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.
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.
The Steve Martin quote above just about sums up this titan. The largest piece count since the 8480 Technic Space Shuttle. This is one of largest Lego ships I've ever seen, dwarfing even the Millennium Falcon. Buy it! Buy it NOW! Do whatever it takes to afford it; sell your sister, hawk your shoes, pawn family heirlooms, and train your dog to pick pockets! It's that good! Ever build a Lego set and come across a new idea, such as an inventive and unique way of using a piece which is both impressive in its originality and elegant in its obvious simplicity? The Ultimate Collector X-Wing is 1304 pieces of that feeling.
First off, this thing is huge. It's almost two feet long, bigger than the Hasbro toy, and roughly twice the size of the normal Lego X-Wing, with an 18 inch wing-span. Building it took me FIVE hours. Features include a knob on the back which opens and closes the S-foils, an opening cockpit with interior detail, a bevy of decals, and the snazzy black stand with informational sticker.
The set is divided into 8 components; the main fuselage, the undercarriage, the nose, the stand and the four wings, and I will describe them all separately.
The stand is simple, yet elegant, and can rest in three different positions. The sticker adorning it lists the X-Wing's vital stats. Not really much to say about this, but it is pretty well done for a mere stand.
The undercarriage is nothing special. It's only a separate section to make assembling the finished product that much easier. Of note are the 2x2x1 corner inverted slopes, which seem to be fairly rare, and a gray, opaque version of the standard, extended canopy found in many Space and Aquazone sets.
The body houses the wing-manipulation mechanism and although it doesn't seem like it will work at first, it does. Surprisingly well. There are some sprockets in here (including a piece with a spiraling groove, which I dubbed "Lego rotini") that non-Technic collectors probably don't have and an item I can only assume is the oft described Technic universal joint. It is a 2x4x3 box with no studs, but holes for axles from every direction. The rotini piece fits inside it. The top and back sport a nice amount of detail. The visible machinery on top of the X-Wing is built with a variety of pieces including speederbike handlebars and an old-fashioned spoked wheel hub. R2 fits up here and is decidedly the weak point of the set. He looks very "tacked on" and is miles too small. He looks silly.
The four wings are all different from each other, but only just barely. The top wings vary from the bottom by just one piece. For some reason, they decided to make all four guns different from each other by having two variations of two pieces used in their construction (resulting in 4 combinations.) I'm not exactly sure what this is in aid of. There are several odd pieces showing up in the make of the wings. There are fences and gray barrels and un-preprinted, gray R2 bodies and heads. If only it included gray R2 legs so you could make zombie droids.
The sloping parts are made from 6x6 gently sloping roof/overhang pieces. To my knowledge this is the only set to ever have these pieces un-pre-printed. There are also four very rare pieces and I'm not sure how to describe them. One is sort of a weird Technic gear, but the teeth are T-shaped. Another is a hollow round piece, about 4x4x1. It has no studs or receptors, but it does have holes for a Technic axle to be stuck through it.
Also on the wings are 4x6 plates with studs along 3 edges; the rest of the plate being flat. The fourth piece is too weird to describe. I have no idea what it is or what it could possibly be used for since Iíve never seen it elsewhere.
The nose is really the highlight. The very tip of the nose is a separate piece which attaches "at odds", fitting a 5-stud wide piece onto a 4-stud wide piece in a clever and seamless pattern. The nose cone is one of the set's minor weak points. It is a little too blocky, especially compared with the sleekness of the rest of the ship. The nose body's sides are mounted on laterally hinged pieces at either end, tilting two bricks inward and giving the nose that tapered look. Inside the nose, the interior cockpit detail is quite good; there's a chair, a central joystick and a "Death Star trench run" computer screen, covered by a pre-printed technical-looking dashboard type piece. Rare pieces here include a 4x4 plate with only 4 studs (along one edge), the preprinted console, the sliding piece frames (used in the MTT, although here they are functional, the pieces that fit into them and do the actual sliding aren't functional), and the clear canopy, which is unique to this set.
Anyway, long story short, this set rocks my teenage party world. The one thing I will say against it is that it is in no way intended for younger collectors. The complexity of the gear box, the repetitiveness of building the wings, and the play-restricting weight all add up to a set for older fans. A great set. A fantastic set! A must-have set!