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  1. In a decade of reviewing Star Wars sets this is first time I've reviewed one before the film was released. Still, it's a familiar ship! It remains to be seen whether the A-wing will play an important role in Episode IX: one assumes it will, for it to have been made into a set, but if the V-Wing is anything to go by, a blink-and-you-miss-it cameo is equally possible. The named pilot is a good sign. Note that this Sequel Trilogy A-Wing is a slightly different variety to the Original Trilogy version; we saw it briefly in action alongside the bombers in the opening battle of The Last Jedi. Set Information Set Number: 75248 Name: Resistance A-Wing Starfighter Parts: 269 Figures: 2 Release: 2019 Price: GB £24.99 | EUR 29.99 | US $29.99 | DKK 250 | AU $44.99 The Box I love the box artwork in this wave. Behind everything is a pattern of greebling in black, all made apparently from LEGO parts. It's really smart, and combines nicely with the yellow lines and minimalist STAR WARS logo. By the looks of the top-right overlooking figure, Kylo Ren gets his helmet back on for this film. The set fils the space nicely; in the background is a planet ... ... SPOILER ALERT! It's a foresty planet, if the box back is anything to go by. If you're a Star Wars fan reading this, it's likely you'll already have heard enough about the coming film to have learned - or to be able guess - the name of the planet, but I'll try not to spoil it for those who haven't. I look forward to finding out if the A-Wing actually goes there, and with both of these characters. In a one-person ship. Like its recent predecessors, this incarnation of the A-wing comes with spring-shooters, as the inset shows. It's a thumb-tab box, I'm afraid to say. Instructions The single booklet is clear and nicely-paced, with call-outs and sub-builds picked out against a plain light grey background. I didn't encounter any colour issues; I made a mistake at one point but that was likely due to not paying enough attention. The usual set inventory is to be found at the rear, as are advertisements for the other sets of the range and a plug for the Tt games Skywalker Saga game due to be released next year, which I'm looking forward to (and not just because it'll keep the kids occupied ). Sticker Sheet There are several decals, as expected, though I think fewer than on the last 'red' A-Wing, which as I recall had stickers on all the fins. Curiously, the stickers are applied asymmetrically, with two fewer decals on the port side of the ship. As is usual for A-Wings, you are required to mount two stickers over the curved surface of the cockpit canopy, which can be a pain to get straight. It is interesting that the Republic's Open Circle logo appears here. Parts The three modules contain a fairly typical array of parts: The only unique part I have found is the 4x4 tile with 4 studs appearing for the first time in Dark Green. I always seem to be short of white 2x4 wedge plates (particularly right-handed ones, for some reason) and 2x3 white tiles, but I can't see myself parting this set out anytime soon. Figures I think this is the first A-Wing to feature a named pilot. This fella has the delightfully American name Snap WexleyTM (I'm sure there'll be a Chip Jetson along sooner or later). You may or may not know the name, but it's likely you'll remember him from The Force Awakens - most likely in the context of 'Hey, it's that guy!' (that guy being Matt Parkman from Heroes). I'm delighted to see Lt. Connix appearing as a figure - appearing as she did prominently in The Last Jedi as the bridge officer who aided Poe Dameron's misguided mutiny - and being played of course by Carrie Fisher's daughter. Snap is identical to his earlier incarnation in the 75125 X-Wing Microfighter except for a different head which now has lines under the eyes. His jumpsuit was also sported by Poe Dameron in the 2015 orange and black 75102 X-Wing set. Lt. Connix's torso is unique. Her hair is - fittingly - Leia's, from 2009's superb 8038 Battle of Endor, but appearing for the first time in medium dark flesh; it has a hole for attaching a headpiece: Her head featured previously in Harry Potter and - I was surprised to find - in Sally Ride in the Women of NASA set. It is double-sided, shown here with the highly underrated Resistance Bomber set's crew. Build I have chosen not to document the entire build process, though you can some in-build pictures on my flickr album if it takes your fancy. Instead I've shown the part-disassembled set alongside its immediate predecessor, 75175, showing that the underlying construction