Review: 10236 Ewok Village
Quite possibly the most anticipated set of the year has been this one, 10236 Ewok Village. The iconic location of Bright Tree Village from Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi has been notably absent in LEGO since the earliest Star Wars sets were released in 1999. Many fans have been eagerly awaiting and hoping for a set of this kind to be released, and at last, in the 30th anniversary year of the final episode of the Original Trilogy, LEGO have provided us with a definitive model of the Ewok Village.
I have to say, I never fully saw the appeal of such a model. As far as I was concerned, an Ewok Village set would consist almost entirely of building trees, with only a tiny area of actual village at the top, as well as being extortionately expensive. While a model like this might have been an exquisite display piece, the playability of such a set would have been sorely lacking, and therefore I doubted a large Ewok Village would ever be produced.
I am pleased to say however that I was utterly mistaken. Now that LEGO have provided us with an Ewok Village, I am delighted with it. The model retains enough accuracy from the film to be credible as a village in the trees, and despite the aforementioned trees not actually being very tall, this does not take anything away from the appearance of the model as I had feared it would. Priced at £199.99 or $249.99 and consisting of 1990-pieces, this set has been a very pleasant surprise, as not only does this model represent fantastic value for money in my opinion, as well as being excellent from a perspective of displayability, but it is even laden with exciting and innovative features in every area of the set.
Needless to say, this review could be a long one, so I suggest you make yourself comfortable...
Box and Contents
This is a large set, and therefore it comes packaged in a large box. The artwork is very attractive, showing the Ewok Village being valiantly defended from the attacking Imperial forces. Despite this dangerous situation, I notice that Han is still being roasted on a spit, and the only member of the Rebel Alliance who seems to be making any attempt to assist the Ewoks in defending their home is R2-D2. All seventeen Minifigures are displayed in the gallery along the bottom of the box, and the green border which has adorned every Star Wars set this year runs along the top.
The back of the box shows the village, populated with the seventeen Minifigures, surrounded by images demonstrating the huge number of features which are incorporated into each tree and the village platform itself. There are also a few shots of scenes from the film recreated using the set, including the arrival of C-3PO as he is hailed as a god, and the Battle of Endor itself.
Inside one finds seventeen numbered bags, two unnumbered bags containing most of the larger pieces, and a loose dark tan 8 x 16 plate. The three instruction manuals and tiny sticker sheet are backed with cardboard to keep them flat, which is always welcome.
Seventeen Minifigures are included in this set, eight of which are brand new. I have photographed some of the figures together in suitable groups, otherwise this review would consist of some fifty images which is more than are necessary in my opinion. It also means that I can include a few more photographs of the actual model, which is substantial, although to capture every angle is fairly challenging.
I will begin with the Rebel Alliance characters, the first of whom is a new Luke Skywalker in his black Jedi robes. This figure has been significantly updated since 75005 Rancor Pit where he last appeared in his Episode VI outfit. His hair colour is the first thing which has been changed, from tan to dark tan, although the mould remains the same. His head is printed on two sides with a smiling expression and a grimace, just as it was in 75005, which looks great. I do not have a problem with it personally, but it is worth noting that Luke's chin printing is just about visible even when it should be concealed by the hairpiece so perhaps it would be best to avoid displaying him from the back as much as possible.
His torso is printed with a brand new design on the front and back which includes a creased flap and buckled belt. The flap on his chest is partially folded down as seen in the film and there is a ring on which Luke hangs his lightsaber (although this is obviously not possible on the Minifigure). On the reverse of the torso is some more of the belt and a few creases in the robe. The detail of his gloved right hand has been captured and his legs are plain black with no printing. Naturally, Luke is armed with a green lightsaber.
Another brand new Minifigure is the excellent Princess Leia. This is the first time LEGO have produced a figure of Leia in this particular outfit and it looks fantastic in my opinion. Her hair was first seen in the Collectable Minifigures theme on the Forest Maiden from Series 9. Here however, rather than being cast in dark orange, it is instead dark brown which looks perfect in my opinion. The head is the same as has appeared on Leia Minifigures for several years now, with a smiling face on one side and a frustrated expression on the other, complete with eyelashes and red lips.
