LEGO Star Wars 75382 TIE Interceptor: the Ultimate Collector Series returns to its roots [Review]

2024 marks an auspicious year for LEGO Star Wars, as it hits its quarter-century. The theme has evolved and changed a lot over the years, but one mainstay has been the Ultimate Collector Series, which launched just a year after the Star Wars theme’s debut. 7191 X-Wing Fighter and 7181 TIE Interceptor were the first sets to be released under this banner in the year 2000. While the former has seen two re-releases, one of which is on shelves at the moment, the latter has not been re-visited at this larger, detailed scale – until now. With 1,931 pieces, it will retail for US $229.99 | CAN $299.99 | UK £199.99 (non-Insiders can get it from May 4th). Has it been worth the wait? Read on to find out!

The LEGO Group sent The Brothers Brick an early copy of this set for review. Providing TBB with products for review guarantees neither coverage nor positive reviews.

The box and contents

The box sees the Interceptor presented on a black background with a red glow, reflecting its bad-guy status. The ’25 years of LEGO Star Wars’ logo is emblazoned on the top left corner. The matching colour band around the box reminds me of the blue-chrome colour that was once part of LEGO’s colour palette, albeit briefly.

Inside are no fewer than 22 numbered bags…

… And the information placard, loose in the box. The instructions and a modest sticker sheet come in a cardboard sleeve to prevent them from getting bent.

Here’s a closer look at that placard – it’s printed rather than being a sticker. This was a welcome change made a couple of years ago for UCS sets, but it’s this reviewer’s first time coming across one.

The instructions have a lot of information about the design of the ship in-universe, in real life, and in LEGO. These blurbs are always worth reading for some interesting LEGO trivia. It turns out that designer Henrik Andersen actually worked on the original UCS TIE Interceptor set way back in 2000!

There’s even a guide for how to hold the ship, for any pilots feeling brave enough to swoosh it while making screaming twin ion engine noises. For now, though, let’s get started on the build.

The build

Our starting point is the cockpit. I’m more accustomed to interior parts like this coming later on in big starship builds, but this method makes sense considering the way the TIE ships are designed. A sturdy Technic brick frame gives us our platform to build on.

Right off the bat we get an idea of how the sphere will be achieved. Walls of brackets pivot on a one-stud axis to give an octagonal shape, which will no doubt be covered up with some outer layers later on.

All but two of the 13 stickers are used up across the first two bags. They’re almost all applied to triangular panels or tiles. Getting the orientation right on all of them does require some careful inspection of the instructions – it’s not always obvious which way is up.

The only one that isn’t on a triangular piece is, irritatingly, on a round 1×1 tile. It’s a good thing we’re getting the decals out of the way early, as they will really test your patience! I can deal with the varied triangular stickers, but this one surely could have been printed for a UCS set.

After our first pair of bags, we’ve got a roughly baseball-sized cockpit in hand. It’s pretty sturdy considering we’re this early on, but I still wouldn’t recommend taking it to the pitcher’s mound.

Our next bag contains the two spars that will hold the wings on. These are linked to the middle with a combination of Mixel joints and Technic axles – a nice, strong connection. You can also see how colourful the interior structure is, including some 1×6 plates in the new red-orange colour. How very un-Imperial!

We return to building up the cockpit in bag four. Some of the little sub-assemblies here have some neat techniques, such as this Studs-Not-On-Top (SNOT) build that goes onto the underside. Two dark orange 1×1 bricks are used to wedge the hinged portion of this assembly in the gap between a Mixel joint and inverted curved slope. It’s not especially strong, but it’s enough to stop it popping out when handling it.

The laser cannons make clever use of LEGO geometry, too. Some quarter-circle tiles allow them to be located correctly, as well achieving the right offset with the 1×1 round bricks.

Time to cover up all those colourful bricks with some panels that are a bit more in keeping with the Empire’s monochrome aesthetic. We get a bit more SNOT, alongside some offsetting done with a click hinge and jumper plate.

