Okay, so not everyone was satisfied with the pictures I took the first time. So two weeks ago, I got rid of them and took new ones. Personally I think the pictures are a lot better: they're smaller, but they're more clear and they have flash so you can really see all the details. Unfortunately, it looks like Starstreak has beat me to the front page, even though I think I am more deserving of this right, as I posted a review of this set several weeks beforehand. With the new pictures, at least I have a chance of this review being added to the index and polled.
Anyway, it's been several weeks since I've bought this set: there's been time to look through the set and compare it with movie screenshots, studio model pictures, etc. I have to say that the additional time has changed my opinion of this set greatly and broken down a lot of the thoughts I had from my first impression of this set. These new ideas will (hopefully) be reflected in this revised version.
I may come back and change the review even further to fit my liking, but by then this will have had its 15 minutes of fame and hopefully have joined other great reviews in the Index.
Now, for the review. I have included an EDIT: sign with all NEW thoughts; however, the pictures have replaced the older pictures.
Yes! First midi Destroyer review on Eurobricks!
Some time ago, on another LEGO forum, I asked why LEGO couldn’t make sets of a different kind – sets which were meant to represent starships and vehicles of the Star Wars universe more accurately and feature dense, entertaining builds aimed at older kids and TFOLS/AFOLS. Of course, I was attacked for this revolutionary idea – others claimed it couldn’t be done, complaining of higher prices and asserting that LEGO was and always will be a product aimed at kids, and that I should probably get into die-casts or model kits if I wanted accuracy.
Then, in 2009, LEGO released a groundbreaking set, the 7778 “Midi-scale” Millennium Falcon. It was so different from the other LEGO Star Wars sets of that time – no minifigs, a stacked-plate build, almost no rare pieces or molds. At $40, it was quite pricey – however, I snapped it up and found it was more or less an amazing set. It is almost as if LEGO had answered my call for cheaper, more accurate sets with the midi-scale line.
The 8099 Midi-scale Imperial Star Destroyer is the second of two midi-scale sets released at this time, the first being the 7778. Like its predecessor, it does not disappoint. So here goes the review.
8099 Midi-scale Imperial Star Destroyer
The box, like the 7778, features quasi-UCS info and the parts inventory on the back. A blue clone trooper (I assume from the markings that it’s that Rex guy) is featured on the front. We can infer from the Tatooine backdrop that the model is intended to be the Devastator, the ship that captured the Tantive IV in the first scene of Star Wars. The instruction manual, in the usual fashion, features the same picture as the front of the box. Since images of the box are already available online, I will not be posting them.
EDIT: Note from the bridge that 8099 actually depicts an Imperial II-class Star Destroyer, even though the Devastator is clearly an Imperial I-class. For those who don't know the difference (like I did before I wrote this review), theforce.net covers this topic in great detail. More on the bridge later.
Some interesting pieces - red 1x2 plates with clips, 1x3 tiles, and 2x4 tiles.
EDIT: Sorry, it's the same picture, only smaller.
In keeping with FBTB fashion, I didn’t want to spoil the build, but the construction of this set is so different from most sets that I felt I had to share it.
The first thing you build is the central module – all other parts of the set attach to this section. LEGO manages to attach the bottom by taking a large Technic brick and inverting it so that the bottom is angled. The brick is held in by a pair of connectors with axles running through them; the construction is surprisingly sturdy.
Oh yes, the stand; it’s simply a few Technic connectors that you place on the bottom of the ship to keep it upright. It functions well and is easily removable.
EDIT: New picture; the bottom "wings":
In addition to the large notches near the bow of the Star Destroyer (which, I might add, LEGO captured fairly well), there also exists a smaller notch which they appear to have overlooked. It's a fairly simple mod to include it, just shift a couple plates over.
Here you see the module with the two bottom parts of the set attached:
As you can see, the parts of the hull attach to the central module with clips. Unlike the 7778, there isn’t much detailing on this set, just a few scattered studs and clip pieces. The lack of tan pieces in this set is a bit refreshing. The inclusion of the larger grooves along the border is a nice addition.
I can now flip the construction over and show you the completed bottom:
In my opinion, LEGO really outdid themselves here. (They ought to have, since the bottom of the Star Destroyer is the first part of the ship you see.) They captured many details fairly correctly, as seen from these screenshots:
Note that LEGO not only included the main hangar into which the Tantive IV is pulled, but also the smaller hangar from which Vader’s shuttle descends in Return of the Jedi. And I had my doubts about the shape of the ship at first, but this screenshot reassured me:
Indeed, it doesn't look as bad from out here.
EDIT: There is another shot which further shows the hangars. How could I have forgotten this?
Triangles on either side of the smaller hangar are represented by wings plates on 8099. LEGO definitely outdid themselves on the bottom.
This funny-looking thing is the rear part of the ship, the engines; the two protruding bars attach to the two Technic connectors on the central module. As you may suspect, the connection is very loose; the bars easily detach from the 1x2 plates.
Both the three main engines and the four smaller engines are included.
EDIT: The "four smaller engines" are actually emergency engines.
A bit of a disappointment here, since on the studio model all the main thrusters are separate from each other and connect into the ship individually, and the emergency thrusters are connected to the "wings" of the ship:
To those who would like to do mod the engines, I would suggest moving the bar plates on the "wings" a few studs closer to the rear so that when attached the hull extends farther back, leaving more space for engine attachment. Ditch the bars with the half pins and replace with studs so they'll connect to the holes better and have less a chance of falling off.
Pictures of the bridge tower are also included with the engine. In case you didn't look through the page I linked to earlier, I will now discuss the bridge in detail.
Note the 1x3 tile laid sideways across the top of the bridge. This is incorrect; recall that the Devastator has quite the tall array in that location, as seen in the picture below:
A bit distant, but you can definitely tell that the middle section rises up well above the level of the sensor arrays on either side.
