REVIEW – LEGO STAR WARS ADVENT CALENDAR 2016

REVIEW – LEGO STAR WARS ADVENT CALENDAR 2016

It’s that time of the year again when children and adults alike excitedly open the first day of their LEGO Advent Calendars. For me this is the fourth year I’ve joined in the fun, but the first year as a blogger. Puts an interesting twist on the fun with the added pressure to review and document the process. Do I wait to the end and do a blog on Christmas Eve (rather not cooking the christmas ham), daily reviews and spam everyone with separate links to individual blogs (I hate needless links) or one blog that is updated daily via same link (seems to be the option adopted by a few other LEGO bloggers) – Bet you can guess I’m opting for the last option!

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This year I’ve jumped on the LEGO Star Wars band wagon (other options being LEGO Friends and City). It wasn’t a hard choice, as the white wookie with Christmas sash sold me over! The box is well detailed and Christmas themed (stating the obvious) and gives you a hint at what we can expect over the next 24 days.

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The reverse highlights the concept of the flip down flap play matt and further hints at the surprises contained within.

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The flip down matt is beautifully designed and depicts a collage of three well known planets in the Star Wars universe – Tatooine, Naboo and Hoth with little glimmers of Christmas thrown in! The main box has 24 numbered boxes to represent each day of the Advent Calendar. Now time for the excitement and It’s 1st December!

DAY ONE – SLAVE 1 

Behind the 1st little cardboard door we are greeted with a cracker of a mini build – Boba Fett’s Slave 1 Ship. The back of the door reveals the instructions which on occasions has to be studied carefully, as they can be tricky at times to follow.

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One thing I’ve always loved about the LEGO designers is the ability to get the overall atheistic in miniature with such limited amounts of LEGO bricks. Slave 1 is no different and really captures the iconic ship from the original trilogy. I couldn’t be happier with day 1 and can’t wait to progress through the days.

DAY TWO – BESPIN WING GUARD

This morning my son got to the calendar first and was already playing with the first LEGO Star Wars minifigure. Not being a fanatical Star Wars fan (sorry I’m more a trekkie), this morning’s minifigure had me stumped. Anyway I blew off the cobwebs and remembered a vague memory of Cloud City, a few minutes of google searching and I had my answer – A Bespin Wing Guard

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As far as I’m aware he isn’t a named character, but in the same vein is quite unusual and rare only making an appearance on two other occasions – 6209 Slave I (old design) and  75060 UCS Slave I (current redesign). Although this outing comes with a slightly different face (less wrinkles).

His design and torso printing is simple but in keeping with the Guards, but the highlight is the awesome hat and royal blue colour (vibrant). Sadly not all is great in the world of the Guard, as LEGO have given him a pretty naff gun and not only that we get a spare in case we want to share in his misery!

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DAY THREE – TIE INTERCEPTOR

It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas! Day 3 of the Star Wars Advent Calendar is a bit delayed because my lovely wife dragged me out Christmas shopping (For the record – Christmas Eve is my preference!). Time to get the big guns out – Day 3 revealed a nifty little Tie Interceptor.

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With my mind wired daily to the LEGO world the instructions didn’t pose too much issue, however it took a couple of hard looks to ensure I had grasped the instructions adequately. The shape is instantly recognisable and the wings have a simple adjustment mechanism to create the starfighters profile. The final finishing touch is the nice inclusion of a printed transparent disk to represent the cockpit.

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DAY FOUR – IMPERIAL NAVY TROOPER

looks like we are starting to build up a force – must be a rebellion brewing. Ironic when you consider the messely two snowtroopers we got in USC Assault on Hoth 75098 – Assault really?! Sorry off on a tangent again still upset with the USC sets in 2016 this one in particular. Back to day 4 unveiling and another minifigure. This time round we have a delightful Imperial Navy Trooper, though un-named I do like these rarer minifigures. The Imperial Navy Trooper has appeared in its original and redesigned form on 5 other occasions (The Battle of Endor 8038TIE Fighter 9492  , Death Star 10188, Imperial Star Destroyer 75055 and Death Star 75159).

