I had my eyes on this set for quite a while. I really like TIE Fighters and Darth Vader’s TIE Advanced is probably, my favourite one. The price for this set however… was just ridiculous until now. Anyway. Lets have a closer look at it!
The set is based on the Rebels TV series, featuring an A-Wing from Phoenix Squadron and Darth Vader’s iconic ship. While Vader never fought against an A-Wing in the movies (but downed some X-Wings, Y-Wings and a couple of imperial officers), they had an intense run-in with each other on TV, which this set refers to. Guess the outcome!
Anyway. the box, which is about the size as the lovely 2014 Cantina-set is suitably large for its price-class. Inside you find two instruction booklets, seven numbered bags and (sadly) a sticker sheet. You may find it confusing that bag number 6 is actually included twice. That’s not a packing-mistake: each of these bags contains the pieces for a wing of Darth Vaders TIE Fighter. And since they are identical, you simply get the same bag twice.
Apart from this possible moment of confusion, assembling the ships is – even with having to put stickers on – a nice and enjoyable process. Especially the A-Wing has some quite interesting things going on: the trigger mechanism for its two spring-loaded missiles for example: you pull the whole centre part of the ship back! That may sound a bit weird, but its actually a well made, smoothly working construction that even allows you to fire them independently, according to how far you pull it back. Ok, its maybe a bit over-engineered, but its a nicely working mechanism that doesn’t affects the stability of the A-Wing at all. Another nice detail is the design of the landing gear. It is charmingly simple, takes very little space but is still sturdy enough for playing with. All in all the A-Wing is just a nice and solid little ship that looks very much like in the TV series.
Darth Vader’s fighter though appears to be a bit on the small side. It is all in all it is a good representation of the ship though with all the proper details where they are supposed to be. Like the A-Wing it also feels pretty solid. Except for the wing panels, which wobble a bit in their mounts, but seem to be attached sturdily. Also the mechanism for its spring-loaded missiles is more adventurous than the A-Wings, with a very light pressure point. Its easy to accidentally release them when you pick the ship up at the wrong spots. I actually shot myself while setting up the photos^^ But that is just a slight annoyance. The missiles are only dangerous to Minifigures really!
The Minifigure-lineup features Darth Vader, Grand Moff Tarkin, Sabine Wren and an (as far as I know) unnamed A-Wing pilot. It is rather strong and possibly responsible for the sets initially steep price.
Darth Vader’s face and two-piece helmet are in the new style, as introduced in the Death Star Final Duel-Set. He also gets a new soft-cloth cape, which makes it much easier to seat him in his fighter and a Episode-IV-style torso print, with less blinking lights printed on and his armour hidden under a black tunic piece. Nice attention to detail taking care of such subtle differences. Tarkin looks very Tarkin with his constantly-annoyed looking face with the nicely pronounced cheekbones. I really think he looks as gaunt as possible for a Minifigure head!
Sabine features nicely printed torso and legs and a pretty cool hair piece with 3 colours. Very good colour combination on her! The weakest Minifigure is the A-Wing pilot, who features a rather bland uniform. But I think you should blame the source material for this instead of the Lego designers.
All in all the set offers you, at its now reduced price-point, a good combination of nicely detailed and solidly build space ships and a strong selection of Minifigures. Once assembled though, the set is surprisingly small and doesn’t has any additional builds. A mount for the TIE Advanced would have been nice. For its original price the set, as it is, just wouldn’t have been enough. Being reduced though, it is a good deal.