Rufus

Review: 7964 Republic Frigate

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  2. 2. Which version do you prefer?

    • 7964 Republic Frigate (2011)
      37
    • 7665 Republic Cruiser (2007)
      17

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21 posts in this topic

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The Summer 2011 Star Wars LEGO range has a lot that will interest fans of the Movies. A new and long-awaited reissue of the Millenium Falcon, an Endor set, three Episode One sets including some much-needed upgrades to major characters, not least of which is the long sought-after Padme :wub: ... and yet I, a die-hard Original Trilogy fan, went straight out and bought this one - a Clone Wars set.

The principal reason for this - I haven't even seen the Clone Wars Movie, or the serial episodes in which the Republic Frigate features - is that one of my all-time favourite LEGO Star Wars sets remains, to this day, the 7665 Republic Cruiser: the sister-ship to the new Frigate.

A bit of background: the Corellian Consular-Class Cruiser Radiant VII features in the opening sequence to Episode I: the Phantom Menace, and lasts a few minutes before being destroyed. It's a strange, somewhat ugly ship, bearing the red and white livery of a Republic diplomatic vessel, and in its design is the clear forerunner of the Tantive IV CR90 Corvette which opens the action in Episode IV in one of the most memorable Sci-Fi movie scenes ever. LEGO's version of the Radiant VII was, surprisingly, a thing of beauty - so different to the bley wilderness which afflicts most SW sets, and features a number of unique and interesting play features which marked it as something out of the ordinary.

The Republic Frigate is a later military retro-fit to the Cruiser, seeing action in the Clone Wars. I wanted to see how this new model would stand up to comparison with her beautiful earlier sister. Read on, to see how she fares.

Review: 7964 Republic Frigate


Set Information

Name:
Republic Frigate

Number:
7964

Theme:
STAR WARS The Clone Wars

Release:
2011 Summer Wave

Pieces:
1022

Figures:
5

Price: UK
£102.99
| US
$119.99
| EUR
139.90 - 149.95
| DKK
1199.00
| AUS
$199.99
| CA
$154.99

Take the Jedi Knights and clone heroes into battle with the Republic Frigate™!

Straight from Star Wars: The Clone Wars, the iconic Republic Frigate features a detachable escape pod, opening cockpit, rotating turbo-laser cannons, proton torpedo launcher, retractable undercarriage, opening hatches and detailed interior. Includes Yoda, Eeth Koth, Quinlan Vos, Clone Commander Wolffe and Wolfpack clone trooper minifigures.

  • Includes 5 minifigures: Yoda™, Eeth Koth™, Quinlan Vos™, Clone Commander Wolffe™ and Wolfpack Clone Trooper™
  • Features detachable escape pod, opening cockpit, rotating turbo-laser cannons, proton torpedo launcher, retractable undercarriage, opening hatches and detailed interior
  • Open the hatches to play in the detailed interior with windows, storage compartment, seating and dashboard!
  • Communicate with Chancellor Palpatine through the holographic transmitter!
  • Unfold the 4 legs to make a smooth landing or to display!
  • Rotate the turbo-laser cannons to fire in any direction!
  • Measures over 19” (48cm) long, 11” (27cm) wide and 5” (12cm) tall

Links ... Brickset ... Bricklink ... Peeron (not yet inventoried) ... Shop@Home

The Box


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Click the picture for a high-resolution full-frontal

Sporting the gorgeous dark blue surround of all Star Wars merchandise since Summer 2010, this box does not disappoint. A flatteringly-angled shot of the Frigate, canons blazing and flick-fires firing, dominates a space battle scene against an unnamed rocky planet. The five figures - four of them new - gain due prominence in their usual position; the text naming the new figures barely fits in its allotted space.

The Back

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The expected set diorama shows off the many features of the Frigate, and sits comfortably alongside advertisements for a selection of the Summer range. Five insets highlight the major play features:

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The opening roof, allowing access to the interior; the bomb-dropping mechanism; and the landing gear on the left of the diorama frame a close-up of the detachable pod which seats the Clones.

On the right-hand side, we see the lifting carry-handle, and the means by which the pod detaches:

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Between these is the open cockpit of the Frigate, in which Quinlan Vos looks perplexed as to why there is no Clone pilot in this ship.

As has become customary, the 1:1 minifigure line-up sits on the top panel of the box:

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We'll get to meet and greet these characters in depth later.

Size-wise, 7964's box has exactly the same frontal dimensions as its predecessor 7665:

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It is a little deeper, though, and unlike 7665 with its simple flaps, unfortunately comes with the infamous lifty-lid and side tear-tabs necessitating box-destruction or manual dexterity to extrude its contents.

Instructions


After much groping around in the dark recesses of the box, I was able to extract two instruction booklets, each almost pristine. There was no handy cardboard backing in this set, much to my later despair.

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Both manuals are of similar quality, and can be distinguished only by the manual number and the different binding. Both are stapled, but the first opens in portrait-orientation and the second in landscape.

Opening the first manual, we are greeted with the directions for modular construction, now the 'standard' in almost every larger set.

