Lego's first series of miniature Star Wars sets proved to be very popuar, offering fans their favorite ships at a very affordable price, with a fun little bit of collecting enthusiasm built in.
Eschewing their long-running Minifig scale for the first time, Lego gave us small, easy to assemble sets that still caputured the look and feel of the Star Wars universe. While the first series were all two-packs of small vehicles, the newest offerings are larger ships packaged alone. With four new sets, we again get ships from four different films.
The sets still come in those wonderfully imagined clamshells that have a nice sense of design while still protecting and storing your bricks. The right edge curves away, and the shape of a standard eight-bump Lego brick is rising forth. Not only does this look cool (and function well; the "brick" on the package is entirely compatible with the real things), but it also allows the boxes to stack horizontally without the curved edge causing them to topple.
The graphic elements are printed on a carboard insert which folds perfectly into the box. Inside that sleeve, the Legos are bagged just like any other set. The clamshell is hinged at the bottom, and careful design assures that the box shuts tightly. You can tell a lot of work went into this packaging, and it really looks nice.
She's the fastest hunk of junk in the galaxy, piloted by a scruffy-looking nerfherder and his best friend in the universe, a violent, smelly ape. It's science fiction gold! The Millenium Falcon has been through a lot (and a lot of owners, too) in her days as a smuggling ship, but now she can fly in your fleet, ready to ride in at the last minute to save the day. The Falcon, measuring 3 3/4" in diameter, is built from 87 pieces. Everything is here, from the roof-mounted guns to the offset cockpit, from the unwieldy radar dish to the blue afterburners. Painted details provide everything from scorch marks and panels to padded docking ports, though it would have been nice if the distinctive windshield had been represented by something other than a plain gray block.
Any army needs a way to deliver large numbers of troops to where the fighting is, even an army comprised entirely of robots. Drifting across the fields of Naboo near the end of the The Phantom Menace, the Battle Droids' MTT is a hulking brown engine of destruction. Actually, "engine" is right: the ship bears a stylistic resemblance to a locomotive's steam engine, with its tubular body leading into a more square block. There are even pistons and a cow catcher re-created in the ship's retro-future tech. At 6" long, the MTT is built from 99 pieces. Sadly, there are no telescoping arms to deposit origami androids on the battlefield.
Lumbering across the ice fields of Hoth, the Empire's massive AT-AT moves inexorably toward the tiny rebel base. A four-legged mechanical beast of burden, the miniature Lego AT-AT stands 3 1/2" tall and is built from 98 pieces. There are ratchet joints in the legs that allow the "knees" to bend, and a point of rotation at the neck. The Legos perfectly capture the sloped look of the transport's hull, though it is, sadly, still a little on the small side. Still, this set looks great paired up with the Snow Speeder and AT-ST from the first series.
In the time before the Republic became an Empire, in the early days of the Clone Wars, the Republic Gunship was the heavy mobile artillery that protected the troops. You can re-create its distinctive swept-back design using the 102 pieces included with this set. Those weird side-mounted gun pods are here, as are the various guns that dot its hull. There are even two pieces representing the sliding entry hatches on the side of the ship. The wings balance freely on a shared pivot, and that extended double cockpit has an opening canopy.
Included with each set are a few extra blocks. Purchase all four, and you can build the recognizable Y-Wing fighter to join your epic space battles. You build the ship in sections - the front and rear of the body and those unmistakable twin engines - and assemble it when you have all four ready. The detailing on this is just as good as any of the "regular" sets, from its triangular nose to the tiny R2 unit riding shotgun.
While the Star Wars Mini line is not perfect, and there are still a few scale issues, the line is looking healthy. The smaller size opens the door to many elements which were previously ludicrous. While a full-scale Death Star is still outside the realm of possibility, a detailed trench is now an achievable goal - one, in fact, that came to be when Lego ran a charity auction for a custom-built Death Star dogfight set. I don't know how many more instantly recognizable ships could be built in this small scale, but I'm going to be there to enjoy them when they are.
What Star Wars vehicles or sets do you want to see Mini-sized? Tell us on our message board, the Loafing Lounge.