Her torso is printed with a very simple dark tan dress, a florid bow and some flower details on the front and back. Leia wears an olive green fabric skirt which is torn and rugged. It does not quite link up perfectly all the way around, but it certainly achieves the desired appearance, and from the front it looks superb. The legs are printed with the same design as found on the Swimming Champion from the Collectable Minifigures, albeit in an olive green shade on this occasion. This design is entirely obscured by the skirt, but nevertheless its inclusion shows good attention to detail.
Next we have the ever-popular Han Solo, who is exactly the same as he appeared in 75003 A-wing Starfighter. This is an excellent version of Han and is a huge step-up from previous editions in my opinion. His hairpiece is the same as ever, cast in reddish brown and looking fine as far as I am concerned. The head is printed with a single face, featuring a smirk and brown eyebrows. It is simple, but it certainly captures the cavalier character of Han Solo. His torso is printed with a huge amount of detail, including stitched pockets on the front and back of his jacket, as well as a creased white shirt which he is wearing underneath. His hips and legs are printed with a belt and holster for his weapon, which is a standard blaster pistol. All in all, a nice Minifigure, albeit a reasonably simple one.
Han Solo's constant companion Chewbacca is included too. An updated version of Chewbacca has been demanded for a couple of years now by fans, and although this figure is fine, I cannot help but agree to an extent. Having seen some preliminary images of the upcoming Winter Star Wars sets, it would appear that this wish is soon going to be fulfilled. As it stands however, this figure uses the same reddish brown head and torso component which is moulded with hair texturing and printed with a black nose as well as his silver bandoleer. This piece is placed over a plain reddish brown torso and his legs are also not printed. As usual, Chewbacca is equipped with a pearl dark grey crossbow which represents his Bowcaster very effectively.
C-3PO is also found in this set, in an identical form to his appearance in 9490 Droid Escape. His head is the same mould as it has been since the character's first appearance in 2000, although printed with some yellow around his eyes. The torso is far more detailed than the previous edition, with the Powerbus cables visible beneath the power socket on his chest. His back is also printed with the cables visible through a gap in his golden plating, and the panel which Chewbacca is seen fiddling with as he attempts to repair C-3PO in Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back. His legs are pearl gold, just like the rest of the figure, and have no printing on them.
As usual, with C-3PO comes R2-D2, who is an extremely common Minifigure, but a necessary inclusion nevertheless. Interestingly, this character has never before been seen quite like this, as his dome has only appeared once before in 8037 Anakin's Y-wing Starfighter from the Clone Wars series, while the cylindrical body section is the same as always. The dome is pearl silver in colour and is printed with a slightly simplified design compared with the standard piece, featuring his eye, holoprojector and a few tiny display icons as one would expect. The body section is printed with the various flaps and hatches which conceal tools in the film and have been a mainstay of R2-D2 as a Minifigure since 1999.
Lastly for the Rebel characters, we have two Rebel Commandos, who vary only in their face and torso designs. While one of them has appeared before in 9489 Endor Rebel Trooper & Imperial Trooper Battle Pack, the other is a new combination of previously used pieces. The helmet for them both is highly detailed and is the same as it was in 8038 The Battle of Endor featuring a short brim and Comlink details on either side of the piece. The figure we have seen before utilises a head printed with a rather calm expression and brown eyebrows, while the other has a bushy ginger beard and a double sides face, with one fairly neutral expression and the other angry. This head design has appeared before on a Rohan Soldier in 9471 Uruk-Hai Army from the Lord of the Rings theme. One torso is printed with a dark tan jacket and identification badge, while the other is detailed with a fantastic camouflaged trench coat and bandoleer. Both have back printing too, a hood on one, and the rest of the bandoleer on the other. Their legs are plain sand green and they are each armed with a blaster rifle.
I love these two figures, but my only suggestion would be to add a small backpack like the ones which appeared on the Commandos in 8038. These consisted of a neck bracket and dark green tooth piece, which I liked. This is completely subjective however as many prefer figures to be without neck brackets as it does look a little odd sometimes as it extends the length of their neck.
