Welcome to the FBTB review of the newest LEGO Ultimate Collector Series set, 75060 Slave I. This review was weeks in the making, literally, for there has been no busier time in my life than the last two months. But, despite that, I was determined to get this review out the door before January 1, 2015, which happens to be the official on-sale date for the set.

After the set showed up in front of my door, I was trying to think of ways to put a unique spin on the review that wasn’t just us heaping praise on it like I’m sure every other review out there has done or is going to do. So I had this “brilliant” idea of doing a historical view of every minifig-scale, Boba Fett Slave I set ever made. But I soon realized that it was a stupid idea for the very obvious reason that 75060 Slave I is in a completely different class of building set than the previous three versions. Yeah, I know, it seems so blatantly obvious now, but I thought it would have been fun to show the evolution of a ship throughout the years. I did manage to snap a family portrait though:

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Other than that, there was no way that I would be able to draw a balanced comparison between it and, say, 7144 Slave I. It would be like trying to compare a paper airplane to Boeing Dreamliner, or a rubber band gun to a Warthog. So after I realized that, I decided to just go back to basics and write up a regular old review.

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75060 Slave I impressed me in the same manner that 75059 Sandcrawler impressed me. The final model manages to achieve all the subtle angles that a minifig scale ship could not. The tail slopes gently from the tail all the way to the canopy. The body’s A-frame is done with a series of plates attached by clips and handles. The overall shape is probably my favorite part of the set. The profile views are spot on and the color blocking is pretty accurate as well.

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I don’t think the hulls appearance is quite as weathered as it should be. When browsing Google image search results, in all of the pictures I’ve seen there is definitely more wear and tear than what the LEGO model shows. The set uses stickers to show the scrapes and scratches around the base, but it could probably have used a bajillion more stickers to get it properly decked out (one interesting note about the sticker sheet is that the stickers are individually numbered taking the guesswork out of which sticker you’re supposed to apply where; just follow the numbers).

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Proportionally, it feels like the ship is too long from canopy to tail and too narrow at the base. It should be fatter and shorter, but I’m nitpicking here. Only the true fan would notice the odd proportions and only a cynic would complain about it. Ahem.

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The base is expertly crafted though using a ton of dark red slopes and rounded corner bricks. The tail end of the base reminds me of a horseshoe crab. My favorite part is the nose and how well all of the curved elements create that rounded off look.

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The bottom of the ship actually has a design to it. We’ve complained time and again about how LEGO just conveniently ignores the bottoms of ships and puts in no effort to make it look like anything interesting other than the bottom view of plates and bricks. Here, the bottom is as intricate as it can possibly get, chock full of details. With all the details though, it’s extremely delicate. Thankfully the designer put in these little two-plate high trans-clear bushings for the ship to rest on while you’re constructing it. They also gives the ship that hovering look while it’s not on its stand.

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The canopy is an all new piece. It is smooth and sexy. It looks like a smoothed out version of the canopy used in the 6209 and 8097 versions, but it’s much larger and a brand new piece. The connection points are nearly identical, however, and are probably my biggest points of contention with the set.

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The canopy connects the ship by way of a single Technic pin. The two Technic axles you see in the picture above are there for stability and don’t provide any sort of support other than balance for positioning, so that it stays level. There’s no connection point at the front either, it just sort of rests on top of a sidewall. It’s a pain to try and remove the canopy if you want access to the pilot’s seat to put in or remove Boba Fett.

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This is the one thing that 7144 got right. 7144 may have been a blocky hot mess but it did have a hinged canopy that made it a breeze to access the cockpit. It may not have been accurate to the source material, but in terms of playability it was the best thing to do. And I wish the designer had incorporated a hinge somehow to make access to the interior easier. I suppose since this is a collector’s set, the number of times you’ll remove the canopy while it’s on display is minimal but still.

