When this set was first announced last October and and made available for pre-order, I instantly sent the link to my wife under the banner ‘Christmas Please’.
The timing was perfect with Vader’s Castle being a hot topic in two comics’ series (I wasn’t collecting them at the time but keep an eye out for Comics reviews in the future).
The Castle has been a source of intrigue since its introduction in ‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’ where Director Krennic had a meeting with the Dark Lord himself and the fact that we were about to get a large set based on it was exciting.
The box itself is impressively large and gives us a good look at the set on the front.
The box contains ten numbered bags, an unnumbered back with large plates, a sheet of stickers and the instruction manual.
Bag 1 gives us Vader himself and the cockpit of his TIE Advanced fighter. The TIE is midi-scale and can fit Vader inside. The window and roof are connected and fold up to close Vader inside. As it is small scale there are no interior details.
Bag 2 completes the vehicle with the wings.
As I said before Vader can sit comfortably in the cockpit whilst at the back his lightsaber can be attached using a 1×1 square clip piece. I am really liking the integration of weapons storage on these newer sets.
Bag 3 is where the real fun begins, giving us the front of the base of the Castle. The pillars look impressive and the transparent orange blocks represent the Mustafar lava river beautifully.
The inside gives us a very ‘Imperial’ look with the stickers representing interior pillars.
Bag 4 is one side of the Castles Base, the rock detail at the front leads to a MSE Droid charging station, a hidden Kyber Crystal and steps leading to the second level.
The interior continues the Imperial hanger vibe with more stickers.
We also get a MSE Droid in this bag. I have affectionately names this one ‘Cheese’ after the one from ‘The Star Wars Show’.
Bag 5 is the other side of the base, again a rock front which leads to a Sith Shrine inside with a hidden lightsaber.
Whilst bags 4 and 5 are essentially the same, the differences in the details, the MSE Droid station and Sith Shrine, help to avoid the feeling of repetitiveness that we often get with large sets.
When put together all three side make a substantial sized and imposing looking base to the Castle.
The interior is a large hanger bay that houses Vader’s TIE Advanced.
Bag 6 give us the second level, the centrepiece is Vader’s Bacta Tank that can house a mini-fig. The other details are an archway that leads to the stairs and a computer terminal. It does feel a bit sparse but when it’s all put together that feeling goes away.
This bag also features the mini-fig highlight of the set, the unsuited Vader. The details of his injuries is magnificent on both sides, the head is the same as a regular Vader head except with closed eyes and some breathing apparatus goes where the base of Vader’s mask goes on the regular mini-fig.
His back is also printed with detail and he has grey legs, one grey arm and a grey hand to simulate his cybernetic limbs.
Vader looks right at home in this room, and knowing there are two Royal Guard mini-figs to come I can’t help but plan how I will have this room displayed.
Bag 7 is the front of the main tower. The red windows look sufficiently creepy. This is made up mostly of plates but it feels quite sturdy.
Bag 8 allows us to attach the front to the base and it is big, I place a mini-fig in front to give an idea of the size. Admit it, it’s impressive.
We also get additions to the interior. Another level which features Vader’s meditation chamber like the one we see in ‘The Empire Strikes Back. There is room inside for a mini-fig to sit comfortably and close the top, which is attached to the inside of the front of the Castle.
Bag 9 gives us the two Imperial Royal Guard mini-figs, one side of the Castle and a platform at the top. On the inside of this part of the build are supports to keep the middle level in place which I found to be a great use of very few pieces and incredibly secure. The top platform is reminiscent of the room where Vader and Krennic met in ‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’ but it’s quite small so a re-enactment of the scene can be done in close quarters.
From the outside it just looks amazing. What else can I say other than how great it looks, and it’s not even finished yet.
Bag 10 brings us to the end of the build and a complete Castle by building the second side of the building.
Our final mini-fig is the Imperial Transport Pilot as seen in the VR game ‘Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire’. Given the blue on the armour I can only assume is a member of Vaders 501st Battalion.
When complete the interior has a dark feel and when lit from behind the red windows make the interior glow red, pretty cool right.
Each level has some great details and the mini-figs all have somewhere to be displayed perfectly.
Its a nice selection of mini-figs, the only one I could loose or change is the Imperial Transport Pilot. A new Director Krennic mini-fig would have been a good choice but it’s nice to see a mini-fig based on a character not from a film or TV show.
All in all I can safely say that after ‘The Force Awakens’ Millennium Falcon set this is my second favourite build of all time. The repetitive nature of most Star Wars sets is here, the two sides of the Castle are obviously very similar but I never felt bored or frustrated by building the same thing over and over again.
The price/piece count is pretty on point for a set of this size, £119.99 for 1060 pieces is pretty standard these days and whilst the price will drop here and there it’s definitely worth the RRP.
Definitely a brilliant set and I’m so pleased that I decided to take my time to build it (a week) and I can’t wait to find somewhere to display it in the ‘office’.
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