The Galactic Titan is the largest set/vehicle of the Galaxy Squad theme which I received from family at christmas. Having become rather interested in the Galaxy Squad theme and also owning several sets, will this mighty beast score as greatly as it's scale?
The set's box comprises a rather large rectangular box where the contents lye a few inches away from the top once opened.
The set comes with a total of seven bags, each numbered for the stage of the build. There's also an eighth bag which includes larger parts for the set such as the cockpit roof and treads.
The building experience itself is a fairly long but simple build with an approximate duration of around 2 hours. The numbered bags divide the build in to a number of sub models with bag one building the alien centipede and compound whilst the remaining six construct the Titan itself.
There are also 2 instruction manuals included.
There are five figures included, these are two blue space men, a blue mech droid, two aliens and a small insect creature.
The first insect features a headpiece which resembles a fly face with its antennas and large checked black eyes. It also includes a set of lime green wings and also dark red printings on the torso slightly resembling a muscular chest. There's also printing on the legs and at the back Of the torso also resembling muscles. The toros piece included makes this figure unique to the set and different from similar figures included sets such as the Swarm Interceptor.
The second insect figure features a head with four eyes and red sharp teeth and green antennas attached to the head. There are also red printings at the centre of the torso as well as additional printing on the legs and back of the figure. This figure doesn't include wings but is also unique to the set due to the unique printing on the figure's torso.
The first space figure is from the blue squad and features a dual printed face where neutral and gear equipped expressions are located. This figure has orange facial hair, a telescope in one eye and head set microphone. This figure features green printing at the centre of the torso with a small number of printings of symbols plus additional printing at the back where there's a communication device with the number 30 and two small device printings on the legs too. Despite the leg and torso piece being the same as most blue squad figures, this one is unique to this set due to the facial expressions and hair printings.
The second blue squad figure feature a more simple printed face with no specific facial features except an eye telescope. This figure also features dual facial expressions including a neutral and pilot expressions. The blue uniform is exactly identical to other blue squad figures. Unlike the first three, this figure isn't unique and is included in other sets such as the Star Slicer.
The fifth figure is the blue mech droid who features a chrome like face with an orange and blue eye on the face plus white line patterns too. The figure's torso is different from the other blues quadrants due to more device printing instead of the muscular tones on the others plus an additional blue device printed at the back of he torso which is larger than those at the back of the other figures. The leg printing remains the same as other figures. This figure also includes a giant 7 piece bazooka and a jet pack which can be added and detached for when in the Titan. This figure isn't unique to the set as identical ones are included in atleast two other sets, one which is very cheap to buy.
Elements of the set
The elements of the model include the attack compound, alien centipede and the upper and lower levels of the tank which comprise the main element of the set.
The attack compound is a small area for the aliens where tubes, standing platforms plus storage area for eggs are located. There is also a push fire function where eggs can be catapulted back by using a level at the back of the structure.
The alien centipede is a long trailing creature made of four sections attached to each other with the first section housing the 2nd alien figure with four sharp claws at the front. The middle sections are identical whilst the back section can have a cocoon pod attached at the back. The creature also has four legs on each section too.
The lower section of the tank features a large command cell at the front (or the back when the upper section is attached) which can fit a figure. There's also a glass screen at the back of the centre too. There are 12 large wheels which drive the tank which are covered by four large rubber tracks which give the vehicle a more all Terran look. The most impressive feature here though is the hidden dual cannon shooter which lifts from the middle of the tank. Both missiles can be fired simultaneously and the turret can be rotated 360 degrees making it very helpful for role play usage. There's also a lifting radar as well.
The upper section of the Titan uses a giant clear piece for the cockpit which clicks in and out of the place. Two figures can sit comfortably here with the room at the driving controls as well as a control panel which can be raised and lowered. The back of the section features a giant cement mixer piece replicating a large engine for the Titan as well as speed propellers at the back too, there are also two wings which can be rotated around 100 degrees to pose for flight during display and role play which can be done fairly easily. Additional features include flick fire missiles and countless number of details on the side which are achieved by stickers.
Overall this is big large set filled with a high number of features. This set is very good for displaying in any space collection and the many functions such as the dual fire missiles, catapulting eggs and detaching jet make this set very good for role play, however perhaps another figure and small vehicle could've been included to make the playability top marks.
Also, there needs to be a place to store the weapons when the figures are inside the Titan as there is currently nowhere to store the mech's jet pack. A good place could've been the behind of the lower tank as an empty space currently lies there. For £80, the set is slightly overpriced, so a £70 price point would set a more reasonable price point.
