Lepin Review – 05039 UCS X-Wing Remake

Lepin Review – 05039 UCS X-Wing Remake

The Lego UCS Xwing was one of the first UCS sets ever made back in 1999 when Lego took possession of the Star Wars license.

I used to have this set way back then, but sold it off about 5 years ago now and presumed I would never see it again as the used price is about $1000.

In the meantime Lego actually re released the Xwing in 2013 with some minor changes to the look, the Lepin 05039 UCS X-wing is based on the 2013 redesign.

The set comes in at 1586 pieces and is a very straight forward build.

Much like their other sets there is no real numbering system to the bags, so sorting becomes a bit of a challenge.


I have found that the best Lepin sets so far are the ones directly based on Lego set, as the instructions are typically 1 to 1 and there is little to no difference, this makes things a lot simpler as the MOC sets leave a lot to be up to interpretation.

The set goes together in a traditional manner, the body is assembled first, then all 4 wings.

The fuselage has some cool designs elements, there is a mechanism that will retract or open the wings by the turn of a dial on the rear of the ship. There is a gear like mechanism concealed in the rear of the ship that does this.

The cockpit itself is well designed as well, with the addition of the tactical HUD that retracts.


The wing design is a little bit flimsy, not by any fault of Lepin, it is just the overall design of making something so long that has very little support.


The only real downside to the Lepin set is the weird sticker design for the cockpit canopy.

Now I am not sure if this is the same for the Lego version, but on the Lepin set there is a thin film like sticker that needs to be applied.

Now the issues is these stickers are a cheap as cheap gets, it is like trying to appli a sticky piece of Seran-wrap, it is very very flimsy and prone to bubbles and picking up finger prints if you touch it in any way.

Additionally you have to actually use scissors to cut them to proper size.

All in all it ended up less than perfect.


The finished model does look nice despite the cockpit glass.

It is a nice addition to the collection and hindsight being 20/20, I would suggest just leaving the glass clear.

A 7 / 10 only due to the shoddy stickers.

Review – Call of Duty: WWII – War never changes much….

Review – Call of Duty: WWII – War never changes much….

So just wrapped up Call of Duty World War II last night.

This is the the 14th Call of Duty game in the pivotal franchise and it is a huge step back to it roots.

When CoD came on the scene back in 2003 it was on of the first WWII FPS games to come on the scene. With 3 other WWII games to follow in coming year, after which the franchise went into a more modern direction.

Call of Duty: WWII is a welcomed game in a sea of modern shooters now, and returning to their roots feels pretty right.

The only downside is, it really brings nothing new to the fray.

Good or bad, CoD has not changed much over the last 14 years. It is a formulaic shooter. Insert crisis, insert rough neck boots on the ground, and insert scripted action scenes. Rinse / repeat.

How well it works is pretty subjective.

I personally love the franchise, even some of the lesser received games like Advance and Infinite Warfare.

No one quite does action set pieces like Call of Duty, you are pulled into the time and space the games transpire, and feel like you are part of the war effort. Making a difference in turning the tide of the entire war, it is all on your shoulders private “your name here”.

The game play in WWII is very good, controls are pretty much exactly what you come to expect with modern console shooters, they are tight and responsive and you never feel like you deaths are due to poor controls.

What WWII does stand out in for the first time in the franchise is some pretty great first person sneaking missions, where you have to take out a pile of guards with silenced weapons as you eke your way to the next objective.

This is quite the challenge on the Veteran difficulty, because failure to remain unseen typically ends in an instant death by swarm of Nazi soldiers.

But other than the couple stealth mission of the 11 missions available, there is really nothing you have not played here before.

There is a fantastic epilogue mission that really drives home the cost of war, and it did serve to make me uncomfortable in the content, which is no small feat.

All in all the game looks and sounds amazing.

If is the first CoD to support 4k / HDR on the XB1X and PS4 Pro.

The visuals were stunning with HDR enabled, light now becomes ultra realistic, as clouds break and the sun comes out it is near blinding. Shooting down enemy planes becomes a real challenge with the sun at their backs.

Sounds design is top notch as well, but does suffer from a small game play flaw. When a squad mate gets clipped and goes down, you can sometimes drag them to safety.

