Lepin Review – UCS Millennium Falcon – 05132

Lepin Review – UCS Millennium Falcon – 05132

So waaaay back in 2013, my wife and I built a new house, a house that was bigger than what we currently had, but somehow had less space for collections and Lego sets.

So in a somewhat boneheaded move, I sold off a pile of my UCS Star Wars stuff, for a hefty profit, but it still was something I was regretting for years.

No more so than with my UCS Millennium Falcon, I miss it it every day since I sold it, and pretty much wrote off getting a new one as there was no way I could or would pay the 3000usd and up to get another one.

So when Lego announced they were rebooting the iconic ship into a 8500 piece behemoth, I was over the moon with glee.

Not only could I get my beloved Falcon back, but a much more refined ship too.

The only hurdle was sadly, the new flagship set from Lego was a major dig at fans, Lego knew just how badly people wanted this ship, as the resale market was through the roof, so they opted to gouge fans for $899cdn for the set this time around, instead of the 499 that the previous Falcon sold for.

Even so I was a desperate man, and 900 is way better than 3000, so I set out on Force Friday in Sept 2017 to purchase one, and low and behold, it sold out before I even woke up that morning.

It was this single event that actually drove me into the arms of Lepin, until that morning, I had never even heard of Lepin. I was looking online at all the angry posts from fans who could not get one, and someone mentioned they can;t wait til Lepin releases it.

To Google I went, to see if I could find out what the heck he meant. Well what I found was a collectors dream, all the old sets I sold, for pennies compared to the Lego used market, and on top of that, the new Falcon was “coming soon” for a mere 213usd at the time.

Flash forward to the release in November and I snatched one up right away.

And this folks, is the the Lepin Millennium Falcon:


Complete with an amazing custom stand I put together from Bricklink and instruction from the MOC community.


The build itself was not so challenging compared to the sorting process, while not nearly as bad as the Republic Cruiser, it was still the largest build I had ever done, trumping the original 2009 UCS Falcon by a couple thousand more pieces.


25LBS of tightly packed bricks!


5lb of which is just manual!


There was around 150 bags, and 15 different groups.



Sorting was made easy by numbering grocery bags and putting all the numbered segments into them, took about an hour and a half to organize, but made things much smoother later on.

The frame on the core of the ship is fairly similar to the original Falcon, it is well designed and meant to hold the massive weight of the set with ease.



One of the main differences this time around though is they made a few areas of the ship we saw in the movie, recreated in meticulous detail.


One of the first hurdles I ran into though was the blue engines on the rear. The tubes used for this section were a bit too long, causing them to bow in an unnatural way. They are also in 2 pieces, so this adds a ugly little seat to the arch, what I had to do was carefully trim of about 1/4 inch to accommodate for this. Still not perfect, but better than it was out of the box.


Now that the core of the ship is finished, you can start to see the immense size of the set.


At over 3 ft long, you best have room to accommodate this beast.



Second hurdle I hit was on the arches around the gun turrets. ON the Lego brand sets, the arch does not have a middle support, the interior of the arch is free of obstruction and therefor the domes glass of the turret fits snugly into the arch.

The Lepin counterpart however put in a small middle piece that stops the dome from fitting and pushes the whole turret assembly open.

To remedy this I took a exacto knife and a dremmel and cut the offending piece out.

This allowed the dome to fit as intended.


The last little hiccup was on the top of each front section of the ship, the beige sections attach with long blac 2x elements, they were suppose to snap into the frame, but for some reason they are a little bowed and short, and would constantly pop back off.

A little glue fixed this right up and kept them laying flat as intended.




The little details on this set are what really set it apart from most Lego sets.


All in all it took me about 20 hours spread over 3 days to put this beat together, but the finished product is well worth it.




Up Close Turret


Aft Section


The amazing custom stand


Can you spot which sets are real and which are block-offs?


And here she lies safe and sound


This was hands down of of my favorite builds of all time. Little sad to see it complete as it means I will likely never get to build it again.

But for anyone looking to save themselves $600, be sure to check out the amazing Lepin version, it is definitely worth the price of admission and a whole lot more.

