I have to admit that I found myself in a high state of anticipation at the thought of building this set because the graphics on the front of the box was so evocative and captured a key moment in the evolution of Rey during The Force Awakens particularly well. And from start to finish there wasnít a shred of disappointment to be found.
Vignette isnít a word that most Star Wars collectors hear too often, and the best example that most Rebelscumís readers will be aware of is Rey (Starkiller Base) & Kylo Ren Centerpiece figure, which came out in 2018 and was an exclusive at last yearís San Diego Comic-Con, so it is very apt that this LEGO set depicts the same moment in time.
Though of course, LEGO would have it that this is a playset, and perhaps for the audience that it is aimed at thatís exactly what it is with its spinning stands, tilting trees and bifurcating base.
So letís look at it with a childís sense of wonderment first, and enjoy it as a toy before we consign it to a display shelf.
Action feature-wise the playset offers two spinning bases that allow Rey and Kylo to clash their lightsabres. These are a bit stiff, and a mechanism to make them rotate would have been a bonus, but the lack of wouldnít detract from any childís enjoyment. Likewise, the trees are a nice feature and a button to pop up a pin to make them topple over, as if being pummeled by The Force, would have added to the realism of the playset.
The included minifigures would appeal to most casual LEGO Star Wars fans, and though Rey comes in her most common minifig form itís a great inclusion that only dual-moulded arms would improve. On the other hand, the Son of Solo and master of the Knights of Ren, comes with a new battle-damaged print that is unique to this set. Both come with appropriate weapon accessories - Kylo Ren with his red, cruciform lightsabre and Rey with the stud shooter (which represents the Stormtrooper blaster she entered the scene with during The Force Awakens) and the classic blue lightsabre that she retrieved from Finn, who had been wounded in a previous clash with Ren.
Of course, these are all little touches a LEGO designer would have thought and no doubt early versions would have included them, but a trade off between cost and detail would have occurred at some point. And from the point of an adult collector the decision to retain the little touches that most kids would be oblivious to was one that makes this set stand out.
The protruding rock outcrop is of the more stylish non-BURP variety that has small grey slopes at its base, giving it the effect that it has been thrust upwards as Starkiller Base goes through its cataclysmic death throes. Conversely, the small, white wedges and round plates that decorate the rock and tree branches add a peaceful quality that provides a counterpoint to the violence taking place in and around the scene. Additionally, the green leaf elements add a certain festive feel, and the short, thick trunks of the trees give the scenery a touch of Oriental topiary class.
Perhaps the most epic aspect of 75236 Duel On Starkiller Base is the rent that divides the two halves. The grey base layer of the set, representing the rock of this adapted world, can be split asunder exposing a seam of molten rock which is cleverly depicted by interwoven trans-orange and red plates.
Overall this set has a very different feel to other any other LEGO Star Wars playset, and itís almost as if someone was given the task of creating a convention exclusive that never happened. In the unlikely case of that being true Iím glad it happened this way because everyone should get the chance to own this.If this is already part of your collection - or you're curious about what other people think of this set then head to the dedicated discussion topic in our forums.