Also worthy of notice is the actual command bridge area. In the 8099, the bridge is represented by this piece; this corresponds with the bump with the groove seen in the dead center of this picture (a picture of the bridge tower of the Imperial II-class Star Destroyer Avenger, I might add; it looks like LEGO slipped.):
Obviously, the reason for the curve is because the inside of the command bridge should look something like this:
Note also the square indents on either side of the bump; this is fairly well represented on the 8099 with a number of these. Some may consider this an easter egg or something, but personally I'm impressed. This more than makes up for the fact that the tower sits too high upon the finished set. But I'll get to that later.
EDIT: New pictures.
A picture of some detail on the top "wings":
Compare to the studio model:
Something I suspected when I first built the model; the section around the bridge tower is just too squat. It's no wonder that the tower appears so tall. Note the turbolasers along the sides. (Actually, on the real model, I think the rearmost one is an ion cannon.) They are represented simply by light bley binoculars, mounted on studs so that they can rotate. Simple, yet effective, although I'm pretty sure there should be four - three turbolasers an an ion cannon. (They should also be a whole lot closer together, but that's another easy mod.) Between stacked plates are more 1x1 clip plates and a wing, in dark grey so it'll stand out more.
EDIT: New picture; the set is mostly assembled but the innards are still visible, just to give an idea of how everything fits together.
Finally, the completed set!
The first thing you notice is that huge groove down the middle of the ship (somewhat reminiscent of the original UCS Star Destroyer) that continues through to the bridge section. But the pieces in the middle are just large rail plates, so perhaps a “zigzag” method could be employed to minimize the gap, as seen in some Executor MOCs on Brickshelf.
The dark gray, ugh! Again, common pieces, but it just doesn’t look right.
Somebody else pointed this out to me while we were watching Jedi: The set is just too fat. Compare with the studio model:
However, considering the way this set is constructed, it really can't be helped, and it becomes less noticeable if you dilate all of the wings by maybe 10%. (Don't quote me on this.) The squatness of the area around the tower (and the huge gap) is very noticeable here.
Speaking of which, I think the ship is in fact more than quite a bit squat, comparing the side view above with this picture:
I think LEGO might have underestimated how immense this really was. The gaps on the side are also a bit of a bother.
Another new picture; this was intended to be a front view of the ship, but I decided I wanted to display the lovely UCS-type information in the instructions as well. Some of the parts inventory is also visible. You can really tell how fat this thing is when you compare it to a shot from the film.
I will also say that this ship is FRAGILE. (EDIT: Thanks Starstreak for mentioning this.) The flimsy engine section leads to a whole bunch of other connection-related problems, and it’s difficult to pick the ship up without dislodging the engines. I would suggest either grasping the bulky area round the bridge with both hands or scooping up the ship from underneath with the stand just within your fingertips.
Almost no play features with this ship. The midi Falcon had two rotating quadlaser cannons; this set has the six guns and not really anything else. I guess if you wanted to you could somehow swoosh the set without popping off the rear section. The best use for this is probably setting it up for a perspective shot with the UCS Tantive IV (Aftter all, the actual studio model of the Devastator was half the size of the Tantive IV studio model).
EDIT: Actually, considering the size of the ship, you can have a lot of fun with it:
Two fighters against a Star Destroyer? Is that really fair? Yes, that is the 7658 Y-wing next to the ship. You can really tell how bad the economy is when you consider that the two sets were marketed at the same price. (Not to mention the fact that 7658 has 23 more pieces, although they're mostly half pins). Also shown (small) are advertisements for the summer 2010 sets. I wonder who's flying Grievous's fighter while he's fighting Anakin.
"Sir, the possibility of successfully navigating an asteroid field is approximately three thousand, seven hundred and twenty to one!"
"Never tell me the odds!"
There are a lot more quotes from Empire that would probably fit this better, but I like this one. You can tell that the mandibles on 7778 are really oversized. In the back are a few sets I don't have room for. Yes, there is another box with red clones behind the 8099; no, it is not another 2010 LEGO set; it' a Revell SnapTite X-wing kit I picked up a few months back since at that time I didn't have the budget, display space, patience, or painting ability required for the 1/48 FineMolds kit. But I digress. You can also see from this shot how tall the bridge tower isn't supposed to be. (But it is.)
The 8099 is 24.5 cm (or 24,5 or however they do it) in length, only a bit longer than the midi Falcon, which is 23.5 cm. The 7778 is around 1/144 scale (assuming the length of the "real" Falcon is about 33 meters), the 8099 is at, as I mentioned, 1/6600 scale. It's interesting to note that the large Falcon used in filming was around 5 feet in length, while the Devastator was only about 3 feet.
Oh yeah, that reminds me: NO STICKERS ON THIS SET!
Price: 8/10 423 pieces for about $40. Compared to the outrageous prices of the other 2010 sets, this one is great.
Parts: 7/10 Good parts pack for grey pieces.
Minifigures: N/A As with the 7778, there are no minifigures with this set. I suppose LEGO could have thrown in Tarkin or something to please collectors, but that probably would have driven up the price. I’m glad there are not minifigures.
Playability: 5/10 Few play features, combined with flimsiness, gives playability a low rating.
Set design 10/10 I loved the build of this set, it’s very unique and isn’t sculpture-based.
Overall 5/10 It’s actually 4 if you do the math but I added 4 because I like this set and it is fairly accurate. (EDIT: Then I subtracted 3 because of all the newly discovered flaws. So now it's 5.)
This is a really great set, terribly underrated, and I highly recommend this set to UCS fans.
That's all for now!
Edited by KimT, 05 September 2010 - 09:31 AM.