Saturday, December 17, 2016

The Brick Miser: Lego Star Wars Rogue One Imperial Assault Hovertank

It's December! And that means that soon we will get to see the long-awaited movie that has been overly hyped all year!

 ...Besides that one...

 ...And that one too...

 ...I'm talking about the new Star Wars movie!

Disney's really been excited about purchasing Lucasfilm, hasn't it? Not only is it producing a sequel trilogy to the original Star Wars, but we're also going to get a new Indiana Jones movie sometime around 2019 and several anthology films focusing on main and secondary characters and events in Star Wars. And this month, we get the first of those movies: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story!

As of this writing, Rogue One has not been released in theaters yet, so I can't give an opinion of if I liked it or not. ...But I'm still going to see it! It's Star Wars! We are required by LAW to see any and all movies with the Star Wars title in it!

Unless it's a messy computer-animated pilot to a messy animated series based in the messy prequel universe with messy characters we didn't like to begin with. ...But I digress...

But if you're wondering what my opinion of the movie is before going in: ...I don't know what to think. It's definitely a risk for Disney to make a major motion picture in the Star Wars universe that isn't a continuation of the story and just focuses on a previously-established event, especially since we know what's going to happen. The Rebellion is going to get the plans and Princess Leia is going to attempt to deliver them, leading to the first movie(or the fourth movie for you chronological purists...)

I'm just saying, Marvel tried the same thing and it didn't quite work out.

Midquel material is usually reserved for expanded universe comics or books or even TV shows or specials. It's a cheap, low-risk way of introducing elements into a series without making a global phenomenon and alienating fans and can be declared non-canonical at the drop of a hat, as Disney did with basically the entire expanded universe after its acquisition.

 With Disney making a multi-million dollar movie based around what has already been established, they run the risk of either boring their fans with franchise lore they already know(or have convinced themselves they already know) and/or angering them because the expectations for how they will interpret the event are incredibly high. Even higher, in my opinion, than making a true sequel, as there is much less mystery to entice and awe the viewer.

So, given that, I'm predicting that the movie will either become as famous and loved as Return of the Jedi at most, or will fall into obscurity like The Clone Wars animated movie. If it fails, I don't think it'll reach prequel-level infamy.

But, whether the movie is good or bad, I'm still going to see it. If only so we'll know how many Bothans died to bring the Rebellion the plans. ...Or what a Bothan even is...

Besides, it's hard to ignore all the hype building up to it, especially in the mandatory merchandising run that begins months before any blockbuster movie, where they hope(and usually succeed) to make more money through toy sales than the movie itself, and Rogue One is no exception! Toys, dolls, video games, action figures, notepads, you name it, the marketing giants of Disney and Lucasfilm have flooded the shelves with it!

And thanks to their long-time partnership with Lego, they've licensed numerous Lego sets based on scenes and characters from the movie. And that leads us to today's look at the Imperial Assault Hovertank!


Name: Lego Star Wars Imperial Assault Hovertank
Distributor: Lego
Model: 75152
Pcs: 385

Yep, today we're going to look at the first Lego/Star Wars set featured on this site. ...Which for a series known as "The Brick Miser", you'd think we would have covered already. There is a reason why I don't feature many mainstream sets on this blog, but since I already opened this post with a long, irrelevant ramble, I'll tell you why another time.

However, with the new movie coming out, I knew I had to feature something more mainstream that relates to Star Wars, so it's time to finally review a Lego set.

Originally, I was going to review my Star Wars Ultrabuild collection, but since I have the whole set, including the unofficial "prototypes", I think it would be better if I devoted a theme month sometime in the future to them.

 Instead, I went to a Toys R Us near where I live and found this set. And this is one of the few "mainstream" sets(or anything for that matter) that I've paid full price for. I usually only buy cheap building brick sets(like from Best Lock or Block Tech) brand new, while Lego sets are reserved for eBay or a lucky find at a second-hand store. Or if a store is having a phenomenal sale or clearance event.

