Friday, May 10, 2013

Reaction: LEGO Star Wars Jedi Defender-class Cruiser (75025)

Courtesy of Eurobricks
After a few relaxing days in Windsor last weekend to celebrate May 4th, it’s time to get back to foaming with frustration like a proper fanboy. Images have emerged from GRogall at Eurobricks of the upcoming Jedi Defender-class Cruiser (75025). As a last minute image not numbered consecutively with the other sets, it is almost certainly a retailer exclusive (Toys R Us seems likely).

The set itself looks like a good representation of the vehicle from The Old Republic, if perhaps a bit less sleek than
the images from the MMORPG suggest. It certainly looks like a big Star Wars vehicle although sleeker than a ship like the Falcon. As a Jedi craft it looks like a logical precursor to the Republic Cruiser (7665), although as someone with no technical knowledge that’s easy to say. The design of the Defender is unlike many other vehicles from the Star Wars saga, which make it a nice change from the oft-repeated movie vehicles.

Courtesy of Eurobricks
The mini-figure roster also looks good, not because they are recognisable to anyone other than The Old Republic gamers, but because the designs look cool and distinctively Star Warsy. The Sith Warrior, Jedi Knight and Jedi Consular (a kind of white Luminara Unduli) are all new to this set, which brings the first fanboy complaint. LEGO actually bill these on the box as “NEW & HARD-TO-FIND”, which seems very naughty. Obviously this is logical for LEGO, as if they can sell a big box of bricks for £100 on the back of three mini-figures, then that works for them. But it seems something of a kick in the teeth for consumers, as LEGO are proudly proclaiming that they have included three mini-figures only in one extremely big and expensive set (it’s nearly as bad as advertising a mini-fig buyers have virtually no chance of finding…).
Courtesy of Eurobricks

It also seems a completely bizarre choice for such a large and expensive set. It was strange enough that LEGO put three sets based on The Old Republic – again, a game that most LEGO Star Wars buyers will not have played – in the main line (anecdotal evidence from conversations with LEGO stockists indicate that apart from the Battle Packs these aren’t selling well), let alone for LEGO to release an even more expensive set as an exclusive. No matter how well designed the ship is, it is only likely to be purchased by the fan (adult or smaller) who already has everything else just because it has the Star War logo on it.

On a brief positive note, it means that long-time collectors have something different to buy rather than another rehash of a previously released set. But if The Old Republic is the only source of material left, then things are getting a bit desperate. Thank goodness for the new Disney films coming up to provide new inspiration, although inside LEGO there are frustrations that during the transitional period they aren’t getting a great deal of information from Lucas Licensing. Until Episode VII hits cinemas, however, there are plenty of comics, books, TV and video games other than The Old Republic that LEGO designers can base products on. Most collectors and children wouldn’t have a clue where it came from anyway, and are no more or less likely to buy it than they are something from The Old Republic

Courtesy of Eurobricks

Ultimately though, fans are mainly to blame for potentially brilliant, albeit expensive, sets to be released based on source material they have no awareness of. LEGO didn’t expect us to be buying this stuff fourteen years later when they started releasing Star Wars sets in 1999, let alone for some of us to be crazy enough to have bought every single one during that period. When collectors buy every set and then demand that LEGO do something new… you end up with the Jedi Defender-class Cruiser.

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