1 December 2014

REVIEW: LEGO Star Wars Advent Calendar 2014

Star doors.

Yay, it's December! Every day this month we will be joyfully tearing open a new door on our advent calendar. But, unlike most, there's no cheap Chinese chocolate in ours, as this year we have the new LEGO Star Wars Advent Calendar to get to grips with. Each day we'll publish a mini review of what is behind the doors, working toward building the whole set by Christmas Eve.

The calendar, which is always tremendously collectable due to the inclusion or rare and Christmas-themed minifigures, costs around £24.

Visit www.lego.com

24th December

Darth Vader-Claus

We made it! With the opening of the final door on the calendar we get a lovely (and exclusive) Darth Vader minifigure dressed up like Father Christmas himself. Look at his outfit, the merry Sith Lord.

This minifigure concludes 2014's Star Wars Advent Calendar from LEGO, and how do we feel it went? Well, apart from a few obvious (and quite frankly dull) inclusions such as the Super Battle Droid and one too many cannons, the likes of the Imperial Shuttle, Luke's Landspeeder and today's unique offering, certainly made up for it.

The Advent Calendar will still be available for a while and it is definitely worth it to get a hold of some rare LEGO Star Wars pieces.


23rd December

A festive fireplace

Today we get another chrimbo-themed model, this time one that doesn't necessarily fit into the Star Wars universe. It's a fireplace, complete with roaring flame and mantel-piece. This one is a bit special in that it comes complete with two lightsabers, nicely stowed over the hearth.

Doughnuts roasting by an open fire...
So at least Luke has a blue lightsaber now, and there's a red one included as well. Who could that be for? Eeeeeek!

22nd December

Christmas Tree Astromech Droid

It wouldn't be a LEGO Advent Calendar without some form of Christmas tree, and this year those creative bods in Denmark have given us a nice twist. Yes, its an Astromech droid (what R2D2 is), resplendent in green and adorned with a conical head and sparkling apex.

As minifigures go, this is pretty unique, least of all because it gives collectors some great droid parts (has there ever been a green droid like this released?). And, of course, we love the festive-themed stuff in this calendar and this is the best so far. Eek! Just two days to go!!!

21st December


Another classic original trilogy vehicle, today we get the Y-Wing Fighter, which first appeared in A New Hope. LEGO have done it rather well here, with lots of very small pieces to get the shape right, including grey lightsaber hilts for engines.

There's a single white stud piece to represent either the astromech droid or gun turret, and the whole thing is constructed mainly out of what we used to call as kids 'the headlight brick'. Anyway, its awesome, and judging at a look at the box front of the advent calendar, it's the final vehicle of the year. Just three more somethings to go! Woo hoo!

20th December

Imperial Shuttle

Emperor Palpatine's favourite ride, the Imperial Shuttle is today's booty. We've seen this vehicle, which first appeared in Return of the Jedi, several times before in miniature scale, but this year's calendar captures it very well.

The wings fold up for landing, the cockpit section swivels, an there's a nice touch at the rear with a transparent blue tile. All in all, great work, and probably our favourite vehicle so far. Not long left now...

19th December

Speeder Bike

Unmistakeably a Speeder Bike from Return of the Jedi, today's treat has been given a little festive twist. Instead of delivering a dangerous Storm Trooper, this bike is delivering presents for good boys and girls. So not you, Luke.

This is a pretty good recreation of the Speeder Bike, which was also one of the first LEGO Star Wars sets back in the late 90s (which we had, and, unfortunately, gave away to some stupid kid. Drat), and although being a miniature version of the vehicle, can still accommodate a minifigue... if in a comical manner.

Still, we really love the Christmas-themed stuff in this calendar as it feels really special and rare. MORE PLEASE MR LEGO MAN.

18th December

General Rieekan

Actors! No matter what role you get in any Sci Fi film, the chances are, that after 30 or so years, you'll be immortalised in LEGO. We know that because today's treat is a minifigure of Rebel General Rieekan, the guy in charge of Echo Base during the Battle of Hoth. And he was on screen for about three minutes.

We like this little chap, and although we had to look up who he was supposed to be (otherwise this post would've been titled 'Man in Brown Clothes'), General Rieekan is a pretty niche and rare figure of the kind we like.

Oh my God... we've just noticed that LEGO minifigures don't have noses. WTF?!?

17th December 

Boob Cannon

Or at least we think it is. Remember the huge ground-to-space cannons the Rebels had on Hoth-themed in The Empire Strikes Back? Well we think this might be one of those, aptly named the "Boob Cannon" in that Family Guy Star Wars spoof.

Whatever it is, it features another of those flick-firing pistols, and just like the previous cannon we got, the ammo is white like snow.  Now at least you have something to shoot back with!

16th December

Snow Speeder Pilot

Yes, we were right. Today's is the little fellow who drives yesterday's Snow Speeder. It might even be Luke himself, as he dabbled with the ol' Snow Speeder didn't he? Either way, its a lovely minifigure which looks a lot like an X-Wing pilot with some subtle colour differences.

