The LEGO Star Wars units from Rogue One, launched in late 2016 and early 2017 to help the film, embrace a number of of my favourite LEGO Star Wars units of the previous few years, just like the implausible 75172 Y-wing Starfighter and 75155 Insurgent U-wing Starfighter. I’ve hoped that LEGO would return to world of Rogue One, and with the lately launched 75251 Darth Vader’s Castle LEGO returns to the primary Star Wars Anthology movie.
The set has had combined reactions from LEGO builders and collectors because it was first introduced a number of weeks in the past, however how does it truly stack up?
The packaging, directions, & sticker sheet
The field for Darth Vader’s Castle is oriented vertically, highlighting the peak of the construction.
Contained in the field, a small cardboard sleeve hooked up to the field accommodates the instruction booklet, defending it from additional injury — past the plastic sleeve that directions for bigger units already are available.
We ordered our copy of the set from Amazon.com, and we’ve heard that some copies of this set arrived with broken bins as a result of Amazon, by default, shipped the set within the set field itself fairly than an Amazon.com field. When you’re planning on constructing the set, that is truly a unbelievable approach to preserve cardboard and save a little bit of a tree. Nevertheless, in case you’re planning on displaying the field, reselling the set, and even simply sending it to somebody for Christmas, you possibly can select to get the set shipped in Amazon.com packaging as an alternative.
The set consists of ten numbered luggage, plus an unnumbered bag with giant plates.
The sticker sheet is protected contained in the instruction booklet’s wrapper, and consists of quite a few Sith designs and Imperial structure particulars.
The first two luggage embrace the elements for the “chibi” model of Darth Vader’s TIE Superior starfighter, which we’ll cowl later on this evaluate. The subsequent three luggage embrace the elements for the bottom of the citadel, together with the “lavafall” spewing from the construction on Mustafar.
The three-sided base’s partitions are modular, however connect to one another sturdily.
One in every of extra noteworthy points of the tower’s base is simply what number of stickers it’s a must to apply on the rear/inside aspect. Repetitive design patterns are an anticipated a part of any construction, and the bottom is pretty repetitive, with seven pillars that each one have stickers on each the vertical panels and a couple of×three slopes. Thankfully, the monotony is damaged up by numerous hidden particulars we’ll return to when analyzing the completed mannequin.
The sixth bag provides the plates for the primary flooring above the bottom, together with a number of key particulars on that flooring (Darth Vader’s Bacta tank particularly).
Bag 7 features a mountain of plates and tiles for the entrance facade of the fort, with the eighth bag offering the elements for Darth Vader’s meditation chamber on a center flooring partway up the tower.
Just like the three-sided base part, the tower itself can also be three-sided, with separate luggage offering the elements for both sides.
The facade sections all angle inward, related to the bottom with bars and clips. The prime flooring additional reinforces the connection between the sections, with a Technic pin securing the angled, round flooring.
The two aspect wall sections every embrace small protuberances and hinge brick items, which maintain the center flooring safely in place, because it’s solely truly hooked up to the entrance facade part. It’s a intelligent little bit of LEGO engineering to create a sturdy, flat floor at an angle to the three sides it’s related to.
The completed mannequin
75251 Darth Vader’s Castle depicts Fortress Vader on the volcanic planet Mustafar because it seems in Rogue One, based mostly on beforehand unused idea artwork by Ralph McQuarrie. The field photographs don’t actually do justice to the set, which comes throughout as a stubbier model of Orthanc from The Lord of the Rings. However in individual, the tower stands 16″ (41cm) excessive.
The prime of the tower features a platform behind the tuning fork cut up, by way of which defenders can hearth a stud-shooter.
The decrease part round the primary flooring has trans-red home windows surrounded by imposing vertical sections.
The darkish tan nook BURP items on both aspect of the bottom body the black edifice properly, highlighting the central orange lavafall.
In fact, the actual enjoyable is within the uncovered again of the tower, which has 4 ranges with play options.
The lowest degree inside the bottom is formed to suit Vader’s TIE fighter, although the underside of the bottom is open, so that you gained’t have the ability to carry the tower round with the starfighter parked.
Though they’re about the identical measurement, the miniaturized model of Darth Vader’s TIE Superior x1 starfighter on this set is totally totally different from the one in 75159 Demise Star. This model makes use of 2×2 triangle tiles slightly than wedge tiles on the wings, for instance. It’s a fantastic little rendition of the long-lasting car, at house alongside Boba Fett’s Slave I from 75222 Betrayal at Cloud Metropolis. These little automobiles are certainly one of my favourite features of those large-scale playsets.
