Ritz Brick

[REVIEW]: 9509 Star Wars Advent Calendar

30 posts in this topic

Following the annual tradition of Star Wars Advent Calendars, I present to you the second iteration, set 9509.

Set Info

Set Number: 9509

Pieces: 234

Age: 6-14

Price $49.99 CDN

Minifigures: 9 1/2

Year of Release: 2012

Theme: Star Wars

A brief introduction to this. To me it feels like TLG is going to be releasing one of these every year for the next 4 years. I'm hoping that as these progress the minifigures and mini-builds become a bit more... regular. As in instead of a random assortment it follows the theme. The first year was a bit of a mix of Attack of the Clones and A New Hope and some other randoms, this year is mostly The Phantom Menace and Empire Strikes back with a few more randoms. These Advent calendars are VERY lacking in design and quality of builds so that is why I seem to be very harsh with the criticism. I paid $50 for 234 very small pieces which aren't necessarily rare, and a couple unique minifigs. Just remember, this is aimed for kids and they probably don't care as much as I would.

Anyway-

The box, at first glance the view from the front of the box is similar to any other Lego box, but the remove some tape and the front flap will lift off to reveal doors of joy in no particular order.

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Optionally you can cheat and open the sides of the box and pull out the trays, each tray has 1 individual polybag with the pieces. With the exception of Darth Maul who gets a cape box in his bag.

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The back of the front flap shows a sort of frozen pond with snow around it. I think I have it facing the wrong way, but it's an overhead view so no one should care.

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All the instructions are printed on the inside of the doors, but since each model is at the max 15 pieces, you can figure it out yourself. MANY extra pieces included. Almost every bag has them.

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Day 1:

Gungan Sub

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Not a fan of this, the tail at the back just seems to wrong, not much could fix this, I would prefer a different ship or what not. It's recognizable but anything with 'Gungan' just reminds me of the worst character in SW. (The next door isn't much better).

Day 2:

Gungan

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Really? This is it? One 3 piece minifigure with no accessories, no weapons or anything. and the worst part is, is that it's just a Gungan soldier, I own about 10 or 12 of these now from all the Battle of Naboo sets I bought, this one is nothing special, same prints and everything. At least make it Jar Jar, the kids know him better and he was an actual character in the movies.

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Day 3:

Catapult and weapons

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This to me is just pure laziness on TLG part, they just throw this in obviously as a place filler when they could have easily just gave the Gungan from yesterday the shield and spear. Not a good start.

Day 4:

Imperial Star Destroyer

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Hey Hey, things are picking up, we've moved off from the theme of Phantom Menace for now and moved onto ESB. I have a thing for Star Destroyers and this is no exception. Parts are nothing SUPER special, but they make a nice and simple recognizable model which looks good and serves a purpose. This set is really lacking stuff like this.

Day 5:

Trade Federation MTT

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Back into Phantom Menace we have a vehicle we see for about 10-15 minutes but served the biggest role. Partswise we get the black brick which are fairly common in these calendars and have a variety of uses. It's just so little and tiny it's pretty neat you can tell what it is for only 8 pieces.

The Gungans should have no problems dealing with these, although Jar Jar will probably still mess it up.

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Day 6:

Security Droid

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Garbage, last year we got a pilot and this year we get a security droid. I'm taking guesses from what will come next year.... Similar to the Gungan, this droid is defencless and printless.

Droids on the march.

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Day 7:

Naboo Starfighter

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The colours should tell you right away what this build will be. A quaint little ship which is the ship of Phantom Menace. The tail is a bit odd though.

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Day 8:

Droid Starfighter

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Something for our Naboo Starfighter to battle with. It's nice using the axle piece to allow for the wings/legs to rotate. One of the challenges working with such a small scale is avoiding having weird looking things come up, much like the head portion of this sticks out like a sore thumb.

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Day 9:

Imperial Officer/ General Veers

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TLG tried to pass off a minifigure in the past that looked like this guy as General Veers in the past, but missed the mark. He does have a reversable head, the same one as the Death Star Trooper from the new Tie Fighter. He just seems to angry to be Veers. The trend continues however. No weapons.

Day 10:

A poor selection of parts that would be impossible to make look good. (AT-AT)

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I don't even want to say anything about this so I won't.

