Ace said it best yesterday: the new UCS Imperial Star Destroyer is gross. My opinions on LEGO in general should be pretty obvious at this point… and that breaks my heart a little bit. I loved the product and company for so long, but it’s hard to keep that up when you see an obvious creative drought in the product and constantly escalating prices. I think that applies to most of their products, but it’s at its worst in the Star Wars line, and that hits a bit close to home for this us at FBTB.

It’s especially frustrating, given that there are several notable gaps in the UCS lineup that could use some attention, older sets that were sub-par and could some more love (and not require a whole giant shelf), and maybe some things that often get overlooked in what the UCS line can deliver.

Obviously, this is an idea list that can’t fix the underlying problem of price… which is what is seemingly strangling LEGO as a whole. Some might even be remakes, a few which are a bit newer than the ISD (which, admittedly, was 17 years between releases… but that thing was out for six years and I still passed on it and never really regretted the choice).

Credit to our Facebook comments (especially Adam and Edward for making some great lists) for some of these ideas; clearly, we aren’t alone in being underwhelmed by this announcement. While I’m usually quick to point out that LEGO as a whole isn’t aimed at the AFOLs, the UCS sets most certainly are aimed at adults, and it’s weird how out of step the line feels compared to a growing number of fans. Of course, that’s just our opinion around here… we’re in no way representative or a giant sample size, but dating back to about the Hoth base, it feels like the majority of the UCS line has been meh at best.

A-Wing Starfighter

This is the best ship in Star Wars. Overall. Yes, including the Falcon and the Cloud Car.

How has this set never been made? We’ve gotten two Y-Wings, two X-Wings, two Snowspeeders, two Falcons, two ISDs… we’ve had two Sandcrawlers for crying out loud, and that’s basically a giant turd on treds.

Any TIE Fighter Variant

All of these are canon ships, thanks to Rebels and the newer movies… but only one has been a UCS ship

Okay, yes, cheating a little bit here, as two of the ships that I’ve shown have been released as UCS sets before: the TIE Interceptor and the TIE Advanced (Vader’s TIE). Yet those two sets are either old (Interceptor) or were great looking flimsy junk (Advanced). The Interceptor, in fact, was one of the first two of the UCS sets made all the way back in 2000 (and the one you can get for barely more than it first cost… it honestly doesn’t look great on a shelf). The UCS TIE Fighter is, in my opinion, the best UCS set ever made, and seeing those build methods applied to old sets would be a huge upgrade.

Also, why does LEGO hate the TIE Bomber so much? It didn’t get a ton of screen time, to be fair, but what it did get in Empire Strikes Back sticks with you; it was dropping bombs on an asteroid for crying out loud. Yet it has only gotten one system scale release, and that set is old enough to drive now. It seems like a great ship to add to the mix along the regular UCS TIE to put on a shelf.

The UCS sets do tend to favor the original trilogy, because the people that afford them hate the vast majority of Star Wars, but there have been some nice designs that have been released since then. The visually unique TIE Defender, which was an Extended Universe LEGO release back in 2010, was made canon with its appearances in Rebels, the Thrawn books, and Battlefront. The TIE/sk (Rebels) and TIE/rb (Solo) are both variations that have a unique look as well, and show off how the platform has been part of the Empire and First Order for so long.

Nebulon-B Medical Frigate

The Nebulon-B… hell, probably most of the things in the the original trilogy, show what the power of having a model making shop and practical effects in space battles, can do. There were actually a decent amount of practical things in the prequels… though none of it was in space or on ships (or any of the clones in Attack of the Clones). There is a heart and style to a practical ship that is so much harder to do with CGI, no matter how much time and effort is put into it. And I would argue, despite liking the majority of newer movies and a lot of the designs in the prequels, they are all too smooth and too shiny.

The Medical Frigate (or Escort Frigate, or Nebulon, or the “Well I Think I Know Where I’m Gonna Shoot It” ship), is one of the sets that can only exist in UCS and display form. There’s no practical way to make the ship work in a playset, or make it swooshable in system scale. There are precious few capital ships that stick out when it comes to the Rebels, short of the Blockade Runner / Tantive IV, but the Nebulon just sticks with you. It would make a fantastic UCS set and display, and if done at the right size and scale, could be done at a reasonable price.

Imperial Speeder bike

LEGO hates lower price point sets, and has been trying to kill it for years. Once upon a time, there were UCS sets that could be had for under $100… and not just the Obi-Wan’s Starfighter* that I think LEGO was eventually paying people to take from them.

* That was actually the last UCS sub-$100 set… only by a penny, but still, the price in the line has doubled or more since then. [ace – dude you’re forgetting about BB-8 and the UCS Porg]

The time for this set may have sailed, because it could have been a fantastic set to put out when the Buildable Figures were still a thing (the one you get in 75532 Scout Trooper & Speeder Bike doesn’t count as UCS). It didn’t even need to be able to sit on the bike (though that would have improved it), it could have been on display next to it. This would be unlike any other UCS set, but it still could be made into a conversation piece that displays on a shelf. After all, anyone who grew up on Jedi, or saw it when they were young, dreamed of being able to get on one of these bikes and race around. I mean, we all would have died incredibly quick and fiery deaths within fifty feet of turning it on… but what a ride those fifty feet would be.

Resistance X-Wing / Poe’s X-Wing Fighter

Box art of Revell’s Resistance X-Wing model kit.

