Saturday, August 29th, 2015 at 12:55pm by Andrew, BZPower News Manager
It's set review time again here on BZPower! Today we're taking a look at one of the summer Star Wars sets, namely 75092 Naboo Starfighter, from Episode I: The Phantom Menace. Does this set fare on the Darth Maul side of the cool meter or the Jar Jar Binks side of the 'please no more!' gauge? There's only one way to find out - so read on!
From the design of the box to the instruction manual, these are the first things you see before building the set.
The box for the set is pretty straightforward, with the starfighter itself taking up a majority of the front. The LEGO Star Wars branding yakes up a big section of the top, along with a Rebels-style Stormtrooper. It's going to take me a long while to get used to the Disney logo in the bottom right, but it's there. In the bottom left you can see the large collection of minifigs in the set, helping to justify the $50 price tag. On the back of the box, there's a cool illustartion of the characters in the set. There's a lot of callouts to the many features and play functions the Naboo fighter packs in - you'll be having a lot of fun playing with this one.
Half the fun is had building the set. How fun is it to build and how easy or challenging is it?
The build is broken up into a few different sections, since the starfighter has a lot of accessories this time around. None of them are overly complicated and should be done in no time. The main build is a mostly studs-up affair, and there's not a whole lot that will surprise you. I did enjoy building the engines though, and there were some interesting techniques used inside to get the various turbine and wheel hubs to stay together. You won't be wowed by the assembly, but it's not boring my any means.
Now that the set is complete, we can critique how it looks from every angle. New or interesting pieces can also be examined here.
Let's start off by looking at the pieces that are exclusive to this set or are uncommon:
- Bright Yellow 6M Stick w/ Flange (exclusive)
- Bright Yellow Turbine (exclusive)
- Bright Yellow 4x6 curved slope (available in one other set)
- Trans-Light Blue Pulley (available in one other set)
- Black 3x4 Plate w/ 4 Studs (Minifig Stand) (available in three other sets)
- Bright Yellow 3x3x2 Rocket Step (available in three other sets, and every single collectible minifig ever)
- Bright Yellow 4x4 Plate w/ Angle (available in four other sets)
- Medium Stone-Grey 1x10 Curved Slope (available in five other sets)
- Bright Yellow 1x4x1-1/3 Brick w/ Rounded Top (available in Seven other sets)
- Bright Yellow 2x2x2 Nose Cone (available in seven other sets)
- Bright Yellow 3x4 Box (available in seven other sets)
- Bright Yellow 4x4 Brick w/ Angle (available in eight other sets)
- Medium Stone-Grey 12M Flex Tube (available in eight other sets)
As you can see, Bright Yellow is the color of the hour here, with Medium Stone-Grey taking a close second. Any of the other colors are just accents, so if you're looking for a lot of yellow, this is the set for you. There's a good variety here of bricks, plates, slopes, wedges and more, with quite a few pieces being fairly uncommon. This can definitely help augment your collection with a variety of elements.
Moving past the parts to the minifigs, young Anakin and Obi-Wan are up first. The former is exclusive to this set, while the latter appeared in last year's MTT as well. I think they both do a decent job of capturing their looks from Episode I and improving upon the previous iterations. Both feature double-sided heads and front and back printing on the torsos, which are generic enough to be able to be reused in custom creations. I also like that Anakin comes with hair and a helmet - sometimes it's the little things.
Next up we get R2-D2 and the Naboo Pilot - the supporting characters. R2-D2 still has the redesign first spotted last year with a silver dome and that nice printing that goes all the way around. The pilot is exclusive to this set and is a big change from previous Naboo fighters. Artoo's design is pretty standard and is exactly what you'd expect at this point. The Naboo pilot is pretty awesome though, with a cool front-and-back-printed torso that could easily make its way into a lot of different themes. The legs are plain dark red, which makes them very reusable as well, and the head is one-sided with a serious expression.
Then there's the bad guys. The set comes with two normal Battle Droids, one Battle Droid Commander, and two Droidekas (Destroyer Droids). That's quite the fighting force! This particular commander has been seen in two other sets and has a special paint job on his head and a small dot on his torso. Otherwise he's identical to the other Battle Droids, who we've been seeing in some form or other since 1999. The Droidekas are similar, if not identical, to the ones available in other sets the past two years. It's a pretty solid design though, so you can't fault them too much. Personally I could have done without the stickers, as I don't see them adding a whole lot.