is very similar. Essentially the ship is built around this cockpit piece with the wings attached to the sides, a blocked pinned onto the rear, and the engines stuck at and able to the block - though the attachment is a pin in the new set compared to clips in the earlier red version. As you can see, the spring-shooter mechanism is identical. Looking at the inverted slopes behind the shooter mechanisms you should also be able to see that the ship is a stud longer than its ancestor. Overall, the build is fun without being challenging. There's a little unavoidable repetition in the wings and engines, but each section is short enough for this not to be too tedious. The Complete Set Owners of earlier A-Wings will likely notice that this latest iteration has a sleeker outline than many of her ancestors, reflecting the change in design of the Sequel Trilogy A-Wings. In part this is achieved by the colour scheme and decals: the coloured section is six studs wide where it has previously always been four; also, I've already mentioned that the ship is a stud longer than the earlier version whilst being the same width. The wing shape is also a factor: the use of 2x4 wedges instead of 3x6 marks a sharper outline. I love the dark green. It is not new to the A-Wing fleet, having appeared in LEGO back in 2009's 7754 Home One, and I believe the original A-Wing concept art featured green ships which were changed to red due the problems with greenscreen filming techniques. It looks great here, especially with the smart black detailing. The black looks great on the wedge pulleys of the engines too. I've never been mad-keen on the 2x2 trans-yellow round bricks here, but at least there is internal consistency. I would be tempted to swap out the grey 9L axles for 8L black ones. Excepting 7754's green A-Wing with its marvellous removable engine, and the first-generation blocky one which I never owned, I think this is the first version not to use a triple-curved slope behind the cockpit. Instead there's a short device of curves and a slope. I don't know why this was chosen, but it does make the canopy slightly easier to open as you can get a fingernail under the rim: Notice how the decals on the green 1x4 tiles beside the cockpit perfectly continue the line of the 2x4 wedges in front . At the rear, the usual double-curved arrangement persists, though in this case centred with a round tile with one stud rather than the usual four round tiles . In this case, it is mounted via a 2x2 plate onto opposing 1x2-2x2 SNOT brackets, in what I think is a needlessly overcomplicated technique. There is room in the bricks underneath this to place a SNOT bracket lower down, and therefore mount the rear contraption flush to the body rather than proud as it does here. The 75175 version demonstrates this perfectly. You can also see here how the engines are mounted via Technic pins rather than the clips on 75175. This version is sturdier if a little fiddly to put together. The underside is quite smart. The landing gear folds away nicely. You can see again the rear curved thing and its slightly awkward attachment, a side effect of which is the inverted SNOT bracket sitting proud. The instructions indicate mounting the little crank pins onto the landing gear with the 'toes' facing towards the centre of the ship, somewhat counter-intuitively. The nose gear is also mounted higher, giving the ship a nose-down attitude when landed, at least with the gear fully extended, as instructed. I prefer to extend the legs to a slant, as in the lower picture, which goes to alleviate the nose-down slant a little: Note also the absence of stickers on the port side, except on the tails. Maybe the designer only had access to one view of the ship and didn't want to get it wrong? You can see the effect the lander position has on the sitting position in this comparison: One thing I'm not so sure about is the effect of the two 1x2 dark green curve slopes in front of the cockpit; they stick up a little too far, which is very apparent in this view. In case you were wondering, the black 2x4 wedge plates on the sides are intended to represent openings, I think for proton torpedoes or suchlike. The gold bullion apparently stashed behind the protruding green curved slopes is part of the design, as we shall see shortly. As we look inside the cockpit, admire again the continuation of the line of the 2x4 wedges onto the decal behind. In the inset you can see how it doesn't quite match up to the canopy, which has a 1 in 3 slope rather than 1 in 4, but it leaves only a tiny gap. Meanwhile, of course, poor old Snap has to pilot his ship with ... NOTHING! Not