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As modeled after previous years' discussion topics, share and discuss your thoughts on this year's best and worst offerings from The Lego Group, as according to the below posted criteria: Best Theme: Best Minifigure/Figure: Best Set: Worst Theme: Worst Minifigure/Figure: Worst Set: Most Anticipated for 2020: If you'd like to discuss the best and worst of recent years past, here are each of their respective discussion topics: The Best and Worst of 2018 by @Digger of Bricks The Best and Worst of 2017 by @Khscarymovie4 Best (and worst) of 2016 by @BlockLogo Best (and worst?) of 2015 by @BlockLogo Best and worst of 2014 by @Robert8
(image courtesy of quartertothree.com) In the Star Wars mythos, the Slave I was a heavily modified prototype Firespray-31-class patrol and attack craft (originally put to work to service the Republic Correctional Authority) repurposed by bounty hunters Jango Fett, and, more famously, his son, Boba Fett, to serve as the main craft for all their bounty hunting needs. In the real world, the legend goes this ship was modeled after a lamp post outside of the Industrial Light and Magic building, the folks responsible for the special effects in Star Wars. While that legend may not be entirely true (some claim the design was inspired by a radar dish), the odd and iconic shape has made the Slave I a popular ship to reproduce in LEGO. Since acquiring the license for Star Wars, LEGO had produced four minifigure scale Slave I versions (one for Jango Fett in 2002 and three for Boba Fett in 2000, 2006 and 2010) prior to the release of the UCS model in 2015. While the UCS version should be the obvious pinnacle of the Slave I mountain, I must admit the most recent version, set number 8097 released in 2010, was a great model and when the first images of the UCS ship began to pop-up I was disappointed in my own mind that the UCS version did not blow 8097 out of the water. At least part of my hesitation was due to the fact that the UCS version appeared to be designed to hold a minifigure, though I realize this is not the first time a UCS model has been minifigure scale. The UCS model should be much larger than the previous minifigure versions weighing in with a piece count that is over three times greater than the set released in 2010, set number 8097, but still my feeling of disappointment lingered. This feeling was a great surprise to me because I am a UCS fighter fan, having picked up all the previous UCS fighter sized ships (save for the Naboo Star Fighter), and a self-proclaimed Boba Fett and Slave I nut, picking up all the minifigure scale Slave I versions released by LEGO to date. As both a celebration of the release of the UCS Slave I and to review the evolution of the model through the LEGO timeline, I bring to you a comparison of the entire minifigure scale Slave I versions including the new UCS starship. One thing you're not going to find here is an in-depth review of the new UCS set, 75060. If you want a break down of the box design, instructions, parts selection, build process and set rating you won't find that here and you should really check-out Masked Builders excellent official EB review here! The Set-up I had both the 2006 and 2010 versions of the Slave I, set numbers 6209 and 8097, assembled and on display on my shelf at home. It is relatively rare for me to keep an ordinary (non-UCS or non-modular) model together as I am a MOCer by nature and usually buy sets primarily for their parts and minifigures. I had purchased the other two Slave I models, 7144 and 7153, when they were released, but I had disassembled them for MOCing purposes ages ago. Because I wanted to compare all the minifigure versions of the Slave I, I used Bricklink to print a list of all the parts required to build the models and then dug up all the pieces and reassembled 7144 and 7153 in their original color schemes. I was surprised by the rarity of some of the pieces (the brown slopes on 7144 for example were far less common than I would have imaged) but I managed to be missing only a few minor pieces on Jango’s ship (printed tiles and one trans-neon orange boat stud), but both models are otherwise complete. After assembling 7144 and 7153, I knew one tricky aspect of comparing these models would be that their odd shape would make them difficult to hold and position for photographing. While I had 6209 and 8097 on “display” at home, they really were just sitting in the “landed” position on my shelf… gathering dust. I decided the best route would be to build display stands to hold them upright. After thinking about a “cradle” display stand idea, I decided the most practical and best solution for photographing the models would be to build a stand that would simply attach to the model’s base on the back/engine side. I knew there would be some challenges with this plan because attaching the stand on the bottom would mean the moment of inertia of the models would be well over the front of the display stand if the model was set to be perfectly perpendicular to the photography surface. I wanted to ensure they could be held perpendicular for comparison type shots so I would need to make the stands long in the front to prevent the models from flipping over. I also wanted the stand to be able to tip the models back slightly in “flight pose” as that makes for better photographs (and just looks “cooler”), shifting the moment of inertia backwards slightly. The stands came out pretty well with just a little tinkering. Attaching to the under/engine side did mean I would have to remove a piece or two from the backs of 7153 and 6209 to attach the stands, but I do not think anything crucial was lost in the process. In order to see the evolution and features, I planned to photograph each model separately and in concert with the previous version(s) for comparison. To keep a consistent focus, after a brief introduction on each model, I decided to structure the review to always look at the same aspects of each model for comparison and discussion. Those aspects were the Fett minifigure, the shape and construction of the Slave I model, the coloration of the model and any play or special additional features. ================================================================= 7144 (image courtesy of Bricklink.com) Year Released: 2000 Piece Count: 165 Price: $19.99 USD Overview Beginning with the first Slave I, 7144, the very first thing to note is the low piece count and price. Weighing at a meager 165 pieces and sporting a low retail price of $20 USD, the first version of the Slave I was a disappointment on nearly every level when it was released. Some may believe this statement is revisionist history given the improvement of the Slave I over the years, to that I counter with a belief that nostalgia is getting the better of you. While the Slave I may have been novel at the time, the very first image left me very unsatisfied. While 2000 was only the second year for Star Wars models, we had already received a snowspeeder, AAT, Naboo Star Fighter, A-Wing, X-Wing, Y-Wing, and Vader's TIE Fighter with a far better sense of scale and level of detail than 7144. Smaller sets often defy the standard price to parts ratio greatly being on either side of the $.10 and this set was a bit on the high side with a price to parts ratio of $.1211. The Fett Minigure Its one redeeming grace was it was the first set to contain the famous bounty hunter himself. An immediate disappointment to me was how "blocky" the helmet piece looks. It is also disappointing that Boba's Mandalorian armored helmet and rocket backpack were one piece. It looks like Boba is a bit hobbled with a crack in his right leg (left side from behind). I did not bother to highlight Boba's weapon as LEGO was not producing "realistic" space age or modern weapons at the time. Boba carried a "loudhailer / SW Blaster" which definitely looked more like the "loudhailer" than Star Wars blaster. In order to reproduce the iconic “T-shaped” visor of the Mandalorian helmet, LEGO cut a slit in Boba’s helmet and then left his underlying head black to create the final look. The black minifigure head was common place with other Star Wars sets of the era where the face was inconsequential. Storm troopers, for instance, also sported a black, blank minifigure head. This set was also released before Attack of the Clones, so it would also be accurate to say LEGO would not have known what Boba (or a storm trooper if you believe they are all clones- and please, let’s not discuss that here) even looked like under their helmets anyway. Slave I Design The shape of the model was, in a word, uninspired. The base was too steep and not nearly rounded enough and the cockpit, its windscreen and fuselage (this is what I will call the portion of the ship elevated above the base) were all too angular. The windscreen was a disappointing length and shape, though it may have been the best option available at the time LEGO designed the ship. The whole model was completely undersized. I am sure this was largely due to the price point this set occupied. The model would have benefited greatly with another 40 or so pieces to really enhance the base and fuselage of the ship. If I were the designer, I would likely have enlarged the windscreen an additional extension piece and then resized the whole model to fit in line with the new windscreen. I was especially disappointed in the 2 x 4 dark gray (Blay did not yet exist!) plates on the front/top of the fuselage. I felt the design would have benefited greatly with tiles on this section to make it look a little less blocky and smooth. Another disappointment was the underside of the base where the engines are located. Five trans-neon orange radar dishes are the only detailing for the engines. The ramp to the cargo hold also extends beyond the 1 x 3 inverted slopes that connect the base and fuselage. An additional 1 x 3 slope on each side here really could have filled in this gap, though it may have made the cargo hatch too difficult to access. The rotating wing sections also completely lacked any detailing, save for three brown 1 x 2 grill plates per wing, though like the other Slave I versions, gravity rotated the wings when the ship took flight. The wing cowlings however are completely lacking in any design. The cockpit was built to allow Boba to sit at the helm, but it only looked "right" when the ship was in flight mode. When in landed mode, Boba was sitting parallel instead of perpendicular to the ground. I guess it is good Boba is wearing a jet pack when he tries to exit the ship. Coloration The coloration was also disappointing. While sand green was also introduced as a production color in 2000, dark green and dark red (Bricklink colors) were likely all off the table when 7144 was made making an accurate color scheme nearly impossible. A few other color choices, such as the black 6 x 6 plate with corner cut out up top and the white Technic bricks popping out the bottom are just silly and could have been avoided with a little more thought. I realize LEGO likes to use more colors to make the instructions easier to read and to add more variety to the collection of a set, but the appearance of these choices is jarring and makes the model look like a jumbled mess in some places. Those of the old school who rally against the new LEGO color scheme will appreciate the classic colors of brown, light gray and dark gray instead of the newer reddish brown and bluish tinted grays. Another color choice I found bizarre was the blue clips holding the front blasters in place. Gray or dark gray would have been much better and were readily available at the time. Additional Features In terms of play features, this set really had none save for an opening windscreen rotating wings and blasters. To be fair, play features were not as big a focus for LEGO in 2000. Spring loaded canons and flick and tension firing weapons had not yet become all the rage. Due to the very basic design of this ship, it was very stable and easy to pick-up and "swoosh". Later Slave I’s would ditch the opening windscreen which is actually a far more accurate representation of the ship. An additional play feature is the inclusion of Han in carbonite. The frozen Han was represented by a printed 1 x 2 x 5 black brick with silver Solo in the classic carbonite pose. It is, of course, a bit of a poor representation in terms of color and size. A minifigure is a bit wider than two studs, so unless carbonite also compresses a persons body, the slab is too narrow to be "realistic". Carbonite is also more of a silvery color and not black, but for a first attempt, it was passable. Han could be loaded into the cargo area for transport to Tatooine. The shot below shows how undersized this ship really was. The door Boba is loading Han into is supposed to be the main entrance for the ship and it is not even wide enough for a minifigure to slip by. ================================================================= 7153 (image courtesy of Bricklink.com) Year Released: 2002 Piece Count: 358 Price: $49.99 USD Overview 2002, alongside the release of Episode II: Attack of the Clones, brought Jango Fett’s version of the Slave I, set number 7153. Episode II was not a particularly good movie save for three things, Yoda’s lightsaber duel, Natalie Portman’s white outfit and the Slave I space battle. This larger version of the Slave I, weighing in at 358 parts, doubling the parts count from 7144, was a much better representation of the shape and look of the iconic ship. While some may argue the price was a little high ($.1396 per piece, a fair margin above the golden price to parts ratio of $.10), the new version corrected most of the shape issues plaguing 7144 and I was more than happy to plunk down my pennies to have the new, enhanced version. It also sported more play features and detailing and while it was still too small for “true” minifigure scale, it was certainly more in line with other LEGO “minifigure illusion” scale models, and certainly closer to scale than 7144. The Fett Minifigure Much like Boba in 7144, Jango Fett sported a one piece helmet and backpack combination, albeit in a different color. While this meant a black head like the figure in 7144 was still required, unlike that version of Boba, Jango, did have a yellow face printed on one side of his black minifigure head, so you could rotate his head and add hair when his helmet-backpack combo was removed to show his face. The purple color on the arms and torso seemed like pretty decent choices to me, though I have seen Jango represented with a lighter blue color as well. The main issue with either color choice is that Jango was largely covered in silver armor meaning a more muted or silvery color may have been a better choice, even if the true color of his undershirt was dark purple. With the exception of the color, helmet printing and a minor print change on the chest plate, the two Fetts are identical. You'll see my figure is also sporting a print alignment issue on the helmet where the double lines should meet. The next Slave I minifigure I received also had a print defect in the helmet. I guess I was on a Fett hot streak! Slave I Design While Jango was mostly just a recoloring of Boba from 7144, the real draw of this set was the much enhanced shape of the Slave I. Now featuring smoother curves and enough pieces to make the set feel substantial, the new ship was a must have when it was released. The new shape was a great improvement around the base, but the ship still felt too wide for its length. The profile shot of the ship, however, is quite attractive and really captures the feel of the Slave I. This ship was also the first to make me notice the gap in the base behind the wings. It is indeed movie accurate to have a space there, but it felt a little large compared to how I envisioned the ship. One area that did not improve much over 7144 was the rear of the ship. The engines are represented quite pathetically by trans-neon orange 2 x 2 rounded bottom “boat studs”. As noted above, one of the studs is trans-orange instead of trans-neon orange. Compared to 7144, 7153 was wider and longer, had a more curved base and a more rounded cockpit windscreen and fuselage. The shot below best demonstrates the extreme change in size between the two models. Other than the leap from 8097 to 75060 discussed further below, the evolution between 7144 and 7153 was the largest change in Slave I design. The windscreen and the curved base were in fact such great improvements that LEGO would continue to use a very similar base and windscreen for the next two minifigure versions of the Slave I. The base was a little too wide on the top of the ship compared to photos of the Slave I, but such an improvement over 7144 that it was hard to complain. While the shape of the fuselage was still a bit too angular for my tastes, the 2 x 4 plates ruining the fuselage of 7144 were partially replaced with tiling. The front blasters also received an upgrade moving from the tiny blasters and bars in 7144 to full sized cannons ready to shoot down the Slave I’s prey in 7153. Aside from looking far more intimidating, the new blasters were also attached with a ratcheting connection to make the guns "click" when rotated and stay in position once moved. I really liked the "click" turntable but as you'll discover below, but the part did not survive past this version of the Slave I. Despite the improvement over 7144, the blasters may actually be a bit too garish compared to the movie stills of the Slave I. The wings and their associated cowling and connectors also received a giant step up in detail with some nice greebles compared to the weak showing of 7144. The wing cowlings were still too angular as compared to the domed appearance on most pictures of the Slave I, but a good rounded part of the right size was not available. The cowlings are only attached with a single bracket on either side so they do tend to pop off the ship without much effort. There are a few other design quirks to mention. There is an odd gap between the cockpit and the windscreen. It was noticeable during construction, but it is not distracting while on display. There is also a large open space in the area between the base and fuselage where 7144 contained a ramp to hold in Han. Notice that the "doorway" however would not be large enough to a minifigure to conceivably pass through to enter the ship. While it was largely an ignored area of the ship, unlike 7144 the cockpit was designed to rotate with the wings. It was large enough to house both Jango and Boba, but it was not overly detailed. Note the lack of any gap between the sides of the ship and the cockpit platform. Though it was not a problem in my model, I could see the lack of a gap either scraping the bricks as the rubbed