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  1. ZeldaTheSwordsman

    REVIEW: 7150 TIE Fighter and Y-Wing

    Having received this set at long last this Christmas, I decided to do a review and give my perspective. When LEGO Star Wars sets first came out back in 1999, the sets advertised most prominently were those depicting the ships that flew in the legendary Battle of Yavin: 7140 X-Wing, and 7150 TIE Fighter & Y-Wing. Both sets were instantly on my wishlist, and I am very glad to have been able to check this set off at long last. Where I Bought: Recieved as a Christmas present; my mother purchased it off of eBay. What I paid: Well, what she paid, which was $30 plus almost $19 in shipping (It was used-but-complete). Funnily enough, this lines up with the original manufacturer-suggested retail price of $49.99. Now on to the real bread and butter of the review: Here's the box, still in great condition despite its age. It's from before the SYSTEM logo was retired, and unlike far too many more recent sets there are those wonderful pictures of the alternate models as well as of the set mid-build on the back. The front presents the two ships in the set well, showing them racing down the Death Star's equatorial trench, laser blasts flashing all around. Now, inside the box are not only the pieces of the set, but also the various "feelies" (pamphlets and such). We have: A LEGO Direct catalog, which advertised sets that could be ordered from that service, some of which could not at the time be found in bricks-and-mortar stores. A more general mini-catalog showing highlight and pocket sets from the year's themes, and featuring the TIE Advanced from this set chasing Luke's X-Wing from set 7140. And an offer for a free 2-Year membership in the LEGO Club, including a subscription to LEGO's now-defunct magazine. Such a membership was very enjoyable, the last time I was in. If the club is still around, I have noticed that there is no expiration date whatsoever printed on this offer card... And with those taken care of.... Here we go. The original polybags are of course long gone, but the seller very thoughtfully sealed the pieces of the two ships into two separate sandwich bags. Every last piece is accounted for, save any extras that may have come with the set. The three mini-figures who come with the set. From (your) left to (your) right: Darth Vader, in his original LEGO form. The helmet and head are not, as one might expect given the design of figures like Chewbacca, all one piece that mounts on the neck. The helmet and mask are a separate piece that fits over the actual head. The head is cast in old grey, and printed on it is the ashen, pale, light-deprived face of the man who was once Anakin Skywalker. Since this was made before anyone knew such details as his hair getting singed off and the edits made to be in continuity with that, the face shows eyebrows as did old versions of Return of the Jedi. He is armed with a red-bladed, chrome-hilted (they were never otherwise in this era) lightsaber. Jon "Hutch" Vander, better known simply as Gold Leader. His face is a stock one with a com microphone and untidy red bangs, but it does the job alright. He is identifiable as Gold Leader by the unique print on his helmet. And finally, an astromech droid with a white body and red access panels, who is apparently named R4-D5. This would likely make him an R4 unit whose original purchaser shelled out the extra credits for an R2-series head (which has better astrogation equipment). A good assortment, and certainly enough to accurately man the ships included. Of course, to build those ships, we'll need a manual. Luckily enough, a very nice one is included. On the cover is a shrunken and cropped version of the box-front photo, fairly standard but once again made cool by the contents. The first inside page, which immediately demonstrates what I mean about it being a nice manual. The coloring is exactly right; there's no confusion between black and dark grey to be found here! The only fault is that Vader's face is shown as being yellow; it's actually grey. After the directions, the manual contains (As many manuals for sets, especially larger sets, once did) a rather hilarious comic showing off the alternate models seen on the back of the box. And it's time to get building. We'll start with the TIE Fighter included, which is Darth Vader's TIE x1 Advanced. Darth Vader inspects the construction of his personal fighter. The people assigned to the task appear to have ditched it or gone off on an extra-long break. This probably won't end well for them. Still no sign of the slackers who were supposed to be doing the build, yet now the cockpit's complete. What's going on? Ah, it looks like Lord Vader may find it in himself to forgive them, for their absence has allowed him to indulge a hobby that carried over from his former self. With his expert hands at work, the fighter is soon finished. This is a very lovely model; the fuselage is a tad on the short side but it does match up correctly with the length of the wings. It and the frames of the wings are here depicted with both grey (light and dark) parts and blue parts. The blue has caused many snit-fits, but I don't mind it. The fact of