The Star Wars license has been remarkably lucrative for LEGO, and the two companies have found a way to make sure there’s been a steady stream of vehicles, ships, locations and more since the first LEGO Star Wars sets were released back in 1999. While Star Wars: The Force Awakens promises to have some sweet LEGO sets of its own (I’ve got my eye on Poe Dameron’s X-Wing), we’re looking back at the ten coolest LEGO Star Wars sets that have been released thus far.
Just a word of warning: even though there have been plenty of sets based off the Prequel Trilogy and the Clone Wars animated series, you won’t find them here because I have no connection to those sets. I wouldn’t want to look on my shelf and be reminded of film and TV that doesn’t interest me.
Of course, that’s not to say only sets based on the Original Trilogy are worth buying…
Minifigures: Kanan Jarrus, Hera Syndulla, Zeb Orrelios, Stormtrooper
Aside from Star Wars: Rebels being the best iteration of Star Wars since BioWare’s Knights of the Old Republic and the best thing in canon since Return of the Jedi, this is an impress ship on its own merits. It’s got 2 cockpits, spring-loaded shooters, storage hatches, rotating gun turret, and more. But the coolest part is that it can dock with its shuttle, The Phantom. Sure, that’s sold separately, but it’s nice that the two go together.
Minifigures: Death Star Trooper, Imperial Officer, R5-J2, TIE Fighter Pilot
There have been other models of the TIE Fighter, but this one is the best. The others were either a bit too colorful, not big enough, and failed to capture the sleek-yet-powerful design of the ship. Although it’s only 413 pieces, this model actually feels imposing without outshining Vader’s Advanced TIE. It’s also the only TIE fighter model that comes with the evil droid R5-J2, so that’s a nice bonus as well.
Death Star Final Duel
Minifigures: Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader, Palpatine, Royal Guard (x2)
I’m always a bit weary of scenes as opposed to ships and buildings because scenes take up a lot of space (I’m still ambivalent about getting the Guardians of the Galaxy “Knowhere Escape mission” just so I could have Groot), but this one is too great to pass up. Return of the Jedi is a mixed bag once they get off Tatooine, but everything between Luke, Vader, and the Emperor is gold, and this set does a good job of capturing the Throne Room. The set also features a cool redesign of Vader’s helmet (it’s two pieces now instead of one) and the Emperor gets little force lightning bolts. I also like the verticality to the set, which help adds some dimension to the scene. All that’s missing is a bottomless pit.
Minifigures: Luke Skywalker, Dak Ralter, Snowtrooper
Like the TIE Fighter, this isn’t the first iteration of this ship, but it’s gotten better with age. The original model was grey (you know, because if I want to blend in on a planet covered in snow, I’d go with grey over white), while this one is white, has a bit more detail in the bends, it’s bigger so it has more heft, and it can also fire a harpoon, which is the key thing a snowspeeder needs to do since that’s what brings down AT-ATs.
Minifigures: Luke Skywalker (Rebel Pilot), Snowtrooper (x2), AT-AT Pilot
While I thought about including the AT-ST on this list, it pales in comparison to its big, snow-bound brother, the AT-AT. Although LEGO recently came out with another AT-AT recently that contains more pieces and blasters, I’m charmed by the rougher design of the 2003 model. I like the darker colors, the snowtrooper speeder bike (which, yes, isn’t in the movie, but you’d have to be a monster to argue against the inclusion of a speeder bike), and it feels more rugged. Sleeker is better when it comes to ships, but when you’re on the ground level, this rougher model is slightly more appealing than the newer version.
Minifigures: Jawa (x4), Owen Lars, Luke Skywalker, C-3PO, R2-D2, R2 Unit, R1-Series Droid, Gonk Droid, R5-D4, Wed Treadwell Droid
It’s taken a lot of self-restraint to hold off buying this beast. I collect jawa action figures and LEGO, but have no LEGO jawas, and this expensive set has them aplenty. Not only that, but it’s got a lot going on inside, and at over 3,000 pieces, you’re definitely going to get your money’s worth. The only thing that’s holding it back form being higher up on the list is that it’s not a visually appealing piece. If you’re not playing with it, then on your shelf it’s a big, brown box. Granted, it’s a big brown box filled with adorable jawas, but a big brown box nonetheless.
Minifigures: Luke Skywalker, Jek Porkins, R2-D2, R5-D8
It was a tough decision on whether or not to go with the standard X-Wing or with the UCS version. But since this list already has more than its fair share of UCS inclusions, I figured I’d go with the more affordable choice, especially since it’s a pretty excellent piece for only $60. The wings can contract or expand to their “X” shape, and it’s the only set that’s got Porkins, the World’s Most Unlikely Rebel Fighter Pilot. The only downside of this set is that it won’t stay upright if you expand the wings, so you need to put in some clear pieces to get the nose level with the wings. But once you do, it looks so good.
UCS Vader’s Advanced TIE
This thing is a beast, and rightly so. However, it’s not so bulky that it will struggle to fit on your shelf. It’s in the sweet spot, and while it sadly lacks a Darth Vader minifigure, it’s still a nice looking ship with a great level of detail. When placed on the base that comes with the ship, it looks particularly sharp, and while I wouldn’t be surprised if LEGO takes another stab at Vader’s TIE someday, they pretty much nailed it with this figure.
Minifigures: Boba Fett, Bossk, Han Solo, Han Solo (Carbonite)
This was another tough one because the recent UCS release is damn fine, but as the proud owner of this 2010 version, I decided to go with this release. It may not have as many pieces or be as detailed as the UCS version, but you wouldn’t know it with all the secret compartments and cool blaster design that comes out of the middle section. Also, you can load up a carbonite Han Solo, which is nice. The only troublesome part about this ship is that you have to find a way to stand it up (I personally use a few DVD cases), but once you do, it looks terrific, especially since the pilot seat swivels so that Boba Fett is facing forwards instead of looking at the ceiling.
UCS Millenium Falcon
Minifigures: Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Chewbacca, Princess Leia
She’s got it where it counts, and it counts a lot. This is the second-largest LEGO set of all-time. When it was released, it retailed for $500 making it the most expensive LEGO set ever made. But it’s the Falcon. It’s an iconic movie starship. While there have been smaller, more reasonably priced models (there will even be a new Falcon available starting this weekend for The Force Awakens), this is the granddaddy, and I can’t help but wonder how the assembly of this one differs from its smaller brethren. If you managed to get your hands on this, you have a piece of both LEGO and Star Wars history, one that’s not likely to be topped anytime soon.
[Release dates, piece count, and included minifigures via Brickipedia]