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Review: 10227 B-wing Starfighter

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Review: 10227 B-wing Starfighter

Postby Staff » Sat Sep 29, 2012 12:56 am


10227 B-wing Starfighter Review - 1


The B-wing fighter is one of the last few remaining original trilogy and one of my favorites. I don't think there are many space ships in science fiction that boasts a design where the ship revolves around the cockpit. It sounds completely off the wall and wholly unnecessary considering the size and shape of the ship that would do said revolutions. I didn't care, it was a fascinating concept with an equally fascinating design. It wasn't on screen for more than a few seconds during Return of the Jedi; it probably had the least amount of screen time compared to the other Rebel fighters. No matter, I still liked it. And I was absolutely giddy when I found out it was getting the UCS treatment. My affection, however, may have set me up for disappointment.


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I had the opportunity to do an early build and review of the ship. The build happened a few weeks ago, the time-lapse video of which I've already posted. It was not my intention to wait this long to write the review but it's almost better this way since I'm not writing during the post-build afterglow. I can really examine the ship objectively after all the excitement has faded.


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The B-wing is very symmetrical in shape, consisting of two S-foils, a central wing, engine hull, and a rotating cockpit. Being as symmetrical as it is, the build process is a little boring but thankfully you can finish the build in under three hours. You start with the main engine hull and build the top and bottom halves simultaneously. You then sandwich them together in a final step. One of the more surprising elements used for the hull were the Hero Factory fists that I tried and failed to take a picture of without having to dismantle anything. I've made a notation of it on the flickr photo page. It blends right in with the model and you'd never be able to notice it if it wasn't pointed out to you.


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After the main hull you move onto the main wing, or "blade" as some refer to it as. I'm not much of a builder but I do know enough of LEGO's part library to know that there are a few elements that to this day have never been made and should be made, one of which being a plate with studs on top and bottom. And if there is one model that would require the use of a double sided stud plate it would be this one. The main wing is built the same way as the hull, a top side and a bottom side that you attach along the leading edge using the new bracket plates and a bunch of the curved bricks. All of the connection points are along the front of the wing, with a few on the tip where the gun pod goes and a few more at the opposite edge that attaches to the engine hull. There are no connection points in the back and that is where I was afraid the separation would be most obvious. Now, if you've ever built long plate formations, you know that the plates have a tendency to curve and the main wing parts were no exception. Still, after joining the two together, they laid flat and still surprisingly, after all this time, held it's shape.


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The main weapons pod on the end of the long wing is built next. Thankfully, the weapons array isn't symmetrical which means the designers weren't being lazy and also included an element I thought I'd never see used alongside cannons and lasers: a whip. That's right, there is a minifig whip/vine element buried in there. I bring this up not because it's good or bad, just interesting. I do wish the pod was built with the studs facing the opposite way though more for aesthetic reasons than anything else. The pod is attached to the wing with a surface area equalling 2x8 studs. I kept knocking it off when manipulating the fighter for photographs. I wish there was an axle there instead for more strength and stability.


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After the main wing is done, it's time to move onto the S-foils. You build each S-foil separately. Since they are mirror copies of the other, it's possible to build both simultaneously if you're good at that sort of thing but it's such a short build you wouldn't be really gaining that much time. Nothing else noteworthy here but there are a few issues. One is, when not deployed, they don't lie flat against the main wing. I'm not sure if this is accurate to the movie model or not, but there is a noticeable gap between the S-foils and the main wing. The other is that the wings are one sided, meaning that when deployed you see the underside of the plates that detracts from the overall appearance. This normally isn't an issue except that the B-wing is meant to be displayed with the S-foils deployed, so seeing the underside doesn't take any effort. It's just there, staring back at you. This would have been a perfect opportunity to include a loads of the new upside down tiles to tile over the underside to make it nice and smooth. Lastly, as I was deploying the S-foil, the click hinge plates that serves as the axis of rotation kept lifting away from the main wing.


