Unfortunately, in my attempts to pull off this title pic, which was made difficult by the fact that the two elements of this set are never seen together in the movie, I forgot to save a non-text version of the picture.
I was hesitant about buying this set at first. Parts to price ratio wasn't so good, 'cave' seemed blocky, and TLG still hadn't redone their flawed T-47 Snowspeeder design. I bought it at a discount, which was probably the only reason I got it. Now, I've been wrong about sets before, in both good and bad ways. So I was willing to give this set a chance. Would I hit the jackpot as Rogue Two did, or is this set a fail?
Set Name: Hoth Wampa Cave
Set Number: 8089
Number of Pieces: 297
Minifigures: 3, plus one animal
Theme: Star Wars
Year of Release: 2010
Official Shop@Home data:
Official Shop@Home Description said:
The front of the box shows Zev Senesca, aka Rogue Two, flying his T-47 Snowspeeder towards, er, a wall of ice forming the wall of the cave. Luke is apparently hanging in the entrance to the cave, which is inaccurate to the movie. In addition, Luke wasn't inside the cave when Rogue Two found him; he was inside an emergency shelter with Han Solo, but I guess this is the best way to display the components of the set. The box shows the banner typical of 2010 Wave 2 and 2011 Wave 1 sets; Captain Rex in front of a very dark blue background and clouds. The full minifig and animal lineup is shown in the bottom right, however, unlike most other sets, the box shows no choking hazard warning on the front panel. This is unusual as in recent years most similar sets have had this warning.
As with most other sets, features and advertisements are listed on the back:
Other than the fact that they're somewhat around the same price, two of the three advertised sets make no sense whatsoever. The Slave 1 is understandable, as another set from The Empire Strikes Back, but General Grievous' Starfighter and a Theta-class shuttle?
The box's back panel also lists three play features: the snowspeeder's opening cockpit and harpoon cable, and the shooting lightsaber. We'll discuss those later. Apparently, the action scene depicted here shows Zev landing the snowspeeder, getting out, freeing Luke, and dragging Luke to the Snowspeeder while the Wampa waves bye-bye to its dinner. Yeah. Aside from being ridiculous, the scene is also inaccurate as far as the movie is concerned.
Even though the minifig lineup is shown on the front, TLG reprinted it all on the top panel:
The three minifigs are all shown to-scale. I don't know why TLG decided to show the Wampa sideways, even though no matter which way it's oriented there's no way to show it to-scale. The box is standard size for these mid-range sets- thicker than a BP box but still fairly thin, but very wide to present what apparently is intended to be a more epic front panel.
Here are the contents of the box: three numbered bags, one instruction booklet, one sticker sheet, and the Wampa. The numbered bags are nice for the appropriate age category, but personally, I think it increases costs and decreases the time of build, which adds up to a less enjoyable experience. I guess it's because I'm not in said age category, but if not for the purposes of this review, I would've dumped all the pieces into a bin and mixed them up on purpose.
Here's the Dreaded Sticker Sheet: (DSS)
It's not that bad or big; my one main gripe would be the targeting display, because that one was printed in a past version of the set. The others are okay as stickers. None are huge or require application on a curved surface. The Aurebesh writing on the stickers intended for the sides of the canopy reads 'Rogue Two', which is a nice touch. TLG got the callsign right. I will not be applying these to the set, just so you know.
The instructions are square shaped, which is becoming more popular in mid-range sets. Same art as that of the box, but without the extra info. As with the box, there is no choking hazard warning on the front of this either, and this is also unusual in this case compared to similar instruction booklets.
This booklet only has two spreads in the back of the book. I actually read it forwards, this time!
The parts list and Customer Service advertisement are found on the second-to-last spread. The last shows the usual advertisements and features, although contrary to sets I previously reviewed, this time the features are on the left side and the advertisements on the right. The features and advertisements are the same as those on the box, with the addition of adds for Plo Koon's Starfighter and the Clone Turbo Tank.
Here's a sample page:
Standard color scheme; tan sub-steps, blue part call-outs, light grey mottled background. Color definition is what you'd expect from any average set: bad enough to be annoying but good enough to avoid most problems, and there are few conflicting parts in a smaller set like this.
