Review: 10123 Cloud City
Posted 17 July 2010 - 04:23 AM
Cloud City, located on the Bespin system, was a beautiful city and with caring leader. Unfortunately, the leader, Lando Calrissian, would do anything for his people, including betraying his friends. In 2003 Lego released a large Cloud City playset that covered all of the major scenes with small, modular vignettes. Now one of the top wanted sets on Bricklink, with an average price of around $350-$375 used, this set doesn't seem to lose popularity. But why is this set considered a classic? Is it the stunning minifigs, half of which are exclusive to the set? Or maybe the well-executed play functions? Join me now as I take a look into this magnificent classic set, the 'city of vignettes': 10123 Cloud City
(Remember, click the pictures for high-resolution versions. This may be helpful for the pieces and in-build shots.)
Set Name: Cloud City
Set Number: 10123
Number of Pieces: 698 (Box), 705 (Brickset), 675 (Bricklink)
Price: $99.99 USD (now worth about $375 Used, about $500 New)
Theme: Star Wars / Episode IV/V/VI
Year Released: 2003
Unfortunately, I cannot find the box that came with this set, so I'll move right on to the instructions. The instructions feature the set with plenty of action, from the epic lightsaber battle to Han Solo smiling at you while he is being frozen in a block of metal. The background very subtly changes with each little scene, kind of like Neapolitan ice-cream. Lando is looking out from the corner, because the landing pad he is associated with is completely cut off. I find is surprising that such a large part of the set is cut off, but with a huge and oddly-shaped set like this one, I can understand why they did it. One thing to note is that they accidentally edited out the part below the carbonite chamber that connects it to the dining room.
The first two pages show that the set is split up into bags. The first bag contains just minifigs, which is quite uncommon for a set these days. The instructions are very clear on how to put everything together, hopefully you can figure out how to put a 1x2 tile on top of Han in carbonite. Also you can see that the build starts with the middle of the set, so everything can connect to it.
On this random page you can see that piece call-outs are definitely there, even though they aren't really necessary. Each bag isn't too large, but it's a nice touch. You can also see the lovely blue border and light-blue filling in the background. There are some nice greebles there too, which makes the instructions seem more like a blueprint for the city. It would have been awesome if there were little movie pictures at the top, but those disappeared in many Star Wars sets by then. On the second page, you can see that it shows you how to operate the carbonite machine. I think this is a fantastic touch, since the mechanism is pretty complex when you try it for the first time.
The second-to-last pages show a bird's-eye view of the city. It shows you how big the landing pad is compared to the city. Also here is the WIN ad, with no screaming kid to be found.
The back cover has a Lego Star Wars ad with a Death Star in the background. This is one of those touches that made Star Wars sets cooler, since they had their own ad.
Instructions:: Thoughts: Wonderful colors and perfectly clear instructions are found every step of the way. The booklet also has minimal advertising, but a few set pictures may have been nice, since Lego always included really cool set-ups.
Since there are so many pieces, they couldn't all fit into one picture, so I've broken them up. Here we have the non-gray-or-black pieces. I'm sorry that the picture is a little washed out. (The neon pieces at the bottom are supposed to be green)
Here is all of the dark-gray, which makes up most of the set. There are lots of tiles and plates, as well as some more uncommon pieces.
Next up are the light gray and black pieces. You can see that there are lots of thick bricks, and not as many plates and smaller pieces.
Last are the baseplates. The dark-gray rectangles and square aren't too uncommon, but the curved ones are really cool.
Pieces of interest:
Some of the more interesting pieces of the set include the printed parts, some neon pieces, and SNOT-related bricks. There are no stickers in the set, but not very many printed parts.
Pieces:: Thoughts: There are plenty of types, but not too many colors. Then again, the city itself isn't too vibrant, so naturally the colors won't be.
