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LEGO’s 2017 STAR WARS Advent Calendar is Strong with the Festive Force (Review)

Warning: If you like to be surprised by advent calendars every day—surprised, at least, by the days that haven’t been given away by the box artwork already—be warned that this review contains spoilers for that sort of thing. If you’re reading to know if this will be a good gift that will happily surprise its recipient, you’re in the right place.

When I was a kid, advent calendars made December extra fun as Christmas was counted down to with a new surprise picture every day (save Christmas Eve, when the image would always turn out to be a Nativity scene). I’d envy the more-spoiled kids whose parents got them the ones with a new chocolate every day; my parents were a spare-the-teeth couple. But never could I have dreamed there’d be one with a new toy every day, and a new Star Wars toy at that.

These are golden days, kids of today.

This year’s LEGO Star Wars advent calendar is heavily themed to The Force Awakens, with a fold-out display that shows Jakku and Starkiller Base all decked out for Christmas Life Day. But for the first three days in December, you get Rebels toys: The Ghost, Sabine, and the Phantom.

One big difference between LEGO and its competitors can be seen in these skillfully designed miniature vehicles, where shape and color is cleverly used to suggest the real thing. Note also the different panels suggested on the Millennium Falcon.

After the three Rebels items, the calendar follows a chronological Force Awakens timeline for about ten days. Troop lander, Stormtrooper, Poe, Poe’s tripod gun, Rey’s Speeder, Teedo, the Luggabeast…interestingly, Teedo’s minifig is full size, even though he’s a smaller character onscreen.

As you can see, it then gets a li’l goofy at the end with a snow-blower for the snowtrooper. Other gag toys include a sled with presents, and…a toolbox (maybe it represents Dad’s favorite present?).

Other vehicles and figures mixed in include a Scout Walker, Death Star Gunner, Rogue One TIE Striker, and an Imperial Officer whose sideburns make me think he’s Admiral Motti. Now that’s irony, since Motti was no fan of religion and would therefore probably hate Christmas.

Figures can ride some of the vehicles chibi-style, if that’s your thing.

All told, there are eight minifigs, including the main lure of Santa BB-8.

But you’re going to want to be very careful with him, and here’s why. Look at the instructions first, which show you how to put a red stud on his head before adding the Santa hat. If you just put the hat on, you get this…

…and immediately after you get a crying loved one going “I RUINED IT! I’M SO STUPID!” And while it is tough to separate the pieces, they have ruined nothing. Here’s what works to fix it: boil some water in a teacup in the microwave. Hold the head underwater with a spoon for a few minutes (it will naturally float otherwise). When the water cools a bit, pick the head up, then drop it on a hard floor and the parts should pop apart.

Note: beneath their helmets, these First Order troops are not in the holiday spirit.

Entertainment Earth furnished this sample for the purposes of review, and they charge $39.99 for the set. That’s pretty standard retail, with Amazon offering a range in which $39.99 is the low end. Considering it ought to provide a small moment of happiness every day for 24 days, that seems like quite the deal.

I still don’t know what this one is supposed to be, though. Can somebody let me know in comments?

Images: Luke Y. Thompson


Luke Y. Thompson has been a Star Wars toy collector for…well, more years than you can imagine! Tweet him!

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