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Review: 9497 Republic Striker-class Starfighter

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Review: 9497 Republic Striker-class Starfighter

Postby Staff » Thu Oct 18, 2012 8:36 am



Rounding out the Star Wars: The Old Republic releases for 2012, we get the Republic Strike Fighter... which I don't remember in the game. How do you write a review for a ship that you don't recall ever really seeing in a game you played a lot? Unlike the Sith Fury, the Striker was just the little blips you shot down during space missions as Sith (I think... it went fast), not the ship that players end up with.

I've played some Republic characters, but only gotten into the mid-20s, and never did the space missions. After breaking my rule about never wandering to Wookiepedia, one of the websites where you can smell the obsession through the screen, it turns out this thing didn't even show up in The Old Republic explicitly, it was from KoToR (and unnamed in the game). So yeah, I kind of question why it was included in the inaugural line of TOR sets.

Like the Sith Fury, it's pretty obvious that this was a unique design that was inspired by other Star Wars ships, mostly an A-Wing (or for you EU people, some Z-95 too). It's also very... dark red. At $45, this set is a niche (SW:TOR players) in a niche (EU Fans), so it's certainly got some serious stuff stacked against it. So how does the Republic stack up against the pretty amazing Sith Fury? To be honest, not all that well. It's hard to compare two sets that are so different in price, but they are from the same setting. The Old Republic had a beautiful design aesthetic going for it. While there are many flaws with the MMO, looks is not one of them. The Republic, for the record, had the Defender (inspired by the PT Frigate), BT-7 Thunderclap (inspired by Palpatine's Shuttle, I think), and the XS Freighter (<sarcasm>gee, no idea what that is based on</sarcasm>).

It's pretty clear that this set is a consideration of budget more than anything else... they were given two price points and had to cram sets in there, even though TOR really doesn't establish anything in a small scale. It could have been a playset (and save a larger republic set for another wave), or they could have gone slightly higher and delivered something good. But hey, if I understood LEGO logic, I'd probably drink a lot more.



We get three figures with this set, all unique and from the game: Satele Shan (Jedi Master central to Republic Stories and seen in the intro video), Republic Trooper (who I just assumed was Colonel Jace Malcolm... the trooper in the intro video) and T7-O1 Astromech Droid (companion for the Jedi Knight character class).

Malcolm is the most boring of the bunch, shown more as a generic trooper that has no helmet (living dangerously in a galaxy divided by war). He's a commando in the game, and that shows through in the printing. He's got a huge brick-built gun, which is a big part of the commando character game. Of course, that gun means that he's a healer or DPS in the game, not a tank...

The lack of a helmet is what really hurts this figure. The printing is nice, and if you want to swap in a clone helmet and really have some sort of jonesing for a different variety of clone trooper (because there are only, what, like eighteen million different types at this point?) you can easily do it.

 

Master Satele Shan is the pilot of the strike fighter, at least on the box, which is kind of curious, given that in the game, she's established as the Grand Master of the Jedi Order, and every Sith in the galaxy wants her dead. She's one of the most powerful characters in the universe and flying around in a wildly vulnerable ship. Seems just an odd choice.

 

Don't get me wrong, I love having a minifig of her, but it's just strange. As to the figure itself... taken out of context, it looks great. We have a female character that isn't decked out in pink or flairs, not wearing stripper clothing, and looks in place with other Jedi figures. I absolutely love the torso and legs, and the exclusion of any flesh printing adds to the utility in non-fleshy settings (assuming you swap the arms).I'm not a fan of the braids being printed on torsos, but you can always pretend they're some sort of trophy I guess.

However, when you take the figure in context, there's a huge problem with it... in the game, she's always wearing tan and brown. It'd be one thing if she'd been in previous settings, but she was created for The Old Republic. This isn't an evolution of a KoToR character (like several others in TOR, especially on the Sith side), it's someone new. And she's been detailed for years leading up to the release. I don't understand why LEGO went in a different direction, but it's a pretty big oversight.

Unlike the ever-present Bruce Wayne and Leia head... we actually got a new female face for Satele. That is great, and it also comes with an alt-face that's apparently very un-Jedi. In The Old Republic, they establish that Satele is uber Jedi, with crazy Yoda-like calm. She does not get emotional, even when confronted by unbeatable odds (like when Malgus from the Sith Infiltrator wiped the jungle with her in the intro video). The angry face is a curious choice here, and one that doesn't fit the character.



Last up is the reason why a lot of people bought this set, Teeseven (how is name appears in the subtitles and dialog). While I'm not obsessive with astromechs to the level Solo is on here... I do love me some astromechs and the funny situations they can get in to...