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Sorry, very blurry.

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Veers is not happy with his new assignment.

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Day 11:

Atagar Cannon (or at least a poor attempt at one)

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I don't like this, seems like yet another filler.

Day 12:

Hoth Trooper

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At least we have someone to fight against the Imperial and AT-AT to bad he doesn't have a gun.

Day 13:

GNK Droid or Gonk Droid

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I barely remember this little guy, but TLG does. It's a bit to big, but there is nothing really bad about it, nothing really good either.

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Day 14:

Weapons Rack

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Hurray! We have weapons. Wait there is a problem though. We only got 2 guns but there are already 3 soldiers or different factions, plus two more to come. Bad call. Not even going to mention how the lightsaber attactches.

Day 15:

Snowtrooper

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It's a snowtrooper, but wait....

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He's now has the balaclava face, the skin tone is a bit darker. (How does he tan on Hoth?)

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Day 16:

Naboo Royal Starship

I was lost as to what this was when I saw the pieces, and after it was built I didn't recognize it at first. But this is probably one of the best builds in the entire set. It has the most pieces and the best shape and just everything you could hope in a mini model. Something I could see Legostein building.

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Day 17:

Flash Speeder

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Hey look! It's that green car that fired one shot and was then demolished by the Trade Federation. Good build techniques used, some SNOT work plus a connection I haven't seen TLG use too often, the way the engines on the back are added on. but not a good choice to include in here.

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The main cannon is just a bit to little to be of any use.

Day 18:

Rebel Trooper

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Wait? what? Not a Naboo Royal Guard? Not a figure that would make sense with the theme we've been following? Although this selection choice is odd. It's quite nice to get one of these guys, seeing as how they've only appeared in two sets.

What's that you say? This figure is brand new? and TLG didn't paste it all over the box? That's right, the keen observer will see that he has a smile. The same front expression as Captain Antilles, but no reversible head.

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Day 19:

Separatist Shuttle

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Not one of my favorite ships in the Star Wars universe, but it's a good build that looks like what it's supposed to be. (Don't remember it being tan though.)

Day 20:

General Greivous' Starfighter

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So we're going to jump into Revenge of the Sith for second to include this ship that we hardly see.

The grey super brick helps make this build and it does actually look quit nice, albeit a bit narrow.

Day 21:

Super Battle Droid

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Because having ONE more generic droid that many of us have multiples of will change the tide of a war.

Day 22:

Sith Infiltrator

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Ehhh, I don't know about this one, something about it doesn't seem right (reading this review, nothing seems to be done right). Basic parts that don't create much.

Day 23:

Snow Droid

Here we are, this is one of the minifigures that compelled me to buy this. When I first saw prelims I thought it was a white astromech. It's actually a snowman/droid which is rather creative. I don't understand the purpose of having two pieces for the base, but it's something.

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TLG added a black stud which is to go under the top hat so it attaches better. To me it just raises it to high and makes it look weird.

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Without stud.

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Some close ups show the carrots and the 'eye' is a piece of coal.

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Day 24:

Darth Maul

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Here he is, the dark lord of the sith himself, Darth Maul. Playing in the snow. Seems legit.

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Honestly, this character choice makes no sense, Darth Maul rarely speaks, rarely has emotion, rarely uses a shovel to clean snow. Unlike Yoda last year who is a sort of father figure to all of the Jedi (Father Christmas) we have an Eskimo Maul?

The torso is not the same as Yoda last year, the candy cane has been moved from the front to the back, which is then covered up by the cape.

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The same face from the Infiltrator is used, but no horns are included.

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With the lightsaber.

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Here is the whole gang, we see how The Phantom Menace is the main theme, with a little bit of Rebel and Imperial thrown in for good measure.

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Overall Grade:

Value: 3/10 For what I got I was very dissapointed. The few good builds and interesting minfigures weren't enough to make it that worthwhile.

Design: 2/10 The best build and pretty much the only good build in the set was Royal Star Cruiser. The ISD was pretty nice as well.

Playability: 4/10 We have 4 weapons to spread out over 8 figures. I'm sure someone could have fun with the little Naboo Starfighter and Vulture Droid, but other than that, most of these will all just be scrapped and milked for pieces.

