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Lego Maniacs' Guide: Reviews: Model Team : Star Wars Ultimate Collector : TIE Interceptor

[Purchase Online at Amazon.com] 7181 - TIE Interceptor

Rating: 5 Stars
Pros: Neat stand; beautiful model; intricate detail both inside and out
Cons: None of significance except maybe the price
Contents: 703 pieces
Price: $99.99
Reviewed: 30-Jul-2000
Reviewed by: Gareth Bowler


STANDARD DISCLAIMER: I think Star Wars Lego is the best 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, 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.

These Ultimate Collector (UC) sets are to Star Wars what Model Team is to Town; larger, more intricate, harder to build, and for an older audience.

This set is an authentic replica of the TIE Interceptor. Its wings are modular and detachable, and the cockpit (which is made out of those large, bulbous pieces that form control tower pods in Aquazone and Rock Raiders sets) hinges open revealing a wealth of interior detail. There is a chair, a HUD, nice controls, and several monitor screens -- at least one of which is unique to this set. The detail on the wings is pretty nice as well.

Thankfully, this set was not designed by colorblind monkeys and has a consistent color scheme with no garish green or white or yellow pieces thrown in for no reason like the Falcon or B-wing do. Unlike the Vader TIE (in the TIE Fighter/Y-wing set), the blue here is kept to a decorative minimum and most everything is black or dark gray. In the plus column, it's HUMUNGOUS. It is almost perfectly to scale with the Hasbro figures. My scout trooper is flying it now. Despite being big and modular, it is surprisingly sturdy when played with. The stand it comes with is pretty snazzy, and having the vital stats displayed on the sticker beneath it is a very nice touch.

It does have its drawbacks, but frankly they are all dwarfed by the sheer beauty of the model. One such drawback is the lack of mini-figs. No big loss frankly, but a tie-pilot version of the jointed Technic figures might've been cool. Although he would've just gotten in the way of the cockpit features. The UC series are models first and toys second, really. Symptomatic of this, building those 4 identical wing pieces becomes a little tedious. If you buy this, build it backwards (stand, wings, cockpit) from the way the instructions say. The cockpit is the most interesting part and should be savored. (I'm not sure why Lego does this, but they do it consistently; they always have you build the coolest thing in the set FIRST. Why? What happened to saving the best for last?) Its almost too big and heavy to play with, but not quite. I do not recommend this set at all for younger collectors.

While we're on the subject of drawbacks, the little laser thingies under the cockpit REALLY get in the way. They're right where you want to put your hand, and they prevent the cockpit from opening all the way. Besides, the Interceptor's guns are clearly mounted on the wings, so what are these things anyway? Headlights? They are easily removed though, and you won't miss them. A few too many of the same kinds of pieces make for fairly low rebuild potential for a 703 piece set, but anyone who takes this beauty apart needs their head examined. If you are after black wing pieces or large black flats, this set is where its at.

This has always been one of my favorite ships and this is a very large, authentic, highly detailed model of it. This is the single coolest-looking inanimate object in my house and will mostly likely retain the title until I get the UC X-wing. The biggest problem with this set is that it will make all your other Star Wars Lego sets seem lame by comparison.

116 readers have rated this set as 4.655 out of 5 stars.
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