Raytracer

UCS Super Star Destroyer 10221: A build and review

61 posts in this topic

Good morning Eurobricks! It's time for me to stop lurking and start contributing - and what better way to get started than with a review?

A trip to Melbourne, Australia for Brickvention on the weekend past led to an interesting situation, in which a raffle had a Super Star Destroyer up for grabs as the top prize - well, we were broke but had a tiny amount of cash, and I had been *wanting* this set for YEARS... so I bought $10 worth of tickets and put half into the SSD, and half into the other sets up for grabs (eggs, basket, don't put all your.) - At the end of the day, the raffle was drawn and I swear the shop owners up the stairs and across the street could of heard my celebratory WHOOP!

*cough* So yeah, anyway, I ended up with this set, and was forced to wait for three whole days before I could even begin building - and had to drive back to Adelaide in the mean time!

Ok, so enough waffle. What do we have?

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(Image shamelessly lifted from Brickset, reupped to flickr to save their bandwidth)

Set: Super Star Destroyer 10221

Pieces: 3152

Age: 16+ (hah! I was a precocious child.)

Price: $399USD, $699AUD, ₤349GBP

I'll skip the obligatory photo of the box for now (I'll get it up later, promise!) and head straight into the meaty goodness, the real guts of the box and the reason we want the set to begin with (who wants a box?).

edit: You want the box! Here's the photos I promised - taken the day I got it back at the house we were staying at...

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...

...

Oooookay! So, as I was saying, who wants a box?

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Opening the box, the first thing I find is a series of smaller boxes, beginning with this one, a slim, VERY heavy box with a book on it. Sounds instruction-y. Slightly Green, one of my little alternates, will be helping me out with this build...

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Oh, oh! Someone catch me! I'm swooning! It's a properly ring bound, cardboard covered instruction novel, in A3! I had the original 10030 ISD, and the difference in quality between the two instructions is amazing. These feel like you could build the set a few times and still have the pages actually remain where they were put in the factory, as opposed to, oh, falling out all over the place.

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Here be the other boxes, one through three - one interesting note, all the boxes storing parts in this set are standard sized boxes, like the ones for a large creator set, just without the printing. You still need to shove your thumbs through punch out holes to rip the boxes open though...

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I apologise if you haven't seen Spaceballs, but... 'Stickers! I hate Stickers! Especially the small ones!' - Thankfully a fairly small sticker sheet, mostly taken up by the 8x16 info sticker.

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Time to get to business, let's get into box number one! Bags 1 and 2 are in this one, creating the base and skeleton of the ship, as well as the minifigs, micro ISD and other sundries. The model is split into 7 total groups of bags, which is great for builders like me who (as you'll see later) tend not to sort their parts before assembly.

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Bags 1: The Baggy Menace. It's a fairly impressive collection of bits, this.

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And here's the figs - no assistance from my car this time, but what have we here? A 8x16 tile in Black? A Chinese made head? And-oh! A printed 1x1 round brick! IG-88 will be so pleased! A new Darth Vader as well as Admiral Piett round out the unique figures, and more photos shall be incoming when I get off my lazy bones and set up my light tent. I may or may not have been slightly distracted by the mass quantity of LEGO spreading across my floor.

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Directions: Add Bags 1 of elements, plus select elements from the tough polybags. Simmer in a high 30's Adelaide summer for 3-4 hours or until well assembled.

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My partner wants to steal this mass quantity of 8x10 wings for making staircases. Have you ever seen a lion protecting her cubs? Yeah, that expression.

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Just had to share this one, a single pearl dark bluish grey tooth piece, just one in the whole set, used for a backpack. Oh, and to waste 600px of your screen real estate with white photo.

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By this stage I've started to settle into my groove a bit, and knocked over the micro ISD. Photos don't do it justice, it's actually a really good looking little micro. That said, now I need to make a nano/pico scale Tantive IV to hang off the side of it!

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Partway through bag one and starting to encounter slight structural difficulties. The instructions get you to build out the entire front section, then go back to the rear to add strength to that. Never mind that there's this little thing called 'gravity' that tries to bend the front towards earth, I'm sure we can work out some sort of solution, right?

