The first wave of LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens sets were kind of odd in the fact that the two most expensive in the series, Kylo Ren’s shuttle and 75105 Millennium Falcon were probably the two least desirable of the entire line. Kylo Ren’s shuttle smacked of another big-set clunker from Clone Wars, The Twilight, and the Falcon had it’s huge price and some of the issues that I covered in the review. It wasn’t until after I saw the movie that I wanted this set and also ended up reviewing 75104 Kylo Ren’s Command Shuttle.
Part of that is that I wanted Kylo Ren and General Hux, honestly. The other was that in the movie, it was actually a fairly cool ship. Much like the Imperial Landing craft, it ended up being far better than I was expecting based on the promotional art and initial toy releases. The biggest knock on the landing craft was that it suffered from a problem of scale (and provided an easy target for making boat jokes, and apparently confusing people who didn’t understand that comments about it being a boat were jokes). The shuttle didn’t suffer the scale problem as much, since it came in a hefty $119.99 and 1005 pieces.
The biggest problem with the command shuttle is obvious just looking at the box: it’s the wrong color. Another problem came after watching the movie (and is very non-spoiler-y)… the wings should angle out when in flight as well as extend. The box makes a big point that they go up, but they’re obviously stuck in the fully upright position, and we know from the movie that you do not want to lay small annoyances at the feet of a disgruntled Hot Topic employee. The question is was there enough other stuff in the ship to overcome those two fairly big issues?
Mild Spoiler warning, since we’re talking about a movie I hope everyone that’s a fan of our site has already seen.
I admit, the Hot Topic joke was stolen shamelessly from Twitter. I’m not sure who came up with the joke first, but it will live on forever. Adam Driver has even gone full in on the joke at this point, given his recent hosting of SNL and the rather hilarious “Undercover Bosses: Star Killer Base” sketch. I’m just saying, I’m like 90% certain that Mitch is actually Kylo Ren at this point.
The minifig lineup for this set is a lot more interesting after having seen the movie. We knew about Kylo Ren very early in the mix for everything, and we had seen Stormtroopers, but General Hux was a pretty late reveal. A female officer was a cool addition, made cooler by the fact that there was an officer on the command deck of the Finalizer (the name of the Star Destroyer the First Order cruised around in), and we see troopers there as well.
While I haven’t gotten around to reviewing the movie yet (mostly because I want to keep an excuse to go watch it a few more times), it’s safe to say that Kylo Ren is unlike any other “big bad” we’ve gotten before. There’s something self-referential about the story, in that all of the new characters are trying to fill shoes that are arguably larger than they are ready for. Kylo Ren is interesting for being both more dangerous and less menacing than Darth Vader, the shoes he’s trying to feel, while Ben Solo is a better (and worse) Anakin Skywalker than can be believed.
Since this set came out before the movie, this version of Kylo Ren has his mask on the head, and no minifig face to go with it. I actually like that, since that means we also get a hood for use on the helmet. The mask is a bit oversized, bit it matches the general LEGO-y look Vader’s mask had, and that certainly fits the character.
There is a version with his actual head in 75139 Battle on Takodana, which I will be reviewing in the near future as well. I like this figure a lot more after seeing the movie, and sort of prefer the version without his face (mostly because I’m not a fan of his LEGO face). His cape is the spongy material we’ve been getting for the past couple of years, and it is ragged and torn because Hot Topic joke. Not a bad little character at all, and obviously essential to the mix.
We get a Stormtrooper Officer, marked by his pauldron (which, spellcheck, is totally a word). Otherwise, he’s a standard Stormtrooper under that. I like the look of his decoration better than some of the previous versions, mostly because it’s a touch smaller.
We now have three different varieties of the normal Stormtrooper, which is kind of nice for breaking up the monotony of an army. Their armor is still just for show (as a single blaster bolt can take them down), and the white strikes me as a poor choice for invading deserts and jungles… but at least they don’t all look exactly the same.
The First Order officer may be the most pleasant surprise of a figure I’ve ever seen in a Star Wars set. One of the things that the Force Awakens did very well in how they showed all of the people (men and women, people of color, people of the color white, Canadians, etc.) is that it felt just natural. The big reason I harp on stuff like that in my reviews, or in the products I buy, etc, isn’t from some grand cause, it’s that I want things to represent a more realistic and believable society. Science fiction is always a representation of today (with our beliefs and biases baked right in), and we see men and women, various ethnicities, beliefs, orientations, etc all mixed together and just going about their deal.
The Force Awakens did that well in the fact that it didn’t call any specific attention to it, that was just how it was. We had female officers and soldiers. Beyond Phasma, the most obvious, the Stormtrooper that pointed Kylo towards Ren on Starkiller base was a woman. There was a female pilot in an X-Wing (and she blew up a lot of TIE fighters). Yet the important thing for that pilot, the stormtrooper, and this officer wasn’t their gender or the color of the skin. It was their role and their job. This minifigure isn’t stylized or overly curvy, past the hip indicators LEGO uses. The most important thing is that she is an officer, with the rank and uniform, and beyond that it’s just making her look different. That’s what I want in things like that, and I like when the LEGO sets, toys, comics, etc, reflect reality (and, you know, all of us).
Am I the only one that saw these two figures and thought that maybe Daft Punk made a cameo we didn’t realize in Force Awakens? Would it be wrong to recut the trailer to the Tron: Legacy soundtrack? Disney owns them both now, so maybe it’s overdue for some sort of Crossover. Perhaps a Galaxy Far, Far Away is just the simulation taken to it’s ultimate end. Or Maybe I’d just like a scene with Yoda going “Fight for the user, he does.”
We’ve gotten a lot of these generic troopers, but this one is notable for giving us a person of color head under one of the helmets. Mixed in with the battle packs, there’s a lot of variety to these guys. While most people aren’t going to end up with multiple copies of this set, we get all the parts here other places and you can build a lot of troop figures.
General Hux had his own batch of shoes to fill in the movie, though it was much more subtle than the Kylo / Vader connection. He’s forced to live up to Tarkin as an officer, and in a lesser extent, as the inspirational leader of the First Order. The somewhat over-the-top allegory during his whole speech at the Star Killer base notwithstanding, he was easily the most terrifying member of the First Order we saw. He’s the one that initiated the attack and wiped out millions, ignited a war, and didn’t show even a touch of remorse.
I wish he had hair instead of the hat, since we see him hatless more than with the hat (though it was there). I also wish that LEGO would work out a real way to do a trench coat for minifigures, because if there was a figure that deserved it, it was Bill Weasley. In short, the lesson you should learn from all of this is “do not mess with us redheads; we will blow up your planets.”
Perhaps the most important thing I can get across on this ship is that the thing is just massive. I hope the top of your shelves are clear, because you’re not going to be able to store it with the wings up otherwise. This thing is a solid, heavy, monster of a ship, and it’s hard to convey that in the pictures. Even coming in at less pieces (and less dollars), it probably weighs as much as the Falcon. The color is probably the easiest thing to forgive, simply because all-black builds just don’t look great… at least to me. LEGO black is just too glossy to look good by itself; even Batman had to acknowledge that and use very dark gray in his stuff.
Still, the elephant in the room is the wing setup. I get why they did it… trying to build the wings in a way that would have tilted down would have likely added bulk, weight, and cost to an already heavy and expensive set. Part of the problem is that the wings themselves are really ugly when opened, with the slots for the technic bars to raise it plainly visible. Stuff that would normally be hidden on the inside is plain outside the ship, giving it a somewhat unfinished look.
The mechanism to raise and lower the wings is fairly interesting, but I have a hunch it will lead to some broken parts for a lot of kids. It’s made to turn to raise the wing, which from an engineering point of view is very slick. The wings are heavy, and it doesn’t take much force to turn it. The problem is that when you finish raising them, the mechanism locks into place. However, you can still turn it, and it feels like it’s just slightly stuck. It’s not a stretch at all to imagine someone thinking they have to turn harder and then snapping a part off.
It seems like the ship is just destined to be sat in a landing position, much like it’s ancestor, the Lambda shuttle. Unlike the shuttle, there are less options to put this one into a landing position. There aren’t any landing gear, really, it’s just designed to be sat on the wings. That view above isn’t viable for any sort of display, because it wouldn’t take much more than a stern glance to make the wings collapse on themselves (especially given how heavy it is).
Instead, you flip them under, which works, but doesn’t look all that great. They also incorporated a landing ramp to the ship, which would be cool if it was longer and the ship sat higher. As it is, even my daughter'[s hands are too small to get under there, and the ship too bulky to even see minifigs on the ramp.
The most interesting part of the ship and the build is the central cockpit. There’s a lot of room for troops, which is a nice feature (and something that the Force Awakens sets all did quite well). One of the most striking things while you’re building it, but before you build the wings, is how cool the central hull looks on its own. That strikes me as a very moc-able shuttle, and something that can be built on. It’s kind of like a space-worthy version of the First Order Snowspeeder, except not entirely awful.
This is a very hard set to rate, in the end. I liked the minifigs, but outside of the officer, the Hux, and our Stormtroopers 80s shoulder accessory, the rest are available (in some form) elsewhere. The ship, as a representation of Kylo Ren’s shuttle, isn’t all that great, but as a ship is actually pretty cool. It’s solid and well built, and somehow, the problems feel more like a challenge to mod the set up a bit and improve on it, not just toss it out. It’s not worth the full price, but on a sale (which I grabbed it at around Christmas), it still feels like a pretty solid purchase. That makes it a pretty solid three out of five.
What I Liked
- Solid minifig lineup with a great officer figure, Kylo, and a good mix of generic and named characters
- In a pinch, ship could be used as a medicine ball for old timey workouts, and likely will survive a trip from actual orbit to the surface of the Earth
- Space for figures inside, swooshable (assuming you’ve done some arm workouts), and not a bad set if you disregard the misses from the source material
What I Didn’t Like
- Unfortunately, misses the source material in color and the wing function. However, the wings should be taken as a challenge. That’s the great thing about LEGO… don’t like it? FIX IT!
- Lack of landing gear and loose lower wings make landing the shuttle look weird. The ramp on the bottom is wasted because of it
- Despite the positives, price is just too high for what you get
Verdict: 3 out of 5. You can pick up 75104 Kylo Ren’s Command Shuttle, and the rest of the Force Awakens sets, right now on Amazon.com. As of this writing, it was at a 9% discount, which is getting close to right for it.