I would recommend this set to anyone who likes Lego space, giant tanks, play functions and fans of aliens and sci-fi.
The set is currently on sale on Lego-Shop and despite only being out 5-6 months is likely to discontinue if you wish to buy this set and also at a decent reduction price, this will probably be a good idea.
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The way I see it, Galaxy Squad is the first Lego theme in the footsteps of Classic Lego Space since 1999. My best guess is that because Lego wanted to avoid competing with the newly created Star Wars theme, because since 1999, Lego Space themes acquired a strangely close relation to either actual space exploration (Mission to Mars, Mars Mission, Space Port) and/or the Lego City theme (Alien Conquest, which isn't set in space, and Space Police III, which is a caricature of highway robbery, limousines and pimp-my-ride in space). The only exceptions would be #10191 Star Justice and #10192 Space Skulls (both 2008).
Fittingly, then, that Galaxy Squad as insects as sub-theme, because the last proper Lego Space theme prior to 1999 was Insectoids. Galaxy Squad is as far away from current space exploration and Lego City as Futuron ever was, many of the vehicles would fit right into 80's Lego Space (especially the small ones from 70702 Warp Stinger and 70706 Crater Creeper), and the differently coloured uniforms of the four eponymous squads, Blue, Red, Orange and Green, is as reminiscent of the Lego Space uniform scheme of old as it can possibly get.
The Galactic Titan
This is the largest of the Galaxy Squad sets. It includes five minifigures in a stand-off between Galaxy Squad's Blue Team and the insect aliens, and three models - or four, because the Galactic Titan can easily count for two, as will be seen later.
The aliens have a Hive Tower base, consisting of a short spire hiding a simple mechanism to lob a pinkish alien egg which can hold an alien larvae. From the spire, two short bridges lead to a clasp which can hold an alien cocoon (with a Galaxy Squad team member inside, if it was up to the aliens), and to what the description calls a "weapons rack": a few bricks with a crystal and a grip for a sidearm. The Creepy Centipede is really a hexadecipede with frontal maw and rear atttachment point for an alien pod. A winged mosquito and a mantizoid act as crew for this detachment. The former is fairly common, but the latter can only be found in one other set. They are supported by the previously mentioned insectoid larvae. The winged mosquito is equipped with a common blaster, and the mantizoid sports two melee weapons with ragged edges.
As such, the alien insects are woefully underequipped to deal with Blue team, which has arrived in full force: Solomon Blaze, Max Solarflare, and their robot sidekick. The robot and Solomon Blaze appear in two other sets each, but Max Solarflare is exclusive to this set. The ubiquitous Blue Team has members in three other sets. According to Galaxy Squad lore, it is the strategy and technology group with the best tech, as is proven by their mighty Galactic Titan.
The Galactic Titan really consists of two vehicles: a land-based tracked vehicle, and a flying attack craft. Lego's descriptive texts are a bit hazy on this point, but I'll go with the theory that the combination of the two is called Galactic Titan, whereas the tank goes under the name Planetary Defender. Either way, the flying attack craft is called Deep Space Destroyer.
The Galactic Titan set comes in a large box which is filled 60-70% with seven numbered and one unnumbered bags full of bricks. Two large booklets and a sticker sheet are packed in a separate ninth bag which features a cardboard stiffener to prevent the booklets from crumbling.
The build process starts with the alien base and creepy caterpillar. Both the Hive Tower and the Creepy Caterpillar are very conventional builds, very straightforward, and the only thing worth mentioning is that attaching the caterpillar's sixteen legs is slightly tedious. Still, it won't take long, and ca. halfway through the first booklet, all alien models have been built.
The rest of the manual instructs on the assembly of Blue Team's equipment. First is the tracked vehicle, the Planetary Defender. It starts as a very conservative chassis on the basis of technic beams, which makes out the majority of the vehicle. It's mostly function, and little form: A few stud-not-on-top (SNOT) techniques are used, but those are mostly for decoration, except some at the rear, which are tasked with giving the vehicle vertical stability. This is important because the Deep Space Destroyer will later be attached via four hinge elements. These hold on pretty tight, and if the Planetary Defender wouldn't hold together firmly, instead of separating the Deep Space Destroyer, one would tear apart the Planetary Defender. Anyway, after it's been finished, the Planetary Defender will not only serve as ground transport and launcher for its payload, but also sport two spring-operated missiles on a retractable rotating turret with its own extendable radar dish. The vehicle runs on four tracks attached to twelve wheels, but despite its considerable size can only seat one Blue Team member. In any way, by the time the Planetary Defender has been completed, the builder will be well into the second booklet.
