Wednesday, 26 October 2011


At the risk of alienating half the people reading this, it's time for me to make a confession : I think I'm starting to fall out of love with the LEGO Star Wars theme. Rabid Star Wars and LEGO fan I might be, but there's only so long that you can lie to yourself that all is well.

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....


  1. Jabba the Taff26/10/11

    I'm completely with you. After a few years on ebay collecting most of the old sets I missed (and hoping for price miracles on some of the rarer ones,) buying virtually every set that came out I've only bought the MF (which I'm majorly glad they remade) and the podracers this wave. None of the others interest me. I think Lego realise this a bit as well, releasing a lot of cartoon CW sets, and trying out the midi-scale and new planets sets. I think you're hitting the end of a natural cycle. I'm grateful in a way that I can spend more money on other themes.

  2. I'm torn on this one. Yes, I'm annoyed at all the remakes, especially the 7965 Millennium Falcon and 7877 Naboo Starfighter you mentioned because they didn't really seem to be an improvement on the prior sets. But then other sets like the 7962 Anakin Skywalker and Sebulba's Podracers are much improved.

    I understand the need to keep certain iconic ships available, but it does get boring after a while for those of us who have most of them already.

    Oh, BTW, I know it's not an official UCS set even though it has a set number in the 10000's, but we've already had both the 10019 Rebel Blockade Runner and the 10198 Tantive IV.

  3. bigospedros26/10/11

    I had this dilemma this year too ... I realised that I was just buying sets because they had the Star Wars name on them, rather than because I liked or wanted them! I never bought at RRP and I realised that I was more in it for the chase of a bargain. I could rationalise buying a set I didn't really like that much because I'd got it at 33% off! Same applied with chasing old sets on ebay ... if the price was right, I would get it.

    So, I made a decision. Buy the sets I like and ignore the rest. I also went through my collection and identified the sets I liked and wanted to keep and listed the rest for sale on Bricklink.

    This moved allowed me to broaden my horizons to other themes, such as modular buildings, that I'd always liked but couldn't afford due to buying SW stuff. It also gave me so cash to use for other things (golf clubs and stuff, new watch etc etc)

    So, now I'm a fan of Lego ... and I buy the sets that float my boat and don't worry about the ones that don't.

    Out of the summer wave all I wanted was Podracers, Ewok Attack and the Sith Infiltrator.

    Oh and I totally agree that minifigs is where Lego is going these days! That's their focus, but for me it will mean waiting to buy sets for massive reductions and then just selling the parts.

  4. I agree too. I've been a completest with the LEGO Star Wars line, but there are many from around 04-06 years that I wasn't able to pickup. At one point my plan was I would just eventually pay the extra price to pick up the sets on ebay or something, but with the improvement in minifig details and re-working of set designs, I don't have much reason (other than being a completest) to get the old sets. For example, I have the original Sith Infiltrator and picked up the newest one because of the minifigs (spiky Darth Maul head, Captain Panaka, and skin toned QuiGon and Padme). There is really no reason to go back and get the second release of the ship. In fact, once I get my collection halves together (they're split between where I grew up and where I live now) I'll probably be breaking the original ship down and it's going in the spare parts bin. Just like with the action figures in Star Wars, LEGO will keep releasing remakes of previous sets in order to bring those iconic characters and ships to the continuing flow of child fans that are getting into Star Wars for the first time.

  5. Bricki26/10/11

    I totally agree with you. However, for some reason I am strangely attracted to the new planet sets coming out next year, if only because they are different from what has come before. Sort of.

  6. You answered your question yourself: the new Falcon isn't supposed to be your third system scale Falcon, it's supposed to be a readily available LEGO Falcon for anyone who missed the previous two. Of course LEGO won't complain if you buy it as well, mind you.
    I'd also like to see more UCS ... the possibilities there are legion.

  7. Interesting points, and I think it becomes most frustrating for completists - those who want to buy EVERY set. Personally, I am amazed at how many incredible sets are out there. I just go the UCS Imperial Shuttle, and am awe of just the box art, I haven't even opened it yet.

    For sets that keep getting rereleased, I am glad that a kid (or me!) can walk into a store and buy Slave 1 for $70 rather than paying $300 for a long-discontinued model on eBay. Same with the Falcon. They are going to move so many of those this holiday season, and I think it's awesome that little kids can be as excited getting it as I was in the 1970s getting the original Star Wars toys.

    With LEGO now doing these sets for more than 10 years, I think they are in new territory in terms of what to release that is new, what to redesign and rerelease, and what to just make minor improvements too and release.

    As always - thanks for the interesting topic!

  8. Cheers, folks - thanks for the interesting comments. It's clear that there are more than a few of us in the same boat... To be frank, having spent a fortune accumulating a complete Star Wars collection to this point, it's now only my compulsion to keep things that way that drives me on to buy all the new sets. As a grown adult, however, I'm having to face up to the reality that this is ridiculous, and eventually I think that common sense will win through....

    @Bricki - I'm also intrigued by the incoming planet sets, even if it's just because they're potentially an interesting twist on what's come before and show a semblance of originality and imagination.

    @gunoz - the new Tantive IV isn't a patch on the UCS version ! While the consensus seems to be that the new version is a better likeness of the source material, it's just so weedy and anaemic compared to 10019....

  9. Dave, jaded with new Lego Star Wars sets ?

    I think it is time to make your own Lego Star Wars models ! ;)
    Think about it.

  10. A. Stormtrooper29/10/11

    I think you're spot on really. I joined the collecting game fairly late on so turned to ebay to get most of the older sets that, at the time, hadn't been re-done yet so now I find it hard to justify getting the newer sets, especially as all I really want them for is the updated minifigures.
    I am looking forward to the new planet sets though...

  11. Anonymous7/2/12

    I tend to agree with you, I see the sets now and am not thrilled by them. The exception being the SSD, which my fiance bought me for Christmas. I love it!

    I then am forced to ask what I would want Lego to do different. What sets would I want them to make? I'd like to see an MC80 star cruiser. I'd like to see the TIE Bomber and TIE Interceptor re-released. And I'd like a better version of the Star Destroyer. Like you I think the big one is way to fragile.

  12. I've been quite critical about all the remakes BUT there are some models, like the original TIE fighter for instance, which were crying out for better versions, and in situations like these I'm perfectly happy....

  13. Sorry for the two years later comment but I found this blog recently and thought your writings were so well put together and interesting that I'd offer one thing - I work for Lego Education, teaching children physic principles using Lego. It's wonderful! And loads of them have Lego Star Wars t-shirts and other memorabilia. So I ask them,
    Me: "Do you like Lego Star Wars?"
    Kid: "Yes"
    Me: "Have you seen the original Star Wars?"
    Kid: "No"
    Me: "What Star Wars have you seen?"
    Kid: "The cartoon, Clone Wars. And the Lego Star Wars movies" (I think these are straight to DVD episodes)
    So, in my own experience asking kids, a huge number of them, the new generation are growing up on the Lego games and Clone Wars. I think the partnership between Lego and Star Wars has been mutually beneficial.