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  • Star Wars Set Remakes: A Look at the Past and Knowledge for Future Investments.


    Whether you are a major fan of the Star Wars saga or if you only know of the films through what you hear from others one cannot deny the powerhouse that is the Star Wars theme. But with over 70% of star wars lego sets being remakes you need to know how you can make informed decisions to protect your investments. Even with the gradual decline in popularity (save for UCS models and some of the other large sets) among AFOLs one can be fairly safe when investing in most Star Wars sets based on any of live action films including, though to a lesser extent, the prequels (though it's probably best to avoid the majority of sets under the Clone Wars sub-theme) So how can you know if a remake of a set will do well? This article aims to provide what is hopefully an easy and efficient way to find out. That being said one of the hazards of investing in the Star Wars theme, which among licensed themes only seems to affect this one, is that almost every set from the live action films has been remade at least once, in fact the X-wing alone has been remade on the minifigure scale five times the first model being introduced in 1999 with a rerelease of the same model in 2002 then a remake in 2004 another remake in 2006 with the most recent remake in 2012. Now there are two main problems that occur when investing in remakes one affects the newer model and the other affects the older model. The problem with investing in a new model is that some AFOLs look specifically to buy the older models for nostalgia. Indeed there is something about many of the older lego sets, whether it be the rose-coloured glasses of nostalgia or the simplicity of the sets themselves, that seems to draw some buyers and collectors. This is obviously bad for investors who were hoping that the newer model would be more appealing to the buyer. The problem with having invested in older models is that newer models are for the most part constructed much better and with a finer attention to detail and though it's unlikely for someone to invest in older models on a large scale, given that they have already experienced significant appreciation, it's important to remember that almost every model gets remade again eventually. The newest wave (March 2014) of Star Wars sets  consists mostly of remakes of ships and playsets from Episode III which was the most popular (referred to by some as the least terrible but still pretty bad) film from the prequel trilogy. The remakes this wave consist of:

    •  75038: Jedi Interceptor (a remake of the 2005 set 7256: Jedi Starfighter and Vulture Droid, but a remake of the same ship in different a colour-scheme was released in 2012 as 9494-1: Anakin's Jedi Interceptor)
    •  75039: V-Wing Starfighter  (a remake of the 2006 set 6205: V-wing Fighter, but a grey and black version of the fighter was released in 2011 as 7915 Imperial V-wing Starfighter)
    • 75040: General Grievous' Wheel Bike (another remake of a 2005 set 7255: General Grievous Chase)
    •  75041: Vulture Droid (while not a direct remake the most recent version of the vulture droid came out in 2009 as part of 7751: Ahsoka's Starfighter and Droids)
    •  75044: Droid Tri-Fighter (remake of 2010 set 8086: Droid Tri-Fighter)
    •  75042: Droid Gunship (remake of 2008 set 7678: Droid Gunship)
    •  75043: AT-AP (remake of 2008 set 7671: AT-AP Walker).

    How Can You Avoid Falling into a Bad Investment When Looking at Remakes?

    To get an idea of how a remake may perform in the future we could take a look at how the previous version is doing but another potentially more helpful way is to look at how models that have been remade multiple times before have done in the past and are doing now. The examples here are of the X-wing, Y-wing and TIE Fighter. Now for simplicity's sake only three versions of each set are listed and the remakes were are all released about six years apart from each other. *One thing to note is that the first Y-wing was released in a set along with Darth Vader's TIE Fighter


    Set Number/NameYear of ReleasePiece CountBrickset RatingRetail Price (USD)Price per BrickCurrent Market Value (USD)
    7140: X-wing Fighter19992664.47/5 (30 reviews)$29.99$0.28 (New)
    $0.13 (Used)
    $0.11 (Retail)
    6212: X-wing Fighter20064374.66/5 (72 reviews)$49.99$0.14 (New)
    $0.09 (Used)
    $0.11 (Retail)
    9493: X-wing Starfighter20125604.61/5 (13 reviews)$59.99$0.11 (New)
    $0.07 (Used)
    $0.11 (Retail)




    Set Number/NameYear of ReleasePiece CountBrickset RatingRetail Price (USD)Price per BrickCurrent Market Value (USD)
    7150: Y-wing Fighter19994094.17/5 (14 reviews)$49.99$0.21 (New)
    $0.11 (Used)
    $0.12 (Retail)
    7658: Y-wing Fighter20074544.53/5 (58 reviews)$39.99$0.12 (New)
    $0.06 (Used)
    $0.09 (Retail)
    9495: Y-wing Starfighter20124584.28/5 (8 reviews)$49.99$0.13 (New)
    $0.07 (Used)
    $0.11 (Retail)





    Set Number/NameYear of ReleasePiece CountBrickset RatingRetail Price (USD)Price per BrickCurrent Market Value (USD)
    7146: TIE Fighter20011714.18/5 (19 reviews)$19.99$0.25 (New)
    $0.13 (Used)
    $0.12 (Retail)
    7263: TIE Fighter20051593.95/5 (27 reviews)$19.99$0.40 (New)
    $0.15 (Used)
    $0.13 (Retail)
    9492: TIE Fighter20124134.45/5 (18 reviews)$49.99$0.14 (New)
    $0.09 (Used)
    $0.13 (Retail)




    What Does This Tell Us? 

    Now obviously because all the models are various "ages" there are going to be differences in the prices (one interesting thing to note is that all the X-wing models are at a retail Price per Piece Ratio of $0.11) and while Brickset ratings are a good gauge for measuring future potential a high rating amongst remakes doesn't necessarily mean that that specific version will have the best return. Another factor to consider is how much of an improvement the model is over the previous version, but while this is still important it doesn't end up having much influence as the minifigures. Indeed even if the new model/playset itself is a significant improvement over past versions a better determinant of the potential for a remake is whether or not there are any updated and/or exclusive figures that are included with that version. For example: while the 2005 TIE Fighter (7263) didn't do much to improve on the original model (7146) the inclusion of the exclusive light-up Darth Vader has greatly boosted the appreciation setting 7263: TIE Fighter up to have the best current market value ($64.13) amongst the two other TIE Fighter model. Another example is of how the 2012 Y-wing, which has an exclusive celebration Leia and yellow R5 series, is already almost  doing better than the 2007 model, which only included a smiley faced rebel pilot and a old variant of a red astromech droid.

    So How Can You Know if a Remake Will Do Well? 

    Essentially the important thing to take away here is that even if a remake improves greatly upon the original it's also very important to have better or more exclusive figures than the previous version, however and this is, as always, very important to note, the price should as always be considered. A cautionary example is that of the most recent model of Darth Maul's Sith Infiltrator which was a massive improvement over the previous versions and boasted new variantss of Padme, Qui-Gon and Darth Maul (all of which were also vast improvements over their previous versions) plus the brand new minifigure Panaka. This set surely would have been a fantastic investment had it not been at the high price tag of CAD: $ 89.99 (USA: $ 69.99/GBR: £ 59.99) which hindered the return prospects. So as an easy way to remember the important factors when looking at investing in a remake, I came up with the acronym  P.I.E. which stands for Price (you should always be price conscious but you should also compare the remake price to that of the original). Improvement (upon the older model). Exclusive (an exclusive set is usually good but this is more about the figures and while a new variant of old an figure is good, an exclusive or brand new figure is nearly always better).

    How do the New Remakes do When Analyzed with P.I.E?

    • 75038: Jedi Interceptor a model of one of the more popular ships from the prequel trilogy that was featured prominently in Episode III. Price: CA $29.99 which gives it a good PPB (Price per Brick) ratio of $0.11. The previous version had a PPB of  $0.10 but also included a vulture droid. Improvement: The ship is much sturdier and more accurate to the movie than model 7256 from 2005 and has a new spring shooter on the underside. Exclusive: Both the minifigures are new variants of common figures, however the recent redesign of Episode III Anakin has only appeared in two other sets both of which were store exclusives (Toys R Us and Target respectively) 9526: Palpatine's Arrest (CA$ 119.99) and 9494: Anakin's Jedi Interceptor ( CA $49.99) so he's kind of hard to find. P.I.E. Analysis: 75038 will make a solid investment once it reaches EOL. Even though 9494 had a very similar design and was exclusive to retailer Target, the different colour-scheme and higher PPB ratio ($0.13) will make it distinct enough to allow 75038 perform well. 5/5
    • 75039: V-Wing Starfighter based on a ship that was barely seen in Episode III and wasn't very popular. Price: CA $29.99 gives this set a pretty good PPB ratio of $0.12. The previous version had a PPB of $0.08. Improvement: The original V-wing (6205) was a solid but small set, something which this bulkier and more formidable model fixes. Exclusive: The minifigures are new variants of older figures with the clone pilot being fairly uncommon and popular. P.I.E. Analysis: 75039 will likely make a good investment post-EOL (boosted a bit by the inclusion of the clone pilot). Despite the fact that 7915 Imperial V-wing Starfighter was similar it had a different colour scheme and a higher PPB ($0.13) which gives this set the upper hand. 4/5
    • 75040: General Grievous' Wheel Bike is another vehicle that was featured prominently in Episode III but wasn't particularly popular. Price: CA $29.99 puts this this sets at the desirable PPB ratio of $0.10 but even so feels like it should be $5 cheaper. The previous version had a PPB of $0.18 but had several large custom pieces. Improvement: The new wheel bike is far better than the 2005 version, this time using a bunch of pieces put together around an oversized technic rim instead of just two 8X8 round plates. Unfortunately this set fails to include Obi-Wan's large reptilian mount which was one of the major components of the 2005 version. This puts 75040 in an uncertain position investment-wise. Exclusive: Another set with new variants of existing figures this sets features Obi-Wan with leg printing and a slightly more detailed torso but the same face and hair as the variant from 9494: Anakin's Jedi InterceptorGrievous uses body, head and leg pieces which are superior to the 2005 variant but mostly the same as his Clone Wars variant save for a change of colour (tan for Clone Wars, white for Episode III) and face printing. P.I.E. Analysis: 75040 will probably make a very good investment post-EOL. Compared to the 2005 version 75040 is far and away better especially when looking at the figure but it's missing a major component from the original (Obi-Wan's mighty steed). This along with the vehicle not being too popular itself puts 75040 in a dubious position investment wise. 3/5
    • 75041: Vulture Droid is a model of the more common ships from the prequel trilogy that has appeared in several sets and is semi-popular. Price: CA $29.99 gives this set a pretty good PPB ratio of $0.12. The most recent set to have a vulture droid also had Ahsoka's jedi starfighter with a PPB of $0.14 . Improvement: The new Vulture Droid is much bulkier than its predecessor which contrary to a popular saying isn't always better since the Vulture Droid is supposed to be a small, nimble ship that is mass-produced in order to overwhelm the enemy but this version looks more like a sturdy bomber than a quick attacker. Exclusive: This set contains three minifigures two of which are semi-uncommon but pretty dull (a pilot droid and a buzz droid) with the third being a Neimoidian Warrior which is a brand new figure that is very-well done but based on a character that was hardly even seen in Episode III. P.I.E. Analysis: 75041 will be a risky investment even post-EOL. This set is much larger than previous versions which unfortunately makes it less accurate in comparison. The inclusion of the new Neimoidian Warrior could significantly boost appreciation later on but it's probably not likely. 2/5
    • 75044: Droid Tri-Fighter is based on a ship that was seen only briefly at the beginning of Episode III. Price: CA $39.99 which gives it a good PPB ratio of $0.11. The previous version had a PPB of $0.09. Improvement: Only slightly improves on a model that was well constructed and accurate but not very popular. Exclusive: The minifigures are all new variants of existing figures. While the battle is very common, the buzz droid is dull and the red security droid is semi-rare, Chancellor Palpatine is quite a rare minifigure having been released in only two sets both of which were over CA $120 with one being a Toys R Us exclusive. Palpatine is a particularly good addition to this set since he was one of the most important and prominent figures in the entire Star Wars saga. P.I.E. Analysis: 75044 will be a good investment post-EOL. Despite the fact that the Tri-fighter isn't notably popular 75044 will have a good return due to the inclusion of the rare Chancellor Palpatine.
    • 75042: Droid Gunship is also based on a ship that was only seen briefly in Episode III. Price: CA $59.99 which gives this a good PPB ratio of $0.11. The previous version had a PPB of $0.09. Improvement: This is quite a bit bigger, beefier and more imposing than the old model (which itself was pretty good) and it has the new spring shooter. Exclusive: The battle droid and super battle droid are both quite common and the new green clone trooper is feature in one of the new battle packs but this is the first time that Chewbacca has ever been redesigned which is kind of ridiculous since he's one of the main characters from the original trilogy. P.I.E. Analysis:75042 will be a solid if not very good investment The inclusion of the currently exclusive redesign of Chewbacca should be especially helpful to this set.
    •  75043: AT-AP is based on a vehicle that was seen quite a bit in Episode III. Price: CA $74.99 gives this a a very good PPB of $0.08. The previous version had a PPB of $0.10. Improvement: This version of the AT-AP is a bit bulkier and stands much higher than the previous version and features the new spring shooter. Exclusive: This set features two battle droids and a super battle droid along with a new and much improved Clone Commander Gree and the brand new figure of Tarfful the wookiee. P.I.E. Analysis: 75043 will make a very good investment.

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