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Review: 10144 - Sandcrawler


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Poll: What do you think of this set? (23 member(s) have cast votes)

10144 - Sandcrawler

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  3. Average (3 votes [13.04%])

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  4. Above Average (9 votes [39.13%])

    Percentage of vote: 39.13%

  5. Excellent (11 votes [47.83%])

    Percentage of vote: 47.83%

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#1 Walter Kovacs

Walter Kovacs

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Posted 17 April 2010 - 02:13 PM

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I love my wife.  She understands and accepts my obsession with little plastic bricks.  Aside from that, she is very good at bargain hunting.  She checks LEGO.com daily, looking for clearance sales.  Which is where she found this set, 10144 - Sandcrawler.  

Stats:

Name: Sandcrawler
Number: 10144
Theme: Star Wars
Year: 2005
Parts: 1669
Minifigs: 11
Original MSRP: $140 USD

Links: Bricklink, Peeron, Brickset


The Box

The box was rather large, and was about 3/4s full.  

Front
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The front of the box has that wonderful Original Trilogy border around it.  I miss those days.  

Back
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The back of the box is devoted entirely to showing the play features of this set.  You can see the removal of the workshop, the opening of the front ramp, the cockpit and even lowering R2-D2 into the top hatch.  

Box Side 1
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The side of the box shows the 11 minifigs.  Don't they look pretty?

Box Side 2
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The opposite side of the box shows two Jawas tormenting lifting the Gonk droid with the crane.  It also shows that turning the gear in back turns the treads.  


Instructions

Front
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The front shows the same image as the front of the box, minus the number of parts.  

Back
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The back page of the instructions shows the final step, illustrating how to use the crane and showing all of the minifigs.  There is no part callout in the instructions.  

Random Page
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The beginning of one of the wall sections.    Aside from the base of the crawler, the walls are almost entirely modular.  


Bits and Pieces

This is a large set.  It would be difficult for any reviewer to pile all of the parts onto his studio and have them all fit.  So instead I’ll show a series of pictures of the parts in the bags, just as I found them.  There were 22 bags in all, plus one large black brick (which forms the base of the workshop) and two additional bags of smaller parts inside two of the bags.  

Bags, Part 1
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This first set of bags is used almost entirely in making the treads of the Sandcrawler.  In fact, there are three full bags of the tread pieces.  

Bags, Part 2
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And the cavalcade of brown pieces begins.  You can see the sprue with the hand tools in the upper left, and one of the bag within a bag in the lower right.  

Bags, Part 3
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More brown.  You can make out two R2 legs in the bag on the right, as well as a box that held either the Jawa capes or the thread for the crane.

Bags, Part 4
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The last of the bag pictures.  The gray technic bricks are used for building the tread assemblies.

The Dreaded Sticker Sheet
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Yes, this set came with a DSS, although it is a small one.  Three stickers for the windscreen, and two to add some detail to the workshop.  There are no printed parts included in this set, aside from the minifig torsos.  For the price of this set, you think LEGO could have added a printed part or two.  I apologize for the fact that the picture is a little blurry.  But the stickers have been applied already, so this is the only picture I have.  

Leftover Pieces
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You’ll find a lot of parts that you’d expect as extras in this set.  Except for that brown 1 x 8 plate.  I went through the instructions three times looking for a step where I missed a 1 x 8 plate.  Finally I checked Bricklink, which confirmed that the plate is an extra.  


Minifigs

The minifigs are one of the highlights of this set (some will say THE highlight).  There are 11 of them, including four that are exclusive to this set.  (Three of the droids are technically exclusive as well, but they can easily be brick built from parts that aren’t exclusive to this set.)

Minifigs
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Here are all the minifigs, along with a hastily built wall to get all of them in the same shot .  

The Main Characters
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From left to right, you can see R5-D4 (who really could have used a printed dome), R2-D2, C-3PO and Owen Lars.  Apparently  the C-3PO came with two different colored hands: either Light Pearl Gold or Dark Pearl Gold.  I was happy to find that mine was the dark version, which matches 3PO’s body.  

Owen Lars is one of those exclusive minifigs I mentioned.  Despite only getting about five minutes of screen time in A New Hope, Owen Lars rated enough to get his own torso printing and a unique minifig face.  The torso looks like any Tattoine outfit, with the brown undershirt, and the tan robe over the top.  Owen's face has gray eyebrows and a hint of gray stubble.  For a minor character, LEGO captured his likeness well.

The Main Characters‘ Backs
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Alas, only C-3PO has back printing.