But I HAD to buy this one new! Especially since they said that if I bought this, I got all this stuff with it! ...How can I say "no" to that?!

Especially since I was given THIS terrifying thing. ...Oh, its time will come. Rest assured... Its time WILL come...

So as I've already said multiple times, this is one of the Lego sets based on the new Rogue One movie, which have been out since about October. ...Meaning everyone already owns it and/or has reviewed it by this point. ...Heck, I'm still going to talk about it.

And right off the bat, it's telling me that I'm too old for this set by about 12 years. ...Hey, guys? I bought your product, don't tell ME I can't use it! ...How are you enforcing this anyway? If someone older than 12 plays with this set, do you send over a guy wearing chain-mail gloves to smack them across the face or something? ...Actually, isn't it ironic that when you're considered too old to play with this set, you're still too young to see the PG-13 rated movie? ...Don't 'cha think?

And this shows how out of touch I am with Lego Star Wars: I wanted to get a set based on Rogue One, but I couldn't tell what set was from that movie and not the dozen other series they've made Lego sets of. So I spent a good amount of time looking for details on my phone until I FINALLY realized that THIS was the indicator it was from Rogue One, in the same way they use Kylo Ren for The Force Awakens and Darth Vader for the Original Series. ...Except instead of the menacing main villain bad guy they have for the other sets, we get a standard Imperial Pilot headshot. Bit of a downgrade there...

EDIT: Apparently, this is a "Death Trooper", one of Krennic's bodyguards from the Rogue One movie. Sorry, I hadn't seen the movie before I wrote that and it does look a lot like an Imperial Pilot, or one of those Dark Troopers from Battlefront. ...But that does still show how easily forgettable and mistakable the character they chose for Rogue One is. Why not use Krennic, or K-2SO? ...Or even Darth Vader again, considering the presence he had in that movie?

Right on the front, we have the standard "action scene" they posed the finished set in, where the hero of this set is battling these Storm Troopers as they blow stuff up on their destructive parade through wherever this is. ...Though the more you look at it, the more questions spring to mind.

 For one thing, why is this guy running across the top of a moving vehicle during a battle? Wouldn't it be safer if he ducked inside and fired while taking cover? And how much traction can a guy in a metal suit have on top of a rapidly moving and shifting tank? When your parents tell you not to climb on the roof of the car while they're driving, there's a reason is all I'm saying...

 This guy running beside the tank isn't going to fare much better. Sure, he's not about to fall and get crushed or shot, but the tank is leaning dangerously close toward him, meaning he's probably going to get clobbered in a second when the tank either has to turn around or is blasted right into him... You could argue that he's using the tank as a cover wall, but since he's shooting something right in front of him, I don't think he's taking cover from the right direction...

In fact, neither of these guys are shooting in the direction of the good guy! They're just shooting off to the side at some unseen enemy. ...And if there are only two Storm Troopers in this set and they're both outside the tank... who's driving?

Heck, this guy seems to know that these Storm Troopers are about to get crushed, since he's just smiling in the corner and not firing his gun. I don't even think he's actually running towards the tank; it's just a minifigure victory pose.

In fact, I'd like to think that the image on the back is just a continuation of the front. They parked the tank before the inevitable happened, turned to the guy, and went "Oh, you thought we, trained and loyal soldiers of the Empire, were too stupid to drive a tank? Well DIE, Rebel scum!"

That is the look of a guy whose only thought passing through his mind is "OHCRAPOHCRAPOHCRAPOHCRAPOHCRAPOHCRAPOHCRAPOHCRAPOHCRAPOHCRAPOHCRAP!"

And we have the standard shots of articulation and features the box is pushing about the set, but since we'll be looking at those later anyway, let's move on.

And they're also pushing yet another Lego app and encouraging us to "download the FREE Force Builder App!" ...Love to, but my phone has a memory problem and I haven't bought a tablet solely for Lego apps yet, so maybe another time.