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For those avid Star Wars LEGO minifigure collectors this Imperial Navy Trooper is unique with a newly designed torso (printed front and back) and face. The hat is specific to the Imperial Navy Trooper and wait is that a proper blaster – thank you LEGO!

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Now what will day 5 bring other than Monday blues (back to work)!

DAY FIVE – HOTH BASE DF.9 TURRET

Now time for the rebels to fight back with a Laser Turret. Day 5 is a microscale Hoth Echo Base DF.9 Defense Turret and only utilises 10 pieces to create the famous turrets. It’s a great little model that really gets the mind’s juices flowing (whether a kid or grown up) with all sorts of things you could do with limited LEGO.

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Now all we need is a few rebel ships and minifigures and we have a counter defense force! In the meantime Turret should keep everyone within 3kms of my Advent Calendar!

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DAY SIX – SNOWTROOPER

Day 6 and another minifigure, not a bad start when you consider 50% of our surprises so far have been minifigures and good ones at that! This time round we have target practice for the DF.9 Laser Turret – Snowtrooper.

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The minifigure has made a number of appearances over the years and not overly rare. This version is based on the 2014 variant and is identical minus the cloth skirt. One thing I love is the little backpack (sorry I didn’t take any images – doh…), which has a 1×1 printed tile. Amazing how crazy us AFOL’s go when LEGO make the effort to print a brick instead of stickers, it’s almost loony how excited we get!

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DAY SEVEN – HOTH SNOWTROOPER SNOWMAN

Hoth Hoth Hoth Merry Christmas – now the fun begins! I love the play on Christmas and Star Wars themes mashed up together into a fun model. This time round we get our beloved snowman that we have come to expect each year.


What’s cool this year is we get an Imperial Pilot Helmet in white correct in white (first ever outing in this colour). To add a bit of playability we also get a blaster to fire snowballs at unexpecting siblings!

DAY EIGHT – 1.4 FD P-TOWER

Still in keeping with all things Hoth Base we have another defense anti-vehicle emplacement. Just incase the pesky Empire manage to destroy the DF.9 Turret we now have a much needed backup!

Like the DF.9 Turret the 1.4 FD P-Tower is a simple build using minimal pieces, but captures the overall look very well.

DAY NINE – HOTH REBEL TROOPER

Finally after waiting patiently we finally get our first rebel minifigure. I was geting worried the darkside was taking over Christmas!

The Hoth Rebel Trooper has been a main stay of Hoth LEGO sets (Cannon Fodder) over the years and comes in many variants.  This particular minifigure is a miss mash past and current designs. Sporting the current 2013 torso design with grey pants from earlier minifigures. The head is awesome and really portrays the gnarly but friendly aged look.

Now we have a battle on our hands!

DAY TEN – VENATOR-CLASS STAR DESTROYER

Finally the weekend is kicking in! Firstly shout out to John and his two eagle eyed boys – Thanks for spotting the day seven double up. Now time to buckle up we are heading back into space with this cool Galactic Republic ship from Star Wars Episode III.

Haha I tell myself to be careful, but as you can see from the pictures I had my first rip – cue sad face 🙁

The micro Venator-class Star Destroyer is spot on and I knew straight away from the slopes and distinct dark red stripe what ship this was. Only minor comment being that the model would have been finished off perfectly if LEGO had offered the top laser guns in dark red (not currently in the colour palette) instead of grey.

DAY ELEVEN – ARMORED ASSAULT TANK (AAT)

After a quick joy ride in orbit day 11 brings us back down the gravity well to Naboo. This time round we get to play with an armored assault tank (AAT) first seen in Star Wars I. The AAT was a staple assault tank used by the Trade Federation.

Starting to get a little aggravated by the cardboard doors. They started off easy to open with care, but the last two have torn easily and are hard to open. Anyway first world problems it’s not about the box! As mentioned before I’m really liking these micro builds this year. I’ve felt everyone so far has hit the nail on the head for overall appearance and essence of the real thing. The AAT continues this trend!

The colour scheme matches the Core Star Wars Universe canon (Trade Federation Naboo attack force). There have been variants (blue/white), but these are based on clone wars and such.

Now based on the series of Hoth themed LEGO minifigures and builds we just had, i’m going to look into my crystal ball and guess Naboo is next on the agenda!

DAY TWELVE – HMP DROID GUNSHIP

Sorry for posting a tad on the late side! On a plus side good for my European and American followers (Silver lining in every grey cloud). Mid way on the countdown to Christmas and I scratch my head on this one.

The HMP Droid Gunship micro build is designed well, but a little on the underwhelming side compared to micro builds early on in this calendar. Maybe I could convert it into a bottle opener?

DAY THIRTEEN – BATTLE DROID

Time to get serious in our attack of Naboo and throw in a Battle Droid minifigure. These minifigures have been a staple in the LEGO Star Wars theme, making its first appearance way back in 1999 (7121 Naboo Swamp).

I know another tare! This time round our Battle Droid comes with additional straight arm attachments to allow handling of a blaster.

DAY FOURTEEN – JEDI STARFIGHTER

It’s nice to see we are being bombarded with micro builds. Day 14 brings us Obi Wan’s Jedi Starfighter from the starting prequel trilogy.

Though simple the slopes and mix of white and dark red capture the sleekness of the Jedi Starfighter. I can almost picture a diorama of Obi Wan racing into a Sith trap!

DAY FIFTEEN – TANTIVE IV CORVETTE

With Christmas round the corner time to throw some serious ships in the mix. Day 15 brings us a heavy duty corvette with a long pedigree in the Star Wars universe.

The Tantive IV Corvette is the famous spaceship that carried Luke’s famous sister Princess Leia, which was attacked and boarded by Darth Vader. The Tantive IV’s famous 6 thruster array is cleverly captured in this micro build.

Looks like we are plowing head first into the original trilogy and ending on a high on the run up to Christmas. Getting excited to see some iconic minifigures appearing over the coming days!

DAY SIXTEEN – U-3PO

Sorry for the lateness again – real life is throwing some spanners my way at the moment, but enough already this isn’t a blog about me! Strong off the back of the Tantive IV Corvette (Star Wars IV New Hope) in day fifteen, now pops out one of the crew men or should I say droids.

U-3PO served aboard the Tantive IV, but sadly was a sleeper agent and led Darth Vader to its eventual attack and capture. As with the more famous core character C-3PO, U-3PO is a 3PO series protocol droid and is nearly identical to the most recent C-3PO minifigure design. The most noticeable difference is the colour – U-3PO comes in a pearly silver colour. The other subtle differences, no side printing on arms and legs (cue sad face) and a slight variation on the wire printing front and reverse of the torso.

Excuse me I must say I seem to be missing some detail on my arms and legs?

Irrespective of the differences I have to say this is my favorite minifigure so far in this years calendar.

DAY SEVENTEEN – GNK POWER DROID

Keeping with the original trilogy out next is what can only be described as a walking trash can. Think charging station before Apple came along and added all the sleekness and design.

The GNK Power Droid is often referred to as the Gonk Droid due to low honking noise they emitted. This little build is pretty straight forward and captures the essence of this basic power droid. Otherwise not much else to get too excited about.

DAY EIGHTEEN – JABBA’S PALACE

18 days in we’ve had minifigures, micro vehicles, micro weapons and now we finally get our first and maybe only micro building for 2016? This time round before I even built the model I could tell by the colours, main dome and towers that I was looking at a tiny version of Jabba’s Palace.

