Ratings and Reviews for 10143-1: Death Star II

10143-1: Death Star II

Overall Score

8.90
View Price Guide Review this Set
  • First Impression Does the set "WOW" you? 9.00
  • Unique Parts/Minifigures Unique parts? Increase resale? 8.00
  • Playability/Build Experience Is this a "FUN" set to build? 6.00
  • Value for money (NEW) "Bang for your buck"? 10
  • Theme Popularity Will theme help with resale? 10
  • Exclusivity Unique production aspects? 9.00
  • Packaging Does this set stand out? 8.00
  • Growth Potential Possibility of revenue growth? 10
  • Display Attributes Does this set stand out? 10
  • Conclusion Your final analysis.. 9.00
Review from: bens1858
Reviewed on: Aug 14, 2013
Join Date: 04/06/2013
# of Reviews: 4

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FIRST IMPRESSION | Score: 9

The Death Star 10143 amazed me the first time I saw it. I was blown away by all the details on the "unfinished" side of it. It seemed like an impossible build with so many pieces. I wanted it the second I laid eyes on it. I could tell immediately what it was supposed to be and it looked like almost an exact replica of the "real" space station in Episode Six. I also loved how it came with a little Super Star Destroyer to go to scale with it.

When I received it, the size of the box astonished me. It seemed almost like a cube! If I knew then what I know now, I would have kept the box, but unfortunately, due to my ignorance, I threw it away and today it is long gone.

When I opened the box, it was like a dream come true for me. Pieces and pieces as far as the eye could see. Howeverm despite the plethora of pieces, the instruction book seemed as if it were one of two. When I leafed through it and noticed it was infact the only one, I was surprised at the size, and when I say surprised, I mean underwhelmed. For a set with this many pieces (approximately 3,500), I expected the instruction book to be at least double the size. It has exactly 100 pages, that's it. Sets like 10030 Imperial Star Destroyer and 10221 (which was not out at the time, but still) have two hundred twenty-six pages and two hundred twenty-one pages respectively, and they have fewer (but comparable) pieces than the Death Star II!

I soon found out why the instruction book was so small for a set of this magnitude . . .

UNIQUE PARTS | Score: 8

This set does not contain any minifigures. While I know that many people do not like that many UCS sets do not have minifigures, I think it was a good desicion with this set not to include them because there would be no place to set them up, and they would just look strange.

As for unique parts, there are not many. There are some pieces, though, that are quite expensive now. Most of the pieces in this set are light bluish gray, so not very colorful, but that is what the Death Star is. The color works well for this model.

While some of the pieces are a little more expensive than the typical Lego piece, it may be possible to part out this set. Other than the price of the pieces, though, there is also the signature sticker that comes with most Ultimate Collector's Series sets stating the model's stats. On BrickLink today, the cheapest ones are hovering around $60. It may be worth it, but you probably would not make to big of a profit, if one at all.

PLAYABILITY/BUILD EXPERIENCE | Score: 6

This is just a model, so there is no playability to be expected. Unlike some Ultimate Collector's Series sets, this one comes with absolutely no functions whatsoever.

I realized as soon as I started the build exactly why the instruction book was so small, and that is because there is AN ENORMOUS AMOUNT OF REPETITION! (You better get used to that word because it will show up many more times throughout this review.)

Now for a quick summary of the build:

It starts out with the making of the inside structure, (the skeleton, if you will) which is a cross. Then, there is a multistep build times three (X3), then the same kind of build times six (X6). Then there is a longer build as you start to build the bottom-- times four (X4). Then there is a similar build times three (X3). All this repetition is just the bottom of the "finished" side.

Then you move on to the "unfinished" half of the Death Star II. It may not look it, but the top and the bottom are actually exactly the SAME. One of them is turned upside-down while the other remains right side up. Just one of them is a thirty-four step build (and very challenging and confusing, I might add (mistakes to be expected)), so then once accomplishing that, you must build it again. For a visual of this find instructions and look from page fourty to page fifty-seven. You may be able to see how mistakes may occur.

As you build the surrounding areas to the laser, there is not too much repetition. The laser, on the other hand, is very repetitive as you must make eight mini lasers that touch the one super laser. Once you finish that, you move onto the top of the finished side and once again, just like the bottom, it is an eleven step build times three, then a similar build three more times.

If you would like to see the build for yourself, you can search it on YouTube or look at the instruction book on Brickset.com.

