Hovertank Custom

It’s the holiday season and that can only mean two things; overtime at work and stress shopping when the Toys R Us coupons come. Surely it doesn’t mean only those two things, but this does happen every year. So I bought a double of the new Imperial Hovertank and added a custom weapon to it!

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Here’s a less gratuitous shot without the whole rest of my Lego armored division. As you can see there is a beefed-up turret as well as the simple (read: literally one piece) comm antenna. This particular tank, at least as far as I can tell without having seen Rogue One yet, isn’t meant to be a first assault unit. It’s more for ferrying troops and equipment around while more versatile weapons platforms such as AT-STs and AT-ATs fight the real fight. With that in mind, this is a special command-type unit with the added heavy beam cannon and enhanced comms system.

Here’s the beam turret on its own. I was going for something like Battlefront II players might recognize. The Republic and Imperial tanks in that game have open turrets at the top that offer a lot of firepower but little protection for the gunner. The ‘wing’ pieces used as shielding hopefully remedy some of that problem, though a gunner in this position would still be sniper fodder. The main body of the gun is the same piece that makes up Baze Malbus’s gun, with a handle (which mounts it to the hinged tube piece) and studs on each side. The shielding is attached to the T-shaped pipe-looking pieces and set into a stud with a hole in the top for stability. Up top we have a telescope piece attached to a 1×1 stud with a clip to make a scope. And to beef up the gun a bit further, I added a grey cheese wedge to each side and built a stubby, fat gun barrel.

I didn’t go crazy on this mod but I’m happy with how the heavy turret came out. When this set came out I told my fiance I was going to buy a bunch for the tank troopers and other Imperial MOCS. We’re up to two already! I might add some color to this one to give it a little more flair as a higher-ranking vehicle. Any suggestions? Let me know in the comments below!

 

As always, thanks for reading!

-David

Rogue One First TV Spot “Together”

With 39 days to go, Rogue One is almost here, and that means the spoiler-ific TV spots are coming! Okay, so this one didn’t say anything we didn’t already know, but if the TV spots are anywhere close in number to the ones from The Force Awakens, you’ll pretty much be able to piece the movie together before it comes out. However, this isn’t a main saga movie and Rogue One is comprised of 98% new characters (barring Darth Vader, Mon Mothma, Bail Organa, and the likely Grand Moff Tarkin cameo) which means maybe we won’t know the whole movie before it comes out.

Will this movie break box ofice records like The Force Awaken did? Maybe not. Are the toys and merch awesome? Most definitely. This movie exists in a strange in between part of Star Wars never explored on the big screen before. It stands a serious chance of being my new personal favorite because I love the Dark Times era after Episode III. I think this is going to be a great movie and a strong step into new territory for what these movies can do. We’ll all find out on December 16th. Together.

Happy Halloween! 

Happy Halloween from The Empire’s Elite! I hope everyone saw (or wore) some great costumes and enjoyed the holiday.

Image credit: Lucasfilm

So this scene from The Force Awakens is what I was going for. Below is the result, which I’m pretty happy with overall.

Perfect? No. Yes that big hole is a TIE fighter I messed up on. But hey, it looks good with $150 worth of figures in front of it, eh? Besides, I’m an expert in Star Wars and not seasonal carved gourds. Hopefully next year’s pumpkin is even better! 
-David

Mandos on Rebels!

Saxon is back and we might finally get another good Sabine story! This teaser trailer throws a lot at us. Sabine and Ezra appear to be on a solo mission. Saxon, the one in the red armor, used to be loyal to Maul when he ruled Mandalore with his Shadow Collective. Who are the other guys whose armor looks like a hybrid between Imperial ground troops and Boba Fett concept art? Will it become canon that true, independent Mandalorians are more creative because their armor is cooler? Are we getting canon references to the siege of Mandalore outside of that cool Ahsoka panel at celebration and her new book? Hopefully this weekend answers some of my questions! Watch Star Wars Rebels this weekend and find out! Looks like I reread Son of Dathomir just in time for some callbacks too!

Custom Lego Kir Kanos

“There can be no mercy for the enemies of the Emperor!” Whether you would tend to agree or just like Lego figures, check out this purist custom Royal Guard!

The Emperor’s Royal Guardsmen, while never amounting to much in the movies, kicked butt across the expanded universe. After the death of the Emperor, their reputation stood. They were still known as ruthless, loyal, and hard to match in combat. Eventually they were all wiped out, save for one who remained loyal to his Emperor; Kir Kanos, star of the comic series Crimson Empire.

