I ordered this set last week, when it was 45% off for Amazon prime customers in the UK. It was quite an unforseen surprise to get some of the most popular Minifigures (and Han Solo’s new hair!) for less than £20!
The set itself depicts the scene in Episode 6 – Return of the Jedi, where Jabba the Hutt wanted to throw our heroes into the pit of the Sarlacc. Except for Leia though… I’m sure you are familiar with the story. With Jabba’s Sail Barge being retired several years ago, the Sail Barge appears a bit like an odd choice to me. But Lego already made a huge UCS-Hoth playset with no AT-AT to attack anywhere – so what do I know!
Once you opened the box you find three numbered bags, the manual, a loose tube piece, that will become part of the rear railing – and no sticker sheet! What a delight to behold: a Star Wars set with no stickers! Fair enough, it doesn’t really needs any to look convincing and the only printed piece other than the Minifigures is the pilot’s console. Still nice to know that you got spared from applying stickers. This time at least…
The first bag contains the Sarlacc itself and the pilot/guard of the vessel. He is by far the most simple Minifigure in the set, but he looks ok. Good enough really to identify him easily amongst his gruff looking colleagues. Him being the only one wielding an axe helps though! Anyway. after the Skiff-guard you build our friend Sarlacc itself. A pretty wobbly venture, that likes falling apart until it is almost complete. But once finished it is nicely solid and a fun looking thing really. It is definitely modelled after the special edition with its beak and tentacles. But not utterly true to the source-material though. If you take into account that creating an actual pit would be a much more costly option, the solution the Lego designers came up with is completely fine. The action-feature, which is basically the beak snatching a Minifigure, is cleverly embedded and works by lifting up and pushing down a tentacle. It works good enough, if a bit loosely.
Next after the Sarlacc are the two bags with the Desert Skiff itself and the rest of the Minifigures. The Skiff is a straightforward and solid construction, with its base made from quite a lot of plates. Building the superstructure is also pretty simple, but it’s design is very effective and gets the look of the film-prop perfectly right. It is a really satisfying feeling to snap in the large curved slope pieces onto the frame, turning the rudimentary looking body into a nicely shaped vessel within a couple of seconds! After the superstructure comes the anti-gravity device, which consists of eight transparent columns with inverted tiles at their bottom to allow smooth sailing over carpet- and sofa-deserts. The last building step is adding the rudders, which are attached via technic-joints. This makes them freely moveable and sturdy enough to not fall into pieces when knocked against something.
The action-features are rather modest: it has a locker on deck with a blaster inside and an extendible ramp for feeding heroic adventurers to some giant alien antlion. They might not be the most exciting features, but that’s just what the Skiff did in the film, so that’s fine for me.
The Minifigures of bag 2 and 3 however are the actual stars of this set. Especially Boba Fett, the prototype of every Star Wars bounty hunter and, as we learned from Episode 2, he is also the prototype of the clone-trooper army that brought the downfall of the old Republic, but I digress. The Fettmaster is a gorgeous Minifigure. His helmet features some some of the most superb printing I have seen so far, with its scratches and weathering. Just the little antenna you stick on its side doesn’t looks like it will survive more “robust” playing. Wisely, Lego didn’t only add the one, but four of those in an extra bag. Together with four visor-pieces, which I doubt belong to him, which makes me assume that the bag was originally made for a different set. Torso and legs are looking very fine as well and his poncho, made from the older, stiffer fabric falls nicely over his shoulder. All very nice. Just his jetpack is a bit far on the simple side and could use some printing on it as well.
Han and Chewie are a bit simpler, as you would expect compared to such a gorgeous Miniifigure, but look perfectly fine. Han’s hair is nicely modelled and looks so much more like the real one, compared to the old version, which has its roots in Minifigure-stoneage. His shirt is nicely printed as well and the skin tone on it matches his face perfectly. If they only had printed his back as well! Yes, call me spoiled, but nowadays you can at least expect some wrinkling.
While Chewbacca was never my favourite character, he is really cute and face has this kind melancholy Gorillas and Chimpanzees have as well. He may look like a wild beast at first glance, but his eyes betray that he is a gentle and intelligent giant and his Minifigure shows that perfectly.
All in all this is a really neat set. Especially when you get it for almost half the original price. The builds are very convincing and detailed and the Minifigure-lineup is superbly strong. Very good to get Boba Fett without dropping a couple hundred coins for the UCS Slave I – and Solo with his new hair! If you see it discounted somewhere, I would definitely get it. For the full price – maaaybe.
I have been told that the Desert Skiff also works great as a party boat. As proof I got sent this picture: