As a countdown to the Force Awakens, I will be writing reviews on Star Wars LEGO sets this week.
Full disclosure, I missed writing at least one review to meet my own schedule. So I have decided to punish myself and try to make a new review each day until the opening of Star Wars Episode VII. Hopefully they will be enjoyable for you and for me. I would like to finish out The Force Awakens lineup, but I've already built Rey's Speeder twice and parted out another one, so I have no interest in buying another one to open and build. I have little interest in the Kylo Ren's Shuttle because it's ugly, and I may or may not open a Millennium Falcon. So, unless something changes, TFA might not get full representation. Besides, I am super excited to get to the Shuttle Tyderium.
REVIEW: SET DETAILS
Set #: 75101
Name: First Order Special Forces TIE Fighter
Theme: Star Wars
Before we get to the build, let’s talk value. At $89.99 the price per piece works out to a bit over $.135 each. This seems to be on the high side of pricing for a licensed set. There are 4 minifigures most of which are currently unique to this set. This set is mainly a troop builder with 2 First Order TIE Pilots, 1 First Order Crew and 1 First Order Officer. The First Order Crew is also available in Kylo Ren's Shuttle.
Some people may wind up picking up a set that is open box or, want to verify the box contents before beginning a build. For this set, there are 4 numbered baggies, and a bag containing a sticker sheet, and an instruction book. There are 6 small stickers, but for some reason I only used 4 and cannot figure out where the 2 remaining ones go. I read the instructions 4 times.
THE BUILD AND EXECUTION
Bag 1 creates the basic shape of the hull of the TIE Fighter. There's a back to back crew area for 2 minifigures, which just happen to be in this bag. You've got 2 pilots, which is one more than you usually get with a TIE Fighter. The Control stick is built from a Battle Droid torso. I like that, it makes it seem more thought out than the really old school 1x2 decorated tile like we used to see. You can just see the ports of the spring loaded missile launchers.
Bag 2 completes the body of the TIE Starfighter. It has 3 hatches and I'm not sure if that thing sticking up is a cannon or an antenna. It's probably a cannon because it's attached to a technic pin that would allow it to swing forward. The red bricks and pieces create the stripe that I am going to assume is for the Special forces. It's pretty striking on this all black vehicle. The white at the ends of the "arms" is kind of jarring, and I hoped that it would not be visible in the final build. I do like the looks of this, very properly TIE Fightery. The First Order Crew that pops up in this bag is sort of plain, except his ridiculous looking helmet.
I have to do something different here, because the build instructions require it. Bags 3 and 4 are the same. The instructions show both bags in the requirements, and at the end just have the "X2" notation. You probably guessed it, each bag contains a wing. The only difference between the 2 bags is that one has a minifigure, and the other has the spring missile projectiles. I'm going to let you in on a little secret here. I haven't built many TIE Fighters. Most of them have very flimsy wings. To me that says everything about the TIE fighter, but does not endear them to me. These wings seem pretty stable. It's got some significant layering , which gives me confidence that it's not going to crumble while it's on display. I've read that the wing design is very similar to the UCS TIE Fighter.
There's this part used in the build of the wings that I don't think I have ever seen before. Bricklink seems to indicate that it's a rare piece. It's only available in a handful of sets
so, once you've built the wings, of course, you put them together with the body.
The opening hatch on top is what allows you to put the pilots inside, the front and rear hatchesjust pretty much allow you to see them.
There were a surprisingly mall number of extra pieces. It's an indication of the limited number of small pieces in this set. You do end up with 2 extra roller skates from the wing greeblies, so our First Order Crew or Officer could use them. I don't recommend them for the TIE Pilots, because there's no room to skate in the cockpit. I also include the brick separator, because I have so many of these now, and they are not a part of the build.
I like the build. It definitely came across beautifully in the finished product. It was not complicated, but on the other hand, it's also not a box like the older TIE Fighters used to be. I liked the way that they decorated the wings. I have a horrible memory of how the 7146 was decorated, and am just as pleased not to go back to it. When all is said and done, this is a nice set, a little pricey on the 3P score. 13.5 cents per piece just makes it too expensive, probably by at least $10 for the set, maybe by as much as $20.
The minifigures are great, army builders to a man. Not a single named character to make you feel weird about buying multiples for a scene. They each have new headgear, obviously the pilots have the same one. I think that the design for the Officer's hat and the Crew are dumb looking, but that's not LEGO's fault.
TIE Fighters are the most common vehicle in the Empire. Strangely, this is the most common set from the Force Awakens line. Along with all of the product shipped to regular stores like Target, Walmart and Toys R Us, Costcos received large pallets of this set. When all of the other TFA sets sold out from LEGO Shop at Home on Black Friday/Cyber Monday this set still remained. I doubt there's less demand for this set. I think that the early discounts at Costco and Black Friday sales at Walmart and Target are going to be the price that drive this set.
It's going to be hard to look at this set with MSRP so far above average and get excited about it. The regular buyers, mom and dad and Timmy are likely to pick up a copy when necessary. I foresee it having a discount on Amazon for most of its life.
The 9492 performed pretty well after retirement, even though this set was coming along to replace it. The long term value of this set depends upon the reception of the new film. If people like the film, they'll probably want to accumulate these later on. It's actually about perfect for the size, so I doubt that they will make an updated version. Probably any future version of the First Order TIE Fighter will just be a repackage of this, which would seriously limit its growth potential. If I had to make a guess though, the next Sequel Trilogy movie will have a different TIE Fighter design featured to sell new toys, so we'll probably see a new TIE interceptor, Advanced or something like that. There's probably going to be a few years before the inevitable reissue.
(in the week leading up to the new film's release, and 10 days before Christmas, it is sold out from Amazon and already over $90 including shipping. Don't underestimate the power of a new movie)
Edited by thoroakenfelder