together or causing just enough of a snag for the wings and cockpit to get stuck and not rotate as the ship was transformed from landed to flight mode. Coloration The coloration of Jango’s Slave I, however, seemed a little haphazard to me. While I thought the dark blue in the base was a good choice and the black color on the cowlings to be decent enough, I found the mix of the rest of the colors displeasing. I thought the white color was overpowering and more gray shades mixed in would have been a welcome change. I also found the yellow accents to be distracting, and I didn’t love the sand green shade mixed with the dark blue. I also question the tan wing color. I thought gray or white may have fit the build better and may have helped reduce the cluttered feeling. This may mostly be an issue of personal taste and perhaps the ultimate issue is simply that I find the color scheme of Boba’s ship to be so much more appealing that Jango’s scheme felt mottled and disappointing. Additional Features One area that 7153 really shined, however, was the additional play features. Thanks to Episode II’s Slave I space battle scene, we finally got to see some of the tricks the Slave I had up its sleeve. I always envisioned the Slave I as looking like a fairly docile ship, luring in unsuspecting predators before popping the hatches and unleashing all the toys the bounty hunters were hiding. This version of the Slave I added the play features to show exactly what I had been imagining. Popping the hatches in the fuselage and base to unleashes space mines, rockets (and a hyper drive?) and giant laser cannons. Compared to 7144, the ship also added a feature to rotate the pilot (along with the wings) so Jango and Boba always appeared to be sitting upright whether the ship was landed or in flight mode. The package is rounded out with the addition of a little cargo box held in with a magnet. Upon reflection, this was almost a needed feature to compensate for the Han in carbonite play feature used in all the versions of Boba's Slave Is. Later models would use this same "wasted space" area of the ship to implement shooting play features. This set also had a young Boba Fett (not pictured since I was missing his exact head) included to ride in the cockpit with his father. This version of the Slave I was the last released before the fleshy licensed revolution of 2005 so Boba’s skin was classic yellow in color. He was the only figure released in a Slave I set to have the classic yellow head and hands. ================================================================= 6209 (image courtesy of Bricklink.com) Year Released: 2006 Piece Count: 537 Price: $49.99 USD Overview 2006 brought a new version of Boba’s Slave I, 6209, adding even more parts and details upgrading 7153. Tipping the scales at 537 parts, the price to parts ratio even dipped below the magical $.10 price to parts ratio at $.0931 and the shape and coloration were great improvements over Boba’s first version, 7144. Despite the improvements, much of the design was eerily similar to Jango’s version, 7153. The Fett Minifigure While this version of Boba is different than 7144 in that he is converted over from old gray to the new light bluish gray (dubbed “blay” or “bley” by LEGO enthusiasts) and the old brown to reddish brown(and in the print defect on the helmet on my particular figure) it was disappointing that Boba did not receive a face lift with a more accurately shaped helmet or a new torso print in the 6 years since his release. The "new" Boba is on the left while the old gray Boba is on the right. Slave I Design As unfortunate as the lack of a "real" new Boba was, Boba's Slave I received a massive upgrade over 7144 and while it is not immediately apparent, a significant upgrade in the ship over 7153 as well. The overall shape of the ship very much evokes the Slave I from the movie, though it may still be too wide for its length. The profile shot of the ship is very attractive though the cowlings are still too angular. You'll also notice there continues to be a gap where the body meets the windscreen, but the gap was not extreme and was even less noticeable on display. The rear of the ship received a major overhaul adding some detailing around the engines. A note about this design decision- the Slave I’s engines should actually be recessed into the base of the ship and not protruding as it does here. This would have been difficult to reproduce given the depth of the base, so the protruding shape, even if not accurate, was a nice improvement. The eagle-eyed among you may notice a discrepancy in the macaroni curves on the rear. It turns out a few were lost in transport and the replacements were a newer style... that story to be continued later... Adding 200+ pieces to 7153 allowed the designers to make massive strides in several areas that might not seem apparent when looking at the box art, but become more obvious when 7153 and 6209 are compared in person. First off the base is one or two studs longer and the fuselage is five studs longer. While five studs may seem insignificant, at this scale, it does give a much longer look to 7153. I edited the stands out of the picture below so the relative size difference could be viewed when the ships are placed back to back. The width of the ships remained the same making 7153 look a bit "chubby" as compared to 6209. The below shot also shows how this version fixes some of the "wing gap" issues I noticed on 7153, with this one feeling much more enclosed. The additional wingstrut also adds some nice detail and really makes the wings appear far less flimsy. The cockpit windscreen remained exactly the same. The fuselage also received more tiling and looked more rounded than 7153. I think this is mostly an optical illusion due to the increased length of 6209 in that exact area. LEGO also completely dropped the old “finger” style hinges present in 7153 and moved to the click hinges seen today. This did require some redesign of areas between the two ships including the top of the wing cowlings and the hatches hiding the Slave Is weapons. As mentioned above one major area of improvement was the engine section. As compared to 7153, the improvement was significant, even if not entirely movie accurate. I think the solid radar dish of 