Well the entire time they are down they complain and whine that they need help, and it comes in louder than the bombs and bullets going off in the area.

I only mention it because it did get the the point of distraction.

Here you are in a huge firefight for you life, and Bob is crying out to be helped. “Just a bloody minute, I am trying not to die here!” And to make matter worst, when you are dragging your comrade to safety, you are completely venerable and a bullet magnet.

Every time I did go to save someone (mostly to shut them up) I died in a few seconds. No shocker, if Bob was in the open and got hosed, now I was too with a big red flag and a guy screaming to ensure he draws ALL the attention of the enemy. By the way… Bob is a real dick….

But, when Bob is not crying for help, the audio is top shelf. With DTS:Neo X taking a major advantage of the Atmos channels. Bullets whizzing overhead, bombs dropping, trees and mortar fire exploding all around you, it is a pleasure on the ears.

One thing I did not dive into however was the multiplayer. I have not been big on MP for a long time now, with Destiny 2 being a brief stint in PvP that while enjoyable, is still not my preferred type of gaming.

I play for story and I won’t be getting any of that out of online MP.

Story mode took about 8 hours to play through on Veteran, and in 2 instances I had to drop the difficulty down to Hardened.

There was 2 scenarios that in true CoD style screwed me over on a checkpoint.

One of the flaws in the checkpoint system is that after you complete a certain unforeseen task (like walk past X point in the game, or blow up a tank) the game auto saves. So if you die you respawn at that point.

Well in 2 instances the game did this while I was surrounded by Nazi and die almost immediately upon respawn.

After 45 mins of trying to sprint away in a million different directions I had not choice but to dial things back (effectively screwing up my Vet trophy) just so I could move forward.

At the end of the day, CoD: WWII will not change your impression of FPS games or WWII games, but if you are a fan like I am, of a good scripted shooter, then this is just what the doctor ordered.

A decent 7/10.


Review – Lepin 05083 Star Plan – MOC Nebula Medical Frigate

Review – Lepin 05083 Star Plan – MOC Nebula Medical Frigate

So next up on the Lepin line is the amazing Nebula Medical Frigate from the Star Wars universe.

Seen breifly in Empire and in Return of the Jedi at the Battle of Endor.

Now this is one of the biggest draw about Lepin, not that they make block-offs of regular Lego sets, it is that they make some sets that Lego decided to pass on from Cusoo or just fan MOC of popular ships (like the UCS Republic Cruiser)

So set 05083 was my first, and almost my last MOC purchase.


In all my years building Lego I have come to expect a certain level of quality in a build. Seldom are you left scratching your head as to how the heck something goes together.

Well sadly that is just par for the course when it comes to MOC sets.

As they were not designed by Lego engineers, and just some Lego enthusiast in his basement, quality goes right out the friggen window.

There were multiple times in the build that making connection were just no logical.

Pieces simply could not be put together in the order the instruction stated.

Additionally things can be incredibly flimsy.

The entire center of the ship will snap right off if it was not for the stand, and getting it to stay together while you mount it, well that is almost a 2 person job as well.

So what the is the flip side to all this aggravation?

One of the coolest looking ships in my collection.


Sure it was taxing at times, but all in all it was a fun build when the instructions made sense.

Truth be told there was only about 3-4 times that you have to guess how to make things fit, and to sit back and think through an alternate coupling solution.

Coming in at 1736 pieces and only $70usd, this set seems like a steal.

Shipping was fast and I had it in my hands about 10 days after ordering from AliExpress seller “Lepin Brick Store”

It is available from a lot of others as well, but I have no complaints about them at all. They are fast and responsive to questions.

This build is a hard on to rate, on one hand it is a 6/10 for frustration factor, but as a finished product, it is a 10/10 in my books.

Highly recommended if you are looking for something unique and brick-like from the Star Wars universe.

Sound Review – Dolby Atmos – Sound above all else…

So I recently underwent a rather painful theater upgrade.

When I originally planned out my theater I knew that Dolby Atmos was on the way, but never thought it would be something worthwhile.

I already was running 11.1 sound, and saw no real reason to invest in more speakers for the ceiling.

The are already rather low over my seating area anyway.

Well flash forward 4 years, and with the new addition of the Marantz AV8002a into my mix, I now have the ability.

