In 2012, instead of the classic Star Wars, LEGO released two sets based on SWTOR or Star Wars : The Old Republic. The SWTOR is a Massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) released by BioWare (Electronic Arts) in 2011. The LEGO Star Wars 9497 Republic Striker-class Starfighter is the smaller of the two sets that I’ll attempt to cover in this review.
The design of the Striker-class Starfighter is very much different from the usual Jedi Starfighter (See Review of 9498 Lego Star Wars Saesee Tiin’s Jedi Starfighter). The normal Jedi Starfighters are shaped like a pointed dart whereas the Striker-class Starfighters have the flexibility to open up their wings for better control and maneuverability during combat. Hence, the Striker-class Starfighters looks more like a cross between a Jedi Starfighter and a X-Wing.
The LEGO Star Wars 9497 Republic Striker-class Starfighter comes with three MiniFigures (Satele Shan, Republic Trooper and T7-01) together with the Starfighter in the set. Besides showing the Starfighter in both closed and opened up configurations, the rear of the box also deplete scenes of Satele Shan and the Republic Trooper in battle with Darth Malgus. Also the droid, T7-01, is sitting comfortably in the cockpit of the Striker-class Starfighter compared to the R2 droids that are attached to the side of the Jedi Starfighters.
As this is pretty much a small set, there are only a single instruction booklet and three packs of parts. Surprisingly, there are no stickers in this set. LEGO was nice enough in this case to include printed parts for the front hull of the Striker-class Starfighter.
The assembly took around 20 minutes yielding a transformable Striker-class Starfighter and the three accompanying MiniFigures. Below are the completed sets in both open and closed configurations of the StarFighter.
This is my first experience with a Striker-class StarFighter so I could not really comment if the design is any different from previous releases of such, if any. However, I quite like the use of the various colored plates to create the patterns and designs on the, otherwise very plain, wings of the StarFighter. For the cockpit of the StarFighter, it only have enough space to allow the Jedi to sit inside. There are no space on or in the StarFighter that will attach a droid on to it, something that we will usually expect on a normal StarFighter.
For the LEGO Star Wars 9497 Republic Striker-class Starfighter , at the rear of the StarFighter, in between a pair of engines, are two hooks that allow the Jedi’s light saber to be kept when he is in the cockpit. For the engines themselves, we see the use of pink/red round plates instead of the usual blue ones. At the bottom of the StarFighter, we can also see two sets of missiles launchers that can be used when the StarFighter is in open configuration.
In the photo below, we can see that wings of the StarFighter is actually held together by two sets of hinged plates. This will allow the wings to swing aside to form the open configuration when necessary. At the same time, the laser cannons at the side of the wings can also be swiveled to put them into attack position when the StarFighter is in the open configuration.
Like what I’ve pointed out previously, the LEGO Star Wars 9497 Republic Striker-class Starfighter does not come with any stickers as the LEGO designer has managed to include two nice printed parts for the front tip of the StarFighter instead.
As for the MiniFigures for this set, they are the T7-01, Satele Shan and a Republic Trooper. For the T7-01, it’s not the same R2-D2 series that we usually see but instead one with a boxy body and a small wheeler at the rear. Much efforts have been included in this little droid from the amount of printed details on it’s body and head.
For Satele Shan, she is actually a human Jedi who served the Jedi Order as a Grand Master during the Cold War and the renew conflicts with the Sith Empire during the era of the Old Republic. She carried a double bladed light saber. For this MiniFigure, take note of the color of her eyes and the details in the design of her outfit.
The Republic Trooper in this set carries a big cannon weapon with no headdress or armor. Interesting, while I was doing research for this review, I found that there are websites that quoted that this Republic Trooper, although was not named, is actually Jace Malcom, who is a flame of Satele Shan and together, they even had a child Theron in secret.
Overall, I would give this set a 8.5 out of 10, for the details of interesting Striker-class StarFighter and MiniFigures included. The ingenious use of simple but multi-colored plates to improve the design of the StarFighter and the use of printed parts instead of stickers helped to gain the additional points. However, LEGO could have provided more details on the background of the sets so that AFOLs can help a better understanding of the stories behind.
I am not very well versed in the stories of the Old Republic before this review. However, as I dug more and more into the the different ages of Star Wars, I realized that Star Wars itself has a vast background and what we see in the six episode films by George Lucas are just the tip of the ice-berg. Very much like the Universes of the Marvel Super Heroes and the Transformers, I would need to do more homework to find out more about the Old Republic.