Today, CapnRex101 and I turn our attention to 9498 Saesee Tiin's Jedi Starfighter.
It's not the best of the summer sets but it does have its good points. Read on to find out more...
Most words by CapnRex101, photos by me...
As one of the sets I anticipated least eagerly of this fantastic selection of summer Star Wars sets, set 9498, Saesee Tiin’s Jedi Starfighter, has really surprised me as the vehicle is a huge step up from previous Delta-7 Aethersprite Starfighter models which is just about as good as you are going to get an Minifigure scale in my opinion. The Minifigures however were the real draw and neither of them disappoint, if you have read my T-6 Jedi Shuttle review from last year you may remember how much I adore the Saesee Tiin Minifigure, and the brand new Even Piell is also an excellent figure. Even the Astromech Droid is impressive with a surprisingly attractive colour scheme!
The box artwork for this set is just as vibrant as one would hope, prominently featuring the Starfighter in action with laser blasts flying all around the ship. One of the flick fire missiles has been launched and Saesee Tiin is visible piloting his ship with R3-D5 placed just in front of him to assist with navigation.
As always along the right side of the cover is a gallery of the three Minifigures on a blue background and along the top is the standard shot of Darth Maul in action (a great image in my opinion) with the Lego Star Wars logo towards the left hand side of the box.
On the reverse of the box is a picture of the Starfighter landed with Saesee Tiin exiting the vehicle while Even Piell stands in the foreground. Surrounding this large image are many smaller pictures demonstrating the features, including the retractable landing gear, opening cockpit, removable cockpit section, and flick fire missiles.
There are a couple more shots of the ship flying through space with the Malevolence (set 9515) shooting at it, and Saesee Tiin flying away from his damaged ship in the small escape pod. Beneath those are the blueprint style images which I am a big fan of on all of the Star Wars boxes this year.
The second of these has a nice comic strip at the end which features the Malevolence attacking this Jedi Starfighter and I was not able to find any mistakes, nor did my set have any missing pieces.
The most obviously attractive thing about this set from a parts perspective is the swathes of dark green which make up a significant portion of the vehicle. You get several plates and curved wedge pieces in this colour which could prove useful as it certainly broadens the number of colours available for you own creations.
There are few golden pieces too which are nice and two of the darker green lightsaber blades which I think are an improvement over the older shade of green. The piece which forms Saesee Tiin’s horns is very nice as is the part for Even Piell’s ears and ponytail. Not a bad selection overall, but of course the real highlight is all of that dark green!
The first section, in bag 1, is the cockpit. It utilises SNOT techniques to form the curves. The two pins at the front are used to connect it to the rest of the ship's body.
All three minifigs are fantastic, the two Jedi are both really outstanding: among the best Jedi produced by LEGO, and the Astromech Droid too, as I mentioned earlier, is great as well. I will begin with the two Jedi.
The first of these is the brand new Even Piell (left) who, for many people this will be the biggest draw to this set and those people will not be disappointed! The brand new moulded piece which forms the top of Even Piell’s head is great, made of a rubbery plastic as I expected, it is hugely detailed and very accurate to his appearance in the Clone Wars television show. It is cast in a flesh colour and is printed with a few scars and his brown ponytail. The clasp holding his ponytail together is extremely detailed with a tiny decorative design just as it is in the show which is an extraordinary detail.
The large ears of his Lannik species are present, along with a few wrinkles in his skin on this part. However I have heard of a few people finding an issue involving this piece sitting a little too far down on the head of the Minifig which obscures the eyes printed on the head piece, although my own Minifig does not suffer from this problem.
His head piece is printed with a very serious expression, lots of wrinkles and his eyes, one of which has a large scar running across it and is closed. Over his eyes are two brown eyebrows which are obscured by the ears piece. The piece is predominantly flesh in colour, the same as the rubbery top of his head. There is no printing on the back of the head as one might expect.
The torso is printed with dark brown Jedi robes and a black undershirt, which are held together towards the bottom the torso by a nice belt which has a couple of pouches on it. On the back of this part the robes are continued with the remainder of the belt and a few creases. His arms are dark brown like the rest of his robes with standard flesh hands. He has short black legs as, being a Lannik; the stature of Even Piell is similar to that of Yoda in the television show. They are not printed and are unposeable as usual. He carries a lightsaber with a metallic silver hilt, and a nice green blade. Overall a very nice Minifig, but if the issue involving his head pieces not lining up is widespread, that could be a bit off putting and certainly worth a call to LEGO if your figure has this problem.
