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# Monday, June 27, 2011

I have noticed this set for sometime but the size and look of the box picture was not too attractive, but with a small investment I still managed to get a set and build it over the weekend.

The key reason for driving me to buy this set is Asajj Ventress, a few weeks ago I noticed that the prize of the version of this minifig from 7676 is very high at around USD30! And in fact 7676 was the only set with Ventress before 7957 comes out, the 7676 version contains a skirt cloth but this 7957 version in my opionion has a more combat feel (or sports feel) and looks slimmer.

The other minifig Savage Opress is the other lego minifig with a horned head aside from Darth Maul in 7961, and Anakin Skywalker also got a new and IMHO better torso pattern, besides, all the minifigs has back printing, so this set does contain very special minifig inventory.

But the vehicle is also very nice, usually Lego speeders are very simple but this set provides a sophisticated combo night speeder system with a base and engine on the left, and two speeders that can be detached, and can be connected to the base with a bar stick. The vehicle has good swooshability, I am not very fond of missiles but playing with the speeders is quite fun enough for me.

The two speeders are very sleek, building the set is fun and the techniques are inspiring, but the biggest surprise is the six printed slope bricks, which are used for the front, it is interesting that Lego designed this to be a combo of printed and stickered slopes, and perhaps it is the printed slopes that makes this set relatively pricey, and if the back slopes are also printed, the price could go so high that the set will sell badly if they do so, therefore Lego have to take a Balance, but on the other hand, if the set uses all printed parts, it would probably make the set so special and become a hot collector item, though Lego needs to be careful about the message to the market, but after all, this is an interesting set and the Lego decision for including the six printed slope bricks can be very interesting too.

This set is a must buy despite the relatively higher price for its size, but for the price range, it is a light investment to get a set that includes exclusive cool minifigs and an unique vehicle with special design, not to mention the unusual inventory of six printed slope bricks with nice pattern, this is a special Lego Starwar set to collect.

Monday, June 27, 2011 12:57:14 AM (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)
# Monday, June 20, 2011

I have an old box of unopened MISB 7663 Sith Infiltrator, not because I cherish it, but it just hasn't been a set that I would choose to play with, after building 7961, I think it was because the vehicle in 7663 just doesn't have the sophistication to be appealing.

Actually I was not supposed to get 7961 as well, it is just in the right price range to get a new starwar set for playing during this free weekend, but I have to say that the set exceeds my expectation, in fact, I think I have got an excellent vehicle model!

The new Infiltrator has a lot of detail contour, it makes use of a rich varieties of slope bricks to create the minute details of every section, the result is a bigger and more realistic Infiltrator. The cockpit/cargo space is relatively large for a starwars vehicle, the upper hatch has a printed pattern, and although the lower hatch plate is stickered, the design is very solid and fits the model beautifully with good playability, talking about playability, aside from the probe droids that can be released, there are flip missiles (I am not a missle fan though), foldable wings, and the hatch can be opened to see the interior, where the Sith nightspeeder can be kept.

Proble droids

Batches and retracted landing gear

This set also has a rich inventory of minifigs, I actually like this head pattern of Darth Maul over the old ones (even though the old one was fine too) for the yellow eyes and sharper look, but of course, Darth Maul is a rare minifig, so if you happen to have a chance to get 7663, you may want to own it too to get that version of Darth Maul's minfig. The horned head is also amazing, my set has two pieces of it, I read about this horned head and it seems that the other minifigure that has it is Savage Opress in set 7957 Sith Nightspeeder.

Oops! I miss-aligned the horned head when taking pictures!!!

Darth Maul!

Padmé now has a flesh color minifig head, Charaptain Panaka's minifig is nice, but I think the look lacks the masculine feel that the character should possess, the designer may have tried to create the cool lips but ends up mis-projecting a pessimistic feel. For Master Qui-Gon Jinn, the facial expression in this set is too soft, I prefer the old one that more closely reflect the movie character.

7961 Darth Maul's Sith Infiltrator is an example of how lego should design the Star war vehicles when it comes to details, in contrast 7663 is a rudimentary model, I am glad that I have not missed out this wonderful vehicle!

Monday, June 20, 2011 10:50:55 PM (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)
# Sunday, June 12, 2011

Quietly, the new starwars series arrive at local market without much funfare, while there are many attractive sets such as 7965 Millennium Falcon, the one I got immediately was 7962 Anakin Skywalker and Sebulba's Podracers.

I have missed 7171 Mos Espa Podrace and I believe many were longing to own the podracers, in fact, there are many hot podracer building competitions over these years, and we have all seen many excellent creations, the podrace is definitely something special among Starwar fans, so I would say 7962 is a must get, and after building it, I would say this set is truly excellent and not disappointing.

Compared to 7171, here we got only two podracers without Gasgano's, but aside from that, and the use of stickers instead of printed plates, there are improvements in all areas:

1. Larger podracer body with excellent details

For Anakin's pod racer, there are more details at the engine, which makes it more solid, and the cockpit also has a small flipped wing, but the biggest improvement comes in Sebulba's Podracer, the main engine is composed of Arm with Clip, Rods and wheel cone, which not only gives more details and size to the podracer, but also power and contour, the four solid side engines are more sophisticated, the use of more slopes and curves all over the podracer make it look wonderful, although there is no more printed parts, but the stickers mix well into the model.

Chainsaws at all 4 side engines! A real treacherous weapon for a pod race!

The beams connecting the cockpits to the engine is now transparent, while I feel that it may look better with colored beams, I read about some writing saying that the transparent beams would create a sense of electric current, what do you think?

2. The stands

One of the caveat of the old podracers has got to be the way it is made to stand, using a few bricks to elevate it is too plain, now there is a nicely crafted stand, and the use of transparent bent beam makes the display look great, I wish the base stand are all transparent parts as well. This is a sample that perhaps we can use for setting up display for models that cannot stand naturally like the pod racers

3. Minifigs

Sebulba is now in color and not monochrome, which makes the old minifig not appealing at all, the same happens with Watto, this set includes two of the rarest Lego Starwars minifig, I can still recall people selling Watto at very high price in local market (I think the Bricklink price is still very high), this is a great opportunity to get these figures, the better ones too. But this also raise an interesting topic, with a better and general available new minifig around, would it have any impact on the selling price of the old minifig?

Another goodie would be Wald, although this is not a super character but I think it is his first appearance in Lego. You also get the old good Obi-Wan, it is not something special but it is a bonus too.

Anakin has also great surprises, the head is a two side one, and the helmet has nice pattern, I like this new version a lot!

4. Price

I think this set is reasonably priced, with two bigger, better and nicely designed pod racers, and all the wonderful minifigs coming with it, I think there should be no complaint on the pricing this time?

5. Packaging of Finished product

The design actually allows you to pack the finished podracers into the box with qiute some free spaces! A nice design for people with limited storage space at home.

No doubt this is a must get set, and I think Lego has done a wonderful job this time.

Sunday, June 12, 2011 6:48:17 PM (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)