And, as always, we get the "0-3" choking hazard

But the age recommendation not starting until "7"

Anyone between those ages becomes Anakin Skywalker from Episode II. ...And that's punishment enough.

Alright, we have 385 pieces and a small window of time before Rogue One comes out. Let's put this together and see how this ranks on a scale of Jar Jar to Han Solo.


And it's complete. ...And with how long this took to put together, both the set and the video, Rogue One is now out and I have seen it. ...But since this is now WAY overdue, I'll save my opinion of it for another review. Maybe the next one, but for now, let's talk about Lego's amazing job at recreating a vehicle you only saw in the movie for about a minute.

For those who haven't seen it yet, this the Hovertank from the movie, which some Storm Troopers briefly drive around the streets of Jedha's capital and get caught in a riot before the city is destroyed. ...Yeah, I don't think I'm giving anything away that a city is destroyed. This is Star Wars, where entire planets are vaporized on a daily basis.

And this is the clearest picture I could find. Most of it is hidden in smoke and dust and it's barely focused on during the battle since there's so much going on onscreen. Also, it's just one tank, and it's barely used. I kept expecting it to show up during another battle, but no. It's just the one in the streets of Jedha that is kept obscured and the Rebels(or a sect anyway) raid for crystals. ...But Lego needed a vehicle set and this is the only new vehicle the movie featured(as far as I could tell), so I guess that's why it's here.

And for a Lego-fied version of a vehicle barely seen in the movie, I think they did a good job. At least, from what I could make out. It definitely has a futuristic tank design, with the thick body and the latch and the turrets and just how heavy it looks. And with its body colored different shades of gray, it looks like something that belongs in the original Star Wars movie universe that Rogue One takes place in(whereas the prequels are about sleek, flashy, retro colors and designs, since Lucas based the atmosphere on 1950s nostalgia.)

I love how Lego, at least with its larger vehicle sets, doesn't just make models out of bricks; they make complete toys out of them. With other, cheaper building brick companies, you can tell they're just producing models with a minimum of features from what the set is based on. Here, they go all out to make it much more of a toy than a model.

First of all, a lot for the features are nicely articulated. The side turrets have a 360 degree area of spin, allowing each to point in a different direction.

This is especially useful for when Rebel scum tries to sneak onto the tank from the side, since the turrets can just pivot around and send them to meet their Jedi masters!

And there's not one, but TWO doors on this thing, allowing for both a front and top view of the cockpit.

This is especially helpful when trying to get the minifigures seated, since there's both a front seat and a back seat and both doors open wide enough to get them seated without having to take off the top. Now you don't have to make your mind up on which seat can they take.

...Did I just make a "Friday" reference? ...I think I died a little...

Hovercraft technology is a little outside Lego's expertise right now(strange, since 2015 has already come and gone, but maybe Mattel owns the copyright), so to get the tank to hover as it did in the movie(at least I THINK it hovered; I couldn't see much of the bottom half), they gave it these transparent wheels, making it an actual vehicle rather than a flat plank like most other toys and Lego sets are when it's a "hover vehicle."

 This was both a help and a hindrance when I was putting together the video, since the wheels allowed me to move it smoothly without having to constantly attach and detach the bricks from the table bases. ...But since it's nearly level with the ground, it just about refused to go over the environment bricks or the connector bricks I use to keep the various plates steady, while vehicles with regular tires travel over them no problem. So if you're going to play with this, you'll need a completely flat surface to avoid the model breaking apart. ...Which is the opposite of what hover technology is supposed to accomplish, but I digress...

And this isn't necessarily a feature, but I do love how the fins on the front and back are attached. They could have just used two fin pieces on the top and bottom and filled in the empty space with plain gray bricks

But instead, they built these super thick fins and connected them sideways using the plug and socket pieces. That's the attention to detail that really makes the vehicle stand out and sets Lego apart from most other companies.

