75170 The Phantom
The only Star Wars Rebels set to be released so far in 2017 immortalises in minifigure form a character fans have been clamouring to have for years. Is the rest of the set worth having?
Price: £39.99 / $29.99 / €39.99 (DE) Pieces: 269 Available: Now
If, like me, you grew up in the early 1990s and were a Star Wars fan, chances are high you read the Timothy Zahn authored Thrawn trilogy of novels. Of the many wonderful characters he added to the now defunct Star Wars Expanded Universe, a favorite was Grand Admiral Thrawn. This master strategist was such an awesome bad guy you had to love him despite the fact that he dealt the fledgling New Republic a series of devastating blows. Fans were thrilled when he returned to Star Wars canon in Rebels Season 3 and now makes his appearance as the highlight of this otherwise mediocre set.
The High Points
While Chopper is a repeat of the version included in 75048 The Phantom, the other two figures – Thrawn and Faceplate Kanan – are exclusive to this set. That alone is reason to get this set as with the future of Rebels still unknown, it may be the only chance to get Thrawn in minifigure form.
Beyond that, version 2.0 is a better set across the board than its predecessor. As anyone who watches the show knows, both versions of the Phantom serve essentially as a personnel carrier shuttling the heroes to and from their main ship, the Ghost. As such, 75048 was a major disappointment in that no minifigures could fit in its rear compartment. While it is not a comfortable fit, a minifigure can be crammed into the rear cargo space this time around in place of the cargo container that the instructions say should reside there. The cockpit is also more solid and, like its predecessor, has a detaching function. Presumably this is supposed to be an escape pod like attribute, but it has never been seen in the show, so its inclusion in either set is odd.
My hat is off to the designer of this new set on a final point. In the show, the Phantom can dock with the Ghost, a feature the previous model mimicked in brick form. One could even get both sets together for awhile in a special package at Toys R Us and other retailers. The wider profile of this second version led me to believe it would not dock in the same way. I was pleasantly surprised to find that I was mistaken. It definitely looks a little oversized, but nonetheless is impressive to provide the function, considering that 75053 The Ghost is no longer on the market.
The Low Points
While The Phantom 2.0 improves mightily upon its predecessor, it still suffers from the same basic problem – without the Ghost it struggles to stand on its own. In the film this ship is a support craft, and without the mothership it is not going to be very fun for a kid to play with, or for an AFOL to display. This class of ship is somewhat rare, having last appeared in set 8036 Separatist Shuttle back in 2009, but it isn’t exactly one of the saga’s iconic ships. It is not very sleek, has no nostalgia value, and has not figured very prominently in the show after having been seized by the rebels. All of that adds up to this set being well executed, but still rather boring due to its source material. A lot could have been forgiven if the rear could actually hold minifigures properly, but alas it is still too small.
I would be remiss to not issue a warning to sticker haters – this set is loaded with number of stickers disproportionate to its size. All of the detail from the control panel, to the insignia, even the striping on the wings are stickers. To make matters worse, some of them are applied on a curve which means they will start peeling even sooner.
This build is quite solid, it progresses in a linear process from top to bottom with only the cockpit being a separate build. Other than the droid socket, which isn’t really a proper socket due to being open on one side, the Phantom is perfectly symmetrical. As one who dislikes scattered models I appreciated that this set consists of only the ship plus the minifigures.
The build is largely devoid of play features other than the now standard spring loaded missiles of which two launchers are included, and the landing gear which is a bit finicky to get lined up in execution but is straightforward to build.
The shortcomings of this set are in no way the fault of the designer, it truly is the source material. LEGO very cleverly inserted an incredibly desirable minifigure into this otherwise boring set and his weight alone will be enough to draw most fans into purchasing it. If one already owns 75033 The Ghost, the value of this set rises dramatically. I would therefore recommend this offering to enthusiastic Star Wars fans, especially those of the Zahn books, but otherwise this set is one to pass on.
This product was provided for review by the LEGO Group.