The climactic lightsaber duel between Rey and Kylo Ren during Star Wars: The Force Awakens has become relatively popular and 75236 Duel on Starkiller Base should therefore prove to be an outstanding set. Two important minifigures are included and the updated rendition of Kylo Ren is exclusively available here.
Furthermore, the Starkiller Base model appears rather unusual when compared with other official sets. Numerous functions are included but the environment seems more intricately detailed than many comparable products. Hopefully that will result in an enjoyable set.
Three different versions of Rey have been produced since 2015 and this minifigure is based upon her original appearance. The dark brown hair piece looks fantastic when compared with the film, featuring considerable textured detail, while the head includes smiling and determined expressions. The simple freckles are an accurate inclusion as well.
Rey wears dark tan robes and a contrasting dark orange belt around her waist. The design is relatively plain but looks perfect and I like the light bluish grey sections beneath this layered cloth. However, dual-moulded arms would have been a welcome addition, potentially representing Rey's exposed shoulders. The minifigure carries a blue lightsaber and a stud shooter that corresponds with the Stormtrooper rifle used briefly during this scene.
Kylo Ren appears in several sets but this example is unique, wearing tattered robes. The difference is subtle but I appreciate such attention to detail and the damage looks realistic. Metallic silver details are printed on the belt buckle but the villain should be wearing gloves during this scene so the presence of flesh hands is somewhat disappointing.
Moreover, this minifigure includes an exclusive double-sided head. One side appears angry while the other is decorated with a prominent scar which looks nice, although its position actually reflects Kylo's appearance during Star Wars: The Last Jedi rather than The Force Awakens. Nevertheless, I am very satisfied with this version of the character and he wields an excellent crossguard lightsaber.
The Completed Model
Rey encounters Kylo Ren in a forested area near the thermal oscillator. The essential features of that environment are represented here, including some trees and exposed rocks, but it appears fairly bland in my opinion. Nevertheless, the combination of studs and smooth surfaces is effective and the layered plates beneath the ground provide a sturdy base.
Two rotating platforms are included, enabling the minifigures to duel. This function is simple but works perfectly and I love the trans-orange streak running between them, representing the shattering crust of Starkiller Base as the planet begins to collapse. The contrast between trans-orange and white plates is very striking, although I was hoping the magma could be hidden until the model actually opens.
Hinges allow you to expand this fissure, separating the minifigures and accurately recreating a pivotal moment from the movie. The environment looks great in this configuration but I think different building techniques might have enabled the designer to include more trans-orange elements which could slide underneath the opposing surface. I am quite pleased with this feature though and it certainly provides significant play value.
Additional functions are hidden among the trees. The tallest tree on the left side can be knocked over, reflecting the damage which is inflicted upon the forest during the lightsaber duel. Once again, this function is simple but it does correspond with the film and the rocks behind the tree provide an attractive background for this climactic scene.
Toppling one of the smaller trees will reveal a storage area underneath, demonstrating impressive use of every available space. The trees themselves seem rather plain but the combination of green leaves and white ones is brilliant and I like their textured trunks too. Of course, the trees can be reconfigured easily so you can adjust their relative heights for different displays.
Relatively few LEGO Star Wars sets are focused upon locations and this example seems particularly unusual given its small size. However, I am very pleased with 75236 Duel on Starkiller Base. It looks superb on display and includes some interesting functions, my favourite of which is undoubtedly the expanding crevice between Rey and Kylo Ren.
The minifigures are marvellous as well. Rey is fairly common but has not appeared wearing this attire since 75178 Jakku Quadjumper was released in 2017 while Kylo Ren is unique and his double-sided head looks great. This set costs £17.99 or $19.99 so appears to offer reasonable value, although I think the actual model feels quite small for that price. Even so, this is an enjoyable set and I would recommend it following a discount.
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