The 2011 Star Wars range has seen a number of remakes or re-interpretations of sets that were released in 2007: the Sith Infiltrator; a new, improved (and larger) Hoth Base; the Frigate which is a lovely new rendering of the hallowed Republic Cruiser; and this one, the Naboo Starfighter. 2007 was a good year, so I'm not complaining!
The Naboo N-1 Starfighter is the sleekly bechromed yellow ship which, piloted by young Anakin Skywalker, destroys the Federation Droid Control Ship at the end of Episode I: The Phantom Menace, thanks to a large helping of luck. It also appears briefly at the opening of Episode II: Attack of the Clones. 2007's version, 7660 Naboo N-1 Starfighter, comes with an improved Vulture Droid, Anakin, R2-D2 and a pilot; this year's re-release loses the Vulture but gains some more figures and ground accessories. Let's see how she compares.
Review: 7877 Naboo Starfighter
Name: Naboo Starfighter
Theme: Star Wars (Episode I: The Phantom Menace)
Release Year: 2011 (Summer Wave)
Price: GB £40.99 | US $49.99 | EUR 46.95 - 49.99 | DKK 499.00 | CA $59.99 | AU $79.99
Blast through the battle droids and droideka to clear the hangar! Then speed into battle against the Droid™ Control Ship in the Naboo Starfighter™! Stage a realistic space stand-off with opening cockpit, ejecting R2-D2™, flick missiles, access ladder and rotating stand. Includes Anakin Skywalker™, Naboo™ pilot, R2-D2 and 2 security battle droid minifigures. Service vehicle and droideka™ also included.
- Includes 5 minifigures: Anakin Skywalker, Naboo pilot, R2-D2 and 2 security battle droids
- Features droideka and service vehicle
- Board your ship with the access ladder!
- Fire missiles at the opposition!
- Open the realistic cockpit!
- Eject R2-D2 with a special function!
- Naboo Starfighter™ measures 14” (35cm) long and 9” (22cm) wide
Links ... Brickset ... Bricklink ... Peeron (not yet inventoried) ... Shop@Home
Click for a larger full-frontal
In addition to the beautiful dark blue surround of the current SW sets, this box features a yellow stripe advertising this set as a Special Edition - in the UK, this most likely means a Toys R Us exclusive (though of course it can also be found in LEGO brand stores). The cover shot is quite stunning - the ship erupts from the Theed Palace hangar, amidst explosions and laser fire - and I can't recall any prior SW set having a cover picture which is so distinctly taken from a screen shot.
A further screen shot graces the back of the box, this time a hangar diorama:
Click to zoom
The usual insets depict the principal play features: the R2 ejection mechanism, the flick-fire missiles, the opening cockpit and the stand, if the last can be called a play feature.
As we've come to expect, the minifigure identity parade adorns the top surface:
Click to zoom
I'm a little surprised they didn't include the Droideka in this line-up: it's a figure after all, even if brick-built; both Bricklink and Brickset class it as a figure, and Bricklink doesn't include it in the part count.
The box opens with thumb tabs, and out slide an instruction booklet, four polybags, and a sticker sheet, all happily in pristine condition.
The single instruction booklet is a pleasing square shape, which enables the ship to fit neatly onto the front, at the expense of much of the background detail (though we now have a lovely view of the waterfall).
Inside, the steps are straight-forward, with part call-outs and sub-builds picked out in pastel shades against the rather plain grey background.
Darth Vader's ghostly head makes its appearance once or twice, seemly at random.
The feature insets and figure line-up repeat on a plain red page, opposite the set advertisements ...
... and also found at the rear of the booklet is the set inventory, a double spread: page 1 and page 2.
As expected, the build is modular, and comes in three stages, although stage 2 has two bags:
No prizes for guessing which bags build which sections!
Decal Sticker Sheet
The sticker sheet is printed on white, which might lead to colour-matching issues, but I didn't apply them.
As you can see, some minor details and heiroglyphics are depicted, as are the two proton cannons; the leftmost three stickers are meant to 'smooth over' some of the grey-yellow boundaries.
The figures, Driodeka and trailer-speeder are all built from the first bag which, in contrast to the rest of the model, contains quite a lot of blue slopes and tiles:
There are also some useful tools, and I'm pleased to see the return of the ball-and-socket joints which I haven't come across for some years.