So as any self respecting theater owner would do, I decided to tear the place apart and retro fit the roof with 4 speakers.

I decided to pick up 4 Polk speakers from Bestbuy on an insane price match deal.

The speakers retail for $399 a pair, but Amazon was blowing out their stock for just $149.99 each. Well with Bestbuy’s amazing price match / beat guarantee, that became just $124 per pair, much to the dismay of the manager I dealt with.

So after a 2 days of pulling wire through a fully dry walled ceiling, and then cutting through fabric panels on the roof for sound dampening, I finally had the little buggers in place and ready to be wowed!

And man o man wowed I was.

Dolby Atmos changes everything.

It is hands down the biggest addition to a home theater since 5.1 channel audio came along.

Through most 4k movies the ceiling comes alive. With Spider-man and Ironman whooshing overhead, to leaves and wind blowing above as Logan runs through a forest.

The discreet channels all work as individual speakers, sending data left and right, as well as front to back and vice versa.

So as planes pass overhead you can clearly hear their location.

On top of this with the addition of DTS:X the Marantz receiver is able to approximate audio for those channels as well in most video games.

Suddenly the Tower in Destiny 2 comes alive as ships fly over and other guardians tromp around on the catwalks above.

The entire back of the theater is now bustling and alive with ambient noise, no matter the presentation.

The only downside here is that sadly the .4 overhead speaker superseded the front height and wide speakers.

So it is truly still a 11.1 setup, or more aptly 7.1.4.

I am still leaving the other speakers in place, as who knows where technology will go in a few years.

But for now, I am more than pleased at the update.

Look forward to how Atmos affects some games in coming reviews.

Review – Rime for PS4 – Prime time for Rime Time!

So I picked up this little gem recently on a big Amazon sale for $15.

It is totally worth that and more.

The premise is not so different from ICO actually.

Boy wakes up, has no clue where he is, dark shadowy monsters are chasing him, mild puzzles and exploration ensue.

The game itself is beautifully done, with a washed out looking world that uses splashes of color to make things really pop.

You will stumble around a beach side area and work your way deeper into the island itself, and slowly through flashbacks and found memories, unravel the fate of this child and why he is here.

There is a constant sense of wonder in Rime, each area is quite different from the next, and you are always being perused by something, so there is a sense of immediacy here as well.

I wont spoil the big reveal, but this game definitely pulls at the heart strings like so many indie games do.

You do have to dig and search for those memories though, so someone on a path to speed run the game is going to miss out on a pile of story elements.

All in all the game is pretty short though, clocking in at about 5 hours, a few more if you explore and track down all the items / memories.

Controls are tight and the puzzles themselves are fun to solve. Nothing Mensa level, but still a few moments will have you scratching your head on what to do or where to go next.

This is a really great game if you are looking to kill a Saturday afternoon.

Recommended and a solid 7/10

Lepin/Lego – R2-D2 05043 / 10225 Block-off Review

Lepin/Lego – R2-D2 05043 / 10225 Block-off Review

So recently Lego release the amazing UCS BB-8 set (review coming soon) and much to my surprise, I come to find out that they also did an R2-D2 a few years ago.

How I missed that is still a mystery as I usually keep a finger on the pulse of Lego, but alas, it did not even appear as a blip on my radar.

So when I went to see if I could get my hands on one, sadly I come to find the typical Million % mark up on discontinued Lego sets.

After hearing about this company called Lepin, I did some research and found that they make all kinds of “Star Plan” sets, primarily all the old discontinued and a few MOC sets for a fraction of the cost of Lego.

So as my first toe in the pool of fake Lego bricks, I decided to snag a R2-D2 and see if it was worth it.

I was extremely skeptical to begin with, as I am not a huge fan of products from China, especially blatant knock-off like Lepin. So I found a cheap online seller through AliExpress (H & H was the company) and figured nothing ventured, nothing gained.

After a rather short wait (about 14 days) my brand new block-off R2-D2 arrived.


All Lepin sets come in original boxes, but 99% of the sellers out there just send the bags from the set and the instruction, to lower the shipping cost, if you search around you can find seller who have the original box too, but I hardly think the added expense is worth it.

Now one of the downsides in a sense is that the Lepin bags are not marked like the Lego counterparts, they are all just plain clear bags, so you are going to have to do a lot more searching for bricks, very much like the old days of Lego.