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And speaking of things that should have been designed with playability in mind, let’s talk about storing Han Solo in Carbonite. In 7144 and 6209, there was a ramp that you could slide the Carbonite Block brick into and then lift up the ramp for storage. 8097 had a unique storage area underneath the ramp where you could stow the Hansicle. 75060 has a this door that you flip open, and there’s a clip where you attach one of the handles, and suspend the block from above when the door is open. The Carbonite Block tucks away behind the door when it’s closed. Trying to get that in and out of the ship is so annoying you’ll never want to do it more than once. It sucks. And you know, I’m not even sure it’s screen accurate because a) we never actually see it being stored; we just watch the Bespin Guard push it up the ramp and b) the DK Star Wars Incredible Cross-Sections book shows no such storage. In fact, the entry in the Cross-Sections book hints that 8097 had it right if anything.

The ship is pretty symmetrical so if you’re like me then you probably like building mirrored sections at the same time to cut down on time. There is plenty of opportunity to that with 75060 but be warned that the two big panels that make up the body are not exact mirrors of each other. There are small differences between the two to warrant separate building efforts and the result is an asymmetrical design that I can appreciate. The stickers for the weathering also add to this asymmetry.

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In terms of weapons, 75060 Slave I feels a little on the light side compared to its little cousins 6209 and 8097. It felt like 6209 and 8097 were just dense with weapons with hidden arms all over the place. 7144 merely had the tail cannons and even those were light (single blaster cannons instead of twin blasters). 75060 has it’s signature tail cannons and finally fixes my biggest beef with all of the previous Slave I‘s and that the twin blaster cannons are now connected so turning one will turn the other. It baffled me that the smaller versions could figure out how to slide an axle all the way through to connect the cannons. It also has two panels that swivel out with a little finagling to reveal more weapons.

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The cockpit design takes a step backward. It is no longer connected to the stabilizer wings. The wings will still orient themselves according to the angle of the ship so that they are always flat, but the cockpit is disconnected from them and must be manually oriented instead. This is done presumably so that the axis of rotation doesn’t push the pilot’s seat way, way back into the ship when it’s in flight like how it did in 8097 and 6209. Now, Boba sits much closer to the canopy and can be seen more easily. Another plus is that the cockpit is fully fleshed out and more detailed with computer panels galore and clips for storing more blasters. There is also a real pilot’s chair for Boba to sit comfortably.

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Structurally, it’s weak. I so badly want to just pick it up with one hand and swoosh it around the house. Grabbing it from the tail, the panels feel like they will buckle from your grip. Grabbing it around the canopy will force the bricks to collapse. Picking up 75060 Slave I is definitely a two-handed affair. Even then you have to be careful of dislodging any of the trans-clear risers or breaking some part of the bottom. This will probably be a moot point for a lot of people who will just stick it on the display stand and be done with it. But should you want to display it flat on a surface, you’ll need to be careful.

Now, about the minifigs. I have a beef with the minifigs. But first, let’s talk about The Empire Strikes Back. One of the most iconic scenes of from the movie is the bounty hunter lineup. Not just because it gave us our first look at Boba Fett, but it was a small window into a world of mercenaries and guns for hire, much like how the Cantina scene from A New Hope gave us our first look at how diverse the Star Wars universe was. And before you say “Greedo was a bounty hunter”, he was probably the worst bounty hunter ever. But these guys, standing there on the bridge of the Executor, these guys were the real deal. And so far, we’ve had four out of the six bounty hunters made into LEGO form: Boba Fett, Dengar, IG-88, and Bossk. Dengar and IG-88 even got remade but we still need 4-LOM and Zuckuss. And here’s my beef: if not in this set, 75060 Slave I, when will we ever get the 4-LOM and Zuckuss? It’s like Beru Lars and the Sandcrawler all over again.