The two bags which comprise stage 2 yield the expected light bluish-grey bricks, slopes and wedges:
The surprising blue technic plates and dark red jumpers are well hidden in the model. Note the transparent colourless cockpit piece, which is new this year, and features only in this set and the CITY Space Shuttle (in white). It has a clippy-handle attachment, making it able to hinge more easily, but perhaps limiting its usefulness elsewhere. I hope it doesn't mean the end of the regular piece.
The last bag - stage 3 - builds the engines and the stand.
The black Classic Castle lances are rather unexpected; we'll examine their use in due course. Otherwise, the selection here is predictable, especially if you own the previous version.
It's pleasing to see a larger number of figures, even if two of these are battle droids. We'll look at these first.
These Security Droids have some interesting printing:
Their torsos are dark red with some tan printing. This isn't quite the same colour as the tan pieces, due (I suspect) to a thin coat, but it works reasonably well. There's also some detail on the chest area, but this is hard to see and looks a little untidy. The back of the head is also coloured, rather nicely; again it doesn't quite match the dark red but I can live with that. I was surprised to find that this isn't a recent innovation: the original dark red security droid appeared in 2002's 7204 Jedi Defence II, and also featured tan printing on the body and red printing on the head, although the former doesn't look as detailed as the new version.
R2-D2 has the newer bley head; here he is compared to the older type from 7660:
I personally prefer the newer head, which looks more realistic, even if it is prone to wonky printing; however I miss the lovely silver print atop the older version.
Next up, we have little Ani, who looks a little sad for some reason, compared to his predecessor (right):
It's good to have a new head, if only to provide a variety of expressions. Note his torso has a new print ...
... which continues onto the back:
The back of his head has the 'Podrace' print. With the exception of the hair, this figure is identical to that of 7962 Anakin's and Sebulba's Podracers (link is to Clone O'Patra's review).
Finally, we come to the real gem of the figure selection for this set, the new Naboo Pilot; again here he is compared to his counterpart from 7660 (a wildly inaccurate figure which looks more like a World War I aviator, but a useful figure for this very reason):
The face is not new, being the same as that of General Veers from the latest AT-AT set, but he has a lovely new torso, which is a reasonable representation of the real pilot:
I say 'he' as the figure's face doesn't look female, but of course one of the principal pilots in the Battle of Naboo was female, as shown here.
After some soul-searching I decided to include the Droideka here:
The Destroyer Droid has a fiddly construction, but it's interesting, and the result is quite realistic. Note the upside-down base, and how the tripod legs are made using an octagon.
The spine of the droid is constructed from several Exo-Force arms connected via T-pieces; this provides a nice shape; it pivots at the top and bottom but not in the middle, and the side arms rotate. This provides some flexibility in posing, but it can't be curled easily into a ball for 'rolling mode'.
The head is a cute build, which reminds me of Classic Space droids
As you can see by comparison, the LEGO version is pretty good:
LEGO's Droideka head is rather too large, but I can't really see how to achieve accuracy without the droid looking rather lame, so I'll accept this.
First off, we build the little speeder-trailer - a doubly-articulated vehicle with toolbox, ladder, and missile transport:
I won't insult your intelligence with build pics here! I doubt this little craft is a feature of the Star Wars universe, but like the similar vehicle which features in 2006's 6205 A-Wing Fighter, it's a welcome addition.
The underside is smoothed for ease of pushing along the carpet. I like the use of transparent-colourless inverted domes here, which give the appearance of floating:
Hopefully they will also reduce damage to the dining room table
The ship is built logically, from the base up. Owners of 7660 will immiediately notice a difference, caused by the removal of the spring-missile system, which has been replaced by two flick-fire pushers:
Otherwise, the base - smoothed with inverted slopes - is covered with layer of yellow. The yellow tile at the rear forms the floor of the cockpit, meaning our pilot will not be seated securely.
Next, the wing plates are added ...
... and, flipping the model over, we add the technic parts which will attach the engines in a manner identical to 7660. Note the two bley technic stud-pins at the rear of the inverted fuselage - I have no idea what these are for.
The cockpit section now receives some shape, and the two dark red jumpers added which will be where R2 sits.
Note the two blue technic plates: through the rearward of these is threaded a short technic axle (with stop-end, and a yellow half-bush) which forms the droid-ejection mechanism.
