The Freemaker Adventures was introduced last year and yielded two sets in 2016. Two more have been released this summer, the smaller of which is 75185 Tracker I. This striking vessel has clearly taken inspiration from existing TIE series craft and looks very impressive, with three sleek wings arranged around an unusual hexagonal cockpit module.
I was not initially drawn to this set on the basis that the characters were of little interest to me but it has proven to be a very pleasant surprise. Not only does the model look brilliant on display but it is absolutely packed with detail and play features, making best possible use of the limited space available without affecting the appearance of the exterior.
Rowan Freemaker first appeared in 75147 StarScavenger last year but wears a new outfit in this set, consisting of a tan jacket with some pockets and a belt over a sand blue shirt. It looks great and features the Freemaker insignia on the back along with a continuation of the reddish brown belt. Rowan wears dark tan trousers to match and carries a standard blue lightsaber with a metallic silver hilt.
He also comes with a white flight helmet as an alternative to his hair piece. Unfortunately, the head is only printed with a single smiling expression, just as it was last year. A second angry or frightened face would have been welcome but the existing expression certainly captures Rowan's cheerful and excitable disposition.
The Tracker I is piloted by a specialist M-OC Hunter Droid designed to find and defeat enemies of the Empire. The droid features a brand new head component which recalls the shape of the Fifth Brother's helmet and includes plenty of moulded detail on the front and back. It is also decorated with a red mouth grille and bright red eyes, the latter of which look a lot like the eyes on Star-Lord's helmet from Guardians of the Galaxy.
The high level of detail continues onto the torso and legs where various mechanical details are visible alongside some more red highlights. One again, these designs are similar to those seen on the Inquisitors from Star Wars Rebels and this figure sports the same shoulder armour element as the Fifth Brother, albeit without printing. The clip on the back could be used to store one of the two red lightsabers included, although it is more useful for seating the figure in the cockpit of the Tracker I.
Emperor Palpatine searched desperately for the Kyber Saber in season one of The Freemaker Adventures and is now determined to punish Rowan for his part in its destruction. This version of the Emperor is identical to that found in 75159 Death Star and 75183 Darth Vader Transformation, wearing black robes with a hood and a cape made from pliable fabric. There is no printing on the back of the torso but the front is nicely decorated and I like the metallic silver clasp which secures the robes around Palpatine's neck.
The head includes a furious expression on one side and a cruel smile on the other along with yellow eyes and some intricate wrinkles. His tan skin looks appropriately sickly but I would like to have seen some more comical expressions, reflecting the Emperor's childish behaviour and attitude in the animated series. The figure comes complete with a pair of Force Lightning elements cast in a mixture of trans-light blue and trans-blue.
The set also includes a standard Probe Droid which is very similar to that found in 75138 Hoth Attack from last year. It features four articulated manipulator arms which hang beneath the rounded sensor pod and the figure is displayed on a trans-clear stand to give the impression of hovering. I think it looks pretty good on the whole but there is still some room for improvement at minifigure scale as the photoreceptors are a little too prominent at the moment. Nevertheless, this is a perfect addition to the set and might be dispatched in advance of the Tracker I.
The Completed Model
The design of the Tracker I has taken obvious inspiration from the non-canonical TIE Phantom as well as the TIE Defender and the TIE Striker. Its dagger-like wings recall those of the TIE Striker while the configuration is similar to that of a TIE Defender as the three wings are attached behind the cockpit. The vessel looks brilliant, with a sleek profile ideal for stealthily tracking rebel targets. Furthermore, it measures 34cm in length so is just the right size and weight to be flown around, with a sturdy internal structure and rigid wings.
The hexagonal structure of the fuselage is almost entirely reliant upon the Combo NEXO Power Shields which were introduced at the start of this year. Four are stacked within the cockpit module but only one is left visible at the base. Some additional engine detailing on the underside would have been welcome as it is difficult to tell how the vehicle is propelled without some glowing translucent elements, although this flat design ensures absolute stability when the model is on display.
The vessel lands on its end like the Slave I and three hatches open to reveal the detailed interior. They are hinged at the base so form loading ramps and a latch at the top ensures that each side remains tightly closed during flight. A red boarding ladder is visible inside alongside a gear, the purpose of which will become clear shortly. The ladder does not actually lead up the cockpit but is nevertheless a nice inclusion as you could pose the M-OC droid as though it is climbing on board.
Opening the second hatch allows access to the prison cell where Rowan is currently ensconced. There is room to place any standard minifigure behind the barred gate, demonstrating that the designer has used the available space to its fullest potential. It looks great and I like the angular shaping of the hull surrounding the doorway which also fits perfectly around the boarding ramp when it is closed.
The gate folds down to access the prisoner but removing them would be quite tricky as the doorway is fairly small. Thankfully, a simple Technic mechanism allows you to push the minifigure forward or pop them out entirely by turning the black gear behind the first hatch! This works very well and again shows excellent attention to detail.
The final hatch can be opened to reveal two lightsabers clipped to the wall. There would be space to store a couple more accessories or even an extra minifigure if you wish, although only two clips are included so any additional equipment would rattle around during flight. The trailers for The Freemaker Adventures have revealed that the M-OC Hunter Droid is fitted with a selection of additional arms on its back. They are not present in this set but you could construct your own and store them in the weapons locker, just to fill the extra room.
The cockpit is situated above the storage section and the triangular design continues as three canopies are arranged around the seat in the centre. This allows the pilot maximum visibility so contrasts with the typically restricted view from traditional TIE Fighter cockpits. It looks marvellous and these trans-black canopies have only appeared once before without printing in 70589 Rock Roader. Each one opens on a hinge, revealing a blaster and a pair of handcuffs which are clipped behind the seat as well as two printed control consoles.
The model is constructed with the studs facing forwards so the seat is accordingly unusual as it does not feature a studded surface for a minifigure. Instead, the M-OC Hunter Droid clips onto the back of the seat and rotates into position which works perfectly, although this reduces its versatility as other pilots will be unable to sit securely in the cockpit. Nevertheless, the droid looks great when sat in place and I like the trans-red details on the rear wall, matching the colour of the exterior accents.
I was initially uncertain about the black, dark bluish grey and blue colour scheme but in person it looks superb, recalling the design of LEGO TIE-series craft before 2009. This is a fun reference and it fits fairly well with established Imperial design so this could form part of a hangar bay scene. Spring-loaded shooters are located on the exterior edge of each wing and the tips feature blasters which are attached using click hinges.
The wings appear very narrow but actually consist of three plates layered to provide stability. This design leaves the studs exposed on one side and the tubes underneath visible on the other which is slightly bothersome. However, it looks fine from a distance and I am not sure how else the triple-wing design could have been constructed at minifigure scale.
I had little expectation for the two sets based on The Freemaker Adventures which have been released this summer, based primarily upon the disappointment surrounding last year's 75147 StarScavenger. However, 75185 Tracker I is a delightful set, featuring an excellent vehicle of unique design as well as a good selection of minifigures. The M-OC Hunter Droid is particularly pleasing and would not look out of place among the Inquisitors from Star Wars Rebels in my opinion, if you wished to expand their ranks.
The set includes 557 pieces and is priced at £64.99 or $69.99 so is by no means a bargain, although I think the size of the vessel justifies the cost to some extent. Unfortunately, I suspect the excellent smaller sets in the current Star Wars range will draw attention away from the Tracker I but it has far surpassed my expectations and I would definitely recommend this set if you are a fan of The Freemaker Adventures.
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