Arguably the most controversial of 2011's Star Wars sets, the Advent Calendar has seen more than it's fair share of nerd rage since it's launch earlier this year. Due to the nature of the set I'm going to do this one a little differently. You get the first half of the countdown today and then I'll do the last half daily as kind of a 12 days of Christmas/countdown thing. Capiche? So is this set worth the hard earned coin spent on it to countdown the days until you get your real presents?
(Spoiler Alert: You're getting coal you naughty geeks)
I'd have to say this is a good way to start this countdown, it's a tight little model that pretty accurately portrays the ship in this micro-scale. If I had to make a complaint, (and I think we all know I do) it would be that the tap used to simulate the dish/array isn't red. That would have made this perfect, but overall it's a fun little start to December.
Continuing with the Phantom Menace/Clone Wars theme is mister charming himself, Nute. This is an ugly fig. Don't get me wrong it's well done, but Nute is not in the "attractive" catagory of the Star Wars universe. Exclusive to the 8036 Seperatist Shuttle set until now, I hadn't had this guy and that's basically because I thought that set was a bit of a pig. While it seemingly may not be a great fig for kids, I think you'd be surprised how excited younglings can get over an ugly little piece of plastic. Verdict: I like him, he reminds me of the Space Pope.
I'll be honest, even having Nute standing by in wait I had no idea what this was. After I realized what it was I felt it was a bit of a missed opportunity. They should have included either a trans-blue panel or a 1x1 round brick with a Darth Sidious print on it to show exactly how pimped-out Nute's fancy people mover really was. Not the most acurate, but I just pretend it's his robo-dog and that amuses me.
Overall a nice little build. I liked the parts assortment and was impressed by the simple SNOT technique used to give it upper and lower guns. I have a whole sandwich bag full of bley lightsabers I picked up for a song (they were given to me as a bribe to stop singing "Milkshake" by Kelis and dancing provocatively) and I still get excited when I get a few extra of these bits. Also, you can never have enough of those pneumatic T's. Am I right?!
I have a Boba Fetish, so Slave I is instantly my favourite Star Wars ship. I know it's a cliche but I just can't help myself and this little ship doesn't disappoint. It's a good little assortment of parts and even though it's not really accurate, it's a helluva good representation in this scale. Six days in and we got Slave I, well I can see where this one's going. Prepare yourself to greet the galaxy's greatest bounty hunter...
Aw crap. Well that may have been a disappointment fo me, but I guess I can see the logic in this little daisy chain. The crew of the Millenium Falcon had more bounty hunters after then then you could shake a blaster at. Same old Chewie we've seen since the the License began and I think it's about time for an upgrade. They did such a great job with the new Watto figure, I'd even be happy with a rubber sculpt.
It bothers me that he can't lift his arms up in the air due to his big hairy shoulders. What good is a Wookiee who can't throw his hands up in a war cry? A least he's still a bit of an exclusive having only been in five sets and only one under $50 US.
I know a rack when I see one and this is more of a tool bucket, which in concept fits Chewbacca to a tee. I'm glad to see Chewie getting a place to hang his cross/bowcaster and am always pleased to get another dark bley barrel, but this to me is the first of the "filler" days. There's always a couple, so let's not dwell on it.
I'm told this fellow is Zev Senesca and I also heard it was Dack Ralter, but really it doesn't matter who he is because they all look alike anyway.
He's got a printed back, but no printing on the helmet and there's one other thing I know about him for sure. He IS NOT impressed.
I have to admit that I'm very impressed by the shaping and amount of detail packed into this micro model of such an iconic ship. The part selection is perfect and I can't think of anything that would make this liitle fighter any better. I suppose you could switch out the 1x1 blue round stud with blue lever base, but i'm not even convinced that would improve this one. I believe this stands up against the larger mini versions for detail and have to give it up to LEGO on this one. Well played.
After the stand out X-wing, I couldn't help but be disappointed in this one. It's not the size or the shape specifically, it's just the overall look that really doesn't fly for me. it's probably the best they could do give the number of pieces they were give, but I just feel there's something here that throws the whole deal off. Maybe it's the trans blue tile that's supposed to be the engine, but takes up the entire back half of the body. I'm just not sure. I will say that it works exactly the way it's supposed to, so kudos on the functionality.
If there's a minifigure in this selection that would qualify as "filler" this is it. I feel like they should include two Battle Droids for every minifigure they're meant to represent in each set and this set is no different. The printed body is fairly rare in the multitude of droid bodies available, but otherwise he's as basic as it gets. You do get two of each arm though, so you can have him with whatever look tickles you. It's important to note that the description is "with Gun" because it's the only fig that comes with an accessory, though it's odd they chose a pilot to get that distiction.
I'd forgotten how much I enjoyed having them hold their gun sideways since they made the straight arm. Holding it that way when they could hold it properly is very gangsta in my book. Jar Jar level gangsta.
They pretty much nailed the basic shaping of this one without getting into the different angles of the body. I don't think even the most heavily armoured, battle tested AT-AT would be able to hold off an attack against those two huge guns though. Ka-Pow!
Everybody loves an astromech droid and this guy is a beauty. Sure he was working for the wrong team, but nobody's perfect! Before this he was only available in rather expensive sets, like the 6211 Imperial Star Destroyer and the 10188 Death Star. I love this one, I had no idea it was in this calendar and it was a nice surprise. There's just something about an off colour droid that looks slick and Q5 is a perfect example of that. Also, I've discovered I really like taking pictures of droids...
Filler Alert! What am I supposed to say? It's a toaster on wheels. I'm not trying to poodoo all over this droid, but it's not supposed to even come up to someone's knee much less their waist. It's pretty impossible to scale this thing to a minifigure and ends up making it more of an imperial K-9 then a mouse. Its saving grace would be its exclusivity, coming in only the expensive sets I mentioned yesterday. Unfortunately it's not really exclusive if you can build it with left over extra bits from other sets.
Building this one I figured it would end up like Day 9's Imperial Shuttle, but it turned out to be another accurate micro scale creation. The shaping is great and I really like how they dealt with the dark red paint job running down the front slope and the double bubble cockpits. I can't help but think that this micro is actually Wall-e dressed up in his Star Wars Halloween costume.
I'm starting to see a pattern forming here. Pilot Droid, Rebel Pilot, co-pilot of what is arguably one of the best known ships in the history of science fiction and now a Clone Pilot. There have been several clone pilots to choose from, so I'm not sure why this is the one they went with. Perhaps including it the day after the gunship was a way of apologizing for not including an actual pilot in the 7676 Republic Attack Gunship set. Either way it's another fig I didn't have and we could complain about the multitude of different troopers they could have included until the banthas come home, but I think the theme they were going for has become clear at this point.
They say home is where you hang your gun. Well maybe it's just my Mom that says that, but never the less this is the day our Clone Pilot gets his gear. They gave the droid pilot his weapons, you didn't expect they'd leave our poor clone unarmed did you? Another filler day touches down and spoils some possible future figs. TWO guns, a set of space binoculars and what's this? A green lightsaber. I wonder who that could belong to...
Well our Rebel Pilot has his choice of ships now. It's like the 'show us your rides' portion of Cribs up in here! Star Wars Style. Seriously though this isn't just anybodys Y-wing, it's Anakin's Clone Wars era long range bomber done up in its brand spanking new yellow and white colour scheme. By the time the rebels got their hands on these, they'd been through more than their fair share of used starfighter lots to be sure. In all honesty, I can't tell whether this is OT or CW due to the tiny scale and not enough yellow here/too much there colouring. If this is supposed to be Anakin's it needs work, if it's not it still needs work. One thing's certain though, it's a Y-wing. 'Nuff said.