... so when I saw T7 the first time, I had to get him. That was a given. He represents a huge departure for astromechs in LEGO Star Wars, being brick built. While brick-built droids aren't anything new, they've had iffy results in the LEGO line.

 

T7, on the other hand, gets just about everything right. Printed tiles make him far more durable, and a few different parts put together really help. Yes, in TOR, all of the astromechs look like rolling trash compactors. It wasn't until ten thousands years of peace came about that they mastered rolling cylindrical trash cans. He's actually a pretty slick little build, using mostly stock parts to create a boxy look, but adding the small wheel and hub to the back just puts this thing over the top. Plus, those little dishes that are used to make the top have all kinds of potential uses.

 

He's obviously bigger than a regular astromech, so if you want to use him in the ship slot like the X-Wing or Y-Wing, it'll probably need some modification for the slot. I haven't tested it, so can't confirm that, just sort of eyeballing it.



As for the ship itself, which I suppose is the core part of the set. Shocking, I know, but they apparently are packaging ships with their figures now. The Striker fighter is a swing-wing design that looks like a A-Wing when closed and a Z-95 when open (a standard EU ship that was also in Star Wars Galaxies). At first glance, it's a nice little fighter design...

 

But first glances can be deceiving. It's hard to really pin down what about this build doesn't really fit. to someone relatively new to the hobby, it comes across as simplistic, I think, but to some of us old farts that have been spending far too much for far too long... this ship build is a real throwback. With the exception of the swing wings, which click into place on clips/brackets, this felt like building a ship circa 2002 or so.

You'd think that a nice retro visit would be cool, but some how, it just feels dated. I built this after the Sith Fury and Saesee Tiin's JSF, both exceptional builds and sets. This one gives you that little twinge of sentimentality, like watching a movie or TV show you remember loving as a kid... only for you to realize that apparently you were out of your mind. Don't know what that's like? Go watch the old G1 Transformers cartoon or Thundercats... *shudder*.

 

Let me be clear... by itself, this ship doesn't look bad. It's a nice little design. It's just flat (or as a chat denizen called it, a flying pancake) and basic. There are no unique building elements here. Simple hinges, everything in a straight line, and it feels more like a beginner moc than a finished set. Especially once you get to stuff like the tiling and color selection. I suppose what that means is that the ship is just boring.

 

The wings do swing open and lock into place on either end, and with it, the guns rotate in and out on a technic hinge and bar. Again, basic, but it sort of works. Of course, the flick-fire missiles are now pointing into the interior of the ship, so be a little careful hitting that fire button. The actual missile mechanism is okay, I suppose. I hate to see wasted parts, but not sure what could have been improved with these that wouldn't require a total reinvention of the ship.

In the end, the biggest problem with the Republic Striker is that it isn't as good as the other offerings around it. Around the same price point, we have the X-Wing, TIE Fighter, Anakin's Jedi Interceptor and the Y-Wing. Any one of these would be a better ship to build than this. The minifigures are cool, but I don't know if they're cool enough to justify the ship.

It's hard to pin down. I really wanted to like this set, but the misses outweigh the hits. The minifigures can't save it, and unlike it's enemy, the Sith Infiltrator, it doesn't look good on the shelf. Sure, some of the parts have a lot of utility in other builds, like the printed slopes used for the nose and the astromech tiles and dishes, but at this price point, they're not worth getting.

What I liked

  • Unique figures can fit into multiple settings

  • Brick-built astromech is just fun to build. We need more of these, and more of the printed tiles that they use

  • Actual printed tiles vs. stickers is always nice to see


What I didn't like

  • Ship isn't even in the game these sets are based on

  • Angry face on the Grand Master Jedi, who is a picture of serenity in the games, makes no sense

  • Throwback build isn't that fun, especially compared to other ships that came out in the current wave

  • Build is simplistic and boring


Verdict: Skip it, unless you get it on sale for the nice figures or want a ship to MOC up

You can get the Republic Striker-class Starfighter and many other ships on FBTB's Shop@Home Store Front, or on Amazon.com, where it's been known to frequently go on sale.
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Re: Review: 9497 Republic Striker-class Starfighter

Postby Drock » Thu Oct 18, 2012 8:46 am

I think it will be a tough sale. The look is too similar to the Z-95 and X-wing. When they're all on the shelves together, I can't see a lot of kids going for this since it's the most obscure of the three.
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Re: Review: 9497 Republic Striker-class Starfighter

Postby RfAurora » Thu Oct 18, 2012 8:51 am

What I didn't like

Ship isn't even in the game these sets are based on



WRONG. That statement is entirely wrong...The ship is in the game, but it is an npc ship only. You can see it during character creation of a republic character, and it is also an enemy ship in almost all of the empire space missions. LEGO just got the name wrong. Its official designation is a Talon Fighter.
Last edited by RfAurora on Thu Oct 18, 2012 8:55 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Review: 9497 Republic Striker-class Starfighter