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The division into modules is logical, and greatly helps the build process - there is no more having to open every bag to seek out just one or two pieces, nor sorting of a gazillion parts... and it makes the reviewing process easier, too.

Manual number 1 ends mid-way through the third module:

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This is a good time to comment on the background of the instruction steps: it's plain grey. No fancy detailing, or shadowy Vader figure, or anything... :sad:

I've used the following step from the second manual to illustrate the build complexity:

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We have piece call-outs, and frequent minor sub-builds. The build is nicely judged: nothing is too complex or inexplicable; yet neither is the build tedious or patronising. There isn't a great deal of repetition either; even the three engines are different enough to keep it interesting. Colour-differentiation is not a problem, despite the amount of Bley in the set.

The rear of the second manual contains the usual WinGagneGewinne kid, a repeat look at the playability functions, and the Inventory: see Page One and Page Two on Flickr.

Decal Sticker Sheet

The sticker sheet did not fare nearly so well as the instructions in the Journey to the Outside World. It was one of the first things my questing hand encoutered, and I could instantly tell it had taken a beating. After a considered attempt at flattening it out, and reattaching three decals which were floating in various places inside the box, this is the best I could do for it:

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There really isn't any excuse for this. If LEGO will insist on providing decals for expensive sets as opposed to printed parts - a strategy which is quite reasonable when there will be little re-use value for such prints - they could easily protect the stickers from such transit damage, and save the inevitable calls to Customer Service with their infuriatingly reasonable and helpful staff :wink: .

Parts


The six modules come in nine polybags, six larger and three smaller:

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Immediately the bley and dark red dominance of colour is obvious. I have organised the parts in their respective modules:

Module 1 builds the central structure of the ship.

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Much of the Technic - required to provide strength and support - is found here sitting somewhat incongruously alongside minifigure parts and weapons. I suspect most interest will be in the latter; there's only a small amount of dark red to generate any excitement in the bricks; but this gets better later. Note Eeth Koth's hair is packaged separately in its own bag, and the usual polybag of clone accessories, much of which is redundant.

The dark red starts to show its prominence in module 2, which builds the cockpit section:

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They are hardly rare, but no other set contains nearly so many grille tiles in 'new' dark red; the four 4x4x2/3 curved slopes are unique in this colour. Notice also the relative lack of Technic in this section.

Module 3 - the largest section - is mostly plates, with some technic bracing. This builds the flat rear-section which supports the engines.

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There's a little dark tan in here, which is a pleasing addition, and I know will get some pulses quickening :grin: . Not me, I over-ordered on 2x2 dark tan tiles :blush: , but the 1x2 plates are useful. The 4x4 round plate in dark red is unique to this set.

Bag 4 builds the passenger areas on the sides of the main fuselage, and several gun emplacements.

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There are two more of the unique 4x4 round dark red plates, but my eye was drawn to the eight bley friction rams - hardly unusual, but new to me - and the two 4x2 SNOT plates, part ID 93274, which I first encountered in the LEGO Westfield Routemaster promotional.

Also in this section is this new printed piece, which I didn't even notice until I checked the Bricklink Inventory:

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It's meant to be a hologram of Chancellor Palpatine, but he looks suspiciously Sithy in this shot. He also could be mistaken for a duck in a robe, or possibly Jar-Jar Binks :laugh: . I'm not complaining, though: it's nice to get a printed piece.

The large quantity of bley quarter-cylinders identify bag 5 as building the engines, plus a few extras.

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The surprising yellow plates are hidden the finished model. This is - I think - the only readily-available set where you'll find the 4 wide radar dish in 'new' dark red.

Last, and definitely least in terms of quantity - bag 6 contains the parts for the detachable pod.

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The bley half-cones and quarter cylinders dominate, but there are more dark red grille tiles, and a few handy SNOT-bricks.

Parts Verdict:
The parts selection is again dominated by bley/dark bley plates; Technic is apparent but not overwhelming; for me it's the abundance of dark red which is most likely to appeal, but alone is perhaps not enough reason to fork out for this set.

The Minifigures


Lets meet the protagonists. Order 66 notwithstanding, they are all 'good guys'. Here's the line-up:

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From left to right: Jedi Masters Eeth Koth, Quinlan Vos (at least, he had achieved the rank of Master by Episode III, but I can't vouch for his Master-ness during the Clone Wars), and Yoda; Clone Wolfpack Commander Wolffe and an unnamed Wolfpack trooper with a jetpack.

The 'New' Jedi

Lets look a the new Jedi in more detail first.

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Both Koth and Vos have lovely new torsos, with different arm colours, and back printing :wub: , and their faces too are new. Koth's hair has the Jack Sparrow touch - differential printing on the crown of the skull and hair braids; Vos has girls' hair which nonetheless quite suits him.

So who are these new-to-LEGO characters? Let's find out.

