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The Yoda vs. Dooku set is my favorite of the bunch.
It is something of a concern that Lego's emphasis has shifted so from the OT, but this is not entirely surprising considering the wave of excitement about 3D prequel trilogy films, CW series 4 and 5 (and the TV series is definitely improving and becoming more visually and intellectually interesting with time), and even the new SW film to be directed by J.J. Abrams. The principle OT set we see this year, Jabba's Sail Barge, seems to me not to merit the excessive amount of criticism it has been receiving. This is, after all, something that was desired by many. The price, nonetheless, is somewhat hard to accept considering the previous uproar over the same price tag (120 USD) on the summer 2012 Jabba's Palace. The Sail Barge has half as many new and interesting figures, and the model itself is not quite as architecturally thrilling, though still eye candy for me, at least.
I am much more concerned, though, with the incarnations of the other high price point sets, the AT-TE and Republic Gunship. Both are almost identically priced as their 2008 versions, and are almost the same in first appearance as well. I see few differences with the Republic Gunship especially, a set which I highly praised in 2008. This time around, it sports the same price tag and a new figures, with minimal other modifications that I could discern after slight scrutiny. While I welcome the fact that the price has not changed in the past five years, I am upset that TLG's designers could not bother to make this more new and interesting. The figures are fine, though not at all scintillating (though seemingly film-accurate to AoTC) compared to those from other sets. The AT-TE is a bit more impressive, with new and attractive Windu and Coleman Trebor figures, though that is still not nearly enough to justify the similar nature of the 2008 and 2013 models, though this one features more welcome variation as far as I could tell.
On the other hand, I am quite pleased with the selection of smaller models, aside from the JEK-14 starfighter, about which I have not yet developed much of an opinion with no reference point to which I might compare it, either in Lego, screen, illustrated or literary form. #75017 Duel on Geonosis is quite a pleasure to behold, and a model of which I have no doubt will be a wonderful replacement for the original Jedi Duel from 2002. It's quite surprising to me that this is the first OT Yoda released in a set since 2005, and I must say, it looks wonderful, despite criticisms of the face being excessively detailed, much like a miniature action figure. I also like the inclusion of Poggle the Lesser, which I had hoped that Lego might do. The other three small sets are all very nice as well, though it seems that the Corporate Alliance Tank Droid and Homing Spider Droid sets benefit from a single minifigure "prize" in each: Jango Fett in the former and Adi Gallia in the latter. I do particularly like the set modeled on the recent Series V, Episodes 15 and 16 of the Clone Wars TV series. TLG has begun to adapt to the shifts of the show quickly, and the figs in that one are rather lovely.
Overall, I am pleased with the summer 2013 SW collection, and I can imagine what sorts of good (and some rehashed) RotS models Lego will release in 2014 to coincide with the 3D rerelease.
I think it is getting a worse wrap then it deserve due to not being as good as the last one & costing a fair bit more etc as well.
If we never had the old one and it was a little cheaper ($99) I think it would have been well received.
I would also say the rear of the deck on the new model could do with railings etc, as opposed to having the dropdown walls sit up make them?
I said 2014 because I do believe that they may occur that year, in the absence of a SW film. But I may be sorely mistaken....
They've just gone with a pile of wedges/slopes (whatever the official name is?), to achieve the angle viewed from the side, fine for a 2D flat image, but not for a 3D model, which needs a rounded effect to match the actual ship. Plus that's a LOT of wasted/lost internal space for such an unsatisfactory effect, that could've been used for interior decoration.
I suspect a few long plates on hinges, similar to the back end, might have created a better effect.
It's shapes and forms like this that I look to the Lego designers to solve for me, with their expert skills and vast piece-combo knowledge. As a fan with very little moc expertise, i'm disappointed that we're paying a premium on these sets yet I feel the need to correct the design with my limited skills and parts.
Having said that, despite these issues, I still plan to buy this given I never got the first one.
As far as the height of the sails go, I suspect this is due to the Barge not being minifigure scale and It is a play set after all. If they were lower it probably would affect the playability of the deck.
Lastly I agree that it should have railings along the back half.
The entire status of the re-releases looks to be up in the air, anyway, as 3D seems to be on its way out (again) and the 3D Phantom Menace fell well below expectations. Add to that the fact that it takes a lot of extra time and money to 'convert' a film that was originally shot in 2D into a 3D print... and it really doesn't make any financial sense to bring these back to the table any time soon. I'd be willing to bet there's a lot more money to be made in doing a relatively simple 'clean-up' on the unaltered OT then there is in releasing any of the updated versions in 3D.
In this case, though, I would hope that Lego would follow through with the RotS sets at the very least because they have been thoroughly remaking older models from the prequels and adding new models. They have released some truly exemplary/promising PM and AotC sets (and some not so much for me at least). I think TLG ought to extend this trend to its logical conclusion/starting point.
Are there are decent rumours out there?
Clearly nothing concrete yet then? Pity
If so TLG have done well to keep it under wraps (well concrete confirmation anyway) for something that could be hitting the shops in 11 weeks time.
The Gunship I'll probs fork out full price for.