Saesee Tiin is a fantastic figure and I am delighted that he has been included once again in a set, even if the figures are completely identical. The piece which forms his horns is superb, made of a hard plastic and cast in a flesh colour, it is printed all over with huge amounts of detail including a large dark orange area on the top of his head and some small dark orange blotches around the crown of his head.
There are a few little wrinkles and scars, as well as Master Tiin’s two large horns with are dark tan in colour. Running down the back of his head is a dark grey design which is accurate to his appearance in the television show. His head is similar to that of Even Piell featuring a serious expression and some wrinkly skin all printed on a flesh coloured head. His eyes are very wide and yellow, again just like in the Clone Wars television programme. There is no printing on the back of his head and the eyes line up nicely with the horn component.
The dark brown torso is printed with creased Jedi robes which are very much like those of Even Piell, but the undershirt is dark grey and his belt is light brown unlike Master Piell’s. There is more of the belt and his layered Jedi robes printed on the reverse side of the torso which is excellent. His arms are white like in the films and the television show, and his gloved hands are black. His legs are plain dark brown with no printing and he carries a green lightsaber identical to Even Piell’s. This is an exact copy of the previous Saesee Tiin, but it is such an outstanding figure that this does not concern me.
The Astromech Droid assigned to Saesee Tiin, R3-D5, is the weakest figure of the set in my opinion, but is still superb nevertheless! His domed head is metallic silver with plenty of green panels and of course various small details such as buttons and dials. As with every Astromech, there is a stud on top of the head making it possible to attach something if you so wish.
The cylindrical body of the Droid is green but has some white highlights on a few panels on the front, but nothing on the back as usual; his legs are plain green with no printing at all. The colour scheme of this figure makes it very eye catching and unique, for a simple Astromech Droid, this is a fantastic figure all in all!
The Completed Model
Aesthetically the finished model is very striking, more so than any other Jedi Starfighter of this kind in my opinion. The design has been updated from previous versions and is visibly quite different to the rest, most notably around the back of the ship where the cockpit and tail fin area have been completely overhauled. The design is also much sturdier than the others which is another improvement that has been made.
This ship has a fairly minor role in a single Clone Wars episode, Citadel Rescue, and it is only seen very briefly. However, from what we do see of the vehicle in the show, this model seems remarkably accurate with the patterns and colours! The dark green front of the Starfighter is similar to previous ones, using a large curved slope element with a huge sticker on the top of it, and two smaller decals on the sides to create the shape of the ship. On each wing are two flick fire missiles, which are fine underneath the wings, but are a little out of place on the top and they certainly reduce the sleek look of the ship from this angle. They are a fun feature for younger builders and can be launched a fair distance if you flick them just right so I am happy to see them included, but perhaps for display it might be worth removing them from the top which would require only minor adjustments.
The Astromech Droid slots in to a hole behind these missiles and rests with his body pointing to the side, but the angle of his head can of course be changed to face the front. Next to this is a golden stripe which goes across the top of the ship and there are also a couple more stickers here to continue the pattern. The cockpit is an all new design and can be detached to form an escape pod for the pilot if things get too intense. Inside is a seat for one minifig, and a control console for the pilot to use. The sides of this cockpit are much more curved than others, and therefore more accurate to the television programme. A bubble style cockpit cover can be hinged open from the front which is nice, an improvement over the older windscreen that was used in my opinion. On the right hand wing is a Republic cog logo which is a sticker, and at the very back is a completely new design for the tail fin. It is much stronger than the old design which made use of a large flag which tended to wobble around a little bit during flight.
The entire rear view of the ship has been changed dramatically, the engines are now set much lower than before and there is a section between the two engines which is filled in unlike previous models, his is accurate to the television show, and it provides some support to the vehicle to keep it more rigid and less likely to break.
While I do not think this is the best model of this summer, it has surprised me and is certainly a worthy purchase. The minifigs are outstanding and the Starfighter is a huge improvement over the old designs of this vehicle which is now much more swooshable. For fans of the Clone Wars this is a set I would recommend, but perhaps to be purchased after one or two of the others as this set fades in to the shadows somewhat due to the excellence of other sets this summer.
Next, I will review 9497 Republic Striker-class Starfighter...
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