Besides having a name which sounds like an unpleasant symptom of a virulent respiratory illness, Eeth Koth is a Jedi Master who sat on the Council even before the Clone Wars. He even has a speaking role in The Phantom Menace: you can see him in action when little Anakin is first presented to the council:

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Click for a bigger picture

Having a speaking role means his character was cast, and therefore still studio images exist:

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Aside from having an apparently more benign countenance than his LEGO Clone Wars equivalent, you can see from this that his LEGO understudy's face-printing is reasonably accurate. The scalp horns are perhaps a little too large, and the forehead too pronounced in plastic, but this is a necessary effect of the new hairpiece, and I can live with that. Even his torso is accurate, although I'd have preferred for his arms to match, or for him to have a cloak.

Read more about Eeth Koth on Wookieepedia

Quinlan Vos is a more shadowy character. Although he appeared in the original screenplay for Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, the scenes were cut from the film before the character was cast, so no official studio stills exist, and we are forced to make do with illustrations from the expanded universe:

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Here, his dreadlocks and menacing expression do him justice, and we can see that his LEGO equivalent's facial expression is correct. The LEGO hair represents his dreads reasonably well, but his torso seems a little unexpected.

Here he is in Clone Wars action, looking more like a girl than ever in his dress and leggings:

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I find this picture strangely reminiscent of Lord Farquaad from the original Shrek movie :laugh:

Despite his lack of physical appearance in the movies, he is mentioned in Revenge of the Sith: Obi-Wan tells Anakin that 'Master Vos has moved his troops to Boz Pity.' There is, however, a lesser known fact: he actually appears in The Phantom Menace. During the scene on Tattooine where Jar-Jar has a run-in with Sebulba, young Anakin steps in. In the background, drinking with a friend at a table, you can see Vos - an 'extra' played by an unknown actor:

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It is unclear whether this is Vos in Jedi form, or just an earlier incarnation of the character before he was written into the Jedi backstory, but it's an interesting piece of trivia nonetheless.

Read more about Quinlan Vos on Wookieepedia

Yoda

Yoda needs no introduction. This is the first time I've owned a Clone Wars edition of the little green Jedi Master, but he had been available previously in 2009's 8018 Armoured Assault Tank (AAT). Here he is compared to his OT equivalent, this time from 2004's Dagobah 4502 X-Wing Fighter set:

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As you can see, his torso has a more simple, yet smarter look, as befitting his days as one of the senior Jedi Masters. However, it lacks back printing. His head looks good for the Clone Wars Yoda, but doesn't really look like the Muppet puppet we came to know and love from the movies. His printed eyes do give him a more focused look than the plain OT version; the newer head is rubbery compared to the harder plastic of the earlier figure.

The rear of his head sports receding greyish hair, shown nicely in this profile view ...

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... but the most obvious difference here is the colour of the lightsaber blade. Yes, these three Jedi all have lightsabers with trans-green blades, unlike the luminous yellowish colour used previously. It's a triumph for realism, but a slight downside is that arty blacklit photography will no longer be possible :grin:

Clones

The Wolfpack is a squadron of Clone Troopers who feature quite prominently in several episodes of the Clone Wars animated TV series, some of which I have actually seen, but I confess I don't know how they link to the Republic Frigate. Generally, I don't get excited by Clones - they all look the same to me ( :snicker: ) - but these two look nice. :wub:

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The chap on the left is the squadron leader, Commander Wolffe. Both clones have the same torso and legs (which are printed); their helmets are different but each beautifully designed. The sand blue colour really suits them.

As you can see in the right-hand frame, the torsos also have lovely back-printing:

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Unnamed Trooper wears a jetpack, which is of the same design as Boba Fett's or those of the recent Mandalorian pack, but in white. This is not new, however - I am indebted to Clone O'Patra for pointing out that this white jetpack first appeared in 2009's 7748 Corporate Alliance Tank Droid. This latter has a standard Clone face, whereas Wolffe gets a new clone faceprint - scarred and with a missing eye just like the cartoon.

Here's Wolffy:

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Ignoring the lack of hair and the emergence of 6, 7, or 8 o'clock shadow, you'll notice that his LEGO face looks pretty good. This picture is also a good reference for the torso, which again is close to the real design.

Read more about The Wolfpack on Wookieepedia

Minifigure Verdict:
I'm sure there will be legitimate cries for more figures for a £100 set; however, four of these figures are new, and the two new Jedi will undoubtedly be desirable not just for Clone Wars fans but for aficionados of the Prequel Trilogy too.

The Build


Stage 1: The Centre Section

The build process is, understandably, very similar to that of the Republic Cruiser (RC). We start with the centre section, to which front and rear sections will be attached, and which contains the landing gear.

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Technic liftarms form the landing gear struts; these are connected to a sandwich of technic beams, which in turn form an 'H' shape via a technic block. Some ball joints are used to prevent the landing struts collapsing; the mechanism is identical to that of the RC except that the 'feet' sit studs upwards in this later rendition - a far more logical solution, which I don't know why wasn't used the first time round. The bley wedges will attach upside-down to the clicky-hinges.

Next, the structure is built up further with technic beams; these are secured with four more black liftarms.

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The dark red curved bricks surround a hole; we'll examine its purpose later. The red bush-pins are used to attach the front and rear sections; note the two blue 3-long friction pics - they form an attachment point for some side detailing further in the build.