Again, he's got a 'miffed off' look to him, which seems to be a reoccurring thing with Star Wars minifigures. Maybe he's seen the teaser trailer for Episode VII and is worried that it looks a bit rubbish.

That ball droid has got a few of us concerned.

15th December

Snow Speeder

Yay, something very Hoth-y. Today we get a cute little Snow Speeder as seen in The Empire Strikes Back. Its done quite well with both forward and backwards facing cockpits and the chunky cannons on either side.

It is a little bit weirdly proportioned and looks more like a fat cartoon version of a Snow Speeder, but getting actual snow-themed vehicle is very welcome as we get closer and closer to the big day. If the pattern of vehicle and minifigure is continuing, I think we all know what we're getting tomorrow.

14th December

Random Thing

Erm, yeah... Well today's treat is definitely something; something that is with no doubt a LEGO something. What exactly it is we don't know, and we thought we were pretty knowledgeable Star Wars fans. Having refused to look it up to discover exactly what this... thing... is supposed to be, we can only assume it's either, like, a radio station thingy they had during the Battle of Hoth, one of the weird 'cast-off' droids from the Jawas in A New Hope (which ties in with the previous two models), or that LEGO had a crap load of these random parts laying around and thought the 14th was as good a day as any to shift 'em. Do let us know.

Whatever it is, it contains petty dull pieces in dull colours (although if you were looking for five beige poles...) so we decided to add it to the worst inclusion so far in this year's calendar, the Super Battle Droid from the 2nd. We told him it was trophy for being handsome. What a dick.

13th December 

Luke Skywalker 

Don't get cocky kid! Yes, as we guessed following yesterday's Landspeeder, here we have a very lovely Luke Skywalker minifigure. He's a bit special this one, as he features printing on his pants to better recreate the kid's look from A New Hope. 

We couldn't help but give him a blue lightsaber that we had laying around, and with it he really does look the part. Once more, and just like the Tie Fighter/Pilot combo, Luke is a nice treat to get alongside his car. 

12th December

Luke's Landspeeder

Half way through and we get an original trilogy vehicle as iconic as George Lucas' beard. Luke's Landspeeder is today's treat, a decidedly un-Hoth vehicle, but one very much welcome into the festive mix none the less.

The final build is actually very good, with a clever use of coloured pieces to create the famous shape of Luke's first car (we wonder if they have a driving test on Tattooine). We were also happy to get this today, as it through several of our minds back to 1999, as the Landspeeder was one of the first ever LEGO Star Wars sets.

So who will arrive tomorrow? Surely the car needs a spotty teenage driver?

11th December

Tie Fighter Pilot

Minifigure! It's always a good day when there's a little man behind your flaps. Ha, aren't jokes great?

Today's treat is the figure that should pilot yesterday's vehicle, a Tie Fighter Pilot. Again,  he's nothing new, but the Tie guys always look really cool with their black uniform and evil looking helmets. Under that helmet there's also a pretty grumpy mug meaning he and the Festive Clone Trooper from last week could have a staring match.

It's nice that we're getting a vehicle one day and the Minifigure pilot the next. Only trouble is, he can't fit inside it.  Maybe that's why he's grumpy.

10th December

Tie Fighter

The first original trilogy vehicle for this year's calendar is the good old (but surprisingly easy to shoot down) Tie Fighter. The various Advent Calendars for Star Wars have seen a few incarnations of this iconic spaceship, but we think that this once is by far the most accurate.

The hexagon shape of the wing-things is well done here, and although the cockpit is a bit blocky, the rounded transparent piece on the front goes a long way to restoring the classic shape. So we really like this, and it's great to have a little ship you can whiz about your head going pew pew!

More like this please LEGO.

9th December

Jedi Starfighter

Another vehicle today, and another drawn the insane world of the prequel era. Here we have (what we assume to be -  correct us if not) a Jedi Starfighter, as seen being flown by Obi-Wan Kenobi in Attack of the Clones.

The same ship, albeit with a slightly different build configuration, was included in last year's calendar, and also a couple of years before that. The colours are a bit different this year though, so if you already have a few of these knocking about, at least it looks as if they are piloted by different Jedi.

Combined with the Vulture Droid from Saturday, this makes a pretty neat play set.

8th December

Snow Trooper

As last week's weapon rack and Festive Clone Trooper went together,  so does yesterday's snowball launcher and this little chap; a Snow Trooper. Not an exclusive but still very welcome and appropriate for this (supposedly) Hoth-themed advent calendar.

We've seen these troopers before, and although the masked helmet and backpack perfectly captures the guys from ESB, once that helmet is on it can't be turned, limiting your posing possibilities. But still, he has a cheeky grin underneath it and is a nice morning treat. Now all he needs is something to shoot at...

7th December

Snowball Gun. Thing

Yes, although today's tiny model build is indeed very Star Wars-y, we're not too sure if it is cannon or not. That is a pun. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha h ah hah ah hahahah  ah!!!!!!!

