Impressive piloting skills are a consistent and vital characteristic of the Skywalker family so I am looking forward to seeing Kylo Ren in action during Star Wars: The Last Jedi. 75179 Kylo Ren's TIE Fighter depicts the specialised TIE Silencer, a successor to the TIE Interceptor that combines exceptional speed with a heavy armament.
New TIE series craft seem to appear in almost every wave of LEGO Star Wars products and the latest addition is among the largest yet, containing 630 pieces. I like the design of the vehicle and the minifigure selection is very appealing but £74.99 or $79.99 seems rather expensive for a set of this kind, particularly when compared with 2016's 75154 TIE Striker.
Kylo Ren felt conflict between the Light and Dark Sides during Star Wars: The Force Awakens and his ragged attire reflected this. Having now committed himself to Supreme Leader Snoke and the First Order his robes appear tidier but he looks no less threatening, featuring a scar across his right eye and two expressions. The first seems fairly calm but the second demonstrates Kylo's intense anger, showing bared teeth and arched eyebrows. I like both expressions and the hair piece looks great, matching the onscreen style nicely.
The villain wears a simple robe featuring a silver stitched pattern as well as a black cape made from a pliable fabric which will not become creased when the figure is seated. I am pleased to see his intricately detailed belt make a return from the previous film and the leg printing looks great too, neatly continuing the pattern from the torso.
Kylo's unusual crossguard lightsaber is instantly recognisable and I am pleased to see it return in LEGO form. I was initially unsure about the blade element which was designed for the weapon but have grown to quite like it, although I am a little disappointed to see the original pearl dark grey hilt replaced with a black one. This is perhaps more faithful to the colour of the prop but pearl dark grey felt a bit more special to me.
BB-8 proved to be one of the most popular characters from Star Wars: The Force Awakens so the arrival of several new BB-series units, including the villainous BB-9E, is unsurprising. This little droid features the same spherical body as its heroic counterpart but is decorated with an attractive black and silver colour scheme. I also like the new conical head which features some more silver printing as well as a disconcerting red photoreceptor.
I am always pleased to add another First Order Stormtrooper to my collection and a few such figures appear across the Star Wars: The Last Jedi range. The design of the First Order's infantry has been slightly updated for the new movie but these changes are very subtle and are not reflected on the minifigure. I would have been glad to see the narrower mouth included on the new figure but am also pleased that LEGO chose to maintain the same design as that allows you to add troops from the new sets to your existing army.
The shaping of the helmet looks brilliant and I love the printed detail present across the helmet, torso and legs. A standard Clone Trooper head is found beneath the helmet which is somewhat disappointing, although it appears suitably generic for soldiers of this kind. The Stormtrooper is armed with a black blaster rifle so will slot into line perfectly beside his comrades found in other sets.
A lone First Order TIE Pilot completes the minifigure selection. A similar figure previously appeared in 75101 First Order Special Forces TIE Fighter but this one features red stripes on the helmet, denoting that he is a member of the Special Forces who might pilot experimental craft such as the TIE Silencer. The helmet is cast with impressive detail and includes a black hose which fits over the torso, simulating a connection to the printed life support pack.
The torso and legs are identical to those which appeared on the 2015 First Order TIE Fighter Pilot minifigure, featuring a few colourful buttons and a creased flight suit. It looks splendid and the shiny silver details are particularly attractive as they match similar designs on the helmet. I love the original pilot from The Force Awakens but the additional red stripes really elevate the figure in my opinion and it is actually among my favourites of this wave!
The Completed Model
The TIE Silencer measures 41cm in length so matches the size of 75154 TIE Striker. It looks very sleek and I like the angular wings which correspond with the unusual shape of the cockpit in the centre. The black and dark bluish grey colour scheme is attractive and contrasts nicely with the light bluish grey of 75101 First Order Special Forces TIE Fighter.
The wing configuration is reminiscent of the TIE Interceptor but each panel is far longer and narrower. They are shaped using click hinges which are quite sturdy and the connection between the wings and the fuselage is equally rigid. This ensures that the model is highly swooshable as it imitates the structure of the recent 75154 TIE Striker by using Technic liftarms and axles to form the joint which proved problematic on some earlier models.
Each solar array wing features some mechanical details in the centre. These are very simple but match the source material nicely and I particularly like the 2x2 printed tiles which have only appeared in four previous sets. Promotional images of the vessel suggest that the central wing panel should feature a little more dark bluish grey, although I think it looks alright in its current state and I like the twin missile launchers set between the prongs.
Most TIE series vehicles feature a circular cockpit viewport but the TIE Silencer's is octagonal to match the angular profile of the entire starfighter. This has been rendered fairly well on the LEGO model as a printed 3x6 windscreen element forms the upper surface and a row of 1x2 tiles represent the flat area at the front. Some of the support stanchions are missing which is a shame but I think a specialised element would have been required for greater accuracy and I prefer the brick-built design, especially since the trans-red windscreen is printed.
Another printed element is used on top of the cockpit and forms the access hatch. This includes four red viewport strips which allow the pilot to see enemy fighters approaching from above as well as some subtler light bluish details which represent joins in the hull plating. The panel looks superb and I like the rows of pearl silver grilles surrounding the cockpit too. It is worth noting that this set includes just two stickers, depicting the sides of the cockpit viewport, but all other decorations are printed.
The hatch opens on a hinge to reveal a seat for Kylo Ren inside. This area is reasonably spacious but lacks a control console which is surprising as there would definitely be room for a simple yoke or a printed 2x1 slope in front of the seat. Of course, you could always add your own controls but they should really be included in the official model. It would also have been nice to see a different construction method used for the centre of the viewport as only the 3x6 windscreen on top is transparent, although the current design is very sturdy so is ideal for play.
The angular shapes which dominate the TIE Silencer continue right to the back of the vehicle where a single trans-red thrust band is found. This thruster is divided into three sections by a series of 1x2 bricks with click hinges which look great, closely resembling the bodywork of the craft in the film. The blue Technic pins visible beside the thrusters are less attractive but the shape of the armour ensures that these can only be seen from certain angles.
The underside of the TIE Silencer is fairly bland but for two spring-loaded shooters which are well hidden below the cockpit. These are activated by pressing down on Technic liftarms hidden among the details on top of the fuselage and work very well, as usual. I think a couple more functions would have improved this set based on its size alone but its design is naturally restricted by the nature of the vehicle in the film. Furthermore, the most vital aspect of playing with a model like this is its swooshability and in that respect it is excellent!
LEGO Star Wars designers have really found the most effective means of recreating TIE-series vehicles over the last few years and 75179 Kylo Ren's TIE Fighter maintains the high standard we have come to expect of these models. I like the design of the TIE Silencer within the Star Wars universe and this rendition seems to be very faithful to the source material, although though there is a little room for improvement around the cockpit in my opinion.
However, the most pressing issue from my point of view is definitely the price. This is a large model but it does not warrant a cost of £74.99 or $79.99 given the inclusion of just four minifigures and the lack of functions. 75154 TIE Striker offers far better value and I think a matching price of £64.99 or $69.99 would be fair for this set. Nevertheless, the TIE Silencer and its associated minifigures are superb on the whole and I would recommend the set at a discount, just not at full price.
I hope you have found this review informative. Let us know by liking this article and share your thoughts on the set in the comments below.