Lastly, a bley technic liftarm sub-build (inset) slides into the structure, and is held loosely in place by two friction pins underneath.

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Note the 4x4 bley tile with four studs - this is meant to be stickered, and will form part of the starboard passenger cabin; it isn't present on the port side.

Stage 2 - The Forward Section

We put the centre section aside for now, and embark upon the curved forward structure. This is largely brick-built, with sandwiched plates for strength; a few technic parts at the rear allow sturdy connection to the centre.

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Note here the two technic axles - one bley, one dark bley with stop end - these are the attachment mechanism for the pod. Again, this is in contrast to the RC, whose entire nose section slid forward to detach its pod.

Further bricks build up this section, and some greebling is attached SNOT to the nose.

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The cockpit cover is finished, and clips onto the main structure with clippy-hinges. Note the two long bley flick-fires here.

Some lovely dark red curves cap off this front section :wub:

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The hinged, dark red panel at the rear will cover the 'hole' in the centre section; the technic angles at the sides are used to attach part of the roof of the passenger cabins - more on that later.

Stage 3 - The Rear

This part of the ship connects the centre section to the large cylindrical engines. It's mostly two plates thick. but two long plates underneath provide additional support, and there is a central base of technic blocks.

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I like the use of dark red tiles to create the stripes on the wing sections.

Once the side-wings are attached to the technic skeleton, some more technic reinforcement is applied, and work begins on the superstructure.

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This part of the build seems simpler that its RC counterpart, partly because we don't have the revolving antenna mechanism to worry about. Instead, a small cabin is built to seat the rear gunner. Note the two jumper plates on each side of this cabin...

... these are used to attach slope bricks at a half-stud offset, in what is an unexpectedly interesting method to 'taper' the structure.

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Finally, a rotating cone supports two more flick-fire missiles, almost entirely obscuring the rear gunner's view. The 4x4 plate which tops the cabin looks a little plain here and could do with more greeble.

Stage 4 - The Passenger Compartments

From now on, we're building little sub-sections, and the pace of the build quickens. First up are the port and starboard passenger areas, duplicated below to show the undersides; and two laser cannons which will attach SNOT to the red plates here. The cannons themselves will swivel vertically - and independently of each other - but not side to side.

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Each of the passenger areas contains important features. In the port side, there is a removable container, and three round dark red brick - bley cone constructions, the purpose of which we'll encounter in due course, along with that of the three-pronged Technic-axle device. The starboard side contains a radar dish with the printed trans-blue round brick which represents a hologram device, and also a removable bit with red clips which can be used as lightsaber storage for two of the three Jedi.

Also coming together in stage 4 are the roofs for the passenger cabins, which also feature laser cannons:

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These cannons are more detailed than their inverted counterparts, and do swivel.

Stage 5 - The Engines

I've already intimated that stage 5 builds the engines, but there are some other minor parts as well. The two dark red domes clip asymmetrically onto the blue friction pins I mentioned on the centre section, filling a slight gap between centre and rear.

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Here we also see the large wedge-plates which form the forward roofs of the side cabins. They attach via the technic angle / red axle apparatus - mentioned earlier - on the sides of the forward section. It's a somewhat clumsy technique that will be all-too familiar to owners of the latest AT-TE; here I think it's unnecessary and problematic when clicky-hinges would possibly have done a better job. The reason it is problematic is that the attachment points on the roof panels interfere slightly with the tapered panels, also pictured, which form the front of the passenger cabins. This was made worse for me because I've actually built them incorrectly: the red inverted domes and the bley 2x2 plates on the underside should be shifted one stud to the right on the panel shown upside-down; even with this corrected, the arrangement doesn't sit entirely happily and leaves a gap.

Here's what I mean:

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In the left-hand frame, with the roof panel removed, the front panel snaps back happily on the clicky-hinges to sit flush with the side wall. With the roof in place (right-hand frame), the front panel cannot move fully back, leaving an unsightly gap. Admittedly, it's not a huge gap, and most likely I wouldn't have noticed had I not built it incorrectly in the first place. :blush:

And now we come to the three large engines:

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Their construction is almost identical to those of the RC, except for two small details (discounting, of course, the colour). The first is that a few 1x2 plates fill gaps left by the 2x2 plates with technic holes at the rear; the second is that the 4x4 yellow plates are used here to strengthen the construction at either end: in the RC, the 'top' (front) of each cylinder used only 2x2 plates, and its engines had a tendency to collapse during building.

Stage 6 - The Passenger Pod

En fin, we build the pod which dangles from the front section. This contains seating for the clones, and is a distinct improvement over the biconical version in the RC, in which Qui-Gonn and Obi-Wan had to sit back-to-back in some kind of Jedi huff.

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There's a lovely bit of SNOT work at play here. The colourful 'tower' of bricks and plates connects to the 6x6 plate which forms the 'floor'; the tan 2x1 rounded 'log' brick allows this to sit flush with the curving top of the cylinder, and this, the cylinder top, and the red SNOT plate on the front of the 'floor' all marry with the 8x4 semicircular brick which will connect the cylinder to the cone part.

