Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Featured Reviews
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Ultimate Collector Series: Death Star 10188
LEGO's Product Review

Battle inside the Death Star™!

Recreate the action and adventure of the Star Wars™ movies with the ultimate Death Star playset! This amazingly detailed battle station features an incredible array of minifigure-scale scenes, moving parts, characters and accessories from Episodes IV and VI on its multiple decks, including the Death Star control room, rotating turbolaser turrets, hangar bay with TIE Advanced starfighter, tractor beam controls, Emperor’s throne room, detention block, firing laser cannon, Imperial conference chamber, droid maintenance facility, and the powerful Death Star superlaser…plus much more! Swing across the chasm with Luke and Leia, face danger in the crushing trash compactor, and duel with Darth Vader for the fate of the galaxy!


Statistics
Item Number: 10188
Average rating: 4.8
Ages: 12+
Total Pieces: 3803
Price: $399.99


Intro
Lego Star Wars Club brings to you today a review one of 2008's most classic, sought-after sets of LEGO's Episode IV-VI line of products. This simply amazing set hit stores in the US on June 21, 2008 and the UK a week later. The Death Star set incorporates over 20 minifigures in 11 classic scenes from episodes IV and VI including 6 minifigures found exclusively in this set - the perfect set for timeless reenactments of your favorite scenes in the Star Wars saga. This unparalleled product has been rated an exceptional 4.8 out of 5 on LEGO's website, and a 4.9 by us. Indulge yourself in this one-of-a-kind review of a one-of-a-kind set.

Overview
With its high-quality, multi-dimensional, easy-to-build design, and over 3800 pieces (each piece averaging just under $0.105), the Death Star is a masterpiece for LEGO, and a perfect gift for LEGO fans who dream of a play-set that is unprecedented at this level. It's simply amazing design structure, a large array of rare minifigures including a redesigned R2-D2 and C-3PO, three Luke Skywalkers, and an uncountable number of exceedingly unique parts and play features all make this one of the best products that has ever left the LEGO Star Wars line of production. Every time you look at the Death Star, you'll notice the smaller, more minute details that make this worth your while, such as the garbage room, or the Superlaser controls. With the Death Star, your LEGO collection will really come to life!

Building Experience
The 10188 Death Star set utilizes a few new building techniques for the overall building of the spherical shape, but still follows a straightforward build pattern for the individual room structure. Although a few parts in the various rooms may require a swivel pieces and even the occasional adjustable angler, it is a pretty simple build for most who can follow step by step instructions. Generally, the hardest part about building the Death Star is its structural design frame, and making each room fit together properly in the end. Overall this set is a moderately difficult build and has acquired the difficulty level of ages 12 and up.

Play Features
• 24 minifigures and 11 rooms in total
• Dianoga trash compactor monster and trash compactor
• Darth Vader’s miniature TIE Advanced & hangar bay
• Working detention block and detention block control room
• Emperor's throne room

The best play feature of the Death Star is the entire set itself. Every room and section of this set can be used to recreate classic scenes from LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga, and the original Star Wars movie, such as rescuing Princess Leia with Luke, swing across the chasm, and then drop down into the trash compactor with Han Solo and Chewbaca. The smaller things in the Death Star such as the rotating turbo lasers, superweapon, and the miniature Darth Vader’s TIE all add to the playability of the Death Star making it a simply fabulous play-set.

Key Parts
There are many great individual parts of the Death Star including the superlaser, the R2-Q5 crane, the uncountable number of minifigures, and the mini TIE Fighter, but there really isn’t a best one—without a certain part as the Death Star wouldn’t be the Death Star. For example, if the Dianoga monster weren’t there, the trash compactor room wouldn’t be complete, and if the Control Room weren’t there, the Death Star wouldn’t be operational. Although there are a lot of good parts in the Death Star, they all need one another to amalgamate to form one great thing: the Death Star.

Rooms
• Trash Compactor
• Tractor Beam Generator
• Detention Block
• Imperial Conference Chamber
• Superweapon Firing Room
• Emperor’s Throne Room
• Hangar Bay
• Room w/Assassin Droid
• Droid Maintenance Facility
• Death Star Control Room
• Hidden Side Room with R2-D2 and C-3PO

Each and every of the Death Star’s various rooms is like its own miniature set and presents different yet classic scene from one of the movies, and introduces a few minifigures. In each of the 11 rooms of the Death Star, you can experience more fun and action than with any previous LEGO sets ever before!