The Jawas
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Until 2005, there was a void in a lot of Original Trilogy minifig collections.  The Jawas filled that void, and rather nicely, I might add.  Equipped with an ion blaster, they also come with cloth capes and a minifig hood.  The torsos show  the crossed bandoliers many of us are familiar with.  

The Jawas‘ Backs
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The Jawas have no printing on their backs.  I suppose LEGO assumed the capes would always cover their backs.

The Droids
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The rest of the minifigs are droids which help round out the menagerie of the Sandcrawler.  After all, what would the Jawas be without droids to scavenge and sell.  From left to right we see a Gonk Droid, R1-G4, a Treadwell Droid (my favorite of the droids in this set) and an ASP Droid.   The Gonk Droid is semi-unique, appearing for the first time in dark bluish gray.

The Droids‘ Backs
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There’s nothing really exciting about the backs of these droids.  Seeing how they’re brick built, there wasn’t much hope that they would have any back printing.  


The Build

For a set with almost 1700 parts, the build is very straight-forward.  There is very little SNOT used and most steps involved placing bricks on top of bricks.  This set could really have used a numbered bag system.  I tried to minimize the number of pieces out at any given time, but by step 7, all of the 22 bags except 4 were open.  Three of those bags were the tread pieces.  

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The sand crawler starts out very simple.  A layer of plates, with a few 2 x 10 plates to hold them all together.  Then a few layers of brick around the edges.  The most interesting part of this picture is the steering mechanism for the rear treads.  It is a simple rack and pinion steering mechanism.  You can see the white 2 x 16 plate that forms the rack.  

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Here is the Sandcrawler after the four side walls and back wall have been added.  The construction of the walls is very easy, with a lot of texture and small splashes of color thrown in (mostly dark gray, tan and dark orange).  The arches and technic bricks keep the walls very sturdy, despite having been made as separate modules.  You can clearly see the area that has been left open for the workshop.  

The doors at the front are open.  It almost seems that the bricks with handles were there to hold doors onto the model, but were taken off before production (there are corresponding bricks on the opening on the sides of the workshop).  

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A view of the bottom of the Sandcrawler.  All four tread assemblies have been attached.  You can see how each assembly has two sets of treads on it.  The bricks at the corners of the base, while simple, really add a lot to the finished model.  You can see the black beveled gear on the back that controls the steering mechanism.  

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The front of the crawler is nearly complete.  The roof of the back section is also done, but I’ll show the greebling of that part later in the finished pics.  The light gray bricks at the top form the cockpit for the sand crawler.  Despite the size of the vehicle, there is only room for one pilot in the cockpit.  Even with the angles needed to capture the look of the Sandcrawler’s front end, the build is still a very simple stack of bricks, attached by a few locking hinge bricks.  


The Crane

The crane is one of the play features for this set.  It is used to pick up droids on the outside and drop them through a hatch that sits behind the cockpit.  

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There aren’t a lot of details on the crane.  There is a simple control system (consisting of a single lever) and the crane itself.  The crane sits atop a 2 x 2 turntable so the crane can access both sides of the Sandcrawler.  The locking hinge bricks allow the crane to extend out over the sides, then retract to the hatch on the top.  


The Workshop

The removable workshop is one of the big play features of the set.  It’s removal allows access to the interior of the Sand crawler (not that LEGO put any detail into all of that empty space).  

Three-Quarter View
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The workshop is very open.  The details are very non-specific, yet technical looking.  There is a full set of minifig tools spread throughout the workshop.  The center of the roof is removable, allowing the crane to be placed on top of the workshop to raise and lower droids into the belly of the beast.  

Front View
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The front of the workshop shows the three rather non-descript workstations.  There is no apparent use for any of these stations, except to look like they belong.  I think they serve that purpose well.  

Back View
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From the back, you can see that the center console looks like a forge.  That would make sense for a droid workshop.

Top
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From the top you can see the opening where the removable roof goes.  It also gives a good look at the forge.  


The Finished Product

The finished product does show a few flaws.  I consider them minor.  In A New Hope, the Sandcrawler looked tall, relatively thin, with a sharp angle in front.  This version looks more squat, wide and the front angle is set at 45 degrees.  Still, I think a little creative license is allowed, and the shape, while not perfect, is still pretty accurate.

Three-Quarter View
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Here is the finished Sandcrawler.  The LEGO designers did a good job of mottling the model by mixing in dark orange, tan, dark gray and even black in with the brown.  It looks far better than a solid brown model would look, but at times I think they overdid it a bit.  

