Andor was the best show of 2022, the best Star Wars that Disney has ever made… and honestly, quite possibly the best Star Wars this side of Empire Strikes back. I’ll admit to a little bias, as Rogue One is my favorite of the movies, but it’s not exactly a stretch to say Andor is just that damn good. I mean, 96% on Rotten Tomatoes is pretty amazing in the cynical world of today, especially for a show that made marching band music the single most tense scene of television* last year.
*Second would be asking “How Many Guards on Each Level?” for two episodes
The thing about Andor is that even the “bad” scenes in the show were still great, they were often just uncomfortable, because the show was so many things, and all of them were somewhat un-Star Wars. It was in many ways the most un-Star Wars show we ever saw, but still comfortably wrapped in Star Wars. We never saw a Jedi or lightsaber (sort of), didn’t see a Stormtrooper until about a third of the way into the show. Yet it felt like it was so firmly in that universe, so much more than we’ve seen elsewhere.
More than that, though, Andor did something I never thought was really possible… it made the Empire actually terrifying. Prior to this, the Empire was just an overwhelming force that had numbers or size, but wasn’t scary except for that. Individuals within it were terrifying, but they were at best shown as incompetent. We had little pockets where they were scary, or individuals (Vader, Thrawn, the Inquisitor in Rebels)… but as an overall force or political power, yeah, they weren’t really more than faceless power for our heroes to blow up.
Andor, as a show, made it into so much more by giving us a much bigger live-action intro to the Imperial Security Bureau (ISB) than Rogue One did. Previously, we’d had little snips of it, and they were in Rebels, comics, and books, but here, we got to see them functioning and working. More importantly, we saw them working effectively. I love Rebels as a show, but the Empire isn’t really what one would call effective in it. Yeah, in part because it’s a kid’s show, but it has the same problem of the movies, where we see so little of how it can actually function.
I could wax on forever about Andor… and probably should for this site. We should review it all before the second season comes out, which will likely be delayed by the writer’s strike (which – good, they deserve support), given that its ceased production for the time being. But this is about what is sadly the only set based on Andor, and that’s a supremely unfortunate thing. Because even though Andor is a 12-episode series, that did Heist Movie, Spy Thriller, Underwold Crime, Family Drama, and my personal favorite “The Only Good Fascist is a Dead Fascist” Action Hour – we get a set based on something from something in one of the first few episodes and least memorable vehicles seen in the whole thing.
There will be spoilers for season 1 of Andor in this review, so if you haven’t watched it… what the hell is wrong with you? Go Watch It. Like, right now. Then come back here and read the review for this $69.99 (USD), 679 piece set. A weird one, too, because it’s kind of exclusive, only being available at Target, Lego Stores, and Disney stores in the US. Which… are Disney stores still a thing?
This set is based on the show’s third episode, Reckoning, which, given that it’s the third episode of the series, is pretty blatant false advertising. Mostly because there isn’t really a reckoning, per se, it’s a best a cluster-kriff, and the only thing that happens is that lots of things blow up, an Incel and a Scottish guy get fired (okay, that’s the next episode technically), lots of security guys get shot for doing their job that their Incel boss disobeyed orders to order them in to, Andor escapes with a guy he knows nothing about… oh, and the Empire takes over Ferrix (the namesake of the set where the ambush takes place).
That sort of brings us to the first issue I have with this set – we get three minifigs: Cassian Andor, Luthen Rael and Syril Karn. Notably missing from the ambush is Linus Mosk, the Sgt. that Syril joined to try and catch Cassian. He’s a very important part of all of it, and it feels very lopsided to not have him in the set. Yeah, there’s little difference in their look when you put them in uniform, except maybe giving Linus more stubby legs, but it’d feel important here.
Syril is probably the single most uncomfortable character that Star Wars has ever given us, a character with a stick up the stick up his butt. I only half-used the Incel joke above, because the guy is a creep that shows the corrupt nature of the Empire, the sort of true-believer that could fail up or get ground up, and in the show, he managed to do both. As a figure, he’s rather boring, because it’s just generic head and blue uniform.
Like everything Andor at this point, there’s nothing about the figure that’s inherently Star Wars, and the character isn’t that either. It works, generic boring white guy on the surface. If you get another one, you can fix the problem of the missing Linus with a slightly different, older head. If I was to give it any knock, it’s the lack of hair on it, more a function of the hat, but I like the generic and non-elaborate nature of it.
I don’t know what it is about this figure that misses the mark so much for me, but wow, does it miss the mark. I know that the sets are often based on pre-release stills or previews, or things like that… but I find it hard to believe that the design of Cassian Andor changed quite that much. Maybe this is just a victim of LEGO minifigs becoming way too overly-elaborate, which they frequently are, but he comes off looking like he should have an Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat here, and not a blaster.