Parts: 4/10 I like the super bricks anddd, that's about the most redeeming part. The rest can just be used here and there.

Overall: 13/40

So that's what I think, but anyone can sit here and type about what they don't like in a set. So what would I do to make it better. I'm going to list all the days again with what I would sub in and out and leave in what was alright.

Day 1- Gungan Sub========Change to

Day 2- Gungan ===========Change to Boss Nass

Day 3- Catapult==========Change to Mini Anakins Pod Racer

Day 4- ISD===============Stay

Day 5- MTT===============Stay

Day 6- Security Droid====Change to Qui Gonn or Obi Wan

Day 7- Naboo SF==========Stay

Day 8- Vulture Droid=====Stay

Day 9- Veers=============Change to K-3P0

Day 10- AT-AT============Change to AT-ST

Day 11- Atgar============Change to Snowspeeder

Day 12- Hoth Trooper=====Change to Commander Rieekan (I would spend $50 just for him)

Day 13- GNK Droid========Change to mini Sebulba's Pod

Day 14- Weapon Rack======Change

Day 15- Snowtrooper======Stay

Day 16- Royal Starship===Stay

Day 17- Flash Speeder====Stay

Day 18- Rebel Trooper====Change to Naboo Palace Guard

Day 19- Sep Shuttle======Stay

Day 20- Greivous Fighter=Change to Droid Control Ship

Day 21- SBD==============Change to Droideka

Day 22- Sith Infiltrator=Change to AAT

Day 23- Snow Droid=======Stay

Day 24- Darth Maul=======Jar Jar Elf :tongue: What do you think could replace it?

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Thanks for the review. It was nice seeing it more closely before I buy it. I will definitely be getting it, but only if I can find it on a 50% off sale after Christmas like I did with the 2011 SW Advent calendar. It is not worth $50 in any lifetime, but 'tis the spirit of the season...

I like some of the mini builds. Not everything will be perfect at that scale, but that is part of the fun. The AT-AT would be better if it was a little more rounder/angled on top instead of looking so blocky. I actually like the Naboo ships they built. I'm sure I could just as easily rebuild these seeing the small amount of pieces, but then I won't get snow droid and Santa Maul..then I'd just need to get some horns.

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Nice review, 'Ritz Brick'! :sweet:

This would of been a decent Advent Calender, but $50 is not worth it. I do like the hood on Darth Maul though...

Out of the three Advent Calender sets this year, the Friends Advent Calender has to be the best, just for its cheapness and rare pieces...

Yeah great job Ritz captured some of the highs and lows of this set I would agree that $50 is a lot to ask for for this set but I might buy it if it's on discount. And just2good I liked your friends calendar review good job to both of you.

Edited by idunno101

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Thanks for the review. It was nice seeing it more closely before I buy it. I will definitely be getting it, but only if I can find it on a 50% off sale after Christmas like I did with the 2011 SW Advent calendar. It is not worth $50 in any lifetime, but 'tis the spirit of the season...

I like some of the mini builds. Not everything will be perfect at that scale, but that is part of the fun. The AT-AT would be better if it was a little more rounder/angled on top instead of looking so blocky. I actually like the Naboo ships they built. I'm sure I could just as easily rebuild these seeing the small amount of pieces, but then I won't get snow droid and Santa Maul..then I'd just need to get some horns.

That was my original plan after I bought last years calendar, but I hadn't seen a review yet and jumped on the opportunity.

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Thanks for this entertaining and detailed review, Ritz Brick! :sweet: I don't really think two advent calendars count as an "annual tradition" though. Heck, I wouldn't be surprised if this set doesn't sell well and they stop making these advent calendars. It's already ridiculously overpriced in the US, so I don't even wanna know how much people have to shell out for it in other countries.

The price aside, I think this advent calendar is pretty good and an improvement over the first one. The inclusion of mostly generic army builder figs in favor of named characters such as Chewie and Gunray from the first one makes the figs more useful in my opinion. Even if you got dozens of the Battle of Naboo set, a Gungan soldier is still more useful than yet another Jar Jar.