The tank also comes with this detachable crate, which can rest on the back of the tank when not used for something else.

In the movie, they used it for transporting crystals. Here, the top comes off to store any small accessory in it. Like blasters. Or binoculars.

 Or coffee.

Originally, this thing confused me because I couldn't understand how it fit on the back of the tank. Judging by its design, you'd think it rested vertically to the rest of the vehicle... which works to an extent, but since there's no firm connection, it can easily fall off.

But then I realized that it's actually supposed to be parallel to the tank, connected to these black middle-stud bricks. ...Which actually gives it the illusion that it's going to fall off much sooner than if it was sideways and centered...

How could I have known I was supposed to put it there anyway? The only way I could have known if they wanted it built that way was if I looked at the... quite clearly printed step in the instruction manual...

By the way, I feel I should point out that this relatively large set of 385 pieces only has ONE instruction manual. ...And I couldn't be happier. There's only one set, so all it needs is one manual!

Now this is a nitpick and just another example of me making something out of nothing, but I HATE having multiple manuals for a set. And Lego is especially guilty of this. It seems like if a set has more than 2-300 pieces, they decide it's too thick for one manual and put it in two, or even three! I just feel like it's a waste and I'm being treated like an idiot. I can find my place just fine if I decide to close the book while putting these together!

I don't know, maybe it costs more to make a bigger manual or it's harder to staple or seal it together. ..But I still think that in that case, the space in an instruction manual can be better utilized.

Like these Lego Friends manuals I just happen to have. They are HUGE! Don't tell me that they couldn't have shrunk the drawing a little bit and put 2-3 steps on each page! Or just do like budget building brick companies do and include a few more bricks in each step! You don't need to divide it up!

I can understand it when a set is a massive 800+ pieces, but if it's just one model and a pretty standardly-sized one, then just find a way to print it all in one booklet!

Or does that just make it too difficult to needlessly fold and stuff the manuals in the box? ...Seriously, I paid $40 for this and there's plenty of box room. At least try to lay the manual down flat and don't be like some lazy college student cramming comics he sold on eBay in an undersized box...

I could go on, but since we're off topic and this is needlessly whiny, I'll just leave you with this image:

Anyway, let's finally talk about the best feature of this model: The "lasers". Two spring-powered missiles are tucked away underneath the front of the tank, ready to launch at a moment's notice.

 Just turn the crank here

And BLAM! Your Rebel Force infestation is no longer a problem!

I'm REALLY glad they included spring-powered missiles in this set, since Lego seems to be moving more towards "flick missiles", which I HATE! They're tacky, they hurt your fingers, they're inaccurate, and they're lazy. But I'll explain more when I feature one of those sets.

And yes, I know there's a safety risk with these toys... but it just feels more natural! If you're going to include a projectile with your toy, make it actually project! And if your kid is the kind to fire his/her Nerf darts in other kids faces, then maybe don't give this to them. Problem solved.

So this seems like a pretty well put together set, right? No major problems? ...Well, there are a few.

When a Storm Trooper is sitting in the back seat, the lid doesn't close all the way, slamming into the top of his helmet.

Then again, these are Storm Troopers. They're probably used to it at this point...

 In order to get the lid to close, you need to put the Storm Trooper in a reclining position. ...And it looks as silly as it sounds...

 "Yeah, dude, you go ahead and pulverize those Rebels. Had a big party over at the Toshi Station and now I need to chillax..."

But the major problem I have with this set is a cosmetic one. Namely, there's no texture to this thing. It looks too clean!

 Star Wars is known for being a lot less "sterile" than most other science fiction movies. ...At least for the time. Things are dirty, they're prone to rust, everything looks beat up and second-hand, and it's common to see electronics and vehicles either being repaired or in desperate need of repair. It's ironic that Luke calls the Millenium Falcon a piece of junk, since that's the cleanest-looking ship in the movie!