And here it is, complete:

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A minor technic build will attach the pod to the main body of the frigate; the roof of the pod slides easily over this. The whole construction of this section is far simpler and sturdier than its RC counterpart, and brought a smile to my face to build.

Build verdict:
Never too repetitive, and with a few nice techniques thrown in, the build is thoroughly enjoyable and never boring. There are one or two tricky areas, which I might have done differently if I had designed it, but they don't detract from the overall experience.

The Complete Model


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Now we get to have a good look round this beauty :wub:

Firstly, before the guided tour, it may be helpful to have a reference to what the ship should look like:

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This reference schematic is taken from Wookieepedia. Being a design crafted specifically for the CGI Clone Wars environment, I don't believe a studio model exists. First impressions: comparing to the LEGO model in the picture above, my first thought is that the overall shape and especially the colour scheme is pretty much spot on... however, there are differences, which we'll come to before too long.

Side

This isn't her most flattering view :blush:

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Immediately, you can see a big difference between the LEGO version's profile and that of the schematic. LEGO's is a little too fat around the midriff, and the forward pod is too deep. The 'real' ship has a nice smooth contour to the underside, whereas LEGO's is stepped in several places, most noticeably between the centre section and the rear.

The rear-bottom edge of the side passenger areas is also a little untidy. Modifying the set to correct these inaccuracies would, I'm sure, be possible, but I think one would struggle to lift the pod so it sits flush with the underside without seriously weakening the structure or losing the detachment function. Don't worry, things get better from here on.

Front

This head-on shot is really quite imposing. I love the way the bulk of the body lurks behind a narrow frontage, with just a suggestion of weaponry. The 'stance' of the ship on its landing struts also cuts a pleasing symmetry with the angles of the side sections, like a reflection. Nice!

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Compared to the schematic, the rear engine section is clearly too narrow, though do please note that the reference picture does not suffer the effects of perspective, which highlight this discrepancy. Otherwise, the greebling on the nose is tasteful, if understated; that of the front of the side cabins is a little too sparse for my tastes. No telephones or levers? :sad:

Rear

This too is a lovely view. LEGO has done a super job on the engines, and you get a real feeling of power from these beasts.

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My biggest criticism - carried over from the Cruiser, which suffered the same problem - is that the little inverted trans-yellow domes are far too puny for engines of this size. Surely a 4x4 transparent radar dish would fit in there? Or even a number of 1x1 trans-rounds?

Top

She looks pretty good from the top - purposeful, with a sharp 'pointy' front belying the powerful rear. The wonderful livery shines in this view; tired though I may be of bley, when picked out with the dark red she looks super. I'm not so keen on the dark bley wedge plates at the rear of the centre section, and again a little more greebling wouldn't go amiss. Note that the tan 2x2 round tiles should sport 'open circle' Republic motifs, but for some reason they are stickered in this set, despite the abundance of printed versions of the same.

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Compared to the schematic, perhaps the major flaw is that the rear of the centre section should taper more gently, and likewise the rear section's taper should continue to meet this at the 'waist'. I can live with the result, though.

Underside

Despite the exposed Technic, the view from below is far prettier than I would have imagined. Partly this is due to the mostly uniform colour scheme - here black and bley - but also the inverted slopes used to create contour on the undersides of the side sections help give a smooth appearance.

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Note that the landing gear is stowed on this shot. There's also a mysterious cavity just behind the pod; it appears to serve no particular purpose, but could represent a docking bay for midget starfighters :snicker: .

Design Verdict:
Remembering that this is a minifigure- (and therefore down-) scaled version of the Frigate, I think LEGO did very well to reproduce the shape and general aesthetics of the original without
too
much compromise; though for a model which is likely to be shelf-displayed, it's a pity that the profile view is perhaps her least flattering angle. Kudos is awarded for the smart colour scheme!

Features


Let's now inspect the many play features of this set. Moving from front to rear, first we encounter the opening cockpit:

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In the absence of any clone pilot, Quinlan Vos is apparently charged with flying this vessel, at least according to the box art. The cabin is a roomy as any four-stud wide structure can be; the trans-black bricks which form the windows limit the movement of his arms somewhat. Unfortunately, there are no controls at all - not even a stickered tile - but presumably the Force allows him to guide the ship. They could quite easily have stuck a couple of levers in there.

Next we come to the detachable pod section. As I've already explained, pulling the little Technic bush out from the side of the cockpit section allows the pod to drop down.

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Replacing the pod is a little harder: you have to feel for the small gap in which to feed the two bley liftarms, but it isn't too tricky. It's a distinct improvement over the release mechanism from the Republic Cruiser, which involves stretching an elastic band uncomfortably far before its pod is released.

Once detached, the lid slides off the pod, and figures can be placed inside:

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Here the two clones are chatting, whilst Yoda listens in, or weighs himself, or something. There are two clips to which the clones' weapons can be attached; note that you have to remove jetpack and Commander Wolffe's skirt before they can sit. It is possible to seat five figures in the pod, if you use the 'bathroom scales' bit that Yoda is standing on. All in all, it's handy to have a ship that can hold a decent number of figures.