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My purist Kir Kanos figure uses pieces from the Old Republic battle pack featuring Sith and Republic troopers. His body and legs are that of the elite blood-colored Sith trooper, with his arms switched from gray to the same shade of red with grey ‘gloves.’ The helmet and cape, which is two shades of red depending on what side you’re looking at, come from the Death Star troopers battle pack. The hair piece belongs to a Clone Wars Anakin figure, and the face came from one of the Navarro rifleman from the short-lived Lone Rangers themed battle pack.20161023_164351

In this shot you can see his armor details slightly better. While it isn’t 100% accurate to the comics in color, I feel it captures his look quite well. Kir Kanos is something of an antihero, loyal to a deceased villain and seeking to destroy traitors to the Empire. In his comic series, he wasn’t known to make friends. A massive bounty was placed on his head by the Imperial Remnant, and he faced treachery at every turn while on the hunt for his former friend and aspiring Sith Lord Carnor Jax.

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This figure isn’t a very good representation of Carnor Jax, however he is similar. As a Sovereign Protector, the most elite of the Royal Guards, Jax went on to pursue the throne of the Empire years after the deaths of Darth Vader and Emperor Palpatine. In his earlier days, he became friends with Kir Kanos, and the pair trained together to become royal guardsmen. His personal guards are the black-armored stormtroopers seen here. I won’t spoil too much of the story, but the Crimson Empire collection is one of my favorite comic series. It mixes politics and action with a good antihero-type lead character who stops at nothing and never betrays his personal ideals. What he does, he does for himself, and while that may sound selfish, there’s more at play with his sense of self as a person. There’s many classic Star Wars themes at play in Crimson Empire, just played from different angle.

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Kir Kanos fights an Empire’s worth of adversaries throughout his books, from stormtroopers to Jax’s elite, black-armored stormtroopers, and bounty hunters sent on behalf of Grappa the Hutt. For cover, Kanos sometimes worked under the guise of a bounty hunter himself named Kenix Kil.

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“Kir Kanos? Haven’t seen him, sir.”

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***SKIP the next two paragraphs to avoid spoilers for the Crimson Empire storyline and the novels Star Wars Aftermath and Aftermath: Life Debt***

Some small elements of the Crimson Empire saga have seemingly been incorporated into the new canon under Disney. While Kir Kanos is absent, one of his adversaries is present in the form of the Imperial Future Council. In Star Wars Aftermath, a group organized under the leadership of Grand Admiral Rae Sloane to reach a settlement on the future of the Empire. Their meeting on the planet Akiva does not go to plan, and the council members are killed, save for Admiral Sloane. It is later revealed that a mysterious fleet admiral named Gallius Rax organized the summit himself, and orchestrated its downfall to eliminate weak leadership in the Empire. He would go on to feed other Imperial targets to the New Republic, shedding further weak links and poor, misguided leadership. Eventually, that’s how the First Order comes into being.

Similarly, Crimson Empire’s Imperial Ruling Council tried to reorganize the Empire after the Emperor was killed. Originally in place even before his death, the council was in a constant state of flux as aspiring Moffs, advisors, politicians, and military minds vied for the Emperor’s favor, later even his title after he had been killed. The span of time that the Ruling Council held sway is a large one, and probably too much to get into with just a simple figure presentation. But let it be known that the intricacies of Imperial politics aren’t entirely lost in the new canon. There’s still plenty of scheming, plotting, and backstabbing not only in the Empire, but also in the fallout after Endor.

***END Spoilers***

EU/Legends characters like Grand Admiral Thrawn and indirect characters like Fenn Rau (who references the concept of the Cuy’val Dar, a group of Mandalorians who helped train the Republic clone troopers) mean anything can happen in the new canon. While I had mixed feelings about the wiping of the Legends canon at first, so far it is going well and I’m enjoying it. That being said, I don’t think Kir Kanos is going to pop up any time soon. However, I don’t think it will be long before we get a new version of his character, a dark, fiercely-loyal agent of the Emperor who stops at nothing to achieve his master’s goals. We’ve seen Royal Guards in books such as Lords of the Sith, and while they aren’t game changers in the canon, they were enjoyable characters throughout the book.

What’s your take on Kir Kanos and the rest of the Royal Guard? Let me know what you think of him and the build in the comments, and as always, thanks for reading!

-David

Definite Article: Lego Star Wars Rumors Mega-Post – Summer 2017

Questionably canon, definitely an article. The leaks strike back and early! Check out possible summer 2017 Lego Star Wars set names!

Hoth Bricks has posted a rumor list for Summer 2017, and although a bit vague, it’s very interesting. Special thanks to them for digging this up! I’ve posted a translation below and converted the approximate prices from Euros to USD based on what is usually seen at retail stores. Of course if you dislike toy spoilers and would rather be surprised when the news is released officially, I’d understand if you clicked away now.