There's just no detail on this. No rust stains, no blaster marks, no dirt accumulation, nothing that really gives it a Star Wars "feel." I know I went overboard with my hatred of stickers in my Lite Brix review... But some of those would be NICE right now! Just SOMETHING to give it a bit of a dirty, neglected look.

At the very least, could we have had the Imperial insignia somewhere on here?!

But if my major complaint is cosmetic, then that's a sign that this is a really well designed model and I'm just nitpicking. Let's see how the characters fare.

First, we have Chirrut Imwe. ...Whom I thought was a VERY underutilized character in the movie.

 I mean, most of the characters, besides Jyn(arguably), were extremely underdeveloped, but this guy in particular I just felt was left by the wayside. He's set up as a blind warrior-monk who may be a little insane and it's up for debate if he can use the Force... and after his first scene, you barely see him! He once or twice uses his staff or does martial arts(which is a shame, since Donnie Yen is a phenomenal kung-fu actor), he fires his overpowered "hand cannon" a few times... and that's it! I don't even think he says two words to Jyn! And, hopefully saying this without spoiling anything, they made it difficult to add any more detail in his future expanded universe appearances. Talk about a waste of a good character and actor...

 Anyway, the minifigure of him is fine. I think they did a reasonable job of converting him to a Lego figure given what they had to work with. ...Though he looks a lot younger in figure form than the movie, about 25-30 as opposed to 40-50, but that could be attributed to the fact he doesn't have any really distinguishing facial features in the movie to age him in toy form. And he looks like he has a LOT more hair than his movie counterpart.

I'll just admit that I didn't know this character was blind when I first saw this minifigure. The pale white eyes should have given it away, but I just figured that meant he was mystical, very in tune with the Force and his surroundings. Which he is. ...Sort of... ...So I guess it's a plus that it captures some of the mystery surrounding him. ...Mystery that the franchise is probably going to forget about save for a few noncanonical comic appearances, but I digress.

And when you turn his head around, he suddenly has a mysterious smirk. ...How I'd love to know what goes on inside that head...

They even included the one white glove-like thing he wears in the movie. ...Which again, we are not told what it is and I don't think he used it... In fact, it's not exactly a glove in the movie, so it looks a little silly having it as a full hand on the minifigure. Maybe he's trying to become Chinese Michael Jackson?

What I really love is this felt they used as the bottom part of the robe he wears. I've seen material used for capes and wings with Lego, but I think this is the first time it's been used as a "skirt." I wonder if there is another example of this? ...And what excuse did they use for THAT character?

And on his back, he carries the staff cane he uses in the movie. ...Which he does more fighting with than, say, using it as a cane. And it does look like in the movie what it does here: two pieces of wood joined together by an old lightsaber handle, with another one attached to one end, which lends a bit of insight into how mentally stable he is and how in tune with the Force he thinks he is, especially since he wields Jedi antiques.

Though I personally like my version where he can snap it in half and wield double wooden katanas! ...A shame we'll probably never see that...

And finally, there's his "hand cannon"-thing, which, as I said before, is overpowered. It takes down a TIE-Fighter! And again, it's really interesting since I've never seen a monk use a gun before in a movie, and I REALLY want to see more! But regardless, I think this is a good reproduction of his gun from the movie. In fact, the Lego version gives it the added bonus of looking like it was cobbled together with mismatching gun parts and animal claws/tusks, which I would believe this "mad monk" did with nothing better to do. You hear me, Lucasfilm/Disney? GIVE US MORE!

And finally, we have the Storm Trooper minifigs. Not much reason to go into detail with these, since we've seen these guys in a hundred other sets and they're pretty plain save for the standard Storm Trooper uniform pattern. They're the baddies you get 3/$1, can't shoot straight, and have a major weakness to low-hanging archways.

However, they're not technically "Storm Troopers." They're "Imperial Hovertank Pilots", hence the different mold for the helmets, which I have never seen before. ...So, there's that. ...Are Storm Trooper helmets an indicator of which section they belong to, since I guess they didn't want to produce multiple uniforms, or do the helmets actually contain readouts and other technology geared toward their job? Or both?