This set is great to look at, and I think that the build did require some level of repetition, but it is definitely not the most exciting build among the Ulimate Collector's Series.

VALUE FOR MONEY | Score: 10

For this section, I will compare the Death Star II (10143) to all the other Ultimate Collector's Series sets. This table is organized from the most cents per piece to the least cents per piece (all the following data comes from Brickset.com and BrickPicker.com and is in United States dollars):

Set Name (Set ID) MSRP Number of Pieces Price per Piece
Special Edition Naboo Starfighter (10026) $39.99 187 21.4 cents
Obi-Wan's Jedi Starfighter (10215) $99.99 676 14.8 cents
TIE Interceptor (7181) $99.99 703 14.2 cents
B-Wing Starfighter (10227) $199.99 1,487 13.4 cents
Red Five X-wing Starfighter (10240) $199.99 1,559 12.8 cents
Super Star Destroyer (10221) $399.99 3,152 12.7 cents
X-wing Starfighter (7191) $149.99 1,300 11.5 cents
Rebel Blockade Runner (10019) $199.99 1,747 11.4 cents
Imperial Shuttle (10212) $259.99 2,503 10.4 cents
Imperial Star Destroyer (10030) $298.99 3,096 9.7 cents
Millennium Falcon (10179) $499.99 5,195 9.6 cents
Yoda (7194) $99.99 1,075 9.3 cents
Rebel Snowspeeder (10129) $129.99 1,455 8.9 cents
Death Star II (10143) $298.99 3,441 8.7 cents
R2-D2 (10225) $179.99 2,127 8.5 cents
Vader's TIE Advanced (10175) $99.99 1,212 8.3 cents
Genreal Grievous (10186) $89.99 1,085 8.3 cents
Y-Wing Attack Starfighter (10134) $119.99 1,473 8.1 cents
Darth Maul Bust (10018) $149.99 1,868 8.0 cents
Imperial AT-ST (10174) $79.99 1,068 7.5 cents

From this table, the Death Star II (10143) has one of the lowest price per piece ratios out of all the Ultimate Collector's Series sets at 8.7 cents per piece. The average price per piece ratio of all the Ultimate Collector's Series sets (not counting the Special Edition Naboo Starfighter because it is an extreme outlier), comes out to be approximately 10.3 cents per piece. The price per piece ratio of the Death Star II does not blow that average away, being 1.6 cents below it, but it is a decent sized difference. If the Death Star II had a price per piece ratio of 10.3 cents per piece (the average), then the retail price would have been approximately $354.42. That is a fairly large difference. For the number of pieces and for the size of the constructed set, the Death Star II is certainly a reasonable price for any set that size, not to mention that it is also a member of the Ultimate Collector's Series. Remember, when you buy an Ultimate Collector's Series set, you are not just buying the set with the pieces and the build, but you are also buying the name.

What I find interesting about this table is that the top three sets with the highest price per piece ratios are the three smallest sets while most of the very large sets have one that is less than 10 cents per piece. I'm guessing the reason behind it is that The Lego Company can get away with higher prices for lower piece counts (especially if it is a member of the Ultimate Collector's Series family), but if they hope to sell those very large sets, they must lower the cost. If this were not the case, we would be dealing with a cost of $509 for Death Star II (using the price per piece ratio of Obi-Wan's Jedi Starfighter 10215), or even worse, $736.37 for the Death Star II (using the price per piece ratio of the Special Edition Naboo Starfighter 10026). However, The Lego Company does not want to make the price per piece ratio too low like with the Imperial AT-ST 10174 (which would make the Death Star II cost $258.08) because they know that they can get away with a higher price than that for a set as impressive as the Death Star II (10143). Lego does a good job (for the most part) of finding a middle ground in which people are willing to buy but are not getting a great deal.

Set 10221 Super Star Destroyer does not fit into the theory stated at the beginning of the previous paragraph in which I talked about large sets not having a high price per piece ratio. However, I have noticed in recent years that Lego sets have become more and more expensive very quickly. In 2007, the Millennium Falcon was released for $499.99 with 5,195 pieces. However, according to the chart, that is a very reasonable price for the theme. Years earlier, the other enormous sets (Death Star II (10143) and Imperial Star Destroyer (10030)) came out for under $300. However, in 2011, the Super Star Destroyer was released for $100 more than both the Death Star II and Imperial Star Destroyer, even though it had three hundred fewer pieces than the Death Star II and less than one hundred pieces more than the Imperial Star Destroyer. The Super Star Destroyer was also only $100 less than the Millennium Falcon, which contains TWO THOUSAND more pieces than the Super Star Destroyer!