All that remains, then, is building the Deep Space Destroyer. This, too, is a conservative build, where SNOT is mostly applied for decorative reasons, and a little to strengthen the fuselage for the stress of splitting it off its carrier vehicle. It is an effective build, again with ample use of technic parts, but nothing too fancy. All in all, even a seasoned builder should be busy for two to three hours building this set.
Both Blue Squad vehicles come with few printed parts. Aside from minifigure torsos, no parts bear a Galaxy-Squad specific print. Instead, the set comes with a number of stickers. Most are straightforward to attach, but some go on bent and round parts and can be a bit tricky to get right. A few stickers are really clever, particularly the squished insects on the windscreen, the HUD displays (a first in Lego?), and the victory icons on the side of the Deep Space Destroyer.
The set comes with one orange brick separator. Besides the Galaxy-Squad trademark parts (cocoon halves, insectoid, etc.), it contains a few parts which are colour-unique to this set at the time of writing: there are yellow 1x2 plates with hinge, lime-green attic bricks with slope, lime-green 2x4 hinge plates, dark azure 1x2 slopes, earth blue rims, and more. None of these are particularly exciting, in my opinion. I found some other bricks more spectacular, among them the trans-clear windscreens, and two black 5x5 angled Technic beams, which are only available in five sets. There is also a 3x6x10 shell with worming, which is more commonly known for its use in cement mixer sets from the City range. It's curious that this part was used because the worming is not necessary, and indentically sized wall part from the 2010 City Space sets without it exists, but was not used.
Other than that, the parts are fairly standard. The colour choice for some bricks is a bit clownish because the theme's colour template is not always adhered to. This is particularly obvious when looking at the Deep Space Defender from behind. Nonetheless, it shouldn't be too difficult to have fun with the parts of this set and construct your own models.
The completed model and playability
The completed Galactic Titan is quite impressive. The combined Planetary Defender and Deep Space Destroyer are a sight to behold, although its not obvious where the front is. The proportions work nicely. The spacecraft is, however, very firmly attached to the carrier vehicle. It took a few moments before I found out how to separate them easily, and with brute force, it's almost close to impossible. (Hint: lift under the Destroyer's engines.)
Separated, the Planetary Defender still looks badass, mainly due to its now unshapely proportions and the dual launchers rising from the chassis. The Deep Space Destroyer looks neat as well, as long as you don't look at it from the rear, where you can see bricks in too many different colours. In my opinion, the completed Deep Space Destroyer looks a bit like a streamlined Republic Attach Shuttle from Star Wars due to its in-line cockpit and angled wings. The cockpit canopy does not open via hinge, but has to be taken off. Unfortunately, there is no additional compartment other than the cockpit, which seats two. While there is a lot of space under its wings, it goes unused. There are two flick missiles in the landing gear, and the wings are movable. However, because they are attached above the lasers, the wings don't really sweep back and forth. Instead, their movement is more a rotation, which looks a bit strange. It's not clear why they would do that. In addition, the lasers are attached to the landing gear, which wobbles due to the use of long technic poles, so when the wings rotate, they wobble as well.
I have little love for the alien Creepy Caterpillar and Hive Tower. From all alien Galaxy Squad models, these seem to be the most uninspired. I have to give the designer credit for leaving trodden paths and not just make another fly-bug model, as has been done in most of the other Galaxy Squad sets. Ball-and-socket joints instead of hinges might have made the caterpillar more interesting, then it would have been able to move in three dimensions.
Playability and swooshability of the set as a whole is not quite straightforward. Generally, it can be very fun. The caterpillar is a bit inhibited and doesn't swoosh well. The Hive Tower has some inviting quality, however, its larvae egg shooter is very limited: the egg goes up, but I haven't been able to propel it more than two or three centimetres from the spire. The Galactic Titan itself is solid. It has a nice heft to it and is a very stable platform for the two spring-loaded guns on the retractable turret. However, drivability of the Planetary Defender is seriously impaired: The arrangement of the rubber tracks, which rise to the front and rear like a ship's bow, give the impression that it can climb any terrain like a tank. In reality, it has the off-road characteristics of - and please take this literally - a Formula 1 car: none whatsoever. This is because both at the front and the rear, the chassis protrudes beyond the rubber tracks. Due to its very low ground clearance, even a minor bump in the surface, e.g. a small crease in the carpet, stops the Galactic Titan dead in its tracks because the chassis hits the bump before the rubber track encounters it and gets a chance to lift the vehicle. So, the Galactic Titan is only fun to move around on very even surfaces. Another issue is the track mounting, which bends due to apparent stress on the technic beams holding the rubber tracks.
