In this, the final part of my review, I complete the model and let you know what I think of it.
The final part of the build is the claws, the protective cage for the minifig and more greebling.
One eagle-eyed reader noticed in photos of part two of the review that in my haste to build the model, I'd mounted the ball joints for the the shoulders too high, something I didn't notice until I went to add the greebling right at the end. Luckily it was easy to rectify.
The greebling at the top of the arms uses two 'Holder 16 Mm' arms affixed to a 1x1 'lamp holder' but unfortunately the arms are not a tight fit on the studs of the lamp holder and I found it hard to keep them together. To prevent them coming loose during photography I inserted a small length of flex-tube through the hole which solved the problem.
The claws are significantly bigger than on Pete's original. Pete had used a small steering wheel to mount the fingers on but fixing them to what is effectively a curved bar is apparently not a legal connection, so the larger octagonal part had to be used instead. The tan light sabre blade fixes the forearm to the Technic connector inside the barrel.
Here's the finished model:
The joints are sufficiently stiff to enable it to stand on one leg, helped by being able to rotate the joint on the heel slightly.
Similarly, it can do a handstand no problem!
Hey! Put me down!
The complete set:
Construction is enjoyable, although at times fiddly, as you'd expect given it has so many small parts and bits of greebling everywhere, and prone to error if you're not careful.
There's a lot of articulation in the limbs and it can be posed in many ways, as I have demonstrated above. The rotating heel joints are a mixed blessing: while they make some otherwise impossible poses possible they do sometimes make it difficult to get the thing to stand up straight.
The only minor criticisms I can make concerns the greebling: much of it is attached at one point only and thus 'flaps about in the wind' a bit and can become displaced when handling and posing the model. If some of it doesn't look straight in the photos above, that'll be why. Also, as stated above, there's an issue with the arms used for the greebling which prevents them from fixing tightly on studs. I solved the problem, but it shouldn't be necessary to do so.
Mark has done an excellent job of translating Pete's vision of an exo-suit into something that's stable, poseable, and which doesn't fall apart as soon as you breathe on it. The use of large ball joints has largely been hidden using greebling which is something perhaps other LEGO designers will learn from and replicate in mainstream models in the future.
However, in making it so, much of the appeal of Pete's original model has been lost in translation: the parts density, the barely-legal connections, parts used in ways they were never designed to be and so on. Of course it was inevitable that Mark would have to clean it up, and while the sanitised version is superb, it no longer carries the hallmarks of a Pete Reid model that his fans have come to admire.
In summary, there's no doubt that this is an excellent model, perhaps the best released this year. LEGO has exceeded our expectations in terms of the content of the set which is not something that happens often. We expected the Exo-Suit and a minifig. We are given an Exo-Suit, two unique and very desirable minifigs, a turtle and more. Thank you LEGO, thank you Mark! Well done Pete, you deserve to be proud of your achievement.
If the set appeals to you, do not hang about deliberating whether to buy it or not because it might be in short supply. This is a day one purchase: get it on August 1st or you may regret it. We'll remind you again on the day!
Want to see more? Check out vynsane's review at Toys N Bricks.
Update: Tim Courtney in the LEGO Ideas team has provided more information about the set's availability: "While there’s always going to be speculation, I hope to calm some of the more extreme concerns: Deciding how much of a product to produce is both art and science. For any LEGO product we must balance producing enough to meet demand with not over-producing.
"We (LEGO Ideas team) recognize the popularity of sets like the Exo Suit and make our best efforts to meet demand. We also learn and adapt from experiences where our estimates are off, and we sincerely hope you’re able to secure an Exo Suit or two for your own hangar bay if you so desire."