Ratings and Reviews for 4502-1: X-wing Fighter

4502-1: X-wing Fighter

Overall Score

7.70
View Price Guide Review this Set
  • First Impression Does the set "WOW" you? 8.00
  • Unique Parts/Minifigures Unique parts? Increase resale? 9.00
  • Playability/Build Experience Is this a "FUN" set to build? 9.00
  • Value for money (NEW) "Bang for your buck"? 9.00
  • Theme Popularity Will theme help with resale? 9.00
  • Exclusivity Unique production aspects? 4.00
  • Packaging Does this set stand out? 7.00
  • Growth Potential Possibility of revenue growth? 5.00
  • Display Attributes Does this set stand out? 9.00
  • Conclusion Your final analysis.. 8.00
Review from: Grolim
Reviewed on: Jul 2, 2013
Avatar for: Grolim
Join Date: 12/10/2012
# of Reviews: 41

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FIRST IMPRESSION | Score: 8

Luke Skywalker: We'll never get it out now!
Yoda: So certain are you. Always with you it cannot be done. Hear you nothing that I say?
"

The 4502 X-Wing Fighter set was released in 2004 as part of the Original Trilogy subtheme of Star Wars.  There have been many X-Wing based sets released since The Lego Group acquired the Star Wars license and began to produce Lego sets based on what is probably the most popular movie franchise in history.  In fact this set was the 4th large version X-Wing to be released and there have been another 3 since, so it sits right in the middle.

What distinguishes this model from its X-Wing peers is that it is based on the X-Wing that Luke Skywalker piloted to Degobah in search of Yoda.  The ship becomes buried in the swamp and this set depicts that with green vine pieces draped over parts of the ship.  You also get Yoda’s hut to build so you can recreate the Degobah setting.  This is the only set we’ve seen released that contains Yoda’s little hut and it’s a great point of difference.

The set makes a great first impression.  It is easily recognisable as an X-Wing, which is something even non-fans of Star Wars will probably be able to see.  For those with finer knowledge of the Star Wars universe, the ship and Yoda’s hut will immediately conjure up the scenes from the movie on which it is based.  The size of the ship is impressive given it’s modest 563 piece count (some of which go to the hut).  It may not be the largest or most detailed Star Wars model or even X-Wing around, but it does have a decent amount of wow factor and rather than just being a generic ship, it links to that specific movie reference.

UNIQUE PARTS | Score: 9

The 3 minifigures included are the ones you would expect from the setting, Luke, Yoda, and R2-D2.  Lets look at each of them in detail:

  • Luke Skywalker – this is a unique version of Luke, so very rare.  He’s in his Degobah training outfit as Yoda puts him through his paces.  As such he commands a significant premium on the minifigure market with asking prices starting just under $30 for a new condition one.  Many people collect Star Wars minifigures or even just a niche area like all versions of Luke and this one will be needed to complete those collections.  A definite driver of set value here.
  • Yoda – This version of the Jedi master is only available in 2 other fairly old sets.  As such he is semi-rare and commands a small price premium on the minifigure market.
  • R2-D2 – Everyone’s favourite little droid is included here, as he is in about a dozen other sets.  So he is a very common minifigure.  It’s nice that he’s included as it completes the trio of characters that complete the scene the set is based on.  But there is no driver of set value from R2 as he is just too common.

In terms of parts there are a couple of rare printed parts that are unique to this set that fetch a significant premium price.  Firstly the most obvious one is the 8 x 8 Brown Radar Dish that has the tree branch pattern printed on it.  This piece represents the roof of Yoda’s hut.  It is priced at almost $5 in new condition.  The other piece is a 1 x 2 Dark Grey tile that has a bedroll pattern printed on it.  This piece commands around $11 when sold in new condition, very expensive for such a small piece.  The uniqueness of these two pieces underpins their desirability and price, this in turn helps drive the price of new condition sealed sets.  There are a couple of other printed pieces (no stickers back in these days, just good printed bricks!) that have small premiums attached but nothing like the two I’ve discussed.

The rest of the set comprises of a good mix of popular colors.  Black, dark & light grey, blue, red, green, white, brown, and tan are all well represented.  It would be a good set to build other things out of due to the many colors available.  It may add a little value, but I couldn’t readily see and part/color combinations that were extremely rare.  Although the greys are the old type that was retired and replaced by the bluish grey shades, so is a little rarer and may be a little more sought after. 

PLAYABILITY/BUILD EXPERIENCE | Score: 9

Building the set from the 563 pieces shouldn’t take longer than a couple of hours if you are taking your time.  Nothing overly complicated in terms of technique.  Attaching the green vines, building the working wing mechanism from technic gears and rubber bands, and putting the roof on the hut are the high points.  There is that familiar feeling of accomplishment when done as you look upon your work, something that Lego builders will know all about in ways that are difficult to describe.

The finished model has a great amount of playability.  The minifigures provide the main play options.  Recreating the familiar training scenes from Empire Strikes Back as Luke begins to master his Jedi abilities.  Have him use the force to lift R2, put Yoda on his back and go for a “run”, try lifting the X-Wing from the swamp and fail, then get Yoda to do it. (“Do or do not, there is no try!”).  Lie Yoda down in his hut for a “sleep”, or even just play with the X-Wing itself and its many great features, the play abilities are varied and many. 

Luke Skywalker: Master, moving stones around is one thing. This is totally different.
Yoda: No! No different! Only different in your mind. You must unlearn what you have learned.

VALUE FOR MONEY | Score: 9

Retailing at $50 new this set was well under the accepted benchmark of $0.10 per piece at $0.089.  On first glance this represents very good value for money.  There are also the 3 minifigures to factor in, which means you got them for $17 per minifigure if you averaged it over the set.  There is a bit of a loose rule that $10 per minifigure is good value, so we are a bit over that, but only the three of them are needed to complete the scene.  None of the minifigures would require a new mold I don’t think, but the unique printing on Luke adds a bit to the production budget.  Price per gram was $0.055 which is also very good.  So I think we can say that value for money at retail was overall quite good.

Will parting out the set pieces as well as the 3 minifigures provide any profit?  Lets examine that:

Part (new cond) Price Estimate
Luke Skywalker (Degobah) $27.43
Yoda $9.67
R2-D2 $4.50
Box & Instructions $32.38
Other Parts $152.30
Total $226.30

So the total of $226.28 is more than $80 above the current market price for a new set of $143.00 on Brickpicker.  This would suggest that there is potentially a profit to be made in buying a new set and parting it out.  One caution here though is that the box itself has only has a couple of listings for approximately $20 and may be an unrealistic price.  Even accounting for that it still looks like there could be some profits in parting out.  Though you would have to take into account possible selling fees and the opportunity cost of the time involved to do so – which would deteriorate some of that margin.  I still feel that you may find it a beneficial excersise though.  If this is an option you’d like to explore more then I’d suggest reading this excellent article on Brickpicker posted by Strytlr that can be found here:http://www.brickpicker.com/index.php/blog/view/lego_investing_complete_sets_vs_parting_out

THEME POPULARITY | Score: 9

The Star Wars theme is very high in terms of popularity I think only City outperforms it in sheer numbers sold.  It has to score highly for this.  Also the Original Trilogy subtheme is probably the most sought after for collectors, possibly only behind the highly prized UCS line.

Star Wars Lego appeals to two main collector groups.  Star Wars Fans and Lego Fans.  Sets from this theme have the ability to pull in non-traditional Lego buyers who collect Star Wars toys or memorabilia.  There are a lot of them out there; Star Wars would have to be one of the most collectable franchises around the world.  Therefore this drives demand for Star Wars Lego beyond the normal Lego fan.

CAGR by Theme on Brickpicker shows Star Wars as averaging 9.27% across the theme, which is below the total Lego average of 11.36%.  However, this can be a little misleading as the theme CAGR includes sets that are still available at retail outlets which almost always have a negative return due to purchasing during specials or discounts.  If only EOL (End of Line) sets were taken into consideration this would be a lot higher I’m sure.

EXCLUSIVITY | Score: 4

The set was not exclusive to any particular retailer.  Just a standard 2004 release across all Lego retailers.  Nothing much to add to potential value here to really pump up the secondary market value through scarcity of supply. 

PACKAGING | Score: 7

There were two versions of this box available.  The “Original Trilogy edition” was colored black around the edges and was square in shape.  The other was the “blue box” edition and as the moniker suggests, had a blue edge to it.  The Blue Box edition was more common and the other box is sometimes reffered to as set number 4502-2.  Both had a picture on the front showing Yoda lifting the X-Wing out of the swamp as Luke and R2 look on, with Yoda’s hut in the background.  A nice piece of artwork that depicts the movie scene the set is design on very well.

As I mentioned previously there was only a couple of boxes (both blue boxes) for sale on Bricklink that I could see at time of writing and the chepest new one was asking $19.47.  Perhaps a little unrealistic for a box of this size on a fairly old set like this.  Though the scarcity of the box is possibly a small driving factor for the overall value of the set in new condition.

GROWTH POTENTIAL | Score: 5

Luke Skywalker: [tired] I can't. It's too big.

Yoda: Size matters not. Look at me. Judge me by my size, do you, hmm? And well you should not, for my ally is the Force. And a powerful ally it is. …You must feel the Force around you. Everywhere. Here, between you, me, the tree, the rock, everywhere. Yes, even between the land and the ship.

 

This set has had a CAGR of 12.39% over the 9 years since its release.  That is a good growth rate for a set of this age and represents a return of 186% on initial investment (ROI) if you bought one at retail (or 2.9 times retail price if you prefer that measure).  Not many Lego sets have sustained that level of price growth for such a period after the end of its retail life.  If you bought the set at a discount, lets conservatively say 20% off, then that would mean an ROI of 258% (3.6 times the price you paid for it).  No doubt this set would have seen such discounts and perhaps more over its retail life.  In fact, as an exercise, lets look at a realistic best case scenario; 2 year shelf life at retail and a 25% off (it could even have been more perhaps?) sale at the end of its life to clear stock.  So you buy it at that time and your CAGR would be 21.1%, ROI of 281% (3.8 times retail).  A very good result. 

Looking a little closer you can see that the return over the last 12 months has actually been -12.63%.  That is on a sales volume of 62 new units sold on Ebay US.  So a bit of a drop in the price after a number of good growth years.  The main factor for this drop is that there have been some recent remakes of the X-Wing.  Set 9493 came out a year ago and this set will have undoubtedly cannibalised some of the demand for our 4502 set.  There is also the new 10240 UCS Red Five X-Wing that was released 2 months ago and this may only just be beginning to have a effect – evidenced perhaps by the -3.64% drop for 4502 between April and May prices.  I have examined this remake phenomenon in more detail in a recent blog post, including a specific look at X-Wing remakes, it can be found here: http://www.brickpicker.com/forum/index.php/blog/4/entry-190-attack-of-the-lego-clones/

I’d also like to examine the volatility of prices on Ebay US using recently added data information on the sets Brickpicker page.  Below is a simple “Stock Chart” that shows the minimum, average, and maximum prices that the set sold for in new condition in the past two months.

We only have two months to work with so there isn’t much in the way of time trends to analyse yet, but our ability to do so will improve as we move forward gathering more of this data.  What we do see is a fairly wide gap of sales points for April and the narrowing for May.  Condition of new sets can vary somewhat and will account for some of that price variation as a mint set will probably sell for more than a set with plenty of wear or damage to a box.  Though the information does tell us that buyers are willing to pay up to perhaps $185 for a good set.  If you had a set to sell you could price it accordingly along the scale depending on your sets condition and possibly other factors such as your Ebay reputation.  The graph also represents the -3.46% growth that was mentioned above by a drop in the mean (Current Market Price) from $148.40 to $143.00.

From the evidence presented it would be easy to conclude that the times of growth are over for this set.  The recent trend of negative growth would suggest that.  Certainly in the short term while the impacts of 9493 are still being felt and the new impacts of the 10240 UCS are yet to truly kick in.  However, I think that once the two current retail sets retire we may see this set return to a decent growth path – at least until the next inevitable X-Wing set is released!  If there is a window of no X-Wings on the retail shelf it will help.  The new Star Wars movies may also help somewhat.  It is unknown if the X-Wing will feature in them but it seems as good a bet as any ship to do so.

DISPLAY QUALITY | Score: 9

This set looks great on display.  It’s a decent sized replica of one of the most iconic ships from the Star Wars universe.  The unique swamp setting and features set it apart from other X-Wing model and add that touch of authenticity.  The hut and minifigures just add to the picture and really help to set the scene.  Sure the ship itself may not be as large or accurate as the latest X-Wing available or definitely the two UCS X-Wings we have been blessed with but this one feels unique and a little bit special. 

The display footprint is fairly large as it needs space to properly set the scene.  Crowding it with other sets will make it feel a little lost on a shelf.  Displayed proudly though this one is a winner and Star Wars fans will love it.

CONCLUSION & FINAL ANALYSIS | Score: 8

Luke Skywalker: You want the impossible. [starts to walk away]
[Yoda sighs, then concentrates on the ship. Using the Force, he raises it out of the swamp and places it safely on dry land, then looks back to Luke.]
Luke Skywalker: [astonished] I don't believe it!
Yoda: That is why you fail.

For me it’s the only X-Wing I own and the only one I really want to own.  The scene takes me right back to one of my favourite parts of my favourite Star Wars film.  Yoda training Luke is where we really began to understand The Force and the power it has in the Star Wars universe.  I don’t feel the need to buy and display another generic X-Wing.

I have really enjoyed taking a looking at this set in detail and it’s a review I have been working off and on for quite some time as it’s been one of my favourite sets for a long time.  From an investment standpoint there are some good points that have or should drive investment value, namely; Great minifigures and one that is unique and pricey, good value for money, a strong price growth history sustained over a long time period, accuracy to fan favourite movie settings, the unique Yoda’s hut, a very nice display piece, and the possibility of making a profit parting out the set.  Whereas on the flipside of that there is the negative of a recent drop in growth brought on by another “case of the re-makes” which are almost certain to come again as the new UCS X-Wing bites.

Personally I would be a little hesitant to buy one of these 4502 sets for investment right now, but if you can score a bargain you could make some profit by parting out if that’s your thing.  Longer term if you wait a while the set will probably drop a bit further as the 10240 UCS demand bites, but if you grab one near the bottom of that curve you might get a decent period of growth before the next probable remake.  That’s a fairly risky strategy that involves predicting a lot of timing to be successful though.  In my opinion this X-Wing Fighter is stuck in the growth swamp and it’ll take a lot of force to lift it out.