LEGO STAR WARS: T-16 Skyhopper 75081 REVIEW

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LEGO STAR WARS: T-16 Skyhopper 75081 REVIEW
Set number 75081, $40 from Big W at roughly .14 cents a brick.

Items Included:
247 pieces
2 mini figures
1 instruction booklet
3 numbered bags
1 page of stickers

Like always, let’s kick off this review by mentioning the above information. Not everyone cares, but for those that do, it can make a difference. For better image quality, click on the pictures to zoom in.

Skyhopper Pilot and Tusken Raider front view

Skyhopper Pilot and Tusken Raider.

Mini Figures
Although we get two mini figures in this set, LEGO has been so kind as to include a Womp Rat. So, technically that means three mini figures, however for the sake of this review, I’m only counting the Skyhopper Pilot and single Tusken Raider.

Sporting maroon colour pants and body pieces, the pilot has printing on his chest both front and back, resembling racing seat straps. It has some nice shiny silver paint colours that provide a good shine in light. The head piece doesn’t come with a head piece, but has a flight helmet with an open face area. Some decent printing on the helmet overall, and I continue to be impressed with the mould of the helmet itself. LEGO always does a good job. Two different face printings on offer, one sporting a more relaxed face with no guard covering, but spin it around and you get a more traditional pilot face. Serious look with guard over the face. I consider this the default look, especially considering once the helmet there isn’t another hair piece to put on. So little point to have the smiling face on display. To complete the Skyhopper Pilot look, LEGO has given him a mini pistol, or as I like to call it, the peashooter. He can hold it, but as soon as you sit him in the main build, be prepared to store the peashooter away. It doesn’t fit in the cockpit at all.

The second and final mini figure is already one of my favourites this year. The Tusken Raider is here in 2015 in all his glory. With tan coloured pants and torso pieces, LEGO has been kind enough to put printing on the pants and even the torso. I really like that it comes with the belt straps across the front which then wrap round to the back. It is a cool look for the Tusken Raider and look just like he was ripped out of the film (Episode IV). Best part of the mini fig, is not the weapon which you piece together, not thats pretty awesome looking in its own right. Nope, my favourite part has to be the head piece. Seriously click on the images to zoom in, and check out all the minor details put onto it. The head piece is wrapped up and you can see the bandage lines all over. Plus the horns sticking out from the top of the mouth piece which is all expertly moulded.

Simply put, this is probably the best mini figure LEGO has released so far this year. It has a fantastic weapon you piece together, excellent body printing with the belt buckles that are all detailed perfectly, and you top it off with the headpiece that puts a lot of other to shame. My only complaint, is we only got one in this set.

T-16 Skyhopper in all its beauty

T-16 Skyhopper in all its beauty.

Main Build
Sorry, I have to complain about this. Why did LEGO decide to give us a T-16 Skyhopper set when it was only in Episode IV for roughly five seconds of screen time, of which, it was only a model Luke was flying around while in his garage? Because if it only takes a few seconds worth of screen time to land a LEGO build, then I want to see an Outrider starship build. It was in Episode IV and had a large part in Shadows of the Empire.

Now that I’ve got that off my chest, allow me to introduce you to the LEGO, T-16 Skyhopper. 3 bags make up this surprisingly fun build.

When I first laid eyes on this set via the LEGO website, I almost laughed at how bad the design seemed. The T-16 itself has always been a design I’ve never been fond of, but the LEGO set itself, just didn’t help. It looked laughably tall, uneven, and really small for the price. I couldn’t believe the pictures of a mini figure sitting in the cockpit, because there was no way it could fit. So when I decided to pick it up off the store shelf, it wasn’t because I needed to add it to my collection of LEGO sets, it was more out of desperation. I wanted a new LEGO set to build and in turn review and this was available at the time. However as soon as I broke open the box and began building the T-16 set, I noticed something…

Broken up into 3 bags, this is a LEGO build where looks can be deceiving. Trust me. At first glance, it’s nothing special. In truth, it looks like a terrible design with a non-rigid structure just waiting to break apart. But once you begin moving through the bags, you realise how well put together it really is. The body of the T-16 is solid. I’m talking really solid. Resembling a car build more than anything, it’s built with a lot of larger pieces to cover more area. But it locks together thanks to the use of solid bricks. You’ll have the base of the T-16 done by the end of bag 1.

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Cockpit and sides open, with wings up.

 

Moving onto the next bags though, you begin to realise the fin piece is the major component of the set. The fin, that’s what I’m calling it, because frankly, it looks like one. This is where I was really worried at first. The fin seems to be made of bricks just stacked on top of other bricks. Never a bad thing when building a wall, because the roof will eventually hold it in place. But with nothing binding it together, it has to break apart, right? WRONG.

With some clever use of a few LEGO Technic pieces to form the rigid skeleton of the fin, you eventually begin adding standard bricks pieces on to build into the shape. Nothing moves. This is a solid design. Once finished, with a few stickers for added detail, you lock it all in place and then move onto the wings and cockpit doors. Before I move on though, the fin is that strong, I held the finished build in place on a 90 degree angel supporting it only from the tip of the fin. It held. Not a crack. Not a sound. Not even separation between bricks. This thing is built to stay together.

testing the strength of the fin at a 90 degree angle

Testing the strength of the fin at a 90 degree angle.

The wings snap onto clicking hinge pieces, which allows you to hold whatever position you’d prefer they stay in. I’m a little dubious about these wings though, they’re really plain. After all the packed on detail, the wings just seem off. The wings do come with two spring firing missiles underneath, but unlike other sets, these stand out.

Where I’m really in love with this build is when it comes to how the angular form is pulled off. LEGO uses lots of hinge pieces to allow the cockpit doors to open upward. Whats brilliant though are the windows on the front end are also movable allow you to open them separate from the doors. So its your choice how you want the cockpit to open. Aesthetically speaking, the clear windows look fantastic, but practically they don’t work if you intend it to be the only entrance for your mini figures. My fingers couldn’t get in the little opening.

Still it’s a design choice I thank LEGO for making and the smart use of hinges on this set, set it apart from others in its price range. You get a lot of grey piece here, used mainly for the wings and upper half of the ship. In stark contrast, you’re also provided plenty of white bricks most of which are concentrated toward the lower half. Especially the very long laser canon below the belly of the Skyhopper.

Rear view of the T-16, a little bare to be honest

Rear view of the T-16, a little bare to be honest

The rear of the LEGO build is where I’m in two minds. It all just look plain and open. The large white piece with a clear pink brick in the centre is obviously the engine, but it doesn’t blend with the rest of the design and looks to be removed from another set. The whole rear of the Skyhopper has an awkward design I wish had been changed up slightly. Looking at it from the side on, the T-16 begins with an interesting shape, and then just ends abruptly. It is actually kind of boring.

Very detailed

Very detailed

Final Thoughts
I am mostly a fan of what LEGO has managed to do with this set. They have taken a vehicle I had zero interest in and built something I’m now proud enough to leave on display.

Don’t let the cheap look on the box fool you. Because frankly, pictures (not even mine) do this vehicle justice. It has just enough to make it one of the best LEGO Star Wars ships in this price range, ever.

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