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  1. I'm glad that I don't need to put any spoiler tag below because I'm sure most, if not all, Star Wars fans should have watched the Force Awaken movie by now. Without wasting time let's jump right in my 6th RA review, LEGO set 75103 – First Order Transport. Overview Name: 75103-1: First Order Transporter Theme: Star Wars / The Force Awakens Year: 2015 (2H) Pieces: 788 Minifigures: 7 Price: USD 89.99 / EUR 99.99 / GBP 79.99 / SGD 179.99 / MYR 449.90 Resources: Brickset and Bricklink Introduction According to Star Wars databank: The First Order’s stormtrooper transports – formally known as Atmospheric Assault Landers – are designed for the speedy delivery of up to 20 stormtroopers to the battlefield for ground operations. A pilot guides the transport to its drop zone from an elevated cockpit, while a gunner protects the no-frills craft during its final approach. Here is the key information from the The Force Awakens Incredible Cross-Section book: Manufacturer: Sienar-Jaemus Army Systems Model: Atmospheric Assault Lander (AAL) Class: Troop transport Length: 17.83 meters (58.49 feet)* Crew: 1 pilot, 1 gunner, and up to 20 stormtrooper Weapons: 1 Sienar-Jaemus F-20 antipersonnel blaster cannon Affiliation: First Order *There is a discrepancy here. In Star Wars databank it is a little bit longer (18.05m). Now let's begin scrutinising the box, shall we? The front box panel shows 2 Resistance soldiers attacking (or running away from) the First Order Stormtroopers and Flametroopers troopers. Captain Phasma is shown here actively participating in the pursuit of the Resistance soldiers and firing her blaster -- something that we did not even see in the movie. The back panel shows the multiple weapons included in the set including 3 neon green missiles. The box is not shy in showing that one of the main selling points of this set is the inclusion of Captain Phasma. She is featured at the side panel of the box. Inside the box, there are 6 numbered plastic and 1 unnumbered plastic containing a sticker sheet & instruction booklet that is nicely done in perfect binding (adhesive binding). 4..6..5... LOL. I forgot how to count Build If you have read my previous reviews, you know that I do not apply stickers. I won't make an exception here so I will point out right now that there is one key part that could really use the sticker but I decided not to put the sticker anyway. Now that it is out of the way, here's the instruction booklet unwrapped from the plastic bag. Bag #1 Let’s begin by pouring out the content of bag #1. It contains 2 first order Stormtroopers -- always welcome to have more. I will get into details of all minifigures in the latter section; just know that we have 2 Stormtroopers here. There’s also a brick separator included. We start by building the skeletal frame of the transport. Several technic beams provide the mechanism for the seat that swivels the seat up and down when you twist the light bluish grey 2x2 round brick found at the side. Bag #2 After adding the content of bag #2, we now have a trapezoidal shape that resembles the actual shape of the final build. I know from the start that this vehicle uses a lot of SNOT techniques so the angled plates (brackets) are not surprising. However, what caught my attention is the use of 2x2 trapezoid flags to create the shape of the heat exchanger fins. I enjoyed stacking these flag pieces with the modified tile with clip because I had no idea what they were when I was building. After I finished bag #2, only then I realised that these are the heat exchanger fins. I like how it resembles the model very well. Bag #3 Bag #3 includes the 2 rebel soldiers and lot of grey parts that will cover the sides panels of the transporter. This small build is the terrain sensor module. The 2x2 round tile is supposed to be the atmospheric processing and life support system. For something so peculiar, the designer managed to capture this much vehicle function that could have easily been ignored or omitted. I am happy with its faithful representation to the actual model. Not everything is presented well, thought. I noticed something that did not match up quite well from the cross section reference book. The location of the landing gear compartment looks off because the dark bluish grey wedge part (which I suppose represents the landing gear compartment) should be positioned further back, near the engine area and not before the terrain sensors. Apart from this, the build looks fantastic thus far. Bag #4 We are more than halfway building. Bag #4 adds the engines at the rear end of the transport. You can find the only interesting & uncommon part in this bag also -- the Trans-Clear Technic Wedge Belt Wheel (Pulley) which very hidden from the picture I have taken below. I will spend more time about the under chassis of this transporter later to talk more about that piece. From what appears like an amphibian tank, now the vehicle looks more like a flying amphibian tank with ion engines. Enjoy the naked rear view of the ion engines. Bag #5 This bag is are all grey parts. Try to spot where Captain Phasma is. Bag #5 adds the pilot cockpit and the cover near the tail of the spacecraft, including the hatch covering for the gunner. I will explore the pilot