In a galaxy dominated by cool starships and massive capital ships, location based LEGO Star Wars sets can offer a refreshing change. Does 75171 Battle on Scarif bring such novelty?
Price: £54.99 / $49.99 / €59.99 Pieces: 419 Available: Now
Around 2003, designers at the LEGO Group began to face a challenge. Until that time LEGO Star Wars sets had been exclusively vehicle based and expansion beyond the core group of iconic ships was needed. Accordingly, the product line branched out with remakes, more obscure crafts and the first location based set in the form of 4480 Jabba’s Palace. Ever since, the LEGO Group has experimented with Star Wars locations to very mixed results.
The disappointing location based sets are understandable, as locales in Star Wars are often immense and sprawling– they resist containment into affordable boxes. Some of the best have had to include excellent vehicles, such as 8038 Battle of Endor or be priced at D2C level like 10236 Ewok Village. Stripped of any supporting models, 75171 Battle on Scarif must rely solely on structures and setting for its appeal. Alas, it buckles under the weight, yielding a set that is not very good.
The fundamental problem with 75171 Battle on Scarif is that the Imperial archives on Scarif are a massive complex comprised of structures, landing pads and palm tree lined beaches. A single £54.99 set is wholly inadequate to capture that. Accordingly, the LEGO Group opted to include just the landing pad and access doorway where some of the initial fighting occurs – probably trying to go for something similar to the Endor Bunker. Unfortunately, landing pads are inherently boring and plain – this set looks like a building that has lost three of its walls. Without the stickers it would be a nearly solid grey slab, it would be utterly unimpressive to display. The build is not exciting and the parts are nothing to write home about, so 75171 does not succeed as an AFOL model.
This set really is not targeted at AFOLs, but it doesn’t even work as a model for children. 75171 Battle of Scarif invites one method of play – rebels charge across the platform and shoot at Scarif Stormtroopers, who are guarding the doorway. There is no imperial base on the other side of the doors, though amusingly the designers did try to capture some of the sprawling complex by placing a tile with a schematic of the Death Star right inside the doorway. Two panels do ‘explode’, simulating concussive fire, but due to the low profile the effect is not nearly as striking as it has been on other sets. I was a pretty imaginative child, but I have no idea how this set could be played with for more than a week or so.
There are two aspects of Battle on Scarif that are well done – the storage drawer and the two Scarif Stormtroopers, the latter of which will be the only aspect of the set that might tempt AFOLs. Beneath the landing pad a sliding compartment is concealed, revealing sectioned drawers that can store spare weapons. It is a satisfyingly useful feature that is well executed, with locks and smooth operation. Likewise the Scarif Stormtroopers are excellent, with movie accurate printing. Those looking to add this new Stormtrooper variant to their collection can currently only do so via this set. Hopefully the LEGO Group will release some sort of Scarif battle pack containing more of these guys, so fans can get them at a better price.
75171 Battle on Scarif really illustrates the inherent challenges in making a good location based LEGO Star Wars set at an affordable price. Balancing size, ancillary vehicles, minifigure count and price point can prove a impossible task, as is the case here. I wish the LEGO Group had elected for a scaled down platform and a few more Scarif Stormtroopers. As it exists, this set should only be purchased at deep, deep discount. Within the constraints I am sure the designer did the best job they could, but the end result is far from a must-have model.
This product was provided for review by the LEGO Group.