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Lego Maniacs' Guide: Reviews: Space : Star Wars : Episode I : Mos Espa Pod Race

[Purchase Lego at Amazon.com] 7171 - Mos Espa Pod Race

Rating: 4 Stars
Pros: Fun models; high playability; good piece to price ratio; good parts in odd colors
Cons: Low rebuild potential; Anakin's pod is weak
Contents: 894 elements, 4 mini-figs, R2-D2, 2 aliens, and some pit droids
Price: $89.99
Reviewed: 30-Nov-2000
Reviewed by: Gareth Bowler

7171 The crowd at the Boonta Eve Classic roared in excitement as Gasgano's stylish green pod-racer jockeyed for position with Sebulba's. Attempting a repeat performance of what he did to Mars Guo, the devious Dug threw back an iso-linear torque wrench, but it skidded harmlessly off Gasgano's engine housing. The six-armed thrill seeker had learned long ago that big intakes were sabotage magnets when racing against opponents with ethics like Sebulba's. He had built his engine intakes long and thin, foiling the Dug's efforts. Now, Gasgano thought, if he could only get past this pesky human kid...

I didn't really think I'd like this set. It's not too impressive from box and catalog shots. After all, it's a $90 set, and it breaks down into so many components that you aren't really left with anything particularly big and impressive, like you are with the Falcon or Ultimate Collector sets. However, I was pleasantly surprised and would say set is the best extra-large non-Ultimate Collector Series set in the whole Star Wars theme. Of course the only other extra-large non-Ultimate Collector Series set is the Falcon, so the Pod Race doesn't have a lot of competition, but I still say it's groovy.
It breaks down into three pod-racers and a big pile of bric-a-brac. Opening the box reveals three smaller boxes, one for each pod. Each contains the parts for one pod, and some of the random bric-a-brac.

The bric-a-brac is pretty mediocre. There are tools, pit droids, flags, umbrellas, and some extraneous mini-figs, namely Amidala, Qui Gon, Jar Friggin' Jar and R2. For some reason, Obi Wan is not included in this set, despite being at the Pod Race in the movie. I believe this is all part of a conspiracy against my friend Dave (a big Obi Wan fan) to make Obi Wan the single rarest mini-fig. By the way, the most common character with the advent of the new 2001 sets, is R2-D2. How about that, eh?
Anyway, as you can probably tell from the fact that I haven't said much about it, there's not much to say about the bric-a-brac. It's window dressing. Let's move on to the meat of the set.

Or more accurately, the appetizer before the meat, namely Anakin's pod. It's, well, pretty basic. The only highlights are the Star Wars engines in dark gray and some large tan plates and smaller tan bricks. Unique to this set (until the 2001 sets come out) are the odd yellow hinged scoop-like parts on the front. Also, the rounded dome-like parts on the fronts of the engines are different from the other mini-domes. Rather than being an R2 head, this one is taller and hollow inside. To my knowledge, this piece only ships with Anakin's pod and this set. It's an okay model, but there are a few too many colors, and frankly, it just doesn't stand up to the bigger pods.

Next we visit Gasgano's pod-racer. I didn't even know who Gasgano was before I got this set, but I like his pod. It's green and orange and purple, and really a pretty great model with a fair amount of detail and some clever construction. There are some nice slopes and hinges and rocket cones and other fun parts in green, which is nice if you are trying to beef up your green collection. It also features two hidden chain-saws in gray, which makes a nice change from the laser neon chain-saws that shipped with Ice Planet 2002 sets. Gasgano himself is pretty disappointing, made from a white gun, a mini-fig head, and four battle droid arms. However, his pod looks great. The only weakness is that the intakes tend to fall off easily.

The biggest pod in the set is Sebulba's, and it's pretty good too. The model is stronger than Gasgano's, but it lacks the snazzy color scheme of the other pod. Nevertheless, its detail is just as good, sporting a few chainsaws and two opening cooling ports on the sides. There are a good number of interesting parts in orange here, including round top bricks, rocket parts, and Star Wars engines, as well as some normal bricks and plates. There's also a chrome noodle behind Sebulba's head. Speaking of Sebulba's head, the Sebulba figure is VERY disappointing. It's just a single, unmoving, unpainted, molded gray hunk of plastic that towers over the other mini-figs. Pretty weak, Lego. You could've at least painted the thing.

Overall, this set has some great models and excellent playability, but surprisingly low rebuild potential. After all, a lot of the parts you get are pretty disparate in type and color and some of the parts (like the translucent orange cannons) just aren't very versatile. Nevertheless, the set does have a very good piece-to-price ratio; almost 10 to $1, which is unusual these days. Don't buy it if you are looking to beef up your collection of normal colored and shaped bricks, because it doesn't have many. However, if you're looking for parts in odd colors and for an all around fun set, I strongly suggest you pick it up. Enjoy.

31 readers have rated this set as 3.695 out of 5 stars.
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