There's room to seat more figures in the centre section. On the starboard side is what appears to be a conference chamber, or war room, or similar - the round radar dish with the trans-blue printed round brick is, I believe, a hologram image projector, and does the job fairly well. I can picture the Jedi planning their battles around this, whilst guided but Darth Sidious Chancellor Palpatine. Behind Eeth Koth is the bley 4x4 part-tile which should hold a nice stickered representation of the ship - perhaps a damage control panel? Also here is the removable device for stowing two of the lightsabers.

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This is also a good opportunity for commenting on the side walls of the side sections - the 'windows' are a nice touch, though I'm a little unsure why they made them yellow. Otherwise, the greebling here again is a little sparse.

The Port side contains two features of varying importance. The first is a 2x2 dark bley container, with a dark tan lid, which is removable. The instructions tell us to put the binoculars in there; here we see Master Vos removing them for some secret Jedi purpose:

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To Vos's left is a technic device, and on the other side of that are three dark red cylinders capped with bley cones. The technic contraption unfortunately removes some potential seating space on this side, but it does form a nice play feature, as we'll see presently.

Bombs away!

Let's now revisit the 'hole' in the top of the central section, which is covered by the hinged hatch from the rear of the cockpit part. Lifting the hatch allows placement of your desired number of the dark red cylinders - now revealed as some kind of bomb, or missile - into the hole:

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The hatch can be closed, if you like, and now if you pull the black technic connector in the middle of the centre frame, the bomb falls out below. It's... interesting, if not mind-blowing, but I expect it will keep the kids happy, until all the bombs roll under the sofa.

Rear Gunner

Moving toward the stern of the ship, we can now take a look inside the last major structure of the Frigate. Replacing the convoluted radar tower on the Cruiser is an opening cabin in which your chosen Republic dude can 'operate' the rear-facing flick-fire tower. Here I've place Eeth Koth:

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I say 'operate' - there are no levers here, either, but there is a brick on which can be placed a stickered control panel. Note that the flick-fire tower swivels a full 360 degrees, but doesn't pivot up or down; also you can just make out in the inset that Koth sits a little too low to see out comfortably. Nothing that a 2x2 plate or two wouldn't fix! Or he could just stand up.

I can handle it!

Between the bomb-hatch and the rear-gunner's cabin is the little bley liftarm contraption I mentioned in the Build section. This lifts up to become a convenient carry-handle:

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I've propped it up with a lightsaber here. Importantly, when stowed it sits flush with the rest of the ship's roof, so isn't at all obtrusive.

Furthermore, and unlike its counterpart in the RC, the stand is placed at the exact centre of gravity of the whole model:

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She balances perfectly on Rufus's middle finger :grin:

Gear Up, Gear Down

One of the best features of the Cruiser was her folding landing gear. These have carried over to the Frigate, but with a slight improvement: the 'feet', again made of wedge plates, sit studs-up.

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Here we see the landing gear half-folded, half-deployed. They aren't entirely unobtrusive when folded, but it would be difficult to get them to fold flush. I'm just delighted the feature is there! Whether by accident or design, it is interesting that stowing the landing gear for flight raises the carry-handle by a brick-height, making it easier to lift.

Playability Verdict:
There are lots of nifty little features to delight kids and adults alike! A lot of thought has gone into producing a set that is both entertaining and cleverly designed.

Comparison to 7665


Now we get to see how the Frigate looks next to her older sister.

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Obviously the overall shape is nearly identical. I've already pointed out the differences in the shapes of the pod sections; note also that the widened centre section is longer on the cruiser. In terms of colour, I love the slightly shocking redness of the Cruiser, but the splashes of white look a little untidy next to the well-groomed and smart Frigate.

On this oblique view, you can see the red lift-arm/double-curved slope, just in front of the Cruiser's radar tower, which forms its carry handle. It is poorly balanced: the ship tilts forward, and I worry about the strain this puts on the liftarms.

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Just in front of this is a small white modified tile with handle. This allows the whole roof of the Cruiser's centre section to lift off. In the Frigate, as we have seen, the roofs of each side are hinged, allowing the whole ship to be swooshed upside down without too much catastrophe!

Overall, the Frigate is a lovely modernisation of a great set: the colour scheme - while obviously different - is smartened up, and a few slight problems of the Cruiser have been solved with aplomb. The result is different enough to be be exciting for owners of the Cruiser, whilst bearing sufficient similarity for the two to make great shelf-mates.

Conclusion


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Frankly, I wasn't expecting the Frigate to have quite the 'wow' factor that her mold-breaking red sister achieved, and I was probably right. However, I was very pleasantly surprised. The Frigate, albeit decked in the usual bley of most Star Wars sets, sports a much smarter livery than the Cruiser, and the placement of dark red is rather pleasing to the eye. Moreover, several niggles about the Cruiser have been tastefully ironed out, most noticeably the carry-handle being beautifully balanced, and the ability of the Frigate to seat more than the few passengers afforded space in her elder sibling. Despite being a Clone Wars set about which I should by rights care little, I'm delighted with this, and I can foresee her claiming much needed shelf-display space for some time to come.

