New affiliate link and discount!

Hey all,

So the vast majority of sets I do are purchased from Vonado.com and after a few discussions, I am now affiliated with them.

So what does this mean for you dear readers?

Well first and foremost, DISCOUNTS!!!

The new discount code til mid October is – 10newarrival – for 10% off all orders!!!

This is valid through October 15, 2020. And as new codes come up, I will post them here.

I also have an affiliate link, so if you are looking to purchase something, and use my link, you will net me a couple % bonus in credit, and I can use this to get more sets to review for all of you.

So win win right?

You just need to click the link and make a purchase and it will register to my affiliate link. Simple as that.

VONADO

Thanks for all your support!

Coming soon to CCG!

So it has been a few months now since I have posted anything here, but that does not mean I have not been busy.

Been a pile of builds that happen while we were locked down for Covid, as well as some gaming.

Coming up in the next couple weeks we will have the following reviews:

Games
Ori and the Will of the Wisps
Roundgaurd
Vanishing Realms: The Sundering Rift
Nioh 2
Final Fantasy 7 Remake

Builds
CaveGod At-At
Mortesv’s UCS Nebulon-B Medical Frigate
Optimus Prime
Jurassic Park Explorer
Lego A-Wing
Lego Mini A-Wing
Lego Mini Hoth
Lego D-0
Lego Pop-up Book
Horizon: Zero Dawn ThuderJaw
Terminator Bust
Mould King Super Star Destroyer
Marvel Infinity Gauntlet
Friends / Big Bang Theory Modular
Full set of BrickHeadz Transformers

Gear Reviews
Pimax 5k+
Pimax 8k+
Hp Reverb
Intel I9-9900K PC Build
Valve Index Controllers

I also have a few sets on order that will be coming soon for review:

Mad Max War Rig
Star Wars Ghost
Star Wars Razorclaw
Mini At-At Diorama
Mini Empire Death Star Landing

Block MOC Review – 1989 Batmobile

Block MOC Review – 1989 Batmobile

I was never much of a comic book fan as a kid, short of GI Joe and Transformers, I never got into the whole craze.

Growing up I was a huge movie fan though, and when the comic book movies started to hit in the late 80’s, I was the perfect age to get sucked into their wake.

When Batman dropped in 1989 it took the world by storm, and sadly though, the toy market at the time was non-existent when it came to building blocks.

Lego had no official license with anyone, they were still making 100% unique to them sets.

Flash forward into the 2000’s and they finally had some licenses to their name, and we started to see Star Wars enter the market, but there was still a huge hole for the comic fans.

That is until the last few years.

With the popularity of the Marvel movies, Lego jumped right in and got a peice of that lucrative pie.

It also though opened a door for the MOC community to start making more intricate sets around favorite franchises.

Thus enters the 1989 UCS Batmobile.

Coming in at 1740 pieces it is a decent sized set.

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A real plus is the numbered bag, it makes a build SOOOO much faster.

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The details in this set are pretty great, with the small printed parts as a real bonus.

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The set comes together in 3 parts, left wing, right wing and the center bat-pod.

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On one had this is kind of a neat idea, as it adds a little more movie flare to the set, but in reality, it just weakens the design a bit in my eyes.

You can feel when assembled it is not 100% structurally sound, as the side are just clipped in with 2 prongs to hold them.

One of my biggest complaints about the set though is the stickers.

In all my years building MOCs, I have never had a crappy set of decals.

I only ended up applying the small Bat logos, and even though look pretty cheap.

I had to cut them out myself as they were only large unpunched sheet.

All in all it is a nice showpiece set if you are into comic memorabilia.

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If you are Batman fan, you are not likely to find a better recreation of the 1989 Batmoblie, but just know going in there are a couple shortcomings.

A decent 7 / 10, had there been better structural design and stickers, this set could have been 10.

PC Game Review – The Pedestrian

PC Game Review – The Pedestrian

When The Pedestrian debuted with a trailer at E3 2018 I was instantly sold.

The style in this game was unlike anything we have seen before.

I knew immediately that this was a day one buy for me.

Then like most things, I completely forgot about it.

It wasn’t until it came out on Jan 28th, that a game site I go to mentioned its release.

I was shocked, how could this game have flown under the radar for more than 2 years now and suddenly appear out of thin air.

Don’t get me wrong, I love when things like that happen. There is not time to get over hyped, it just comes out and hopefully it is good.

And in this case, it is VERY good.

Now as most of you know I am a puzzle fiend.

I love physical puzzles and puzzle games.

The harder the better as I have a very keen intellect for solving them.

So for a game to stump me is rare, and to be fair, I try to review puzzle games with the reading in mind, because quite frankly, none really challenge me much.

Sadly, Pedestrian is no different.

While it was extremely enjoyable, it was also only a mere 3 hours long, because 98% of the puzzles I just breezed through.

I can easily see though how folks would get stumped.

A lot of the game is designed around thinking 5 steps ahead.

Looking at a whole puzzle, and planning things out from beginning to end in one shot.

This can be a little much for some people.

I have exceptional spacial skills for puzzles like this, so it is no surprise that the were on the easy side.

But do not let that dissuade you from playing The Pedestrian, The Pedestrian is a very clever game set in a style we have not seen before in any game.

You play through the world by traversing from sign to sign, all with the bustling world in the background as a blurred set piece. For it is really not the focus of the game, but it does breath life into the world you are in on a meta scale.

The game primarily consists of fetch puzzles that have you retrieving an item, be it a spool of wire, a key, battery, etc.

You will need to navigate through increasingly complex puzzles until you reach the games amazing climax level.

The majority of the puzzles consist of figuring out how to navigate from sign to sign in a single flowing direction, you like signs together boy allowing you to pass from 1 door to another. The key is however you cannot change the path from door to door once you have walked through it, or else you reset the level and have to start over.

That is until later level, whereby you can “lock” a sign you are in, and make changes.

It is hard to put into words how it works, but it all feels very organic.

The game, while never telling you everything, unfolds in a very logical manner. With each successive add on to how puzzles are solved seeming natural in terms of progression.

However, this is not one of those puzzle games that makes a simple mind feel like a genius, you really do need to think logically and plan ahead to succeed. There is no hand holding, no brute forcing levels, you need to stop, look and put a plan into action.

It is a breath of fresh air in this sea of games that oft tend to be too easy, and really do not let you fail.

That said, you can never really “fail” in The Pedestrian, death has no penalty, and you can reset a level 1000x and there is no punishment for it. Just the satisfaction you will gain by continuing the journey.

While the graphics are nothing next gen, it is still a very beautiful world that they have designed here.

The game always feels fresh in where it takes you, right up to the final puzzle, each area unique, but at the same time familiar.

If you are looking for a fun new platform puzzler, look no further than The Pedestrian, you will be sure to enjoy it.

A fantastic 9/10, near perfect.

Block-off Review – Hogwarts Castle

Block-off Review – Hogwarts Castle

I have been a long time Harry Potter fan, yet one that is blasphemous.

I admit, I have never read the books.

I have always been more of a movie guy myself, so things like Harry Potter had a much broader appeal for me in film.

I feel in love with the story, the sets and costumes.

But most of all, I marveled at the Hogwarts school.

There was just so many cool things in the place and they captured that magic on screen perfectly.

So when Lego announced they were making a micro-figure scale school I was sold instantly.

What I was not sold on however was the price.

What sort of dark magic is this, Lego trying to shill its loyal followers for $500cdn for this set.

Sure I love Harry Potter, but seriously, that is more than half of a mortgage payment.

So in walked Lepin, with they block-off version, faithfully recreating the set, and in turn saving me tons of cash.

The set from Lepin ran me about $200 after conversion.

And it was money well spent.

The set is massive, coming in at over 6700 pieces

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Thankfully Lepin had the good sense to keep a numbered bag system.

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How I sort large sets like this is in spare grocery bags.

I will take usually 3 – 4 numbers and group them into one bag.

The castle had a total of 39 numbered section, so I split that out into 13 bags.

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Now before we get started here, I have to warn you, this set is HUGE, so big I currently do not have a place for it.

I vastly underestimated it, so if you are lacking shelf or flat surface space, you may want to consider skipping this one.

The set starts off humbly, with the dock

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But quickly gains ground (no pun intended)

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The build is divided into 2 parts, the main hall, and the secondary living quarters.

The details in this set are exquisite.

From the amazing stained glass

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To the small cathedral windows.

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From the classrooms

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To the chess sets and magical keyed door

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There is a TON of stickers in this set too, everything from fake windows to the flags of each of the houses

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Lego really paid attention to detail on this one, and Lepin did a masterful job copying it.

The set did however require a fair bit of kragle to make things work.

Primarily on the stained glass, the design is smart, but sadly there is so little to work with and click, that the pieces oft just fell out, so just a small dot of glue really helped.

Another complaint I read online, but didn’t encounter myself was that the main tower can be a real pain to get assembled.

I admit you have to use care in putting the top on, but all in all I didn’t find any struggle here.

On the interior the magical staircase is a nice touch.

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The build took a lot shorter than I would have expected for a 6000+ piece set, but a lot of it was in no small part to the numbered bags.

I clocked in maybe 12 hours max to put it all together, maybe even less. It all went up in a weekend.

The finished product though is a sight to behold.

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Something else to consider with this set as well, if you have the space, there is an amazing full addition coming in the next month or so, adding in another 19000!!!! bricks to it, to form the entire school.

https://lepinworld.com/shop/lepin-movie/moc-30884-hogwart-castle-epic-extension/#main

Though the price is extreme, you are getting close to 20k more bricks, and that is not including the original castle.

Not sure if I can justify the extension as I already don’t have room for the castle itself, but who knows.

All in all this was a fantastic build, one of the best I have ever done, and one of the best block-off sets on the market in my opinion.

A must have for Potter fans (if you have the room, as the set comes in at over 22” high, 27” wide and 16” deep.)

An easy 10/10 absolute perfection.

 

Mega Bloks Review – U.S.S Enterprise NCC-1701

Mega Bloks Review – U.S.S Enterprise NCC-1701

I am one of those weird anomalies in sci-fi.

I am both an avid Star Wars fan, as well as a Trekkie.

I grew up watching Star Trek TOS with my mom every Sunday morning, as she sipped her morning coffee from bed, I would come crawl in and watch the adventures of James T. Kirk and his cohorts.

Making their way through the galaxy to planets unknown, kicking alien ass, and wooing all the humanoid women he could.

When I was a teen, I feel in love with Star Trek all over again with The Next Generation. Following the exploits of Captain Picard and the gang, racing home from school to watch the reruns of my favorite episodes on Fox.

So it is of great surprise that I have dozens of Star Wars sets, but nothing til now of Star Trek.

Truth be told, it is a franchise that has seen a lot of toys and action figures, but up until a year ago had not had a single building toy.

Maybe because it has always come second to Star Wars, due to marketing, or fan base, who knows, it just has never been milked dry as Bantha like Star Wars has.

So it is not small surprise I had to run out and grab the Enterprise as soon as I saw it.

Now the odd thing is, it has been sitting here for almost 2 years now, waiting to be assembled finally.

I never had much room for it, as it is a huge ship, but to show my Star Trek pride, decided it should reside in my office downtown.

Now I have been out of the legitimate set racket for so long, I forgot what it is like to buy a retail version of something.

All my Chinese block-offs come in a super tightly packed box, taped up so tight you almost need a saw to get into them.

So when I opened up the Enterprise it was a real treat.

Full box art:

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And a fancy place for the manual even

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What it did lack however was a numbering system

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As this set clocked in over 3000 pieces, I had not choice but to do a rudimentary sorting job.

Once that was out of the way, I got onto the build which was surprisingly good for Mega Bloks.

My experience in the past has been mixed.

While the finished products tend to look nice, their clutch and build usually sucks.

That is NOT the case here.

The clutch on Mega now is almost too good.

My hands were red and raw by the time I finished.

The core of the ship is very solid, but it has to be, there is a lot of weight it needs to bear.

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The center is all one solid piece, and thankfully it is, as the set is a whopping 16lbs, most of which is contained in the saucer and engines.

The main body design did something I have never seen before, they used a pile of bricks to make a temporary stand for the ship while being assembled, so it would not keep tipping over.

So it is build in very tight and no glue was needed to make things hold.

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The engines sit on top of the solid posts, and are held in by gravity alone. They have slots in them that are well reinforced and show little worry of breaking

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The neck of the ship is designed to slot into the saucer once complete.

This is a clever design and works well to balance the weight of the saucer and keep it all solid. There is very little bend or movement in the ship when assembled.

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There are however a few snags in the design.

Sliding the neck of the saucer through the main base of the ship was horrible.

There is zero room for variance here, so if the bricks are even 1/100 of a mm too out of alignment, it will not slide though. I almost had to put it in a vice to compact it to slide it though

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Once it is in there though, there is zero chance it will be coming out unless completely disassembled.

The second challenge was the saucer.

The vast majority was straight forward, until you reach the command deck.

It is assembled separately, then put on in one chuck at the end.

But again, the uber clutch comes back to bite you in the ass.

You almost need a rubber mallet to hammer it on. By hands were in so much pain by the end of the build from pressing this together.

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And lastly, again we have a slotting issue.

The saucer fits nice and snug on the long neck, which again, offers zero room of error. it slid in about 75% of the way with ease, then once it was getting towards the end, bound down on bricks that were slightly out of alignment.

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This took a good 15 mins of playing with it to make it fit.

BUT Once together, she is a beautiful ship.

Unlike most Lego designs, it looks like a model.

Very little scream it is a building block, with lots of smooth surfaces and fancy finishes.

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The engines even light up when pressed

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If you are a trekkie like I am, you owe it to yourself to check this set out.

The can still be had for about $100 (they were 299 new when they came out), so snap it up before it is gone, because much like Lego, once they are retired the price goes through the roof.

A 10.10 for finished product, and a 7.5 for the actual frustration of the build.

Block-Off Review – Jurassic Park

Block-Off Review – Jurassic Park

As a teen I somehow missed the Jurassic Park boat.

No clue how it happened, just time and circumstances really, never saw it in the theater (and I was an avid movie buff) and only managed to watch it the day before Jurassic Park 2 hit theaters years later.

But from the moment I saw it, I was in love.

I, like most kids I imagine, was a huge fan of dinosaurs as a kid. I loved Land Before Time and just about any other dino-age movies there were.

But sadly over the years, the Jurassic franchise has been hit and miss, with the 2nd movie being a dismal outing compared to the first.

But with the recent resurgence of the franchise with Jurassic World, it is no small surprise Lego took the opportunity to strike and put out a behemoth of a set, capturing the iconic gates and the biggest bad ass dino to every walk the earth, the T-rex.

Unfortunately, even though I love Jurassic Park, I could not justify the $300 before tax price tag here in Canada.

And with the crash and burn of Lepin last year, it seem highly unlikely this set would be cloned.

Then out of the blue, close to Christmas time, the set showed up on all the reputable sites, for just around $100usd.

This made it an instant buy for me.

Coming in at over 3300 pieces, this is one of the larger non-UCS sets our there.

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Thankfully it is numbered.

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Now before we get into this, I wanted to mention that unlike any other set I have seen from Lepin / or their new company King / Queen / Jack, this set has 2 ways to assemble it.

The stock photos show a really crappy looking clone. Notice too how they cleverly disguise the full tail from view, so you cannot see it is missing parts. Cheeky!

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But they also include all the parts to make the set just like Lego, in a seperate step at the end.

It addresses the 2 main flaws, the look of the upper part of the door, and the missing 3 links from the T-Rex tail.

Real gate

HOWEVER

You will need to use the actual Lego instruction from their site, they can be found here for the T-Rex

Lego Official T-Rex Instructions

And here for the Gate

Lego Official Gate Instructions
I highly recommend these instructions as they are superior to the one provided by Jack.

The set starts with the T-Rex build, which is surprisingly good.

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I was a little skeptical of how this would stand on its own, and for the most part it does, you just have to be very careful when moving the legs as the Jack version doe not have a great clutch on the weird leg mechanism.

Can’t speak on if it is better or worse than the Lego variety, but it is not stellar.

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I did not know ahead of time that the tail was different, so when I hit this step I was pissed

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But after a little google-fu I came to find that the parts are actually here and that you can make the missing area with the above mentioned instructions.

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With the dino complete, it was time to move onto the gate.

Now that I knew I need the Lego instruction, I followed theirs exclusively going forward.

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This did however lead to a bit of confusion.

The bag numbers correspond to the Jack version only.

So there are back from the following section that may be needed in the previous section of the Lego guide.

It was not a show stopper, but worth noting, if you are missing some parts, open up the next section, they are likely there.

One wish I have is that Lego would have just committed to making this standard gates.

I get they wanted to make this more of a play-set, and to include some of the memorable parts of the movie in the set, but they are so small it is barely worth putting in, in my opinion

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The majority of us AFOL (adult fans of Lego) are not in this for the play value, and who buys a $300 set for their kids to play with?

So it is one of those odd design decisions we see from Lego time to time, like they will not just commit to making adult Lego, yet they try to make stuff with appeal to those of use with disposable income.

The set is a new 100% clone of the Lego variety with 2 small exceptions.

There is no mini raptor figure, and no broken eggs.

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A little disappointing as both were unique to the set, but this is often the case with the first run, i would not be shocked if in subsequent releases we see Jack include them.

With all that said, it is still an amazing set. The gate is slim enough to fit on a standard shelf too which I really appreciate as well.

It is hard to find beautiful sets that have a 10″ footprint.

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Mini figures on the other hand are hit and miss. Most of the mare good, but Malcolm is a little off, his head color is not matching his body, and his face seems a little zombie like compared to the Lego Variety.

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A solid 9.5/10, only missing a perfect due to Malcolm and the 2 missing parts, but still a must buy for Jurassic Park fans.

Block-Off Review – Classic Mustang

Block-Off Review – Classic Mustang

So when I was purchasing my batch of Lepin Star Wars replacement sets during the collapse of Lepin, I also opted to pick up a Tie Advanced from the same seller.

It was one of the few Lego sets I never owned, and though now may be the time with Lepin going under, I may never have a chance again.

Sadly the AliExpress seller had lied about their inventory.

They claimed everything on the site still listed was in stock and ready for immediate Well after 3 weeks and the set not shipping, and my constant chasing of them, they told me they cannot ship it as their batch was “damaged”.

I call BS here, they likely never had it and were trying to make a quick buck on panic buys.

So when I finally cornered them for a refund, they offered me any other set on the site instead, even if it cost more.

I had my eye on the Mustang for a while, but I have never collected Lego cars before, and while I am a fan of old 70’s muscle cars, I never really thought to get one in a building block variety.

But I am very glad I did.

The set is incredibly well designed and a very great recreation of a iconic piece of Detroit metal.

The set was very easy to assemble as it was properly numbered.

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Build time was only a couple hours max.

The attention to detail is amazing in this set, from the leather bucket seats

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To the unique Mustang tail lights

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From the classic Mustang grill

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To the elegant console

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One of my favorite aspects of this set though is it comes with a full conversion kit to make it either the classic car

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Or the tricked out powerhouse muscle car.

