The T-65B X-wing Starfighter is among the most popular vehicles from throughout the Star Wars saga. Numerous different renditions of the craft have been produced at various scales, although six years have passed since the last such model was released.
75218 X-wing Starfighter is therefore an exciting set as a range of new elements have been introduced since 2012, including a cockpit canopy that was originally created for 75102 Poe's X-wing Fighter. The structure of the fuselage has undergone a considerable update too so my expectations for this set are exceptionally high!
Luke Skywalker appeared in the very first LEGO rendition of an X-wing, 7140 X-wing Fighter, which was released in 1999. Minifigure design has advanced a great deal since then and this version of the character looks marvellous, featuring a double-sided head with a smile on one side and a determined expression on the other. Luke wields a blue lightsaber and a standard blaster pistol.
Sixteen years have passed since Biggs Darklighter last appeared in a LEGO Star Wars set so I am delighted to see him return! His head features two different smiling expressions and a moustache, for which Biggs is well known. Both pilots wear the same orange flight suit, consisting of a white flak vest, a colourful life support unit and a light bluish grey harness that continues from the torso onto the legs.
Rebel Pilots have worn the same helmet component throughout the entire history of LEGO Star Wars. That element was excellent, given its age, but the new design represents a significant improvement in my opinion, including a superb trans-orange visor. The printed decoration matches the source material exactly and is remarkably intricate. I am particularly impressed with the chequerboard pattern on Biggs' helmet.
R2-D2 accompanies Luke during the Battle of Yavin and has appeared in every minifigure-scale model of the T-65 X-wing. The pearl silver dome looks great and I like the dark blue highlights which are printed all the way around the dome. Additional panels decorate the front of Artoo's cylindrical body but these are not present on the back, unfortunately.
7915 Imperial V-wing Starfighter included an R2-Q2 minifigure and a droid with the same designation appears here. However, they belong to opposing factions and are not totally identical in appearance, featuring slightly different black and white stripes on their domes. This design is perfectly accurate to the source material and the blue processor state indicator really stands out against the comparatively muted shades of dark bluish grey and pearl silver.
The Completed Model
This vehicle measures 34cm in length so is similar in size to its predecessor, 9493 X-wing Starfighter. However, the design of the model has been updated quite significantly, combining the most appealing aspects of past minifigure-scale X-wings and even including some impressive details from 10240 Red Five X-wing Starfighter. Moreover, the colour scheme of white and dark red looks superb in relation to the movies.
Few changes have been made to the X-wing's nose since 4502 X-wing Fighter was released in 2004. Its hexagonal shape has not been captured perfectly but significant alterations might compromise the rigidity of the craft. In addition, the present design provides room for the landing gear to fold up inside and the bright light yellow highlights along the top of the fuselage certainly represent an improvement over previous models.
A new canopy element was produced for 75102 Poe's X-wing Fighter and it suits the T-65 X-wing as well as the T-70 model in my opinion. The printed frame looks fantastic and I like how this component has been integrated with the fuselage. A pair of white stud shooters represent the proton torpedo tubes on either side of the craft. These may not appeal to everyone but they are excellent for play and can be removed with ease.
The cockpit features a seat for the pilot, a printed control panel and two dark bluish grey grille slopes which form part of the flight control systems. Furthermore, a red fire extinguisher is placed behind the seat. This is a fun detail but the space might have been occupied by a targeting computer which could fold out to reach over the minifigure's shoulder.
Astromech droid sockets have appeared on every rendition of the X-wing Starfighter but this design is better than its predecessors, allowing R2-D2 or R2-Q2 to face forwards rather than sideways. This area of the fuselage appears fragile but is actually remarkably sturdy and I think it looks superb, although the socket is not completely enclosed on either side.
The engines have also been updated quite substantially since 9493 X-wing Starfighter was released in 2012. They now include vertical braces which are represented by light bluish grey ice picks, borrowing an impressive building technique from 10240 Red Five X-wing Starfighter. 1x4 curved window frames form the armour plating around the engine and the thrust nozzles feature trans-pink dishes so match the pink glow of the engines in the films.
Dark red stripes denote the callsign for each X-wing during the Battle of Yavin and this model includes alternative stickers, placed on 2x3 tiles, so you can switch between Biggs Darklighter's Red Three and Luke Skywalker's Red Five. This is a delightful detail and the stickers line up nicely with some dark red tiles on each wing. The laser cannons appear rather short beside the fuselage but I do like the spring-loaded shooters.
The fuselage of an X-wing starfighter appears octagonal when viewed from behind and that has been captured effectively here, using two mudguard elements. The mechanical details look marvellous too, including a round S-foil servo actuator which is visible in the movies and has been represented by a large Technic gear on most previous X-wings.
However, the S-foils on this model are activated using a tan element on top of the fuselage. Pushing this switch forward will cause the wings to open fairly quickly, improving quite considerably upon past designs which have opened gradually. Unfortunately, there is little mechanical detail on top of the craft but I still think it looks good, due in particular to the attractive sand blue highlights.
Rubber bands keep the S-foils together when they are closed. The function works perfectly and the white rubber bands do not appear out of place, although I prefer the design in 10240 Red Five X-wing Starfighter which is not reliant upon rubber bands. Moreover, the levers that actually open the wings are very well hidden as they are situated near the fuselage, as demonstrated in the image below.
The underside of the X-wing is less detailed than the upper surface, as one would expect. There are some colourful highlights on the wings though and the Technic frame inside is almost entirely hidden. The starfighter cannot land properly with its S-foils in attack position so pressing a button underneath will close the wings automatically. I was surprised by the simplicity of this mechanism but its inclusion shows great attention to detail.
75218 X-wing Starfighter is definitely the best minifigure-scale rendition of an X-wing that LEGO has produced. Its fuselage looks great when compared with the source material and I love the bright light yellow highlights which provide a brilliant splash of colour to the vehicle. Furthermore, the minifigures are excellent, although another pilot and their respective Astromech droid would have been welcome.
Unfortunately, this set costs £89.99 in the UK or 99.99€ across most of the eurozone and that seems expensive. Its price of $79.99 in the US is far more reasonable but those in other countries may prefer to wait for a discount. Nevertheless, 75218 X-wing Starfighter is a magnificent set and I would certainly recommend adding it to your collection.
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This set was provided for review by The LEGO Group but the review is an expression of my own opinions.