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Righto, now we're getting somewhere, kind of. Bag one complete, structure gaining rigidity. I still wouldn't want to be picking it up from either end, but you can at least move it around without it trying to explode and take out your face with flying bricks.

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Bags number two, and we start to see some very out of place brightly coloured parts, such as the lovely 2x2 plate modified with Technic pin connector in yellow. Where were you when I needed you?!

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The skeleton is starting to take shape and really reinforce the flat base at this point, though I would liked to have seen more technic pin connections or a wider main spine, as it tended to flex a bit.

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Mid-bag two and we're starting to get some greebles on, specifically the bridge. I love this part, as the bridge on a SSD is supposed to be this gigantic area, but this model implies that all this ship is good for is carrying four (five?) minifigs. Funnily enough, I donated the minifigs to the my partner's collection.

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At the end of bag two, we have some solid skeleton going on - looking down the spine of the ship I spy with my little eye something beginning with 'hey look, technic ribs' - am I doing it right?

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This is weird. What's not obvious, though should be by this point if you've finished bag two, is that all these parts go straight onto the ship as you build them. For some reason this wasn't clear to my slightly sleep addled brain. Anyway, time for bags three: Revenge of the sub-assemblies!

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Oh, but first - bag three means box two, which has bags three and four, and there are five bag threes and two bag fours. Still with me?

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Remember how I said I don't sort my parts? I build on the floor, lying on a comfy pillow, and horrify every deadly serious AFOL builder with my lack of any system apart from the numbers. Probably wouldn't work that well for say, something like 10212 Imperial Shuttle though... Might get a little disorganised. Oh, probably worth noting at this point that my carpet is a shade of grey not unlike dark bluish grey. Ever lose a 2x8 plate that's sitting right in front of you?

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The stern of the ship is starting to get some definition, thickening out a bit and getting some nice greebles. The larger panels just clip into place with one technic pin and a couple of axle pins for alignment, rather than making you push multiple pins into place. I approve of this and want to see more of it.

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After building the 'bridge' area for the minifigs to rest in, I got to see some basic techniques for offsetting by half a stud. Really becoming aware at this point that this is a very narrow ship, very sleek and daggerish compared to the old ISD which was really a bit too broad.

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Bags four are all about the stands, which are very nice, very sturdy and appropriately decorated to look chunky, though the bulk of the ship is still only really held up by four 15L technic beams on each stand. They don't twist at all once attached though, thanks to the round plates at the top, though I did find the easiest way to keep them from moving was just to slide them in and give the ship a gentle whack to seat them.

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Bag four complete and a shot of how the ship sits on its stands, with the car making a return for scale.

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I was getting a little eager to finish at this point so stopped taking photos of the instructions and bags, but just imagine that they are there, mk? This is now bag five, and we are onto the 'bridge' covering. It's aligned using the wedges that can be seen in a previous photo and a one-stud gap near the front of the panel. Many greebles died to bring us this part. Once it's on, the city in the middle of the ship is basically complete, now it just needs filling out with some wings... but I feel like something is missing.

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Ah, right, the main engines! Again, a straightforward build, no exotic techniques here.

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Obligatory under-ship shot of the engines blazing away. The main engines just push into a couple of axles for guidance and a couple of pins to lock in. Simple to slide it in and let momentum do the hard work for me!

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Bag six and we're nearly done. The very large, long panels are flimsy until you get them reinforced, and again LEGO seems to have decided that reinforcing from the back, which is already quite strong, is better than getting the nose a bit better attached. Fortunately I suffered no breakages while assembling the panels but I've read that some people have.

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I was very surprised by the total lack of spares as I was going through this build. This is every single piece that I didn't use at some point by following the instructions, and honestly I'm not sure that I didn't miss those tan 1x2 plates somewhere. I've had more spares in a Alien Conquest set!