When we were compiling this list, a trend started to emerge, and that was the vast majority of existing UCS sets and sets on this wish list are from the Original Trilogy. So when thinking about the prequels or the… postquels… for inspiration to wish for a UCS set to be made from, there was little that stood out. But a Resistance X-Wing seems like an obvious choice. The Red 5 set wasn’t all that great, nor was it accurate. LEGO could fix some of the flaws and do up a Resistance X-Wing UCS set nicely. For added flavor, do one up in Poe’s colors.

Photo lifted from http://www.gunjap.net/site/?p=291053

AT-AT

Like the A-Wing fighter, this is another “why hasn’t this been made yet” set. But unlike the A-Wing, rumors of a UCS AT-AT has been around ever since the first AT-AT set was ever made. We’ve had not only one but two UCS Snowspeeders since LEGO Star Wars came into being, and zero AT-AT’s. They are one half of the epic battle scene from Empire! It’s practically criminal that it hasn’t gotten the UCS treatment by now. If any other set other than the UCS Falcon made sense at a ridiculous high price point, this might be the one.

Republic Gunship

I know I was ragging on the prequel spaceships a bit earlier, but the same rules don’t really apply to the land stuff. I’m sure that some of the ground scenes used practical effects is just a coincidence. At the top of the ground ships is the best part of the worst movie, the Republic Gunship. I reviewed the last release of this set, back in 2013, and was shocked at how much I loved it.

Even without figures, there’s so much that could be made in building this set, because there are some many interactive pieces… the turrets, the door, the gun emplacement in the troop area. It could be that great fusion of a display piece that has just enough play to it to interest anyone who takes a look at it.

Trade Federation MTT

For all the faults of Episode I, of which there are many… it probably had the best designs of all the prequel movies. I’ll always argue that the Royal starship is just impractical to get made because of the chrome. Sure, they could make it flat silver or gray, but it would just look off. No one wants an $500 set that sports 2000 parts… I don’t even think LEGO is crazy enough to try that. The Naboo Starfighter would be an interesting choice, but I have a feeling the potential sales would scare off LEGO.

On the other hand… this could be that fun little space in the UCS line that mixes playset/system/UCS. The Tantive IV and Ewok Village are in that realm, and the last UCS playset, the Hoth base, was just a dud. Yes… this is a prequel set, and on the outside, it’s a buncha brown. But there are so many little things that could be done, and it would be great if they made it fully functional to spit out the battle droids that fit into the scale.

I know it’s a pipe dream, but this is a weird set that I inexplicably love, and I would be tempted to get a bigger UCS version to sit on my shelf.

Venator

Image lifted from Wookieepedia

It’s mostly known for crashing and being a terrible system scale set. I don’t have much of an affinity for it, but I know it’s one of those few, named, Star Destroyer-esque capital ships that has a fan following. I couldn’t get into Clone Wars so I’m pretty ambivalent towards it. But if a choice existed between a $700 wallet-draining Star Destroyer remake and say a $250 UCS Venator model, I’m willing to bet my Magic Trackpad that the Venator would sell like hot cakes and be commercially more successful than that stupid UCS Star Destroyer. And I LOVE my Magic Trackpad.

Jabba’s Sail Barge

Ahhh… Return of the Jedi. The Jabba sequence was one of those eye-opening, impressive experiences that just stays with you. Sure, you knew a rescue plan is set in motion to retrieve Han from Jabba from the opening crawl, but you had absolutely no idea what was in store: what Jabba looked like, what his lair was like, the Rancor, Princess Leia in that gold bikini. Jabba’s Palace had a lasting effect in more ways than one. But let’s talk about that Sail Barge.

Apparently, this thing has a name. According to StarWars.com, it’s called “The Khetanna”. *cough*LAME*cough*

We’ve had two Sail Barge sets in System scale, but nothing at UCS scale, and both were pretty terrible. They were most notable for the minifigs that came with it, but their overall executions were subpar. This thing looks more dark gray than the poop brown it’s been built in, but I guess rust is a hard color to translate into the LEGO pallet. Still, we haven’t gotten a truly great Sail Barge set. A UCS one should be done to truly do it justice and if it included a pair of skiffs and, like, every figure in that scene, it would really be the ultimate set and deserving of the UCS label and what it stands for.

So there you have it, a wish list of sorts. And even though we’ve been withdrawing from the hobby, a couple of these would make us spend money on them again.

6 COMMENTS

  1. As for UCS sets in general, I used to get them all. They were generally very nice sets. But I’ve given up of late. The last Snowspeeder didn’t need to happen. The newer Death Star playset was pointless. And the new ISD? Totally pointless and way, way too expensive. I have the original one, which is a great set. Unless the new one is on sale for $200 off, I’ll never get it.

  2. Mostly agree – I think $250 for UCS Venator is highly optimistic considering the system Star Destroyers are now around US$180, and I’m not sure the MTT is quite iconic enough…. opinions…. How about a UCS STAP to go with the Speeder Bike? – I remember loving the design of that, at least until the Roger Roger brigade came on screen…
    I don’t think I mind the re-releases as much as some – there are after all lots of people who haven’t been collecting for 15 years, including huge up and coming growth markets in Asia – China and India. However, stupid price of the ISD aside, I wouldn’t mind these rehashes so much if they would just intersperse some NEW or new variant (TIE variants, T70 Xwing etc) UCS ship models –
    IMO the BB-8 and Porg are a welcome return to a different building form under the UCS banner even if they aren’t my thing, but a new Yoda might change that!
    I want a UCS Lars Family homestead playset with V-35, Skyhopper, Oil bath, lots of service droids and vaporaters, blue milk, crispy fried Uncle and Aunt and a PROPER AUNT BERU fig!!!!

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