Sunday, January 16th, 2011 at 3:05pm by Andrew, BZPower News Manager
It is review time once more, fair readers! We haven't taken a look at any licensed sets this year, but it is time for that to change. Bfahome has decided to take a look at a set from the Star Wars line - the Mandalorian Battle Pack. Should you pick up this set to help build up your army? Read on to see!
Before I start this review, I'd like to take a moment to clear something up. While the set name calls these figures Mandalorians, in the story they're actually part of a splinter group called the Death Watch (try getting LEGO to have that as a product name). The Mandalorians had become pacifist in nature, but the Death Watch wanted to return Mandalore to its warrior roots. They do this through terrorist acts like bombings and assassinations, though, so you can see why they're the bad guys.
(My mom thinks they look cute.)
From the design of the box to the instruction manual, these are the first things you see before building the set.
The front of the box uses the new Star Wars template, with a blue border on the top and bottom and an image of Captain Rex in the top right. You get the usual "LEGO" logo and set information (set number 7914, 68 pieces, ages 6-Ireallydonotcare). However, all the action is in the center. Four(!) Mandalorian warriors charge and fire off to the side while looking towards the fictitious camera (even the guy on the speeder, which is not safe at all). I have no idea what the background is supposed to be, but whatever it is, it's exploding. In the lower left there's also a picture of one of the warriors wielding the two new small blasters not otherwise shown.
The top of the box shows the usual "Actual Size" picture, which is actually actual.
The back shows the Mandalorians taking on the new battle pack's worth of Clones. I've read somewhere that the orange-colored clones are for bomb disposal, so I don't really know how that works. There's a shot of the four figures in the lower-right corner, each with his own blaster(s).
Half the fun is had building the set. How fun is it to build and how easy or challenging is it?
The construction of the set isn't challenging, and should take at most five minutes of uninterrupted building. The instructions are the usual fare, and aren't difficult to follow.
First, you assemble the four(!) identical Death Watch warriors and the blaster with stand.
Then you put together the speeder.
Finally, the turret.
There are five spare parts. You can never go wrong with extra levers and cheese slopes.
As a battle pack, there shouldn't be much expected from the build. The draw of the set is clearly the figures. Hence its status as a battle pack.
Now that the set is complete, we can critique how it looks from every angle. New or interesting pieces can also be examined here.
Here's a layout of all the pieces in the set. A nice mixture of grays, black, and blue.
These pieces are of special interest to me. They include the four(!) Mandalorian helmets, four(!!) jetpacks (recolored in gray), the long rifle, the black telescope piece, the new small blasters, and a transparent round 2x2 brick.
Speaking of which, here is a comparison of the new small blasters to the others, as well as to the small pistols that are included in sets of Clone Trooper ARC gear. It looks like they'd fit a Han Solo figure quite well.
Now the minifigures.
I personally think the people at LEGO are crazy for including four(!) of these figures in a set that retails for a mere $12. They're really nice. The armor has less detailed printing than the Boba Fett version, so they don't look all beat up and scraped. Depending on your point of view, this can either be a good thing or a bad thing. They have no back printing, but they have jetpacks so it isn't really needed.
You can also attach the Clone Troopers' ARC gear to their helmets via the two small holes on the sides. This allows for some customization, and also the creation of a reasonably accurate Jango Fett minifigure (at least until LEGO releases a new official one).
If I had to criticize the four(!) minifigures, I'd say...
...their faces are sort of creepy. (Of course, I wasn't really planning on removing their helmets anyway since they're so excellent.) Also, it may have been nice to get one that had the markings of their leader. Though if you bought multiple packs you'd have multiple leaders, and that would be strange. So he could probably just be released in another set.
Moving on, we come to the medium-sized gun. I think it's a nice detail, especially the construction of the bipod. It's apparently light enough to be carried, a pose that actually looks kinda cool.
However, it does have one glaring flaw: the minifigures can't hold it! The end goes right to the figure's chest, preventing the hand from clipping around the handle. It's easily fixable by adding an Exo-Force robot claw, however, which makes me wonder why one wasn't included in the set.
Now on to the Mandalorian speeder bike. It's a decent little construct with a reasonable amount of accuracy for its size. It seats one, and is designed to accommodate the jetpack. It uses the transparent 2x2 round brick to keep it "in the air" and off its downward-pointing wings. There's a little TECHNIC bushing on the front that I think may be a headlight. It's kind of a weird setup.
Lastly, the turret. Appearing very sturdy, it uses a wheel well piece around the rotating axis of the gun for some reason or another, probably to make it look better. Using some SNOT, the gun is attached by a frictionless tan plus rod/pin connector to a 1x2 brick with a TECHNIC hole. This means it rotates freely, occasionally smacking the soldier manning it if picked up or bumped. If, like me, the first pictures you saw of this set were the thumbnails on the sites of online retailers, you may have thought by the glare off the gun that it had multiple barrels. Sadly, it does not.
The other half of the fun is in playing with the set. How well does the set function and is it enjoyable to play with?
As a battle pack, this set doesn't offer too much playability on its own. You need another set, at least another battle pack, to supplement it. Once you have some adversaries, it becomes much easier to think of play possibilities.
Here we have the Death Watch facing off against some Clones in their walker.
The Death Watch is tough, but the Clones have the superior power of Flick-Fire Missiles!
And the Death Watch goes down! (Bfa was subsequently fined for violating Clause 26 of the LEGO Review Code: "When reviewing a set, any staged battle between the reviewed set and another set must end with the reviewed set as victor.")
Once it's all said and done, how does the set stack up? Should I get it?
What's to like?
- Four(!) Death Watch soldiers
- Seriously is this a prank or something
- I mean that armor is great
- There are actually more accessories than figures
What's not to like?
- Not very substantial; the main draw is obviously the figures
- Even then it's still $12
- Those faces
All in all I think this is a great set, if only for its four(!) excellent figures and array of accessories. Even if you're not a Star Wars fan, they'd make good faceless mooks for a technologically advanced army.
"For generations, my ancestors fought proudly as warriors against the Jedi."
I hope you all enjoyed the review - be sure to thank Bfahome for taking the time to do it. Feel free to ask any questions in the Talkback topic. More reviews are incoming so keep checking back right here on BZPower for all the latest news and reviews.
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