty eyed as X-Wings peel off into the Death Star trench, but there's something about the sight of the hulking, menacing Imperial Star Destroyer and the low rumble of those huge engines which trumps them all.

I love this....
It shouldn't therefore come as a surprise to anybody that Set 10030 Imperial Star Destroyer (picture below; click all photographs to enlarge) is one of the highlights of my LEGO collection. A total of 3096 pieces and almost a metre of bonkers LEGO excess guaranteed to induce gasps of amazement in all but the most hardened cynic. We've also been blessed with the somewhat less awe-inspiring playset (Set 6211 Imperial Star Destroyer) and 2004's Mini version (Set 4492 Star Destroyer).

Set 10030 Imperial Star Destroyer - awesome

Set 6211 Imperial Star Destroyer -
not so awesome...

Set 4492 Star Destroyer

I was obviously delighted when LEGO announced that they would be releasing Set 8099 Midi-Scale Imperial Star Destroyer.  This appeared in the Summer of 2010, although like the first Midi-Scale Star Wars offering (Set 7778 Midi-Scale Millenium Falcon) it was not if I remember rightly greeted with universal acclaim. Given the existence of Mini, System and Ultimate Collector Series-scaled sets, some viewed the appearance of yet another scale of model as a cynical move designed to squeeze more money out of the LEGO Star Wars fraternity, while others predictably bemoaned the lack of minifigures.

So is the Midi-Scale Imperial Star Destroyer just a cynical cash-in, or does it in fact have merit ? Well, let's take a look....

You can see the box above. I love the combination of the dark blue 2011 Star Wars branding and the red planet below upon which the model is superimposed. The front of the box also features a picture of a hand holding the finished model which gives a useful indication of the size of the ship. The back of the box (not shown) provides other views of the ship and also a full parts inventory, which aside from the Midi-Scale Falcon I don't recall seeing on a Star Wars box previously.

The cover of the instruction booklet (below) is identical to the front of the box. The booklet, which is not far short of A4 sized, consists of 48 staple-bound pages. The building steps are clear and easy to follow, with part call-outs at every stage and no colour discrimination issues evident, apart from some momentary confusion between white and trans-clear 1 x 1 round studs on my part.

The parts come in a total of 6 bags - 3 large and 3 small - none of which are numbered. The first task is to construct the Technic 'core' onto which the ship's surfaces and structures attach. The upper and lower surfaces attach to the white clips you can see in the first picture below, while the command bridge sits on top of the blue 2 x 3 brick; the second picture shows the lower surfaces attached to the core; in the third picture I've flipped the build upside down so you can see the underside. Note the black, T-shaped stand protruding from the underside; this provides a nice, stable base for the ship to rest on while holding it horizontal.

Technic 'Core' plus stand

                                   Core with lower surfaces attached

Next up is the construction and attachment of the distinctive engine section (below). This is hands down the most fragile part of the build - the whole section accidentally breaks off far too easily for my liking. To make matters worse, the grey dishes which make up the larger engines have a tendency of detach at the drop of a hat. Fragility apart, at least the engines look the part.

Once the engines are in place it's time to build and attach one of the upper surfaces, followed by the command bridge. Nice use of Technic Ball Joints, which form the scanner globes on the roof of the command bridge, and also binoculars which are used for the guns on the dorsal surfaces of the ship.

Finally, the remaining upper surface is built and clipped into place and we're done....

Similar to the UCS Imperial Star Destroyer, the finished model is somewhat 'gappy' where the various surfaces meet, as you can see in the pictures below. That having been said, for me this doesn't meaningfully detract from the model.

I have to say I'm a big fan of this set. Unlike Mini Scale, Midi scale affords the opportunity to introduce sufficient detail to make the ship instantly recognisable and indeed in many respects a good approximation of the source material. Unlike System scale, however, it's small enough to easily swoosh around the room and it takes up relatively little display space. It's also solidly built and robust, apart from the fragile engine section. I found it very refreshing that rather than just rehash an old set like they've done with Slave 1, the X-Wing and others, LEGO had the imagination to give us something significantly different to what's previously been available.

On the downside, the build seemed to take no time at all, to the extent that I almost felt cheated - it was hard to believe that the set contained 423 pieces such was the speed of the build. Also, the engine section is fragile as described earlier. Finally, the lack of minifigures is clearly an issue for some. Regarding the latter point, however, I was actually delighted that LEGO didn't include a couple of token figures with this set - they would have been entirely redundant and ridiculously out of scale, as was the case with the minifigures included with Set 10221 Super Star Destroyer, while also inevitably bumping up the price.

Talking of price, with an RRP of £34.99 the set lies comfortably within the realms of 10p/piece which is becoming increasingly unusual for Star Wars sets. That having been said, many of the pieces are small so it's not exactly a bargain. If however you don't already have this set and are UK-based, you can at the time of writing pick it up from here (Amazon) for less than £20 + free delivery, which IMHO at 43% off is an absolute steal....


  1. Starting last Christmas, these seemed to be a dime-a-dozen everywhere. Well, really, 50% off, but it was available for a long time at that price. You still see them all over eBay. The challenge I have with some of these sets is just all the gray. There is sooooo much all gray in so many of these Star Wars sets, that sometimes we look for another factor to wow us: scale or minifigs, etc. It's certainly a cute set. I think the main issue I would have with it is that LEGO is producing SO MANY great sets. It's really astounding. My gut is that's why a little set like this is overlooked or so easily dismissed. But of course, many of those sets are well above this price point, and are focused on different goals. Anyhow - thanks for the in-depth review of a somewhat unloved set!

  2. Jabba the Taff4/10/11

    I have to say I love this and the Falcon. I hope they make more. I must just remember that these are sets to wait until they're at least down to £20. At that price they're just about perfect. Get quick builds and great to display. Which makes me think we won't get many more - the discounts have been too deep and too quick.

  3. I'm sorry to say it, but I agree with you, Jabba - I get the feeling the Midi-Scale sets haven't been a roaring success, so this could be the end of the line for Midi scale. I sincerely hope I'm wrong, but I don't think I am....

  4. I also really like the midis. I was hoping for an AT-AT some day. I don't know where I would have put it, but it would have been cool. I've run out of room in my room for my Star Wars Collection that I've been collecting the most of since 1999.