Here are the exquisite minifigs included with the set. From left to right, top then bottom: Darth Vader, Boba Fett, Stormtrooper, Lando Calrissian, Han Solo, Han Solo in carbonite, Luke Skywalker, and Princess Leia. Darth Vader is the normal version, but the helmet mold and the torso are still lovely. Boba Fett is the real star of the set, featuring printed arms and legs, in addition to the torso and amazing helmet. The Stormtrooper is standard but I'm glad he's included. Lando is very cool too, due to his nice torso and face, and his cape. It's tan on the inside and blue on the outside, which is a fantastic and movie-accurate design. Han Solo and his carbonite form are standard, but in the carbonite freezing scene, he has a different outfit. It would be a bit far-fetched to have three Hans, but it would be nice. Next is Cloud City Luke, with a great torso and leg print. Last is Leia in her nice Cloud City outfit. I love the torso on her.
A back view shows nothing very exciting except Lando's blue-on-the-outside cape and Boba's jetpack. Lando and Vader have no printing under their capes.
One last shot of the bad guys, since they each have something else to show. Vader has the older-looking face underneath and the Stormtrooper has a plain yellow head. Also here is a better shot of Boba and his arm and leg printing.
Minifigs:: Thoughts: Fantastic torso prints all of them, including a few leg prints. Leia, Luke, Lando, and Boba are all exclusive to this set! They are simply amazing.
First up is the dining room area, where Han, Leia, and Chewbacca meet Vader and Boba and are captured. The pictures above are around 6 steps apart. There is really nothing special about the construction process, except that the door is built separately and the locked into place. The only interesting technique used is the SNOT that holds the 2x2 round tiles in place.
Up next in the building process is the carbonite chamber. Again, the only interesting part is that the crank is built separately and locked in. There's a tiny bit of SNOT used for the 2x2 tiles, but otherwise the build is simple. The pictures are at about 5 step intervals.
Lightsaber Duel Area:
Then comes the main lightsaber duel area. I'm starting to sound like a broken record: the pictures are at 5 step intervals, and a fair amount of SNOT is used.
Second to last is the landing pad. No interesting techniques are used, but for such a flat and simple section, what could you expect? The pictures are at steps 4, 7, (submodel: 2, 5), and 8.
Lastly, the mini-bridge thing is built, where Darth Vader delivers the classic line: "No, I am your father." The build is nice and quick and is shown at around 3 step intervals. Again, nothing interesting about the construction, and one interesting technique is used: using the 2x2 plate with the curve and the hole to lock in the pipe at the very edge.
Build:: Thoughts: I am a big fan of modular constructions, and this was a very early example. There is very little repetition and a few interesting techniques and processes are used throughout.
The whole set:
And just snap together all the parts, lock a few with tiles, and you're set! The set has a bit of an odd shape when assembled, so like the box art, I may leave out the landing pad in some of my pictures. The three central scenes remind me of Neapolitan ice-cream. As a note, the dining room can be removed and the duel area and the carbonite area can be attached together.
Let's take advantage of the modularity of the set and break up each vignette into a little section. First up is the dining room. It features four chairs, a small table with cups, a red and brown plantlike decoration, and a random white pole. The room has plenty of space and has an airy, light, and simple feeling about it, which summarizes the essence of Cloud City's architecture. The white pole can be rotated which causes the door to open.
Although the room is pretty, it's not that accurate. There's certainly no tan in the real thing, and not enough white in the Lego model. (A huge thanks to Rapseflaps for providing all the reference pictures in this review!)
Taking a close-up shot reveals why the chairs are so far from the table- characters with large headgear have to sit forward! I'm really glad that they have room, because even though only Vader sits at the table in the movie, I'm sure your imagination can run wild creating a scene that occurs when they are out of view. (Robot Chicken's parody, for example)
VIDEO: Opening Door
A brief video showcases how smoothly the door runs. My only complaint is that in the movie, the doors to the room open side-to-side. However, if you look at it from the perspective of the landing pad, the door is correct. Please note that you have to press down on the part jutting out the top in order to close the door. I think the pole is so high so you can easily access it from the other side.
The main flaw with the door is the height it opens. You can see that minifigs barely fit under it! This is quite a major goof-up, since the only thing stopping it is the poor piece placement on the front. However, it could make a great limbo area for minifigs!
Posted 17 July 2010 - 04:44 AM
Next up on the tour is the famous lightsaber duel area. In the room part of it, there is a lovely stair-like platform sequence and some details on the wall. The extension area features lovely details like the ending pole and the railings. In terms of accuracy, the extension is extraordinarily accurate and the room is mostly accurate. I don't believe there were stair-like platforms, but they still look really cool.
A side view of the room shows a better view of the steps. I love how the last platform blends in perfectly, even though it can swing back. Also notice the nice printed tile holding the window wall together.
Again, although the room is nice, it's not accurate. There are no steps leading up to the window in the actual thing, and the pipes (see below) look much different.
The wall features some pipes held on with SNOT. These are supposed to be the pipes that Vader throws at Luke with the force, but they really don't look like it. However, it's a nice idea.
Here's a nice close-up of the extension area. You can see the technique holding the pole in place, as well as the detailing. I love the fact that Lego even included the pipes that Vader slices in half. The vertical pole Luke holds on to is ok, but nothing compared to some of the entries in the Epic Scenes Contest, like thire5's, YG-49's, or anakev's.
Lego did an ok job here. There's not supposed to be any neon green and the poles at the end should be much more complex. However, the top part of the railing is pretty good.
Of course, the review wouldn't be complete without a shot of the famous scene. It would have been awesome if Luke had a double-sided face to show his emotion here.
VIDEO: Lightsaber Duel Functions
Here's a brief video of the functions. The window-launcher takes a little practice to make sure Luke doesn't miss the platform, but the end result is spectacular. The falling wall is a nice feature too, but some other objects to throw at Luke would have been nice too.
Third on our tour of the city is the carbonite freezing area. Considering the area has a complex function, the mood is captured very well. There are lots of neon orange colors and black pieces. You can also catch a glance of the printed tiles attached with SNOT. Of course, this is no match for ACPin's version.
The real thing is much rounder and has more grates. Having a complex function here definitely hurt the design aspect of it.
On the left side, you can see that there's a gap underneath the area. This really cool touch allows Luke to follow Vader under the area, and if you remove the dining room, he can follow Vader directly into the duel area. This is a great example of how the modularity makes the set even better.
The right side shows a better view at the swiveling control panel, another great detail, and a view of the cog that lowers Han into the pit.
VIDEO: Carbonite Chamber Feature
Next, here's a video of the function. First is a clip of the effect just looking at the top part of the area, and the second clip is a view of the whole process. This is another one of the features that needs quite a bit of practice to learn how to operate, but it can be learned. This was always my favorite part of the set as a kid, and it's definitely well thought out.
Last is the landing pad. It's unfortunately not big enough for the minifigure-scale Millennium Falcon or the Slave I. The older Slave I probably fits, but it's not the greatest set. Otherwise, I think the Midi-scale Falcon would look great here. The actual landing pad had a small lip to the platform, but I'm not too bummed because it at least has the lights.
The actual landing pad is much more round, and needs to be larger to make it more accurate. However, that's quite unrealistic, because not many people would pay extra money to have an even larger, emptier landing pad.
Here you can see how the landing pad connects to the rest of the city. The opening door looks good from this angle. The little lights above it are a nice touch.
Now for a shot of the back. It looks really good from this angle, because of the interesting pattern. You can see that several parts of the other side are sticking above the edge, like the carbonite area and the white pole.
The gap between two sections is quite seamless, due to a clever tactic. I really like the technique.
This low-angle shot may give you a sense of hovering, since the set is raised.