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Some will love this (like myself) and other will hate this, especially on the bigger sets like the republic Cruiser (review coming soon)

All in all the set was very well constructed, the blocks fit almost exactly as Lego does, you may find the occasional brick that is looser than normal Lego, but this is usually an anomaly.

The colors are near identical as well from what I can tell.

The build itself is 100% identical to the Lego counterpart, pretty sure the instructions are ripped directly from their manual to be honest, and that is fine, let Lego perfect the design.

The R2 unit is very well build, the internal framework is solid, and he even has a cool mechanism to completely hid his middle leg.

Only complaint I have is around his “neck”, the blue flip out components do not sit right in the slots. Now I am not sure if this is a Lepin thing, or just simply an oversight on Lego’s part. But I had to slide a small piece of paper in the slits to make them even.

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That was the only flaw I can recall, and ultimately, he is fine without a tweak, but if you are a little anal retentive like I am, then you may want to add the shim.

The last thing that is different is the sticker you get for the display plate.

As this is a Lepin set, they title they stuff accordingly and instead of the Star Wars label, you are given a sticker with Star Plan on it.


This did not sit well with me as I want these sets to look as if they are real Lego.

So I was able to track down a great company located here:


They are fantastic and able to provide “real” UCS stickers for pretty much any set out there.

Price is reasonable too and I snagged a whole pile from sets I intend to buy later on.


So now with R2-D2 complete I can safely assure you, Lepin is the real deal, they are not some cheap crap you will regret buying, they are the the closest thing you can get to Lego for 1/10th the cost of discontinued sets.

If you are looking to back fill your collection, give them a shot, I promise you won’t be disappointed.

A solid 9/10.



Review – Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood

Review – Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood

Being one of the few remaining MMO’s that are pay to play, FF14 has faced an uphill battle. From fans and critics, they catch a lot of flak for making their adoring fans pay $10+ a month for the pleasure of logging in to the fantasy world of Eorzea.

But never is it so readily apparent where those dollars go, then when you return to a game after a 2 year hiatus.

The last time I logged into FF14 in any serious capacity was back in Summer 2015, after 2 long months of playing the last expansion, Heavensward, and doing all the content it provided, I had my fill of my favorite online world.

I would dip a toe in the pool every couple months for their seasons events, for Christmas, Halloween and other timed events that provide vanity gear for an hour or so of play.

But I had forgone any of the additional story content they added in that time.

So, when I stepped back into Eorzea, I came to find I had a massive amount of content I needed to explore before I could even attempt Stormblood.

Thankfully I had planned for this by starting 1 month prior just in case, and man am I glad I did.

What I had waiting for me was easily 100 hours of content, with major patch 3.1 through 3.5 tons of things were added to the world.

2 whole new raids, one a typical 8 person ran and the other a massive 24 person dungeon raid.

So, I ground like crazy for 4 week and finished just in time for the release of Stormblood.

Day one of Stormblood was rough, really the whole first weekend. We had early access if you pre-order, and really, who is playing this game and not pre-ordering.

So after the first few hours sadly you got roadblocked by an instanced story mission, servers were overloaded and with 50k people all hammering on the same door, we had some major issues.

But by Sunday the congestion had passed for the most part, and we were all well on our way.

In addition to the 100+ hours of story missions and side mission, they added in 2 new jobs to the mix.

The ever popular Samurai and the FF staple Red Mage.

Now my main has been Bard since the begging of FF, and also as Ranger back in the FF11 days, so I had no intention at all of taking either job to level 70. I do have all the other main jobs up to 50 or 60, but really found little to no reason to pursue a new main or alt this late in the game.

Now something that needs to be said here before I go on, is that with the addition of Stormblood, they completely revamped all the existing jobs in the game. Taking away abilities, adding new ones, and adding in a sort of gauge to all jobs as well.

Unfortunately, this took my well loved Bard, and in my eyes really gimped my dps as well as my party helping abilities.

I no longer felt like a DPS / support class and just a arrow slinging monkey that barely scratch the things we were fighting.

So once I hit level 70 with Bard, I decided to fall back and see just what Red Mage was about.