The designers also did an excellent job in changing the texture of the model.  Using the back side of 1 x 4 x 3 panels, 1 x 1 round bricks, 1 x 1 headlight bricks and even turning around those headlight bricks so that the back side is visible (you can see a row of them to the right of the door, about four bricks up).  This helps to break up the side of the Sandcrawler, and makes a much better model than a flat wall of brown would have been.

Size Matters
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Just to give you an idea of how massive this set is, here's good ol' Owen standing next to it.  His head barely reaches the top of the treads.  

Front View
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You can clearly see three of the five stickers used in this set., to give the illusion of a window.  The shape of the nose of the Sandcrawler is fairly complex, but LEGO did a good job of bringing it out without using difficult techniques.  

One thing that should be very clear from this photo is that the final model has some significant gaps in it.  There is about a ¼” gap (or more) all the way around the ramp at the front of the model.  On a model that is so angular, I never expect a perfect fit, so I don’t see this as a major flaw.  

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Here's another view of the Sandcrawler's front end, this time with the ramp down.  It's pretty dark in there, but you can get a sense of just how empty the model interior really is.  To illustrate this point further:

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A photo looking through the space where the workshop sits toward the front end.  There's a full 12 studs by 18 studs just standing empty.  Of course, when the crane sits in there it takes some of the space, but a cutout can easily be added to accommodate it.  

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This picture is looking through the workshop cutout toward the back end.  You can see the steering mechanism hasn't changed during the build, it's just more shadowed.  There's quite a bit of space back here, too.  About 10 studs by 18 studs, if my eyes don't deceive me.  Enterprising MODers can easily use that space without disturbing the exterior at all.

Side View
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The side view shows some of the SNOT used in the model.  If you look at the tread assemblies, you can see some 2 x 2 dishes and some 1 x 1 round plates used as greebles.  I told you there wasn’t much.  

You can also see another significant gap, this time where the main wall meets with the angled front.  Again, not a big detraction, but some might complain.  

Back View
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I get the feeling that the designers really wanted to let their inner greeb out after doing mostly straight walls on the sides of the model.  The back wall is so overly detailed, full of lots of texture and curves, and minimizing all colors except for brown and dark gray.  The result is speaks for itself.  I don’t recall if the back of the Sandcrawler is ever seen on screen, so the designers probably had a blank slate to work with.  

If you look closely at the roof over the cockpit, you can see another gap.  The angles formed when the front section is formed don’t allow the studs to line up.  So to form the roof, the designers had to use plates and tiles stacked on top of each other to cover this section.  This leaves a few gaps.  

The Roof
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While not as detailed as the back of the model, the roof does have a lot of details with a minimum of parts.  The very back uses dishes to good effect.  The covers for the roof of the workshop and the forward hatch are not as detailed, but they do look good.  My only beef with the roof  is that the sides have almost no details.  It looks a bit incongruous.

Ramp Extended
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The ramp on the front section extends to allow access to the center of the machine.  This front section holds the crane when it is not in use.  

The Mandoors
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These are presumably there as the main access to the vehicle when the main ramp is up.  It's too bad LEGO didn't give us a ramp for the minifigs to actually use these nice doors.  With no interior, you can see all the way through to the door on the other side.  

The Cockpit
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This is the best photo I could get of the cockpit.  There is only room for one Jawa.  The controls are sparse, with only two levers to control the entire Sandcrawler.  A printed tile, or maybe a slope would have really helped.  There are two trans yellow 1 x 2 bricks where the windscreen should be.  I can only imagine the designers thought this would represent the actual windscreen.  Unfortunately, these bricks are backed by a solid brown 1 x 6 brick, so the effect is lost.  

Steerage
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As I mentioned before, the steering system works well.  Just don't expect to turn on a dime.  Turning the black gear on the back (shown by the red arrow) causes the rear sets of treads to turn.  There are stops inside the Sandcrawler that prevent you from over-steering.  

Opening the Hatch
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Besides lifting droids, the crane can be used to open the forward hatch on the Sandcrawler’s roof.  One of the Jawas is preparing the hatch for its next victim.  

Bye Bye, Artoo
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R2-D2 should have been more careful.  The Jawas have captured him, and are lowering him into the Sandcrawler to meet his fate.  Or is it destiny?


Scores

Build: 8/10 There isn't a lot of repetition, the build is straight-forward and relatively easy, even with 1660 pieces.  There's very little SNOT to make the build more interesting.
Playability: 9/10  The Sandcrawler moves exactly how you expect it to move: slowly.  The steering mechanism works, but the turning radius is terrible.  The crane is fun to play around with, and the workshop adds that little extra bit.  I wish there was more to the interior, though.  I think a little (a lot??) of MODing is in order.
Minifigures: 10/10  How could it be any less.  Three Jawas and Owen Lars that are unique to the set, yet another R2-D2 and C-3PO, and five other droids.  Anyone that complains about the Sandcrawler’s minifigs is crazy.  
Pieces: 8/10  A lot of reddish brown.  And a smattering of dark orange, dark gray and black.  Almost all of the pieces are bricks, so if you want plates, don’t come looking here.  
Price: 10/10  Having a parts to price ratio around $.10/part is great, especially for a licensed set.  This set is under 8.4 cents per part.  And if you need reddish brown bricks, this set will give you all you’ll ever need.
Design: 9/10  The design is a bit gappy, especially in the front end.  It’s a little too short, a bit too wide, and the front angle isn’t quite right.  But I don’t think LEGO could have gotten it any more accurate.  

Total- 54/60  A very good set for any Star Wars fan.  The play features work well, the minifig selection is excellent and the price was right (too bad you’ll have to pay collector’s prices nowadays.)  If you like Original Trilogy sets, this is a must have for your collection.    

Full gallery for more pictures, when moderated.
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#2 Big Cam

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Posted 17 April 2010 - 02:20 PM

I know you just posted this minutes ago, but I've spent well over an hour in total reading and reviewing this thread in the academy, and it never got boring.

You really capture this set and allow someone who doesn't have it to really experience the set as though they did.

One great review on a very interesting SW set.

#3 CallMePie

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Posted 17 April 2010 - 02:37 PM

Good review and set.
I always tried to find this set for a reduced price, but never managed to get it.
Oh well, still a good review.  :thumbup:
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#4 Mofo Jones

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Posted 17 April 2010 - 04:25 PM

Excellent review of this set!  It *almost* makes me want to build it again.  I was lucky enough to pick up this set at a good price.  I built it two years ago and it's had a place of honor on my shelf since then.  I thought the build was fun, even if it was a bit repetitive after a while (treads, treads, treads).  I also took my time building this set.  I must have put at least 8 hours into it.  I guess I was savoring the experience.  This one of my favorite sets, even with all of its supposed flaws.
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#5 Alldarker

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Posted 17 April 2010 - 05:02 PM

Great review of a really very interesting set! I bought my first one on the day it became known to the Lego Community by suddenly and unexpectedly appearing on the Shop@Home site: still one of the most unexpected appearances of a Lego set ever, in my opinion.
It's certainly not the most stable of sets, but I still liked it so much that I bought another when it did go on sale. That one is still MISB, due to space constraints. Like you mention, the box is designed the was of the original Star Wars sets of the late '70's and the '80's; in my opinion the best design for Star Wars Lego in the whole line. The biggest flaw I found was the stickers on the windscreens. In fact, my very first Bricklink order was for a couple of trans yellow parts to replace the brown stickered pieces! They do make this set look a whole lot better.

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#6 prateek

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Posted 17 April 2010 - 05:34 PM

Awesome review! IMO, 2004-2007 were the best years for LSW, and this is one of the best sets from that time :thumbup:

#7 indianajones

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Posted 17 April 2010 - 05:51 PM

Awesome set, hopefully Jawas will return...(without that CW feel like the new Boba Fett :sick: ) Does the hatch for droids go anywhere if the workshop is covered by the crane? :wacko:
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#8 FinalFeature

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Posted 17 April 2010 - 06:10 PM

Excellent review Walter Kovacs.
I bought this set when it had been on sale and have loved it ever since. Its a very nice set but my only complaint is how fragile it is.

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#9 smokebelch

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Posted 17 April 2010 - 09:38 PM

Great review  :thumbup:
This is the one set I really wished I'd got when it was out- one of my favorite Star Wars vehicles, and I think the set is a great recreation. Sure there a couple of bits that need a bit of modding, but thats the great thing about Lego. Gonna have to grab a set off Bricklink at some point before the prices get too crazy.

#10 lightningtiger

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Posted 17 April 2010 - 11:32 PM

Thanks 'Walter Kovacs' for your review - man, that is quite big that set eh ?
I now thinking of getting one of these, but at over $300 AU I'll have too wait along time !
Keep on bricking ! :sweet:

#11 Walter Kovacs

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Posted 18 April 2010 - 03:12 AM

It was my pleasure to bring everyone this review.  This was my 9th RA review, so it had to be a good one.

View Postindianajones, on Apr 17 2010, 12:51 PM, said:

Awesome set, hopefully Jawas will return...(without that CW feel like the new Boba Fett :sick: ) Does the hatch for droids go anywhere if the workshop is covered by the crane? :wacko:

The workshop roof fits nicelyin the front end of the sandcrawler, where the crane would normally go.  The small hatch that covers the hole where the droids get dropped in has no apparent place to go.

View PostLegoGalactus, on Apr 17 2010, 01:10 PM, said:

Excellent review Walter Kovacs.
I bought this set when it had been on sale and have loved it ever since. Its a very nice set but my only complaint is how fragile it is.

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I've heard others complain about the fragility of this set before.  I haven't run into any problems with it yet.  Maybe I haven't played with it enough.
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#12 I Scream Clone

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Posted 18 April 2010 - 06:09 AM

A nice review of my favourite lump of brown :thumbup: I got this for all the brown, tan and dark orange goodness, not to mention the figs. Those great Jawa torso's get used a lot in my Western towns, and the heads are sweet. Congrats on graduating to a Teacher as well Walter.

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#13 Rufus

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Posted 18 April 2010 - 09:39 PM

Lovely review, Walter, and a great way to go gold! :thumbup:

For all its flaws, this is a great - and unique - set: one of the few which I have always on display.  One day I will mod it...

#14 Brickus

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Posted 20 April 2010 - 01:56 AM

Excellent review, I only recently got this set and it is great, lots of playability.

#15 Mr. Elijah Timms

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Posted 20 April 2010 - 12:53 PM

Ahh yes, the Sandcrawler.  I was quite surprised at a.) how big this thing was when finished (the pictures definitely do not do it justice) and b.) how long it took to build.  Nothing was overly complex, but very very time consuming.

If I recall correctly I had a day off and started this in the morning and had plans to do several things in the afternoon, and just didn't get to 'em all because of the big brown behemoth on my desk!!  I remember getting the entire structure completed and thinking I was finished, then spending another half hour putting all the greebly details onto it.

In terms of the larger SW sets (I do not have the Death Star or the RBR, fwiw), I find myself struggling to name the most successful of them all.  This was an absolutely essential addition to the collection, but perhaps not my favorite.  The minifig Star Destroyer just kills all in terms of size, but with regards to design and fun build I'll still take the 4504 Millennium Falcon over all other takers.  BUT the Sandcrawler might have been the most tedious build, and that alone is a challenge in a good way.

Good job on the review-- lots of ample pictures and details.

Edited by Mr. Elijah Timms, 20 April 2010 - 12:55 PM.

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#16 Walter Kovacs

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Posted 20 April 2010 - 03:17 PM

View PostRufus, on Apr 18 2010, 04:39 PM, said:

One day I will mod it...

If I had a nickel for every time I said that, I'd actually be able to afford to MOD it.
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#17 Commander_Rob

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Posted 20 April 2010 - 06:01 PM

Very nice review of a rather interesting set.
I got the Sandcrawler years ago and always liked it, despite the rather bland interior and slightly off shape. Although the modding possibilities being probably endless, the only thing I ever did was slightly rebuilding the cockpit section to place the trans-yellow bricks on the outside (I didn't apply any stickers to this set) and adding a "box" on the inside to cover the steering mechanism. It easily gets jammed when droids fall into it.
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#18 Follows Closely

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Posted 20 April 2010 - 07:30 PM

View PostWalter Kovacs, on Apr 17 2010, 10:13 AM, said:

...
I love my wife.  She understands and accepts my obsession with little plastic bricks.  Aside from that, she is very good at bargain hunting.  She checks LEGO.com daily, looking for clearance sales.  Which is where she found this set, 10144 - Sandcrawler.  
...

When did she find this set?  Just recently?
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#19 Walter Kovacs

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Posted 20 April 2010 - 10:07 PM

View PostFollows Closely, on Apr 20 2010, 02:30 PM, said:

When did she find this set?  Just recently?

Nope, she bought it quite a while ago (over a year, at least) and "hid" it under my daughter's bed.  Right were I could gaze longingly at it for hours a day, whenever I wanted.  There are no LEGO secrets in my house.   :tongue:
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#20 ZeldaTheSwordsman

ZeldaTheSwordsman

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    Joined: 23-December 13
    Member: 117661

Posted 02 January 2014 - 01:23 AM

That large amount of open space is actually something I see as one of the set's strong points. The Sandcrawler is supposed to be a big transport originally made to haul and process ore, so it's the kind of thing that should have a lot of usable space inside where you can stand minifigs, stack cargo, or pile salvage. It's not like, say, the Twilight where the Technic gearing that operates the wings robs it of an interior.



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