The Microfighters range began in 2014 and has since become fairly popular, although it does not usually receive very much attention in relation to other Star Wars sets. However, 75196 A-wing vs. TIE Silencer Microfighters really stands out this year, due in particular to the inclusion of two highly desirable minifigures!
Kylo Ren has only appeared in three previous sets, all of which are fairly expensive. This set costs just £16.99 or $19.99 so provides a perfect opportunity to acquire the villain at a more modest price. I have also been looking forward to the brand new A-wing Pilot and both vehicles look superb so this should prove to be an excellent Microfighters twin pack.
Please note that this review is spoiler free.
The A-wing Pilot is instantly recognisable as Tallissan Lintra, a relatively prominent character in Star Wars: The Last Jedi who only appears in this set. She wears an olive green flight suit which is highly detailed, as we have come to expect of LEGO's Rebel and Resistance pilot minifigures, along with a white scarf which clearly conveys the connection between Second World War pilots and those in the Star Wars universe.
I like Tallie's light bluish grey flak vest and the breathing apparatus fitted to her chest looks great. The double-sided head also looks brilliant when compared with the movie, although I think a smiling expression might have been more suited to the character's personality than the stern face shown in the image above. The orange-tinted visor on the other side is absolutely perfect though and lines up very nicely with the helmet.
Red and white is a striking colour combination on the helmet and I love the tiny icons printed on each side, all of which are faithful to the source material. The dark bluish grey details and yellow stripes are also a perfect match for the movie. Unfortunately, viewing the minifigure from close range reveals an uneven line between the white and red sections of the helmet. This becomes less apparent from a distance but is still bothersome. Nevertheless, this is a splendid minifigure on the whole I am glad to add another named pilot to my collection.
Impressive though the A-wing Pilot is, I have no doubt that Kylo Ren will be the highlight of this set for many collectors. This version of the fallen Jedi is based upon his appearance in Star Wars: The Last Jedi so features a deep scar and sunken eyes which look suitably evil. The head is printed with two different expressions to reflect Kylo's emotional turmoil, one of which looks fairly calm while the other shows the character in a furious rage!
A silver stitched pattern depicts the texture of Ren's black robe. It looks fantastic and I like the intricate decoration on the belt buckle which also appeared in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Naturally, Kylo is armed with his famed crossguard lightsaber which includes a pearl dark grey hilt rather than the black one found in 75179 Kylo Ren's TIE Fighter. Ideally the figure would also have come with a cape, as in 75179 Kylo Ren's TIE Fighter, but he usually removes it during combat so looks equally good without that accessory in my opinion.
The Completed Model
The Rebel Alliance fleet proved to be highly effective against Imperial forces during the Galactic Civil War, due in part to their excellent fighter craft. It therefore seems logical that the Resistance would be reliant upon the next generation of those starfighters, including the RZ-2 A-wing. This sleek vehicle works surprisingly well in Microfighters form, featuring some splendid detail and an attractive colour scheme of blue and white.
I was concerned that the unusual proportions of a Microfighter would be ill-suited to the narrow profile of the A-wing but a series of curved slopes at the front forms a lovely shape. The flick-fire missiles on either side look great too and there is space to seat a minifigure inside the cockpit. There are no controls which is a shame but I do like the tiny trans-clear 1x1 slope representing the comically impractical canopy!
A clever combination of round bricks and brackets are used to form the twin engines at the rear of the fighter. The stabilising fins above and below each engine look marvellous and I love how they are angled inwards towards the top, using Technic pins. This angle exceeds that seen in the film but seems appropriate for a Microfighter. Furthermore, the designer has found room to include a pearl silver radiator grille between the engines so detail is included even where it can hardly be seen.
A small flight of yellow steps is included, allowing Tallie Lintra to board her starfighter. This model feels totally superfluous to me but provides storage for an additional flick-fire missile, a wrench and a blaster pistol. Its colours are consistent with other Resistance equipment we have seen in the movies so in that respect the design is successful but I would rather this had been omitted so the pieces could have been used to improve the main models.
The TIE Silencer is one of the most interesting new vehicles from Star Wars: The Last Jedi so I am pleased to see it in the Microfighter range alongside 75194 First Order TIE Fighter Microfighter this year. Black and dark bluish grey dominates the model which is ideal in relation to the movie and the trans-red cockpit viewport looks magnificent too, standing out beautifully against the muted colours of the fuselage.
I am less impressed with the wings. Their dagger-like shape has been truncated to fit the style of this subtheme, as one would anticipate, but the resultant colours and proportions look rather odd to me. A 2x4 wedge plate should have been used in the place of each black 2x3 wedge plate towards the front of the wings and I do not like the light bluish grey pieces at the rear either. In addition, the central section between the solar collector arrays has been entirely omitted, spoiling their appearance when viewed from the side.
However, the cockpit looks much better, including a seat for Kylo Ren alongside a printed control panel. I like the reddish brown upholstery inside and the thrust arrays at the rear, represented by black 1x2 lattice slopes, look great. Two flick-fire missiles are fitted beneath the fuselage. These have only a limited range but are very easily accessible and offer some additional play value by matching the A-wing's weaponry.
75196 A-wing vs. TIE Silencer Microfighters seems certain to prove extremely popular and I definitely think it is worthy of such excitement. Both minifigures look marvellous and seeing Kylo Ren in a set of this size is a delight, even though his cape is absent. Tallie Lintra is only available here so is also very appealing, especially given the consistently high standard of LEGO Rebel and Resistance pilot minifigures.
The A-wing is equally impressive, including considerable detail and authentic colours despite its small size. Kylo Ren's TIE Silencer, on the other hand, is lacking a couple of major design features so is my least favourite part of the set. Nevertheless, 75196 A-wing vs. TIE Silencer Microfighters offers two popular characters along with their respective vehicles at a reasonable price so I would certainly recommend this set.
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