Saturday, April 2, 2011

7695 MX-11 Astro Fighter

One of my favourite themes that came out in the past decade was the revival of the Space theme, Mars Mission. It came out six years after the last Space theme, Life-on-Mars, or nine years, if you don't count Life-on-Mars as Space, since the Insectoids. And it was arguably better than either of those lines (it's arguable if only because I'll argue it), and was a welcome return of a LEGO-original science-fiction to a lineup that had been dominated by Star Wars. While Star Wars was definitely the best theme LEGO had going around the turn of the decade, by 2007 it was more than a little tired, and it was nice to have something different.

Its lineup also included one of the first sets that I ever intentionally got multiple copies of: 7695 MX-11 Astro Fighter. There had been one or two sets in my earlier years that I accidentally ended up with dual copies, and I did acquire a few sets with multiple copies in the years preceding 2007 for parts, but the Astro Fighter was the first set of which I intentionally bought two copies with the intention of keeping intact.

And they're still intact today.

I only managed to get two copies, and in hindsight it would have been nice to have a full wing of four, or at least three, but there were many good sets to pursue (this was 2007: the year Castle made a major comeback), and I was having to contend with tuition for the first time. Still, what was a decent but not remarkable little set by itself had the makings of a fun squadron when multiplied.

It's a swooshable little fighter, and did quite a lot for making Mars Mission one of my favourite Space factions. Because it's intended to be a small set, and thus one should not expect X-wing levels of bulk brick from it, I only have one beef with its construction: the stickered engines. I'm not generally opposed to the use of stickers, because it can be nice to have the blank version of pieces at times, and I understand that printed pieces are expensive, so we get more if they're stickers... but I prefer that stickers give detail that is nice to have, but unnecessary. The sticker-engines, alas, are the only thing that tells you where the engines are on the Astro Fighter.

I will give LEGO this, though: though they are to be scolded for using stickers, they're actually rather sharp-looking stickers.

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