|Toy Design||The Lego Group|
Review by EVA_Unit_4A
One of Incom Corporation’s most successful designs during the Clone Wars which paved the way for more innovative ships in the future, the Aggressive Reconnaissance model-170 (aka ‘Advanced Recon’) was a multi-purpose craft. The ARC-170 was designed for long-range deep-penetration missions inside enemy lines (typically in pairs), and so had to be able to hold its own long enough to gather crucial data about Separatist maneuvers and supply lines before it jumped back into hyperspace. A dedicated R4-type astromech droid did much of the leg work when it came to storing gathered information, processing ship status and damage control, and plotting hyperspace jumps. The forward hull and nose were packed with both passive and active sensors, and then the rest of the ship built around this. This resulted in a heavier-than-usual design, but it soon developed a reputation for being both difficult to kill and difficult to avoid. Multiple sets of heat sinks allowed its variable shields to retain higher output and resistance than anything of similar size, and their configuration allowed it to attain higher speeds and maneuverability in atmosphere as well. The ARC-170 was also heavily armed, spotting two powerful fixed-forward medium laser cannons on the wingtips, a forward proton torpedo launcher with four rounds, and two synchronized laser cannon turrets in back for cover. Its maneuverability, shielding and armor, firepower, durability, and experienced crews of three Republic Navy clones (pilot, co-pilot/recon officer, and aft gunner) meant that ARC-170s were often tapped for other roles beyond reconnaissance, including escort and bomber. Perhaps the only drawback to this warship was that it was consider slow for its mass and capabilities in space, so it was often vulnerable to dedicated faster Separatist interceptor droid fighters. A minor loss in speed was certainly not considered a drawback most of the time since the ARC-170 was so good at everything else!
ARC-170 starfighters were regularly seen during the Clone Wars and were stationed aboard both capital-class starships and ground bases.
The set rests directly on the ground; there is no landing gear to speak of. There is also no storage space, so Kit Fisto’s lightsaber cannot be placed inside. (Nor can he hold it when seated.)
The three cockpit canopies can open to allow three minifigs to be placed inside. A separate space between the second and third canopies allows an R2 minifig to be inserted as well.
The aft cannons are tied together, and so turn side-to-side freely, but independently ratchet up and down.
The cog wheel underneath in back serves two functions…
Primarily it activates the S[trike]-foil function- raising and lowering the four heat sink wings from the main shield generator wings. A pair of rubber bands is included to keep the wings in place.
Then, when you press forward on the cog, two transparent-green flick-fire bombs will fire in front! Only two bombs are provided.
Jedi Master Kit Fisto
(It is fortunate that someone posted a side-by-side comparison picture on Brickipedia of both the earlier and this version of the ARC-170 Starfighter sets so that I didn’t have to spend the time doing that!)
It’s the direct ancestor to the classic X-wing Fighter from the original trilogy… how could I not get it!? (In fact, some of the S-foil and nose construction techniques are the same between the LEGO sets!) I curse that I missed my chance to get the first version of the ARC-170 Starfighter (#7259) in 2005, and so I vowed if given the chance, I’d get one. (I fail to get more toys that way- waiting for discounts that only appear in the last weeks, or suddenly coming up short with money…) Fortunately even though this set comes from “…The Clone Wars” TV series (which I have not seen yet), it isn’t all that different from the version we see in “Star Wars Episode III- Revenge of the Sith” About the only difference there is that you get the Kit Fisto minifig instead of another generic Clone Pilot. (I care not one way or the other about Jedi Knight Fisto, so that doesn’t bug me.)
I really like how the shaft for the S-foil system also acts as the trigger for the flick-fire bombs. That was clever and something they didn’t do the first time in 2005 (just a pair of round trans-blue bricks that fall out of a trap door)!
The thing that strikes me most about this set is its incredible size- the wingspan is 60 studs (18 ½”) wide! Unfortunately, it uses just a few Technic pegs (as opposed to longer rods that run through the hull for more stability), so the main wings still have a tendency to visibly droop a little. It’s also ironic that the LEGO set has gaps in the larger main wings, yet it’s the smaller ones on the film version that actually have the gaps! I suppose doing it differently would have compromised structural integrity of the smaller wings more in the set.
The one thing I would have thought would be different this time, though, was eliminating the rubber bands from the S-foil action. Without them, the small wings flop about freely, so the bands hold them tight against the S-foil mechanism. I would have thought that a more-advanced worm gear system would be in use by now. Granted, the smaller wings in Attack position looks a little frail at their bases, but using a part that wears out quickly means you won’t have that Attack position for long after assembly… (Attention LEGO: STOP USING RUBBER BANDS SO MUCH IN YOUR LARGER SETS. Quick-release doors and latches are fine, but not larger sections that hold position for long amounts of time.)
I laughed when I saw they added the single headlight on the nose.
The minifigs are appropriately detailed. We get a new LEGO-exclusive R4, revamped versions of two Clone Pilots (one was a character seen in “SW:TCW”), and this is the first release for Kit Fisto, whose head is a single soft-PVC piece. Another thing I have got to pick about is that there’s no storage space for Fisto’s lightsaber; the 2005 release had space for three Clone Trooper blasters behind their seats.
Speaking of new parts, a refined version of the cockpit canopy part is presented here, which gives it a larger gripping space in front than the previous one did. And a new 1x2 slanted tile piece is introduced here as well.
Despite slightly-drooping wings and rubber bands (sorry, I’m biased on the latter), the updated ARC-170 Starfighter set is still very impressive. It has been modernized a little to be clean and refined, and streamlined some bumps that the original 2005 set had. Strongly recommended!
|Posted 23 February, 2011 - 23:58 by EVA_Unit_4A|