Now we start getting into the meat of the set... maybe. First up is a fuel pump to keep the tanks of the Naboo Starfighter topped off. It's a simple design, and is dominated by the flex tube. The main issue is that when you attach the nozzle to the fighter, the hose pretty much takes the base wherever it wants to go. Unless you incorporate it into a larger diorama, this thing is going to be all over the place. Next we have a box full of blasters. I assume they have to be stored somewhere, and that's as good a place as any. Not much else to add...
One of the larger accessories for the ship is a torpedo reload cart - I think. It holds four of the new spring-loaded missiles, has a couple of wheels that are hidden by some SNOT building, and... that's about it. It's not horrible, but it feels very tacked-on.
The set also comes with a ladder for getting into and out of the starfighter. It's been a while since I watched The Phantom Menace, so I don't remember if anything like this existed in the movie. It's simple, but effective, and lines up with the edge of the fighter perfectly. Lastly we have a stand for the ship that allows it to spin around. This certainly isn't movie-accurate, since the real ships could fly and hover, but for a simple build it allows you to pretend the ship is hovering and doubles as a great display stand. When a lot of Star Wars ships don't include landing gear, this is a very welcome addition.
With all that stuff out of the way, let's look at the actual Naboo N-1 Starfighter. I think the build captures the look of the ship on screen rather well, with the exception of course being that the front uses light bley instead of chrome. But LEGO doesn't really do chrome anymore, so we'll have to make do. It's definitely very sleek and streamlined, with lots of nice curves. It's a solid model and quite swooshable too - even the tips on the engines and tail don't fall off easily. I really like this model and think it's pretty awesome looking.
One thing I wasn't the biggest fan of was all of the stickers. Some of them are pretty large and can be difficult to apply. Others could have been replaced by an actual piece, like the yellow stickers that go on top of the light grey tiles could have just been yellow tiles. Obviously everything can't be printed, but the sticker use felt excessive here at times.
Of course it can't be that simple: as I was doing some research for the review I discovered that the build is essentially the same as the Naboo Fighter that was released in 2007 and 2011. A few pieces here and there have been updated with newer ones, but it's pretty much identical. If you're a big Star Wars collector this could certainly be a drawback, but for me, if the design worked well enough eight years ago, no need to change it for a new generation of fans buying the Naboo starfighter for the first time.
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?
With all the accessories and characters crammed into this set, there's a lot of play value to be had. Unlike some licensed sets, the character selection even makes sense - all those people and droids were in the same scene together! You can recreate the part of the movie where the Jedi and Anakin rescue the pilots and Anakin ends up taking a fighter to inevitably save the day. You can fuel it up, climb in with the ladder, spin it around on the stand, shoot the Droidekas with the lasers (spring-loaded launchers) and more! The launchers can be fired one at a time using a little Technic construction in the bottom of the hull. The mechanism is simple but it works quite well. Overall, this is really a great set in terms of playability.
One thing I missed above is the astromech ejector. There's a Technic axle with a stud on it on the bottom of Artoo's compartment. When you push on that, it'll push him up and out, so you don't have to worry about him getting stuck in there. It's these simple little things that show the designers are really thinking.
Once it's all said and done, how does the set stack up? Should I get it?
What's to like?
- Captures the look of its on-screen counterpart
- Good selection of figures and droids
- Nice part selection
- Solid and swooshable
- Lots of play features
What's not to like?
- Rehash to the 2007 and 2011 version
- Stickers used where actual parts could have been used
- No chrome
If you missed out on this set in 2007 or 2011, now is as good of a time as any to pick it up. Containing 442 pieces and retailing for $50, it's not a bad deal at all when you consider the number of minifigures and droids it contains as well as all of the accesories and play features. I definitely am enjoying the set and think it's a worthy addition to any Star Wars fan's collection.
We greatly appreciate your taking the time to read and/or watch this review - thanks! We'd love to know what you think and to answer and questions you might have, so feel free to post those in the Talkback. Of course, you should keep checking back on BZPower for more set reviews and the latest LEGO and Bionicle news!
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