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I also think it's downright silly that people are using the set number to determine whether or not it's a UCS set. The very first UCS sets, #7181 and #7191, did not follow the numbering convention everyone's describing. Neither did #7194 (which also lacked a nameplate). Yes, the 10### numbering system has been a convention for many years. But conventions change, and that much should have been clear when the numbering and labeling conventions of UCS sets changed for the very first time in 2001, the year after the original numbering and labeling conventions for UCS sets were first established.
Will I be getting this set? Well, I don't really plan to. I haven't collected LEGO Star Wars sets for years, and don't plan to sink $300 on one now. But this model is still a work of art, and I don't understand why people are trying to claim that it's somehow not actually better than the original or not actually worth $300.
I can respect anyone's decision NOT to get big expensive LEGO sets like this or the Sea Cow. They're not for everyone, nor can they be expected to fit into everyone's budget. Not even mine. But I think some of the excuses people make for not getting these sets end up seeming like feeble attempts to try and pin the blame for their own purchasing decisions on the LEGO Group, as though they are trying to cheat fans into paying huge costs for a sub-par product. Suddenly instead of decrying POOPs as a way of dumbing down builds for kids with short attention spans, people are treating the use of smaller parts to create finer details as a sneaky and deceptive way of inflating a set's perceived value.
It's embarrassing, really. LEGO set design has improved by leaps and bounds over the past decade, and truly many set designs show a level of brilliance that has never before been seen, but as soon as a large, exclusive set comes out we no longer appreciate the value of these improvements, and start wistfully reminiscing about older sets which would probably be dismissed as utter garbage if they came out today.
Regardless, people have opinions, and my opinion is that I think we could have gotten a much better set than this, be it a different set, or just simply a better designed version of this set (printed pieces, better interior, power functions!). Lego can choose where they want to spend their energies, and I can choose what I want to buy. I'll simply pass on this one and see what they have up their sleeve next year.
My gripe is that it feels a little overpriced. That's of course to be expected because it's UCS. But couple that with the fact that we may not see any discounting for at least a year or so makes it less desirable for me personally. But I do like the set and if it were a little cheaper and I had more disposable income I would strongly consider purchasing it.
To me it looks like a Space Musketeer who's just gotten out of the shower.
Me? I'd just like a $200 model to not cost $300.
I don't disagree that it's easy to see how the piece count became inflated, but I don't look at this and say "Less than ten cents a part?!?!?!? HOORAY!!!" I look it at it and say, "Wow. That's A LOT of tiny parts."
Then again, the Ewok Village at $250 seems like a stunning deal next to this thing, so maybe that's a plus.
Looks like I'll have to stock up on older-style Luke heads (and Han, actually). Leia, strangely, seems to have avoided this fate thus far.
Regarding the lack of power functions: I'm sure someone shortly after release will modify it for power functions. Adding power functions is actually not that expensive. I'm looking at spending about $50 to add it to the Galactic Titan. Considering that I paid $30 for the Titan I'm not out much. If I spent $300 then that would be something else. I'm wondering if we would be more content with a $350 price point that included power functions? Also I'm not sure those plastic tank treads would work well for powered movement. The rubber treads would be best. And that would also lower the piece count by 300 or so.
I'm starting to think that some of us would have been happier with a powered play set similar to the motorized AT-AT. As I said before, the Sandcrawler isn't exactly a vehicle that screams hyper detail. It's a roving junk yard in a brown shell. It's charming because of the droids, Jawas and our introduction to Luke Skywalker. There's actually a lot more greebling on this model than the one in the movie.
I suppose internally they could look at sales of PF parts from say the Maersk Train. How many people went out and bought them afterwards? Did it justify the extra design and instruction cost? (I would think these are minimal though in the grand scheme of things)
The new Luke looks rather decent. The human-like features on his face appear to be accented in the close-up images from the press release compared to the Luke I saw today.
And if I were a fan of Lego Star Wars, I would be sure to buy this set the day it comes out.
It's definitely not the Ewok Village, but it still is just as nice. And despite it being a brown box, it looks quite eye catching.
EDIT: There was only one display set there. None for purchase. It's due out in May, and I'm sure we all know when...
I'd add that I also feel the UCS tag, fancy box, 'deluxe' instructions, and TLG's unusually eager response to the UCS 'issue' sound like so much sales patter issued purely to justify an inflated price tag, and one that I'd go so far as to suggest not everyone at TLG were entirely comfortable with. Why? Well, such ephemera (which ultimately adds no real value to the actual lego on display/played with/contained within) suggests TLG might be feeling a bit touchy/uncertain of it themselves this time, as though there's been some disagreement, and they've felt the need to throw more at it as a result. It's possibly being closely monitored as a litmus test to see just how far they can push... I have no hard facts, it's just a sense i suddenly have.
To Power functions, my personal view is the same as others, a missed opportunity.
They didn't need to include any, but the thought must have crossed their minds to power it somewhere. So I'd like a pro-designer (who knows about this stuff) to have taken the trouble to at least show the novice just one possible solution - doesn't have to be the best, just A way.
Put it this way, I won't buy a pile of PF stuff 'on the off chance' it might work. But if they show me just one solution (and put that so-called 'deluxe what we did this summer' instruction booklet to some practical use), I'd then know it could be done, and so would happily buy those PF bits, knowing that my experiments might fail, but i can always fall back on their solution.
And that IS the sort of added value that would make me reconsider the price, knowing i can do MORE with the set, purely thanks to a pro-designer's input.
To sum up my thoughts (other's may/will differ):
A great looking set.
Looks very nice from the outside, a little too much 'for impression' only (for me), and less a result of function which i would've preferred (example; 'windows' are not actually windows/can a fig fit up that ladder and through the doorway to get in?/any realistic access for a jawa to reach the cockpit? etc).
I'm not overly struck by the use of space inside, it seems a lot is sacrificed for the sake of one crane arm. Little else that i can immediately remember. (I do need to look again, in case I'm missing something, but if i can't remember much... is that a bad sign? Is it so forgetable?).
Stickers (I'm not a fan). Love the Jawas, but Luke & Owen have ugly faces.
All the unsettling guff (and instant response from TLG) about the packaging/booklet has me feeling the opposite of what's intended. Sounds more like a clumsy magician's attempt at misdirection. (I don't display boxes or instruction books, I display/play with lego. If they're keen to sell me on how it's wrapped up, I begin to question whether they believe the set is real value).
It IS a great set, and any of the above negative thoughts would be just minor quibbles in a standard priced set. So maybe I'm being too demanding, (a lot of people love it, and that's great) but for £250 I do need it to to offer more than just to look nice from a distance. At this price I need it to be the supercar of my lego collection, not just a value for money price per part efficiency ride. I want turbo, beautiful interiors, and a smooth ride.
Oddly enough, I find a good test for anything expensive is to show non-fans. Will they go 'WOW, that's cool!', or look horrified and ask 'HOW MUCH!?'. This feels very much like a horrified "How Much!" set, that I would probably have to lie about to avoid raised eyebrows and looks of worried concern.
I think Lego's aim was just to make it stand out from all the rest and look a bit fancier on the shelf, ive never understood why Lego had to have awful childish cheap looking "clone war" advertising on all original UCS sets.
OK so it may be a sales ploy but does it really matter?, at the end of the day Lego are a business with one goal and that is to sell as many of their toys as they can.
UCS sets are supposed to be special, that line was starting to be blurred with releases like the new UCS X-Wing
One downside though, wheres the UCS plaque? :(
Traditionally, the Ultimate Collector's Series sets AREN'T playsets - they're display sets (this is also the crux of the debate as to whether or not #10188 is a UCS set). So I can at least see where people would get the impression that TLG wasn't necessarily confident in the set's ability to sell itself and so resurrected the UCS branding to give it a boost.
