The Star Wars Rebels television show is fast approaching, and two sets to accompany its release have been produced so far. The first, and smaller, of these is 75048 The Phantom. This set is priced at £19.99 in the UK, or $24.99 in the US, and contains 234-pieces, so the prices in this regard are not bad at all, particularly considering that there are a couple of brand new components included.
This is certainly not a model which will appeal to everybody, particularly since the set is not based on any of the six films, and its design is uniquely simple. However, although I was initially sceptical, this is actually not a bad set. The model feels suitably bulky, albeit fairly inelegant, and the two Minifigures included are very nice.
Box and Contents
The box design is a little different to the majority of this Summer's Star Wars sets. While most are bordered with dark blue and a shot of Darth Vader, each of the Star Wars: Rebels sets includes a grey and orange border, with a stylised image of a Stormtrooper helmet in the corner. The Phantom is visible in action on the front and back, where each of the features of the set are demonstrated.
Inside are two numbered bags and a fairly small instruction manual. A sticker sheet is also included, which is surprisingly large for a set of this size unfortunately, although they are fairly easy to apply.
Two Minifigures are included, both of which appear to be integral characters to the Star Wars: Rebels television show. The first of these is Ezra Bridger, who features heavily in the trailers released so far, which suggests that he is the protagonist of the series. The Minifigure is fairly simple, but nevertheless detailed. His tousled black hair is accurate, and his head is printed with two faces, one smiling and the other worried. The torso is unusual, with a dark tan jacket over a dark orange shirt, and a mysterious logo on the back. I have no idea what this represents, although it looks like a bird of some kind to me. His hips and legs also feature printing which consists of pockets and kneepads, which looks rather nice.
Ezra comes equipped with a blaster pistol and, rather more interestingly, a brand new helmet. This design is clearly based on that of Snowtroopers in Ralph McQuarrie's original concept art, and it looks absolutely brilliant in my opinion. I can imagine Minifigure customisers either using this piece to create concept Snowtroopers or more generic science fiction soldiers, and it is ideal for this. The only image I can find of Ezra with the helmet is this one, and judging by that it looks very accurate indeed.
The second Minifigure is C1-10P (Chopper). He is an Astromech Droid and probably the character I am most interested in of the upcoming show, thanks in no small part to Dave Filoni's description of him - "If Artoo is your favourite dog, Chopper is the cat." His domed head piece is conical, like that of R5-D4 among others, and is printed on the top and all the way around with displays and indicators. This piece looks fantastic in my opinion, cast in dark orange with yellow highlights, and it contrasts nicely with the light grey body and legs. Both of these pieces are brand new, to make the droid shorter, and the rounded body is printed with panels and buttons much like the head.
Construction of this set is divided into two numbered bags, which simply contain pieces for the front half in the first bag, and then the rear in the second.
Both sections are very simple, with some nice SNOT techniques for the shaping of the nose, and an uncommon use of plates which are inverted, leaving the undersides exposed when the wings are folded. Three stickers are used in the first part of construction, and one builds at various angles to yield a cockpit reminiscent of that of the X-wing in 9493.
The rear half is a little more interesting, featuring plenty of hinges which allow angled building along with a little bit of Technic. Construction of this set is nothing special as far as I am concerned, but it is enjoyable enough, and a few of the techniques used are unusual.
The Completed Model
When finished, the model looks fairly simple to be honest. When the wings are folded in, the Phantom seems quite blocky and the shape is somewhat bland. However, there is actually a nice level of detail throughout the set, which runs from the twin guns beneath the cockpit to the engine thrusters at the back. Please note that the stand used in some photos is not included.
Inside the cockpit is a control panel, making use of a sticker, and plenty of room for Ezra to sit. He has to sit back a reasonably long way, but certainly does not look like he is lying down, which is an issue that afflicts some vehicles in almost every theme. On the front is an attractive dark yellow stripe, and there are two more stickers which are applied on either side. These show another insignia of some kind, which looks to me like a Jungle Rancor, although what significance this has, I do not know. Behind this are a pair of slopes, which almost look like tiny wings or perhaps stabilisers, and a hinge on which the cockpit (which features a new print) can be opened and closed.
The ship can separate in the centre, presumably to allow the cockpit to jettison as an escape craft when in dire straits. Neither end is left looking particularly attractive as we are left with holes on the front section which will receive the protruding Technic pins on the rear portion. Inside this aft area of the Phantom, one finds a spot in which you can place Chopper, and a small storage locker, both of which can be accessed by lifting off the roof. There is also a small door on the back, which allows access to the storage bay between the two engine thrusters. These pieces will no doubt be of interest to some as this is the first time the truncated cone piece has appeared in black.
The wings can be folded down on each side, and although they are a little stubby, they nevertheless are quite striking with a hint of bright light orange and some interesting curved shapes. Slight greebling and another two stickers are found when the wings are unfolded, which again adds a nice touch of detail. Finally, a flying decal of some sort is placed on top, along with a spring loaded missile launcher. I am not convinced that this does very much good for the appearance of the ship, but it does add a fun feature I suppose, and the missile undoubtedly launches a good distance, about 6 feet usually.
The Phantom can be combined with 75053 The Ghost, a fact pointed out on the back of the box. I will wait until my review of 75053 before discussing this in detail however, which will hopefully be quite soon. I suspect the design of the Phantom's cockpit section might have been based on the non-cannon mini-fighter included in the original Kenner Millennium Falcon vehicle, which would be a nice nod to the fans. Either way, it looks accurate to the vehicle from the television programme.
This set is a nice set, but far from a highlight of the wave. I think the designer has done a decent job, and the Minifigures are great, but the Phantom simply does not sell itself as a vehicle in my opinion. I think you will probably already know if you want this set or not, as it is only likely to appeal to those looking forward to the Rebels cartoon, so I recommend it if that includes you. If you are not interested in the show on the other hand, I do not think that this set is really worth going out of your way to purchase.
The helmet included with Ezra however is really excellent. This will probably be a very popular piece, and one which some might like to purchase a few of individually as a generic science fiction helmet. Chopper's body could also be very useful for building your own MOCs, and I am sure we will see it used plenty of times.
- Parts: 4 - There is a decent selection of pieces in this set, including some pieces in new colours. The parts that interest me most though are Ezra's helmet and, to a lesser extent, Chopper's body.
- Playability: 4.5 - This is probably the best element of the set as a whole. There are a lot of moving parts, and the firing missile is certainly a fun feature, even if it does damage the aesthetic a little in my opinion.
- Building Experience: 3.5 - A very simple build, which would certainly be suitable for a child, although there is not really enough to interest an adult as one might expect of a set of this size.
- Value for Money: 3.5 - £20 or $25 seems like a fair price for this set, but I think there are plenty of other sets available at this price point which offer a great deal more.
- Overall: 3.5 - The Minifigures are rather nice and a quite like the model itself. I do not consider the set a 'must have' unless of course you are intending to purchase 75053 The Ghost, in which case it is naturally the perfect accompaniment.