The mini models are of about the same quality as the ones from the first calendar, with some good ones and some not so good ones. But I agree, TLG definitely should hire Legostein to design these advent calendar models for them. :laugh:

And yeah, Maul Santa was not the best choice (despite the clever pun in his name). Sure, he is a fan favorite, and he has red tatoos, but that doesn't mean he makes a great Santa. What would be a good substitute? I think Obi Wan would suit the role well since he was a father figure to both Skywalkers and even has the beard for it. Although a Christmas Angel Leia would be lovely too! :wub:

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Thanks for the review! Kind of confirmed my thought of not getting this. Maybe if it gets heavily discounted I'll think about it, but for $50 no way. Nice review though :classic:

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Cool review, the set looks pretty disappointing. That's too bad because I was really looking forward to that r2.

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Thanks for the review :thumbup: You've convinced me not to buy this, unless I can find it at a decent discount! The Darth Maul figure is simply terrible....I'll never understand why they decided to use him :look:

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I may be in minority but I like this set. :tongue: Figs are great (santa Maul, snow R2, rebel trooper, imperial officer and GONK droid), some nice models (vulture droid, Naboo starfighter, queen's ship) and parts aren't bad either.

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Agree with most of the others. I had two on my wanted list (I have kids) and in an effort to trim down my wants to a reasonable dollar figure, this was the first to go.

I agree that I'd get it (even 2) at 50% off, and I'd really like that Darth Maul and Christmas R2 just for fun on my annual Christmas train layout, but it's just too much.

I do love that sketchy printing on the R2... thanks for the pictures.

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Nice review!

With the exception of the two unique figures, the word "leftovers" kept ringing in my head when I read this review. :laugh:

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My mind just changed on this set.I was hoping it would include rare minifigs,not ones in $12 battle packs I already own a majoriety of characters at least VERY similar to the ones in this set. :hmpf: Still a great review! :wub:

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My mind just changed on this set.I was hoping it would include rare minifigs,not ones in $12 battle packs I already own a majoriety of characters at least VERY similar to the ones in this set.

The only point in this set for AFOLs is the two Christmas variants of figures, and only if you're into that sort of thing.

For $50, it's just not worth it.

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Thanks for the detailed review. I'm disappointed with this advent calendar and think its worse than last years. I'm agreeing with Oky with the generic figs though, they are good army builders and better than another main characters that can only used once is a single MOC. Nice to see a alternate face on the Rebel trooper to make him exclusive though.

Over all the vehicle like last year are mixed in there design and execution. I would like to see that advent calendars follow more of theme than the randomness we have got.

Now to decide to give up the $50 + for this set? *huh*

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Excellent review 'Ritz Brick', but as usual this advent looks to being designed by Jar Jar himself. :laugh:

Seriously the only micro-model I like is the Naboo Royal Starship....would have been nice for silver parts though. :blush:

Another miss....I would prefer the City or even the Friend's calender over this. :blush:

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Thanks for the review Ritz Brick, i think you did an excellent job of pointing out the very few highlights and the many many disappointing parts of this set. I know i'll be spending my money on something much more worth while.

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The small models are nice but not my tastes. I am not paying $50 for this, I'd like to get Maul but I don't think I'll dish out the cash just yet.

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Thanks for the review Ritz Brick which has convinced me not to buy this Advent Calendar :thumbup:

IMHO last year's calendar had a much more desirable figure collection with the added bonus of a black astromech droid which would have set me back around £8 on eBay at the time. For the most part, the figures this year seem to have been available previously in battle packs (with the exception of some alternate faces which can be easily acquired) and the snow R2 and Santa Maul really don't interest me. I quite like the Power droid though, it is a bit big but I'll probably do my own copy.

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Thanks for the review! The set itself looks pretty disappointing, apart from the awesome snow astromech. I'd really like to add that one to my collection, but at that price? If I see this set on sale after christmas, I'd probably pick one up. It seems to be 29,99€ around here, which is the same as last year, I think. But with my limited budget right know I'd rather buy some "real" sets for the snowy season.

I don't really get the choice of minifigs included. Why not put more generic figs in, like a clone trooper, a storm trooper, etc? Same goes for the mini models, there are so few really iconic vehicles included. :sad:

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Great review. Too bad the subject matter was not better. The Naboo fighter seemed to be the only quality microbuild to me.

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