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After the S-foils it's time for the cockpit, or what I like to call The-Thing-I-Thought-I'd-Love-But-Hate-Instead. Where do I begin? Okay, how about the most obvious where the canopy doesn't even open. The canopy piece is held down by a jointed series of plates that curve around the top near the back. It doesn't even anchor down to any studs. That last part isn't really an issue, but with no way of opening the cockpit, you can't even place an undersized minifig B-wing pilot or Ten Nunb into the seat, which is what everyone is going to want to do, including yours truly. Why bother even building a seat and cockpit controls in the first place? It's aggravating.


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When I first saw pictures of the UCS set, the first thing I noticed was the cockpit. In all previous UCS sets, the starfighter body shapes are easily recreated in LEGO form, but it's always the canopy that comes under the most scrutiny mainly because they have such unique shapes that they would almost always require new moulded parts. The X-wing's canopy had a unique mould, which to this day has never been re-used. The UCS Snowspeeder canopy was built from several smaller ones and worked quite well. The B-wing set managed to capture the bullet shape of the cockpit pretty well but the canopy is undersized. LEGO did what they could to bulk it up by having an oversized frame. It may be somewhat passable in its appearance but the execution leaves a lot to be desired.


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The rotating mechanism does work but it just doesn't rotate very smoothly. Like LEGO's previous incarnations of the B-wing, the cockpit relies on gravity to keep it oriented right side up. And they actually worked for the most part. Either that or my memory is being a little more forgiving. The UCS version does also use gravity, but the rotating action was hampered by the friction of ABS rubbing against each other. There might be a way to separate the planes of contact to remove the friction variable altogether, but the rear of the cockpit pod was so delicate, I didn't bother investigating as it would have just frustrated me for more .


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I can't really describe how delicate the rear is. It just seemed to fall apart every time I handled it. The individual wedges clip onto the modified plate with frame, and that whole assembly attaches to 2x2 stud area. There is a bar that extends partially through the assembly that if it went through to the base, would actually provide a much stronger connection. It may be possible to modify it so that it can extend through but at first glance I didn't see any obvious way to do it.


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Once everything is put together, you build the requisite stand and even that didn't work very well. The fighter is supposed to be displayed at an angle with the S-foils locked. There is no way to display it on the stand when in flight mode, just attack mode. Say what you will about 6208's stand, but I loved it and that thing worked really well. There was no way that a similar stand would have worked for this model though. It would have been too top heavy and impractical to display vertically. You could remove the stand entirely but the ship doesn't lay flat when placed on a surface. It tips back slightly. And there's no landing gear either to help stabilize when alit.


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While on the stand, the long end tends to come really close to the ground almost touching it. You could change the resting point however to raise the gun pod which I did for awhile. Then I thought I had built the brace wrong so looked over the instructions and it was built correctly. I rebuilt the brace anyway and it seems to display it much better, even if it seemed a little heavier on one side than other. Still, the ship stayed in place, floats above the surface and gives the illusion of flight more satisfactorily. That is one mod I can recommend.


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The stand pretty much determines how the B-wing is supposed to be displayed: with the cockpit on the left side. I do wish it allowed for more options though to give the user the choice on how to display it but they'd have to include another orange circle sticker since you only get three and there are four points where they should go. And if they only included three stickers because they intended to display only one side of the ship, why even bother building the bottom half of the wing? Aside from that, this is probably one set that could have benefitted from a few more stickers to add some details to an otherwise bland grey model.


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Since some time has passed between the initial build and the time I photographed it, there are some quality issues that detract from the set. Remember that curving issue on the two halves of the main wing that I was worried about? Well the main wing is fine, but there are other points where the two-halves approach aren't working quite so well. There are points of separation that no matter how much I try to rebuild or press together they will not reconnect. Also, the wing and S-foils assembly is so heavy, that it sometimes separates from the hull depending on how its held. I even found it separated after sitting on the stand for a time.