A little sub-build constructs the tail-cone of the ship:
This is far stronger than the technique used in the previous model, which had a tendency to fall off.
Finally, some smooth curves and tiles complete the main body of the ship.
Both engines are identical, so I've only shown one. It's a surprisingly complicated build. Note first of all the two yellow pulley-wheels which are interconnected with red bush-pins. These are completely hidden inside two yellow wheel rims, but provide a strong connection (centre picture). The black lance is pushed into the yellow pulleys, and provides anchoring for the yellow cones at the rear.
Rotating the engine 180 degress, we now thread some cylinders onto the grey axle; a technic crown gear holds them in place ...
... and the engine is finished off with more cones:
This engine design is subtly but significantly different to that of 7660, as we'll see later.
Finally, we put together the little stand:
This looks a little thrown together, but it works well - the sloped top slots into the recess on the underside of the ship, and the SNOT tiles keep it steady. It all swivels on the single technic axle - I'm a little worried about its longevity, but it seems reasonably secure for now .
The Complete Model
Now we get to have a look around the completed fighter.
From directly overhead:
The smooth, streamlined shape is immediately apparent, and stud-haters will be pleased with the tiled appearance! The two 1x3 yellow tiles look a little incongruous; this would be corrected by the stickers, to an extent. Note also the grille tiles and cheeses surrounding the cockpit, which gives it a smart finish.
The underside is also quite smooth (as much as can be achieved with plates); the yellow modified plates which help connect the engines look a little out of place, and I don't know why they didn't use bley for these.
The recess in the centre serves both as a connection point for the stand, and to allow your finger to trigger the flick-fire missiles; push the bley ball towards the rear to eject R2.
The sleek fighter provides a very slim outline from the front, balanced here on her stand:
Those wings are razor-sharp! The engines look a little oversized in this view, and their attachments a little pronounced. The blue flick-fires - just visible under the nose - look quite menacing. I thought initially that they were in the wrong place, and should be above the wings where the decals are, but a closer look at the film shows that their position is perfect (thanks fallenangel):
The rear is dominated by the three yellow spikes:
LEGO still haven't got the centre spike right - it should be ridged, and slightly curved, like a ladle (this is the best reference picture I can find, but I can't guarantee its accuracy).
The fighter's low profile is again apparent from the side, as is her lovely streamlined shape. Unfortunately, some steps are apparent on the underside, and R2's ball is showing . Note again the inexplicable technic stud pins.
I've deliberately left the studio line visible here, to demonstrate an important point - on the stand, the model tilts backwards as its centre of gravity is located behind the stand. This is a stark contrast to 7660, which leans dramatically forwards - a necessary precaution to prevent the spring missile firing accidentally and smashing vases .
Perhaps the most important feature of the ship is its opening cockpit. Unlike 7660, for which you had to disconnect the cockpit piece, this one is hinged and swings upwards. In goes the unhappy pilot:
He sits there looking miserable in the roomy cockpit, but this shot highlights one problem with the ship as a whole - it's too large. It should be a dinky one-man fighter, with the cockpit area barely bigger then the pilot it contains, but here the dude looks rather dwarfed in a vast expanse of yellow. Still, it's a minor discrepancy, and worth it for the streamlined look which results.
Paradoxically, little Ani looks less dwarfed by the ship:
This is because his rigid little legs don't allow him to sit - he's merely slouching here. Despite this, the cockpit canopy still closes easily.
The following screen shot reveals another problem: the cockpit should slide open, not swivel:
I'm disappointed that the designer hasn't gone the extra mile here in providing a sliding cockpit cover; after all, we've seen in the 2007 7656 Grievous Starfighter that this can be done, and done well. However, the clear-colourless cockpit canopy is clearly ( ) an improvement over the smoked windscreen of the earlier set.
This isn't a feature of the ship, as such, but here I've shown the ladder from the trailer and how it allows sad-Anakin to climb aboard:
One thing that alarmed me here was how high the ship sits on the stand, but as we see from the following screen shot, it's accurate:
The ships sit high enough for people to walk under, so the new stand is an improvement on the old, in the context of the Theed hangar at least.
I've made a video to show the other two play features: R2's ejection mechanism, and the flick-fires:
Both mechanisms are quite powerful - I'm sure some of those flick-fires will disappear under the sofa; perhaps that's why there are four more on the trailer!
Comparison to 7660
I've referred frequently to 7877's predecessor, 7660, so for those who don't have the earlier version, here they are side-by-side:
Fortunately, the two are similar enough to form part of the same fleet; remarkably so, in fact. Obvious differences are the cockpit colour, and the smoother front to this year's rendition (spoiled somewhat by the yellow 1x3 tiles). Also note the slight difference between the engine design; 7660's lack the 'intake' at the front and a vent toward the rear; modifying them to look similar is a work of moments.
The underside reveals further differences: 7660 has the spring missile to contend with, so has a whole extra layer of inverted slopes. The spring missile was a fun feature, but its firing trigger protrudes quite a way beneath the ship - which is rather annoying - and prevents you re-enacting the Droid Control Ship hangar scene - again, modifying the older set would be relatively simple.
The R2-ejection mechanism of the new set replaces the little flap at the rear of the older one. This is a shame; as I'm sure you will remember, R2 is pulled up into the ship from beneath in the Theed hangar scene. At least now, though, he's less likely to fall out during inverted swooshing, being connected to the dark red jumper plates.
As I mentioned earlier, the older model sits lower on its stand, and leans rather noticeably forward.
I actually liked this earlier stand; the ship seems to 'float' on it, though it's wise to remove the missile. I should also point out the curved 'ladder', which nicely mimics the ladder from the Coruscant landing platform during the opening scenes of Episode II:
To be fair, this ladder was actually part of the platform rather than the ship.
As I hope I've shown, the latest Naboo Starfighter is similar enough to the older one for them comfortably to form part of the same fleet, while some features have been improved: the spring cannon and its protuding trigger is gone, replaced by flick-fires which I'm actually quite happy to see on this set, as they are a reasonable facsimile of the proton torpedoes of the real thing. The cockpit is colourless, and opens without detaching it, even if it doesn't slide like it should; the engines have been improved to look slightly more ... um ... engine-like. In addition, we now have some ground-based stuff in the trailer, which is unexpected but welcome, and some baddies to fight (you can even shoot the droids with the flick-fires, or knock them over in a mini-recreation of the Droid Control Hanger scene).
I bought the 2007 version on impulse - I didn't collect Prequel Trilogy stuff at the time - and was delighted with it. It is one of the most swooshable ships in the entire LEGO Star Wars range: nicely weighted, and quite fun to play with (even for a 30-something-year-old ), particularly as you can easily blast an engine off to send the ship whirling to destruction! As such, the latest rendition is faithful to this, and is different enough to add a little something extra for collectors. It's also not too much of a price hike - 2007's cost £30, for 280 pieces; 7877 is £40 for 318 pieces; considering the increase in prices for most of the range, this seems quite reasonable.
Design: 8/10 I think LEGO have pretty much perfected the design of this ship; hence the changes from the previous version are largely cosmetic. It's too large, but I'd rather that than it be blocky, or lose its swooshability. Points go too for the trailer and the Droideka, and the inclusion of a stand is welcome.
Build: 6/10 There's repetition in the engine builds, and there isn't really anything remarkable to point out, especially if you have the earlier version. However, it's an enjoyable build, and something you can do whilst watching TV without fear of mistakes.
Parts: 5/10 Some nice tiles and slopes are included, but yellow isn't that much of a sought-after colour, and the large number of cylinders and wheels are unlikely to find much use.
Figures: 7/10 Yet another R2 to add to the pile . Don't let that put you off: the new pilot is a great figure, and the security battle droids welcome!
Playability: 8/10 I normally detest flick-fires, but there's something about their inclusion on this set which I really like - perhaps because we actually see the ship doing something similar in the films. The trailer and enemy figures make for cool hangar-based play, and even thought the cockpit opening mechanism is inaccurate, I'm glad it opens. I could live without the R2 ejection, though.
Price: 7/10 Considering today's prices, this one isn't too bad in terms of value, but I'm sure there will still be complaints!
Overall: 68% I give it: 8/10 It doesn't score so highly, but I really like this ship - it's one of the most playable of the whole range. I'd definitely recommend it if you don't have the 2007 version; if you do, and want to build a little fleet, then go for it!
Thanks for reading! Please let me know your thoughts!
Read about the Naboo N-1 Starfighter on Wookieepedia
Review: 7660 Naboo N-1 Starfighter and Vulture Droid by Yoda