even a lever?? Look carefully behind the cockpit at the green and white rear panel: you can see how it sits on two white 2x2 cutaway corner plates, which marry up with the same parts on the body behind. It looks like this should be removable for a play feature, or storage, but alone of all the A-wings this set does NOT have a feature behind the cockpit. There is plenty of room however to store the blasters in the cockpit itself, safe in the knowledge that they can rattle around without interfering with the flight controls. Below is the only reference image I could find (a metal model from here): Assuming this representation is movie-accurate, I think the LEGO version has done a pretty good job. The set has captured the narrower outline of the sequel-trilogy RZ-2 variant, and the outward flare of the wings from the sleeker nose to the outboard weapons. Speaking of these, having seen this I do wonder whether the 2016 Rebels version's chunkier blasters are a better match than the slender offerings in the new set. No official LEGO A-Wing has attempted to make the nose a flat slope, rather than curved; simplicity of build quite reasonably wins over accuracy here. It is interesting that in this model the engine fins slant outwards rather than inwards at the top. The blue RZ-2 A-wing from TLJ had fins slanting inwards. They are supposed to be adjustable, I guess. The shape of the LEGO fins is not correct, being double-stepped as they are. This part has been in seven sets, four of which are A-wings, and it is likely the part was designed for the A-wing: strange therefore that the shape is awry. Comparison Here is the new set compared without stickers to 2017's OT version, 75175: The new set's narrower nose is obvious, and works better as the gradient of the double-curved wedge slopes matches the wedge plates underneath. I've already pointed out that 75248 is a stud longer than her elder sister; note also here that the cockpit canopy is also mounted a stud further to the rear. I think I prefer the trans-clear canopy, too. See here for a side-on comparison, or here from the rear. Here's all the greenies together: 2016's 75150, 75248, and 2009's 7754. It may look otherwise from the picture, but bar the outboard weapons all three of these sets are the same width: 14 studs across the beam. And finally, here's all my A-wings together. Of all of them, 2013's 75003 (top right) is the only one to attempt the notch at the front of the ship in bricks (it's too wide); and it's the only one to get the shape of the fins right. The stickers help, but even so I think the new set looks great and fares well to the comparison. Conclusion I'd delighted with this latest A-Wing. It's a lovely-looking ship, and the first brick representation of the newer RZ-2 variant from the Sequel movies. It feels like part of the family alongside the two most recent 'slanty fin' sets, and I think the three together would make a nice shelf display (If I can find the stickers sheets for the other two). Appearance 9 Sleek and attractive, and a good likeness of the model (as far as we know!). Like all LEGO A-Wings, it suffers for the curved nose; the wing shape isn't quite right, thought perhaps better than most of the earlier sets. Playability 7 Swooshable, and with retractable landing gear and an opening cockpit (and obligatory spring shooters), but there aren't the ancillary vehicles which come with some other A-Wings, and no behind-cockpit storage here. Figures 9 The inclusion of two named characters for a low-priced set is welcome; though they may not be front-line characters, this will most likely make them rarer and all the more cherished. I'm delighted that Lt. Connix has a minifigure at last. Parts 7 Not a particularly remarkable collection of parts, though dark green is always welcome. Build 7 Very much average difficulty, and without any particularly new or interesting techniques, but the process is enjoyable. It's a very similar build to 75175. Value 10 At £25 it seems very good value for money (I got on sale for £20). For a little over half the RRP of 75175, you get a similar-sized ship, losing out only on a service vehicle and a generic figure. My verdict 9/10 Excellent value and a good looking set: a must-buy. Let's hope the ship features prominently in the film! Hope you enjoyed the review. Rufus