The panels are identical side-to-side and front-to-back, with the exception of some lime green bars in the first of the two bags used. You’ll essentially be building the same thing four times – not the last time we’ll see some repetitive construction as we go along.

Those green bars form the connection point between the two halves. It’s an interesting technique; the red Technic half pins are doing most of the structural work, but the bars keep the front and back from rattling around and popping off the pins. The gaps between them are covered up by some slopes on hinged plates at the end of bag 6.

From there, it’s time to make up the outer walls of the cockpit. This is accomplished using a mixture of curved slopes and hinges. It’s another point in the build where the repetition makes it easy to mix things up. I attached these panels back-to-front initially!

This set is pretty light on new parts or recolours, but we do get a quartet of un-printed game controller pieces in dark bluish grey. They’re simply used as detailing across the four panels here.

Once again, the front panels are same-same, but different.

The ball continues to take shape with some curved slopes connecting to the little SNOT assembly we made for the underside earlier.

Speaking of SNOT, there’s another really nice sub-build used to make the engine exhaust at the back of the cockpit. The actual opening is represented by the backs of two SNOT brackets, with more hinges being put to good use to cover it up. There are gaps, but nonetheless, it’s very satisfying to see it come together.

By now, we’ve made it to bag 9, which means we’re applying the remaining pair of stickers to the interior. We also get to see two more printed elements – 6×6 dishes for the top of the cockpit and the viewport. They’re identical to the ones from the most recent UCS TIE, 2015’s 75095 TIE Fighter. Presumably that means the two sets are more or less to the same scale.

With those applied, the cockpit is finished. It’s less like a baseball now and more like an overgrown Golden Snitch. Except, er, not gold. And you still wouldn’t want to throw it. You know what, maybe best not to cross the franchises like that…

We take a short break from ship-building and dodgy pop-culture analogies to make the stand. In itself it’s fairly unremarkable, but we do get a printed 25th Anniversary brick alongside the minifigure(s), which we’ll look at in more detail later.

The cockpit looks a little naked on its own on the stand. Let’s make some wings to cover its modesty!

Bags 11 to 14 contain the parts for the wing centres (two bags per side). It’s a simple affair built up using plates, until you get to some crazy greebling underneath!

Once attached to the main model via some Technic pins, we slot in a few more bits of external detailing. The shovels used here were also used in the exact same spot on the ship from the year 2000. If it was a good match then, there’s no reason for it not to be re-used now!

Since they’re built from separate bags, I was expecting the left- and right-hand sides to be symmetrically opposite, but they’re actually identical builds. When a ‘2x’ is called for in LEGO sets, I normally like to build both assemblies at once rather than one after the other, and at this point the repetition started to grate a little. Still, I found just as much enjoyment in the greebly bits the second time around.

The remaining 8 bags will all go to the triangular s-foils – again, two bags per wing. If you’ve built any LEGO TIE fighter from the last decade or so, you’ll be familiar with how they go together. First, the basic shape is made up with plates…

… The grey border is added, using hinge plates to achieve the requisite angles…

… And it’s then covered up with more plates, with little details added here and there like the wingtip-mounted laser cannons.

You may have noticed that there is a gap in the row of 2×4 roof tiles (which, incidentally, are making only their second set appearance following their debut in 75375 Millennium Falcon). That’s to make it easier to attach the wing – the instructions recommend doing it flat, like so.

Once it’s adjusted to the right angle (two clicks on the click hinges), the remaining 2×4 slope can be slotted in. It serves a dual purpose, preventing the s-foil from flopping open as well as cleaning up the transition with the central portion.

Then, it’s a case of rinse-and-repeat to make two symmetrical pairs of wings. Each one took me about 15 minutes from opening the first bag to putting it onto the ship. It’s at this point that you really appreciate having built the stand in bag 10, as it makes assembly to the main model much easier.

When the top parts are finished in bags 20 and 22, there is at least some respite from making triangular s-foils, as some additional bits of detailing go onto the centre piece.

