Review: 7140 X-wing Fighter

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LEGO Star Wars began during 1999 and several excellent sets appeared within that range. 7140 X-wing Fighter is a particularly notable example and looks distinctive, featuring an unusual light grey colour scheme which differs from modern renditions of the same classic starfighter.

In addition, the original X-wing is much smaller than its myriad successors, containing 266 pieces. Nevertheless, the model looks impressive in official images so I decided it might be interesting to take a closer look at a product which has shaped the entire LEGO Star Wars range, two decades after the set was initially released.

Box and Contents

The packaging for LEGO Star Wars sets has been updated on many occasions but the classic design from 1999 remains among my favourites. I like the Original Trilogy emblem and the X-wing looks very dynamic. It is it interesting that the background image is not taken from Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. Instead, this is the reactor shaft where Emperor Palpatine met his apparent end during Return of the Jedi!

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Opening the box reveals a separate cardboard tray containing the pieces, an instruction manual and a leaflet advertising other contemporary sets. These include the Adventurers theme, Rock Raiders and Slizer. Furthermore, the instruction booklet includes a comic and several inspiration models which can be constructed using the elements in this set.

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Minifigures

Three different Luke Skywalker minifigures emerged during 1999 and the version wearing his orange flight suit seems especially popular, recently inspiring a twentieth anniversary minifigure. The helmet is decorated with two Rebel insignia beside some hazard stripes and an identical element remains in use today. Luke's head, on the other hand, has been updated on multiple occasions and the original design looks rather plain.

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Biggs Darklighter accompanies Luke and shares his head with many Town minifigures. Nevertheless, his distinctive moustache is present and the helmet looks magnificent, featuring a lovely chequerboard pattern. Both pilots wear metallic silver life support units over white flak vests. These look simple when compared with later designs but the essential features are included. Biggs is unarmed but Luke wields a lightsaber with a chrome hilt.

View image at flickr

More than a thousand Star Wars figures have been created since 1999 and R2-D2 is among the most prolific characters. This rendition contrasts with its modern counterpart, consisting of white pieces with some metallic silver and blue designs. The resultant droid looks good, although its head only occupies the uppermost section of the dome which seems slightly odd. Presumably that can be attributed to the limitations in printing technology during 1999.

View image at flickr

The set also contains a Rebel Mechanic, sporting a tan uniform with a matching cap. This minifigure takes inspiration from the attendants preparing Rebel starfighters before the Battle of Yavin and I like his simple attire, although there is no back printing. Much like Biggs, his moustachioed head was not created specifically for Star Wars, instead originating in the Pirates theme from 1989.

7140 X-wing Fighter

The Completed Model

Maintenance vehicles have appeared in numerous LEGO Star Wars sets and this example is relatively detailed, consisting of three sections which are connected using ball joints. The entire model moves on black 2x2 sliders and includes two exposed studs where the driver can stand, as exhibited below. I like the lever controls and the drive unit also carries some black 2x2 bricks alongside a pair of trans-yellow cones that represent marshalling wands.

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The central section is designed for transporting personnel to their starfighters while the rear includes some maintenance equipment and a fuelling hose. Rebel transport speeders do appear in the movie and this rendition is reasonably accurate, although the yellow highlights appear out of place in my view. The vehicle certainly provides additional play value though.

View image at flickr

X-wing starfighters are distinguished by their unique silhouette and this model is instantly recognisable. It measures 27cm in length so is significantly smaller than subsequent designs and its light grey colour scheme further differentiates this rendition of a T-65 X-wing from others. There has been some debate surrounding the most suitable colour for these vehicles and I understand why grey was chosen for the original set, although I prefer white.

View image at flickr

Moreover, this model includes red highlights along its flanks while modern versions feature dark red as an accent colour. That shade was not introduced until 2001 and red is an excellent alternative. The tan details are similarly attractive and remained in use for many years, only being replaced with bright light yellow when 75218 X-wing Starfighter was released in 2018.

View image at flickr

The nose incorporates a printed wedge slope which represents the sensor window while the cockpit features a printed canopy. This component was designed for X-wings, Y-wing and Snowspeeders so does not match any vehicle perfectly, although it resembles them all. Angled bricks form the tapering shape of the fuselage and this design appears reasonably streamlined.

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Click hinges enable the cockpit to open, revealing the pilot along with a printed console. This displays the targeting computer as the X-wing manoeuvres through the Death Star's meridian trench. However, the minifigure cannot actually reach the control console as that part of the cockpit is too narrow. There are additional controls beside the pilot though and R2-D2 slots into an Astromech droid socket behind the cockpit.

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Unfortunately, the droid socket is not enclosed so it seems rather awkward with its occupant removed. The printed mechanical details look superb though and I appreciate the storage compartment which is large enough for Luke's lightsaber, albeit only with the blade removed from the hilt. Another concealed storage bay is situated within the nose.

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The vehicle appears unusually bland from behind, lacking the round S-foil servo actuator which appears on later models. I like the printed 1x2 tile though and the glowing engines look marvellous, despite their simple construction. Subtle details are not represented here but the broader shape has been captured with surprising accuracy, given the age of this set.

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Additional printed tiles are fitted on both dorsal wings, identifying this X-wing as Red Five. Once again, such details appear rudimentary when compared with modern sets but the most prominent features of the source material are included. However, their proportions in relation to the fuselage could definitely be improved.

View image at flickr

Each wing is connected to the fuselage using two click hinges so they can switch into attack position, as demonstrated below. This function works perfectly and the comparatively lightweight S-foils do not require rubber bands for support which is pleasing. Moreover, the vehicle includes detachable landing gear so you can display this model with its wings open, without the need for a separate stand.

View image at flickr

Overall

7140 X-wing Fighter is the ultimate representative of LEGO Star Wars and its origins. This may not be the best rendition of an X-wing that LEGO has produced but many important details from the movies are included, despite the presence of relatively few specialised elements. Furthermore, the model feels remarkably robust and its functions have been integrated reasonably neatly.

View image at flickr

The minifigure selection is similarly impressive. They appear considerably less detailed than their modern equivalents but each character is recognisable and I was pleasantly surprised by the intricate helmet printing, especially on Biggs Darklighter. 7140 X-wing Fighter falls short of modern LEGO Star Wars sets in certain respects but the theme might not exist without sets like this one.

Which set do you consider most representative of the LEGO Star Wars theme and did you purchase this set in 1999? Let us know in the comments.View image at flickr

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View image at flickr

Overall

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58 comments on this article

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By in United States,

Nice!
I will always still want to have those extra compartments again.

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By in Portugal,

One of my first Lego Star Wars sets, still have it on the shelve! Pure nostalgia! Blocky, but quite effective! Love it!

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By in United States,

Nostalgia! Yes!

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By in United States,

This set really put the "snub" in snubfighter :)

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By in United States,

For me, this set may have been my very first LEGO set with instructions. If not first, then within my first ten LEGO sets of my life that would begin my LEGO building hobby.

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By in United States,

Would it be possible to post comparison pics against other X-wing? Specially 10240. :)

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By in Germany,

Somehow this set to me appears to have far more soul than all the newer ones.

Sure, nowadays printing has improved considerably on the minifigs and ever more specialized parts make newer renditions more true to the source material, but this first one is so swooshable and charming in so many ways that none of the newer ones can compete.
Plus, without those first ones there wouldn't even be the ones we have today.

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By in United States,

I remember buying this set way back when. I was about to go to grad school so I wasn't able to put it together. I left it in the box until I had time to enjoy it, which wasn’t until years later and then I did have the heart to open it up. I ended up buying a used one off eBay and kept the original as is.

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By in United States,

This is great! Brickset should do more reviews of older sets. This set came out before I was born, but I still have a lot of nostalgia for these original Star Wars sets. They did after all kick off one of my top favorite LEGO themes!

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By in United States,

They should rerelease older sets such as this. Classic yellow heads.

Though I don’t believe the tan plates exactly add a supreme level of detail...

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By in Germany,

Wow, that comic in the instructions is pure gold! Add to that the SIX(!) extra alternative models and this scrappy little model suddenly gets a lot better than it looks now.

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By in United States,

I just showed this set to my young cousins when they asked "what were your first Lego sets?" Crazy to believe I have been in this hobby for nearly 20 years now!

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By in United States,

Yay more retro reviews! I had been asking for these even before you guys thought to start doing them.

I remember hearing something about the cockpit window being modeled after an old Lego battery box or something...

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By in United Kingdom,

My first official Lego Star Wars model, after having tried my hand at building a few (including my own take on the X Wing) in prior years.

And, what's even better: no stickers!!

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By in United Kingdom,

The minifig face prints are certainly interesting, especially Luke, which is downright disturbing. I think it may be the eyebrows and beady eyes. But the ‘tache on the rebel “pirate” mechanic is pure comedy gold though!

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By in Brazil,

Great set
Took me out of the Dark Side of my dark era
Simple and effective model, would be better than the modern junior sets
I am glad I didn’t miss it

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By in United Kingdom,

I feel like it's interesting that this line of five sets introduced new moulds for the wings, laser cannons and cockpits, as well as the engines which were unique to the X-wing at the time of release (though they soon showed up in the Phantom Menace wave of sets). Plus the click hinges were an entirely new system of hinges for the sets of this year. All of these moulds are commonplace now, but I think it's incorrect to say there weren't many specialised prices in the set.

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By in Netherlands,

One of my first star wars sets I ever purchased. Stil love the simple effective shape.

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By in United States,

I never had this set when it came out, but to me, details like the glass canopy being reused for the other ships of the era are a strength of this era of licensed sets, rather than a weakness. By providing an upper bound to the amount of screen-accurate detail on the model, this "good enough" approach takes some of the pressure off the user (ie, kids) to worry about exact fidelity if they want to make their own versions of Star Wars ships, or their own designs.

The simple design of the minifigures plays into this too - if a random mustached Town guy can be Biggs Darklighter, then the rest of your minifigs can also represent anyone you like. The stripped-down, iconic design lets you project your own ideas onto the characters and the model in a way that's harder to do with screen-accurate, hyper-specific design of more recent sets.

Surely some of this is the result of limited piece and color availability at the time, but it's an approach that's been lost in Lego's move toward maximum specificity.

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By in United States,

“Emperor Palpatine met his apparent end during Return of the Jedi!”

After the Episode IX trailer, we cannot assume anyone is dead in Star Wars.

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By in United States,

@haldir He did say "apparent"...

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By in United Kingdom,

I remember how happy I was to get this set on sale. I still love it.

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By in United States,

This is it! The set that got me back into LEGO. I saw it and thought, “A LEGO X-Wing?!? That’s two things I love in one convenient package! I’d be crazy NOT to buy this.”

Sure it’s a little rough looking now, but it was perfect back then.

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By in United States,

I remember this from my childhood, so good memories but the ship itself is in pieces on my collection to be honest, at least the car is spared.

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By in Netherlands,

Surely better for the wallet at this scale.

Nowadays x-wing models are €100...

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By in Germany,

Thank you for the review! I did own 7142 for a couple of years and sold it off sealed for 40€. Prices were not skyrocketing back then after the set got discontinued. I have to say, I regret it, as it is a nice set and is all about nostalgia and how it all started..

In my theory, the front hatch is for storing the front landing gear, I believe you were supposed to take that off during flight. Back hatch is for lightsaber. But I guess it's never pointed out in the manuals.

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By in United States,

I prefer the early designs for the Star Wars vehicles. The smaller more simplistic vehicles are better for playtime.
They made some great stuff with few specialized parts. Now they practically try to hide things that make it obvious the model was made of Lego.

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By in United States,

Classic! Brings to mind the traditional LEGO philosophy of "be creative and imaginative with what you've got" instead of the ever-increasing specialized pieces.

And gotta love Biggs' mustache!

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By in Poland,

My favourite X-Wing in this scale is 6212/4502 (they're similiar). 9493 on the second place. This 7140 it's a good set too, but I don't understand gray color. But new, 75218 - it isn't my style ,
disproportionate, with too big turbines and it isn't "this" style. My favourite Y-wing in this scale it's 7658. I like sets from this time with this design :)

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By in United States,

I wasn’t quite out of my dark age in ‘99, so I didn’t get this set. But I got its re-release (7142) when it came out in 2002 and still have it.
A great set.
(I miss those chrome silver lightsabre hilts)

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By in New Zealand,

This was one of my first three Star Wars sets I got Christmas 1999. They probably saved me from an early Dark Age since I was in high school at the time and "becoming too big" for Lego. But I was never too big for Star Wars. I kept collecting Star Wars Lego for the next three years before actually entering my Dark Age, more due to having no money than university itself. My partner eventually brought me out of the Dark Age just before we started dating in 2006 with another Star Wars set. That was a big mistake on her part, but I've been adding to the collection ever since, albeit never quite with the same intensity as before 2003 (mostly because of storage space).

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By in United States,

This set, albeit a little blocky and fairly rudimentary, actually looks pretty good, IMO, considering when it was released. I absolutely love the 'old school' minifig head expressions!

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By in United States,

So here's a random thought:
1999, we get an X-Wing that contains Luke and Biggs.
2018, we get an X-Wing that contains Luke and Biggs.
The X wing has been made a decent number of times.
2019, 20th Anniversary sets are released and one of them is a Snowspeeder that most people don't want except for classic Lando because it's been made too many times.
LEGO released the X-Wing remake too early. It would have been a better set for the 20th Anniversary wave than the Snowspeeder. It has the same characters, would have given a new astromech which would have garnered more excitement, and the 1999 X-Wing is one of those classic images with LEGO Star Wars that so many people remember or know about.

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By in France,

I loved the old packaging with slide in/out trays

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By in United Kingdom,

I still have an almost-completely sealed Sith Infiltrator set from 1999 hanging about somewhere. I wonder whether I should build it? (It won’t be as iconic as the X-Wing even with less specialised pieces, I know that much). The 2011 Infiltrator was fine for me. But with the X-Wing 1999 is best!

