With Ultimate Collector Series and recent 4+ sets for younger builders aside, LEGO Star Wars starfighters like X-wings and TIE fighters have maintained a consistent trajectory of higher and higher part counts (with correspondingly greater levels of detail) over the past 20 years. The latest LEGO Star Wars sets move the part count in the opposite direction, with 75301 Luke Skywalker’s X-Wing Fighter including 474 pieces with four minifigs (US $49.99 | CAN $69.99 | UK £44.99) and 75300 Imperial TIE Fighter including 432 plus three figures (US $39.99 | CAN $49.99 | UK £34.99). We’ll compare these January 2021 starfighters with the 2018 LEGO X-wing and 2018 TIE Fighter.
The LEGO Group provided The Brothers Brick with early copies of this set for review. Providing TBB with products for review guarantees neither coverage nor positive reviews.
Read our hands-on review of LEGO Star Wars 75301 Luke Skywalker’s X-Wing Fighter & 75300 Imperial TIE Fighter
The highly anticipated second season of The Mandalorian launches today on Disney+, so now seems as good a time as any to take a closer look at the Razor Crest, which was finally released on August 31st after selling out almost immediately nearly six months earlier via preorders. The set is now back in stock online (US $129.99 | CAN $159.99 | UK £119.99), built from 1,023 pieces and featuring the Mandalorian himself, Greef Karga, IG-11, a Scout Trooper, and the Child.
Read our full review of LEGO Star Wars 75292 The Razor Crest from The Mandalorian
In addition to excellent custom minifig parts and minifigs inspired by the likes of the Beastie Boys and Bob Ross, our friends at Citizen Brick have begun producing their own injection-molded items. For Halloween 2020 the CB team have released a bevy of creepy custom minifig parts for you to mix and match with your LEGO.
We’ve said before that what’s so awesome about Citizen Brick products is that they’re the sort of thing that LEGO themselves will likely never release, while remaining compatible with LEGO. This makes custom parts produces like Citizen Brick distinct from knockoffs and clone brands that compete with LEGO and are often of inferior quality. Because CB has earned our respect with printing quality that’s indistinguishable from LEGO’s own, it’s exciting to see them branch out to custom parts, allowing LEGO fans to go beyond the confines of the staid bricks from Billund. Let’s take a look at what the mad scientists of Chicago have cooked up.
Read our full hands-on review of this year’s Citizen Brick Halloween release
If you watched Star Wars beginning with Episode IV: A New Hope as many of us born in the decades before the Prequel Trilogy did, the first planet in a “Galaxy Far, Far Away” you ever saw on screen was Tatooine. But the enormous universe that Luke Skywalker and Ben Kenobi lived in truly came alive only when they first stepped into the cantina in the Mos Eisley Spaceport — “This place can be a little rough,” Old Ben warned Luke. LEGO’s latest set in its Master Builder Series takes us deep into that “wretched hive of scum and villainy” with 75290 Mos Eisley Cantina. It’s rare that I acknowledge up front in a review how excited I was personally about a forthcoming LEGO set. But I am, because my favorite planet in the Star Wars universe is still Tatooine, and my favorite place on the planet is Chalmun’s Cantina. Does it live up to my nearly life-long expectations? How does it compare to previous incarnations of this iconic watering hole?
75290 Mos Eisley Cantina is built from 3,187 LEGO pieces, and the product description states that it includes 21 minifigures “plus” R2-D2 the droid (a point we’ll return to later in this review). The set retails from the LEGO Shop for US $349.99 | CAN $449.99 | UK £319.99 and is available to LEGO VIP Program members beginning on September 16, with general availability on October 1st.
Let’s strap a blaster to our hip, leave the droids to park the landspeeder, and step inside…
Read our hands-on review of LEGO Star Wars 75290 Mos Eisley Cantina
For the past several years, my friend Steve Witt has been collecting the necessary LEGO bricks and fiddling with his design to produce a 7-foot-long (2.1 meter) recreation of a Paris-class UNSC heavy frigate from the Halo video game universe that he’s dubbed the Katara. After following his work-in-progress photos on Facebook and Flickr for five years, I’m very pleased to share this closer look at the finished ship, exclusive to The Brothers Brick.
We’ll take a closer look at the details and share some of the build’s history in a moment, but let’s pause and take in just how massive a LEGO ship 7 feet long really is, with this photo of the builder working on it.
See detailed photos and learn more about this massive Halo ship
Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back recently celebrated the 40th anniversary of its release, and LEGO is honoring the occasion with 75294 Bespin Duel available exclusively from the LEGO Shop and Target ($39.99 USD | $49.99 CAD from the LEGO Shop and $39.99 USD from Target). The set includes 295 pieces, with minifigures of Luke Skywalker and his dear dad Darth Vader, and will be available on August 27th, 2020.
Two years ago, LEGO’s first “Master Builder” set 75222 Betrayal at Cloud City included a scaled-down version of this same scene, but this version is more detailed and includes a stand with a commemorative plaque.
Unfortunately, this LEGO Star Wars set will only be available in the US and Canada. The set was originally designed as the exclusive set for Star Wars Celebration, originally scheduled for August 27th-30th. With the cancellation of nearly all in-person events in North America due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this set is being made available online, but only in the United States and Canada.
Reminding all of us how baristas at coffee shops like Starbucks bring a sense of normalcy each day in difficult times, Korean LEGO builder Oh So Jang has built a wonderful Starbucks with a drive-through and detailed interior, based on a real-life Starbucks in Korea.
See the full interior of this LEGO Starbucks
It’s important to understand as you read this review of the new LEGO 71374 Nintendo Entertainment System that I never owned an NES myself as a kid back in the 80’s. But I wanted one. After all, it felt like nearly every one of my friends in the neighborhood in Japan where I lived had a Famicom, or later the true NES launched in 1985. As I went over to my friends’ houses and played Super Mario and the very first Legend of Zelda, I so very desperately wanted one! But I never did, partly because I was told that I had enough toys in the form of all the LEGO underfoot in my bedroom. Now, I can buy my own (US $229.99 | CAN $299.99 | UK £209.99) and build it for myself from LEGO, which seems even better. Does this marriage of my favorite little plastic bricks with the big plastic brick of my dreams live up to 35 years of pent-up expectations? Let’s find out…
Read our hands-on review of LEGO 71374 Nintendo Entertainment System
The appearance of “The Child” (immediately nicknamed Baby Yoda) at the end of the first episode of “The Mandalorian” on Disney+ last November caught the whole world by surprise, including merchandise and toy licensees like LEGO, who had to scramble to produce products based on the show. First revealed in February, right before Toy Fair in New York, where we got hands on with both LEGO Star Wars The Mandalorian sets, preorders for the 295-piece LEGO BrickHeadz 75317 The Mandalorian & the Child immediately went on back-order from the LEGO Shop (US $19.99 | CAN $24.99 | UK £17.99), but has begun showing up “in the wild” ahead of its August 1st release date.
Read our hands-on review of LEGO Star Wars 75317 The Mandalorian & the Child BrickHeadz
As we continue our reviews of summer 2020 LEGO Star Wars sets, we’re moving on from The Clone Wars and Original Trilogy to the third wave of sets from the final movie in the Skywalker Saga, The Rise of Skywalker. 75284 Knights of Ren Transport Ship includes 595 pieces with three minifigs, and will be available September 1st (US $69.99 | CAN $99.99 | UK £64.99). The set rounds out the full group of Knights of Ren minifigures, but is it more than a cash grab for minifig collectors?
Read our full review of LEGO Star Wars 75284 Knights of Ren Transport Ship
With beloved minifigures and generally excellent vehicle designs in the LEGO Star Wars theme, location-based playsets often get a bad rap by comparison. Back in 2016, I described 75137 Carbon Freezing Chamber as half-formed, oddly over-engineered, ugly, and ultimately baffling — one of the worst LEGO sets I’d reviewed in recent memory. Then in 2018, we argued that the $350 75222 Betrayal at Cloud City doesn’t even live up to LEGO’s own product description, despite some stellar mid-scale vehicles and improved carbon-freezing chamber. Given that history, we were skeptical of 75291 Death Star Final Duel (US $99.99 | CAN $139.99 | UK £89.99), which includes 775 pieces with five minifigs and will be available starting September 1st (with the now-standard caveats about COVID-19 shipping). But has LEGO exceeded our low expectations?
Read our hands-on review of LEGO Star Wars 75291 Death Star Final Duel
Introduced in 1967, the Japan National Railways 583-series of electric multiple units (EMUs) served long-distance travelers for 40 years, with the very last rolling stock finally withdrawn in 2017. Riding in these was nearly as exciting as traveling on the Shinkansen bullet trains, though certainly not as fast. Japanese builder Orient R. Minesky (also on Flickr) has recreated this iconic and historic train in LEGO, in its original dark blue and cream JNR livery, prior to privatization and breakup into regional railways in 1987. Presenting the train photographed on a cement wall from a low angle, with LEGO electric lines against a real-life background, makes it seem like the train is clattering toward you at speed.
See the detailed interior of this LEGO JNR 583-series train