This pictorial review will consider its design, construction, the completed model and will also compare it to the original 2000 UCS X-wing which I reviewed last month.
Since the start of the Star Wars licence in 1999, an X-wing has always been part of the product line-up and this is, I believe, the 9th version. We've had three mini versions, four minifig-sized ones and, with the release of this set, two UCS versions. You can view them all in the database.
The box is the standard 2013 design with Yoda in the corner. This is the European version and does not show the piece count. The small box at the bottom centre, which rather spoils the image, shows the ship's dimensions, 47 x 52cm.
The image on the back shows the X-wing resting on its stand along with action pictures and diagrams showing what parts move.
The bags are numbered 1 to 10 which of course means you don't tip all 1559 pieces out on the table and then spend hours hunting for the right one during construction. Some people prefer that challenge, but personally I like numbered bags.
There were two bags numbered 4, as I found out after taking the photo above! The instructions and stickers are packed with card to ensure they remain pristine.
Inside the instructions bag there are three manuals, two cockpit sticker sheets -- I will explain the reason for that later -- and another sticker sheet.
These two pages of the instructions neatly show what's in each bag and the order in which the model is constructed.
So, on with construction then, with bag 1. The wing opening mechanism is, as you might expect, the most complex part of the model. The clear gearbox block, which you can just about make out on the left, is mounted upside down. The dark metallic silver parts (Cross Block 3 x 2 x 1) on the right are new this year, and have been used in a couple of HERO Factory sets. Apart from the canopy, they are the only new parts in the set, I believe.
Bag 2 completes the mechanism. You can begin to see how the wings are operated. The axles with the new cross blocks you can see above are rotated via the gear on the right which forces the wing-bearing struts apart.
Here it is from another angle, with the wings closed.
Bag 3 tidies it up and completes the rear fuselage assembly.
The rear is nicely greebled. The 4 x 4 dish and circular brick rotate to operate the wing opening mechanism.
Bag 4 constructs the tapered body, by way of brick hinges. It's mounted to the rear of the fuselage via Technic pins.
Bag 5 completes the fuselage, and adds R2-D2 and the cockpit canopy, which is one stud longer than that used on the old UCS model. It is now that you have to attempt the sticker, if you are brave enough!
Here's the instructions for applying the sticker: 1. Cut the sheet. 2. Remove the sticker. 3. Trim the backing sheet. 4. Try hard to line it up on the cockpit. 5 and 6. Slide it about until it all lines up. Basically there is not a hope in hell of getting the sticker on satisfactorily, straight and without air bubbles or fluff under it.
LEGO realise this too: that's why they provide two sticker sheets. I did not attempt it. I will be interested to hear whether you do and if you're successful. Luckily it does not look too bad without the stickers, but nevertheless it would have been so much better if they'd printed the canopy, which in a premium priced model such as this, you would perhaps expect.
Bag 6 builds the stand. Unlike that in the original UCS X-wing, this one is fixed and can't be positioned at two different angles.
Bags 7 and 8 build the wings. There are two left-handed ones and two right-handed ones, which are mounted diagonally opposite each other.
They are connected to the opening mechanism by Technic pins.
Bag 9 builds the engines, again two pairs are constructed identically. They are mounted onto the wings by the tan Technic pins.
Finally, bag 10 builds the weapons that are mounted at the end of the wings.
The finished model
I'll let the pictures do the talking...
There's no doubting that this is an excellent model and perhaps the best version of the X-wing LEGO has made. It's also a vast improvement over the original UCS model, both mechanically and aesthetically, but it is not without its faults.
- The wing opening mechanism is far more robust. On the old version, when the wings were fully opened or closed, rotating the knob further resulted in the gears grinding. On this version, the wings simply open, then close, then open, and so on.
- The wings are mounted far more sturdily. Just two tiny axles held them on in the old version, this ones uses stud-less beams and multiple Technic pins and as a result, the wings do not sag.
- This version makes good use of the many new parts that have become available since 2000 to give it a more streamlined look.
- The back of the engines look excellent (using this part in grey) and they are not prone to falling off like they were on the old one.
- But, it's still a bit technicolour, isn't it! It's nowhere near as bad as the original (that was so bad I felt it necessary to rebuild it all in light grey) but I still think some bad decisions have been made with regards the colour of some of the parts. Those that annoy me the most are the grey 'Left shell 3 x 10' (and the right one on the other side) slopes on the bottom of the fuselage under the cockpit. Why are they grey? White would look so much better: I've swapped them on mine and it makes a big difference. The grey 6 x 8 x 1 slopes on the wings should have white stickers on them which would make them look white, but I didn't apply them as the chance of perfection on all four is slim. Consequently, they also look out of place in grey. I haven't yet swapped them for white but I do plan to do so.
- There is no chance at all that you'll be able to apply the canopy stickers perfectly, unless you do so in a vacuum, so bear that in mind before buying: if you can't live with the model without the canopy sticker applied, don't buy it.
It's an essential purchase for all Star Wars fans. That's not true of every UCS set, some of which are far too big and cumbersome and of obscure subjects, but the X-wing is perhaps the most iconic craft in the whole six-movie series, and this model is just the right size: big enough to be impressive but not so big that you'll have nowhere to put it and it becomes a dust-gathering liability. Thanks to vast improvements in its construction you can swoosh it around without fear of bits of wing or engine falling off, too.
Verdict: I'll give it a score of 9/10. I've dropped one point because of the canopy sticker and questionable colour choice of some parts, but other than that, it's highly recommended. Good job LEGO!
It goes on sale on May 3rd (might be May 4th in the USA) and is priced at US $199.99, €199.99, £169.99. Keep an eye out on the home page for news of its release.
Many thanks to Kim in the LEGO CEE team for providing the set for review.
Update: More reviews have started to be published around the 'net now: FBTB has done an excellent job of reviewing this new set with a particular emphasis on how it compares with the 'real' X-Wing (something I did not feel qualified to do), and also has constructed it side-by-side with 7191, which makes for fascinating reading.
Eurobricks has just published their review, which goes in to a very high level of detal. So much, that once you've read it, you won't feel the need to buy the set :-)
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