The point I am trying to make is that Lego does not have a pattern at all in their pricing of Lego sets, so it is hard to say what a good value is. However, based on the price per piece ratio of every UCS set and based on the year in which it came out, the Death Star II (10143) seems to me to be a good value for the money.

THEME POPULARITY | Score: 10

The Death Star II is part of an extremely popular theme. The Ultimate Collector's Series is a popular theme among everyone, but especially AFOLs and collectors. I don't know if I was different than many younger kids, but I never got into playing with Legos. I was always interested in display models and collections, from the time I was seven years old. Nothing has changed. I am still interested in collecting. I only say this because I do not think that the Death Star II is only for teens and adults who are interested in a challenging build, a collection, or both, but rather for people of any age who are interested in a long challenging build and a great display piece. I was ten years old when I built the Death Star II for the first time and I enjoyed the challenge and loved the magnificent display qualities it possesses. Therefore, I believe that the Death Star II is part of a popular theme for everyone (although some children might need some help putting it together). The Death Star II is also part of the Lego Star Wars theme, which is the most successful and most popular theme. It should appeal to a wide variety of people.

EXCLUSIVITY | Score: 9

I am pretty sure this was a Lego exclusive when it was still on the market. Therefore, it was exclusive. Also, given the price of the set, not too many people were able to get there hands on it, making it even more rare.

PACKAGING | Score: 8

I wish I had kept the box of this behemoth. I do remember that the box was enormous in all dimensions, almost like a gigantic cardboard cube. The picture on the front of the box shows of the set in a scene directly from Episode Six. It shows the Death Star II in space with a battle going on in the background. The back of the box shows the actual set on the stand and gives the dimensions. It also zooms in on the mini Super Star Destroyer and the huge laser. The pictures on the box do a good job of advertising the set, but the most impressive aspect of the box is its enormous size.

GROWTH POTENTIAL | Score: 10

For this section, let's look at how every retired Ultimate Collector's Series set has performed so far in the secondary market (all data comes from BrickPicker.com and is as of August 2013). The following table is organized by highest CAGR to lowest CAGR:

Set Name (Set ID) MSRP Market Value (New) Market Value (Used) CAGR
Millennium Falcon (10179) $499.99 $2622.00 $1733.87 31.81%
Rebel Snowspeeder (10129) $129.99 $901.27 $511.87 21.37%
Special Edition Naboo Starfighter (10026) $39.99 $305.47 $128.00 20.30%
Vader's TIE Advanced (10175) $99.99 $357.40 $204.60 19.96%
Y-Wing Attack Starfighter (10134) $119.99 $597.87 $317.07 19.54%
Death Star II (10143) $298.99 $1089.19 $534.20 17.54%
Imperial AT-ST (10174) $79.99 $234.17 $148.00 16.58%
Darth Maul Bust (10018) $149.99 $727.33 $417.13 14.06%
X-Wing Starfighter (7191) $149.99 $793.47 $285.29 13.67%
Imperial Star Destroyer (10030) $298.99 $1102.47 $631.04 12.59%
Yoda (7194) $99.99 $349.07 $172.07 12.04%
Rebel Blockade Runner (10019) $199.99 $776.80 $417.13 11.97%
TIE Interceptor (7181) $99.99 $425.67 $175.00 11.79%
Imperial Shuttle (10212) $259.99 $354.69 $275.53 10.91%
General Grievous (10186) $89.99 $150.32 $84.93 10.81%
Obi-Wan's Jedi Starfighter (10215) $99.99 $95.83 $75.00 -1.41%

As you can see, most (excluding Obi-Wan's Jedi Starfighter, of course) of the Ultimate Collector's Series sets have been doing pretty well or even extraordinarily well. While it is not doing nearly as well as the UCS Millennium Falcon (10179), the Death Star II (10143) has done very well for itself. It has now been retired for six years (since 2007) and is still going up in value by a WHOPPING 17.54% EACH YEAR!! That is quite an accomplishment and a very fast growth rate, especially after all this time. In fact, according to the BrickPicker Price Guide, the Death Star II is the third most valuable new Ultimate Collector's Series set in the secondary market (behind 10179 Millennium Falcon (surprise, surprise) and 10030 Imperial Star Destroyer) at over $1,000! It is also the third most expensive used Ultimat Collector's Series set on the secondary market (once again behind 10179 and 10030). In a theme as popular and expensive as the Ultimate Collectors Series, being the third most valuable is an immense achievement.