A very solid 10/10 and a must by for any Star Wars Lego fan.

Xbox Review – Halo Wars 1/2 and DLC

Xbox Review – Halo Wars 1/2 and DLC

So since this is my first Halo review, you folks may not know that I am one of the biggest Halo fans in the world.

I have played all the games through on Legendary multiple times, have read every book, watched every film and even listened to the entire Truth podcast series.

So needless to say, and am a bit of a fanboy, so chances of finding a biased opinion here is pretty slim.

I grabbed the ultimate edition of the game last year, and sadly did not find time to dive in until now.

One of the main upsell to the Ultimate version was you got the original Halo Wars that they remastered included, so it was sort of a 2 for 1, plus the season pass.

The original game was something special when it launched 9 years ago in 2009, it was the first non-fps game we got for Halo, and while it was commercially panned back then, it was a damn fine deviation in my opinion.

The story takes place in the first 5 years of the covenant war, a while after we lost Harvest to the hinge heads.

Admiral Cutter is sent to help take it back from the covies, and in doing so goes on a wild goose chase across the galaxy in search of a kidnapped scientist and a massive Foreunner installation.

What really stood out in the story is that we got to go back to a very early point in the war, see where things began and get a sense of what the covenant were like and where the old hatreds came from.

Sadly the game ends on a bit of a “to be continued” with the crew of the Spirit of Fire going into cryo-sleep for the long ride home (as they lost their slipspace drive).

Little did we know at  the time there would be a second game, especially since HW1 did not do very well in sales.

So when the news came in via E3 that the sequel was planned, it was a good day for us Halo fan.

The second game pics up 28 years later, with the crew of the Spirit of Fire waking up to a shock, the covenant war is over, and they are sitting in front of the Ark, a Forerunner seed vessel that was the stage of Halo 2 and 3.

I wont get into spoiling the story here, but it goes in some very interesting direction, right up to yet another cliff hanger ending that has direct ties to Halo 5.

What also adds a little intrigue to this story is that there is a pseudo tie in novel called Smoke and Shadow. This is the story of a girl in search of any information about her father (Forge) who was presumed dead after the Spirit of Fire disappeared in the timeline of Halo Wars 1.

So there is a lot of media to consume for a game that is essentially a B-list title from Microsoft.

As for the game itself, it was very enjoyable, where Halo Wars 1 was a nice RTS for the time, you can see where Halo Wars 2 expands on the new gaming advancements made in the last 8 years.

With missions that are 100% tower defense, to small commando like squad missions that really keep you on edge as you have very few troops to use and keep alive.

The visuals also got a HUGE bump, with an extra layer of zoom it is like watching a mini Halo play set, it is just unfortunate this game never had VR support added on PC, that would have been incredible.

The missions span all kinda of environments, from arid dessert climate to old but shiny forerunner installations.

This is one of the few games too that supports 4k/UHD on the XB1X. So the presentation is brilliant. Colors pop and the subtle shadows really jump from the screen on a properly calibrated display.

The sound in the game was typical fare, but did get a bit annoying, when moving troops, every click illicits a “going” “moving out” “yes sir” “on our way”, not terrible, but after hearing it for the 100th time in a single chapter, it gets a little grating.

Both of these game sadly are not very long, each clocking in around the 6 hr mark only, and very little time added for the DLC.

Now the DLC is where my problem lies. Season passes are meant to include everything that is put out in DLC for a game, that is the whole point. Pay the extra 20-30 upfront, not knowing what you will necessarily get, and it is cheaper than buying them one at a time.

But the real issue here is that MS or the dev really screwed their fans with the release of the final DLC, Awakening the Nightmare. They opted to sell this outside of the season pass, and gouge fans for a whopping $30 for a 2-3 hour campaign.

Sure it had a lot of spit and polish, even including full CG cutscenes, but I certainly do not feel that the few commanders (used in MP play) and the 2 mission Operation Spearbreaker constituted the original $25 extra for a seasonpass…

So it was a real slap in the face to Halo Wars supporters.

In the day and age of trying to milk people with loot boxes, this practice is sadly jsut as bad, but oft overlooked by reviewers.

But not me, I felt ripped off.

Sure the story was interesting, and playing as the Banished (the covenant baddies) was cool as you got to use units that we only killed up until now. But it still does not justify the double dip on price.

And in the grand scheme of things, the story was kind of throw away. It revolves around 2 Brutes sent to the wreckage of High Charity to find supplies and riches and they accidentally release the flood plague.

The main antagonist in HW2 was Atriox from the comic series, so it would have been nice if we saw more of him, but alas they went in a different direction with 2 character we never heard of before.

So after a quick 2-3 hours, the plot remains the same, Atriox is still alive and well and plotting his revenge.

All in all the entire story of HW1 and 2 plus the DLC makes a nice tight narrative and leaves us wanting more, when or if we will get more is yet to be seen as there have been no announcements thus far of  Halo Wars 3.

As a whole a solid 8/10, but individually, Halo Wars 1 – 7/10, Halo Wars 2 9/10 and the DLC sadly a 6/10.








Lego Review – Ideas Ship in a Bottle – 21313

Lego Review – Ideas Ship in a Bottle – 21313

So Lego Ideas is both one of the best and worst concepts Lego has ever come up with.

On one hand, ambitious MOC designers have a chance at glory, to submit they idea and design to Lego and get it made into a full set, complete with royalties from the sales.

On the other hands, sets that do not make it, remain forever property of Lego, and should they take some concepts you have presented and work them into a similar model, you get squat.

On top of that, once a design is rejected (Lego only picks 1 out a finalist lineup of 10), the sets will never be available for re-submission. So it is forever lost in the Lego vault.

They have also put new restrictions in place for submission of existing licenses, so that means no Star Wars ships, Marvel ideas, etc. All Licenses are off limits, no matter how good an idea you have.

Now on an upside, a lot of those failures show up on the Chinese block-off market. But, this is usually still of no use to the original creator, as they may make $20-$50 selling their instructions for the set, but never see a dime in royalties.

But, when all goes right, and the stars align, what you often get from Lego Ideas is some non-traditional sets that are really cool.

Case in point, the new Lego Ideas Ship in a Bottle:


Coming in at a meager 962 elements (280 of which are 1×1 blue water bricks) this set feels rather small for the $99cdn price tag.


With just 4 numbered segments and a few clear elements.


The boat itself is rather tiny, but it has to be as it fits in a rather small bottle.


The bottle design itself is a mixed bag.

On one hand, it is a really slick idea, and even has a built in base to hold the ship in place (something the original submission lacked)


On the other hand, there is just so many line to obscure the ship itself.

The fit is also very snug. Now I understand you do not need tons of space here, but the top crows nest actually presses against the clear bottle, so at least 1/2 inch of clearance would have been a nice thought.


What really shines though is the front 1/3 of the bottle. Made up of 4 large windows, it give you an idea of what could have been if Lego chose to make the bottom 2/3 a little better.

The cork along with the small seal with the creators initials on it is a real nice touch as well.


The stand (sorry for my bad focus skills, still learning to use the new camera) is really well designed.

With 2 globes, and a full compass (non working) that sits under the bottle is a real nice little detail.


As a finished model it is still one of the coolest sets I own right now.


I have been a Lego ship enthusiast for a decade now, and managed to collect almost all the old ships dating back to the pirates line in the 90’s

And this is one of my favorite looking sets of all the ships out there.

The unique design and finished model outweigh any of the gripes I had. Sure the bottle could have been better designed, but it was a good first attempt, and who knows, maybe this could spark a ship in a bottle line for Lego long term. One could hope at least.

A solid 8/10 and a must buy for any Lego ship fans like myself.





Lego Review – UCS Hulk Buster – 76105

Lego Review – UCS Hulk Buster – 76105

So it has been a while now since I put together some actual Lego. With my find of Lepin, it is pretty rare that I have been paying Lego prices.

Sadly I think Lepin is starting to see there is more money to be made, as some of their new block-offs are getting more expensive, the new Lego Ideas Ship in a Bottle for instance is just $20 less than the Lego version, so I see very little point in buying a fake when for $20 more I have the real deal and a lot more resale value down the line.

Anyway, I digress.

So on March 2nd Lego just unleashed their new Marvel superhero set to coincide with the upcoming release of the new Avengers movie.

And in doing so created a pretty slick new UCS set for the Hulkbuster from Age of Ultron.

The set retails for $119cdn and clocks in at 1363 pieces.


This is a rather small build for a UCS, and has only 9 numbered bag and a 10th with the plat for the display and a couple other large bricks.


The main body comes with a light block in the back that can be pressed to illuminate the core of the unit.



The set goes together in 6 pieces, torso, head + shoulders, arms and legs and looks pretty great fully assembled.


One of my only gripes is the choice to use blue + connectors for the shoulder pads. I know this piece comes in red, so it seems like an odd choice from Lego to go with a bright blue brick that really stand out on a gold and red model


As a fancy display they have included a mobile platform with arms to “assemble” the suit. This is very similar to a rejected Ideas design for Tony Stark’s lab a while back. A set that eventually got produced as a Block-off from another Chinese developer.

The model does come with a second hand, in case you want a more traditional robot look instead of his laser palm one.


The full display is about 14″ high when it is on the platform.


All in all this was a very simple UCS build, there are a few stickers to apply to the shoulders and legs, but all told this set took me about 1.5 hrs to assemble.

If you are as big a fan as I am of Iron Man, then you owe it to yourself to pick this one up. It is definitely one of the better Marvel sets available to date.

A solid 8/10


New Lego reviews coming (With much better pics!!!)

So just got home from vacation in Jamaica and a couple of brand new Lego sets arrived while I was away.

Reviews will be incoming in the next week for the new UCS Hulkbuster and the very cool Lego Ideas ship in a bottle.

You can also expect some amazing new pics as I have just grabbed a new camera, so say goodby to lousy cell phone pics and say hello to some professional class images from my new Nikon D5600.

I may be doing a mini review on the camera as well as it is very high tech, lots of cool new features in DSLR.

Hoping to put the sets together this weekend, so tune in early next week.

PS4 Game Review – Wolfenstien 2 – beware the German werewolf!

PS4 Game Review – Wolfenstien 2 – beware the German werewolf!

When Wofly 1 came on the scene a few years back it took the FPS genre by surprise.

None of us asked for a new reboot to the franchise, nor did we really want one.

But the presentation was so great, the game was fun, and deep, and went really far in terms of advancing the genre.

So when they announced Wolfenstien 2 at the last Quakecon, I was pretty pleased and looked forward to another trip with Billy Blazkowicz.

Sadly the execution this time was a real mixed bag, or more accurately, the story.

I have a pretty good imagination, and my suspension of disbelief is pretty broad, if you set the stage for me, and make it within reason in the confines of the game world you have created, I am in hook like and sinker.

Need me to believe I am humanities last hope, tell me why and I am likely to agree.

But Wolfenstien 2 does something so balls to the wall stupid about 60% of the way through, that I completely lost interest in the game and the story.

It was so out there that even the most seasoned sci-fi fan would think BULLSHIT! And that is exactly how I felt.

It was a useless plot point, and did nothing but ruin the narrative from then on, and ultimately in any new games down the road.

Beside said story event, the game was solid, the game play was slick, the weapons varied and felt right, and the story was pretty heartfelt and emotional.

It is just a crying shame that one little thing could ruin the whole game.

Technically it is sound, no glitches to speak of, and it looks brilliant on the PS4 Pro, offering silky smooth game play in 4k.

Sound was on par with your average modern day shooter, nothing stood out, but there was also nothing wrong.

Over all a fun game to play, but ultimately severely marred by poor story direction in the second half of the game.

If you enjoyed the first, there is more of the same here to be had, and if you can forgive the missteps, it is a decent game.

A solid 8/10 overall, with a story of 5/10 (you’ll know why when you get there)

PS4 Game Review – The Surge – an overdue jolt in a stale genre

PS4 Game Review – The Surge – an overdue jolt in a stale genre

Now I am not your average gamer, not because I play so many games a year, but because I am a bit of a masochist when it comes to playing games. I love my games hard, like old school 80’s Battletoads hard.

