The shroud of secrecy that Disney has wrapped around the upcoming STAR WARS: The Force Awakens is enough to make national governments hang their head in shame and fans gnash their teeth in frustration. Aside from a few teaser trailers, well-timed “leaks” and “Force Friday” it’s anybody’s guess about what the seventh movie in the STAR WARS franchise will truly be about.
Force Friday was the unprecedented global merchandise release, last month, that unleashed a tsunami of TFA merch upon salivating fans everywhere. It also gave us a little more insight into the new characters and vehicles we’ll be seeing on the big screen when the movie debuts on December 18.
One of those vehicles is the new X-Wing fighter, which you might’ve missed if you blinked at the wrong point in the second official TFA trailer release earlier this year. And if you didn’t blink, it probably took a few playbacks to make sure you saw what you thought you were seeing: namely, an X-Wing Fighter that didn’t look quite right.
As it turns out, the X-Wings in TFA aren’t the same X-Wings of old. Thankfully, along with updated storm troopers, TIE fighters and other STAR WARS icons, the designers at LucasFilm/Disney decided to introduce the next evolutionary step in the venerable fighter to reflect the 30-year bump in time that has elapsed in the storyline since Return of the Jedi.
Sleeker, possibly longer, with more aerodynamic engine intakes and, possibly, other, as yet-unseen features, the new T-70 appears to be the upgraded version of the iconic, original T-65 X-Wings we all grew to love during the original trilogy. We still have 85 days until they appear on the big screen, so you’ll have to make do with the LEGO version until then.
I swore I wasn’t going to join the frenzy once I learned about Force Friday. I figured the release of the new STAR WARS movies would good enough for an OG fan, and that would be that. Then I remembered that I write about science and technology for a living, and that building and reviewing stuff like this is actually part of my job (yes, toys are technology). So when Disney opened the flood gates at 12:00 a.m. on Force Friday, I was online doing my “due diligence” by researching the myriad selections that saturated the internet.
Apparently, this LEGO kit isn’t just any old X-Wing fighter, but Poe Dameron’s X-Wing fighter. I don’t know who this cat is, but he’s got a pretty slick ride, decked out in a color scheme of black with bright orange (yes, you read that right) highlights. Given Disney’s airtight operational security, we don’t really know much about Poe Dameron, except that he’s a new character introduced in TFA and, apparently, that he flies a black and orange X-Wing fighter as the leader of “Black Squadron.”
Poe’s LEGO X-Wing is a hefty kit, stretching approximately 14.5″ long, with a 12″ wingspan. The wings deploy into attack position with the twist of a knob located behind the canopy, and red “laser” bolts fire from each wingtip and from proton torpedo bays amidship.
With 717 pieces to contend with, it’s a bit of a build. I clocked the time it took me to put it together at just under three hours, working almost straight through, so if you and your mini-STAR WARS fan (the kit is rated for ages 8-14) are going to build this, either plan ahead or take little stabs at it.
Almost every LEGO kit comes with some sort of figure these days, apparently, and Poe’s X-Wing is no different. This one comes with four different figures: There’s Poe Dameron (every ship needs a pilot, right?), dressed in subdued orange flight suit and next-gen helmet; a random, unidentified “Resistance X-Wing Pilot”; an alien Resistance ground crew guy; and, of course, the now-ubiquitous BB-8, the soccer ball-cum-astromech droid that’s stealing hearts and minds around the world (watch out, R2).
Despite the large number of pieces that comprise this kit, Poe’s X-Wing is fairly easy to put together. The hefty, 116-page instruction booklet helps, as does the limited quantity of small pieces that need to fit into tiny spaces.
The wing actuator mechanism is housed in the fuselage behind the cockpit, and is comprised of two simple right-angle gears that open and close the wings with no slippage. While I haven’t put the kit through the three-day crash and burn test, the gears feel solid. After putting the X-Wing into its attack configuration several times, there haven’t been any problems.
What more do you need besides an X-Wing fighter and a pilot? Not much, in my book, except maybe a good blaster. And Poe’s X-Wing kit comes with two of them. It also comes with a ground transport vehicle to ferry pilots and equipment around the living room, er… hangar bay, a container for storing miscellaneous gear, a wrench, and a ladder for boarding his fighter.
Buy it. Whether you’re a LEGO fan, a STAR WARS fan, or both, the $79.99 price tag, compared to the sheer number of pieces that come in the kit, the solid heft and iconic status of the X-Wing, make this kit a great deal. Not only was it fun (and relatively easy for a newbie like me) to build, it’s obvious LEGO collaborated closely with Disney on the design specs.
All in all this is a great kit. It’s large, solid, and the moving wings snap from flight to attack modes quickly, easily, and with a certain amount of authority, which should provide
you your budding X-Wing pilot hours of enjoyment and strike terror in the heart of Resistance targets everywhere.