LEGO Star Wars Character Encylopedia
This book, along with the LEGO Ideas Book I reviewed earlier this week, has just been published by Dorling Kindersley.
It’s a hardback book that’s smaller than DK’s other LEGO books, at 23x18cm, but is still over an inch thick thanks in part to the thick front cover housing the exclusive Han Solo in ceremonial robes minifigure.
The book’s 200 pages are laid out showing one minifigure per page. Along with a large image of the figure, there are boxes containing background information about the character, data about when the fig was released and in which set, and also, if needed, a ‘Star Variants’ box showing other versions of the minifig. This accounts for the discrepancy between the ‘Featuring more than 300 minifigures’ claim on the cover and the 200 pages: many older variants of figures only appear in these boxes. The book does not claim to contain every SW minifigure ever made, and there are some notable exceptions, such as the white Boba Fett. It does, however, feature all those that are in the latest 2011 sets.
The book is organised by movie, so the figures that feature in episode 1 are at the front of the book and those from 6, then Clone Wars and expanded universe are at the back. Within each section the order appears random and to be honest it can be a problem finding specific figures without resorting to the index which thankfully is comprehensive. Perhaps organising alphabetically would have made more sense, with Aayla Secura at the front and Zev Senesca at the back: at least then you could flick through the pages to find the character of interest and all of, say, the Luke variants would be in the book together.
The quality and accuracy of the information in the book should be spot-on because Ace Kim from FBTB and myself proof-read it. As I have mentioned here before I was also asked to provide around 100 photos for it. Strange as it seems, they asked me because LEGO could not provide DK with the minifigs to enable them to photograph them themselves. Luckily I had most of the ones needed and those I didn’t I sourced from BrickLink.
I haven’t yet identified all those that were used; the majority are the in the Star Variants boxes, or detail pictures of backs of heads or torsos. However the main images on pages 26 (Naboo Security officer), 78 (Greedo), 106, in the image above, and 138 (both Luke) are mine and I guess it’s satisfying that they are pretty much indistinguishable from the others taken by the pros, and in some cases better, which is one reason I haven’t yet found them all!
I haven’t said much about the exclusive Han Solo minifigure yet. I guess if you’re a SW minifig completest it will be reason enough to buy the book but actually it’s the most disappointing thing about it. Unfortunately, it’s an inferior Chinese plastic figure which is a shame because otherwise it’s very nice. The exclusive figures on the covers of previous DK books have been normal quality so it was a let-down to see that it wasn’t the case here. I know most of you don’t notice or care about this, but to me, just like the collectable minifigs, it looks and feels cheap and nasty compared to the real thing. However, if you keep it sealed in the cover you'll never notice the poor quality.
So, to summarise, this is yet another essential book purchase for anyone remotely interested in Star Wars LEGO or minifigs, particularly with the deep discounts available at Amazon at the moment. Highly recommended, despite the minifig quality.