Another pilot, what a shock. Still a TIE Pilot is a nice addition to this rag tag group of flying aces and their soaring ladies and it explains the extra blaster better than the clone trooper's gung-ho two fisting mentality. Just think about how many of these guys must have been stationed on the Death Star alone! I know the statistic is out there, probably on Wookieepedia or something and no I'm not going to look it up. I have a life too you know! You think I just sit around all day, googling things and complaining about them on the internet. Well I don't, not all day at least. I do other stuff too, I wrote a poem once and it was pretty good. Not great, but it rhymed and everything.
I also enjoy rock climbing, so back off.
WTH is this? Wow, I would like to take this opportunity to apologize to any of this calendar's previous entries I may have spoken negatively about. I'm looking at you Imperial Shuttle and Mouse Droid, I'm sorry. In keeping with the festive nature I will give it this: If we were playing a game of Creationary and you had to build a TIE Fighter using as few pieces as possible while keeping it recognizable, I would applaud you if you came up with this. Otherwise the designer of this has earned only my scorn and ridicule. When I think about all the extra little bits that were left over up until this point it seriously ticks me off. In case you're wondering I shot the "model" in such a way to show how truly miniscule it really is. I'm still shaking my fist at it even now. For shame!
"She may not look like much but she's got it where it counts, kid." Well this could have gone either way I suppose and in my opinion it's got better shaping and proportions then the 4488 Millenium Falcon mini released back in 2003. The saving grace of that little set was the awesome printed dish that crowned the Falcon and made her a true must-have mini. I'll tell you this, a printed 3x3 would have put this little niblet through the roof and I'd bet would've changed quite a few minds on the value of this set. Keep that in mind for next year LEGO. This old girl could use a few special modifications, but I wouldn't call her a piece of junk at least.
Call the Rebel Pilot again, he's been a very good boy this year. Another tiny model pulled off rather well with a ridiculously low part count. I'll have to put it into the same catagory as the Imperial Shuttle though, while the rear fins are a clever solution the rest is just not doing it for me. A for effort and let's see what the last two days bring us.
Christmas is almost here and O tannenbaum has arrived to spruce up the joint. See what I did there? I've had three different LEGO Advent Calendars now and each one seemed to go out of its way to come up with a different tree design. That's not a complaint, but this is definitely the Charlie Brown tree of the bunch. I'm just going to pretend that it's some kind of space tree or something. Well we have the the guests, the tree and a sack full of cheaply made Star Wars toys to put under it. There's only one thing missing from this little Star Wars Holiday Special theme party and it's...
Here's the jolly old elf himself, Santa Yoda. His picture's on the box so this is no real surprise, but I love this little guy anyway. I know there have been a lot of detractor's putting him down, but face it he's pretty darn cute. At this point he should be FBTB's holiday mascot. As cool as he may or may not be, does he or any of the other days on this calendar pull enough weight to make this set worth what we paid for it? Let's take one last look.
What I liked: Santa Yoda is my clear favourite, but I only had two other figs in the entire assortment to my recollection. That along with two or three stand-out models made almost half of the days winners in my book. Also, because each day is basically a set of it's own you end up with a fair amount of extra bits. Though I believe they should have been used to beef up a couple of the models.
What I Didn't Like: That craptastic TIE fighter still makes me cringe. The Mouse Droid was lame and the A-wing and Imperial Shuttle just didn't make the cut.
Verdict: Buy it. It's Christmas Eve people! If this thing is still on the shelves, it's probably heavily discounted or likely will be on the 27th (or 26th, depending on where you live). The value is only going to go up if you're a collector and if you're not but you have kids, there's a better than fair chance they'll enjoy using it to countdown the days next year. The models are either fun, easy to build or both and even the crappiest of all the figs is fairly rare. I bought one for my son this year and put it away, he just turned 4 so the City calendar with it's lackluster cops n' robbers theme was more than enough to impress him. In a couple of years though his fandom of everything Wars will be hitting it's apex and who's going to be father of the year whether there's a SW advent available that year or not? This Guy!