Look, LEGO has shown that they care about minifig accuracy the way an asteroid cares about an atmosphere: it almost doesn’t matter or make any sense. So why they should care about getting it right now is confusing and frustrating at the same time. We recognize that most of the time, including certain minifigs in sets was the only way to make the set desirable to consumers, and I’m looking squarely at 9499 Gungan Sub and Queen Amidala. If it were not for that Gungan Sub set, I don’t think we would have ever gotten that Queen Amidala figure. And at the same time, if it weren’t for that Queen Amidala minifigure, I doubt LEGO would have moved as many units of the Sub. If anything, the complaints were about the high price tag to get some of these figures where the rest of the set wasn’t worth the cost.

So now that LEGO tries to do the right thing with 75060 Slave I, and we’re still crying foul. No 4-LOM, no Zuckuss, and no feasible set idea to include them. Maybe we’ll get a standalone Landspeeder set with Luke and Zuckuss. Or maybe some sort of “B-list Actors Battle Pack” that will include 4-LOM, Zuckuss, Beru Lars, and Shmi Skywalker. I don’t know, it just seems like such a pipe dream now.

That all being said, what we do end up getting is accurate to a T, so I can’t really fault LEGO for that. A Stormtrooper, Bespin Guard, Han Solo in Carbonite Block, and, of course, Boba Fett are all included to recreate this scene:

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Though, actually trying to recreate the scene is whole other issue. More on that later.

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The Stormtrooper isn’t anything special. You get two of them if you get 75055 Imperial Star Destroyer. Even if you don’t get that set, the Stormtrooper is a kind of a mainstay in the Original Trilogy so there have been and will continue to be opportunities to get a Stormtrooper in some form. This version is the latest version and probably the cleanest version. Compared to the very first Stormtrooper, the printing is clean, crisp and quite wonderful. The square dots that line the lower part of the helmet is just the right shade of blue.

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I have no complaints about the Bespin Guard other than he lacks the arm printing that the Guard from 6209 had. This version is white/Caucasian and has a new torso print which is a little bit more detailed than the previous version but not overly done to turn me off. There’s no flesh printing on the torso making race swapping a breeze should you want to update and make your own black Bespin Guard. LEGO made him different enough from the one in 6209 to make him highly desirable to collectors.

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The Carbonite Block is the same as the one you get from 8097 so there isn’t much else to say about that. Han is new though, but to be specific it’s only the double-sided head that is new. The hair, torso and legs are the same as 6209. The head has a concerned look on one side, and a clenched/grimaced expression on the other. Remember that scene in the carbon freezing chamber when Han is lowered into the pit and just before the switch gets thrown? Yeah those are the expressions you get. My only beef is the same beef I have with all of the recent minifigs: too much detail. He looks like some minifigure took a teeny tiny sharpie and went to town on his face.

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And finally we get to Boba Fett. This is hands down the best version of Boba Fett ever made. The new helmet-style Boba Fett from this set is the equivalent of the old helmet-style Boba Fett from 10123 Cloud City. Whereas 10123 Boba was the absolute best version made at the time (and for some time to come), 75060 Boba is the absolute best version of Boba from this generation. 10123 Boba had printing on the arms arms and legs. Leg printing was pretty rare at the time for a minifig. And arm printing? It was unheard of. I don’t think I’m mistaken when I say that 10123 Boba was the first minifigure ever to feature arm printing. It may not seem like much, but the arm and leg printing elevated the minifig to another level.

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When 9496 Desert Skiff was released, it included a Boba Fett that came pretty close to matching the same level of detail as 10123 Boba. It featured leg printing and also included his signature tattered pauldron cloth. The only thing missing was the arm printing making it look a little bare and stuck out like a sore thumb. 75060 corrected that and he now features printing on the arms, legs, chest, and back. He is all new, including the torso which updates the print from 9496 Boba with more detail around the belt and a new color for the braid. The legs, like the torso, are very similar to the previous version but has an updated print as well. The arms, of course, are all newly printed. They were probably saving the arm printing as a feature upgrade to justify this new version of Boba. And lastly, his shoulder pauldron is also new featuring a print.