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Complete with jacked up rear suspension.

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Lego truly set the bar for car enthusiast sets with this model.

My hope is maybe we see them make a set annually like this, would love a 1969 Cuda, or a GTO Judge, maybe the classic Dukes of Hazard car. The possibilities are endless.

As for a Lepin set, this was very well made, clutch was perfect, stickers were good, and for the most part color matching was good, only 1 issue was present with the flat roof tiles that are printed.

Not a huge deal breaker, but up close it is noticeable.

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That was the only flaw I could fins in the set.

If you like Detroit metal as much as I do, do yourself a favor and pick this up, you will not be disappointed.

A near perfect 9 / 10

Block-Off Review – UCS B-Wing

Block-Off Review – UCS B-Wing

The last of my replacement sets is the UCS B-Wing.

The original Lego set I have cost me a mint about 3 years ago.

The B-Wing is my 2nd favorite ship in the Star Wars universe, and somehow when it came out in a UCS variety, I missed it completely.

So once it was retired, this $199 set rocketed up to $400 in just over a year out of production.

I sadly had not heard of Lepin at the time, and purchased one from Bricklink I believe, or maybe from Ebay.

The Lego build was great, but in keeping with the theme of removing my Lego ships and swapping them with Block-off, the time was ripe to jump on this.

Sadly due to a camera issue, I lost the first few pics from this review.

The set itself differs from Lego in that the bags are not numbered here. This one is not too surprising as the number system was just being introduce around this time period for Lego, and obviously Lepin was not copying them one to one at this time.

The build is a rather fun set to put together, as it is a very unorthodox ship to start with.

Fun side note, there is a Star Wars Rebels cartoon episode that showcases how the B-Wing came to be built in the first place, look it up if you are interested.

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The set comes together in a pile of different sections. The main center wing, the engine, left and right “stabilizer” wings and the cockpit.

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The original Lego version suffered a bit of a design flaw in the end of the main wing, the massive gun placement was very weakly attached to the set, oddly in the Lepin variety, that is not the case, it is still built the same, but for some reason the clutch is actually better than Lego here and it does not fall off or need kragle to hold it in place.

The cockpit has some cool elements as well, it is meant to spin 360 as the ship would rotate around it. The accomplish this by a cool 2 part design coupled together with tank tracks.

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The ship itself is rather large due to the majority being the massive wing that dominates the build, sitting about 18 inches tall on an angle, it is one of the larger ships available in the UCS fleet.

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All in a ll a fantastic set, fun to build, no missing parts and a beautiful showpiece, what more could you want?

A perfect 10/10 and a 100% clone of the Lego set.

Block-Off Review – UCS Tie Fighter

Block-Off Review – UCS Tie Fighter

So continuing with my collection replacement, I also grabbed a UCS Tie Fighter, and had much more success this time.

The Tie was near identical to the Lego variety, with one exception, there were not numbered bags.

Not a deal breaker as this is not a huge set, but it does add some time to the build for part finding.

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The build takes place in 3 parts, cockpit, left wing, right wing.

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The overall design is excellent, and like the Lego version, is very well assembled.

Clutch is great on this brand, so there was nothing loose throughout.

There was one issue however that is ever present with Lepin and other block-off.

Warping.

On longer part like those used in the wings, they have a slight bow to them.

Now as a single part, this is not a set killer.

But put them all together end to and, and the wings are noticeably bowed.

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Now on my shelf it is near imperceptible, but during the build it sticks out like a sore thumb.

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There was also a weird part alignment I have never experienced before.

The end cap in the stand, the part that slots into the base of the Tie, was molded incorrectly.

The little + in the middle was 45 degrees wrong.

So when slotted into the corresponding technic peg, it would not allow it to line up with the base brick.

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A real strange manufacturing error, and the first I have ever seen.

This was a decent build, rather simplistic in design, but never got boring.

Wing issues aside this is a nice display set.

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A decent 7 / 10 and only so low due to the brick warp issues.