It seems like a lifetime ago when I first saw the very first Ultimate Collector Series set, 7191 X-wing Fighter, on the Toys'R'Us shelf. The silver printed X-wing on a black box looked so slick and looked nothing like the other LEGO sets on the shelf. I was swooning over it and without a second thought bought it, took it home, and built it in a day. And it was awesome. I proudly displayed it on my shelf along with the other UCS set that came out that year, 7181 TIE Interceptor, for many, many years. Fast forward a few years later, and it's time to pack up our tiny apartment and move into a house and with the amount of LEGO I had at the time, it was no easy feat. Unfortunately, the X-wing along with a bunch of other sets on display had to be taken apart with little time to do it, so I tore it apart and stuffed it inside a couple of Ziploc bags and then stuffed the bags inside a box where they remain to this day. I never bothered to rebuild it for a couple of reasons. It needed and still needs some serious cleaning, and the condition of the stickers was in bad shape. The stickers that LEGO used back then disintegrated over time due to some combination of age, heat, and dust. Try and peel them off and you would regret that action for they would break apart into tiny little pieces and once those pieces got on your fingers, they were really difficult to get off. Surprisingly, the one sticker that survived was the familiar UCS information label. So there it sits in a state of decomposition in box in my office a few feet away from me. Fast forward a few years later, and here we are today on the eve of an epic remake about to be released to the public. Ultimate Collector Series 10240 Red Five X-wing Starfighter is a re-engineered UCS 7191 X-wing Fighter. LEGO has re-released and re-designed several sets before, but this is the first time a UCS set is getting the recycle treatment. There are many fans who fell into the hobby too late and covet the set so much so that it commands a pretty high aftermarket value, ringing up at around $800 at my last check a few weeks ago. So this remake may be welcomed with open arms and smaller budgets, but with 13 years of a legacy to go up against, how does the newer version stack up?
Please note that the review sets we received were volume sample sets provided by the LEGO Shop marketing team. They were nearly complete, missing some sticker sheets, and without retail packaging which did not affect the outcome of the review.
You have to understand one thing about me, especially if you don't regularly follow this site. I've become a bit jaded about the hobby over the years. It takes a lot to impress me nowadays though I'm slowly trying to change that. There aren't many that can claim that they've been loyal to the brand from the beginning, and fewer still that can claim they've run a site dedicated to the line in the same amount of time. I look back upon those early years with nostalgia so reviewing the X-wing with a completely unbiased point of view isn't realistically possible. But in 10240's favor, I only have my memories of 7191 to work with and compare to and am purposefully staying away from any pictures online of the original set in order to be as fair as possible. And with that, let's get on with the review.
The X-wing is one of the most iconic ships in science fiction history, and the most popular ship in the LEGO Star Wars line. It's been released in numerous sets over the years in all kinds of scales. When 7191 launched back in 2000, it is by its very definition what LEGO deemed as the ultimate X-wing. It's not without it's flaws though, and some of the issues of that older set are present in the 10240 remake, most notable being proportions. If you're as big of a Star Wars nerd as I am, you'll immediately notice some size and scale issues on various parts of the ship. For instance, the engines intakes are way too small in relation to the humongous cockpit.
Despite their small size though, they do correct one thing missing from the original and that is that vertical bar in the intakes. There is a t-shaped bar in each of the intakes and if memory serves, the original only had the cross bar and not the stem. 10240 cleverly uses a minifig pickaxe to create that vertical stem but I have mixed feelings about the execution. At first glance and from far away, that t-bar is present and provides that extra bit of detail, but upon closer inspection, it doesn't look quite right due to the curvature of the axe head. This may be the best solution available with today's parts library, and I certainly wouldn't be able to create anything better, but it is definitely a step up from 7191's design.
The engine exhausts are completely redesigned from the original and look fantastic. I was happy to see that the designers chose to use transparent pink elements for the engine glow instead of red or even orange since that is how they appeared in the film.
I really enjoyed building the cockpit and it is probably one of my favorite parts of the build. It's very nicely detailed with foot pedals, a control stick, multiple displays, and the pilot's seat. My favorite new detail is the targeting computer. I wish my version came with the sticker sheet but I'll just have to settle for my imagination and wait for a replacement to arrive. The targeting computer can't retract so it's always on display, always targeting something but you can flip it up and down at least.