All nitpicking aside and taking the final model as a whole piece into consideration, I ask myself what is my overall impression of the set. Thumbs up or thumbs down? While the build process itself is a thumbs up for its brevity, I'd have to say thumbs down for the final product. UCS sets aren't meant to be swooshable and instead should be considered large scale models for display only and I totally get that. At first glance, it's as detailed as a flying wing can get and captures the look and feel of the original ship quite successfully. Look a little closer and you'll notice the separating seams, a canopy that you can't even open, and a display stand that has the gun pod touching the surface. And if you're lucky, your wing assembly won't separate from the engine hull on its own like mine has a tendency to do. If you can look past those points, by all means, pick up this set; you absolutely won't regret it. It still makes a nice display piece and in that department it does not disappoint as long as you don't look too closely at the details. For this builder, however, it's those details that really bother. Every time I see the separating halves, it serves as a reminder as to what is wrong with the ship. And I can't help but feel that this set was not ready for prime time and needed to address a few structural issues before going into production. I'll keep it up on display for awhile but it would be first in line to get dismantled if I need space or some parts from it.

There are 96 pictures in the set. I won't load up the thumbnails here like I normally would. Instead, I'll just provide a link to the 10227 B-wing Starfighter flickr set. You'll have to excuse my lack of a professional, clean white background. Getting the house ready for the new baby tends to shifts things like backdrops to places you can't for the life of you remember where.

The set goes on sale on October 1, 2012 at LEGO Shop@Home for $199.99.




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Re: Review: 10227 B-wing Starfighter

Postby SapphirePhoenix » Sat Sep 29, 2012 10:42 am

interesting... :D Still pretty cool, but I don't wanna spend that much money. ;0)
Still, cool! :D
SHTILL WAITING FOR MORE HOBBIT SET PICS! :D
Oct. 11 i hope. :)
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Re: Review: 10227 B-wing Starfighter

Postby DarthBuilder » Sun Sep 30, 2012 5:11 pm

Still looking forward to this set, for me it's just to unique to not add to the collection. Price has always been the first complaint from anyone about any new set. I look at it and think the holidays are coming, someone else will have some holiday cheer and perhaps some of us could find a nicely wrapped set under the tree. At least a gift card to help with the shock at the register. Hey thanks for taking the time to not only write a review but also have time for the stop motion video. Time. I remember it, had some of it but most of it is gone now. Two kids will do that. Congrats on the new addition.
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Re: Review: 10227 B-wing Starfighter

Postby manfromporlock » Mon Oct 01, 2012 9:04 am

Thanks for the review. I was really wishy-washy about this one after I saw the set and some of the early descriptions of the build. In my mind, a 3 hour build for a UCS set is too short, but that may just be a personal preference. Looks like this is one I'm skipping. Thanks for all the detail! It really helped make the decision.
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Re: Review: 10227 B-wing Starfighter

Postby Stefan » Tue Oct 02, 2012 2:00 am

Thanks for the review!
I did notice the Hero Factory fist back when the first pics of the B-Wing were released. Official NPU!
The most interesting part is the new plate with studs on top and bottom, did you take any pictures of these?
Image
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Re: Review: 10227 B-wing Starfighter

Postby fallenangel327 » Tue Oct 02, 2012 6:00 pm

Studs on top and bottom? I don't recall ever seeing such pieces in the instructions. Some of the 1x2x1 brackets looked new to me, but that may only be because I haven't bought any sets in a while.
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Re: Review: 10227 B-wing Starfighter

Postby Stefan » Wed Oct 03, 2012 7:10 am

I got the article wrong. It said that such a part should be made and would be perfect for building the wing structure.
Image
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Re: Review: 10227 B-wing Starfighter

Postby Haderach1976 » Wed Oct 03, 2012 10:25 am

Thank you for the wonderful review (and video). I have yet to see it in person, but I personally love the look of this model from the many pictures I've seen. I'm very disappointed with the stability of the model though. It will definitely be going into my collection though, particularly since I missed so many of the early UCS sets from the OT. Love the site!
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Re: Review: 10227 B-wing Starfighter

Postby mortesv » Thu Oct 04, 2012 7:01 am

Having built this set myself, I feel that there are important details missing from this review.

