Review by EVA_Unit_4A
The V-19 Torrent is a single-seat starfighter designed and built by the Republic in the early months of the Clone Wars. Meant to fill in gaps in anti-fighter & anti-vehicle roles, it needed to be both fast and maneuverable. Its two large main wings and vertical stabilizer are filled with strong repulsorlifts, which makes ideal as a V-TOL craft to place in remote bases. Its wings & tail were also designed to fold up vertically above the main body together in order to save space on the hangar deck of Venator-class Star Destroyers, which could carry at least 192 of these. While the two main engines placed directly between the main hull and the wings provide more than enough power, a smaller secondary engine was built into the vertical stabilizer to give it an edge in dogfights in an atmosphere. The V-19 is armed with two wing-mounted laser blasters, and a pair of missile launchers. The V-19 is, what I consider, a pinnacle design in the Lego “Star Wars” line. Very simple to play with, yet providing a good time in building and admiring, and it also remains faithful to the source material. While the V-19 made its on-screen debut in the made-for-TV cartoon miniseries “Clone Wars” (2003-05) just before “Revenge of the Sith” premiered in theaters in 2005, it makes its feature film debut in the all-CGI “Star Wars: The Clone Wars”. One of the largest inspirations for the V-19 comes from the real United States-built F4U Corsair which fought in the skies during World War II. The F4U- a carrier-based heavy Navy fighter- had wings which could be retracted backwards when it was not flying, allowing many more to be packed into the limited space of a carrier than other earlier aircraft, and a trend which would continue into many modern-day designs.
The three large wing surfaces- one actually being a vertical stabilizer- rest suspended above the main chassis. This is, of course, very reminiscent of the [chronologically-]later Theta-class shuttle, and Lambda-class shuttle [aka Imperial Shuttle (Set #7166)]. Each main engine is nothing but circular segments joined together from within, and then mounted to the inner wing surface. I recognize at least one of the largest solid black parts used in there as the engine nacelles seen in recent Lego City-themed jet aircraft [such as the small Airplane Mechanic (#7901) accessory set]. And inside each engine is the longest Technic rod I have ever seen- a white #16! This runs the majority of the length, starting at the intakes on the front. (I don’t know if the #16 rod has appeared before this, but it’s crazy-long! And when assembling it, you have to be sure you don’t put too much pressure on it, lest is snap in half- and I’m pretty sure something shorter would not work in its place!) The exhaust nozzles are both capped off with a single small transparent-blue dish. Beneath each wing hangs a single flick-powered missile launcher. (In the “Clone Wars” miniseries, the missile launchers were located in the space between the fuselage and main engines, but obviously that wouldn’t have been workable here.) When you press on the black tab in back, the short rod pushes forward, and the projectile shoots out depending on how hard you press. Four projectiles can be made, though the set can carry only two at a time; one under each wing in the launcher(s). When in landing mode, the V-19 rests on two landing gear assemblies. Because of how top-heavy the toy is, the landing gear intentionally & noticeably tilt it forward a degree-or-two, which allows it to rest comfortably without tipping over in any direction. (In the miniseries, the V-19 had three small landing pads.) Because of the mechanisms that move everything around, the mid-wing spacing between the fuselage and the main engines are completely exposed. The cockpit canopy can slide open by pulling gently on two small tabs projecting from the nose. This is perhaps the most obvious deviation from the film version of the V-19- the nose is pronged; whereas here, it is flat. Inside the cockpit is just enough room for the Clone Trooper pilot provided. The control panel is the same one used for previous Rebel Alliance spacecraft- notably the X-Wing Fighter (Set #6212).
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If you wish to store the V-19 set, but don’t have the vertical room to spare, the wings and tail can be separated from their rotation joints (though this is not in the instructions, obviously)
Transition to Flight Mode
To operate the mechanism, the heavier tail is used as the lever upon which everything works; the wings and landing gear are tied into it rather than the other way around. To prevent the entire works from unintentionally activating in Landing Mode, a small swiveling catch lever is located at the base of the tail in back- when turned 90° to either side, the tail will not move. (A clever and simple solution!) The tail is leaned backwards to activate the transition mechanism. At the same time that the tail and wings are moving, the landing gear will swing back and upwards closer to the mid-wing section between the fuselage and engines- so you have three parts moving all at the same time!
