Rogue One: A Star Wars Story merchandise has arrived and LEGO has launched a great line-up building sets to coincide with the upcoming film, including the all new TIE Striker. Come inside to check out my review of the new buildable vehicle.
It’s no secret that LEGO has been knocking things out of the park with their latest sets, especially based on the brand new films. Oftentimes, they deliver on items where Hasbro seems to be lacking. Over the last couple years, I’ve had the good fortune to be able to review a number of the LEGO Star Wars sets, including a good number of those based on vehicles from the movies (which just so happen to be my favorites). I’m happy to say that the new TIE Striker set may be my favorite so far of the ships I’ve put together in recent years.
Since it was initially revealed via a handful of leaked images, I’ve been enamored with the TIE Striker design. A play on the traditional starfighter we’ve come to associate with the Empire, it’s arrow like shape harkens back to some of the fighter designs we had in the old Expanded Universe days. That and it just looks freaking cool.
LEGO manages to take the cool design of the ship and capitalize on it it, making for a playset that's great for play and display. The set itself is fairly large, composed of 543 pieces and measuring 16 inches long and nine inches across. It's a good sized ship, rivaling the size of Hasbro's toy ships on the market. This size makes the details on the ship stand out and bring into focus all the makes it so appealing.
The set comes with four minifigures as well. This includes the TIE Pilot (which is no different from other TIE Pilot minifigs), a Rebel Soldier, the new Scarif Shoretrooper, and an Imperial Ground Crew figure. This last one, of course, is the costume we see our heroine Jyn Erso wear in some of the Rogue One trailers, as she's presumably sneaking into an Imperial compound. These are neat additions to the Star Wars line of minifigures and I'm always happy to get new Imperials to add to my collection. It's kind of a bummer that a set this big didn't give us any minifigs of the more important movie characters, but that's a minor gripe.
Building the set isn't too complicated, though it does feature a good amount of small pieces and mechanism crafting which will require a finer touch. The set comes sorted into five different bags with a thick instruction booklet, so it looks daunting at first, but with patience, it's easy to get through. The age range for the set is 8-14 and that seems largely accurate. There are enough small parts and minute things to put together that kids much younger than eight would be hard pressed to put the set together without any help. As it stands, my son (who's almost eight) was able to put together an entire wing of the TIE Striker together on his own while I cooked dinner.
It’s complicated in that it puts a lot of detail into it, but not so much that it veers too far from its kid-friendly nature. One of the key mechanisms built into the set also happens to be its neatest feature: the wings. As we’ve seen in some of the images and other toys based around the vessel the wings are designed to adjust themselves to an up or down position.
The built into the “cockpit” and wings are hinges, so I knew putting it together they would move. What I didn’t realize, however, was the mechanism I was building to make it happen. There were a few pieces early on in the build I attached to the cockpit base I didn’t know what would be used for. I assumed it would be for opening the flaps for minifigs to get in, or even landing gear (which there aren’t any turns out).
The purpose didn’t become clear until the very end of the build, where it all came together. The mechanism, controlled by little levers on either side, can move the wings for you, even locking into place! It seems like such a small thing, but the attention to detail and how the mechanism comes together throughout the entire build made it unique. The fact that it locks into place and works so smoothly makes it ideal for play time.
It’s a sturdy model when it’s all said and done. Nothing about it feels flimsy and even after a few days of solid playing from the kids, I never saw a brick come off or a peg out of place. It also comes with a pair of firing “blasters” built into the underside of the ship, which fire with a quick touch (and they have some ridiculously good range). It’s great for playing with, but has enough great detail packed into it that it looks mighty fine up on the display shelf for collectors who are in it for the looks.