Before we start, you can click here for a high-res, wordless version of that opening pic. Nothing like a classic LEGO Star Wars shot to start your day.
I'll be honest here: when I first saw the leaked pictures of this set, I was extremely skeptical. This ship looked ugly to me, and even though I had previously only owned the MINI Star Destroyer, I felt no want towards this one. The only reason I decided to buy it was when the final info came out and I realized what a great parts pack this was. I recently picked it up at the Brick Friday sale for 10% off (yeah, I have terrible luck when it comes to random scratchers), which made the deal even better.
Set Name: Midi-scale Imperial Star Destroyer
Set Number: 8099
Number of Pieces: 423
Theme: Star Wars
Year of Release: 2010
Official Shop@Home Data:
The front of the box shows the Imperial-class Star Destroyer (also known as the 'ISD' or 'Star Destroyer') flying over the original art of Tatooine from A New Hope. Like all LEGO Star Wars boxes, it shows explosions and laser blasts, although in this scene it appears that the ISD is the ship being pursued, even though in the movie it should be pursuing the Tantive IV. Like it's predecessor the Midi-scale Millenium Falcon, it has a small box declaring that this is a Midi-scale set. There's also a banner in the bottom left corner that reads 'Special Edition', which means this set is only available from one major retailer, Shop@Home, and the LEGO Brand Stores. I was happy to see that TLG kept the sizing on the banner pretty small, so you can enjoy the rest of the eye candy. The box displays the shot of Captain Rex on a dark blue cloudy background along the top like the rest of the 2010 Summer sets.
Also like the previous Midi-scale set, this set shows the parts list and in-universe technical data on the back:
All three panels are set in dark blue, to match the box art. As a set without any companions in this wave, the Midi-ISD's box shows no advertisements on any sides. There's a rear shot of the destroyer again set over Tatooine art, except this time it looks like the tide of battle has turned, with the Star Destroyer speeding off and firing its turbolasers.
Since there are no minifigs in this set, TLG placed a picture of a white 2 x 2 brick on the top panel to show scale:
You can't see it in the picture, but the top panel also has the good 'ol 'Components made in DENMARK, HUNGARY, MEXICO, and CZECH REPUBLIC.' No China plastic in this one. Like many of the newer sets, the box is wide but not very deep. It's deeper than the BPs and $20 sets, though. The box itself feels very heavy, and it bulges outward more than your average set, which is a good sign. Even without opening it, I can feel that this box doesn't have very much Billund air in it.
This depends on how much the contents have shifted and settled, but the box should be at least 80% full. It doesn't look empty at all, which attests to the high piece count of this set. When you empty the box and spread out the bags, there should be three things you immediately notice. The first is that the bags aren't numbered, which is fine since there's only one model coming out of these pieces, so numbering would be a waste of money. The second is that there's no DSS. As you'll find out later, there are no printed parts either, so this set is an ideal parts pack, with no piece having only one use. The last thing may vary with other sets, but my box was so full that the single instruction booklet had no room to move, and came out perfectly flat. No bends, no folds, no creases.
Like nearly every other set, the instructions show the same art as the front of the box without the extra info. The booklet is standard size for sets of this size. For those who want to see the pages in more detail, you can download the official digital version as a PDF from LEGO Customer Service here. The booklet did show some wear around the edges, but other than that came out in perfect condition.
The back of the booklet has the WIN! poster:
This is the new version of the poster, with a new layout and colors. In one of his reviews, Flare affectionately named the boy 'Zach', and in a weird and scary way that name actually seems to fit him.
Here's the back-most spread of the booklet:
It shows the parts list and a larger version of the data panels from the back of the box, but set on red this time. There's also the little yellow bubble that reminds you of Customer Service's existence.
Moving on to the second-to-last spread (yeah, I'm reading it right to left):
You can see the official CGI poster for this wave, which depicts a CW battle and has absolutely nothing to do with this set. Other than the fact that they're all LEGO Star Wars. TLG also used the extra page to squeeze some advertisements in that aren't on the box. Interestingly, the advertisement page is the only page in the entire book in landscape orientation, other than the cover. So you start out with the book in landscape orientation, flip it to portrait to read the instructions, flip it again to read the advertisement, flip it again to read the final three pages, and then - you guessed it! - flip it one more time to see Zach's WIN! photo.
That aside, here's a sample page.