6209 is far more accurate, but overall, there is only so much that can be done with a base that is largely large solid plates. The wing cowlings also received a more secure connection using two brackets per cowling section to secure them. As mentioned above, the struts and connection points that connect the wings to the fuselage also received and upgrade in look. Though not functional, the second strut added a sturdier look and some additional greebling to the wings and connection point made the wings feel less like an afterthought. Despite the general improvements, there were some design quirks, such as the cargo door extending past the inverted slopes connecting the base to the fuselage, and a technic brick with pinning showing on the body of the ship on either side. The click hinges which open to expose some hidden weapons attach to the top of the fuselage which also detracts from the overall shape of the ship. In part due to the click hinges and in part due to some 45 degree slopes, this area of the ship also continued to look too angular for my tastes. The cockpit of 6209 remained fairly sparse though Boba did have a pilot's chair to rest his weary Mandalorian legs. I think the control panel here is really a pretty ugly choice. Perhaps it is the most accurate to the movie, I don't know, but it looks silly to me. Unlike 7153, this cockpit did not press directly against the sides of the ship alleviating any fears of wear or snaggery that may have existed. Coloration The coloration of the ship also took a great step forward from 7144. Besides the conversion to blay and reddish brown mentioned above, this ship also receives a nice dose of sand green. Some images of the Slave I would have me believe the green on the ship is actually much darker, but I personally like the sand green color and unlike the color mash-up on 7153, I did not mind its appearance as mixed with the blays and reddish brown. Speaking of the reddish brown, I did not find the color of the base to be distracting, though I always believed the color was closer to a deep red. The reddish accent added to the brown color since 7144 really was a nice enhancement and I thought it balanced well with the sand green even if it was not completely accurate. Even with the improvements, I would still classify this version of the Slave I as haphazardly colored, but I understand it helps convey a sense that it has been battle damaged, modified and cobble together over time giving the ship a rugged look. Additional Features 6209 also continued the play features of 7153 with compartments with hidden weapons (though the missiles hidden inside were not pointed towards their likely targets) and adding two levers, one to open and close the main cargo compartment door under the fuselage and another to fire a spring-loaded cannon housed in the fuselage just under the cockpit windscreen. The new Slave I may also have taken slight step back in an area besides the cockpit- the front blasters. While they are largely just a color change from 7153, they also ditched the "click" or ratcheting connection that I loved in 7153 and went with a smooth rotating blaster option. This did cause the blaster to flop up and down while I was positioning the ship for photography several times, and even cause me to have to retake a few shots here and there. LEGO also finally upped the minifigure assortment adding a Bespin Guard, IG-88, and Dengar. For those who are not in the know- LEGO was sued and had to battle over selling what were classified as "Star Wars figures" packs. Another company owns the rights to Star Wars figures and so LEGO was forced to step selling what essentially amounted to packs of a few named characters and instead began including more figures in their models. The Dengar figure was a little sad with the old ninja cowl covering his face (though you’d have to order the USC Super Star Destroyer or pay $20+ on Bricklink to get a better version), and IG-88, despite a general lack of detail, was a fun addition. The Bespin guard was also the only LEGO minifigure to ever feature the classic smiley in reddish brown- though if you examine my photo closely, you may notice mine has a bit more of a scowl than a smile- I could not find the right head anywhere so my guard is featuring a different face. This version of the Slave I also contained the same Han in Carbonite that 7144 had sported. Unlike 7144, however, you can see that Boba would be able to enter the Slave I through the 4 stud wide door under the ship. The door is, of course, set-up to hold Hand in place while the ship is being moved around. ================================================================= 8097 (image courtesy of Bricklink.com) Year Released: 2010 Piece Count: 593 Price: $79.99 USD Overview The next version of the Slave contained a minor jump in parts from 537 to 593, but a major step up in price from $49.99 to a wallet zapping $79.99. Clocking in with a price to parts ratio of $.1349, the value proposition offered by 6209 had been reversed. For such a large hop in price, I would have expected a great leap forward in design, but alas the changes were more cosmetic than structural. The Fett Minifigure What we lacked in major design improvements on the Slave I was more than made up for with a giant leap forward in one major area, the Boba Fett minifigure. Finally gone is the blocky, one-piece helmet backpack combo and in comes three new pieces to really jump up Boba’s look. A separate sand green rocket backpack, a new tatter cape/paldron in reddish brown and a fantastic new battle damaged, slit-less helmet with an enhanced shape and spots to add antenna accessories really took Boba up to a new level. Some may perceive the new rocket pack as a negative in that the missile on the back is way too short and the overall shape of the pack is inaccurate. I can get behind that. The rocket back portion of the old figure was actually far more accurate in share and missile size. Perhaps this is a final bastion of the Fett figure that can be conquered in the future. Boba also sported a new torso print adding (or at least enhancing) the Mandalorian Crest on his chest plate and adding a braid of Wookie hair, a trophy from a successful hunt. LEGO also changed the coloration slightly shifting from light blay legs and arms and reddish brown hips to sand blue legs and arms with dark red hips. To call the new Boba an improvement would be a giant understatement. Despite the great new features, I am not sure I am sold on the sand blue legs and arms. In some photos Boba's arms do appear to be a slightly different shade than the gray on his chest plate, but the difference is so nominal, I am not sure a color change was warranted. The dark red hips are also a bit bizzare. It seems to me dark green would have been more appropriate. I should also mention between 2010 and 2014 LEGO finally began producing more realistic looking Star Wars blasters. While I did not photograph the weapons (especially with how dull all the former versions were) it was the first time Boba seemed to be sporting a blaster pistol and not a megaphone. Lastly, with the slit in the prior version of the helmet gone, Boba also finally received a proper face under his helmet. I like the scared and battered face with some nice stubble to show how rough a bounty hunter's life could be. Slave I Design While Boba was the highlight of the package (the helmet and its tattered and battle damaged printing alone would almost be worth the price of admission) luckily for us, LEGO included a Slave I ship to boot. This version of the Slave I continued the evolution, if only incrementally. Perhaps following the theory of "it it ain't broke, why fix it", the this version of the Slave I kept many of the design elements of 6902. The rear of the ship remains well detailed and you can see here the engine "button" that is also used to fire the flickfire missiles mention in the additional features section below. The base of 8097 is nearly identical in shape to 6209. The cockpit windscreen, length of the fuselage, and wing shape also remained largely the same as the prior version. Not surprisingly, the 3/4 profile view of the ship is eerily similar to 6209, though a nice area of improvement over 6209 is the use of rounded slopes to finally make the extended portion of the fuselage more rounded in appearance. Overall the design in many places, including the rear engine section was not significantly different than 6209. The eagle-eyed may again notice a change to the macaroni curves in 6209. This time dug up the "right" macaroni curves to "correct" the look. 8097 did improve upon 6209 on the wing cowlings which ditched the angular style of the previous version over to a more rounded look thanks to a new element released by LEGO. An odd design quirk on the cowling, a small gap appears between the larger rounded pieces and the smaller dark green bit below. The quirk is not a major flaw but it is noticeable. Another design choice that I found questionable was the lack of a main cargo door leaving an open gap between the base and fuselage. The reason for the quirk will be identified in the play features outlined below and ultimately the trade off is probably worth it. The ship, however, did receive some strong details in this version including the first of the Slave I's to include stickers. Though I know many hate stickers, I actually don't mind them. I like that they are option so MOCers like myself can elect to use the part as a more generic item or place the sticker on a new part to create something totally new. I also imagine it helps control the price of LEGO models. I like this version of the Slave I so much that applied the stickers when I first built the model in 2010. I am all for them as they add some nice detail to a few areas of the ship as shown below. Not every change from 6209 was positive, however, as the cockpit actually took a step back in design and detail. Coloration While the design and shape improvements were more incremental, the ship did take a nice turn for the better in color. The base shifted from reddish brown over to the much more accurate dark red. The sand green color was also reduced and dark green entered the ship on the wing cowlings and parts of the fuselage. The windscreen also shifted in color from trans-black to trans-clear. Overall, the coloration looked a lot less haphazard and more movie-accurate. While I question what the true color of the wings are of Slave I, I actually prefer the ones on 8097 with far less tan and more light bluish gray. Additional Features Some new play features were implemented on 8097. The pop-out weapons were easier to point towards their targets and some kid somewhere must have lost an eye as the spring loaded cannon in 6209 because it vanished and was replaced in nearly the same location by a flickfire launcher activated by pressing a button/engine on the back of the ship. 8097 also addressed the bland, over-sized front blasters of the previous two versions with a smaller, more detailed set, though I do not believe they are any more, and may in someways be less, movie accurate than the prior two versions. This set of blasters also completely ditched the turntable connection electing to go with a technic pin/axel through a technic brick instead. The results is good enough, but I still miss the ratcheting turntables employed by 7153. The minifigure line-up also shifted giving us yet another bounty hunter this time, Bossk. The Bossk figure is a nice representation of the bounty hunter with a nice molded and printed head in sand green. Bossk wasn’t the only minifigure line-up shift as Han Solo also made his first minifigure appearance in a Slave I set. Han’s inclusion also heralded the other largest improvement over 6209 next to Boba himself, a new Han in carbonite piece which allowed the Han minifigure to be clipped into the casing. Compared to the old Han in carbonite, the new one was amazing. The new piece was too large to be stowed in the cargo bay as previous Han in carbonites had been, and thus it was stowed in the base of the Slave I instead. The hatch to cover Han did lead to an odd design quirk mentioned above where unlike previous versions of Boba’s Slave I, there was no cargo hatch concealing the underbelly of the ship, similar to the design of 7153. ================================================================= 75060 (image courtesy of Bricklink.com) Year Released: 2015 Piece Count: 1,996 Price: $199.99 USD Overview And so we have reached the top of the mountain. The UCS goliath Slave