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I'm not sure why you think they're expensive compared to the planet sets. The event-exclusive ones are, but that comes with the territory. The regular retail ones cost the same price in the US and Europe as the Microfighters did, and actually cost LESS in the UK. Plus, they usually offer WAY more pieces than the Planet sets generally did (as you'd expect them to, since none of the price has to go to a giant plastic planet with specialized printing).
You do have a point about some of the minifigures being less unique, but that varies: some Microfighters minifigures are unique/exclusive, and some Planets minifigures are not.
The microfighters are fairly easy to modify to make the ships look complete (without the minifig hole). And then you have the minifig. Mind you, I only bought the MF (x1), the Tie (x4) and the Star Destroyer (x4) mainly for the minifigs.
I don't think I paid more than £4.50 for any of them either.
Loved the planet sets in comparison and got every single one and even some duplicates - the snowspeeder build was the perfect size to setup the snowspeeder tying up the legs of the AT-AT scene using #75054 as the AT-AT so I have one flying around my AT-AT's legs with a bit of string out the back attached to the AT-AT and kept one with it's planet on display with the planet sets.
I suspect these Microfighter things are like Marmite, you either love them or can't stand them. I definitely just can't stand them.
As a someone who thinks of himself as a serious collector of Star Wars models you can display in dioramas I think they're truly terrible!
But I've got a few for the figures, and for a little bit of fun, and for (let's not forget the main point of Lego models) kids to play with they're great, a huge improvement on the micro scale planets models.
I likes the planets, the models look okay displayed next to the larger scale versions, and the planets add a huge amount to dioramas for what they are, but I can't see how much more they could have done with them, and these sets are infinitely better as playsets for kids.
I wouldn't dream of having them up with my 'proper' sets, but neither would I ever think of getting out the planet sets to entertain any kids who came over. Horses for courses. :)
Mini slave 1 celebration '12
Luke skywalkers landspeeder nycc '12
Jek-14 mini stealth star fighter sdcc '13
The ghost sdcc '14 and fan expo (different minifigure for each one)
PS, tall chimneys keep smoke out of your windows ...
The parts are great, as provided. The only 'meh' one from the first wave for me, is the #75029 : AAT...from a build standpoint.
A few years ago they had a great idea with those little kits where you get a planet you can hang up, a minifigure, and a small ship. The minifigure didnt sit in the ship, but it was far more correct in scale vs having a gigantic guy riding, what looks like, one of those old arcade rides sitting outside a supermarket.
But you also have to think about those people not so in-tune with other ways to buy minifigures then spending big bucks on the large kits? For 10$ USD or whatever they run, you get 1 minifigure that would only be inside a 100+$ USD kit. I had no use of the first wave... however I see some I'd like in wave 2. I'll just take the minifigure out, put on a little stand with my others, and toss the rest of the bricks into my building library. hehe. You could easily buy the same guy on eBay for 5-10$... so it all works out. Lego will never stop making Star Wars gear. Unlike the short hold they had on Harry Potter... that was a bigger body of work in books and movies.
So, a nice cheap set with a minifig for the kids and their cash-strapped parents, and a nice cheap set with a minifig and decent parts for the MOCer. Sounds like a good formula to me. Now, if they ever stop making the "normal" scale in favor of 100% microscale, then I'll be upset...