Review: 9496 Desert Skiff
Posted 05 November 2012 - 12:31 PM
Name: 9496 Desert Skiff
Theme: LEGO Star Wars
Minifigs: 4 Minifigures
Price: USD $24.99; £24.99
Way back in 2000, when Lego Star Wars was just starting out, a set called Desert Skiff came out. It was a pretty simple set, but so were most of those sets for the first few years. The set came with Luke Skywalker and Han Solo minifigs, and a pretty small recreation of the skiff. But, twelve years later, another set under the same name came out, but much larger, with more minifigs, and including the Sarlacc. But is this set better than the one under the same name? The original? Well, time to find out.
As with the 2012 waves, Darth Maul and his lightsaber cover the front, with a dark blue background, to the right of the Lego Star Wars logo. Below the logo is the set information in white. The minifigs, also in the dark blue, are on the right side. The main picture shows the skiff over the Tatooine desert with the Sarlacc below. This is one exciting scene, and the first time I saw the box art, it immediately sold it for me. The box is also longer than most sets of its size.
The back shows off the play features and some different views of the set. I really like the holographic portrayal of views of the skiff.
The upper right corner of the back of the box has two action shots and a play feature of putting Boba into the Sarlacc. (More on that later.) The other two show Luke walking the plank and attacking Boba. These pictures also have that holographic outline on them.
The main picture shows the skiff on the ground with Boba and Luke doing laps around the skiff, and Kithaba and a disguised Lando watching. The three pictures around the bigger one show more play features of the set.
One side of the box shows the four minifigs again, with the disguised Lando Calrissian as the 1:1 scale. The side carries over the dark blue of the top of the front and the white, although it’s reversed.
The other side is all dark blue, with a small picture of the skiff, some information, and the Lego store price tag.
The front of the instruction booklet shows the main image, but without the information. The pages of this book were thicker and glossier than most instruction booklets. I wonder if this will be a common thing in these newer sets?
The building steps are nice and clear, with the pieces used in the steps shown in the top-left, and a faded Darth Maul sometimes making an appearance in the top-right.
In the back of the booklet is a small comic showing the scene in Star Wars, though of course in Lego form. The holographic outline I mentioned from the back of the box makes a reappearance here.
Opposite the comic are the Summer 2012 Lego Star Wars wave sets. Interestingly, the box for this set is not as wide as the real box is.
Behind the set page is another comic, this one for a starwars.Lego.com comic builder.
Let’s start with Kithaba, a Klatoonian of no importance that I can find. It’s possible that this minifig could be Barada, another Klatoonian with more resemblance to the figure.
Anyways, the face printing is astounding on this, some of the best I’ve seen, and in the new olive green color. The printing on faces is getting really nice right now, and I’d like to see it stay just like this. The torso is great too, perfect for a space pirate. For the legs, he just comes with regular red pants.
The back printing complements the backside, with some wrinkled cloth and a simple brown strap.
The second minifig in this set is Lando Calrissian. This is a newer Lando from the disguised Lando from Jabba’s Sail Barge. Lando’s got a more detailed torso and helmet, as well as an updated face with white in the eyes.
The backprinting on Lando is great, too! Just as detailed, and just as amazing! You can also see the nice molding on the helmet.
Under the helmet is Lando’s easily recognizable face, smiling. I would have loved to see another face, such as a “I just got grabbed by a Sarlacc tentacle!” face.
Next up, we’ve got Luke Skywalker, Jedi Knight. His torso is updated from the older version for a new, dark bley, detailed version. His face is the same as it has been, as is his hair.
He also gets some nice backprinting, another welcome addition.
Finally, the true star of this set – Boba Fett. As Boba only appeared in the expensive 2010 Slave I like this, it’s really great to see a cheaper version, with some new leg printing, too! His helmet and torso are the same, but his cloak is the new olive green, different from the 2010 brown cape.