Next we have the title characters of the set, the Ewoks, the first of whom is Chief Chirpa. Although this particular character has little screen time in the film (despite being the leader of the Ewok tribe), he still plays a significant role in the film by committing the Ewoks to the fight against the Empire. He has appeared before in 8038 and this figure is identical, but nevertheless looks excellent. All five Ewoks are formed utilising a 'sandwich board' piece over a plain torso with short legs. Chief Chirpa is predominantly light bluish grey and his face is printed with a dark bluish grey nose, grey lips, and black eyes. The reddish brown hood is detailed with a tooth hanging as a trophy and some string which can presumably be used to tighten the hood. His torso and short legs are plain light bluish grey, and he carries a staff which looks great to me.
Logray is another Minifigure which has been released before, in 7956 Ewok Attack. This figure uses a different head and torso mould to Chief Chirpa, complete with a headdress and satchel moulded with his white and tan striped fur. On top of his head is a bird skull and his ears are poking out on either side of the brown cloth he has draped over his head. There are some feathers and small charm decorations moulded into the piece, and it looks absolutely fantastic as a whole. His torso and legs are plain tan in colour and Logray is armed with a staff, marking him out among the Ewoks as the Shaman of the tribe.
The third Ewok we have is a new version of Wicket W. Warrick, now in his third outing as a LEGO Minifigure. This character is of course the most important Ewok in the film as it is he who initially discovers Leia lost in the forests of the moon of Endor. He is the same as the version of him from 2009 in 8038 but for his face which is now printed with some dark tan highlights around his mouth and eyes. His hood is reddish brown in colour and printed with a stitched design as though it has been repaired. His torso and legs are reddish brown, and Wicket is equipped with a dark brown spear. It might interest some to hear that this spear is a slightly updated version from usual, now with a flat butt end. This may seem like a minor change, but it will doubtless allow for more applications in MOCs as it can now be placed on its end in a 1 x 2 jumper plate or the like.
Another Minifigure which is included is the rather mysterious Ewok Warrior. After a great deal of research, I have only been able to find one Ewok who matches this figure for fur and hood colours, named Nho'Apakk. I would presume that this is the character on which this Minifigure was based, and this would make perfect sense since he is seen utilising a catapult in the film and a catapult is included here. The Minifigure has an olive green hood, which is printed with some brown stitching much like Wicket's hood, and dark tan fur. His legs and torso are also dark tan, and the Ewok Warrior carries a small bow and arrow.
The final Ewok included is by far my favourite, Teebo. Not only is this the most detailed Minifigure of all, as well as being fairly significant in the film, but the character is also a favourite of mine as he was the first Star Wars action figure I ever owned. The mould used for Teebo's head and torso is the same as that of Logray, although he is printed very differently so you would not necessarily notice this if you placed them side by side. His headdress is dark orange in colour and is adorned with a Gurreck skull. Teebo's fur is striped in light and dark bluish grey, and his pouch is dark brown. His torso and legs are dark bluish grey, and he is armed with a dark brown spear like Wicket.
Two Stormtroopers are included in the Ewok Village as well, who have only appeared once before in 9489. These looks excellent, with a detailed helmet which is printed with the mouth grille and various vents. Their heads are mostly black but are printed with some slight stubble and an evil smirk which looks great. The torso is highly detailed and has been greatly improved from the earlier design, now featuring a belt and the tiny displays which are visible beneath the gap in the armour on their chest. The back of the torso is printed with a Thermal Detonator strapped to the belt and some more armour detailing. The legs are plain white with black hips, and each Stormtrooper is armed with a standard blaster.
Last of all are the brand Scout Troopers, which have received a huge update since their inclusion in 9489. The helmets have remained the same as always, with a gap in their visor which is filled in by the black head beneath. On the back of the head is the same face as is found on the Stormtroopers with stubble and smiling expression, which can be turned around to face the front should you wish to remove his helmet and display the Minifigure like that. The changes are found on his torso and legs, which are both printed with a far more accurate design than the original figure. His torso is printed on the front and back with armour details including pouches for storing various items of equipment and the backpack which presumably contains rations and the like. The hips and legs are printed with a continuation of this design, but are mostly black as in the film, so it is great to see this improved accuracy. As a whole, this is a brilliant Minifigure and he looks great on a speeder bike as you will see later in the review.
Constructions of this set is a very enjoyable experience. It took about four and a half hours to complete and kept one interested throughout as various building techniques and construction methods are utilised. The trees are created quite ingeniously by placing large pieces such as door and window frames inside for stability, and using SNOT techniques to produce an organic and realistic appearance for the tree bark. Furthermore, the trees are in fact colour coded for ease of construction. These bright colours are hidden once the set has been built, but it is useful in the instructions to be able to differentiate between the trees much more easily, which actually look fairly similar as a whole.