This set has three minifigs, one of which is exclusive. In the order TLG printed them on the box, you have (from left to right) Luke Skywalker in his nice exclusive Hoth outfit, the afore-mentioned Zev Senesca, who is available in one other set (Hoth Rebel BP), and a skeleton. Luke has the new Hoth hats and wears a Hoth outfit available only in this set. Zev sports the new Rebel pilot torso print. And the skeleton is just your standard skellie with the droid arms. Personally, I like the old skeleton arms, but lately TLG's been including more and more of the new droid arm ones, which some people like because they don't flop around, but I don't like because it isn't as realistic.
Here's a shot of their backs:
The two minifigs which can even have printed torsos have back printing, which is sweet. This new Rebel pilot torso is the first to have said back printing.
Speaking of new and old Rebel pilots, since both are still in sets, here's a comparison between Zev and a classic Luke:
There's a great deal more detail on the front, like the air tube and more buttons on the chest panel. And of course, the new torso has the back printing. This is one update to a classic minifig that I welcome. If the old pilot suits your fancy, you can still get him in set 6212 at the time of this writing.
Here we have the animal that's the star of the set. Well, it's the only animal in the set, but chances are if you bought this set one of the main factors is the Wampa. Does it live up to expectations? Well, that depends on how you like your LEGO animals to look. TLG usually does its animals with very smooth skin/hair. This is okay for animals that generally appear smooth, like horses, elephants, kaadu, and even Tauntauns. Other animals, like parrots, are too small to matter, and still others, like crocodiles, have large bumpy textures that are easily rendered in LEGO. Unfortunately, the Wampa doesn't really fall into any of those categories. It's big and furry with definite fur that is not big and lumpy and not small and sleek. TLG has done well with this type of hair before (see Wookiees), but this time they decided to... well, you can see for yourself in this picture. It's much too cartoonish for my tastes, but it fits right in with most CW minifigs.
Here's the Wampa, disected: (or at least as much as possible )
On the left you can see I've removed half his removable parts. The horns are the same as those of the Tauntaun, but in dk. bley., and they predictably attach in the same manner. The arms, unlike those of the Tauntaun, do not have a built-in Technic pin and instead have a socket that accepts a cross-axle. This is, in my opinion, a subtle yet really nice touch. The arm can be removed to recreate the scene from The Empire Strikes Back without exposing what in this case would be an ugly Technic pin.
The Wampa's two arms are not mirrored casts of each other. The right arm loosely holds a standard bar, while the left securely grips anything the width of one brick. In this set, the left is meant to hold a drumstick and the right Luke Skywalker. From these shots you can also see that the Wampa's arms are partially hollowed out. I really don't expect TLG to make it one solid hunk of plastic, but it is a bit annoying at times.
First up, the contents of Bag One! This set uses numbered bags, so the pieces aren't grouped by size, but rather by what they will become. This bag contains pieces intended for the fuselage of the Snowspeeder. There was only one bag for each number, so instead of a smaller bag also labeled 'Bag One', there was a smaller bag inside Bag One with the smaller pieces inside it. Those pieces are a lot smaller than most of the pieces in the main bag, and are shown in a row off to the right side.
This bag didn't really impress me, nothing unusual, just the pieces you'd expect to see in a Snowspeeder. Note the cardboard box that contains the string for the harpoon cable and the body parts of Zev Senesca.
Here are the parts of Bag Two. Once again, the pieces of a smaller bag inside the main bag are shown in a row off to the right side. These pieces are destined to become the wings of the Snowspeeder, so you see a lot of plates and the pieces that will make up the very prominent guns. There are a couple interesting pieces here, like the two Brick 1 x 1 round with fins in dk. bley.