The Deep Space Destroyer does not have such issues. As was noted earlier, its landing gear arrangement comes across as a bit wobbly. Apart from that, it is reasonably stable and fun to swoosh around. It is a bit tricky to hold because there is no obvious handhold at the centre of gravity, so you end up holding it near the cockpit or on your fingertips. But because there are no parts which knock off easily, it will survive even extensive dogfights.
Like all other Galaxy Squad sets, the Galactic Titan does not provide any affordance to be combined with any of them. Because the chassis has no floor, there is no way to utilise the Planetary Defender for the transport of any other vehicles than the Deep Space Destroyer. The latter can't transport anything either, despite the empty space between its wings and landing gear, which really seems predestined for transport. In fact, there is not even space for the robot sidekick's backpack and weapon, both of which he can't wear or wield when sitting in the spacecraft. Luckily, the Planetthere are clips to store Solomon's and Max's weapon on the Planetary Defender, however.
At the beginning of the review, it was mentioned that Galaxy Squad is a spiritual successor of Classic Lego Space. Since the Galactic Titan, being te biggest and heaviest set and model, is the pinnacle of all Galaxy Squad vehicles, it follows in the footsteps of not one, but four Lego Space traditions: In addition to having a big high-end set for each subtheme (often a base or a flagship), Lego Space has traditionally also featured:
- a good number of land-based launcher vehicles for manned spacecraft: #6870 Space Probe Launcher (1981) was the first, but has many siblings: #6871 Star Patrol Launcher (1984), #6874 Moon Rover (1986), 6925 Interplanetary Rover (1988), ... there are many more, but you get the point: launch vehicles have a tradition in Lego Space.
- super-heavy vehicles, which are few, but usually highly acclaimed: #6950 Mobile Rocket Transport (1982) was the first of its class, #6989 Mega Core Magnetizer (1990) is the favourite set of many an AFOL. 7699 MT-101 Armoured Drilling Unit (2007) might have been slightly less praised, but the recent #7066 Earth Defense HQ (2011) received much praise.
- the "Galaxy/Galactic" name: traditionally, "Galaxy" or "Galactic" has beeen an identifier of Lego Space pinnacle sets: #928 Galaxy Explorer (1977), 6980 Galaxy Commander (1983), #6984 Galactic Mediator (1992) and #5974 Galactic Enforcer (2009) have all topped off their respective subthemes and are fondly remembered. (No need to bring up #1462 Galactic Scout (1992)... )
My point is: A Space-themed pinnacle set called "Galactic Titan" and featuring a super-heavy carrier vehicle - this is in good Lego Space tradition, yet innovative and new. But most of all, it comes with expectations. So, could the Galactic Titan deliver?
Altough it's not particularly big when compared to other Space sets, it is a worthy pinnacle set for Galaxy Squad. Kids who get into Lego Space now might remember it fondly when they become AFOLs. It's just a bit of a shame that in that regard, it will ultimately go up against much larger sets in the Star Wars range, some of which are easily twice as big.
It is kind of difficult to argue with success, or focus group test-driven product design. Like all Galaxy Squad sets, the Galactic Titan seems to have been very single-mindedly designed around split-functions and action-play between Galaxy Squad and insect aliens. Personally, I would have liked to see a bit more "play", and a bit less "shooting". The Planetary Defender spring-loaded guns are nice, but a larger crew compartment would have been nicer. Last year's Earth Defense HQ had a couple of good ideas how to fill space in a vehicle, particularly when aliens are involved. As a kid, I always felt that the erector arm of the Mobile Rocket Transport was very useful for any kind of play, not only for deploying a rocket. You could put astronauts in it to raise to lofty heights. Anyway, Astronauts could stand anywhere on the transport, not only in the (large) cockpit. The Galactic Titan offers nothing in that direction. The Planetary Rover's command cockpit is hard-pressed to take additional astronauts, and there simply is no space anywhere outside for minifigures to plausibly stand. But as I wrote, similar issues affect all Galaxy Squad sets. Maybe they should all have gone through one or two more design iterations.
I also don't quite see the point of the alien models in the set. It makes sense to include both fractions in smaller sets, but for a GBP 90.00 set, wouldn't it make sense to assume whoever gets it already has more sets of the theme? A sarcastic cynicist might remark that due to its size, the Galactic Titan could just drive over any opposition included in the set (if it was off-road capable, that is).
Having said that, I like the Galactic Titan despite its shortcomings. It fits very well into the Galaxy Squad theme, is certainly innovative as a giant launcher ground vehicle, brings enough interesting parts - and hey, it is a return to Lego Space, after all. Yes, definitely a worthy bearer of the affix "Galactic".
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