I will continue to buy the UCS sets, by my definition, on day one. But this set, no matter what's written in the box, it's nothing more than a large piece count set. One I might consider in a really good promotion. A 30%+ promotion...
Kind of unrelated but the Simpsons house is horrendously inaccurate compared to the original cartoon and looks really bad but no one seems to see it?
All im getting at is apart from the power functions could lego have made a better job without the price/part count going through the roof.
I guess they couldve made it more impressively bigger and just had the shell but then people would complain that it had no interior.
The detail and accuracy of a UCS is there but with added interior for playability, those saying this is nothing but a big playset, what were you really expecting, something similar to the cuusoo model?
I'm not saying that's a bad thing, and I don't think the SC is a bad set per se (like the EV, I think it's a cool looking playset). I just think it's expensive for what you get, and missed a number of opportunities that could have taken it to the next level. Whatever label (UCS, Limited Edition, Exclusive, etc.) Lego decides to slap on the box is meaningless marketing noise to me. It's what's inside the box that counts.
If the Sandcrawler had been $200, I doubt you'd be hearing any complaints. Even $250 would have been ok, but $300 or $350 is just too much.
Overall I don't see how you can be so harsh on the design. It works. It's the price point that most of us find fault in. But that's UCS pricing. And our opinion is clouded by the lack of exclusive discounting. If we all knew that down the road we could pick this set up for 20-30% off or a BOGO then it wouldn't be as much of an issue.
Could the re-instatement of the UCS branding on boxes be a psychological thing for collectors? Or is it just TLG answering any debate on what makes the set a UCS before it begins "It's UCS because it says it on the box!"
It's nice TLG let the designers do the video, but I did find it a little cringeworthy, I'm sure a bit of scripting and proper direction would have made it that much more professional.
Once I build a large set, it sits on a shelf for display. So for me I would have been happy with no internals or Minifigures, they could have then used more pieces to really add details to the outside, including proper windows.
That being said, I realise TLG will sell more as a play set and with a tonne of Minifigures, so it is what it is.
Unfortunately it seems that really large, purely designed for display type sets may be few and far between (as they already are I suppose).
Personally I wish they didn't call this one an UCS, as now I'm torn. I stayed away from The Death Star and Ewok Village as they are play sets not UCS to my mind, but I do like this set, so it may go on the list any way. Just not sure if I should display it with my other UCS sets. (First world problems!)
Salve 1 better be substantial and come with a stand and plaque :p
(NOTE: I'm not hating on the Sandcrawler as I think it's an excellent set, it's just not what I would consider to be an UCS set).
I'm starting to feel the consensus from all camps is the set has enough going for it to appeal to several crowds (or aspects of the hobby), and we're all politely acknowledging that much... but equally, by appealing to both aspects, it shortchanges both. The discussion/differences appear to be pulling in those directions.
As a mainly playset/fig person, I'd like to know how to add PF (if possible), I'd like proper interiors, stairs/elevators, proper windows, that typical lego whimsy, much nicer figs, and a much lower price. As a playset, I don't feel there's enough going on at the price. But it's a great model.
However, the display collector might say screw that, I want it to look as close to the movie-screen as humanly possible, the bigger and more detailed the better, I don't care how the internal skeleton achieves that effect, price be damned for such Lego perfection. As a movie-accurate display collector, I don't feel there's enough of that for the price. But it's a great model.
So it would appear we have a something of a crossbreed set. A playset doing its best to appeal/masquerade as a collectors piece (or vice versa), and struggling to justify its price to all sides. Both camps reeling at the price for what it delivers on each aspect.
Best of both worlds, or expensive taster?
For me... I'm hoping for a Jawa Sandcrawler Microfighter :oD
(I can just about afford that). :oP
There is really no skill at all involved in building these big Lego sets other than time and patience, you can't mess it up and children can get involved in the building process and playing with it, something that you cannot do with a scale model.