The background is light grey with very light grey/white random lines criss-crossing it. Piece call-outs are in blue and sub-steps in yellow, the standard coloring. Color definition is okay, the dark greys and blacks can be confused, but there aren't any conflicting physical pieces. Mostly it'll just drive you crazy trying to find the part in dark grey when it actually comes in black. The colors you will get confused on paper and with physical bricks is actually white and trans-clear studs, but if you're careful and pay attention, you shouldn't have any problems building the set. Of course, before you build the set, you'll need bricks. That brings us to-
Okay, so the bags aren't really numbered, but since TLG always packages the bricks by size, I devised my own order more or less from largest to smallest.
The first bag, of course, contains the biggest pieces. Nothing unusual except for the stacks of Plate 2 x 8 with Door Rail in the upper left corner. That piece has been around since 2001, but this is only the second time it has appeared in a Star Wars set in this color. (the first was in the UCS Y-wing)
The second bag has the medium-sized pieces, which range from standard 2 x 2s to quite a few wing plates. There's also nothing truly spectacular or rare in this bag.
Whadaya know? Bag Three also contains lots of common grey, black, or white plates. At this point, you may be wondering what makes this set worth having, but just wait and see: everything will come together in due time. There is the stack of 2 x 4 tiles in black at the bottom though, which are new for 2010.
We're still seeing a lot of grey plates, but now the interesting stuff is starting to appear. First there are the light bley 1 x 3 tiles in the top right, which are new to 2010 and promise to be quite useful. There's the two light bley balls in the bottom left, which are the only remotely-Bionicle pieces in the set. You probably already know what they're for. Finally, there's the assortment of clips and plates with bars at the bottom. Even though some color is kind of nice, I would have preferred those in grey also. They'd be much more useful that way.
I don't know about you, but Bag Five is a treasure trove for me. Among other things, there are six 1 x 2 light bley cheese wedges, which are new for 2010 and the first variants on the cheese wedge piece. Then there's the four wheels in the top right, which are pretty common for car, Creator, and City fans, but appear in Star Wars sets only as engines and other detailing. There's four jumper plates, which are always nice to have around, and a total of twenty-four vertical clips. Those clips will provide the greebling for this set.
The last bag contains the smallest parts, as is the norm for LEGO sets. There's the assortment of studs and Technic pins that is almost always present in this bag, plus the grilles and various small tiles. The rare parts here are the binoculars, which in that color have only appeared in five other sets. Interestingly, the one other Star Wars set they come with is another Star Destroyer, MINI set 4492.
That's it for the pieces, for those of you who got tired of my rambling and skimmed the last section, here are the interesting ones from the bunch:
I mentioned most of those back in the pieces section, except for the wing plates, and those are here mostly because of the quantity you get, not because they might be unusual. If you want more info, try the Bricklink entries:
Wedge, Plate 6 x 3 Right
Wedge, Plate 6 x 3 Left
Wheel 11 x 8 mm with Center Groove
Minifig, Utensil Binoculars Town
Slope 30 1 x 2 x 2/3
Plate, Modified 2 x 8 with Door Rail
Technic Ball Joint
Plate, Modified 1 x 1 with Clip Vertical - Type 2
Wedge, Plate 3 x 2 Left
Wedge, Plate 3 x 2 Right
The frame is a simple and logical place to start. This design actually works so well that right now I'm kicking myself for not thinking of it first when I built my Star Destroyers. At this point the stand is also attached, along with the white plate tiled over in black on the bottom that will become the ventral docking bay. You can see the eight sets of clips that will attach to plates with bars on the hull plates.
The Lower Hull:
The bottom hull is built first, starting with a few layers of plates. The instructions reset the step numbers for each sub-model, which is why the first major step for the bottom hull is only Step 10. You only have to flip it over a couple times, which is nice. At this point, the red 1 x 2 plates with handle/bar can be seen which will attach to the white clips on the frame.
The two halves are symmetrical, so you'll mirror that build for the other bottom hull plate and attach them to the frame, at which point it'll look like this:
The Engine Block:
The engine block is inserted before you begin the top hull plates, which makes sense since it would be much harder to get it in without the benefit of being able to see inside the hull.
Those two bars are put into Technic half-pins, which are then cleverly attached to the frame so that the destroyer looks like this:
By this step, the model is more or less halfway done.
The Upper Hull:
This is where things start to get a little complicated, with a lot of flipping involved. Since I don't expect you to have computers that can enhance the above image for a clear view of the major steps, I've included a high-res version in my Brickshelf gallery here. The build of the top hull plate begins rather simply, with layers of plates to build up the strength of the model. By Step 17, you start bulking out the island where the bridge tower will be inserted. Step 21 completes everything you can see on the top of the ship. The build would have been straight-forward and enjoyable, except for Step 18, which asks you to flip the hull plate over just to add one piece that could have been taken care of in Step 12. (it's the 2 x 8 plate in black) The same thing happens again in Step 22 when you add an inverted slope and a couple plates. I'm sure there's a good reason for this, maybe structural, but I think it could've been better had Steps 18 and 22 been combined or added to Step 12.
As with the bottom of the hull, you then attach the sub-model to the frame, but before you start the other side you build and add on the bridge tower. That could have been done later, but like with the engine block, it helps to attach it now before the plates are added. It should look like this:
Once that's done, you can mirror the finished top plate and the model will be finished.
Here are the extra pieces you'll probably have left:
Nothing unusual or outstanding as far as spares are concerned, although they're all pieces you could probably use pretty often. A 1 x 2 cheese would have made my day as a spare, but evidently all the good stuff went into the model. That, of course, brings us to-
The Finished Model:
Here's the main reference pic from Wookieepedia:
The first thing I will point out is that this model is made to resemble the Star Destroyer Devestator, from A New Hope, so this is a member of the Imperial I-class, often confused with the Imperial II-class seen in The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. The main difference is that the Imperial II sports eight dual turbolasers as it's main armament while the Imperial I carries six dual turbolasers and two dual ion cannon. That means that the six gun batteries on this LEGO model are accurate, even though the UCS and MINI versions carry eight. As far as accuracy is concerned, this model does pretty well for its scale. When I first saw the set, I though it looked ugly, and I think I can partially attribute that to the fact that a Star Destroyer's shape is a pain to photograph because the camera only has one lens. With two eyes, it looks fine to us from all angles, but get close enough with a camera and it'll be distorted. I had to photograph this model from four feet away to minimize the distortion. This is really the kind of model that photos will never do justice; you have to hold it in your hands to truly appreciate it. Unfortunately, I can't do that for you, but EB has a database of over 700 sets converted into LDD files, and you can download one of this set here to experience it in 3D through LDD. The only real gripe would be that the model is too tall, but it doesn't look that bad.
Here are some more views:
As with the build image for the upper portion of the hull, you can access a high-res version in my Brickshelf. I think TLG did pretty well with the detailing; I mentioned earlier the clips used for greebling, and in addition to the ones seen in the bow, TLG nestled four more in the bridge area and six on either side of the island, right underneath the plates with rails. The finished model also feels very solid, and it's definitely not going to fall apart in your hands or shatter if you drop it. The hull plates shouldn't flap around at all if everything's aligned properly. If one or more of them are moving around, you've probably rotated the engine block a little bit. That's the only real weak spot, and the parabolic plates representing the main ion engines fall off a lot. Unfortunately, the block helps form the shape and angle of the hull, so if it's out of place, the whole model could suffer. However, it felt good enough for me to try a couple barrel rolls during swooshing, from which it emerged much better than some starfighters. Speaking of which, the model is quite swooshable. If you built this set and found yourself swooshing it very slowly while humming the Imperial March, you're not alone.
The Play Features:
As you might expect, this is a display model and thus doesn't have any play feature. The closest thing is that the stand is easily removable if you want to suspend it from your ceiling or display it some other way. By the way, if you're interested in doing that for an MOC or set, this is a great model to start with. It's got lots of gaps on the sides, it's very strong, and it uses a Technic frame that's easy to thread fishing line through. That having been said, we've now thoroughly examined the model, so it's on to the ratings.
Price/Piece Count: 17/20 It's the only Star Wars set of this wave to break 10 parts-per-dollar, which automatically gets it a high score. Lots of the pieces are useful, too, but I couldn't give it a higher rating than previous sets I've reviewed that had better ratios and included minifigs.
Bricks: 19/20 This is the best SW grey parts pack since the Twilight went on sale for $50. Hands down, this is the set to get to expand your collection of grey.
Build: 14/20 It's complicated enough to keep you interested and uses a couple nice techniques. The mirrored building of the hull can get a little repetitive, though, and there was the couple of steps that could've been combined.
Playability/Features: 16/20 This is a display model, and I take that into account when I give a higher-end rating in playability to a set with one feature and no interior. Surprisingly, it is quite swooshable, and you'll probably enjoy both displaying and playing with it.
Grand Total: 66/80, or 82.5%. Quite a respectable score, and I have to say, the model is worth it. Never judge a set by its box art; I've learned that lesson well.
This set looks every bit the iconic ship it represents, but should you decide to part it out, you shouldn't be disappointed. It does everything you could ask for out of this type of set.
You know how you know TLG has done well? When I can't find anything to make fun of for the closing picture. So I went and made fun of its name. Actually, this was a big debate that ended up on my hands over at MOCpages when I dubbed my Venator a micro-scale creation. In relation to other sets, it was midi-scale, but in relation to the 'real' ship, it was definitely a micro.