75170 The Phantom is the only set based on Star Wars Rebels in the Winter 2017 wave but it seems to have satisfied the majority of fans based solely on the inclusion of one character.
Grand Admiral Thrawn's arrival in Star Wars Rebels was announced at Star Wars Celebration during the summer and I was lucky enough to be in the audience for the panel so experienced the extraordinary reaction firsthand. It seems remarkable that LEGO has been able to produce a minifigure so quickly but it looks tremendous and will undoubtedly justify the purchase of this set for many fans, regardless of the other figures and models included. Nevertheless, the entirety of 75170 The Phantom looks quite impressive to me and I am delighted to be able to bring you a review today!
Kanan Jarrus was blinded during a lightsaber duel with Darth Maul at the end of the second season and now wears a decorated visor which is represented by a new piece here. I love the printed Jaig eyes and the dark green goes perfectly with the olive green colour of Kanan's new torso. This simple design is faithful to the character's updated appearance in the show and I like the printed belt which continues onto the hips and the legs, where Kanan also wears some armour to protect his knees.
The head features some new printing too as Kanan's beard is significantly thicker than that of earlier minifigures and his eyes are white to represent blindness which is quite effective in my opinion. He is armed with a blue lightsaber but no blaster, thereby reflecting his growing reliance upon the Force.
C1-10P, better known as Chopper, discovers this shuttle in a Separatist hangar bay and it is therefore only right that he is included in the set. The design remains unchanged since it first appeared in 75048 The Phantom from 2014 and it looks splendid, as ever, with mechanical details printed on the front of the cylindrical body as well as some indicators on the head.
These squat legs are only used for Chopper and they adequately represent his short statue, as does the unique body element which differs from those on other Astromech droids. Unfortunately there is no printing on the back of the body but dark yellow and black stripes run all the way around the circumference of the head so the figure is not left entirely blank when viewed from behind.
This set has garnered a great deal of attention based on the inclusion of Grand Admiral Thrawn who is making his first appearance as a minifigure! This exceptionally popular character has already crossed paths with our heroes on several occasions during season three of Star Wars Rebels and has often demonstrated his extraordinary tactical ability, endearing the cunning admiral to existing fans as well as new ones. The design of this minifigure is almost perfect as his torso is accurately printed with a white uniform on the front and back as well as golden shoulder buckles and a black belt.
Unfortunately the design of this figure is based on concept artwork for the character and his rank indicator is therefore showing the wrong colours. This is very frustrating but it seems unfair to blame LEGO for this as the graphic designer was not to know that his rank indicator would be updated. Perhaps a corrected version will be produced for another set at some point in the future.
I like Grand Admiral Thrawn's double-sided head and the two expressions look equally menacing, as do his piercing red eyes. Dual-moulded legs to represent boots would have been welcome but a plain white design is satisfactory in my opinion and I am quite pleased with the figure overall.
The Completed Model
The original Phantom was destroyed during the mission to Reklam Station and was soon replaced by a modified Sheathipede-class shuttle which is brightly decorated to match its predecessor. I like the design of the Phantom II and this model is impressively accurate on the whole, with a curved aft section and a smooth cockpit module which makes good use of a trans-black windscreen introduced in the Speed Champions range last year.
The landing legs can be folded up and sit fairly flush with the hull of the model, although there is quite a lot of unoccupied space and I am sure they could have been designed to fold away altogether. The more bothersome issue is that the landing gear does not extend to the same level as the forward pair are mounted a plate higher than those at the rear so the entire vessel tilts forward a little. Minor problems like these seem to plague Star Wars sets and I hope the designers will make a greater effort to resolve them in future.
Removing the canopy reveals the interior of the cockpit. There is little furnishing but you can seat a minifigure at the printed control panel and there is plenty of room for even Hera Syndulla's lekku to fit beneath the cockpit canopy. Chopper slots into a droid socket just behind the cockpit and this is accurately offset to the starboard side among some dark bluish grey greebling.
The entire cockpit section can be disconnected from the cargo section and is attached using two Technic pins as well as an axle. It is securely held in place when joined and this feature provides a little extra play value but seems unnecessary to me as we have yet to see the Phantom II use any such function in the animated series. Furthermore, missiles can be launched on either side of the hull and these are activated using a hidden switch at the back of the model.
I think the view from the rear is quite appealing but for the tan bricks on either side of the loading ramp. These could easily have been replaced by white pieces and that would look much better. However, the dorsal fin is nicely constructed using SNOT building techniques and each side is decorated with a sticker, as is the door at the back. The yellow switch for the missiles is visible just above the loading door in the images below.
The door hinges down to reveal a large space inside but this is entirely devoted to an Imperial crate which contains a printed thermal detonator. The Imperial insignia on the lid is represented by a tiny sticker which is quite difficult to align properly so I recommend using the tip of a brick separator to ensure accurate placement. It would have been nice to find some seating for additional minifigures inside but you could easily modify the model to include them if you wish.
The ability to connect with the Ghost is an integral feature of the Phantom in Star Wars Rebels and there has been considerable debate regarding whether or not this model will fit with 75053 The Ghost on the Brickset Forum. The unusual placement of some 2x2 round plates on the underside of the hull indicates that the model is designed to connect with something, but I was still eager to make absolutely sure...
Success! The narrow lower half of the Phantom II slides neatly into place between the Ghost's engine nacelles just as 75048 The Phantom did. This craft is far larger than the original and therefore occupies a much greater area but I applaud the designer's effort as it must have been very difficult to create a shuttle which would fit comfortably into an existing model.
The older set did not interfere with the shape of 75053 The Ghost to this extent but this was unavoidable given the larger size of 75170 The Phantom. I like the consistent colour scheme and it is also pleasing to note that the hinged flap behind the Ghost's dorsal turret slots into the new set just as it did for the original! While this design is not ideal for display it is excellent for play and I am delighted to be able to combine the two sets.
The extraordinary popularity of Grand Admiral Thrawn will draw many people to this set and it does not disappoint, despite a smattering of minor issues. The minifigures are excellent and the Phantom II is also quite impressive on the whole as the curved hull panels and dorsal fin are formed using some interesting building techniques. Moreover, the number of functions packed into the craft is very satisfying and I am glad that you can fit some extra minifigures in the cargo bay if you wish, although it is really designed to hold a munitions crate.
However, there is one disappointing aspect of the set which I have yet to discuss. 75170 The Phantom contains just 269 pieces but is priced at £39.99 in the UK and $39.99 in the US, far exceeding the cost one might have anticipated for such a small set. I was expecting a price of £29.99 or $29.99 and I think that would have been quite reasonable but the actual cost is significantly higher and I would be reluctant to recommend it unless the set is discounted. At that point it will be an absolute necessity for fans of Star Wars Rebels.
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