  2. INTERVIEW: Rufus Today we're interviewing Rufus, the special themes mod, as well as a Reviewers Academy Teacher. EBSWF: Thanks for doing this, Rufus. Firstly, how did you get started with the LEGO hobby, and how great is your interest in LEGO Star Wars, as opposed to other themes? I’ve been a LEGO fan since I was about 5. I inherited a number of rather beaten-up 1970s sets from my brother, and started my own collection with some of the beautiful Classic Town sets from the early 80s. My first true love though was Classic Space, and I built up quite a sizeable space base from these amazing sets. Of course, being a child of the late 70s/early 80s, I was also a Star Wars fan. I remember trying – and failing, miserably – to build a Millennium Falcon from some Classic Space grey wedge plates! I never dreamed that, 20 years later, it would be Star Wars that got me back into LEGO. You can blame the original Snowspeeder 7130 for that! I’ve been collecting LEGO Star Wars ever since. For a loooong time, it was ONLY Star Wars, and initially only the UCS sets – I have nearly all of them. Then in about 2006, I was at a conference and a little bored in the evening, so I bought two sets – the A-Wing and the Tie Interceptor – and that got my into System Star Wars and the minifigure addiction caught hold! Recently, my LEGO interests have broadened greatly and Star Wars is no longer my over-riding passion, mainly because the Clone Wars and Expanded Universe sets don’t appeal to me that much; also I have got into MOCing in a big way and it’s difficult to MOC Star Wars without falling foul of the accuracy fiends! But I still collect the OT and PT sets and will continue to review them. It amazes me that after 13 years of the SW Licence, TLG are still putting out great sets; even though they are nowadays mostly improvements on previous ones. EBSWF: How did you find this site? I spent many years thinking I was the only AFOL in the world! Imagine my surprise when I discovered there was a whole community of people like me out there. I first discovered From Bricks to Bothans, but I kept following links to this ‘Eurobricks’ site, and it seemed a much more lively and interesting place, so I figured Eurobricks was for me. Like most people, I lurked here for a long time before finally signing up; what convinced me to join in the end was that I was working on my MOC of the Lambda Shuttle (which still doesn’t have a good System version), and wanted to show it off. EBSWF: What do the people around you think of you being an AFOL? Not many people know, and those that do don’t know the true extent of it! Close family and friends know, of course, and I think they look at my LEGO hobby as an eccentricity – an image I don’t try to refute! My wife also being an AFOL is both a blessing and a curse – it’s great to share the same hobby, but we don’t have anyone to moderate our spending. LEGO is inexorably taking over the house! EBSWF: Aside from LEGO, do you have any other hobbies? I’m a little bit of a musician. I play the guitar (reasonably well) and the saxophone (extremely badly). Till recently I played in a band doing rock covers in a variety of pubs around London – it was great fun until the usual ‘musical differences’ got in the way! Oh well, I have more time for LEGO now. EBSWF: How much time do you spend on LEGO related activities? Too much! Unfortunately, as the collection grows, so does the amount of time required to sort all the parts. Like most, we’ve been through every permutation of sorting technique and still haven’t found the best way. I probably spend equal amounts of time MOCing, reviewing, sorting, and doing online stuff like moderating. Keeping the variety is important as doing exclusively any one of these things can leave you a bit stale. I have a bajillion things I mean to do – particularly on Eurobricks – but rarely the time to bring them all to fruition. EBSWF: Has the LEGO hobby changed/impacted your life? Do you have any practical use of LEGO in your daily life? It has thoroughly taken over! Sometimes at the expense of real life things like mowing the lawn. Mostly, it’s a positive influence – we’ve made a load of great friends around the world through Eurobricks, who started as virtual friends and thanks to the things like the Eurobricks Event and Brickworld have become real friends. Otherwise, I’ve learned a lot through the hobby – particularly with regard to photography and photograph editing with Photoshop. I did consider building a life-size set of furniture from LEGO, but decided that was a step too far. So no, I don’t really have a practical use for all the LEGO! EBSWF: Have your moderator duties on EB effected how you relate to LEGO? Why or why not? Yes and no. How's that for an answer? Mostly no, because it hasn't changed my LEGO interests much; though I've probably focused more on Architecture than I might have, and it leaves a little less time for other interests like SW. In some ways