I. Coming in at 1,996 pieces and priced at $199.99 USD, the UCS versions clocks in with a price to piece ratio of .1002, about as close to the golden .10 mark as one can get! At times, UCS sets can really bend the price to parts ratio in either direction, so I am glad to see this set hits the mark almost perfectly. While it is, to some degree, no longer comparing apples to apples, the USC set is still minifigure scale, so let’s see how the USC monster compares to its predecessors, especially 8097, the best mini-figure illusion Slave I to date. The Fett Figure We’ll start where we should start, with the man himself, the newest version of Boba. While this version may seem similar in many ways to 8097, it is actually different in most areas. The arms, torso, legs, hips and face are all different than the prior version. The biggest and most immediate difference between this Boba and the previous versions is the arm printing. One of the awesome Boba Fett trademarks is the orange patch present on his left arm with the Mandalorian Mythosaur skull logo. This version of Boba also sports leg printing that was also present on the Desert Skift version of Boba, but not in the Slave I variants. Boba also has a new face, this time, clean shaven. The torso may look similar, but it is actually a new print with a more pronounced Wookie braid Boba and larger armor plates and belt. Another new addition is the printing present on the tattered pauldron around Boba’s neck, a big improvement over the reddish brown pauldron in 8097. While the improvements to the arm printing are nice, and this really is the ultimate Boba, it isn't as big a leap forward as was moving from 6209 to 8097 since the helmet and rocket pack remain the same. Now that we have reached the pinnacle of the Boba Fett tree, let's take a look from the top and compare 75060 with the whole line of Fett figures from past lines. While it is obvious Boba grew leeps and bounds from 6209 to 8097, 75060's version may, to some, be a bit cluttered. While I can appreciate the torso and arm printing, I may be inclined to agree that the leg printing does make the overall look a bit busy. To be fair, Boba's costume in Star Wars is indeed a bit busy, so perhaps that is less of a criticism than an observation. Slave I Design As expected, the UCS Slave I improves on some of the areas I've criticized on past models. First off the base of the ship is longer and doesn't feel as if it is too wide for the rest of the ship anymore. I am not the biggest fan of the way the base slopes look. It is a little broken-up and the overlaps here and there displease me a bit, and moving from the textured slopes to the gloss pieces does cause some glare from my studio lights, but achieving a round or domed shape in LEGO is one of the hardest looks to do properly so I will just have to live with this solution, even if it isn't perfect. I like the SNOT technique used at the lowest layer to get the overall shape as ovular as possible. By using plates in SNOT position attached to a technic frame, The UCS version also features a more tapered shape on the fuselage and unlike prior versions of the Slave I, the fuselage is even angled up slightly, a more realistic stance for the ship. It is a subtle improvement in the overall look, but represents the great attention to detail the UCS ship has. Because of this design decision, there are some quirks with the fit of the SNOT "skin" to the frame however. As you can see below, there are some gaps here and there when the ship is complete, though perhaps I missed a technical hole and with some work I could get the skin to be a little more taught. The new ship also features a bottom/rear section that is finally thick enough to recess the engines into the ship's base. I have seen various depictions of the rear of the Slave I and they all seem a little different, so while I am not sure how accurate it is, it does look interesting, and that is likely what really matters when the front of the ship is the star. While I like the greebling and design of the rear overall, it does look a little messy, I especially wish the tan had been removed in favor of shades of gray. LEGO also changed the engine "glow" from orange over to a blue. I am not sure whether orange or blue engine glow is more accurate, I've seen it depicted both ways, but I like the blue just fine. Compared to 8097, the UCS ship, 75060, is massive, but I can't help but look at 8097 and appreciate how it really just looks like a perfectly scaled down version of the UCS build from this angle. The colors and shape when viewed from a distance look to be very similar. The rears of the ship, however, show a different story. While I still appreciate the shape, the detail of 75060 really outshines 8097. Query how often you'll be viewing the rear of the ship, when it is on display, but overall I appreciate the work. For a little bit of humor, and too see how far the Slave I design has come, here is a comparison shot of 75060 with 7144. You've come a long way baby! And now the family photos. I edited the photos to realign the height of the Slaves, but they none were resized. This really is a great look at how the Slave 1 has evolved over the years! Are your eagle eyes peeled again for a change to one of the Slave's from before? A kudos (claimed by TWP) to whoever spots the difference first. And from the front. And the rear. Eagle eyes peeled again? Another kudos (claimed by Tereglith) for the first to notice the change from one of the prior Slave photos here as well! 75060 also stepped up the details in some other areas, a few which were never fully addressed by previous models. First the underside of the fuselage and cargo door have more detail than ever, finally no longer appearing to be an afterthought. Second, the wing cowlings are more detailed and rounded than before. The struts are bigger than all previous version, and unlike 8097, these wing struts connect to the ship for a more realistic look. Following in 8097's footsteps, 75060 continued to abandon the tan color on the wings, this time completely forgoing them in favor of light bluish gray and a splash of yellow. The yellow is a bit bright for my tastes, but I don't think it damages the overall feel of the model. Also following in 8097s footsteps, 