In the small catapult which is included, a rubber piece is used to give the kick as seen in the film which is a nice touch in my opinion. Railings are formed around the platforms using cable pieces which must be bent into shape, and although this is time consuming and a little difficult, it produces a very attractive effect in the end. Lastly, and perhaps most obviously from images, is the construction of the rope bridge, which is outstanding. It creates an excellent brick-built bridge and looks very accurate when compared with the film. Overall, this is one of the more enjoyable builds I have experienced in a Star Wars set and there are a plethora of delightful techniques which will no doubt be new to many.
The Completed Model
This model looks marvellous when completed. I cannot fully explain why, as the accuracy to the movie is lacking, but this design works perfectly, negating the need for extremely tall trees while still retaining an attractive appearance. This set is reminiscent of 10188 Death Star in that it captures multiple scenes from different points in the film, and it does so very effectively, seamlessly including the drums from the celebration at the end of the film beside the fire for cooking the captured Rebels earlier in the movie.
I will begin however with the first items to be built, a catapult for the Ewoks, and a speeder for the Imperials. The speeder is very similar to previous versions which have appeared just about every year since 2009, using a tricycle chassis component to form the rear half of the vehicle. A backpack adorns this section for storing supplies, and the front is fairly durable, maintaining the 2 x 1 Technic connector which has created a much stronger structure for the stabilisers at the front of the vehicle in recent years. A Scout Trooper (or anybody else) can easily be placed in the driving seat and control the speeder using the handlebars which can be held by the Minifigure. A small stand is included which raises the speeder off the ground a little, making for a great display piece should you wish.
The catapult is a nice inclusion, and I like how 1 x 1 cylinders can be launched using a rubbery piece which acts like a spring, building tension as you press it down until it is released by letting it go. It can comfortably launch a cylinder two feet, and probably much more if you adjust it a little. Wheels are found on either side of the model which act as tension wheels, although they do not actually function, being present only for the sake of appearance. There is some greenery liberally dispersed about the model and a container for the rocks to be hurled is even included too.
Next comes the tree which is isolated from the other three and is only connected to the main village area by the rope bridge. This section has a rope ladder which is seemingly the only way up into the trees and a small hut on the top, which is empty of furniture. There are a few mushrooms at the foot of the tree, and various pieces of foliage which adorn the top of the tree. Should you wish, there is a space where one could place a Minifigure or two on top of the hut. The only feature to speak of in this area is found inside the hut, where by pulling back on a lever behind the tree, a trapdoor can be opened allowing the Ewoks to quickly escape to ground level via a slide. This function is well hidden and works perfectly, so is a welcome addition in my opinion.
On the rope bridge across to the rest of the village are nine 2 x 2 plates with central stud, so one can place a Minifigure here without it falling over. The length and shape of the bridge can be adjusted by changing how far the smaller tree is from the main section. Personally, I prefer the bridge to be fairly taut, but this can of course be modified according to your own preference.
The central village area is constructed across three trees, each of which include their own features and design touches. The first of these three contains two levels of huts on the top, and a spider web feature beneath, which can be pushed out to ensnare any unwelcome guests. A spider is placed on the side of the tree and the web remains well hidden when it is retracted into the trunk of the tree. The entire top section can swivel all the way around and there are steps from the lower floor to the upper which run around the tree. The same railings are constructed here as were found on the last tree section, and inside the lower level is a small bed with a table beside it. On the upper floor a bow is clipped to the wall and there is a diagram with images of the Ewok glider from 8038 and a spear. Written in Aurebesh beside the glider are the words 'skin glider' and next to the spear it reads 'pointy way up.' I think this a lovely touch, albeit utilising a sticker to do it. There is a small area on top where one can place a Minifigure much like on the first tree and a number of leaves are placed up here as well to achieve the appearance of a forest canopy. Flaming torches are spread around the area, as will become a theme in the remainder of the village.
The next tree is the shortest of all. It can rotate just like the others and inside is a fire, which is presumably the area where C-3PO tells stories to the Ewoks in the film. On top is a catapult with some ammunition and beneath the village platform is a hatch in the tree where one can store some weapons on two clips.