Design: 8
Despite the usual compromises that afflict System-scaled sets, this rendition of the Frigate is reasonably true to the original, and looks very nice. It's a shame that some of the Frigate's sleekness has been lost, particularly in profile; this is necessary to maintain the playable functions and interior. The beautiful splashes of dark red really help to smarten up her appearance, and boost the score significantly in this area.

Build: 9
With minimal repetition and some nice techniques that even brought a smile to my LEGO-seasoned face, the construction of this set is thoroughly enjoyable. I suspect it will cause one or two problems for the set's likely target market, and parental assistance might well be necessary, but for the adult fan it was a joy.

Minifigures: 9
I'm sure many people will demand more in terms of quantity, but you cannot argue that in quality this set's line-up is impressive. Clone fans will undoubtedly crave the Wolfpack troopers; personally, I'm delighted with the new Jedi, who despite being Clone Wars-styled would sit quite happily alongside by Prequel Trilogy bunch. The Jedi Council is nearing completion!

Parts: 6
Here I have less to rave about. There isn't a lot to get pulses racing. The dark red selection steals the show, but I can't see many buying this set for the parts alone, and Bley takes a further step towards the inevitable global domination.

Playability: 9
The compromises on design start to make sense when you examine all the features. Folding landing gear is always a winner with me, and there's lots of space inside the ship for arranging figs. The perfect weighting around the centre of gravity makes swooshing a dream; you can even invert this one without too much falling out (the pilot might, but at least the roof doesn't come of like the Cruiser's). Kids will enjoy the flick-fires and bombs, at least until they get lost; one possible downside is that there isn't really a large enemy ship available for this to do battle with... but that isn't the Frigate's fault!

Price: 7
This is one area we haven't touched upon yet. At approximately 10 pence per piece, she's reasonable value, but when you consider that she has only 100 pieces more than the Cruiser, and has the same overall dimensions - yet is 150% of the cost - she starts to look a little overpriced. This is most likely a reflection both of the current market forces, and the fact that for £70 the Cruiser was an absolute bargain - yet I worry that the price will put many off this superb set.

Overall: 80% My score: 9/10 Pleasing to the eye, fun to build and play, great figures: what more persuasion do you need? A discount? Possibly, but I actually think she's worth the full price.

Thank you for reading; I hope you enjoyed the review!

Rufus

Resources

tn_7665-1_jpg.jpg Read def's review of the 7665 Republic Cruiser here.

Consular-Class Corellian Charger c70 Retrofit on Wookieepedia

My flickr set


And Finally....

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If you want to learn how to make stellar reviews, join the Reviewers Academy!

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Great review of a great set! I got this the other day and loved it. I still want the cruiser, though.

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Good work on the review. You were very thorough. I for one cannot wait to get this set, okay I'm waiting for it to go on sale, I missed the last one and the minifigures are quite cool as well. That 1x1 round hologram brick really is cool. And that last picture! :rofl:

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Good work on the review. You were very thorough. I for one cannot wait to get this set, okay I'm waiting for it to go on sale, I missed the last one and the minifigures are quite cool as well. That 1x1 round hologram brick really is cool. And that last picture! :rofl:

I got this set on sale at Target for $107. Hopefully it's still on sale for your sake. :classic: I do like that last pic as well.

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Brilliant review, Rufus! :wub:

I think you've finally managed to tip the scales and make this my favorite SW of the summer wave. I can't relate to some of the minifigures at all, but luckily the ship is sweet enough to more than make up for that. :laugh: I'm not sure if I like this or the old Cruiser more, but I suppose that's a good thing to have two ships battling for my love. :grin: Now if only we could get something like this in UCS form...

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Thank you so much for doing up this mammoth review! It's no easy feat to pull this off and yet it was done in such a nice manner! Love all of those pictures of yours especially the opening image.

This is my favourite Republican ship and I love this more than the old one, simply because this version is an assault ship unlike the old red ambassadorial version. I like to group those attacking vessels together. The wide range of minifigures are very tasty and at the same time, very rare in selections as well. I had picked up 2 of these sets and I can't wait to build mine as soon I had time for it. :tongue:

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Duck in a robe... :tongue: Great review, Rufus, thanks. I picked this up at Target on sale last week, too, and enjoyed the build.

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Rufus- My eyes are closed when I skimmed this review. :tongue: I have it, and don't want to ruin the surprise! But I can already see what a good set this will be from when I scrolled down page. BTW, I like how you took the time to line up the parts. :thumbup: <-- I can do that. I'm a teacher. :wink:

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Excellent review Rufus one of the best I've seen :thumbup: :thumbup:. I love this ship (not from the side though) but the Red version is just plain better it looks like a scale version of the ship whereas this one is too out of scale especialy around the guns on the body section. Darth Duck :laugh:.