The one thing about the fuselage that bugs me is that they never really got the shape right in the old 7191 set nor in the new 10240 version. It's kind of hard to describe, but the sides aren't supposed to be vertically flat. If you take a cross section of the hull, it is in a hexagon shape, but a cross section of LEGO's model yields a square shape. There is some semblance of a hexagonal cross section at the back section thanks to some slope bricks. And all six sides, or in the case of 10240, four sides, of the hull are supposed to taper to a point, capped off by the nose element. In 10240 it only tapers on the sides, and not the top and bottom.
The nose element is also a bit flawed in its execution. When looking at pics of the ILM model, there is a slight indentation on the top of the nose. I believe LEGO was attempting to recreate that indentation, and as a result we ended up with a nose that has a channel going from the tip all the way to the back of the assembly. I also feel like the nose should be at least two plates thicker than the point at which its attached to, one plate above and one below.
Moving away from the main hull, we have the wings. They are built in identical pairs, attaching to ship on opposing sides (top right matches bottom left, etc), which makes the build go much quicker. The Technic construction used to attach the wings to the ship is rather ingenious. When the S-foils are locked in attack position, the opposing sides are actually supposed to create a straight line giving the ship that trademark 'X' shape. This is faithfully recreated nearly perfectly in 10240.
There is a dial on the back of the ship that you turn that rotates a pair of levers that push the wings apart. It's unlike a steering wheel where when you turn the wheel you'll eventually hit the limit and you can't turn anymore. There's no limit to how much you can turn the dial. The wings will open then close then open again for as long as you keep dialing, so you need to just eye it as to when to stop turning the dial for maximum wing deployment.
[caption id="attachment_21153" align="aligncenter" width="500"] Yes, I know I built them wrong.[/caption]
There is one issue with the wings and that is when they are in flight mode. The pair of wings on the port side laid flat against each other, however the starboard pair did not. There was a noticeable gap between the two. I asked Don if he saw the same issue on his copy and he did not so I'm willing to chalk this up to an anomaly, maybe even user error, rather than a design flaw. In the end, I'm going to guess that, like me, the majority of fans will display the ship with the S-foils in attack position anyway, so this possible design flaw may not even be an issue for you.
There isn't too much to critique when it comes to the laser cannons. The designers most definitely improved the flashback suppressors compared to the older version, even if they seem a tad on the big side. They, too, are built in opposing pairs saving you some time.
The display stand. Oh man. This is where they fail big time. I distinctly remember that in 7191, you were able to display the X-wing perfectly horizontal or at an angle, as if it was just taking flight. The display stand in 10240 also seems to want to do that as well. But after completing the build and assembling the ship on its stand, it was far too back heavy, causing the ship to only display in the one just-taking-flight position. Obviously this is a design flaw and could be remedied easily by altering the way the stand is built, but any homebuilt solution would lock the ship in position and then if you wanted to display in a different way, you'd have to rebuild the stand. I'm not entirely confident that an easy fix can be issued by LEGO with an extra page of instructions and some spare parts like they did with Slave I from many years back as the hole where the stand is inserted is just below and in front of the internal Technic assembly for the wings. There's not much you can do about it. Lucky for us though that the default display position makes the ship look great and would probably have been the preferred way.
Lastly, is it too much to ask for some landing gear? I realize the display stand is the de facto way to display the UCS ships, but if the UCS line is to capture as much detail as possible, why not some landing gear?
What I Liked:
Improvements in all areas compared to 7191
What I Disliked:
Faulty display stand
Lack of landing gear
Let's be honest, not everyone is as nitpicky as I am when it comes to things like scale, or life in general. The scale issue is only apparent if you look at the final model as a whole and compare it to the original source material side by side, and not many of us are going to be displaying pictures next to their model. But by itself it'll garner the approval from even the most discerning of fans. The true beauty of the model comes from its details and this model packs plenty of them. My fuzzy memory was working against me when trying to compare some of the details between the old and the new, but I was so impressed by the overall model, that I didn't want to sweat the details too much. The UCS line is geared towards the fan that wants something really cool to build and proudly display in their home or even their office. 10240 Red Five X-wing Starfighter is up to that task. The price tag of $199 may seem a bit steep but considering the alternative of buying 7191, you're much better off with the new one. 10240 is worth your hard earned dollars.
10240 Red Five X-wing Starfighter goes on sale at LEGO [email protected] on May 4th