The Star Wars movies are full of iconic moments (perhaps not so much the prequels though^^). They are too many to count really, but Luke’s final confrontation with his father, with the evil emperor gloating at them, while outside the battle for the future of the Galaxy is raging, remains special. It was the definite endgame-moment of the original trilogy.
This said, there are however scenes, which are much easier to make a Lego-set from than this one (but even those can be messed up, see the recently released Battle of Hoth). After all, the throne room itself doesn’t has much action to offer. No space ships, gun turrets or speeder bikes or anything else fast and exciting that’s usually integral part of the Star Wars sets. So the big question is: What did they make of it?
The throne-room scenes were all about the characters and what was at stake for them and the Galaxy – and in that regard things are pretty easy and straightforward: you have the triangle Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader and the Emperor, plus two imperial guards, who get dismissed before the action starts. And this is what you get with this set.
A real highlight is the premiere of Darth Vader’s new helmet, which consists now of two parts – and simply looks absolutely stunning. The minifigure of the Emperor is very nicely done too with his wrinkled face having a lot of depth and expression thanks to an absolutely flawless printing. Luke Skywalker and the imperial guards can’t really compete with them and have much simpler looks, but absolutely do the job too. That’s just how they looked like in the film. The set definitely has a strong line-up and it doesn’t disappoints.
The throne-room itself reminds me on a expressionistic theatre stage with its openness, the three more or less free-standing windows and wall-element with sliding door at the front. But the layout of the set is actually pretty accurate – apart from its concessions to playability and piece count though. Overall it is a decent representation and you clearly recognize what it is supposed to be. Given your imagination fills the gaps. The throne looks very good and movie-accurate too and is nicely framed with the futuristic counterparts of medieval coal pans. And of course there is the reactor duct for throwing emperors down. Always useful to have such a thing.
The set has a number of “breaking points” built in, like a platform you can collapse, or a couple of steps at the stairway you can break out with a lever. There is also a little jump-lever built in the floor, so Luke can do a force-jump. Pretty nice for kids, I guess, but I don’t really need gimmicks like that. They are though nicely integrated into the overall build and they don’t really hurt its look. An interesting feature is that the side-elements and the corridor leading to the stairway can be folded in and clicked into place with a simple snap-mechanism. Quite useful for transportation, since the set would be otherwise pretty wobbly.
Assembling the set, which counts six bags and a bound instruction manual (very nice) is straightforward and it is in every situation clear which part goes into which place. This can’t be better really.
All in all it is a pretty neat set. Its big selling points are clearly the Emperor and Darth Vader, but the set itself looks convincing and nicely regal. And it is simply good to have an enemy base to defend and make sinister plans to destroy the rebellion at. The only significant point of criticism I have is the price, which is simply bold for a set of this size. Sadly it is representative for the general trend in pricing licensed-themed sets, but if you happen to find it on special somewhere for a good price – I happily recommend it.