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Great review of a great set! I got this the other day and loved it. I still want the cruiser, though.

Yeah, the cruiser is kinda special. Thanks, K-nut.

Good work on the review. You were very thorough. I for one cannot wait to get this set, okay I'm waiting for it to go on sale, I missed the last one and the minifigures are quite cool as well. That 1x1 round hologram brick really is cool. And that last picture! :rofl:

Thanks, Masked! It's pricey but worth it; if you can get it on sale, it's a must.

I think you've finally managed to tip the scales and make this my favorite SW of the summer wave. I can't relate to some of the minifigures at all, but luckily the ship is sweet enough to more than make up for that. :laugh: I'm not sure if I like this or the old Cruiser more, but I suppose that's a good thing to have two ships battling for my love. :grin: Now if only we could get something like this in UCS form...

Thanks, ZO6! This one really stood out to me from the summer wave, awesome though the whole wave is. And I'd love to see a UCS version... probably of the Cruiser, though :wink:

Thank you so much for doing up this mammoth review! It's no easy feat to pull this off and yet it was done in such a nice manner! Love all of those pictures of yours especially the opening image.

This is my favourite Republican ship and I love this more than the old one, simply because this version is an assault ship unlike the old red ambassadorial version. I like to group those attacking vessels together. The wide range of minifigures are very tasty and at the same time, very rare in selections as well. I had picked up 2 of these sets and I can't wait to build mine as soon I had time for it. :tongue:

Cheers, Fangy! Go ahead and build it ASAP, you won't be disappointed! :drool:

Duck in a robe... :tongue: Great review, Rufus, thanks. I picked this up at Target on sale last week, too, and enjoyed the build.

Thanks, Churchill! :snicker:

Rufus- My eyes are closed when I skimmed this review. :tongue: I have it, and don't want to ruin the surprise! But I can already see what a good set this will be from when I scrolled down page. BTW, I like how you took the time to line up the parts. :thumbup: <-- I can do that. I'm a teacher. :wink:

Open your eyes! :huh: And thanks for the thumb, starstreak. Does that mean I pass? :grin:

Excellent review Rufus one of the best I've seen :thumbup: :thumbup:. I love this ship (not from the side though) but the Red version is just plain better it looks like a scale version of the ship whereas this one is too out of scale especialy around the guns on the body section. Darth Duck :laugh:.

Why thank you, Mr Man :blush: Actually, the scale is similar on both models, and each have the same lumpiness around the bottom, but it is more pronounced on the Frigate.

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Super review Rufus! I still cannot imagine laying out all of those pieces for such a big set, but I love seeing them.

This set is very nice, and I certainly prefer the CW color scheme to the old one. It looks sleeker.

The biggest thing that screams about to me about this set is the minifigure selection. Two new Jedi and two new Clones is beyond awesome. If only LEGO had started this trend last year; the Turbo Tank would've been less disappointing had it not only had two new figures (one of which was available in another set anyway). If I could afford to buy two big sets, I would seriously consider picking this one up. As it is, I'll just stick with your extremely detailed review.

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Thanks 'Rufus' for this AWESOME review, nicely detailed with a funny punch line at the end. :grin:

Dam it, you might have twisted my arm to put one of these on lay-by next toy sale, those minifigs scream buy me, buy me ! :laugh:

Sad but true we don't have a Separatist ship big enough to do battle with ! :cry_sad:

May the Eurobrick be with you always ! :grin:

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Impressive review, and as someone who's still to catch up on the CW, I found the background information very informative... I've got most of the latest wave of sets, but had put off getting this one, as I already have the RC and Tantive IV, and wasn't sure about yet another version, but your review has just tipped the balance - now all I have to do is find the money, and - more importantly - the space to display it :wacko:

Thanks again

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Fantastic review for a set I already want. Just waiting on the right sale or ebay price.

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We receive the set from Christmas. We built this set past two days and we enjoyed this set.

Edited by ENeuman

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Awesome review! I am a jedi collector so I am very excited for Eeth Koth and Quinlan Vos...Wolffie is really awesome too.

As for the set itself I don't really like it bacuse you can't make such a HUGE ship into a set being able to fit 5 people.

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Since my frigate is in route (:sweet:), it was very nice to read such a good review. Thanks Rufus! :thumbup:

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I thoroughly enjoyed this review! Although I have already built the set it's consoling to know that I'm not the only one to receive a crumpled DSS in with this set! :cry_sad:

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Your review is very detailed.

I'm looking for my first Lego Star Wars set and the Republic Frigate is at the top of my list.

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Wow. Incredible. I'm imagining how much time you've taken for making this great review. Very detailed, the photos are sharp and significant and the text tells everything we need.

The trivia about the figs wouldn't have been necessary I guess, but totally worth it for the picture of Quinlan in the Sebulba scene - I was looking for that picture for ages. :laugh:

Nice comparison-pics, too.

I ordered the frigate today; basically I wasn't interested in the ship (only wanted Vos and the rest), as I own the cruiser, but your photos may change my mind about reselling it. :classic:

Thanks for the review!

Greetings

-Bane

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