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By in Australia,

it was made 20 years ago and yet it still looks better than the juniors one

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By in United States,

With the exception of two UCS sets I have at least one of every Star Wars set from 1999 through mid 2014 plus any one that had Yoda or Princess Leia after that. There are so many cool sets. My favorite set is 7133 - Bounty Hunter Pursuit. Mainly because of the colors of the set and Zam Wesell, which I believe was the first mini figure to have multiple faces.

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By in United States,

Still have this one. One of the only ones I kept from that era--holds up far better than the Y-Wing/Vader's TIE set of the first gen. I always thought grey was more appropriate than white anyway and it looks fine.

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By in United States,

To be perfectly honest, I like this (and much of the "classic" early 2000s Star Wars sets) much more than the newer ones. They were affordable for kids (you could have an X-wing, Y-wing, Tie Advanced, and B-wing for $110 - the price of just one of those today, at best) and had so much more character. Also, I prefer the duller gray and tan to today's white and yellow - I feel that those colors fit the "beat-up scrap heap" aesthetic of the rebellion's ships much better than the shinier colors we have now.

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By in Latvia,

"Instead, the background is the reactor shaft where Emperor Palpatine met his apparent end during Return of the Jedi!"

The Rise of Skywalker?

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By in Norway,

Ecellent reading! Thank you very much. I am in a mood to build my X-wing again!

Christmas of the year 2000 it was. Those were the days.

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By in Russian Federation,

It holds pretty darn well.

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By in Germany,

I bought one used a few years ago to add to my lineup of X-Wings. A charming set, and little storage spaces and cubbyholes are definitely something missing from newer models. They add a lot of play value and possibilities, but the best you're likely to get nowadays is a clip somewhere on the outside of the vehicle to hold a weapon.

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By in United Kingdom,

@unclghost I agree! I miss the days of sticking any yellow head into a rebel pilot uniform and having a brand new Star Wars character. Flesh tones came with a cost.

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By in United States,

Oh I actually have this one, along with the first slave I, and the first snowspeeder.

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By in United States,

This was the first Star Wars set I picked up! I was shocked when I saw it in the stores. I spent years trying to build something similar to this with the limited supply I had. So when I saw it on the shelf I snagged it and bought it immediately.

Still have it to this day. It's such a nice set!

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By in United States,

Missed out on this one, but I did score Biggs from this set on the aftermarket. He's very simple, yet still one of my favorite SW Minifigures!

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By in United States,

im not a star wars fan/collector but thoroughly enjoyed the review! I always look forward to reading reviews on this site!

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By in United States,

Great review. I too prefer some of the older models. As nice as the new ones are. It irks me that a TIE or X-Wing runs $60-S100 price range.

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By in United States,

A must for any LEGO Star Wars collector as the first released licensed SW set. I have one complete/built on the shelf in my LEGO room with another MISB. Probably my favorite X-Wing. Simple, play worthy and will always be a classic.

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By in United Kingdom,

This was one of the sets that got me back into Lego. Although deep down I wasn't really a massive Star Wars fan I liked the sets. I recently re built them to sell and I enjoyed re building the earlier Star Wars sets more than the later ones - they got more complicated! This was a nice build but it has now gone to a new home!

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By in United States,

I'm sure most of us in the Star Wars generation built many an X-Wing MOC out of our classic space and town pieces back in the 80's. When the SW license finally came to Lego in 1999, I bought everything as soon as I could. Although no one can dispute that today's modern sets bring much more realism to the models, IMO it was much more fun to play with those first wave of sets than anything that is released today. These sets were Lego sets that happened to be Star Wars, not Star Wars models that happen to be made out of Lego...

I tried making an E-Wing Fighter using the parts from this set back in the day, but my MOCing skills are poor, so I had to wait for 75018 to come out instead...maybe I'll try again someday...

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By in United Kingdom,

What is the landscape it is flying over? Dartmoor? Lake District? Peak District? North York Moors?
Dantooine?

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By in United States,

I had most of the original two waves and played with them so much I could build them all from memory lol.

Great sets.

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By in Argentina,

Certainly it is not the fanciest LEGO X-Wing set but it has the power of the classics and initiated a legendary path. I just got one to celebrate the 20th anniversary of this LEGO franchise and will open with my son soon :)
Cheers!

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By in Australia,

When this set came out I bought and gave it to my nephew for his 4th birthday and never bought one myself. Approx 4 years ago he was cleaning out his bedroom collected all his Lego that was mixed up in a container and gave it to me cause he knew that I and my than 4 yo son (still) love Lego. For me the love affair has gone on over 4 decades now with a large non active gap between the ages of 17 and 30.
When I got the box of Lego I was really getting into Star Wars Lego and saw some pieces from the set that I had given him. He still had the instructions so used them and retrieved all Yes amazingly enough all pieces form the container and build the set with my son. It’s now displayed front and Centre with my other X wings in my Star Wars Lego display.
It truly is a great set and funny enough it’s the Xwing my son loves the most.

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