I trotted into the Palace of the Dead to test drive the job, and was instantly in love.

RDM is fun and fast to play, you have to constantly keep an eye on things and keep a magic scale of white and dark in check to deal some devastating damage.

It is the most fun I have had with a job in years now.

So, I continued the main story with my Red Mage and have not looked back.

All in all, Stormblood’s story was a decent fantasy fare, heading a budding group of rebels you take back the lands in which many beloved NPC heroes you have fought alongside with lived before fleeing for their lives many years before.

We saw a completely new city state, very Samurai themed with Asian flavor abound. This is really the only thing I had an issue with, I personally did not find that Kugane fit into the FF world of fantasy. It was far too much like ancient China and not at all like a fantasy realm.

It was vastly different than any other area in FF, but it truly felt out of place in the world Square-Enix have created.

There was a large number of new areas to explore here as well, Kugane was one of the eastern cities, but they also added the entire realm of Ala Migho as well. Time was not exactly evenly split, with the vast majority of the adventure taking place overseas in the far east, you being charged with the job of getting the locals there to rebel against the empire and thus creating a distraction for your goings on in the west.

This set the stage for the whole adventure, meeting new friends and allies and nefarious enemies along the way.

All in all it was a great expansion, if you are in any way a Final Fantasy 14 fan, you likely already own the pack.

It did not add any significant advancements in terms of tech like the last DX10 addition with Heavensward, but it is more of the same great stuff we all come to love in the franchise.

A solid 9/10.

Toy Reviews Incoming – Lego vs Lepin

Toy Reviews Incoming – Lego vs Lepin

So as of late I have been on a real Star Wars Lego kick. When SW: Episode 1 came out way back in 1999 Lego launched their Star Wars line I was all in, I had every set Lego made from 1999 to 2004.

But with space constraints and the overload Lego was going through with new sets, I just had to call it quits with the playsets and stick with just UCS sets as it was getting way to financially demanding.

I then stopped collecting in 2013 completely and actually sold almost my whole UCS collection.

But recently my old obsession came bag like gangbusters.

It all began anew when Lego announced they would be re-releasing, or I should say rebooting the amazing UCS Millennium Falcon. A ship I had sold many moons ago (and regret still to this day) as I was moving and no longer had the space to put it. I fully intend to snag the new one (when Lego finally has stock again)

When the new Falcon was released, and I could not get one from Lego due to supply shortages, I stumbled upon a forum post about something I had never seen before. Chinese Lego knock-offs from a company called Lepin.

Now I was skeptical as hell, China has not been know for making stellar products, especially those knicked from other companies.

So I headed over to AliExpress and checked out what was available and I was blown away. All the ships I had sold, that were now in the thousands to purchase again used, were here in block-off form for 1/10th the cost.

How could this be? How could I get a Lepin replica of my old 10179 USC Falcon for only $175 instead of over $3000.

The more I looked the most I was floored, all my beloved ships were here, for $50 to $200.

Yet still I was skeptical, “This cannot be good quality bricks” I thought. So, in the name of science, I decided to take a small gamble and pick up a couple smaller sets (UCS R2-D2 and a MOC of the Medical Frigate, a set Lego never released) first and if it worked out well, start to snag a pile of old faves.

After about a week wait (which is insanely fast for China to Canada mail) I received my sets.

I was stunned to find the quality was 98% indistinguishable from Lego. Short of a couple brick that were a little loose, these sets were damn near perfect.

Sitting side by side on a shelf you would never know these sets are not the real deal.

I will be posting reviews of all these recent acquisitions (Lepin and true Lego) in the next few week as I have just finished assembling them all.

But I can tell you all this, do not hesitate to buy Lepin to back fill your collection, this stuff is well worth the price they charge, and a very welcome to a life long Lego collectors collection.

So stay tuned!

I’m baaaaack!

So for all my 3 fans, I have to apologize. I have not been posting nearly as much as promised this year. Between life getting in the way, work taking a priority, and my wife having multiple medical procedures, I have not been doing much writing.


That changes now.

You will be seeing piles of new content dropping right away.

With reviews for Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood, Destiny 2, some older Assassin’s Creed Games. Call of Duty: WWII as well as a pile of Lego reviews.

So stay tuned this month as there is lots of good coming.

I Promise!