Another three-level tree completes the quartet, with a hiding spot for a Minifigure down at the bottom of the tree. In here two more stickers are used, one with a Scout Trooper helmet and some sixty-three tally marks around it (that means there are a lot of helmet drums I suppose) and the other with the word 'Leia' written in Aurebesh surrounded by a heart. I do not really consider Han Solo the sentimental type, but here is some hard evidence which suggests otherwise. The tan plates and slopes used in this area do an excellent job of creating a carved wooden feel, as though the tiny hiding place really has been etched straight out of the tree trunk.
On the upper level are two huts, one of which contains a bag of food items and a cauldron, while the upper level seems to act as storage for carrots and sausages for cooking. In here is also a sack which was introduced in the Collectable Minifigures theme. The net which was used to capture the rebels in the film hangs from this tree, and it can be raised and lowered simply by pulling it as it is threaded through the tree. There are various leaf details all over the huts and more torches inside and out, just like every other tree.
The majority of the action however is found on the large platform which stretches between three of the trees. Here are two sets of drums (one of which recreates the famous helmet drums), two barrels containing drum sticks, as well as a spit on which one can roast Han Solo. Cleverly, as a Minifigure is rotated on the spit, the fire beneath turns as the figure touches it, giving the impression of flickering flames. Whether or not this was intentional on the part of the designer, as I presume it must have been, it is a great little feature. Towards the back of the village are two poles to which one can fasten Minifigures as in the film.
Behind here is another Ewok defence mechanism. Should a speeder bike go between these two trees, hammers can be released (seen in the photo below to the right) to crush the vehicle by pulling on a brown vine from the front of the platform.
C-3PO's wooden throne is placed between the third and fourth trees, and a translucent pole can be moved up and down to give the illusion that he is levitating, as he does in the film, as Luke uses the force to life the throne. This seat can be lifted by Ewoks from the front and back and there are numerous torches which surround it, giving whoever is placed in the seat a rather regal atmosphere. Lastly, beneath the trees are two sections of greenery and mushrooms which can be placed between the trees. These can easily be removed if you prefer and the model looks great with or without them.
There is no such thing as a perfect set as far as I am aware, but this model comes closer than most. The Minifigure selection is superb, but in a rare occurrence for a Star Wars set, they play second fiddle here to the village itself in my opinion.
Not only does the set look fantastic on display, but it is also a lot of fun to play with and the price is about right as far as I am concerned. The only suggestions I would make would be to add another Ewok or two and perhaps create some kind of mechanism which would allow us to recreate the scene where Chewbacca is lured into an Ewok trap. The net is already present but I think that the inclusion of a small brick built lure of some kind and the ability to lift the net off the floor and close it at the pull of a cord would make the set complete.
Nevertheless these minor complaints pale into insignificance beside the rest of the set, as there are so many touches to delight fans of both Star Wars and LEGO, including detailed moments from the film, and some interesting building techniques. All of this created by Marcos Bessa who claims not even to have seen the film. After 10937 Batman: Arkham Asylum Breakout, 79111 Constitution Train Chase and now this, I look forward to seeing what Marcos has coming out next.
Parts: 5 - If you are looking for foliage in colours of brown and dark tan, no set will better this one. There are some olive green 1 x 2 bows which are new and only appear in a couple of sets as well as a few desirable accessories too.
Playability: 5 - There are almost innumerable features and plenty of fun to be had recreating movie scenes as well as creating your own Ewok adventures (although if you have seen the Star Wars: Ewoks television show I imagine you have had more than enough of those).
Building Experience: 5 - One of the most entertaining builds I have experienced for a long time, there is plenty to maintain interest.
Value for Money: 5 - I think this set offers excellent value as you certainly feel as though you get a great deal for your money, including an impressive seventeen Minifigures!
Overall: 5 - No issues of any significance in my opinion, there may be other sets more suited to younger builders, but I think this is an ideal set for just about any fan of LEGO or Star Wars and it goes some way towards making up for the lack of Original Trilogy sets this Summer.
I have one final note. My set had an extra small bag inside the sixth bag of parts. I presume this is unique to my copy of the set, but if anybody else has had a similar experience, post as such in the comments below.