LEGO Star Wars: Battle of Takodana
LEGO has been killing it with their line-up of Star Wars sets, and one of their more recent ones, Battle on Takodana is no different. While the last couple of LEGO sets I’ve reviewed were a pair of ships, this time is an actual playset that allows kids and adults to re-live the battle from The Force Awakens.
It’s not a huge set, but it has a lot of quirks to it, which make building and playing with this one a ridiculous amount of fun. Not to mention the mini-figs offered up are great as well (Kylo Ren without a helmet and Maz!) and can add to your collection, or playtime. The idea behind it, is to center around Maz’s castle in the film, when it’s attached by the First Order and Kylo Ren. The set itself, however, is only an entrance to the castle with a little side wall hanging off the side of it as well. To be honest, I was kind of bummed by how small the set turned out to be when fully completed.
Don’t get me wrong here, I really enjoy this playset, but the size feels more like a tease of a more complete set, than something substantial on its own. I would have loved to see a Maz’s Castle set along the same line as some of the old LEGO Knights sets (not massive, but big enough to feel like full building). Then it would feel like a more fully realized playset, whereas this feels like a starter.
Perhaps part of my problem is a lack of a base plate to hold it all together. It’s something LEGO has been doing more and more lately, and peeks at the upcoming sets (across all brands) show a continued trend...Base LEGO mats are going away.
I can see the reasoning behind it, as it would allow some more connectivity between multiple sets, but the fact remains, without it, certain products FEEL smaller. A solid base would have offered up a better visual spacial element to Battle on Takodana, instead it feels like I actually have less space to play when I should have more. It's an odd feeling that may have more to do with having grown up using "based" LEGO playsets. While I may need more time to adjust to the way playsets are being handled now, it's a feeling I couldn't shake.
That's not to say the Battle on Takodana playset is bad. I know for the most part so far, I've been sounding negative, but frankly...I love this set. While it's a tad smaller than I would have preferred, Battle on Takodana has a lot of neat features that make it unique and fun to play around with.
It's silly, but one of the things that continues to stick out to me, is how the doors are constructed. I know, sounds ridiculous, but it's pretty damn neat. Part of the construction has you build tracks into it, where the doors (with bricks specially designed to look like wood pieces) can slide back and forth like a gate. It's not a huge aspect, in the grand scheme of things, but it's attention to detail on things as simple as a door, that make the entire set stand out.
That's not all there is to this set, of course, as it's incredibly interactive. It has an extra wall with pieces designed to look like bricks, with a device you build into it that allows you to "explode" sections of the wall. This makes it look like damage is being down to the set, even including a tree that can be knocked down, so that you can reenact events from the film on your own. What makes these elements of the set so great, is that they're built directly into the construction of the set. It's not a magic button you press to make things happen, you have to actually build the mechanisms that make the set do things.
Even better, they're REALLY easy to set back up. There's not a lot of reset time for the wall, meaning you can do it again and again without hassle. Despite all these intricate and detailed elements going into the Battle on Takodana set, it's not difficult to put together. I built the set with my boys (seven and eight years old), and they had no problems following along and putting together some of the finer details on the construction.
As far as general playtime goes, it's a great little set. The lack of the base makes it easy for the set itself to move about a little too much when you're engaging the mini-figs in an epic battle, and the door is a little too short for a figure to 'move' through while holding a weapon (trust me, my boys and I put this set thorugh its paces). All in all, however, it is still a lot of fun. I enjoy having a Kylo and Finn mini-fig, along with the meme-famous "TRAITOR" Stormtrooper, complete with his riot baton.
For collectors who are more interested in display, rather than play, you're still in good hands with this set. In fact, this is where its size and design really help out a great deal. Because it's basically just a gate and wall put together on a hinge, it's easy to find display room for Battle on Takodana virtually anywhere.
The size of my collection puts display space at a premium, so it was nice that I could fit this entirely on a bookshelf IN FRONT of the books, while still looking nice. It's easy to set up in a way that looks like a scene from the film, figures and all, while not eating up a ton of space.