it has broadened my interests, because sometimes as a moderator you have to go into forums you wouldn't normally visit, so come across things you wouldn't normally see; in Special Themes I've come to appreciate some of the amazing Arty and Military MOCs out there which I might not have looked at before. Mostly it leaves a little less time for my own interests within EB; for example, I do less in the Reviewers Academy (and less reviewing) than I'd like to. EBSWF: Why did you choose 'Rufus' for a username? This has been a secret since I joined EB – do you really want me to reveal it? Prepare to be disappointed! I’d like to say I’m named after the character Rufus in Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, or after my Fabuland sigfig, but the truth is rather more mundane. Around the time I joined EB, I was playing an Xbox RPG called Fable II. You run around with a cute dog who finds stuff to dig up while you shoot bandits. My dog was called Rufus. Told you. EBSWF: Do you have a favorite Star Wars character? That’s a toughie. I imagine everyone picks Han Solo, but Han is far too obvious a maverick hero. I think for the Rebels I’d pick Lando – he makes the best of a difficult situation, and works hard to make up for his deal with the Empire. For the bad guys, I always really liked Admiral Piett. He has a quiet, calm dignity so often lacking in the stereotypically English-accented baddies. You won’t hear him cackling maniacally, or prematurely celebrating his moment of triumph. And he utters the immortal line, ‘Bounty hunters – we don’t need that scum.’ Shame his LEGO figure isn’t so great. EBSWF: You always make excellent reviews, but how do you go about making them? And how do you decide which sets to review? Thank you! This question is best answered the other way round. Generally, I buy sets I like, and review the ones that I feel would benefit from an in-depth look, or which haven’t had a quality review done before. Sometimes I get sent a preview copy of a set to review, which hopefully removes some of the bias inherent in only buying sets I like, but this isn’t likely to happen with Star Wars sets any time soon. Reviewing is a time-consuming process. For a mint set, I first take pictures of the box, then the contents, then spend far too much time arranging parts neatly. I think this is an important step though: the parts selection may be a factor in many people’s decision to buy one set over another. Then there’s the build process: shooting every few steps of the build, whilst keeping the nascent model and camera in the same positions is a painstaking process, but it does force you to think about the build as you do it. Once the model is complete, I take pictures from every conceivable angle, and show every feature of the set; for Star Wars sets in particular the minifigure selection is often at least as important as the model itself. I probably only end up using about a quarter of the pictures I take. Finally, there’s writing the review: for me this can be the hardest part, and writers’ block strikes more often that I’d like to admit. There’s a limit to the number of different ways you can describe the box art of a series! EBSWF: What was your favorite review? Oooh, that’s a tricky one. I’m very fond of the UCS R2-D2 review, and indeed some of my earlier UCS reviews (the Snowspeeder was my favourite for a long time, but I think I’ve improved since then. On balance, I’d have to say the 8129 AT-AT review – I went a little over the top, perhaps, but I had great fun posing the AT-AT. EBSWF: How do you make such great pictures for your reviews? (What's your setup; what camera do you use; what picture editing software do you use; etc.) Again, thank you! Mostly it’s down to practice. A reasonable camera is essential – you can’t do it with a webcam or a mobile phone. I use a bottom-of-the-range Canon 1000D, with the basic lens that came with it, but the equipment I really swear by is the tripod. With a tripod, you can use the best ISO setting and a narrow aperture, and just leave the shutter open for ages (never use the flash!) My ‘studio’ is simply the dining room table, with some white posterboard and the overhead lighting in the room. It’s really simple, but it did take quite some time to find a setup which produces consistent results every time. This produces a rather yellow raw image: For the processing, I use Photoshop Elements. I always recommend it (and I promise I get no commission from Adobe for this!) With Elements, you can do about 90% of what you can do with the full Photoshop for about a sixth of the price. About 30 seconds of editing turns it into this: