I'm not sure which ship can really claim the crown of most rehashes, but one just sort of assumes it's either the Jedi Starfighter or the Jedi Interceptor (Eta-2, something I know thanks to the now deceased Star Wars Galaxies). Yes, I know a few seconds on Brickset could tell me that the JSF has had six (really, six?) and the JSI has only had four-ish (the Yellow Anakin's Starfighter was released twice), but that's not really as much fun.
This is the first of the Eta-2 ships we've seen since 2007, when the Blue version was released with the Hyperdrive ring. Before that, in 2005, we had the Anakin's yellow ship (torn apart by buzzer droids at the start of RotS), which was also available in 7283 - Ultimate Space Battle, the only set to feature Obi-Wans version in red. And while I'd love to do a comparison... I never purchased 7283, and the rest of mine are all packed up in the midst of the baby-prep, so we're handling this one alone.
I've got a soft-spot for simple starfighter sets like these, because I think starfighters (OT and PT) are the best sort of "toy" that gets released in the Star Wars line. They're a simple little ship that's always a semi-challenging build, and usually look pretty nice sitting on a shelf, or better getting swooshed around. So how does this one stack up to the plethora of JSFs we've seen lately, and even the older interceptors?
Honestly? It's probably the worst of the Interceptors, but even the worst of these is better than most of the Starfighters. You have to ignore a few things that I'll talk about later, but the worst part of all on this set is the price... $40 US, $50 in Canada, and who knows how much in other locales.
I know we're beating a dead horse (or at this point, beating the pile of good where the dead horse used to be until we beat it too much), but LEGO Star Wars, and LEGO in general, has seen a lot of its value erode away. I've talked about this before in some of my other reviews, but it's just frustrating dropping $40 (in the US... more in other countries) and opening a box to see a few hundred pieces in a couple of bags.
Like most sets released in the last few years, it's easy to call this set a glorified battle pack, since we get five figures in this thing. The important thing to realize is that these are actual "movie" figures, and not using the Clone Wars demon faces. So, pretty much everything about these is new or somewhat new. First up, the most obvious one, we get Anakin, since it is his ship.
Technically, he would be "Darth Vader" at this point, but it's never really made clear what happens to the old name with Sith go all Sith-y. Like a lot of figs as of late, he's got an alt-face, and it's interesting print. It's a good hybrid between the Anakin of old and the more "corrupt" face of the Sith. Though it really sort of begs the question if anyone that turns to the dark side owns a mirror.
It's interesting looking at the comparison between the old Episode 3 Anakin, this new one, and the Clone Wars version. The newer faces have certainly become more cartoony, and Anakin's most of all. Apparently, the Dark Side leads us to Clone Wars faces. All kinds of makes sense now, doesn't it?
Since this is a Jedi ship, we also get an astromech. And since it's Anakin's, we get R2-D2. There's nothing at all wrong with that, I can always use more R2s. Nothing flashy or special about him, it's the same version that came with the Death Star Playset (and several other sets since then). I like the silver in the old head more, but have to admit the printing on this one is better.
In a lot of ways, this set is a successor to the absolutely terrible Ultimate Lightsaber Duel set that was released back in 2005 with the first wave of Episode 3. While some people may like it, back then, it was considered the worst of the Star Wars line. It had two Light-Up Lightsaber (LULS) figures and a big arena instead of anything closely resembling the scene in the movie. You know, looking at the thing, it's probably still the worst Star Wars set.
That being said, since this is a spiritual successor to that set, we get Obi-Wan in the set as well, since he was part of the climactic duel. And he's got an alt face like Anakin (also, his angry face does look kind of Chuck Norris-ish).
While not as pronounced as Anakin, Obi-Wan's face gets a big upgrade as well. I'm not sure how I feel about these new, detailed faces. I liked them in last years sets, but these seem to be even closer to Clone Wars than the stuff we saw in the Episode I sets.
As a glorified Battle Pack, this set has to include a couple of extra figures that may or may not be related to the set itself. Okay, it is a little, since it includes a brand new Nute Gunray, the guy Anakin went to Mustifar to kill (one of them, anyway). He gets a drastic makeover from the Clone Wars variety, what with the different hair color, hat color and dress. The printing on the dress is somewhat skewed, and it feels just wrong when you look at it.
Last, we get a security battle droid, which is just a battle droid, but in red. I honestly didn't even remember he was in the set at first, until I looked at the box and Shop@Home and saw it. Nothing special, like so many other battle droids we've had lately.
Outside of the ship, we get two of the Mustafar mining robots, which were featured in several gripping scenes of Anakin and Obi Wan glaring at each other. They're simple, but effective, and set up the battle nice enough. Not to mention some trans clear 2x2 clear round blocks.
As for the ship itself, it's not all that much different from earlier incarnations, other than the normal procedural updates. Quick glances show a couple of annoying features, like the pylons (or wings, whatever they are) being grey instead of dark green, and worse than that, it has no landing gear. Stickers on both side
Personally, I like the blasters on this one better than other starfighters. Each iteration has improved them, from the bars in the first one to these technic parts and lightsaber weapons we get in newer ones. But the biggest problems is that this version doesn't have landing gear, so you can only deploy the pylons on the top and bottom when you're holding it up.
What this version does try to do is address the whole "astromech jumping out of a thin little wing" problem from the movie. The terrible little landing gear stand-ins leave an alcove to drop R2 into. On the other side, you get flick-fires, but here, we get a stool for everyone's favorite astromech.
The cockpit itself is the same old model, but it's gotten a technic pin system that is... well, simply, worthless. It's so flimsy that if you have the cockpit and even look at it even a little funny the cockpit glass comes crashing down. On the back, we're just treated to a little stud instead of the old dish to cover it, and the engines are just afterthoughts.
The entire thing comes down to the same problem with all of the PT ships... they're just not all that memorable. This is an interesting little ship, to a point, because of the compact build, but once you put it down, you just forget it. All of the OT ships have something memorable to them; you remember the X-Wing, Y-Wing, B-Wing, and even the A-Wing. You remember the TIE series. These... not so much.
In the end, we're given an okay ship at a not okay price, with some good figures.
What I liked:
- Decent build
- Good representation of the ship
- Better than the sets it's the spiritual successor for
- Finally finds a place to put R2 without ditching his body
What i didn't Like:
- Way to expensive for what you get
- Pylons aren't the right color
- Lack of landing gear hurts the set
- Faces are starting to look too cartoony
Verdict: Buy it on sale if you like it, it's not worth it otherwise
Buy 9494 Anakin's Jedi Interceptor: