Our first review of the August 2011 wave is the Lego 7964 Republic Frigate. It is the second largest set in the line next to the Lego 7965 Millennium Falcon. It has a relatively solid build and neat little features peppered throughout the set, and the detailing is great – even if some of them are stickers. It has an excellent assortment of minifigures and accessories.
This is a set you can’t simply buy on a whim. The MSRP is $119.99, and nowadays not too many people have that money to spend on a building toy.
It should be noted that a similar set was released in 2007; the Lego 7665 Republic Cruiser. In the Star Wars universe, this ship is basically the original version of the frigate, if you will. The Republic Frigate is a retrofitted cruiser and served in battle, not diplomatic affairs like the cruiser. That set was $89.99, came with 919 pieces and included 5 minifigures. However, that being four years ago, prices aren’t 100% comparable. There’s the rise in oil prices and inflation to consider.
The price is actually fair; it’s in line with the prices Lego put on the January 2011 wave. The Lego 7931 T-6 Jedi Shuttle came in at $59.99 with 589 pieces. The 7964 Republic Frigate comes in at $119.99 with 1,022 pieces. It’s not far off. While the T-6 Jedi Shuttle skimped on pieces here and there by using multiple plates where one whole plate could have been used or by giving the illusion that the set is larger than it actually is with the wings, the Republic Frigate did no such thing. The pieces included are widely varied. It’s not just a bunch of plates like in the T-6 Shuttle. You really feel like you’re getting your money’s worth. As I had mentioned in the T-6 Shuttle review, I believed that it should have been a $50 set because Lego had skimped on the pieces – so while 1,022 pieces isn’t exactly 589 doubled, it doesn’t skimp on pieces like the T-6 Shuttle did – hence, I think that it’s a fair price.
Design and Build
There’s a lot to get through, so let’s start with the build. The building process was quite long, but spaced out well. I built the entire set in about three hours straight through. Of course, for younger builders or those who don’t prefer a build that’s too long, don’t worry – it’s broken down by bag. There are six bags in the set. The first builds the middle frame of the ship with the landing gear. The second builds the long front half of the ship. The third builds the rear. The fourth builds the “rooms” in the middle of the ship on both sides. The fifth builds the three large engines in the back. Lastly, the sixth bag builds the escape pod, which is attached under the cockpit. It’s very easy to come back to if you decide you need to take a break.
For the most part, the set is structurally sound. Some parts that extend away from the body of the ship – like the antennae near the rear of the ship – tend to break off, but that tends to happen with pieces like that. The middle of the ship has some sensitive areas, such as the plates underneath the rooms. That’s to be expected of a large set like this, though. Smaller sets tend to be a bit more condensed and obviously easier to move around. Larger sets are a bit harder to do so with, but Lego put a handle on the set. I must say that I really adore this feature because it makes carrying it that much easier. The only times parts have broken off are when I bumped it into a wall while carrying it or when I didn’t put it down correctly. The feet on the landing gear can sometimes become crooked, especially if you lift them off at an angle. If you do that and leave them that way, the next time you put it down the legs won’t hold and the set will tip off to one side.
Now, on to the design. Looking at images of the ship in the Clone Wars and clips of it from the show, I must say that Lego captured the frigate really well. The ship looks almost exactly like it does in the show, and even though it’s scaled down for playability, it doesn’t lose its character, so to speak. From the outside, it looks spectacular. I’m particularly fond of the engines. As simple as they are, I think that they’re a distinct part of the ship that makes it the Republic frigate. Another defining feature is the front of the ship. The front end is long and narrow, while the escape pod attached underneath it gives the ship this unique look. Then come the little details like the Open Circle Fleet emblems on the sides of the ship and the communication dishes on the front and back of the ship. There’s also neat design they put on the front of the ship; the dark gray on top of the dark red looks great and the pieces make an otherwise flat plate something interesting to look at. Some areas in the middle and rear of the ship look almost as if they’re incomplete or a bit rudimentary – and I like that. Considering how this ship was formerly a cruiser that was re-equipped hastily with weapons, plating and other essential items for battle to help in the war effort, this makes sense. It keeps the ship from looking pristine and in a way, breaks up any monotony that may have been there. When you take a ship that’s predominantly light gray and dark red, something just makes your eye gloss over any details that are there because it all looks the same.
This set has a plethora of nifty features. Starting from the front, we have the cockpit and the escape pod. The cockpit opens up with a hook-and-bar attachment. The movement is smooth and fluid. On top of the cockpit is a turret. The barrels, however, are actually flick fire missiles. It looks great the way it is; to use it as a flick-fire feature is not only a bad choice on Lego’s part, it also doesn’t work very well. With a “missile” that long, flicking it won’t send it very far. I personally dislike flick fire missiles because even for young kids, I see it as a pointless play feature. I dislike it here even more because it doesn’t even work well. The escape pod is held in place surprisingly well with just one standard technic bar, about 5 units long. When you pull the bar out, the escape pod drops down.
The pod itself isn’t anything special, but it’s well-built and can fit up to five minifigures plus accessories. There’s a lot of space in there, which I hadn’t expected. In the middle of the ship, we have a small compartment for bombs and our trusty handle, which is relatively inconspicuous. On the sides are two small rooms; one appears to be a briefing room, featuring a light blue translucent cylinder with a hologram of Darth Sidious printed on. Of all the stickers included in the set, you’d think this one would be a sticker too, but it’s not. A lightsaber rack can also be found there. The other room seems to be a storage room, where the bombs for the frigate are kept along with the clones’ weapons and equipment.
Attached to the top and bottom of these rooms are turrets. These turrets were designed very well. Each individual barrel can move on its own, but that doesn’t detract from the turret’s aesthetic appeal. I’m not sure what it is; sometimes if you have the barrels and the turret positioned just right, it looks splendid. Only the top cannons can rotate, though. The ones on the bottom only move up and down. I don’t think it’s much of an issue, because you wouldn’t get much range of motion anyway with the landing gear in your way. At the rear of the ship, we have a gunner’s cockpit and in front of it, another turret with those silly flick fire missiles posing as barrels, except this one can rotate. The gunner’s cockpit opens just like the front cockpit does, with a hook-and-bar attachment. And those are all the features in this set; they’re all very nice and really add to the value of the set.
The assortment of minifigures is great. Out of the five included, there are four brand new figures – Quinlan Vos, Eeth Koth, Clone Commander Wolffe, and a Wolfpack trooper. The details on each of these figures are superb.
Let’s start with Quinlan Vos. He has a front and back printed torso and a solid hairpiece. Next we have Eeth Koth, who also sports a front and back printed torso and a custom headpiece. Like the Shaak Ti minifigure, this headpiece is also made of a sort of rubbery plastic. It feels cheap, but it gets the job done fairly well. The printing on both of these figures accurately depict Jedi garb – they’re simple, but you can’t help but appreciate the little details, like their belts. There’s nothing new about Yoda; he hasn’t changed since his last release in the 8018 Armored Assault Tank (AAT) released back in 2009.
For all you army builders and clone trooper fans out there, let me tell you that these clones don’t disappoint. While we don’t see the Wolfpack much in the animated series, many fans seem to be crazy about them. Commander Wolffe, fully armored, looks fantastic. On his helmet you can see a wolf’s head painted over the front around the visor. Lego even included the small, inverted red triangle on the top of his helmet. Now that’s what you call detail. There’s nothing special about his commander gear, but his torso and legs are both printed – it isn’t too often that you see leg printing. Lego captured the Wolfpack’s armor design with the jagged sand blue edges on the legs and the sand blue running through the torso and to the arms. Now, when you take off the helmet, you’ll be blown away – at least I was. It is extremely detailed and accurate to the show. When I first heard of this set mid-spring, I didn’t think much about Commander Wolffe because I figured that, aside from his armor, he would look the same as all the other clones. I believed Lego would just give him a standard clone trooper head. Well, I was wrong. Commander Wolffe has more of a gruff appearance because of his combat experience on and off the field. He also had a run-in with Asajj Ventress, who gouged out his right eye with her lightsaber, which left him with a long scar and a robotic eye. Lego covered both of these things wonderfully. They got the eye and the scar just right, and gave Wolffe a partially unshaven look, which makes him appear more battle-hardened and serious when compared to the standard clone.
Aside from the trooper’s head and helmet, he’s basically a copy of Commander Wolffe. The torso and legs are exactly the same, so nothing new there – not that it’s a bad thing. His helmet is similar to Commander Wolffe’s, except the wolf head on his helmet is smaller and placed higher up on the helmet rather than run across the full front half like Wolffe’s.
The set comes with three green lightsabers, a jetpack, a blaster, dual blaster pistols and a set of commander equipment (shoulder pauldron, kama, two helmet-mounted flashlights and two antennae.
Lego has outdone themselves with the lightsabers – they made one little change to the color and now, it looks much closer to the real thing. The green they used before was a bit too pale in my opinion. This darker green seems to pop out, even in poorer lighting conditions, whereas the old green seemed to just blend in. They gave the clones some standard equipment, and for the clone trooper, a jetpack. This is accurate to the show, as the Wolfpack troopers were equipped with them in an episode of Season 3 of the Clone Wars.
All in all, the Lego 7964 Republic Frigate has no major issues that would change your opinion of the set. The price is in line with the sets we’ve seen thus far, but I’d venture to say that this set is a deal. The frigate’s look and feel is captured very well and it is just packed with detail, inside and out. Even though it looks incomplete in some places, the history of the frigate is illustrated well through that, and it’s actually a plus. It has many practical and accurate features like the rotating turrets and the escape pod. The set includes four brand-new minifigures that are very well done, especially Commander Wolffe. All of these figures get an accessory, weapon or both, and that’s always a plus. You’ll most definitely get your money’s worth out of this set – though it may take a while to save up for it. In this reviewer’s opinion, after looking at the other sets in this wave, this is the best one – and I predict it will be the most popular as well. All of the sets in the line except the Lego 7957 Sith Nightspeeder and this frigate are remakes, so to see something new is refreshing. Don’t get me wrong here, remakes can be great – but after enough are released, you get tired of them and start to wonder where the new stuff is. Lego did an outstanding job with this set, and I’m glad to own it. I don’t have many Lego Star Wars sets I can say that about. I definitely recommend this set.
-well thought-out build process; spaced out well
-built-in handle for easy transport
-superbly captures the feel and design of the Republic frigate
-many details peppered throughout the set, inside and out; there’s a lot to look at
-color scheme is prominent, but broken up in some places; gives variety and avoids monotony
-has great play features that work very well and add to the set’s value
-four new minifigures introduced
-the re-colored lightsabers really stand out
-each minifigure is detailed well and accurately; Commander Wolffe in particular is excellent
-plenty of accessories are included
-landing gear can behave awkwardly
-badly designed flick-fire missiles