cockpit further later on. For now, take note that a minifigure can fit snugly inside. What I want to highlight here is the pilot viewport (windshield) that comes in light grey 2x4 tile. It is the key part that needs sticker in this set and I a little bit frustrated why it has to be light bluish grey in colour. Hear me out. I am not just rambling here. You are supposed to put a black sticker on the light bluish grey tile to make it appear like a darkly-tinted window. If you don't apply the sticker then it will appear like a grey slab of concrete or metal obscuring the pilot's view. I don't know what the designer was thinking when he/she made this decision. It looks odd to me. Why can't it be just a black 2x4 tile? There is an existing colour for that element after all. The sticker could provide the grey border as well as the faux-glass shine effect easily. Despite its ugly appearance in grey, I did not put the sticker on as I can easily replace it with a different coloured piece later on. Bag #6 Finally, we are at the last bag. Two Flametroopers are included in the plastic bag. In total, there are 7 minifigures included in this set. The final bag adds up the removable top cover to the transporter. Completed build: Armed and ready Claustrophobic Pilot cockpit There is no pilot minifigure included but you can just imagine that a Stormtrooper can do the job just fine. The minifigure is confined in a very tight space. The First Order clearly does not care about pilot ergonomics in the AAL. Next to the pilot viewport, the hatch cover allows you to put a gunner to operate the 2 studs shooters. The gunner can play peekaboo with the Resistance soldiers. The rendition of four SJAS-210 sublight ion engines looks great with those trans-blue 1x4 tiles. The SNOT technique is vital to achieving this shape and it works very well. One inaccuracy, however, is that the upper pair of ion engines should be slightly smaller than the pair of lower ion engines. Not really a big deal. However, if you wish to fix it then you have to use 1x2 and 1x1 trans-light blue tiles as there is no 1x3 trans-light blue tile. Quite troublesome. If you ask me, I'm not even going to bother. It looks okay. Now let's talk about the under-chassis. From the view above, it appears that the AAL is completely touching the ground without any landing gear but it is actually touching the ground ever so slightly with 4 transparent wheels. I don't think it is meant to "cheat" anyone into thinking the vehicle hovers because I don't believe AAL could hover. It is just an added play feature so that kids can move it around easily. I let my son play this for a while and his instinct is to push it like a typical land vehicle. It is not very swooshable so it's the best they can do, in my opinion. The designers didn't have to use transparent piece though. Even if the wheels were black or any colour, I don't think they will be visible because the ground clearance is so low that shadows can easily conceal them. From the bottom of the transport, we move in front to talk about the exit ramp. I like the mechanism that opens and closes the exit ramp. The mechanism allows you to open and close the ramp simply by pulling and pushing the technic axle and pin connector protruding at the rear end. The brilliant technique also prevents the ramp from freely falling down once you close it. It stays closed when you close it. The ramp actuators are just there for decorative purpose only as it is only attached to the ramp but not at side walls. Aside from the exit ramp, you can also access the interior of the transporter by removing the top cover. The top cover is only attached to 4 studs on top so it can be removed easily. With the top cover open, you can assemble your Stormtroopers to make sure they are ready for action. From the picture above, you can only fit 11 Stormtroopers at most (only 8 if you strictly follow the two-abreast formation). Now is a good time to segue on the scale. I am not even going to challenge that it is minifigure-scale. It is not. Perhaps a decision was made to save on the number of pieces or the dimension was only made on rough estimation based on concept arts. Either way, the proportion is wrong. It comes close relatively in height and width but the length is just short for a Stormtrooper, I mean transporter. Relative to the scale of other Star Wars vehicles, in the Poe Dameron issue 0001 comics, there is a panel that shows the size of AAL relative to the FO TIE Fighter. Clearly, AAL needs to be about as long as 3 FO TIE fighters. Parts I don't have any special parts to talk about but I want to briefly mention how cool it is to get these many different blasters in one set. Of course, I won't forget the extra parts beautifully arranged for your reference. Minifigures In this set, we get 2 Resistance soldiers, 2 Stormtroopers, 2 Flametroopers and Captain Phasma. I would have liked it better if there is 1 more Stormtrooper instead of having an extra Flametrooper because frankly who likes to build armies of Flametroopers? I personally don't know anyone. Fun fact: Don't you know that there is only 1 female Resistance Soldier torso available and it is only found in this set? The face used for the female Resistance Soldier is also the same face used for Toryn Farr in set #75098 (Assault on Hoth) and Clara Oswald in set # 21304 (Doctor Who). Front view Back view Front view – without hair, head gears and accessories Back view – without hair, head gears and accessories By now all Star Wars fans should be used to getting angry clone trooper headpiece. What's interesting here is that Captain Phasma got a black headpiece instead. Honestly, if the Stormtroopers and Flametroopers get a plain black or flesh headpiece I won't mind either. Fun fact: the printing on Captain Phasma's torso and legs are exactly the same as the standard stormtrooper for the black outlines. Some of the grey outlines were replaced with silver plaint and very minimal additional printing on the chest. All in a day's work Somehow the fuel thanks on these Flametroopers don't register as fuel thanks in my head. For some reason, they look like big marshmallows to me. Look, they even provided the sticks. Conclusion To me, the highlights and lowlights of the set can be summarised by these pictures: I really enjoyed the construction of the heat exchanger fins and the overall details at the side of the transporter and its engines. On the downside, after reviewing some of the pictures I have taken I also noticed that there are some tan parts that are not fully covered. From certain viewing angles, it looks unfinished. Replacing the tan angled plates (brackets) with grey colour can easily fix this. Usually when I see different coloured parts like this which is far from the main colour palette of the build, it is to help younger builders to distinguish the parts needed more easily. It's not really a problem, so to speak. Of course I also mentioned about the length of the transporter which should be much longer. However, I think for the amount of minifigures you get and overall volume of the vehicle I feel that the set designer was able to achieve balance of playability and overall build quality. In conclusion, the value of this set is more than just the inclusion of Captain Phasma. Before getting this set I was fixated that I will be getting this set so that I can get Captain Phasma. Then, I realise that Captain Phasma is just the icing on top after I finished building the set. The build is very enjoyable. AAL is also a very recognisable vehicle that appeared in many Star Wars media, including video games, animated shorts, and comics. Speaking from experience, I really should have bought this much earlier. Get ready to rumbleeeee!! Walk out like a boss Review summary Playability: 9/10 - Kids will enjoy rolling this like a tank. They can role play as Stormtroopers in a mission with all the play features included. Design / Building Experience: 8/10 - I really enjoyed the build and techniques used but some design decision could have been better (stickers, proportions, tan angled plates). Minifigures: 9/10 - Phasma was overhyped, true -- but getting 7 minifigures is quite generous as more expensive TFA sets had less. Price / Value for money: 8/10 - TFA sets were a little overprice for my taste but once 30% discount is available I immediately grabbed this set. Overall: 8.5/10 - Should have bumped this up on my priority list but in the end, all is well. I enjoyed this very much even if I got this set late. Next Stop: Jakku
  2. Brick Capone

    [WIP] Starkiller Base

    Hello all! I'm sure just about all of you have seen The Force Awakens now... in The Force Awakens, the scene that I wanted to most create in lego was the Starkiller Base speech scene, with all the Stormtroopers and Officers in the crowd, and General Hux presenting his speech prior to the destruction of Hosnian Prime. Note, I will update this as I have more progress. I've been working on this for a couple of weeks now, and I'm pretty happy with the outcome so far. But no where near done, in fact i'd say it may be only about 10-15% done at the current state. I'm going to make this HUGE. Now, instead of getting the majority of the big lego star wars force awakens related, but rather I've mainly been getting a lot of the Battlepacks that came out somewhat recently, and I plan to replicate that scene the best I can, with tons of baseplates, tons of minifigures.. Well it's not all planned out yet, but let me show you what I have so far. I'm sure others have thought about or are even doing the very same idea, and I also look forward to seeing some other versions out there at a later time. So, here it is so far. "Today is the end of the Republic! The end of a regime that acquiesces to disorder! At this very moment, in a system far from here the New Republic LIES to the GALAXY while secretly supporting the treachery of the loathsome Resistance. This fierce machine which you have built, upon which we stand, will bring an end to the Senate! To their cherished fleet! All remaining systems will bow to the First Order! And will remember this... as the last day of the Republic!" ―General Hux Starkiller Base, Update by Brick Capone, on Flickr Starkiller Base Updates by Brick Capone, on Flickr image by Brick Capone, on Flickr I found the all plain white at the back of the base a bit boring, so I decided to add a Starkiller Base hallway with a bridge overhead like you see in the movie. Anyway, tell me what you think for now, and we'll see what it looks like at the end, which will be in a long time.