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There she be, the flagship of the Imperial fleet. Just don't mention Isard, or the other couple that hang around in the EU. This is the flagship and the only one, honest! Now it really needs an appropriate scale Death Star to plough it into to recreate that memorable scene.

So, some thoughts on the build, before I get to the actual set:

I would have liked to see more attention paid to floating pieces. There are a lot of times in the instructions where plates are aligned next to each other and then covered in parts to join, and I can't help but think there must be a better way of doing that particular kind of thing. I tend to be very bad for needing to follow instructions, so I get this weird situation where I'm trying to align stuff in mid air before attaching it, which is just annoying.

The way the longer sections are done feels like it needed more thought or more QA testing before the instructions left the factory, as manipulating a two-plate thick, 1m long section is just impossible without tipping it on it's side, making it impossible to add parts.

The top hull sections are attached far better this time around than the original ISD, but then attaching them with butter would have been better than that attachment method. I'm not crazy on the 4L bar being used as an alignment tool for the tip of the nose, as it tends to let the sections warp out and I get the impression, even if it's not quite true, that the front of the ship is held in shape more by wishes than design.

I was very impressed by the stands. They are nice, they are strong, and they are designed to hold the weight of the model appropriately. I loved the greebling and the heavy use of the 1x4 Brick with Groove to create decks. For it's failings, the build had some interesting techniques to teach, and one very interesting part (which I neglected to take a photo of) had a 2x2 round plate put between four 1x1 plate with clip on top, spaced apart by one stud from each other. The plate just barely touched the clips at the edges but overlapped the base of them, so there's a geometry I wasn't aware of before.

Ok, enough about the build I guess, let's talk about the model.

What is my scoring regime?

I start out with a perfect 10/10 and deduct points for every negative that is significant enough to warrant doing so. The result of this is that I consider a model like the 8480 Space Shuttle to be a 9.5, to give a relative standpoint.

Design: 8/10

It's not movie-accurate, but it does convey all the sense of a gigantic brooding ship. The seam down the middle is still very noticeable but they've done a good job of hiding it as much as possible. I love the sheer mass of greebles in the city and how they've been applied. The things holding it back from being a 9 or 10 are really the gigantic flat base, which makes no sense when the engines have had such care put into them, and the slightly dodgy attachment for the tip of the nose, which leaves a splayed out arrangement.

Parts: 7/10

There's nothing exotic here, and even if that pearl dark grey tooth is unique, there's no way I'd be buying this set just to get that. It's a very useful grey parts pack though, and has vast quantities of good parts for making castles and ships. There's many, many 8x16 plates and enough 3x10 Wing plates to make a spiral staircase a few stories high, and if I ever dismantle it and 'collection' it, I'll have more 1x1 plate modified with top clip than I know what to do with.

Build: 8/10

See above for my lengthy comments about the build. What holds it back? The flimsy construction of larger sections, as well as the floating elements.

Minifigs: 5/10

Here's the thing. This set is a UCS set. Minifigs don't have a place here, and it kind of sours the scale for me a bit. I feel like without the minifigs, a couple of which are clearly a play for making collectors buy this set just for those (New Darth, Admiral Piett), this set could have been a smidge less expensive. The minifigs themselves are actually quite good, though I noticed the printing on the IG-88 1x1 round brick was stretched as if the printing press missed by a bit, and the gold print on Vader's suit was offset by perhaps a quarter of a mm. If this was clearly designed as a play set (think the minifig Death Star) then I'd be giving the figs a higher score.

Playability: 2/10

I tried swooshing it - once. I decided I'd prefer not to have a massive explosion and broken pieces. I suppose you could reenact the scene from EP:V where the bounty hunters are sent out, but you're missing Boba! It's very much a display set, and I suspect the most playing I'll be doing with it is when I pack it to move in six months time.