75060 enhanced the ships rugged look by adding stickers to finish off the look. Again, while some rally against stickers, I do not mind them. I usually only apply them to models I intend to keep together and I like the option to leave them off. I also like the new front blaster. Not only do they up the detail on the blaster themselves, they also add a tubing detail that is pretty cool. I also like that the new blasters are held in place with some internal gearing. The gearing makes them less prone to flop up and down when the model is being moved, something I complained about on 6809 and 8907. The ship also features a new cockpit windscreen piece which is much smoother than that used in 6809 and 8907 and finally a new cockpit that finally adds some level of detail that was completely missing in all the prior models, and especially weak in 7144 and 8097. While I chalk this up largely to the space constraints of the prior versions, it is nice to see Boba is no longer piloting the ship using a single control panel by his feet. The cockpit on the new version, however, does not rotate via gravity like the prior three versions. It can be moved when the windscreen is taken off, but I think I would have preferred a solution that rotated as the model did. Coloration 75060's extra size and SNOT skin means it has the best canvas to color the Slave I appropriately. Sand green is the biggest add from 8097 mixing more sand green into the fuselage. For the first time I didn't feel the overall coloration could be described as "haphazard". Whole I like the coloration overall, as I mentioned previously the random tan bits on the underside are a bit puzzling to me. Additional Features Like prior versions of the Slave I, 75060 also has hatches that pop open to reveal a secret cache of weapons. Unlike some of the prior versions though, these weapons are amied more appropriately towards their targets instead of out to space. I am especially found of the rocket design on this version. The hatches do not pop up as smoothly as I would like, but it works well enough. The additional minifigure lineup, however, is weak. Included with 75060 is a Bespin guard, similar in many respects to 6809, but this time with fairer skin and a new hat, and a storm trooper. The storm trooper is baffling to me. I did not inspect the storm trooper closely enough to know how much different, if any, this stormie is than some of the prior stormie versions- Bricklink says this version has only appeared in one other set- and maybe the argument for including him is that it better recreates the Bespin scene than some random bounty hunter would- but this is UCS man! Give me a "cooler" bonus figure! How cool would a new IG-88 (that finally ditches the "regular" droid body) have been? Much like 8097, this version also contains Han who again can be placed in Carbonite. Han has two faces this time, and due to the duel face feature, a little bit of face can be seen underneath his hair on the back of the head. The two expressions seem to vary between concerned and frozen. While this Han is different from the one in the previous Slave I, it is pretty similar to the version appearing in the most recent version of Jabba's Palace, but the face print is slightly different. Concerned is a more realistic improvement over the cocky Han from 8097, but other than the face printing, the two Hans are identical. Speaking of identical, which carbonite packaging is from 75060 and which is from 8097? Don't answer that question because in the words of Admiral Akbar, "It's a trap!" The one of the right is actually from the most recent version of Jaba's palace, though both the ones you see below are identical to the one found in 8097. In keeping with tradition, we'll wrap 75060 with a shot of Boba loading Han into the cargo hold. Because of the wider ship base, the newer carbonite piece can now be loaded into the cargo bay of the ship. The piece clips into the door so as to not get lost. Final Thoughts The best version of Boba comes from 75060, the best overall shape of the ship comes from 75060, the closest color comes from 75060, it is indeed the ultimate Slave I. Yet through this process I found myself really appreciating 8097. I recall when 8097 was first announced, I thought the price was crazy and the design update of ship too low from 6209 to warrant attention. This retrospective, however, has convinced me otherwise. While I can endorse 75060 as a great pick-up, I feel sad for those who may have missed 8097. More than most minifigure illusion scale ships, 8097 really does just feel like a tiny version of UCS set! While I like the enhancements to Boba in 75060, the really truly iconic piece is the helmet which has remained the same since 8097. I really like that the 8097 helmet heralded a new Mandalorian LEGO era with some decent variation of Mandalorian colors and armors (you can check-out my custom Mandalorian squad here). I also think the work done on 8097 and now 75060 is so well executed, I doubt we'll see another official Slave I model for a while unless we get a remake of Jango's version with a better shape and colors... hint, hint LEGO! or a new piece is released that can finally achieve a more domed shaped for the base of the ship. If you're a Boba Fett or Star Wars fighter fan, get your grubby mitts on 75060, and if you can find the parts to build or re-build 8097, I'd put that set back together to go on display with your UCS Slave I. And again, don't forget to check out the Reviewers' Academy official review here! Lastly, I want to thank Masked Builder for allowing me to encroach on his review and Bonaparte for getting us the sets and green lighting the double feature!
As modeled after previous years' discussion topics, share and discuss your thoughts on this year's best and worst offerings from The Lego Group, as according to the below posted criteria: Best Theme: Best Minifigure/Figure: Best Set: Worst Theme: Worst Minifigure/Figure: Worst Set: Most Anticipated for 2019: If you'd like to discuss the best and worst of recent years past, here are each of their respective discussion topics: The Best and Worst of 2017 by @Khscarymovie4 The Best (and worst) of 2016 by @BlockLogo The Best (and worst?) of 2015 by @BlockLogo The Best and worst of 2014 by @Robert8