Finally, we have the pieces of Bag Three. You can probably deduct that these will become the Wampa Cave itself. Because of that, there are a lot of large plates, as well as big white pieces and one BURP. The contents of the smaller bag are shown clustered in the bottom right. I see quite a few useful pieces in that assortment. There are also the parts of the two remaining minifigs. (Luke and the skeleton)
Out of those three bags, here are the notable pieces:
Firstly there's the rock, and I'm not sure if it's useful or a Big Useless Rock Piece, but it is pretty uncommon in Star Wars sets. Then you have the wheel pieces and the rounds with fins, which are good greeble pieces. The bracket is something you can never have too many of, and the drumstick is also uncommon for Star Wars sets. You get four orange grilles, there only because that color is pretty hard to find in Star Wars sets. Lastly, there are four Technic 1 x 1s and four lamp holder plates, both which are always useful, plus they're in tan. For more information, try Bricklink:
Rock Panel 2 x 4 x 6
Wheel 11 x 8 mm with Center Groove
Brick, Round 1 x 1 with Fins
Minifig, Neck Bracket with Back Stud
Turkey Drumstick, Short
Tile, Modified 1 x 2 Grille with Bottom Groove / Lip
Technic, Brick 1 x 1 with Hole
Plate, Modified 1 x 1 with Clip Light - Type 2 (thick ring)
The T-47 Snowspeeder:
Like any good set, the build begins at the beginning: with a solid base of plates. Since this set uses numbered bags, Bag One will build only the fuselage of the T-47. It only takes until Step 3 to assemble that base, and by Step 9 most all the attachment points are in place.
Now that we have a good base for the Snowspeeder, we'll begin fleshing out the fuselage. This takes place up until Step 13, and then Step 14 has you flip over the model to attach a pair of 2 x 2 round plates. These will enable the Snowspeeder to rest on its base when displayed, taking stress off the wings.
The only thing left to do now to complete Bag One is to attach the canopy and harpoon cable. Step 17 will probably be the most difficult of the build, because it involves tying two knots to build the harpoon cable. A couple sub-steps later, Step 18 has you attach the canopy, and the fuselage is complete.
Now then, on to Bag Two. This bag contains pieces for the wings of the Snowspeeder.
Like the fuselage, the wings also begin with a base of plates. That's to be expected for any LEGO set with wings in it, as SNOT wings are too fragile to meet the standards of an official set. That happens in Step 3, before Step 6 defines the shape of the wing and adds a couple details.
After that, Steps 9-13 are devoted to building the blocks on the wing and the gun that goes through it. This is attached to the Snowspeeder's fuselage before being mirrored on the other side, and then the Snowspeeder is complete.
The Cave is built from only one bag- Bag Three. It begins with the base which is also composed of plates, and quickly builds up to icy walls. By Step 12, it's looking very cave-ish and the walls are completed.
That having been taken care of, Step 16 starts off the top of the cave with the addition of the first plate that bridges the gap, and it also holds the SNOT bricks that will hold up the stalactites and captive Jedi. Five steps later, and the cave is finished.
The only things left to add are the Tauntaun skeleton and lightsaber shooter. A bracket is used to secure the former into place. The set is now complete.
Here are the extras:
The cheese, studs, and visor are to be expected. Getting an extra straight droid arm in white is nice, though.
The Finished Set:
Here you can see all the components of the set together. They really don't look that good together this way, maybe if TLG had included some trans-clear bricks to hold the Snowspeeder above the roof of the cave, which is the ground of Hoth, then it would've looked better.
Let's take a look at the Snowspeeder first. Here's a reference photo:
Take a good, hard look.
Now compare it to this:
I don't know about you, but I see a ton of inaccuracies in LEGO's model. Firstly, there's the nose. Notice how in the 'real' T-47, it's got all those angles that connect the five plates in that area, while in the LEGO version, there's just two angles that don't even line up. Then there's the canopy. In the 'real' one, the canopy sides are straight. TLG's decision to use the same piece used for the Y-wing makes their canopy taper towards the front, and it doesn't slope forward on top like the 'real' one either. Thirdly, there's the guns and the blocks on the wings. The guns are okay, but they've really just got the wrong shape, and the 1-bar width of the long portion of the barrel is too thin. TLG also decided to make the top of the blocks two studs wide, which is too wide. This then causes them to be so fat that TLG had to use the 3x12 wedge plates for the wing itself, creating an inaccurate taper angle. Those are the major inaccuracies of this view, but let's move on, shall we?
The 'real' Snowspeeder's rear end looks like this:
Here's a shot of the back of the LEGO edition. Personally, it's my least favorite view:
I mean, just look at the radiator assembly. It's tiny, blocky, and has an ugly Technic assembly and cable stuck in the middle. Plus the harpoon gun is totally in the wrong place. It should be behind the radiator, not attached to the edge of it. Also note the back portions of the guns. The 'real' ones are just round cylinders with some smaller circles in them. TLG, however, decided to use a piece that is too thin and has tapering fins on it. The last thing I noticed in this view is that TLG totally omitted the air brakes on the bottom of the speeder.