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This may be the best Boba ever made, but he is far from perfect. While the over-detailing works in some areas, there are parts where it doesn’t’ work. The front pockets on the legs is probably the biggest problem area as I find the printed lines too thick making that area extremely busy. They’re all the same thickness and varying the stroke weight would make it easier to discern what it is you’re looking at. What is that line? A pocket? A crease? A bulge? His rocket pack could also use a little love. It’s been pretty much unchanged since it was first introduced and I wish it had some sort of detail painted on. I find it hard to believe that his rocket pack is all one monochrome color, and doing a google image search supports my argument. Perhaps they’re saving that as a feature upgrade for the next version.

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75060 Boba includes everything from 9496 Boba and then some. There is arm printing and not only that, the shoulder pauldron also features a printed design. And as much as I wax on about how great 75060 Boba is, he suffers from the same over-detailing that is plaguing LEGO Star Wars minifigs everywhere. I am probably in the minority on this point but some of the charm of a LEGO minifigure, by its very nature a “miniature figure”, is lost when there is too much detail. It feels like it is trying to become something it is not: an action figure. That aside, collectors and fans alike will find this Boba irresistible. The upgraded Boba Fett is a worthy addition to the lineage and is perfectly suited for the ultimate Slave I.

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One problem that the collection of minifigs in this set pose is that there’s no way to elegantly display all of them together. You can stick Boba in the cockpit, put Han inside the Carbonite Block and then stick the Carbonite block in the cargo hold, but there’s nothing for the Bespin Guard or Stormtrooper. There’s no space on either side of the sticker plaque like the Tumbler set. There’s no additional seating inside the Slave I cockpit. There is nothing. I suppose you could just stick them on the stabilizer wings like they are participating in some sort of Bespin Extreme Sport. Or modify the stand to include a spot like the Tumbler’s stand. But neither solution is optimal.

You can’t even really display them in the same way as the scene the set is derived from since, you know, there’s a stand for the ship, and this thing is gigantic and takes up a ton of space when displayed alit. Even if you do have the space for it, there are studs on the bottom hull to put the Stormtrooper and Boba, but the smooth slope prevents the Bespin Guard from being displayed properly, especially if he’s got one hand on the Carbonite Block. LEGO could have done a couple of different things with the minifigs:

1) Don’t include the Stormtrooper and Bespin Guard. There’s only space for Boba and Hansicle inside Slave I, so just those two would have been fine.
2) Don’t include Han and the Carbonite Block. I mean seriously, do we need more of him? They should have saved this version of Han for a Freezing Chamber playset.
3) Include 4-LOM and Zuckuss for the reasons stated above. Because where else will we get them?
4) Don’t include any minifigures.
5) Include some sort of display stand for the minifigures.

One last issue: there is a typo in the info label. Nothing screams quality on a $200 set than a typo:

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There are few UCS sets out there that transcends that LEGO “look” into a model that is unrecognizable as LEGO and more of a high-end toy collectible model or, dare I say it, art. 75060 Slave I does exactly that. At some point, it stops being a collection of LEGO pieces and becomes this art piece being proudly displayed on your mantle. A lot of it has to do with just how smooth everything looks from the base to the new windscreen. There are couple of areas of exposed studs which, if anything, gives it an industrial look, like rivets. The studs also anchor the set back into reality as a thing made out of LEGO. Had those been completely smoothed over, it would have pushed the model further into the realm of not-LEGO, but it’s just fine the way it is. It’s a bit of a mind-twist and makes anyone looking at go, “Whoah!” followed up with, “Wait, is that… LEGO?” At that point you can watch their minds being blown as you say, “Why yes, yes it is.”

It’s not perfect for the reasons outlined in this review but those reasons aren’t enough to score it anything less than a 5. It ranks as one of the best UCS models to date and deserves a place in your collection. An easy 5 out of 5 stars.

You can pick up 75060 Slave I from LEGO [email protected] beginning January 1, 2015.

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Many thanks to LEGO for providing us with a copy of the set for review.