This has, undoubtedly, been an excellent year for the Lego company. They have introduced three new(ish) lines, Marvel Superheroes, DC Superheroes, and Lord of the Rings. None of the sets in these lines (with the exception of the bionicle-like DC and Marvel sets) have been bad sets. All the actual sets have been exceptionally awesome, take the Quinjet Aerial Battle, Dynamic Duo Funhouse Escape, and the Battle of Helm’s Deep for example, to name but a few.
Now, my readers may be wondering why I just praised Legos recent ventures, despite the title of this entry implying that Lego has failed. And, in some respects, this is true. The latest Lego Star Wars sets, are quite frankly, a joke. It seems that Lego, at least with this line, is trying to use the least amount of pieces for the highest price. Case in point: The updated version of the Gungan Sub, which is priced at 69.99, with 465 pieces.
No, I do not own it. But nor do I want it. I own two of the original 1999 Gungan sub sets. Quite frankly, it was better in almost every way. At 375 pieces, it was a 24.99 set. (I had to do a search on that, as both of the sets were gifts) The math here is quite easy, but I’ll do it for you anyways. The 2012 version comes out to be 15 cents a piece. The 1999 version was 6 cents per piece.
I won’t end it there though. The 1999 version was a work of art. It was a triumph for Lego, and one of their standout sets in the Star Wars line. It was an extremely accurate rendition of the sub seen in The Phantom Menace, right down to the color scheme. The 2012 version is not. There’s much less blue on it, and it just doesn’t look as good. And, as sweet as the new Queen Amidala minifigure is, why would it be included with the Gungan Sub? The trio of minifigures that came with the 1999 version – Jar Jar, Obi-Wan, and Anakin – would have worked fine.
And the Gungan Sub isn’t my only issue with the new Star Wars line. It consists – mostly – of remakes. Those miniature sets? Remakes of the classic miniature line from the early 2000’s. Jabba’s Palace and skiff? Remakes of two classic sets. The original 2003 Jabba’s Palace set was excellent. It was a more faithful rendition of the classic scene from Return of the Jedi, right down to actually including the basement where Luke confronts the rancor. The only improvement I can see in the new version is Jabba the Hutt and Gamorrean Guard minifigures. They are more detailed, and the addition of a few new minifigures is nice. But it still doesn’t justify the 120 dollar price tag, where the original was cheaper, and, in my opinion, much better.
Moving on to some of the new sets. The Malevolence. Not that any of the Lego capital ships were that great, but at least they had more than one room and an actual bridge. The Malevolence doesn’t even have that. Also, it doesn’t bring anything new to the table. Sure, they’ll try to tell you that that battle droid commander is “exclusive” to this set. Sure, in this line it is. But really Lego? Really? Furthermore, there was potential to do something really cool with that devastating ion cannon. But no. It’s just a series of those stupid flick launch missiles.
Saesee Tinn’s starfighter is also a new addition in this line. Well, not really. It’s essentially any of the other recent Jedi Starfighters (Plo Koon’s, Mace Windu’s, etc.) but with a new color scheme. And I’ll leave it at that, because, quite frankly, Lego should have released all of those Starfighters at once.
And then there’s Palpatine’s arrest. This set I’ve wanted – badly – ever since I saw Revenge of the Sith in 2005. I have actually built my own versions from my Lego collection. That’s how badly I wanted it. So when I heard it had been announced, I was ready to race out and buy it. But then I saw it. It’s a joke. It looks nothing like Palpatine’s office from that scene that I loved so much. True, we get some cool minifigures, but that does not, in any way redeem the set. It looks like something that my 8 year old self built back in 2005. It’s appalling.
And, finally, we come to the Old Republic sets. If any two sets could redeem the line, it’s these two. They’re both new, and both have three never before seen minifigures. They’re faithful to the source material, and are sleek, beautiful starships. I feel that they are fairly priced, though Fury Class Interceptor could have been bumped down fifteen dollars. Still, those two are excellent sets. Excellent. This is what I want Lego. Please take note of that.
In short: More new stuff that looks good, plays well, and is, in short, awesome, and (much, much, much) less horrible remakes of classic sets from the late ’90’s and early ’00’s. Also, when you;re making new stuff, Lego, please please please keep the source material in mind and PLEASE actually make the sets look decent.