First off, when comparing this UCS Lego interpretation of the B-wing with the various studio models, it is apparent that the designer has really nailed almost all of the details of the "real thing". And yes the cockpit isnt perfect, but is it not worse than the UCS snowspeeder cockpit which get pointed out in the review (comparing that to the film model reveals proportions and angles are way off and it is even missing two entire window frames).

Being a obsessive modder of UCS models (I have modded them all - also this one) I usually compare them with the source material. My conclusion regarding the look of the 10227 is that while not 100% perfect it is one best UCS interpretations ever made.

It should be noted that I don't have an affinity of putting minifigs in models not built to scale, so I would not take that as a detriment to this model.

I respect the reviewer's opinion, but I feel it necessary to point out that as a sucker for details I'm giving this model two big thumbs up.
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Re: Review: 10227 B-wing Starfighter

Postby onions » Fri Oct 05, 2012 10:14 am

i agree about accuracy, it's the build quality that ruins it for me though.

and i'm still sticking to my point about the cockpit. it felt like the designers got lazy when it came to designing the cockpit pod. you should be able to open the canopy at least with or without the intention of putting a minifig in it.
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Re: Review: 10227 B-wing Starfighter

Postby Haderach1976 » Fri Oct 05, 2012 2:06 pm

Hello again, while I don't own this model yet, I've watched all the recent reviews that are popping up on YouTube. Their models look rock solid. I'm curious if the author of this review has watched any of those videos and perhaps feels his model differs from some of the others seen in these videos with respect to stability? Also, any chance we can get a picture of the separation you describe? Once again, thank you for a great review with many detailed shots. I can't wait to get mine soon, I think it's simply gorgeous and can't wait to add it to my display area!
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Re: Review: 10227 B-wing Starfighter

Postby DarthBuilder » Sat Oct 06, 2012 3:03 pm

So I built this set last night and have to say is yes the backside of the cockpit is extremely fragile. I can easily over look the fragility seeing as how it will sit on a shelf. I too can see where parts "could" separate over time but I have seen seperation in other more expensive sets like the bottom of the UCS Imperial shuttle.

With everything that was said by the reviewer and others here I will only offer my opinion and not another review. For me bottom line, this is a pretty good set. When built this thing is cool as hell to look at. YES it could be cheaper but so could EVERY set LEGO releases :D
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Re: Review: 10227 B-wing Starfighter

Postby mortesv » Sat Oct 06, 2012 4:18 pm

Regarding opening the canopy, I must just point out that in terms of accuracy the "real" B-wing canopy does not open :)

For me a display model is first and foremost about accuracy, and so far stability haven't bugged me - in fact I even find the model very swooshable - although the wings can break off when opening and closing them too fast ;)

But I guess we simply have different opinions, I would recommend this ship to any collector (maybe I should write a review... ;) )
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Re: Review: 10227 B-wing Starfighter

Postby MisterFubar » Mon Oct 08, 2012 12:50 pm

Just finished putting mine together. Between buying one at the LEGO store with a dented box and using some VIP points I basically walked out the door with it for nothing. XD

Very enjoyable build, although I'm real disappointed that they number the bags for the UCS sets now. Part of the fun and challenge used to be sorting or digging through the giant pile of parts. With the numbered bags I was able to knock out the build in about an hour. Oh well, I guess if it bugged me that much I could have just dumped all the bags in a pile.

The B-Wing has always been one of my favorite ships and this is an excellent representation of it. I really have no complaints about the set and would still have been happy with it if I paid full price. Now I just need to figure out what sets are going to get dismantled to make room to display it. I'm seriously thinking it might be time to start selling off some sets.
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Re: Review: 10227 B-wing Starfighter

Postby Aeroeza » Tue Oct 16, 2012 7:50 am

Shouldn't a review providing criticism of a UCS be focused primarily on its accuracy? How entertaining the build may be or whether the cockpit opens or not is rather secondary especially given this is a model.

Remember, the point of this set is to get as close to original B-Wing design as possible, solve Lego feats of engineering intriguingly along the way and do so within a reasonable and marketable number and type of bricks. If it succeeds here then surely we have a good build for the collectors?

On the surface 10227 appears to hit such stated marks so non UCS collectors beware! Model may be fragile, have no play features and be minus a minifig...

Target consumer rejoice! XD

Admittedly I have yet to build it (mine's in the post) so I can only speculate as to whether 10227's 'stability' issues are really worth noting as problematic (especially given it is a set designed for display purposes only). I do like the modifications our erstwhile reviewer has made to the stand and I certainly feel a second stand, designed for the fighter with its S-Foils closed should have been considered for inclusion. Blue trim instead of grey would also have been nice.

Other observations of 10227 in this review appear to be more 'comment' in nature than actual 'criticism', but don't get me wrong, I do thank you for sharing your opinions, a fantastic MOD and also some great images! :)
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Re: Review: 10227 B-wing Starfighter

Postby lowlead » Sat Nov 03, 2012 1:12 pm

Great review, thanks!

In short, I ordered this at full retail without the aid of VIP points and the set still rocks, if you ask me.

The separation of the two halves is there, but so minor that it's way off my radar as something annoying. When I pick up the finished model it feels solid, and it has a LOT of presence on display. The build itself was very intriguing, but on the short side (made shorter because I build all the mirrored sections concurrently).

With regard to the display stand, I would think one would want the gun pod to touch the surface - it relieves the model of having to support the weight of its own main wing and will drastically reduce, if not completely eliminate, inevitable sagging that is common with such a long, cantilever structure made of LEGO.

10227 on display

Reading a lot of reviews had me a bit skeptical, but once you behold the finished product, it's a fantastic model. Buy.
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Re: Review: 10227 B-wing Starfighter

Postby fallenangel327 » Thu Dec 06, 2012 10:26 pm

Who here remembers back when The LEGO Group had a section on their website for Star Wars creations (related to "Build the Story", if I recall correctly)? I can't find it, but I'm sure that among the featured creations there was a large model of a B-wing that was described as having been built by a staff member. It's occurred to me that the model may have served as the prototype for this, or at least the inspiration, all those years ago...
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Re: Review: 10227 B-wing Starfighter

Postby onions » Fri Dec 07, 2012 3:55 pm

@Aeroeza: I totally get that the model is for display purposes only and that it doesn't have much play value, but i don't think the experience of building the set and handling it should be completely ignored either for precisely those reasons. Building it is the only experience you'll have with the set and for $200, it should be enjoyable, and if possible give the builder a few 'aha' moments when a particular technique is used. the final product should be a culmination of the build and provide a sense of accomplishment. Pepper the build experience with points of annoyance, and in the end you'll be left with a much different feeling.

But hey that's just me. I realize not everyone's going to care about the build and just want to finish the model and say 'hey that's cool and i built it!' others may not be as jaded as i am and that's fine. i'm not going to tell someone that they should focus more at the model's flaws instead of being happy.

i have to wonder how much the price of a set influences a person's point of view. people naturally don't like to admit they made a mistake in a bad investment. i'm sure we've all had that moment before when something isn't as great as the price tag purports it to be.

re: the weapons array touching the table. perhaps you're right in that it was designed that way to alleviate the weight. Though the way the main wing is built, i doubt it time+gravity would have much of a bowing effect on it anyway; i'm more concerned about the connection point between the wing assembly and the main hull. technic pins are loose on mine and they still separate every now and then and it doesn't feel like there's enough weight put on the gunpod to distribute away from the stand points.

i'm glad people find the set enjoyable but i still stand by my review.
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Re: Review: 10227 B-wing Starfighter

Postby onions » Fri Dec 07, 2012 3:59 pm

if i had the time, parts, and the talent, i'd build a stand that had four prongs that you plug into a redesigned engine pod of the b-wing that would allow the model to rotate and be displayed in any direction. horizontal, flat, wings folded or deployed, and anything in between.

also, one more note about the gunpod resting on the table, i think that's a cheat. the attachment points on my gunpod don't seem to have much clutch, and if the designers knew this and purposefully designed the stand to rest the pod on the table, then that's an even bigger cheat.
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