My fellow fanatic Daniel wrote an excellent ‘first impression’ piece, explaining why the LEGO Group may have chosen to barely change the Death Star when releasing the newest incarnation, 75159. It’s a strong argument as Daniel know his stuff, but I disagree with his assertion that there is no cause for disappointment. Any disappointment with this new release is completely justified, especially if you have an irrational compulsion to be a ‘completist’ LEGO Star Wars collector (advice: seek help).
If it had been decided that 10188 Death Star no longer served its purpose and needed a refresh, then why not do a proper refresh? Start from scratch and mix things up. The rooms could have been enlarged, some of the less interesting ones could have been omitted… if there’s one things that both LEGO designers and talented fan builders have proven, it is that the same thing can be represented in myriad ways with LEGO bricks. There was no reason to barely change the product.
So an arguable benefit to this almost exact re-release is that those who already own 10188 Death Star can skip it. But that means that those people will be without the new minifigures, including the highlight of the crop, the blue astromech droid. If the set had been re-done completely and was suitably different, those who owned 10188 could pick this one up guilt free (giving a hefty wad of cash to the LEGO Group), and of course all of the LEGO Death Star-less folk out there could have enjoyed it too.
But is there really a massive market for the Death Star? Did anyone who wanted one not get one? The sizable set was on sale for eight years, giving most AFOLs who has deep pockets the chance to add it to their collection. Although some may argue this set is aimed at children, the size and price point suggests that this is being sold to the mature fan rather than those looking for a plaything.
As for anyone who has paid over the odds for 10188 Death Star since it was retired late last year, they will likely be kicking themselves when the set was merely going on hiatus until a few minor changes had been made. Many may have distaste for resellers, but they provide a vital service for fans who miss out on a set the first time and want to have it later on. Fortunately the price hasn’t risen too high, and the price hike that 75159 will show might well exceed aftermarket prices for 10188.
Following 75098 Assault on Hoth hasn’t helped this set, as collectors who are used to a steady drip of newness from LEGO exclusives are instead looking at a second skippable purchase in the space of a year. The next big, exclusive Star Wars offering – usually released early in the year – really needs to offer something new, or at the very least, be a very overdue update. It’s important to keep fans engaged and interested – 75159 has succeeded with the former, but not so much the latter.
Images shared at Eurobricks.com by CM4Sci