The cheese slopes while not necessarily in keeping with the overall style and scenery (more rocky rather than dunes) does finish off the micro build and easily forgiven.

DAY NINETEEN – LUKE SKYWALKER

It’s beginning to feel a lot like christmas – Finally a lightsaber, oh and just a minor Jedi Master Luke Skywalker!

The Luke minifigure is sporting his Jedi Master clothes from the “Return of the Jedi“. He also has his own green lightsaber, as opposed to his father’s blue lightsaber from the previous movies. Torso printing is great and the overall dark appearance captures the movie perfectly (apologies for naff picture – I think I went too far with the dark appearance talk!). The other bonus is this minifigure (redesign) has made limited appearances in only two other sets, so makes this little dude quite rare.

DAY TWENTY – DESERT SKIFF??

Umm day twenty poses an issue. I’m not 100% sure what this little micro vehicle is. As we are in the band of “Return of the Jedi” I’m almost certain it’s a Desert Skiff, but not the most accurate representation of one.

Sadly its one of the planer and boring builds. I would say this is my least favorite so far, but can’t complain too much it has been a good 20 day lead up so far!

DAY TWENTY ONE – STORMTROOPER

One thing is for certain you can never have enough Stormtroopers! Day 21 and bang out pops another Stormtrooper to add to the collection.

The Stormtrooper is exactly the same as the dude that popped out of last years Christmas Calendar, but who can complain when the design, printing, and helmet when it captures the Stormtrooper so perfectly. Also note this particular design only appears in some of the larger sets, so on the rarer side.

Only three days to go!!!!!!!

DAY TWENTY TWO – SENTINEL-CLASS LANDING CRAFT

With yesterday’s Stormtrooper what better way to transport him than a Sentinel-Class landing craft.

This model nearly tricked me! After cross referencing with Wookieepedia I came to the realization that this is a Sentinel-Class not a Lambda-Class shuttle. The Sentinel-Class is actually less streamlined and a bit clumsy looking compared the the Lambda-Class. The little micro build captures the elongated shuttle and has cleverly incorporated several adjusting pieces.

With only two days to go it must be the rebels turn to end the Christmas calendar with a bang!

DAY TWENTY THREE – HOLIDAY SEASON REBEL TROOP CARRIER

For the penultimate surprise we get a little playful Hoth Base Rebel Trooper Carrier (I think) jazzed up for the festive season with hockey sticks, puck and ice skates – All this war gets tiring we have to play sometimes!

It’s a fun little build and takes an edge off the serious builds and critical reviews of previous days. I’m guessing it’s a primer into the ultimate day 24 surprise bringing the festive season into one of our beloved characters.

DAY TWENTY FOUR – SNOW CHEWBACCA

It’s finally here day 24 of the Advent Calendar and the excitement of celebrating Christmas with my family tomorrow (after I finishing cooking the Ham and Turkey!). It’s funny because the final mystery box wasn’t really that much of a surprising and a lot of us bought the Advent Calendar for this specific minifigure. Anywhere without further adue hit the drum roll…. Festive Snow Chewbacca.

As the name may suggest Snow Chewbacca comes decked out all in white with a very festive white, green and red bandolier. He also comes with a Bowcaster that playfully fires off snowballs. To accessorise LEGO have thrown a couple of miniature pine trees and some spare snowballs (going to disappear quickly when my son starts firing them off!).

When Snow Chewbacca was first announced earlier in the year he generated a lot of excitement and interest. No doubt this little minifigure will command healthy prices in years to come!

Well that’s it for this year’s LEGO Star Wars Advent Calendar and it’s been an interesting line up. Minus a few mediocre builds the majority of the builds were fun, clever and well designed and with Chewie to end on how can anyone complain.

To end on – time for the minifigures to lay down their weapons and get into the Christmas spirit and have some fun! Have an awesome Christmas everyone and a Happy New Year.

 

Happy Building!

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