A notable new re-colour for train fans is virtually the last piece to go on: a small train wheel in light bluish grey. There are only two in the set, though, so this might not be the most efficient way to get them!

The minifigure(s)

We’ll take a good look at the finished Interceptor in a moment, but first, let’s inspect the sole minifigure included in this set. It’s a simple TIE pilot, pretty much the same as what’s been included with recent minfigure-scale TIE fighters.

What makes this one unique is the arm printing – the first time such a luxury has been afforded to a LEGO TIE pilot. Left and right are asymmetric prints, with the left arm incorporating the pilot’s wrist-pad.

The head is fairly generic, and the helmet is also the standard TIE pilot helmet. This piece is open at the back, and leaves a conspicuous area of exposed scalp. I understand this may not have been the set for a new helmet mould, and for playsets it’s fine, but it does detract from the overall look. I probably would’ve preferred a plain black head over this light-nougat one, in all honesty.

And while not a minifigure, strictly speaking, our TIE pilot does get a pet in the form of a little MSE ‘mouse’ droid. It is a departure from LEGO’s usual design, and it is slightly more screen-accurate as a result.

The finished model

So on close inspection, the figure (or figures, depending on if you count the MSE droid) are a bit underwhelming. But the same can’t be said for the Interceptor itself. It looks gorgeous!

It would seem a little unfair to compare this to 7181, given it’s more than two decades old. But even relative to the most recent TIE, 75095, there are some marked improvements – particularly in the shaping of the spherical cockpit. The curved slopes look so much better than the standard angled ones that were used in this area before.

Unlike some other UCS sets, there isn’t really any versatility to how you can display it. As evidenced by the shot below, this thing is pretty heavy, so you can’t really have it in any other orientation than flying straight up (and don’t even try to put it on the ground without the stand!). That’s not really a problem, though, as the basic angled pose shows the ship off pretty well.

The black areas on the wings – solar panels, in-universe – are completely studded. As I was building them, I was expecting to be writing about how it would’ve been nice to have some tiles for a smoother look. But on the finished product, I think I’m actually OK with the studs. I doubt it would have been possible to cover the whole wing in tiles, and given the choice I’d rather have a consistent studded texture over an inconsistent but partially smooth one.

What it does do is make all the little areas of greebling in grey really pop, which is certainly no bad thing. The inner faces of the wings are almost more detailed than the outer ones! It would’ve been easy to leave anti-studs in this area, so it’s nice that the designers took the extra step to add some more detail.

Conclusion and recommendation

Every Star Wars fan has their favourite TIE variant (name yours in the comments!). Since mine is the Interceptor, I’m glad that it has finally received an update. It’s not the perfect set; for one, the minifigure is pretty unremarkable bar the arm printing. And I found the build process a bit of a drag at times, owing to all the repetition and a few fiddly bits. If you do pick it up, I recommend taking breaks to prevent yourself getting too bored by it. (That’s good advice when building large LEGO sets anyway!)

To an extent, though, that repetitive build nature can’t be helped due to this ship’s in-universe design – and the pay-off is totally worth it. At the end of the day, this is comfortably LEGO’s best-looking Ultimate Collector Series TIE variant to date. So this set earns a hearty recommendation from me, particularly if you have a penchant for Imperial or Original Trilogy vessels. There is a nice symmetry that, 24 years after a large, detailed X-wing and TIE Interceptor were first available for purchase, you can do the same thing in this anniversary year for LEGO Star Wars.

75382 TIE Interceptor consists of 1,931 pieces, and includes two minifigures. It will be available for purchase from May 1st to LEGO Insiders, and May 4th for non-Insiders, for US $229.99 | CAN $299.99 | UK £199.99.

The LEGO Group sent The Brothers Brick an early copy of this set for review. Providing TBB with products for review guarantees neither coverage nor positive reviews.

The post LEGO Star Wars 75382 TIE Interceptor: the Ultimate Collector Series returns to its roots [Review] appeared first on The Brothers Brick.


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