So when Demon Souls broke onto the scene in 2009, it forever changed the landscape of modern day torture games.

It was hard in a way we had not seen since Ninja Gaiden, and it was unforgiving in all aspects.

This started a whole new genre of games that we now refer to as Souls-like, from Dark Souls, to Bloodborne to Nioh, and now The Surge. They all clamor to be the most perilous of games in a attempt to get gamers of the world over to buy new controllers, as they have thrown theirs across the room after their 3000th death.

The Surge sets forth to somewhat streamline the whole genre a bit and in some ways this is good and others bad.

What it offers is very much like all other Souls’like games, if you die with a pile of “tech” on you, you need to make it back to your body to collect you “souls” and if you die in the process, they are lost forever.

One thing they do that is new to the genre, is place a time on this, which adds a real pressure to the mix, you could run like hell in hopes of making it to your body, but with each kill you get on the way, you add more time to the forever present countdown.

This keeps you constantly on edge, the combat is tough, and each encounter could mean certain death, but those extra 15 seconds could mean you save that pile of tech you need to level up.

This new timed balance comes at a cost though, unlike the Souls games, there is no online component at all, no one invading you game to hand you your ass, or no saviors to help you out.

Another strong move in the right direction is the equipment progression and acquisition.

You do not just find weapons and armor, instead all of it comes from felled enemies, BUT, the catch is you have to cut off the stuff you want. So if you find a new enemy, chances are they are sporting a new armor type, you need to target their head for a drop of a helmet schematic, or arms, body and leg armor.

Additionally the weapons work the same way, facing off against an enemy with a staff, cut off their dominant arm for a chance to get that staff blueprint for yourself.

Once you have the schematics in hand, when you are in your med bay (re: campfire) then you can use your tech to do a few things, update you base level, or spend that tech on making and upgrading your equipment.

There are 5 levels to each armor set and weapon set, and they take more and more to upgrade, not just in base tech, but also in collected machine parts, so you will need X number of lenses to update the helmet optics, etc.

On top off all of this, you also have mods that can be added to your suit, that will range in their abilities.

From being able to heal yourself (a must by the way) to reducing damage, or boosting damage of certain types and elements.

These mods open skills, so when you hit the L1 button you will activate that skill, be it healing or whatnot.

These mod slots come at a premium though, they use up your core power. Every time you level up, your core power increased, so a basic healing mod may cost 1 power point (PP) but an advance heal, or regen may cost you 5pp. So it is all about balance, and the game ensures you never get overpowered this way.

You can pick and choose what mods to use when in a med bay, so properly gearing up for each boss fight is a must, it is imperative to your success. Running in without proper mods is a recipe for certain death.

So the game does a lot to turn this old stale genre on it head, but there area few issues unfortunately.

One major difference is there is zero online aspect to The Surge, no “invading” of world, or conversely, helping others in need, like all the other Souls games do. This makes for a rather lonely trek and also offers no reprieve from the difficulty, where in Bloodborne, or Nioh, you could call forth to other players to help you win a particularly hard fight, The Surge is all just you against the machine.

Now this is a mixed bag, in terms of personal accomplishment, this is pretty cool. There is no one to help hold your hand, but on the other hand, after dying to a particular boss for the 100th time, it would be nice to have someone save your bacon and draw a little fire.

Another thing that make stand out for folks is the setting, thus far all the other Souls games have had a very old / gothic feel to them, The Surge is pure sci-fi all the way, a post apocalyptic earth sets the stage. While I found this to be a nice breath of fresh air, I can see how others may not enjoy it.

Lastly there is the visuals, this game looks incredible, when played on the PS4 Pro you get the addition of 4k/hdr, which dramatically improves the ambient lighting and increases the color pallet.

The finest of details in the machine you fight stand out and almost feels alive.

Definitely one of the bstter looking HDR presentations on the PS4 to date.

All in all it was a solid game, and a welcome addition to the genre.

On a side note, it was just announced that the developer has The Surge 2 in the works set to release in 2019, with the story ending off where it did, this will be a welcomed sequel.

A solid 9/10 and a high recommendation for those who love Dark Souls and are looking for something a little different.