Each variations match Darth Vader, helmet and all. Apparently he doesn’t have to see out the entrance viewport since he makes use of the Drive…
Oddly, the again of the starfighter has a clip so you’ll be able to connect Darth Vader’s lightsaber — the Darkish Lord of the Sith wouldn’t need to lose his particular laser sword within the depths of the Unknown Areas now would he?
The inside of the bottom part appears like an Imperial hangar bay, with lights on the columns (that are in fact stickers) harking back to the lighted partitions on the Dying Star.
Each side of the bottom have small areas with a number of play options. One aspect has a Sith shrine with a holocron.
Though the important thing particulars are created with stickers, the pink and black motif is putting, with tiny hooded Sith figures standing guard on both aspect of the pyramidal holocron crystal.
Popping open a small panel subsequent to the shrine reveals a hidden chamber with a darkish lightsaber deal with.
On the opposite aspect of the fort’s base is a piece that’s extra utilitarian, with racks for stud-shooter ammunition and a few sort of greebly mechanical system.
Reminding us once more that we’re on the earth of Rogue One, opening the hidden compartment on this aspect reveals a kyber crystal.
Darth Vader spends time in a bacta tank to heal the accidents sustained years earlier on Mustafar, in addition to the depredations of the Darkish Aspect. Because of a little bit of sensible magic (the set doesn’t include lighting results), the scene seems very dramatic!
The merely constructed tank opens upward so you’ll be able to take away Darth Vader and get him out of his Sith skivvies and into his armor.
The center degree has a segmented meditation chamber, which seems to function Darth Vader’s workplace, the place he conducts Sith enterprise.
The chamber opens so Darth Vader can take HoloNet calls from his boss again on Coruscant.
Whereas we not often complain about brick-built options for options in LEGO units, this may be a case by which bigger items would have created a extra domed look with out as many gaps.
The prime flooring is an easy platform consisting of a single, giant eight×eight round piece with a big sticker. Within the film, this round platform is on a decrease degree, have been Darth Vader and Director Krennic talk about the standing of the primary Dying Star’s development.
Again on the decrease degree, a staircase and door present entry to the primary flooring.
Darth Vader’s Castle comes with 5 minifigs — Darth Vader in his Sith armor, bare Darth Vader, two Royal Guards, and an Imperial transport pilot.
Armored Vader is equivalent to the model in quite a few current units, with the cut up helmet and mushy cape. Vader as he’s seen briefly within the bacta tank in Rogue One is totally distinctive to this set — even the black respiration piece is simply out there on this shade on this one set. Vader’s head, torso, and left arm are white, whereas his proper arm and each legs are in silver to mirror the truth that Palpatine changed the limbs Anakin Skywalker misplaced in his last struggle with Obi-wan Kenobi with robotic prosthetics.
The again of Vader’s bare torso is printed with particulars like shoulder blades, and the again of his head is actually equivalent to the printing on the again of normal Vader’s head.
The Royal Guards are additionally similar to the minifigs in units like the present Demise Star and 75093 Demise Star Remaining Duel.
The different distinctive minifig on this set is an Imperial transport pilot — a variant of the Scarif Shoretroopers and tank troopers from Rogue One. This character variant seems to be a non-canon variant created by LEGO for this set, however we’d definitely welcome a correction if our analysis has fallen brief. The transport pilot is accompanied right here by a brick-built mouse droid.
The pilot has blue coloring to differentiate him from different Imperial trooper variants, however he has the identical head shared with Clone Troopers, stormtroopers and First Order minifigs in helmets as properly.
Conclusions & suggestion
Whereas we have been definitely impressed with a number of of the constructing methods and the various play options of the completed mannequin, at $130 for simply over a thousand elements and just one canonical new minifig, 75251 Darth Vader’s Castle just isn’t a terrific worth. A lot of the elements are black plates, and the minifig choice doesn’t fairly add up for a real Rogue One scene — a brand new variant of Orson Krennic or Vader’s attendant Vaneé would have made rather more sense than a non-canonical blue pilot. However, this set did exceed our expectations based mostly on the official photographs launched a number of weeks in the past, and we have been impressed with the improved packaging, wonderful bare Vader, and the cute TIE Superior.
Whereas this assessment is undoubtedly combined, we will definitely advocate the set to hardcore Star Wars followers in addition to builders like me who’ve been wanting ahead to extra units from Rogue One. Given the combined response from LEGO Star Wars followers already, we’d anticipate the set to be discounted 20-30% comparatively quickly (notably on Amazon.com, the unique non-LEGO retailer). If the set have been $104 slightly than $130 (20% off), our suggestion would undoubtedly be greater.
LEGO Star Wars 75251 Darth Vader’s Castle is on the market now from the LEGO Store on-line ($129.99 within the US, $149.99 in Canada, and £119.99 within the UK) and Amazon.com, in addition to third-party sellers on eBay and BrickLink.
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