Because of the weight of the wings & tail, and the ease with which they would suddenly flop downwards, Lego incorporated a safety mechanism to prevent this- two air-compression pistons, located above the landing gear in the mid-wing sections. These forcibly slow the tail from dropping suddenly. Besides, once moved past a certain angle backwards, gravity takes over and pulls the tail downwards the full 180° anyways. This is a safety feature that really only applies to switching into Flight Mode, so even though you’ll still feel the resistance as the tail is pushed back upwards, it won’t fight you nearly as much. Now, if you’re thinking to yourself, “I don’ need no stinkin’ safety feature!”, and you disconnect the pistons so that the tail just drops all on its own, you should think again. The tail really whips around- so much so that when it reaches the end of the line, with enough force the tail will fly straight off! Plus, you have no control over it and/or reaction time, and you may pinch yourself! If you want to hold the tail all the way down, then that’s your choice, but I would strongly recommend that you do not remove the pistons. (Obviously, with enough use, the rubber plungers inside the pistons will eventually wear out, and this feature will become less-and-less reliable.)
(The black stands made of Legos that you see are MOC, and are not included with this set!)
In this form, the V-19- for lack of a better word- blossoms out to unexpected proportions! The wingspan zooms out to 19” (48cm), but this measurement is false in a way... Though the wings are correctly hanging down diagonally, they are actually being pulled down by gravity. The flexibility in the wing joints are just enough that they can bend down like that, but- with the wings disconnected- the joints actually hang on their own directly horizontal. (So, if you were to turn the set upside down, the wings would then hang horizontally because their weight, once more, would be dragging them downwards.) So don’t be deceived- it is because of their weight that the wings hang down like that, not because the joints position them like that! The other thing is that, unlike in Landing Mode, the tail does not lock into place; it just hangs there. The landing gear retract up and backward, but do not disappear from sight entirely like their animated and film counterparts do. In this form, a few new features make themselves more easily apparent- notably the wingtip-mounted laser blasters, and the tail-mounted secondary engine. The latter does not have much substance to it compared to the main engines above it, except for intake and exhaust nozzles- again with a small transparent-blue dish for the glowing exhaust. The air-compression pistons are also easier to see up close, and the cockpit can be accessed easier. One thing that I must stress is that the V-19 cannot possibly support its own weight in Flight Mode- the wings are too flexible, and the main engine nozzles are too fragile with just that one Technic rod in there to hold all those segments together; both could break if too much weight is put on them. And even though the retracted landing gear can still move a little bit, they are not meant to be pushed around, so just leave them alone.
Lego Set #7674 comes with a Clone Trooper pilot (identifiable by the yellow marking on his helmet), and a single blaster rifle (which has appeared in many “Star Wars” sets before). Beneath the helmet is the clone’s real flesh-toned face (though no replacement hair piece is provided). It’s actually kinda creepy how close his face is to the clone’s genetic donor- the intergalactic bounty hunter Jango Fett (actor Temuera Morrison). The helmet is also notable for having all of the colored highlights being printed on, instead of having a black head piece underneath to provide the black visor as has been the tradition up until now.
One new feature must be pointed out here that I have never seen before, and that is the double-printed torso. Since the creation of the modern Lego minifig decades ago, they now always have some kind of printed pattern on their the front of their torso part; leaving the back the original plain coloring of the plastic. I don’t know how widespread this is throughout the Lego System yet, but this Clone Trooper definitely has a printed pattern on his back which recreates the back of the character(s) from the film! Quite a historical achievement for the Lego System, eh?
I don’t get a Lego set unless I look at it and say “Wow” a moment later. I also haven’t seen “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” yet. Yet in both cases, I was immediately drawn to this set upon first glance. It didn’t have a lot of accessories or extra needless minifigs & droids, or a display stand, and really it doesn’t need any of those. Whereas in the past with fighters with large movable sections, you had to do them one at a time, or there might be a lever you had to twist or push to make that feature work. Not here. You just trip the safety catch, and the whole thing deploys all by itself (provided it’s upright, of course). The other thing is that the ship itself- despite its source material!- really looks like it comes from the Star Wars universe, and that to me is equally important. It has those traits of the [future] X-Wing, B-Wing and A-Wing Fighters, but it’s not a Rebel ship either. But then placing the tail underneath the fuselage means that this is a very advanced ship. My only beef comes from how pathetically-weak the missile launchers are (they fall out at the earliest possible conveniences!), and that the main engines are unnerving in how fragile they are despite their outward appearance. I was also a bit disappointed that the wings are pulled down to that angle by gravity rather than shifting via the internal gears to that position. (But I’m sure MOC-ists are already working on the problem...) I was also expecting springs of some kind in those pistons rather than rubber seals that will eventually wear out [knowing how rubber in Lego sets gets beaten up very easily]. Am I disappointed that the nose was solid as opposed to having to prongs? Ch-- I’m not that concerned about authenticity! The sliding canopy was pretty cool too despite it being the only manual feature in the entire set! One piece of advice: when you’re happily flying your V-19 Torrent through the hallways, be careful that you don’t clip a door frame with the wings!
|Posted 13 September, 2008 - 03:03 by EVA_Unit_4A|