For months I stared it in the shop. Living in Raleigh, I’m fortunate enough to have a LEGO Store in the mall. Every time I walked into the shop, the LEGO Death Star set was perched on the shelf, a $400 plastic behemoth just out of reach. Every time I looked at it, I could hear the voice of Wayne Campbell saying, “It will be mine — oh yes, it will be mine.”
And then the day came when it was — almost. I had the money, I paid, but the store stopped carrying it and had to order it for me. In the ten minutes between my first approaching the store clerk and finally placing the order, it went from being immediately available to being on backorder for a week. I was further surprised two days later when an email said the order shipped.
I finally received it on a Tuesday and set to building it right after work. The shipping box had another shipping box in it, and once I broke through the two layers of cardboard, I finally got to the actual set’s box. Opening the box, there were four smaller boxes, all numbered, as well as the instruction book. I have to admit, this is the first LEGO instructions I’ve owned that actually had a spiral binding. It also weighed in at 261 pages.
The mini-figures came first, and there were twenty-four of them to make. What you get with the set from Episode IV are Luke, Han, Leia, Chewbacca, C-3PO, R2-D2, Grand Moff Tarkin, and Darth Vader. You also get a couple exclusive figures in Luke and Han dressed as stormtroopers. There’s also a special treat: the garbage squid from the trash compactor. From Episode VI, you get Emperor Palpatine, two Imperial Guards, and Luke as a Jedi. Lastly, there are a few droids as well: a white IG-88, the interrogation droid, a black 3PO unit, a black R2 unit, and a mouse droid.
Building the Death Star itself took about four days in all, pretty much the free moments I had not in class or working. If I had to guess, it was probably a total of twenty-eight hours. There are about twelve rooms, plus a basement. There are two moving lifts, one central elevator that can move mini-figures between floors, and one that can move cargo from the hold to the hangar bay. In addition to those two rooms, you get the conference room, super laser, super laser control room, the prison block, the trash compactor, a laser gun (with firing missile), the throne room, a droid repair room, and a couple of turbo lasers.
Altogether, it’s about the size of a beach ball and has a prominent place on the dining room table which, in a bachelor pad, hardly gets used for actual dining anyway. I’ll be eating cheaply for the next couple of months, but I feel that this was worth it. It already appears that LEGO is phasing the set out, with stores running out of supplies and the online store listing the set as “hard to find.” Further, in 2011, Star Wars’s license with LEGO is set to expire, and there hasn’t been any mention of renewal. If you can shell out the money and spare the time, it’s worth purchasing and building this set before they run out entirely.
Rating: 5 / 5 Stars