One of the new vehicles in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and released as a LEGO Star Wars set is 75154 TIE Striker, which includes 543 pieces with 4 minifigs for $69.99.
With Rogue One in theaters for more than two weeks now, our review will reference spoilers. If you haven’t seen it yet, do so — the movie is excellent — and then come back and read our full review of the LEGO set.
The instruction booklet is 108 pages long, with 174 steps. The build itself comes in five numbered bags, and the large central pod is built from the parts in the first two bags, with the minifigures spread out in several bags. There’s also a sticker sheet used for detailing on the wing cross braces and curved hull slopes, but the model would look fine without them.
The first bag includes the TIE pilot and the Imperial ground crew minifigs. The pod has some significant studs-out construction to hold the curved outer hull, including some clever uses of headlight bricks turned sideways. The hull also integrates a Technic hinge mechanism for angling the wings.
The third and fourth bags build the left and right wings, which are large and flat, and thus built mostly made of overlapping plates in black over a multi-colored core. (The shore trooper and Rebel trooper appear in the third bag.) The surface of each wing includes lots of tiles and partially tiled plates, such as a 10×10 wedge plate with no studs in the center.
The wings attach to the Technic lift arms on either side of the pod. Although the wings are large and identical (mirrored left and right, obviously), the wings don’t feel particularly repetitive to build, since the plates are fairly large and the build goes quickly.
The fifth and final bag completes the top and rear of the TIE Striker, along with some minor details on the underside (structural components of the lift arms and spring-loaded missile shooters).
The finished model
Sturdy, and swooshable against Rebel ground troops huddled on the beaches of Scarif, the TIE/sk x1 experimental air superiority fighter is a great-looking vehicle. It’s large, too, at nearly 17 inches in length (43 cm).
The wings swing up and down on Technic lift arms without being floppy, and of course the cockpit opens and closes both from the front windscreen and a top hatch.
The TIE/sk has a rear compartment, which according to the Rogue One Visual Guide supports a second crew position in a bomber role. However, the rear compartment in the LEGO set is incredibly cramped thanks to the Technic mechanism for the wings, and only has room for a weapons rack.
If the designers were going to sacrifice the second crew seat for the Technic mechanism anyway, it would have been nice to have a slightly more complex mechanism that raises and lowers the wings together with a knob on the back or something. As it is, the wings move independently, and although they’re not floppy, it’s primarily gravity that holds them in the down position, with nothing more than some short struts to hold them up. With the wings lowered, turning the fighter upside down forces gravity to “raise” the wings, though they do remain locked up once the craft is righted.
Since the TIE Striker only appears during the Battle of Scarif (and only briefly), the designer’s minifig selection was fairly circumscribed. The set includes a TIE pilot, of course, along with a shore trooper and an Imperial ground crew minifig (though not Jyn Erso in disguise — we have to wait for her in the 75171 Battle of Scarif playset in the 2017 wave of Rogue One sets).
The TIE fighter pilot is a minor update of the pilot minifig in the UCS TIE Fighter, with the new helmet mold and silver streaks printed on the front.
The Imperial shore trooper uses the same helmet mold as the tank driver/commander minifigs in 75152 Imperial Assault Hovertank, with a different design printed on tan rather than white.
This also appears to be a unique officer minifig, with sand blue markings, compared to the plainer tan versions in the Battle of Scarif set.
The Imperial ground crew minifig has directional batons for waving in cargo shuttles on landing pads.
The ground crew minifig has a new helmet mold that seems halfway between the designs of Death Star gunners (with a full face visor and jutting “chin”) and Death Star troopers (with a patch of round divets on the forehead).
The solitary Rebel trooper uses a combination of parts unique to this set, but none of the designs are new. He has a reversible head with an alternate expression, and a printed back.
The minifig selection is what you’d expect, though this is currently the only set in which you can get the shore trooper and ground crew minifigs.
Conclusions & recommendation
The TIE Striker plays a surprisingly minimal and decidedly inconclusive role in the Battle of Scarif. Sure, it’s a new TIE variant, which it seems every Star Wars movie is required to have, but it’s only on screen for a few moments in Rogue One and doesn’t do more than blast a couple of ill-fated X-wings — it certainly doesn’t leave the impression of “Oh, that’s something special!” that Darth Vader’s TIE Advanced does in A New Hope.
This is a solid, well-designed model, though certainly not perfect — particularly the absence of either a rear crew seat or a better wing actuator mechanism. With minimal play features and a limited role in the movie (and no LEGO X-wings from Rogue One to fly against), it’s not as likely to be interesting to your average 9-year-old — though it’s relevant to note that the movie is rated PG-13 and is truly an adult-oriented Star Wars movie.
It was a fun build for me as an adult builder/collector, and I always enjoy new and unique minifigs like the shore trooper officer. However, at $70 for a fleetingly glimpsed TIE variant built from only 543 LEGO pieces (mostly black and gray), this feels like a set for the die-hard completist.
If you’re on the fence, the set has been on sale recently for as little as $54 from Amazon (though not at the moment), but I can’t recommend it at full price.
Read our previous reviews of Rogue One LEGO sets: