Drawn and coloured in a very 1980s anime style that is reminiscent of the early Marvel Star Wars comic strips or Saturday morning cartoons like Battletech or Battle of the Planets, the show has left many traditional Star Wars fans and collector’s scratching their heads, but the youngest generation of fans have welcomed Resistance with open arms.
Presumably, due to the experimental nature of the show’s animation style and the polemic opinions that some outspoken fans have expressed about this particular period in the Star Wars timeline, licensees were hesitant about investing too much time, effort and money in what could be another Droids. Early reviews of Star Wars Resistance compared it to Filoni’s other animated projects – Clone Wars and Rebels – which were initially poorly received, though quickly grew to be important elements in the off-screen telling of the Star Wars saga. That said, Star Wars Resistance has yet to grow into the toy spinning, timeline filling project that Dave Filoni’s previous passion projects proved to be.
The licensed merchandise that this TV series generated has been very limited so far. Hasbro’s small 3-3/4″ collection does well to capture the look associated with the main characters, but doesn’t touch on any of the vehicles. These were left to LEGO whose development costs were a lot lower owing to the nature of their product. They came out with two ships – a high-speed racer and a specially modified TIE Interceptor.
Before taking a close look at each of these sets, it’s worth a moment of reflection to consider what motivated LEGO to select these two sets. Neither are hero vehicles nor do they encapsulate the colourful nature of the show, they don’t allow for any racing role-play and don’t really fit into the LEGO brand values of imagination, creativity, fun, learning, caring and quality, as well as other vehicles, would have.
One can assume that they were chosen with Disney’s influence as antagonistic vehicles and a greyer palette would better represent the Star Wars brand, than the show’s actual aesthetics, to the core market.
The mix-up in the names of the ships should also be noted. The so-called Black Ace TIE Interceptor is referred to as a heavily modified “Imperial-issue TIE fighter” in starwars.com’s own databank entry for the ship, while the same site also refers to the spacecraft flown by Vonreg as a TIE Interceptor, rather than the simple TIE Fighter that LEGO labels it as.
Flown by Griff Halloran, a cranky ex-Imperial TIE pilot, this extensively refitted TIE-based racer forms part of the Aces Squadron at the Colossus refuelling station.
The set is aptly described on LEGO.com as a “detailed Star Wars starship features an opening cockpit to sit ace pilot Griff Halloran, two spring-loaded shooters on the wingtips and a removable panel at the back to store a spare missile.”
The construction of the set is bang on, and it is hard to imagine any other LEGO Star Wars set that so perfectly mirrors the source material. The skeptic would suggest that the Resistance series was created to generate toy sales so all of its content was designed to be turned into merchandise. Personally I don’t care either way, because the Black Ace TIE Interceptor that LEGO has made solid is so aggressively aerodynamic that it instantly made me think of a pair of shearing scissors – which mean the clouds of Castilon were sheep. Ah, whimsy.
The inclusion of a Poe Dameron minifigure and BB-8 droid LEGO figure alongside Griff Halloran minifig is purely to draw in consumers who are unsure about the set, and including Freya Fenris or Torra Doza – two female characters that are notably absent from the LEGO Star Wars Resistance line-up – would have more suitable. The stylised TIE pilot’s helmet that is included with the Griff Halloran minifgure more than makes up for the unnecessary inclusion of two fringe characters.
Not being up to speed with Star Wars Resistance I had it playing in the background as I built thee two sets. It was a bit perturbing to finish the build just as the Black Ace TIE Interceptor missed a target and plunged into the ocean. (I discovered it was recovered in a later episode.)
Joining Captain Phasma, Captain Cardinal and Commander Pyre as one of the few members of the First Order who have personalised body armour, Major Vonreg’s mission to investigate Resistance activities on the Colossus refuelling station saw him, in his personal TIE Interceptor with its striking red and black colour scheme, engaging Poe Dameron in space combat.
Though the dimensions of TIE Interceptor seen in Star Wars Resistance largely matches – with the exception of the modified rear wings – those in Return of the Jedi, the one designed by LEGO is slightly different with the length of the wings shortened and their height raised. The look isn’t unappealing and differing ratio gives Vonreg’s spacecraft a more bullish and robust look that the waspish movie-based TIE had.
While the spacecraft in the TV series had wing-mounted missiles, LEGO’s redesign is perhaps the best feature of the model, because at the rear of the cockpit is a trigger that can be turned right and left to fire the spring-loaded missiles.
The model also sports a very cool printed top hatch and apparently includes “new-for-April-2019” 4 x 6 left- and right-wing elements. I have to admit that these went un-noticed by me, but if they are part of the stylish red and black markings on either of the wings then they’re doing a stand up job.
Minifig-wise, the set is well represented.
Hardly-the-hero of the Resistance cell on Colossus is Kaz Xiono, with a dual-moulded hair element and a colour scheme that looks like it’s jumped straight out of the colouring book of a kindergardtener – which is perfect considering the palette of the TV show! He is accompanied by a droid figure of Bucket.
Though hardly appearing in the TV series, the General Leia minifig is a nod to those fans and collectors who have been asking for more gender-equal minifig line up. This one comes with a variant brown turtleneck print and a double-sided face print, with one side suggesting she knows what’s up and the other delivering the pouting smile that Carrie Fisher was well known for.
The set’s titular character is a resplendently red minifigure who boasts a brand new, dual-moulded helmet and printed torso and leg elements. Hopefully the expense of creating a special mould for his helmet will pay off. It’s just a shame LEGO wasn’t given license to print an element with a face instead of including the plain black head under his helmet.
More than any other set that LEGO has produced over the two decades that their LEGO Star Wars license has existed, 75240 Major Vonreg’s TIE Fighter makes me miss the old, pre-Disney days when this red and black TIE/Int would have been flown by Baron Soontir Fel. Maybe one day LEGO will get to entertain a Legends line.
One can only assume that should Star Wars Resistance gain momentum then both Hasbro and LEGO will extend their lines – and hopefully include some more exciting vehicles like the Fireball. Until then, if you aren’t quite ready to commit to adding either of these new LEGO sets to your Star Wars collections yet, then consider making your own mini versions thanks to Brick Fanatics, who have scaled down both Black Ace’s TIE Interceptor and Vonreg’s TIE Fighter into palm-sized versions.
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This post originally appeared on Rebelscum.com on the 28th of June, 2019.
Fervent documentarian, effusive AFOL and founding partner, Jeremy manages the daily news content and set reviews.
Having enjoyed playing with LEGO from his earliest years, Jeremy started collecting LEGO Star Wars in 1999 when the theme was first released. He has shared his thoughts and opinions on LEGO via a number of websites – including starwars.com, rebelscum.com and brickset.com – contributed to the LEGO Star Wars: The Visual Dictionary series and served the LEGO Ambassador Network as a Recognised LEGO Fan Media representative.