And underneath, I guess the Empire ran out of Boba Fett clones and are now cloning John Cena. ...Hey, I'm on board with that.

 If the Empire started using the Attitude Adjustment on Rebel scum, I think they could have won. Heck, they wouldn't even need the Death Star!

And that's the set and the first look at Lego, Star Wars, and Rogue One we've had on the site. And as a first, I think it was a good start, with some high quality, a fun design, and new minifigures from a movie that was just released. Now a whole new generation can reenact the classic neverending battle between Rebels and Empire.

And whoever wins... I'm sure BM will find a way to make angry...


Quality: Lego quality is what I base the other sets I feature on, since I think they've truly mastered quality control and what plastic to use for their bricks. Everything fits perfectly, isn't too hard to take off again, and was whole and unbroken. The colors are vibrant, the bricks are varied, and I'm not worried about anything breaking with regular use, even the spring launchers. It's Lego. I can't complain.

Design: For a Lego replica of an obscure Star Wars vehicle, it's pretty spot-on, especially since I don't doubt that Lego was given blueprints and/or models to work off of. The turrets, the cockpit, the chest, all are positioned correctly and look very professionally designed. It really helps that this is Lego, which has probably the largest library of bricks of any building brick company, so they have a lot of choice when it comes to what to use to most accurately capture the shape and color of each object. And I like the original stuff probably made just for this set, like the fabric for Chirrut's clothing. However, the accuracy can also be to its detriment, since, as I already pointed out, the lack of detail on the bricks REALLY set the model back. Couldn't we have had some rust stains on the bricks, or a sticker representing blaster damage, or even just a brick with the Empire logo on it? To have a scale model based on something from the movie and not to give it the little details that the Star Wars universe is known for is really frustrating...

Creativity: It's based off an existing model, so the only creativity I can give it in that regard is that they were able to replicate it. Besides that, I like the hatches, I like the little detachable box that you can store things in, and I like the little transparent wheels on the bottom that let you push it along... even if the vehicle is too low to the ground for that to really matter. But the topper is the spring-loaded missile function, which I never get tired of with toys. To actually fire the gun they give you is a LOT of fun, and I'm glad they opted for that and not the stupid "flick missiles." So the features they added to make this more of a toy on top of being a model are nice, fit perfectly, and required a bit of thought on the designers' part.

Readability: Again, Lego instructions are what I already compare this category to. Clear, colorful, easy to read, and not harsh on the eyes. All can be seen in this instruction book. And it gets bonus points for being a single book and not pointlessly divided between two manuals. Young and old will have no trouble understanding and following along with each step.

Packaging: The box is pretty standard Lego-fare. The Lego logo in the upper left-hand corner, followed by "Star Wars" and the head shot of the baddie of the movie. The front and back have different scenes centered around a battle between the heroes and the villains on top of the model they give us to build. And, like I said, if you over-analyze what's going on, interpreting it can be hilarious. I also really like that it's actually sealed with tape and not those stupid "punch tabs" that ruin the box if you open them that way(which I don't...) There's nothing that really stands out or is particularly funny, but as a regular storage box that showcases the professionalism of the company before you buy the product, it does its job.

Compatibility: ...It's Lego.


If they added a little texture to the model, this would have been a 5/5. However, it is yet another example of Lego's high standards when it comes to making brick sets and a creative and well-built venture between Lego and Disney/Lucasfilm. And I really enjoy that I got some minifigures based off the new Star Wars movie; even if it wasn't the greatest out of the series, it was still fun, and the figurines let me reenact scenes from the movie or character personalities... or other twisted scenarios I can put them through! If you liked the movie, or even if you didn't, and you/a friend/your kid wants something Star Wars-related for Christmas, I highly recommend this. The Force is indeed strong with this set...