The list so far:

  • 75166 Battle Pack (Episodes IV-VII) – € 15 (Battle Packs go from $10-$15, depending on store and sales)
  • 75167 Battle Pack (Episodes IV-VII) – € 15
  • 75178 Quadjumper (Star Wars The Force Awakens) – € 60 ($65-$70)
  • 75179 Rebel Hangar (Price Unknown)
  • 75180 The [Guavian] Death Gang (Star Wars The Force Awakens) – € 80 ($85 – $90)
  • 75182 Imperial Hovertank (?) – 30 € (Around $29.99)
  • 75183 Darth Vader Transformation (Episode III: Revenge of the Sith) – 30 € (Around $29.99)
  • 75184 LEGO Star Wars Advent Calendar 2017 to 30 € (?) ($29.99 to $39.99)
  • 75185 Freemaker The Adventures – € 70 ($70 – $80)
  • 75186 Freemaker The Adventures – € 90 ($90 – $100)

So with what we now know (or can start to assume – this is still a rumor after all) it’s time to speculate!

The battle packs are specifically noted a Episode IV – VII. This variable is, in a word, huge. That gap of time can mean almost anything, barring prequels of course. But does it bar Rebels and Rogue one? Both are still prequels but they are direct prequels in the Original Trilogy timeline or concurrent with the original films. If they go for the earlier parts of that timeline, that could easily mean rereleases of battle packs that haven’t been done in a while, most likely the classic Rebel troopers from Episode IV or maybe Snowtroopers from Episode V. Personaly, I’d like to see the Mandalorians turn up in a battle pack again. Perhaps the new ones from Rebels who are loyal to the Empire? More Mandos would make a welcome addition to the Death Watch and Shadow Collective minifigures Lego has already released.

But who knows? Battle packs sometimes have oddballs like the Senate Commandos pack (Clone Wars) and even pull from the Expanded Universe with the Shadow Troopers pack, one of my personal favorites. You can’t count out the odd chance of getting something like a Tusken Raider battle pack (because we know a new Landspeeder set is coming) or maybe a bunch of Ewoks from Episode VI. And I didn’t even touch on Episode VII yet! But more on that in a bit.

Next on the list is the Quadjumper from Episode VII. I think this is a great choice for a set. If you don’t recognize the name, it’s probably because the name is never spoken in the film. This is the ship that Rey insists is better than the Millenium Falcon (aka garbage), and seconds later it is promptly destroyed by TIE fighters in pursuit.The gigantic engines and unique cockpit would make this a fun build. I would suspect four to five minifigures to be included: Rey, Finn, and BB-8 of course, probably followed by a stormtrooper or two, maybe one of Unkar Plutt’s thugs in place of one trooper. This might be a stretch, but what about Constable Zuvio, who was cut from the final film?  I’d love to see the set include some scenery too, like the iconic archway of Nima Outpost or the pool of water that thirsty Finn shares with the Happabore. Can we have a Happabore and the arch? I actually much like the sound of both!

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Image Credit: Lucasfilm

Perhaps one of the most interesting set names is the Rebel hangar. ok, the name isn’t interesting but I’d wager the contents are pretty cool  I see this going one of two ways. 

1.)  Rebel Hangar (On Yavin) – Similar to how Lego sold Super Heros sets with all the Suicide Squad characters without actually putting ‘Suicide Squad’ on the box, this kit could be a tie-in across between Rogue One and the Original Trilogy regardless of whether or not Rogue One appears on the box. A good Yavin base would have the temple hangar and high-rising scout towers/defensive turrets and some lush green scenery. I suspect Mon Mothma may make an appearance in this base. She isn’t in Episode IV, but she is in Rogue One and a high-ranking rebel leader, so including her still makes sense. Besides that, the base may include a relatively small ship like an A-Wing as well as maintenance crews with tools and small vehicles, probably some crates and the like as well. So for figures, I’d suspect Mon Mothma, some classic Episode IV Rebel troopers, a couple stormtroopers, and possibly Luke Skywalker in his orange pilot suit. I’m having trouble coming up with a main villain for this one, so I’d say an Imperial Officer isn’t unlikely either.

2. ) Rebel Hangar (Home One) – I missed out on this set as a kid and adult me still wants one. Home One is the Mon Calamari cruiser from the huge space battle at the end of Episode VI. The original set included Mon Mothma, Admiral Ackbar, and Lando Calrissian in his general’s getup. I see a strong possibility that if this set was rereleased, not much would change. The control room of the cruiser sits adjacent to a hangar with an A-Wing and includes a trans-orange globe representing the hologram of the attack plan on the second Death Star. General Crix Madine, a Mon Calamari Officer, and an A-Wing pilot were also included in the set. While maybe not the prettiest set (the control bridge is great, but the hangar is pretty bare in my opinion) I’d love to see an update for this one.