Price: 4/10 (For Australian market)

$699 is VERY expensive for this set. It's an impressive set, it has a good time for the build, but honestly it took me roughly as long to build my $300 Unimog, which has only slightly less pieces. It commands a premium for being a Star Wars set, and a bigger premium for being UCS, which adds up to quite a massive premium. The biggest issue I have is that for that money, I could be buying actual, serious, upgrades to my car, which I drive every day - though realistically, for what I paid? It gets a perfect 10/10... :blush:

Overall: 35/60

If this ship were a Uni course, I'd be calling that a pass verging on a credit. That's not bad! There are things about it that frustrate me, there are things I'd like to see done differently. Overall though, it was a reasonably interesting build with not many boring points (except for build 12x of this structure that takes 5 minutes) and it makes a very impressive display model. What brings it down badly is the minifig score and the playability score. Without the minifigs, there wouldn't be a minifig score or a playability score, bringing it to 27/40 which is almost a distinction.

I would prefer not to do an overall score for this, as there are parts of it that just don't work with a scoring system. You can't play with it, but that isn't it's purpose in life. I would like to give this ship 7 or 8 out of 10 overall, but what can you do?

Cheers for reading, and ta-ta for now!

Edited by Raytracer

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Very nice and detailed review! As you point out giving score for figs and playability makes no sense. Regarding the overall score (8/10) I tend to agree. However with 400plus extra bricks this set could become a 9.5 look :tongue::laugh:

Edited by mortesv

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Ever lose a 2x8 plate that's sitting right in front of you?

It's the worst feeling in the world. :sing:

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Very nice review. I think you forgot the picture of the obligatory photo of the box . :tongue:

Oh, tell you friend thanks for helping you.

Edited by lego envy

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Welcome to EB, Raytracer! A good review, and a great way to start out here!

Keep up the good work!

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Great review, and nice set... Sort of.

While it looks nice, the flat base is a major flaw to me. It should look like this. Do you think there are sufficient parts in the set to build a sloped base?

The minifigs and their, *ahem*, "compartment" are a complete waste of parts for a UCS set, but I suppose you can sell off the minifigs for a small bit of investment returned. Not that you need it, you lucky s*d.

I do wish the superstructure was uniform dark bluish grey, to be more accurate with the films.

Still overpriced for what it is at the end of the day.

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While it looks nice, the flat base is a major flaw to me. It should look like this. Do you think there are sufficient parts in the set to build a sloped base?

The slope underneath is in fact very, very shallow. Lighting and camera angles makes it look much more pronounced than it really is (official reference model).

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The bottom is not that flat : http://img412.imageshack.us/img412/7614/executorvp5.jpg

And the top is not as angled as it is on 10221.

Obvious onclusion : the very angled top of 10221 compensate the flat bottom, hence a poor shape.

That picture is a drawing :classic:

The studio model used in the films can be seen here

In these pictures it is also evident that the top angles on the 10221 are indeed a bit too steep - but not much - so I agree that your could say that the top angle compensates for the lack of bottom angle. But since the bottom is so shallow, the real angle difference between the 10221 and the real thing is really not that pronounced :wink:

Edited by mortesv

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That picture is a drawing :classic:

The studio model used in the films can be seen <urlsnipduetoforumrulesARGH>

In these pictures it is also evident that the top angles on the 10221 are indeed a bit too steep - but not much - so I agree that your could say that the top angle compensates for the lack of bottom angle. But since the bottom is so shallow, the real angle difference between the 10221 and the real thing is really not that pronounced :wink:

That logic just made my brain cry a little bit.

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Thanks for the review.. My 30th birthday is next month and I was torn between this, the Death Star and the Imperial Shuttle.. Eventually I hope to get all of them :D But I guess that the SSD can wait for now.

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That logic just made my brain cry a little bit.

Hehe, I'm sorry :wink: My point just were that the 10221 is not as "bad" as many believe (when compared to the studio model) - but perhaps I could have put it more eloquently :laugh:

Edited by mortesv

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That picture is a drawing :classic:

...but this one isn't!!! :wink:

Anio's spot on here!

The angles on 10221's upper hull are far too obtuse and do much to make this UCS rather average compared to other models in the series. Owning the set myself I'd say there were aspects I liked about the build- it was fun- but I think many of its problems stem from the inclusion of that darn bridge- it's just too deep and so prevents a leaner, more needle-like profile.

Simply adding a lower hull to match the present angle of its upper counterpart means you need to remove the bridge or modify it dramatically. On the other hand If you were to make the upper and lower hulls more 'movie accurate' (and significantly more 'acute') then the centreline of the whole model needs to be raised by about a bricks width. Again the bridge gets in the way.

Keeping the base flat seems the design compromise here- i.e. it keeps the profile sharp and yet the bridge deep enough to be still functional as a play element for minifigs.

A pity.

Thanks Raytracer for a thorough review. What a set to win!!! Ya lucky bum! :classic:

Edited by Aeroeza

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...but this one isn't!!! :wink:

The angles on 10221's upper hull are far too obtuse and do much to make this UCS rather average compared to other models in the series. Owning the set myself I'd say there were aspects I liked about the build- it was fun- but I think many of its problems stem from the inclusion of that darn bridge- it's just too deep and so prevents a leaner, more needle-like profile.

I agree that it is a design compromise, but it is not all that bad :classic: In the the picture from the film the model is shot at range and at a slightly low angle - so it gets very hard to judge angles based on this :classic:

However in this picture Film model you get an idea of the sloping - compare that angle with the 10221 - is it really that bad? :classic:

Note: this 10221 pic is of my mod - and the bottom is lowered slightly :wink:

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Nice review! I wish i was lucky enough to win things like that! :hmpf_bad: I don't know what to make of sets like this, though. Even if I had enough space to display a huge LEGO SSD, I probably wouldn't go out of my way to purchase one. The build seems pretty monotonous, even with all the greebling. Seems like a good opportunity to amass grey wedgeplates, though... :laugh:

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Great review Raytracer, and welcome to Eurobricks!

I'm actually starting to quite like this set, despite the obvious faults (the flat bottom being the most frequently mentioned). I don't mind that too much, but it's the numerous coloured bricks which are still visible after the model is finished that annoy me the most. Don't get me wrong, I'm not against bright colours in my SW sets, but they should have all been hidden by the outer shell (like they did with the UCS Falcon).

Is it too expensive? Yes. Do I regret buying it? No. Will this be highly sought after when it's discontinued? Probably :wink:

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However in this picture Film model you get an idea of the sloping - compare that angle with the 10221 - is it really that bad? :classic:

Looking at that picture, it's not unlike the lack of canopy glass in 10179 - not really that bad, but just enough for it to be noticeable and unappealing to some. (Given that many of the filming models lacked canopy glass for obvious reasons, I don't have a problem with it, but you know those sticklers for realism. :tongue:)

Edited by Fallenangel

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Looking at that picture, it's not unlike the lack of canopy glass in 10179 - not really that bad, but just enough for it to be noticeable and unappealing to some. (Given that many of the filming models lacked canopy glass for obvious reasons, I don't have a problem with it, but you know those sticklers for realism. :tongue:)

Hehe, guilty as charged :wink:

However, it seems the consensus is to prefer an "unrealistically" fat underside - rather than a slightly elevated topside :tongue: But I'll let it rest - lest this turn into another canon discussion :laugh: Besides, as you know, the 10221 had bigger problems :wink:

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Very nice review, the SSD would make an incredible display piece in anybody's home, price tag is the main put off for me, could have done with a couple more trash stormtroopers or 1 more exclusive in my opinion :hmpf_bad:

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Very nice review, the SSD would make an incredible display piece in anybody's home, price tag is the main put off for me, could have done with a couple more trash stormtroopers or 1 more exclusive in my opinion :hmpf_bad:

Thanks :) And thanks to all for the nice comments! I might consider doing more reviews in future, though I think I'll be sticking to my main themes (Creator and Technic)... perhaps when the new UCS R2 comes out I'll get that for review ;)

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I agree that it is a design compromise, but it is not all that bad :classic: In the the picture from the film the model is shot at range and at a slightly low angle - so it gets very hard to judge angles based on this :classic:

Hard to judge? Really? :sceptic:

The intention of this SFX sequence from ROTJ was to illustrate the distance of the Imperial Fleet from the rebels. It helped to inform the audience that the Imperials were 'holding back' and blockading the Rebels while possessing an overwhelming number of capital ships pointed aggressively and directly at them. The distance at which the miniatures were shot coupled with the camera lens chosen for the sequence reduced distortion significantly, flattening out the distinctive profiles and helping to sell the subtext of the narrative in a visually powerful way. Any 'slight lower angle' is rather slight and made less so when viewing the entirety of the shot.

