IMG_0125I’ve been in the LEGO store Nuremberg on the 2nd of January in the afternoon, looking if the Ultimate Collectors Series model Star Wars Slave I is already available. An employee told me that the “zombies” were waiting at 10 am, and so there are no items left to sell. Well, too bad. But the detective’s office was available, so I got that one instead.

Still, I couldn’t stand it and so I went there again and pre-ordered it (could’ve done it online too, but I like the Lego store‘s atmosphere, always something new and special :)). I had to wait until the end of January, but at least I got one – the online shop says it can be delivered by the end of March currently.

Right on the weekend before going to FOSDEM, I started to unpack this baby. 1996 pieces doesn’t sound much, but when you’ll open the box, you’ll see that it’s a lot of steps to build. There are certain pieces which are just big, but also lots of small-ish ones. One good thing about the new 2015 models: You’ll have one big instructions book referencing the different bags step by step. Previous models had 2, 3 or even 4 instruction booklets which made the “instructions library” a bit chaotic. The UCS models also provide an introduction to the model itself, its background and also an interview with the designer – challenges, ideas, vision. I enjoy reading their story before actually starting the build process every time 🙂

IMG_0129Building the Slave I requires 13 separate build sections with one or two bags on each step. This is solved better than the Creator buildings where you’ll normally need the entire couch for sorting all the pieces. Slave I actually did fit on a small table (better sitting position!). The instructions are split into 115 build steps which took me ~6 hours to build (including some breaks for taking photos and refreshments ;)).

The building process starts with the front base “plate” which is tied together by Technic pieces making it very robust. The round shape is actually done in an interesting way of using orthogonal items to connect to the plate below. Oh well, then something starts what I don’t like about Lego models – stickers. And this models contains many stickers. Although the Lego designers learnt from the past – the stickers are now numbered, similar to what you know from Revell models. The only problem with those stickers – put them into the right place on the round lego bricks surface. Take a break and breath before continuing!

IMG_0137You are actually building both bottom parts in red, and then combining both with more Technic bricks. The good thing is that you’ll see your model evolve step by step which keeps the motivation flowing. At this point there were no repeating build steps (which is one of the most annoying things with Lego models). You’ll also build a detailed bottom with the engines and one good thing to mention – there are transparent bricks for creating an hover effect when the model is standing on the ground 🙂

IMG_0140Build bag 6 introduces a nifty build idea – integrate the frozen Han Solo into the ship, helped with Technic items to actually remove it easily later on when playing. You can even stash the minifigure into the frozen “mask” which is really cool. Another really magnificent idea are the two wings – Slave I is one of the few Star Wars models which has two modes – landing and flying position can be reached by turning the model by 90 degrees. So the wings must be adopted based on how the model is positioned. The designers realized that by making the wings “free flowing” and they always keep the right place, depending how you turn the model. Awesome!

IMG_0149When it comes to building the cockpit, you can even adjust the pilot’s position depending on how the model is put (landing or flying position). Additionally there are some surprising building steps involved with the green bricks where you’ll see the result only in the end. You’ll have to repeat that for both sides, but that’s not really an issue here as the building steps are rather short (10 each). After the cockpit, the “nose” is being built in section 10. There are some interesting building techniques involved as well (find out yourself) which make the model even more robust.

IMG_0168One bad thing – transparent cockpit glass with two stickers on it. But – building the side parts with a mixture of green and gray sounded like building the same parts again. Actually this does not happen – they look the same, but the model uses different coloring on both sides. Also the weapon slots differ – one side with laser cannons, the other one fires a missile.

All in all, the model is pretty heavy but therefore robust. Therefore the stand must be pretty robust as well. It does not look like it, but the black Technic bricks really create one which keeps the model in flying mode. Except for the stickers building the Star Wars Slave I 75060 really was a blast. And it’s really big in minifigure scale compared to the Red Five X-Wing Starfigher 😉