Collectibility
The Death Star has tons of parts that are both high in value and extremely collectible. Overall, the most collectible parts of the Death Star is its over 20 minifigures including Emperor Palpatine, Darth Vader, Ben Kenobi, Chewbacca, Han Solo, and Princess Leia all in different forms from different episodes in the Star Wars saga. Also there are even more collectable minifigures such as the extremely rare Death Star Trooper, which is highly sought after and only available in this set, and the upcoming 2009 set, "Endor Base". These minifigures, although a small piece in this extremely large set, has an extremely high value when collected separate or bought together. The minifigures add a lot to the overall collectability of this set, which, even without the minifigures, is already quite collectable for any average collector however expensive it may be. Other great features that make the Death Star even more sought after include various room designs, the superweapon, and the new Darth Vader’s miniature TIE advanced. Overall the 10188 Death Star is one the most collectable LEGO items on the market.

Display
The Death Star has a high-quality, excellent display value. With a priceless design, and a glimpse at a fully operational LEGO Death Star, its display value makes up much of the set’s $400 cost. In each room, a timeless scene is recreated right before your eyes with a simply marvelous display never seen before by LEGO together, and since the Death Star has eleven different rooms, it has almost eleven times the display value of your typical LEGO Star Wars set (though 11 times the cost of your typical LEGO Star Wars set). When all eleven rooms come together to form the Death Star, its display value increases even more! Whether you’re purchasing the Death Star for you child, friend, or even yourself, I highly recommend this product because of its appearance and display value.

Resale
As the 10188 Death Star possesses an innumerable amount great features, qualities, and design traits, its value, mostly stored in its parts and display, is sure to escalate in the coming years as LEGO begins to shut down the production and distribution of the Death Star. As it has an extremely low resale value though while it is still in production, though you can be even more assured that, if you’re in for the profit, its value will definitely increase, soaring up to values 500 plus dollars. As it is a LEGO Star Wars classic set, we recommend keeping the Death Star in your possession for several years, for it is only then that you can start looking at reasonable profits. In general, the Death Star is currently one of the best sets to buy if you’re looking to make a decent profit in the distant future.

Minifigures
Luke Skywalker (Tatooine, new hair), Luke Skywalker (Stormtrooper Disguise), Luke Skywalker (Jedi Master), Han Solo (Brown legs), Han Solo (Stormtrooper Disguise), Princess Leia, Ben Kenobi, Darth Vader (new torso), Chewbacca, R2-D2 (new design), C-3PO (new design), Emperor Palpatine (new face), Grand Moff Tarkin, Assassin Droid, R2-Q5, Stormtrooper (two), Royal Guard (two), Mouse Droid, IT-O, Death Star Droid, Death Star Trooper (two)

The minifigures in this set adds great quality, playability, and display to this set, but the most prominent addition the minifigures bring to the Death Star is the additional value. A few of the best and most rare minifigures of the Death Star are Darth Vader, Emperor Palpatine, Luke Skywalker, Chewbacca, Princess Leia, and Ben Kenobi. The minifigures also add to the playability of the set. For example, you can call a meeting in the Imperial Conference Chamber and invite Darth Vader, Grand Moff Tarkin, and the Emperor, then have Luke, Leia, and Han rush in and save the day. Even the less valuable minifigures such as the Stormtroopers and Droids can be important to the overall playability and resale of the Death Star. Overall, the number of minifigures, and the variety of them are what makes this set so playable, and so great for LEGO investors and collectors.

Pros
• Great playability
• Amazing display value
• Over 20 minifigures

Of the many great things about the 10188 Death Star, the best thing about it is its playability. It includes many features such as 24 minifigures, various rooms and scenes, and valuable parts, all which increase the Death Star’s overall playability. Also, when factoring in the set’s price per piece ratio, awesome display, and design structure, the overall set’s physical value is extremely high relative to many other LEGO sets of its caliber.

Cons
• Slightly difficult build for younger children
• No outer covering for the Death Star
• A sightly expensive price for many average buyers

Though there aren’t many areas for improvement of the Death Star, only a few are noticeable. The first thing about the Death Star is its slightly complicated build pattern and design for younger children. For one, spherical shapes are generally rather a difficult build, and second, every room must fit together perfectly with the other rooms for it to fit together properly. Because of this, the set has been appropriately assigned the difficulty level of 12+. Another thing that LEGO could have improved on was to include some kind of outer covering, that could enclose all of the rooms and make the Death Star look, well, like a Death Star instead of a gigantic play-set (which it is). This would greatly increase the overall interest of it as a display set, and could provide another way for this set to be even more versitile. The last thing that LEGO seems to not take into account when designing such a large scale set such as this is the average buyer price standard. Most buyers will not shoot for such a high price when looking for a gift for someone else or themselves, and upon seeing the price tag, most, if not all will turn away to a cheaper, more affordable product, most cases not LEGO. Though the piece to price ratio is very good, $500 is still $500, and money spent is still money spent. Overall, besides a slightly difficult build pattern, and the price, there are very few downsides to this set.

Concluding Remarks
As this review begins to come to a close, consider all the great parts, the amazing features, the collectibility, the display value, and the resale value, of the Death Star itself. Whether you’re buying it for your child, a friend, or even yourself because of any one of these reasons, the 10188 Death Star is definitely worth it.