Now then, you can see here the Snowspeeder's interior:
The first thing I noticed is that TLG's canopy opens from it's very end. From this shot from The Empire Strikes Back, you can clearly see the 'real' one hinges up from the rear portion of the canopy itself:
Originally, I had thought that was just to insert the gunner, since the canopy can open on click hinges the way it should, but the back of the box shows that TLG intended for it to open the inaccurate way. Probably the bothersome thing about this cockpit is the use of the tiles for seats. Like with the '08 RGS, TLG used a pair of 2 x 2 tiles (and ugly yellow ones to boot) instead of plates. So now the pilot (and gunner) rattles around inside while swooshing. And all the inaccuracies I mentioned here and above are only the major ones. I haven't even touched on the minor stuff. Anyways, it's making me feel depressed after shelling out good money for the set, so let's go look at the other part of the set.
This shot is of the inside of the cave. In reality, Luke and the lightsaber should be in a different section of the cave. The carcass and Wampa are seen in a sort of side room:
I won't hold this against the set, since in reality this is a pretty good way of combining the two 'rooms'. You can also see here that the skeleton grips a bar attached to the wall. One of the things I really liked about this part of the set was that everything was attached to the base.
Since in reality, the shot you just saw was of the inside of the cave, and the cave is underground, this next shot is technically the inner side of the walls of the cave that shouldn't be visible. But whether you decide it's that or just the outside, here's the pic:
The only complaint I really have here is the use of the BURP. It just looks so out of place as it is so detailed compared to the rest of the cave. That's really all there is to see. This is a pretty simple set. There are however, lots of features.
The Play Features:
This picture shows the Snowspeeder with all three of it's play features in action: The opening canopy, the retractable tow cable, and the opening top air brakes. All have been executed inaccurately, but I've already touched on that, and anyways, all three are practically required in a model of this craft, and I think I'd be more disappointed if they weren't included.
The feature I'd been dreading was the that of the cave - the shooting lightsaber:
Unfortunately, thanks to my camera and the fact that the whole base shudders upon launch, I was unable to get a decent picture of the lightsaber in flight. Initially, I had though this would be just another flick-fire missile. I was happy to find out that I was wrong. It takes some time to get the hang of it, but I could easily launch the 'saber 3-4 feet away, and it will pass within grabbing distance of Luke. Pro Tip: Settle the lightsaber into the hole of the Technic brick, but don't allow it to attach. Angle the launcher so that the saber hilt is just barely touching the nearby carcass. A firm tap on the launcher can get you the height you need for Luke to realistically grab it (even though he can't, obviously), but give it a hard flick on the end of the 2 x 4 tile and the 'saber will rocket away. This was, without a doubt, my favorite shooting feature out of the entire 2010 Star Wars waves.
Price/Piece Count: 11/20 Honestly, there aren't very many pieces here, and not very many are big ones.
Bricks: 13/20 There aren't very many outstanding pieces, either. Some stand out, but mostly it's one big hunk o' white.
Build: 12/20 It was interesting at times, and not at all repetitive, but I really felt some more effort could've been put into the T-47. It's such an iconic vehicle, yet TLG seems to have settled for this sub-par model.
Minifigs: 16/20 These are probably the saving grace of the set. The new detailed torsos look really nice, and of course, there's the Wampa.
Playability/Features: 12/20 Despite the fact that I am loving that lightsaber shooting function, the other features are pretty ho-hum. What you'd expect to get. No surprises or exceptional features. Plus they're inaccurate.
Grand Total: 64/100, or 64%. I really wanted to like this set, but it was just so lacking. TLG needs to revise that Snowspeeder, and soon. I probably would not have gotten it were it not for a discount
I'd say I definitely didn't hit the jackpot with this one. I think the value of this set hinges almost entirely around the Wampa. If you want it, this is a decent set to pick up. If not, then it's an easy pass.
Yes, I realize that's a turkey leg, officially. But 'Tastes like turkey' doesn't sound as funny.