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You’d be forgiven if you didn’t remember who the Guavian Death Gang was in Episode VII, but I bet if I told you they were the red guys with “Tell that to Kanjklub guy” Bala Tik you’d remember the scene. This is an interesting, somewhat unexpected rumor for me. I do hope it’s true though. The first Episode VII Black Series figure I purchased was one of these guys, and I have a love for bounty hunters and all-around weird mercenary characters. These red-armored, heavily-armed mercs look great in the Lego Force Awakens game and would look great in any Star Wars MOC. Speculation is that the set is actually the Eravana, Han Solo’s freighter from Episode VII. Unless it is somehow magically to scale and can fit a Millenium Falcon inside it, I’m not terribly excited. Okay, so of course I’m kidding – it will probably include a smaller Falcon to recreate that shot. Most likely the set will also include a Rathtar to reenact the comical monster chase that happens after Han Solo tries to simultaneously negotiate with the Kanjiklub and Guavian Death Gang. It will most likely also include Rey, Finn, and/or BB-8 since that’s all the characters in that scene. Bala Tik may appear as well as Tasu Leech, though that is somewhat unlikely since he is so minor and already in the newest Falcon set. And back to battle packs for a moment – what if one of them is the gang members from both Kanjiklub and the Guavians? Space scum and villainy might make a good battle pack!

I’m going to skip ahead here to this article doesn’t end on something I know nothing about. I don’t watch the Freemaker Adventures (I just haven’t checked it out) so I’m not going to speculate on what those two sets are. I’ve heard mixed reviews of the shows, but have heard that there are plenty of enjoyable side characters that people would enjoy seeing in future sets.

Anyway, back to the hype train. Up next is the Imperial Hovertank. We’ve already received a set with this same name for Rogue One, so I’m wondering if the name is a stand in. I’m going to throw it out there that if this rumored name is genuine, it’s an Imperial version of this set, similar to how the V-Wing Starfighter had Republic and Imperial variations.7679_republic_fighter_tank

Three figures is about standard for a set at this price point (albeit the Republic Hovertank only had two.) Just venturing a guess, it would come with two to three stormtroopers, one of which possibly being a driver similar to the Rogue One hovertank driver (though I doubt this will be another Rogue One set.) I missed out on this one the first time around, but since my collection is largely Original Trilogy-centric, I’d love to have an Imperial version of this classic tank.

Darth Vader transformation is another surprise to me. I didn’t think it would appear again outside of the Epiode III wave from back in 2005. Another $30 set, this would be a wonderfully cheap way to obtain an updated Darth Vader with his two -piece helmet, new cape, and updated leg and torso printing. Most likely it would also come with the Emperor and a gravely-injured Anakin Skywalker. The Emperor will probably not get an updated appearance in such a small set (looking at you, post-UCS Boba Fett sets) but it will be great to get the medical droids and the Frankenstein-esque lab table. First impressions of this set have been comparing it to the scale of the Carbon Freezing Chamber, and I’d say that’s a fair comparison to make. It’s nice to see Lego throwing some scenery into these kits for a change, too.

Last but not least, the advent calendar. We’ve seen exclusive holiday variations on Darth Maul, Yoda, Jango Fett, R2-D2 and C-3P0, Darth Vader, a clone trooper, and Chewbacca. (I went from memory there, let me know if I missed any) Who will be in the holiday special this year? We can count on the usual variation of troops that happen to feature snow gear, usually one Imperial snowtrooper and one rebel trooper, but I’m always more excited for the other oddballs that make it in, sometimes as exclusives from other sets or background characters with elaborate backstories. For the holiday figure, I would suspect Emperor Palpatine (because he’d go nicely with Vader), but it could be anything from Boba Fett to an Ewok to fat old Captain Rex in a Santa suit. Only time will tell, and as always, you have to pick these up in the summer when they come out to make sure you get yours. Is it just me, or do they always seem limited?

That’s it for my speculation on this list! All in all I think we have a lot to look forward to, judging by this and other leaks I’ve come across. On a side note, I will comply with Lego if they request this to be taken down. They’ve requested to have leaked info taken down before and they have every right to do that. I didn’t find this information myself so I’m just the messenger here.

That being said, I hope you enjoyed the article, and thank you for reading this far! If you liked the article, let me know in the comments, and join the speculation with me if you want!

-David