The good folks over at LEGO sent us an advance copy of the new flagship set for the ever-popular LEGO Star Wars line, 75060 Slave I. Ever since I first saw Star Wars Episode V, I’ve thought the Slave I was one of the coolest ships in the Star Wars fleet. A truly unique design for a spaceship (in 1980 when Empire released), the Slave I lies on its back for landing, but stands upright for flight, the cockpit and wings rotating to retain orientation. LEGO has released 4 previous minifig-scale versions of this ship, two for each color scheme from the new and old Star Wars trilogies, plus another five versions in smaller scales. So this new Slave I fittingly is the tenth version of the ship from LEGO, and is unquestionably the best.
Make no mistake, this is a big set — a very big set for being minifig scale. The Slave I is a deceptively large ship, and LEGO’s previous minifig-scale versions have not done it justice. The very first Slave I (7144) released in 2000 was almost laughably small at 166 pieces, but I still harbor fond memories of it. The new 75060 Slave I clocks in with 1996 pieces and is almost 2 feet long from tip to tip.
The instructions are broken down into 13 numbered assemblies, with some steps containing more than 1 bag. I was happy to see that the instructions and sticker sheet come in their own bag with a stiff piece of cardboard, so they were in prime condition. The beginning of the instruction manual contains a number of pages about the Star Wars LEGO Design Team, the specific designer of the Slave I, and info about the ship in Star Wars, both in-universe and behind-the-scenes. This is a really cool feature I’d love to see worked into sets from all themes, but I’m guessing it will remain the domain of premier models only. There’s a small sticker sheet included, but with the exception of the fact card, all of the stickers are purely cosmetic to smooth the coloration, and the set looks fine without them.
The model is built from the ground up, starting with the large flat base. There’s a Technic structure inside the base to help give the ship some rigidity to allow handling, but a surprising amount of it is built with basic bricks and plates underneath a lot of complex slope bricks. I was pleasantly surprised to notice that almost all of the pieces are within the ship’s color-scheme. Usually models with a lot of interior bricks employ brightly colored pieces to ease instruction interpretation, but with just a few exceptions the pieces are dark red, tan, black, and grey. Once the base is completed, you build a Technic structure out of it to support the main fuselage. The area around the cockpit is a giant wall of SNOT bricks, to which the dark green wing flanges attach.
The fuselage of the ship is a cleverly-designed Technic structure covered in a plate-built facade. The sides are set at a compound angle, and it’s really cool to see in an official model. The sides are attached on the cockpit end via clip hinges, and on the lower end using ball-joints, since no traditional LEGO hinge can easily mimic the odd angle at which the plates attach. It took quite a lot of force to attach the sides, but in the end it all went together with a loud satisfying click. The coloration on the two sides are almost — but not quite — the same, as befits a well-worn and battle-scarred ship.
The windscreen for this model is all new, and obviously designed specifically for this ship. It’s enormous, and I can’t wait to see it start popping up on fan-built creations. The inside of the cockpit is a little sparse; there are a few control panels and a gun rack, but I can’t help but feel that LEGO skimped a little on this area. Thirty or forty additional pieces to flesh out the inside a little more would have gone a long way, I feel. The cockpit will rotate to either orientation to match the ship, but sadly this feature is manual only. It seems to me that it would be pretty trivial to employ a weight and freely-moving joints to make this function automatic, as it has been in some of the smaller versions of the Slave I, so I’m not sure why that functionality was dropped on this more complex model. The wings, however, do rotate automatically to remain in the proper orientation with the ship. When I was finished building the model, I had an unusually large number of leftover pieces; almost 100. I may have missed a piece or two in the instructions, but that’s still an oddly large number; however, it will get no complaints from me on that count. The back/bottom of the ship is highly detailed, which is good because that’s very visible when it’s on its stand.
Play features on this model are relatively few. There are the cannons, which rotate, and there are two hidden gun and missile compartments on either side of the fuselage. These are a little finicky to open, but they look good both opened and closed. At the bottom of the fuselage there is the door, which swings up. On the bottom side of it is a clip for attaching the Han Solo in Carbonite piece. The windscreen is also removable for access to the cockpit area. Ultimately, though, this is a model which is intended to look good more than be playable. Like all of the largest Star Wars ships (which used to be called Ultimate Collectors’ Series or UCS) the Slave I comes with a display stand and fact card. The display stand here holds the ship in the upright flight position, and grabs onto the ship with two prongs which slot into recesses in the ship’s underside. This Slave I, however, is decidedly not swooshable. I had a very difficult time handling the ship once it was completed; there are not many good areas to hold onto it without crushing something.
The set includes four minifigs; Boba, Han Solo, a Bespin Guard, and a Stormtrooper. Like most Star Wars minifigs these days, all four have extremely detail torso prints. The Bespin Guard, Boba Fett, and Han Solo are all unique to this set. Han Solo appears nearly identical to the one in 2012’s Jabba’s Palace, but the head is slightly different. Like that set, he has a double-sided head for both sleeping and awake expressions, and he also fits into the back of the carbonite piece. Boba Fett, of course, has had many previous iterations, but this one is by far the most detailed, and looks gorgeous with both silver and gold printing on his armor. The Stormtrooper is very detailed, also, and so far only comes in this set and 2014’s Imperial Star Destroyer.
The ship looks killer on its display stand. In fact, I didn’t apply any of the stickers because I was intending to break this set down and sort it out after reviewing it, but having looked at it for a few days built on my table, I may have to rethink that decision. It just looks so good. LEGO did a stellar job modeling the complex curves of this ship, which is no easy feat, and the aggressive stance of the ship on its display stand will make any Star Wars fan giddy. Plus, unlike some of the other large Star Wars models, like the Star Destroyer or Millennium Falcon, the Slave I doesn’t require that you dedication a coffee table-sized area to its display. Since it sits on its display stand vertically, it takes up relatively little shelf space.
The Slave I is an iconic Star Wars ship, and LEGO has done it justice with this model. This is the coolest set I’ve reviewed in a long time, and any Star Wars fan is sure to love it. It’s also a great parts pack if you can bring yourself to disassemble it. This set is sure to be a huge hit.
75060 Slave 1 will be available from the LEGO Shop online on January 1st.