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Lego Maniacs' Guide: Reviews: Space : Star Wars : Episode I : Trade Federation MTT

[Purchase Online at Amazon.com] 7184 - Trade Federation MTT

Rating: 4 Stars
Pros: Great for the price; highly playable; 7 droids
Cons: Somewhat unstable; randomly distributed tan pieces are an eyesore
Contents: 466 pieces including 7 battle droids
Price: $49.99
Reviewed: 30-Jul-2000
Reviewed by: Gareth Bowler

7184 Muk-Muk rode right up next to the lumbering juggernaut as it struggled over the hill. Unlike the AAT, this huge brown monstrosity had no turret, and was terribly slow. Muk-Muk spied out several good places to plant his 'boomers' that would take out the tank. However, just as he climbed aboard the MTT ground to a shuddering halt. Hatches at both ends swung open, and hordes of battle droids swarmed out like angry hornets...

STANDARD DISCLAIMER: I think Star Wars Lego is the coolest thing since sliced bread. Many of these sets are more fun than their larger, plastic counterparts, which you can neither customize nor destroy in battle. These sets tend to build very differently from normal Lego sets, in that they contain fewer large, specialized or pre-printed parts, and are generally free from common space Lego design flaws, (like open cockpits and useless, dinky secondary vehicles) and usually have a very good piece-to-price ratio. Having established that I find these sets to be cooler than both normal Star Wars toys and normal Lego, let's move on.

I was pleasantly surprised by this set. On the surface, it seems to be a big blocky, dull set, but there's a lot more to it. It is quite cleverly built, and has a ton of play potential. Also, if you, like me, have a small collection of brown and tan pieces, but not enough to build anything cool, this set will solve that problem right quick. Castles fans will probably also find some useful parts here. There's nothing you haven't seen before, but there's some parts I bet you don't have in brown, like the A-wing and TIE fighter canopies.

While this set looks fairly blocky and dull at first, once you actually have it built you realize it really is pretty cool looking, if for no other reason than it has an imposing bulk that most Lego sets simply lack. The front third is the tall part that contains the sliding droid rack (which is really pretty darn clever) and has a second story where the driver droid sits. This space is perhaps a little barren and some extra computer parts could fill it in nicely. The side panels of this section pivot open. The back 2/3s of the vehicle detach and swing open, revealing two computer stations and a massive rear cargo area. I'm surprised Lego didn't make some little car to go in there. My spare battalion of 6 battle droids from other sets currently stand here, but there is still oodles of room for speederbikes or something. They could've very easily doubled the number of droids in this set and you'd still have plenty of places to put them. I'm hoping Lego will make a model of the smaller, AAT-esque vehicle that fits in that rear compartment.

It only has two minor drawbacks. First, the detachment and opening makes it a little less sturdy than it should be, especially when you try to pick it up. Its color scheme is the other drawback. While the few oddly colored pieces (green, red, and white) are unobtrusive, the body of the tank often oddly alternates between tan, brown and gray in a fairly random and ugly manner. This is fixable, if you have a fair amount of spare dark gray bricks. This set lacks the "Random Blue Piece" that manages to find its way into almost every Star Wars set.

All in all a really fun set, especially if you have extra battledroids or something appropriate to put in the back. It is half the price than the Falcon, just as playable, and has less flaws. The only thing that stops it from being a 5 is its structural weakness and the fact that I have the interceptor, which is cooler. For some reason, this set is quite hard to find, at least where I live, but if you can find it and are an Episode I fan, I do recomend it.

69 readers have rated this set as 4.27 out of 5 stars.
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