Postby dWhisper » Thu Oct 18, 2012 8:54 am

Yeah, that was my point in the closing. I don't think the Z-95 is an issue, since not all that many know what it looks like, especially in the normal crowd at a store. But this is a niche ship, and it's not going to appeal to kids without some help. The Sith Fury hits that by looking like a TIE ship, only more awesome. This looks like ships few would recognize, and it competes against a lot of things that are just better than it.
If the above post didn't offend you, you're probably reading it wrong.
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Re: Review: 9497 Republic Striker-class Starfighter

Postby RfAurora » Fri Oct 19, 2012 9:58 am

I'll give you points that its a niche set, but saying that its not in a game is a lie and also a misleading statement. Yes, you may not see it that much, and don't get to fly one, but people are going to start questioning why they come here for informed decisions if they read this then go find the fighter in game?
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Re: Review: 9497 Republic Striker-class Starfighter

Postby JustPlainJim » Fri Oct 19, 2012 10:30 am

Personally, I like the set. I think the exposed studs give it a nice older/rough feel and the design of the fighter gives some nice nods to the A-Wing and X-Wing. But I'll agree that if it wasn't for the figures, the ship would have been a hard sell for me at $45.
Disclaimer: I haven't actually bought the set, but I've been making my own from pieces in my collection. So no awesome T7 for me...
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Re: Review: 9497 Republic Striker-class Starfighter

Postby corellianpirate » Fri Oct 19, 2012 2:05 pm

Master Satele Shan's head is the Wonder Woman head from Superman™ vs. Power Armor Lex.
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Re: Review: 9497 Republic Striker-class Starfighter

Postby sparkart » Fri Oct 19, 2012 3:01 pm

I'm kinda disappointed that there's not some neat mechanical levers or gears that move the guns on the wings when the wings fold.
Image
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Re: Review: 9497 Republic Striker-class Starfighter

Postby rushiosan » Sat Oct 20, 2012 9:55 am

I really liked this set after a while. When I first saw the preliminary images, I thought to myself "why are they making these cheap designs for such a great line? The Fury starfighter looks incredible nice, but not this one..."

After I bought it and got the bags out of the box, I noticed this set has a pretty good piece assortment. Dark Red is always welcome when you like to MOC up SW or anything related to spaceships, mechas and stuff like that. Also, this thing comes with 21x dark tan 2x1 tiles, which is pretty useful for microscale landscapes and buildings. The trans-pink dishes were absent for a while and this set brings 4 of them, along with some cheese slopes, curved bricks and printed panel controls (the cockpit is very detailed). The figures are also unique, since we probably won't get another chance to have a Satele Shan available on next lines (2013 brought us a battle pack and that's all...)

I think this will be an underrated set among fans. I have to agree it could have a better design at all, since I don't like the wing mechanism and overusing of red and dark red for the whole ship, but I don't care much since outside the default model, the piece inventory really worth the money for me.
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Re: Review: 9497 Republic Striker-class Starfighter

Postby Darth Caedus » Sun Oct 21, 2012 12:10 am

I agree, this set is a fail at 44.99, but for 36 on Amazon I took the plunge. My main criticisms are:

-Satele's hairpiece has locks of hair hanging down, why do we need printed braids on her outfit? It limits the reusability of the torso piece.
-Satele's hairpiece in general is too large, it should have been something shorter. It's also too brown, but I can live with that.
-Satele's face is wrong, wrong, wrong. Smiling and angry faces are both the wrong fit. She needed a simple, subdued expression - and not with this luscious red lipstick, she has a subtle purple thing going on in the Hope trailer where she was first seen.
-No landing gear on the vessel whatsoever...it just is too flat.
-Space wasted for a clip to hold Satele's saber, a perennially stupid feature. If not an astro slot, how about a cargo box at least? Sigh, I'm just flashing back to 1999.

I bought this set for 36 and skipped the Sith Fury since it was just too much. Got Malgus on eBay but am honestly disappointed in Lego's efforts with the TOR figures. His armor should have been cut down to maximize arm movement, and the facemask should have been printed so he could wear a hood. I hope Lego does better with the rumored TOR battlepack, and any future EU releases.

*just saw the new SW pics and pumped for that battlepack!
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Re: Review: 9497 Republic Striker-class Starfighter

Postby RfAurora » Thu Nov 08, 2012 6:07 pm

Other proof this game is in SWTOR: On Hoth there is a debris field of these fighters that the imperials pick over for their flight recorders.

Also: Go to any planet that has a republic spaceport with an open central pit and you can see flights of the fighters taking off. So, Not a trivial or unseen ship in any way.
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