Anyway, what we have here is a cannon that is definitely scaled to minifigures (there's handles on the rear) that actually fires projectiles. And those projectiles are white and round studs; ergo, its a Snowball Gun! Merry Christmas rebel scum! It's almost as if a fun-filled snowball fight has broken out on Hoth, a bit like the football match played on Christmas Day during World War One. What larks!

Two blasters are used to construct the gun, including one of those new flicky stud launchers seen in a few LEGO Star Wars sets this year. Once we get an appropriate minifigure to fire it I'm sure the party will really start.

So, after a whole week of door-openings... we're not that impressed yet. Two cannons, a rubbish Super Battle Droid and a weapons rack make up the tally thus far. So come on; next week HAS to be better.

6th December

Vulture Droid

Something else from the prequel-era again, despite that Hoth-heavy box cover. Oh well, because we rather like this cheeky little flying robot, often called a Droid Fighter. LEGO have managed to capture the vehicle's likeness in just nine pieces here, which is an impressive feat considering how unique a shape the Vulture Droid is.

And although the instructions don't particularly specify that you can, with a quick twist of a couple of pieces, you can turn the Vulture from flying mode to walking mode, as seen in the films and in The Clone Wars TV show. So yeah, we sort of like this plucky chap a lot. But where's all the Battle of Hoth stuff LEGO?

5th December

Weapons Rack

Ah, weapons racks. Only ever available in the Advent Calendars and always sort of disappointing. However, this one we quite like, not just because of the simple yet effective, design, but because of the included accessories. Remember grumpy festive Clone Trooper from yesterday? Well here's his stuff, as this rack contain two clone blasters and a trooper helmet.

This means that, combined with yesterday's minifigure, you now have a completely outfitted clone with full armour and guns. Which is pretty cool if you're interested in incorporating ol' Cloney into an existing LEGO army you have, as now he won't stand out from the rank and file, Santa hat swaying in the wind. The design of the rack itself is also quite nice, despite being - from what we can so far tell - the model with the least amount of pieces.

So, as making-up-the-numbers sets goes, this isn't too shabby at all.

4th December

Festive Clone Trooper

Yay! Our first proper minifigure of the year, and its a good one! Today we get a Clone Trooper with a festive twist; namely that instead of a helmet you get him in a fetching Santa hat, and in place of a blaster there is a... well, its a mug, innit?

We're not quite sure what is supposed to go in the mug, or why he looks so pissed off, but we love this little chap and he is certainly the best so far. The hat accessory is pretty cool, and we can imagine using it for other Christmassy LEGO scenes, and any form of Clone Trooper is welcome considering LEGO just don't put enough of them into the prequel-era sets (substituting them for the abomination that we received on the 2nd).

Actually, maybe this is a Clone Trooper who has lost his job after Order 66 was carried out. Now he's begging in the streets, cup held out for change, with a sad Santa hat on to make you feel sorry for him. Well he can go hungry... HE MURDERED THE JEDI!

3rd December

Laser Cannon

Today's LEGO treat is a curious collection of pieces that come together to form neither minifigure nor vehicle, but rather a laser cannon. According to our brief glimpse at the box (which we've kept to a minimum to keep the surprises) there is two or three of these things in this year's calendar, and we're not sure if this one in particular is scaled to the minifigs or the mini-vehicle range.

Either way, it's okay. We're assuming it's from the Battle of Hoth, featured in The Empire Strikes Back, and most probably used by the Rebels to repel the Empire. There is a nice use of the legs and the transparent disk base, and once we get some minifigs this will look pretty cool as a display piece.

Can we please have a proper minifig tomorrow, Santa?

2nd December

Super Battle Droid

What started so well with the Separatist Tank and now descended in dull-as-asre boredom. Yes, it's a Super Battle Droid, the worst minifigure LEGO have ever released for their Star Wars range, and the one they drop in to make up the numbers on most sets. If you collect LEGO Star Wars you'll probably have about 5000 of these ugly things in a drawer somewhere, and God are they horrible.

From the fixed legs, to the hollow body, we hate these things and LEGO really do cheat when they stick 'em in expensive sets and call them minifigures. They're not. So here it is; not a special Christmas-themed edition, nor a brand-new mini-vehicle exclusive to this year's advent calendar.

So what we did to rebuild our festive cheer was bend the droid over and stick a Homer Simpson head on it. Look - Homer the Robotic Gorilla! That's a minifigure.

1st December

Separatist Tank

It's a tank! Merry Christmas kids, here's a killer floating cannon driven by robots with squeaky voices. This is actually a pretty good start for this year's calendar and the 14 peices come together to create something obviously tank-like. The finished shape recreates the baddies' vehicle very well, with the lean-back turret and wide chubby front,

It's also nice to see a prequel-era vehicle up front, as from what the box cover image details, this year is decidedly more original trilogy-based. But still, a fun start and a well-designed model.

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