Design: 9/10 The most iconic scenes are all present and captured. Detailing and utility are well-balanced, and there are no major flaws that affect anything. The only downside is that many of the details are not movie-accurate.
Parts: 9/10 A good variety and decent colors. Not too many rare or uncommon colors or types, but what's there feels sufficient.
Build: 10/10 The modularity is a big plus and makes the build very enjoyable. You actually get a sense that you've completed something after each bag. Not too many techniques are used, but the process is still interesting and not very repetitive.
Minifigs: 10/10 Eight is very decent for a $100 set. They all have great printing and half are exclusive. All the necessary characters are covered, except for Chewy, C-3PO, and R2-D2, who aren't too uncommon.
Playability: 10/10 Lots of figures and features to interact with. Cloud City occupies a good chunk of the movie, so there's lots to reenact, and you can also let your imagination go wild.
Price: 8/10 698 is low for $100, but considering all the large pieces and thick bricks, it makes sense.
Total: 56/60 It's no wonder this set is a classic. It is an all-around amazing set, from the design, to the minifigs, to the functions. These days, the price isn't cheap, but you still get a lot of bang for your buck. The Empire Strikes Back was always my favorite movie as a kid, and Cloud City was my favorite part. It's no surprise Cloud City was always my favorite set. It truly deserves the oddly-shaped shelf space it occupies. My advice is the same with any expensive and old set. If you have any interest, buy it now, because there's no telling how high the price could rocket.
Thanks for reading! (Yes, I know this was a gruelingly long review, but think about how long it took to write!)
Lando, we've got a problem.
Posted 17 July 2010 - 04:51 AM
What do people really love about the set, aside from Boba Fett? I'd like to hear some more feedback from various people on that.
Anyway,very well done review, Inconspicuous, and I appreciate it! I've wanted to see a review of this set for a while!
Posted 17 July 2010 - 06:55 AM
Cloud City is a set that I've always wanted! Not only does it come with some stunning minifigs (especially Boba Fett ), but also a smattering of memorable scenes from the movie. There's a ton of playability because of that! You can dock the Millennium Falcon (preferably a smaller version than yours ) on the landing pad or take off with the Slave I, host a dinner that turns out to be a trap, freeze Captain Solo in carbonite, and have a duel between Luke and Vader. There's an endless amount of possibilities!
By the way, in your poll, are you asking if the set is worth the cash at today's price, or at the MSRP?
Edited by ILikePi, 17 July 2010 - 06:57 AM.
Posted 17 July 2010 - 07:05 AM
Today's price. For $100, this set was a good deal back in the day, at least from my perspective.
[shameless plug] I'm selling a Cloud City for my friend, and it'll be up on Bricklink in a few weeks, so if you like the set based on my review, you know where to get one. [/shameless plug]
Thanks to all for the nice comments, and of course the honor of a frontpage!
Posted 17 July 2010 - 07:12 AM
As for the set, I think this is a pretty good one with lots of small vignettes and exclusive minifigs. It's pretty special since it shows us the various scenes that happened in Cloud City. But even if this is regarded as one of the classic sets, I still wouldn't buy this one (even if I have the budget), because of the inaccuracy of the build. I would still prefer to go the 'long way' and make myself a better MOC of the vigs, just like ACPin's Crabon Freeze Camber and Brickdoctor's "I am your Father!" scene, just to name a few.
Currently playing as the Sheriff Kenneth Emanuel in Tamamono's Silver City Mafia
Posted 17 July 2010 - 07:19 AM
What do people really love about the set, aside from Boba Fett? I'd like to hear some more feedback from various people on that.
Currently playing as the Sheriff Kenneth Emanuel in Tamamono's Silver City Mafia
Posted 17 July 2010 - 09:05 AM
This set has a lot of charm. I wasn't collecting playsets back then (mostly only UCS models) but looking at it now, I wish I had. However, there's no way I'd bay the current asking price.
Posted 17 July 2010 - 09:17 AM
Man I want one of these for my son and yourstruly to play with together - so COOL !
Keep on bricking everyone !
Posted 17 July 2010 - 09:24 AM
I voted for
and that it is
not worth its money.
-all important scenes included
-three new minifigs
-a lot of action elements
-no vehicle included
-no Bespin Guard
-no torture chamber
-no waiting area with glas cupola
-too small rooms
-no walls between the different rooms
All in all this was a nice set for JFOLs - but for AFOLs it's not big and detailed enough.
When TLG will very suppoably release a new Cloud City in the next years, I hope that it'll include
-more rooms (torture chamber, long floor, waiting area with plexi glas cupola)
-walls between the rooms to seperate them
-a Twin Pod Cloud Car
-Lobot and two Bespin Guards
-new minifigures: Ughunaut and silvern 3PO
Edited by Klaus-Dieter, 17 July 2010 - 09:25 AM.
Posted 17 July 2010 - 11:55 AM
I always wanted to know how this set looks in detail.
"But being as this is a EE-3 Carbine Rifle, the most powerful handgun in the world, and would blow your head clean off, you've got to ask yourself one question: Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya, punk?"
Posted 17 July 2010 - 02:34 PM
and 2 loose sets all complete
I believe in the future this is set will be remembered as the
best modular set lego has ever produced for starwars
I would like to see lego release 4 different cloud city sets that could be attached together
such as a carbon freezing chamber with the new boba and han in carbonite
then the dinner table set with the new han in bespin and so on
these sets could be done as exclusives say one to walmart 1 to target 1 to lego and 1 to toys r us
just my opinion
the review was amazing
Edited by joelego, 17 July 2010 - 02:31 PM.
Posted 17 July 2010 - 03:45 PM
I agree that if you like this set and have the money just go and buy it because it seems to get more and more expensive over time; I bought mine a year ago and prices have certainly risen since then.
I think I like it because it's such a varied and interesting build. So many of the Star Wars sets involve a lot of repetition, but not this one. Unique minifigs are also guaranteed to raise levels of interest, and this set has more than its fair share.
I agree that the old MF looks too big on the landing pad - the midi falcon looks much better.
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Posted 17 July 2010 - 04:05 PM
Great review and thank you for sharing!
Posted 17 July 2010 - 04:12 PM
Posted 17 July 2010 - 05:36 PM
Posted 17 July 2010 - 09:36 PM
I picked this set up for $50 online (somehow) while it was still available from Lego. Only at a price like that was it worth buying. I built it once, then broke it down for parts. I didn't realize it is worth so much now. I could sell it for a great return, but it does have great figs and some very useful parts, particularly for a town fan like myself.
Posted 18 July 2010 - 04:42 AM
Posted 18 July 2010 - 07:38 AM
I forgot how cool this was/is and now I'm seriously considering a rebuild of this one
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Posted 18 July 2010 - 07:48 AM
Seeing such crisp neat photos with incredible neat layout and covering many sections in detailed organised manner, I am truly impressed with the quality of this review after reading it, especially for a person like me whom doesn't know the real value of this highly priced playset. Love those videos additions as well.
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Lord Kenneth Valise, Level 1 Knight, 28yrs old human
Power: 4 Health: 10/10 Gold: 10
Inventory: One potion, a Greatsword (WP: 3) and a Shield (SP: 2)
Posted 18 July 2010 - 11:16 PM
Rather than create another similar modular set, I'd rather TLG produced the various scenes in modular stand alone sets. It would make them more affordable, and allow for more accuracy and detail to be included in each scene. The only other alternative I see is for TLG to produce another mega-playset like the Death Star, with a very large piece and minifig count, a large round platform, to mimic the shapes of the Cloud City floating structures, seperated into the various scenes, and possibly a cloud car to round the set out. The latter idea would be cool, esp if the amount of attention went into it as the Death Star, but it would be a very pricey set.
Posted 19 July 2010 - 02:28 AM
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