The printing on the torso and legs does match the costume, ultimately, and the facial expression is somewhere between the scowl and annoyed grimace that Diego Luna wears throughout the series. The printing of the hair and beard should both be black, rather than dark brown, if for no reason to catch the unwashed and “this guy slept in a sewer” last night look that he has. Or that it’s really close to black most of the time. It just really does not work.
Bootstrap Bill Dr. Selvig Luthen Rael was easily the most surprising character in the show for most people, who was like a slow-burn of character growth. At this point, he’s honestly not all that exciting. Basically just “probably Rebel spy guy” that gives Andor some really solid advice. He’s a certified bad-ass, most certainly, but where he absolutely starts to shine is later in the series, after this episode, when you see exactly how far he’s willing to go.
It’s strange that Luthen gets a custom head, and they made it look so… pudgy. Yes, Stellan is old, this is where we see the issue with over printing rear its head again and just make it look off. I think it’s really the mouth lines that cause the issue… or maybe just the combination of too many lines. He’s not as far off as Cassian is for me, but still, it feels like too much.
Really, though, the problem with the minifigures here is that this is the only set we get, and Andor is a show that was a slow burn that turned into was a master class of raising pressure. Over, and over, and over… it ramped up with each episode to increase and ramp the tension, and at this point it’s very focused on a few characters, but we’re not that bought into any of them other than Cassian. Even with him, though, what we have comes from Rogue One, and not from the show… yet.
The ship in this ambush is the Mobile Tac-Pod… a Preox-Morlana security force shuttle, used to ambush and apprehend one Mr. Andor. Let’s just say it doesn’t exactly go as planned, and the whole of the third episode is basically this thing dropping in and everything going wrong. Also, the security force being fascist thugs, pushing around the coolest old lady in the Star Wars universe.
They do also kill the jealous (and kind of traitor) boyfriend of Cassian’s close friend Bix, mostly for asking why they were beating the crap out of her because she objected to being detained by one of them who looked like he was about to murder her. All of that happens in an alley of the town, while banging is happening on pipes, doorways, beams, and everything, to signal the crackdown and warn anyone who would resist or need to hide.
There’s a spot for the pilot of this shuttle pod, but most of this article has talked about the city on Ferrix where they are trying to find Andor and apprehend him, and not so much about the ship. I’m not exactly broken up about the pilot being included because all he really did was suck and die like a chump when the pod got blown up by the reverse ambush. Because the guards didn’t follow Rule Number Two, and Luthen made the rules.
LEGO’s site talks about how the ship opens, and expands, but the most pointless part is the back… which opens to exactly nothing. The ramp drops down to reveal a wall, making the ramp less than useful for anything. I joked above, but this thing really is just a solid chunk of bricks, and it feels like so much of the potential set is wasted in the sheer amount of bricks that get put into making this thing.
swoop speeder bike is paltry by comparison, but a nice little build. Here’s where another piece of dissonance comes in to play, though… in the subject of the set: the ambush on Ferrix. The ship and the speeder bike never show up together, because it’s what Cassian and Luthen escape on after their counter-ambush is executed. The ship has crashed after being sabotaged, when it’s tied to a heavy anchor and crashes (and the earlier pilot dies like a chump).
This could have easily been a Speeder Bike and a proper speeder, because there was also a landspeeder in the scene, which was used by Cassian to set a bomb as a distraction. All at the end of the showdown and the fight in a factory, between a lot of the other players, and so many others. The speeder itself is… fine. But it’s just not special.
That’s really the problem with this set, from the minifigs to the ship to the speeder. None of it is special, and it’s based on a show that is special. It’s full of great characters, great scenes, and great happenings. I can build a better set from the same episode… add Linus and Bix, swap out the gray lump of bricks for a land speeder and a small factory setting and turn this into a proper playset that feels like an actual ambush.
There are some great potential sets in the first season of Andor as well that could be made. An Aldhani heist set, Narkina 5, Luthen’s Fondor Haulercraft, escaping from Ferrix after the uprising… all potentially great sets that feature more. Hopefully, we’ll see more, and better sets, because this sadly just ends up being a middling set at best. If you want a Luten, that’s really the only draw, but the Cassian figs from the earlier Rogue One sets are better than this overdone one, and Syril is just… generic beyond belief. If we get any sets based on season two, which hopefully we do, he will certainly return and maybe we will get something better. It’s been awhile since I rated a set, but I’d at best call this thing a 2 out of 5, even though it’s not overly expensive compared to what passes for a Star Wars set these days, but still, $70 for a middling set at best and two things that take up a tiny amount of time for the overall story just don’t feel worth it.
Should you feel like it to complete your Andor collection, however, you can pick up 75338 Ambush on Ferrix at shop.lego.com or from Target.com.
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