Hands-on with the Tantive IV: LEGO recreates a decade old set with a few shortcomings

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Two weeks ago LEGO launched one of its most recent several thousand-piece sets in honor of May the Fourth. Today we’ll be taking a look at the new Tantive IV 75244 set, which enters as LEGO’s first massive Star Wars build of the year. Clocking in at over 24-inches long, this build looks to bring A New Hope’s opening crawl to life. It touts over 1,700 pieces, some exclusive new minifigures and more, but will it live up to the ship’s on-screen presence? Head below for the full scoop.

Each year, LEGO debuts two several thousand-piece builds from the Star Wars universe. Last year we received the UCS Y-Wing Starfighter alongside the Betrayal at Cloud City build. To start off 2019, the company has issued a re-release of the famous Corellian Corvette, the Tantive IV. 

Having been first released in 2001, the original Ultimate Collectors Series edition was then followed up by another iteration of the Tantive IV a few years down the line in 2009. This version improves upon the latter of the two; opting to give a fresh coat of paint to the minifigure-centric build.

Assembling LEGO’s Tantive IV Set

Comprised of 1,768 pieces, the new Tantive IV measures up to over two-feet long and seven-inches long. Practically all of the pieces included in this build are of the white and gray variety, fitting in with the ship’s design.

Much like many of the brick-built starships of this size, the underlying structure is comprised of various Technic pieces. LEGO’s Tantive IV is then coated in various exterior panels, most of which come covered in varying levels of greebles and detailing. 

Aside from just recreating the exterior of the ship, there’s also several sections of interior which add some additional interactivity to the build. To start with, there’s the cockpit, which features two seats with corresponding control panels. Moving towards the middle of the Corellian Corvette, there’s a bridge-style command center. Unfortunately, it’s pretty light on furnishings. Mainly things center around a futuristic table and chairs as well as some clips to hold the figures’ accessories.

Finally, there’s the escape pods, which complete the LEGO set’s ability to recreate scenes from its silver screen debut. Included are two of the miniature capsules, each of which attaches to the Tantive IV’s main haul towards the rear of the ship. There’s room for two minifigures in a pod; that fits into the narrative of C-3PO and R2-D2 jettisoning away from the craft after Darth Vader’s forces commandeer the vessel. 

There’s also some stud-shooters incorporated into the Tantive IV, which give the new LEGO model some extra play features. Those are overshadowed by one of the more notable upgrades from the previous version. Towards the back of the ship, a handle has been incorporated to make picking up or swooshing the ship a little easier.

Minifigures included in the LEGO Tantive IV Set:

To fit with the A New Hope theming, six characters from the Rebel Alliance have been included into this set. Headlining the cast you’ll find Princess Leia alongside Bail Organa, Captain Antilles and a generic Rebel Fleet Trooper. Lastly, C-3PO and RD-D2 assemble just as they did following the opening crawl. 

Notably, the first three of those figures are exclusive to the Tantive IV. Leia comes sporting a new skirt print, while Antilles is decked out in a refreshed captain regalia design. LEGO has also brought Bail Organa to brick form for the first time, which is surprising considering we’ve been getting Star Wars builds for 20 years now.

As for the rest of the figures, all of them are pretty common these days. Both of the droids have made their fair share of appearances over the past few years. Plus the Rebel Trooper hasn’t changed much since first being debuted back in 2008. Each of the four human characters feature reversible heads as well and across the board, printing is spot on. LEGO has certainly been on a roll as of late with its figure design; something that continues into its latest flagship Star Wars release.

Thoughts: A Corellian Corvette or hunk of junk?

With it being the 20th anniversary of the Star Wars theme, launching the Tantive IV is the most fitting decision that LEGO could have made. It’s the first starship we see appear in A New Hope, and arguably sets the tone for everything from a galaxy far, far away that followed. 

This set is also something that fans have been hoping for. It’s been a decade since LEGO released a version of the Rebel Corellian Corvette. So this release also shows that the company still knows how to give builders what they want, at least in some capacity.

Aside from fitting into LEGO’s overall narrative for 2019, there’s not a lot that will excite more hardcore enthusiasts like myself. Despite clocking in at the usual $199.99 price tag, the Tantive IV is not classified as a LEGO Star Wars UCS set. And that difference in the naming scheme really shows in the build’s final product. 

LEGO did a solid job bringing the Tantive IV into the modern era of kits and drastically improved on its predecessor. But one area that’s evidently lacking from the model is detail. Large portions of the ship’s haul are left blank, or adorned with a very light sprinkling of greebles. 

It seems like at one point in development this was an Ultimate Collectors Series set; there’s several sections that are littered with fine brick work and the kind of details you’d expect from the series. But then somewhere along the line, it was converted to more play-centric model. And that isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it’s just that the build feels inconsistent because of the different approaches.

The new Leia and a first appearance by Bail Organa are notable inclusions. But I don’t see it being enough to make up for the main build’s flaws.

LEGO Tantive IV Set pricing breakdown

At $199.99 for 1,768 pieces, the LEGO Tantive IV doesn’t enter with the best pricing ratio. Compared to other UCS sets, you’ll looking at around 200 less pieces for the same shelf price. This set does include more minifigures than the average Star Wars set of this caliber; though builds like the Slave 1 have proved that a high part count and notable figures aren’t mutually exclusive. 

Verdict: Should you buy LEGO’s latest Star Wars build?

Overall, the Tantive IV is a pretty ordinary set all things considered. There isn’t any one thing that LEGO could have done to make it more enticing. Many different decisions from the company went into the final product’s lackluster nature. These can effectively be summarized by LEGO pairing poor part per dollar ratio with unimpressive minifigures and an inconsistent build.

Oftentimes, LEGO picks a single thing to focus for each of its sets – be it true-to-life depictions of iconic landmarks, or a nostolgia-packed re-release. But here, there’s too much going on and as a result, LEGO’s latest depiction of the Tantive IV suffers.

It’s a cool set for younger fans who are more likely to take advantage of the kits play features. But at $200, this is a hard sell for collectors or those seeking display-worthy models. 

Unless you’re aching to add the Tantive IV to your collection, I’d definitely recommend looking elsewhere in the LEGO Ultimate Collectors Series lineup. And if you could use a break from Star Wars, the new Stranger Thing set is looking mighty fine. It comes with more elements and some of the coolest minifigures to date. 

Buy the LEGO Star Wars Tantive IV for $199.99

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