It also has the sixth highest CAGR of the retired Ultimate Collector's Series sets, which again is an impressive feat in a theme as sought after as this one. The average CAGR of all the retired UCS sets is approximately 15.22%. While the Death Star II's CAGR does not blow this average to smithereens (like 10179 Millennium Falcon), it does come out ahead by almost 2.50%, which is still impressive for a theme that, for the most part, has appreciated exceedingly well since its inception all the way back in 2000.

Of course, there is still time, and I am sure that the Death Star II's growth is not going to slow down any time soon, so for those of you who are invested in one, hang on to it for a while longer and for those of you on the cusp of buying one, just bite the bullet now and do it, because the value is only going to increase.

DISPLAY QUALITY | Score: 10

What can I say about this jaw-dropping display piece? It's one of the biggest Star Wars Lego sets out there and the large amount of pieces do not disappoint. The "unfinished" side is very impressive and is what, in my opinion, makes this set very special. It is not apparent when observing the "unfinished" side that the top and bottom are exactly the same, only with one flipped upside-down. The detailing is magnificent and the resemblance to the "real" Death Star II is phenomenal.

Although there is not too much detailing on the "finished" side, it too looks good and is true to the movie. The huge laser looks very good and the trans-neon green color matches the color of the "real" laser almost exactly. Same as many of these very large Star Wars sets, there is a small ship to scale with it. In this case, a Super Star Destroyer is to scale with it, and it just goes to show how large the "real" Death Star II is.

At over twenty-five inches tall and nineteen inches wide, the Death Star II will definitely stand out in your collection, and it is quite a sight!

CONCLUSION & FINAL ANALYSIS | Score: 9

Overall, this set is one of my favorite ones to look at of the Ultimate Collector's Series sets. It is a conversation-starter and looks great next to the other UCS ships (like 10179 Millennium Falcon, 10030 Imperial Star Destroyer, and 10221 Super Star Destroyer). I have it on display right next to my 10188 Death Star, and it is really nice to see the outside of one Death Star and then rooms and scenes from the movie on the inside of it.

I had a great first impression of this set from the minute I laid eyes on it. While I was a little disappointed by the repetitive build, everything else about it (including the box, the size, the way it looks on display, and some parts of the build) surpassed my wildest dreams. I had actually forgotton how repetitive this set was until last year when I took it apart and rebuilt it. It is a long and tedious process to build and it actually took me about three whole hours just to disassemble it: that's how massive it is.

There are no minifigures included, but as I said before, there should not be because they would not fit in with the rest of the set. I do think, however, that the mini Super Star Destroyer kind of fills the space the minifigures should fill to some people. I think that the designers made the correct choice by not including them.

To my knowledge, there are no unique parts to this set.

The Death Star II lost the most points to me because of the extremely repetitive nature of the build. I am not saying that I did not enjoy building it; I did, but what I am saying is that there are certainly much better builds in terms of excitement and surprises. I did enjoy seeing the iconic Death Star II form from a huge mound of pieces right before my eyes.

While $300 may seem like a lot of money to spend, for this Lego it is certainly worth it. Even though there is not much variety of colors and building techniques, it really is an extremely impressive set and a pleasure to look at. Though the build is repetitive, tedius, and even a little boring at times, it really pays off when you see this monster fully constructed. There is not another Lego set out there that looks as complicated as this one.

The Death Star II is one of the largest sets of the Ultimate Collector's Series theme, and therefore, was very popular but hard to find.

As we have seen over the last six years, this model has exploded in value. Just go to amazon.com and look at the costs for the new and the used. You will be astounded. Ebay is not much cheaper. Despite what BrickPicker says, I haven't seen a used Death Star II sell for less than $650. I trust BrickPicker more than myself when it comes to this, but I am only commenting on the listings that I have seen (just for fun and for curiosity).

All in all, this set is a must have. Despite being a long repetitive build, it really is something; something that every Lego fan, old and young, should build and admire for years and years. I know I will never give this set up, and I am sure many of the lucky souls who have managed to get there hands on this wonder would surely agree with me. Buy it (if you can) if you do not own it, and if you do, never give it up. It truly is something special.