Review: 10212 UCS Imperial Shuttle

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Review: 10212 UCS Imperial Shuttle

Postby superdave » Thu Dec 23, 2010 12:37 pm

Since I first saw early images of this set it's been on my list. The gleaming white hull, the sleekness of the design, and the inclusion of movement features (the wings) all caught my eye. Now that I've finished the build, I feel I can comment on 10212 Imperial Shuttle as one of my new favorite sets.

Although the build is often repetitive (the ship is almost completely symmetrical and the wings are almost identical), this can be mitigated by building the wings in parallel (build both at the same time, reversing the instructions for the opposing wing). This can be challenging, so if you're intimidated by the thought of flipping everything mentally, just build from the books. The greater issue of the build is the tightness of some of the connections in the wings: connecting long Technic beams and stacks of 1x1 bricks with holes to multiple pins and axles is tough because of the number and tight tolerance of the connections. A little muscle, patience, and determination will win the day, though. One tip to remember early in the build: make sure the gears are lined up the way you want them. It will be difficult to adjust them once the main hull is complete and the wings attached.

The parts selection could be a major strength (if you want lots of one color) or a great flaw (if you want variety in color and element). I consider the parts selection to be a strength in this case, including some new and rare parts (white windscreens, 2x2x3 double slopes, 4x3x1 curved wedge bricks, 2x4 tiles, 1x2 "double cheese" slopes, chrome lightsaber hilts, and of course several minifig elements) and lots of more common but highly useful parts (1x4 bricks with studs on side, large gears, 1x1 bricks with hole, 2x4 curved bricks, 1x6x3 full arch bricks). However, due to the color scheme, this is not a set to build under extremely bright light: you may end up snow-blinded by the mass of white pieces.

As for playability, this set is one of the best in that category among UCS models. Generally, UCS models are not sturdy enough to survive a trip down the stairs or off the edge of a table like the cars and trucks (and other vehicles) from other themes. However, the Imperial Shuttle features (as many of you surely know) moving wings, opening cockpit, removable landing gear, and moving laser cannons (the ones on the wings can elevate and depress; the other cannons are fixed). Although it's a monster of a set, it would fit in beautifully with a more traditionally playable minifig-scale Star Wars collection. Full points for playability, especially for a UCS set.

One note about the "wobbly wings": I think they look better in the lowered position and they're definitely less wobbly when gravity is working with you rather than against you. The wobble comes not from flimsy construction (although the upper fin wobbles because of its narrow attachment points within the main hull) but from the tolerances in the gear system that changes their position. The only way to prevent the flop in the gearing system is to keep those gears under consistent load; when the wings are lowered, gravity does this for you. When the wings are raised, any lateral motion plays into the slack in the gears, rocking the wings.

Overall, the Imperial Shuttle has everything a great set needs. It has a high price, but that price fits what you get: a challenging yet not frustrating build, a mound of good parts, and a beautiful finished product. Buy it if you want it- I don't think it's a critical piece for a Lego Star Wars collector- but if you think you do want it, I'm confident you'll enjoy it.

(Cross-posted from Brickset.com)
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