the matter is that TIE fighters were originally supposed to have blue frames and fuselages. That is how they were colored in the drawings by Ralph McQuarrie. They wound up as grey instead due to the blue Chroma Key screens used for filming. However, Empire Strikes Back and to a greater extent Return of the Jedi (TIE frames and bodies are blue, TIE Interceptor frames and bodies are dark blue) used post-shoot tinting to correct this, so it's surprising to have NOT seen the TIEs in A New Hope changed to match. The cockpit viewport piece is new, created for the LEGO Star Wars line specifically as a piece for showing TIE cockpits, and it is printed accordingly. Transparent red 1x1 round plates, AKA studs, are attached to the appropriate spots to create the lasing emitters of the ship's guns. Like in the movies, these are red despite firing green shots. The ship is built in sections connected by bricks with Technic pins, but the connections are all horizontal so they hold fairly well. The wings' angular shape is achieved via ratchet hinge bricks.The biggest flaw is the absence of a secret compartment on this ship, which means Vader's lightsaber must be stored in the Y-Wing's secret compartment instead! Regardless, Vader now has his fighter built and ready to intercept bold Rebel fighters whom the turbolasers track too slowly to target (they are, after all, designed to shoot at larger ships, hence their firepower). Make sure you take off his cape and put it in separately, though, it can get warped otherwise. Meanwhile, Gold Leader rebuilds his Y-Wing from scratch after it was dismantled for a total overhaul. Starting to get the cockpit and basic spaceframe back together... The main body of the ship now complete, R4-D5 runs a systems check. Everything checks out, so he and Gold Leader can now reconnect the engine nacelles. And with that, the Y-Wing is completed and ready to take to the skies for battle! The nose is painted white with a splash of yellow - it and the round caps of the engines are holdovers from the original BTL-B Y-Wings from the Clone Wars. LEGO's piece selection here is a fairly good angularized representation of the smooth nose from the movies. I don't mind angularizing like this in LEGO, and the rounded pieces didn't exist at the time. The ion cannon looks a bit big, yet at the same time just the right length. It's okay, and definitely functional. You'll have to grip it when swooshing the ship around if you don't want it spinning around loose, though; It's on a 2x2 turntable so it can turn, and the only ways to make that happen otherwise would have been a regular 2x2 plate atop a 1x1 round plate mounted between studs or use of 1x2 plates with central stud, which wouldn't have been as sturdy. The cockpit canopy is another made-for-LEGO Star Wars piece, created for 7140 X-Wing. It's not so accutate here, but it does the job alright, but there ought to be a side-opening Y-wing cockpit piece made one of these days. The cockpit looks okay, but it's a bit cramped; a 4x4 hollow inverted slope piece underside to deepen the seat would have come in handy. Maybe with two there could even have been space made for a gunner, but the absence of such room is less annoying than the crampedness for the pilot. On the plus side, it's an overall great-looking ship. There's some built greebling, as well as printed greebling on a pair of 2x2 tiles and on the mailbox in the "neck" of the fighter. Underside is plain, but that's reasonably accurate. The fuselage has a secret compartment on the end for storing weapons, like Vader's lightsaber (I would have used a 1x2 plate-with-fence piece rather than a grille brick at the end oposite the hinge, make more room, but oh well). About the biggest visual flaw is that the bars on the nacelles are mounted at the wrong points, but fixing that with the parts around at the time would have made the overall construction much more fragile. The landing gear must be detached for flight, but at this scale there's just no way to really do vertically-retracting landing legs. Interestingly, the ship is designed such that it can sit flat without the landing legs. So here is the set, in its full and complete glory. 14 years later, and it's still a great set. IN CONCLUSION: This is a very well-designed set, and a good-sized one. In a single package, you get not only the dreaded Darth Vader and his personal TIE fighter, but a very nice and solid Y-Wing fighter (complete with astromech droid) piloted by Gold Leader as well. Darth Vader and astromech droids may have become more commonplace over the years, but they weren't back at the start (Vader was in fact exclusive to this set) and if you don't already have Darth Vader this set is a great way to get him. And the ships are good additions to your Alliance and Imperial fleets, still standing up even today. This set was $49.99 at retail, and considering the size and contents, quite good value for your money. If you can find it complete for close to (or even less than) that much, I would recommend buying it. It's just a pity it didn't come with a standard TIE pilot and a smiley-face head wearing a stock Rebel Pilot helmet to make it better for army-building (Vader's was not the only TIE Advanced, you know).