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The alphabet fighters of the Star Wars universe have always been an iconic part of a galaxy far, far away – even if we haven’t had a new one since Return of the Jedi brought A- and B-wings to the table, 33 years ago. Introducing a brand new letter to the Rebel Alliance’s formidable fleet was always going to be risky business, then, and the U-wing has proven to be about as polarising as they come.
Whatever you think of the in-universe ship’s design, though, it’s hard to argue that the LEGO Group hasn’t done a (mostly) fantastic job in replicating it in brick form. Its unorthodox shape – an awkward cross between dropship and starfighter – might not make it the most visually appealing craft, but like a particularly unwelcome pimple, it really does grow on you.
The build incorporates a healthy mix of brick stacking and SNOT construction, with a little Technic thrown in for good measure. The troop bay is built separately from the starfighter portion of the ship, but then fixed in place with Technic pins and plates. While this makes for some sturdy swooshing, it’s also fairly impractical – sure, it’s possible to fit minifigures inside this section, but only if you have the hands of a child. Which, of course, is an ironic complaint to make of a child’s toy, but the inaccessibility is frustrating nonetheless.
The wings fold back appropriately, and it’s in this form that the U-wing really starts to win you over. The wide wingspan really gives it some oomph, and thanks to some well-placed ball joints, the wings can lock in position (either forward or back) without being permanently stuck. Yes, the massive troop bay slung underneath may now be even more noticeable, and thus look even more out of place, but just try not to grin while swooshing it around with the wings in attack formation – we dare you.
There’s a lovely, asymmetrical smattering of yellow tiles and grills across the wings to give the ship a weathered look, while the rear section involves some nice greebling, like the Wolverine claw piece. The U-wing also involves what is possibly the greatest use of the spring-loaded shooters yet – pressing the slightly-raised blue 1×2 tiles at the front of the ship will fire them off, though you’d hardly notice they were there otherwise. It’s an ingenious mechanism that involves loosely resting 2×2 inverted round tiles inside a 2×4 gap, secured in place by the surrounding bricks.
Parts junkies will be pleased to see the inclusion of the UCS X-wing’s clear canopy underneath the craft’s front end, allowing the pilot to see beneath the craft when landing – a wholly practical addition for a dropship. The pilot himself uses a generic head that seems to be bundled with every rebel pilot these days, but his blue flight suit looks great. It’s just a shame the moulded pilots of the Resistance helmets from The Force Awakens haven’t yet made their way to those of the Rebel Alliance.
The U-wing is the only set to include the star of the show, Jyn Erso, though it’s an oddly specific variant, if the trailers are anything to go by. Yes, she’s seen wearing the hat and poncho, but only in one scene thus far. With blank legs, she seems rather simple while wearing the poncho, which covers an admittedly detailed torso. A hairpiece would have been welcome too, although her helmet looks great with hair moulded into the base. Alongside her blaster pistol, Jyn gets some kind of rocket launcher for good measure, which we’re very much looking forward to seeing her use in the film.
Cassian Andor, Bistan and a rebel trooper round out the Alliance’s complement, although it’s strange to see no Imperial opposition here. Even the TIE Striker has a lone rebel trooper to, erm, ‘battle’ – would it have been so difficult to include a Stormtrooper here, particularly with none whatsoever included in the initial Rogue One wave? The rebels, thankfully, are all impressive minifigures. Bistan’s moulded head is equal parts brilliant and unnerving, while the generic trooper gets a new helmet mould.
If you really despise the U-wing’s design, the LEGO version will do little to win you over – but that’s only a testament to how faithful it is to the on-screen ship. It’s not perfect, with the troop bay proving particularly taxing to access, but if you’re itching for a rebel fix in an Imperial-heavy wave, the U-wing is the scratch you need.
75155 Rebel U-wing Fighter is available now from shop.LEGO.com. You can help support Brick Fanatics’ work by using our affiliate links. Don’t forget to check out our previous Rogue One: A Star Wars Story reviews, including 75152 Imperial Assault Hovertank, 75153 AT-ST Walker and 75156 Krennic’s Imperial Shuttle.
This product was provided for review by the LEGO Group.