His jetpack is the same, too, but still amazing. No backprinting, but the jetpack covers anything that would be there.
His face is also the same, although I found that the printing is darker than the older version.
The four minifigs accessories are as follows: a green lightsaber for Luke, with the changed trans-green color from 2011, Boba’s gun, this time with a black lightsaber hilt instead of a light bley half-pin, Lando’s spear/axe in pearl dark gray, and Kithaba’s simple blaster. Pretty good, a black hilt is always a plus.
Let’s start off with the smaller model, the Sarlacc.
The first few steps build the beginning of the round border, and the clips for the Sarlacc’s beaked tongue.
A few steps later and the border is finished, this layer with tan. Also, rounded 3x2 have been placed for the tentacles.
And after a total of 11 steps, the Sarlacc is finished. A pretty good model, but I’ll talk more about it later.
Now, it’s time for the building of the Skiff itself.
A little bit into the build, the bottom of the skiff is built, as is the very basic shape, and the plank.
More plates are added in the middle and back, and it’s extended by a few studs to the sides and rear.
The cockpit is all built, as are some pieces for later SNOT-ing.
Banisters and the large front pieces are placed onto the model, along with the middle “hidden” compartment.
A lot of curves are in these steps, on the front and back. A few tiles and random pieces have been added for a bit more detail.
The trans-clear pieces have been placed to give the illusion of “floating”, and the flick-fire holder is added.
In the final part of the build, the steering vanes (according to the Star Wars wiki) are added, and we get to see the amazing model finished.
Anyone who has seen the Pit of Carkoon scene in Episode 6 will recognize this model. Amazingly better than the Sarlacc in Jabba’s Sail Barge, although a bit less proportionate than it, every detail is perfect and every piece is great for this model. The tentacles are also perfect, something that was missing from the Sail Barge.
This is a long ship, measuring around 28 studs long . The browns and tans are just great, really making this ship looks like it’s supposed to be in the desert, and it’s movie accurate.
The cockpit nicely seats one minifig, as Kithaba will model, and the shaping of this, the curves on both sides, and the slanted piece in the back, adds a nice curve that I feel a lot of sets are missing.
Like I said eariler, the skiff is long, and this top picture proves that. There is also lots of space to fit other minifigs on here, such as Han or Chewbacca.
There are a few play features in this set, more than I’ve seen in a set this small. First is the flick-fire missile, in another hard to reach spot.
Then, you have the plank that Luke flips off of in Episode 6. It’s hidden like this, until you pull the 1x2 plate with handle, so that …
… this happens. A minifig is placed on the empty space.
Next, the container in the center can be raised to find some blasters in case of a fight.
This space can fit any of the guns in the set, but not the lightsaber or Lando’s spear.
Finally, the Sarlacc’s beak can be opened to fit a minifig in there.
Once someone's in there, the beak can close and make the minifig disappear.
Ratings and Final Judgement
Design: 10/10 Fantastic set, the resemblance to the real skiff is great, as is the Sarlaccs.
Playability: 10/10 Nice play features, quite enough for a $25 set.
Minifigs: 10/10 Every minfig is perfect, and they all looks like their movie counterparts, if not better!
Pieces: 10/10 Really nice pieces in brown, dark tan, and tan.
Price: 10/10 A nice price for a medium sized set.
So, that’s the Desert Skiff. A really nice medium sized set. It’s a hundred times better than the version from 2000, and with great minifigs, great design, and lots of fantastic pieces, I can’t think of a better set in this wave.
Posted 05 November 2012 - 02:05 PM
Posted 06 November 2012 - 04:14 AM
Posted 29 July 2013 - 09:04 PM
My son is turning 6. He's never seen the movies, but after looking at all the themes, declared he likes Star Wars
I picked up this set because I think he's really going to enjoy having minifigures be dropped dwon into the jaws, and then they click shut over them!
...DS 8/2007, DD 8/2011
...intermittent Lego maniac from way back being drawn back by Lego Friends
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