So it's the best and probably only view we have of the SSD's forward profile! You could pull out a protractor and measure the angles if you really wanted to. Short of an actual orthographic, non-distorting cross section from a schematic then I doubt we could do better...

However in this picture Film model you get an idea of the sloping - compare that angle with the 10221 - is it really that bad? :classic:

Hmmm... the photographer is very close and positioned below the centre line of the model. Also all the angles of the various hull edges and fairings around the port and starboard engines are asymmetrical when compared to the top hull fairings. The optical effect created makes it look as though the top and bottom hulls have different angles to them! They don't.

Basically put- the bottom isn't flatter than the top it just looks that way here!

...it seems the consensus is to prefer an "unrealistically" fat underside - rather than a slightly elevated topside :tongue: But I'll let it rest - lest this turn into another canon discussion :laugh:...

Too late!!!! :tongue: I made an image :wacko: ...

I'll let it speak for itself.

...is it really that bad?

I find it more disappointing and annoying than 'bad'...

... perhaps when the new UCS R2 comes out I'll get that for review ;)

I hope you do! :thumbup:

Edited by Aeroeza

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Sweet review and congrats on the win. I know the feeling. They pulled my winning ticket last year at Lego Star Wars Days, ended up walking away with a AT-AT, Bounty Hunter Gunship, and Lukes Landspeeder. In addition to two return tickets to Legoland. I was pretty excited and in disbelief. Congrat again and enjoy the set. Mine is still sitting in the box.

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Hard to judge? Really? :sceptic:

The intention of this SFX sequence from ROTJ was to illustrate the distance of the Imperial Fleet from the rebels. It helped to inform the audience that the Imperials were 'holding back' and blockading the Rebels while possessing an overwhelming number of capital ships pointed aggressively and directly at them. The distance at which the miniatures were shot coupled with the camera lens chosen for the sequence reduced distortion significantly, flattening out the distinctive profiles and helping to sell the subtext of the narrative in a visually powerful way. Any 'slight lower angle' is rather slight and made less so when viewing the entirety of the shot.

So it's the best and probably only view we have of the SSD's forward profile! You could pull out a protractor and measure the angles if you really wanted to. Short of an actual orthographic, non-distorting cross section from a schematic then I doubt we could do better...

Hmmm... the photographer is very close and positioned below the centre line of the model. Also all the angles of the various hull edges and fairings around the port and starboard engines are asymmetrical when compared to the top hull fairings. The optical effect created makes it look as though the top and bottom hulls have different angles to them! They don't.

Basically put- the bottom isn't flatter than the top it just looks that way here!

I hope you do! :thumbup:

You sure like to argue - well me too :wink:

I have already stated that I agree the angles are off on the 10221. As far as I can tell by looking at all the close up shot of the studio model the bottom angle is more shallow than the top - but it seems we both argue based on discrediting each other evidence - so we will probably never agree completely :wink: (perhaps we should become presidential campaign advisors) :laugh:

To reiterate, my main point is that, while I am not fond of the bottom angle of the of the 10221 (and to a somewhat lesser extend -'dislike' the top angle), the 10221 has bigger problems. Especially considering its hefty price tag: Almost no engine detail, lack of top greebles, cracks between plates etc..

And that is why I have modded mine :sweet: :)

You should do the same - perhaps we both should use our time building instead of arguing :laugh: Although it is really nice to meet a guy who is as passionate about these "little things" as myself :thumbup:

And once again:

Gratz on your prize Ray! (It really is a fine model) - and great review! :thumbup:

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