I’m not the biggest LEGO Star Wars fan, but I do have a very soft spot for Original Trilogy spaceships and vehicles. Unlike most Star Wars fans who most likely have the X-Wing, Millennium Falcon or Star Destroyers as their favourites, I have a special place in my heart for the hard-working Y-Wing starfighter.
Imagine my delight when LEGO got into contact with me with the rare opportunity to put together an early review of the 2018 LEGO UCS Y-Wing Starfighter for Star Wars Day (May the 4th)!
As I’m not particularly well-versed with LEGO Star Wars and with a very minimal UCS collection, please forgive me if this doesn’t go as in-depth as you’d like. That said, it was really fun to approach this set with fresh eyes and no particular expectations, let’s jump straight into it.
LEGO 75181 UCS Y-Wing Starfighter goes on sale worldwide on 4 May 2018 and will be available from LEGO.com, or your local LEGO store. As it’s Star Wars Day, there are plenty of offers to make it worth your while such as Double VIP Points on all Star Wars sets (except the UCS Y-Wing), and you’ll also receive an exclusive BB-8 gift with purchase.
If you’re thinking of picking up the UCS Y-Wing, I highly recommend taking advantage of the May the 4th promos.
Name: UCS Y-Wing Starfighter
Set Number: 75181
Price: AU$299.99 | US$199.99 | £169.99 – Buy from LEGO.com [AUS] [USA] [UK]
Exclusive to: LEGO Brand Retail Stores/LEGO.com
Astromech Droids: 1
Theme: UCS Star Wars
Release Date: 4 May 2018
I lucked out with the UCS Y-Wing. As I’m a huge fan of the ship, I was this close to picking up the 2017 Rogue One version before it retired if not for LEGO’s unveiling of the UCS Y-Wing in April. I only have a handful of UCS sets – Red Leader’s X-Wing, Slave 1, and R2-D2 but I knew I had to add this to my collection.
I’m actually on holiday at the moment, but I took the set along with me as I didn’t have time to build and photograph it before I left Melbourne (the delivery literally arrived the day before my departure), so the photos are a little different this time around!
At 1967 pieces, the UCS Y-Wing is the definitive version of the beloved bomber starfighters to own. It’s not LEGO’s first take on the UCS Y-Wing as this is an upgrade of 2004’s UCS Version, but if you compare them side by side, the difference is night and day.
With LEGO’s recent resurgence, I also doubt that most current fans were around to buy it in 2004, so I’m particularly glad that LEGO decided to remake the Y-Wing, and do it right.
For those of you new to UCS sets, the parts are contained within white inner boxes. Previously, the boxes have been plain, with only numbers setting them apart.
LEGO have recently stepped up their game with inner boxes containing blueprint-like diagrams of the Y-Wing across the box, along with the iconic “we’re starting our attack run” quote from Gold Leader in A New Hope before the trench run.
I also really love the Gold Squadron diagram along the sides of the box. Very sleek and it really does amp up the collectible aspect of the UCS sets.
The instruction manual is reasonably thick with 356 steps and contain the usual reading material, offering insight into the LEGO Star Wars Design team, interviews with Jordan David Scott (model designer) and Madison O’Neil (graphic designer) and technical information about the Y-Wing.
Here’s the UCS Y-Wing sticker sheet. Apart from the plaque (which is just tradition at this point), I fully subscribe to the notion that stickers have no place in a premium UCS set. I really dislike the fact that in most cases, you only get one shot with stickers.
If they’re slightly misaligned, you’ve just pretty much ruined a LEGO set that you’ve just spent a couple of hundred dollars on. At this pricepoint, I really feel that LEGO should just include printed elements. Hike the price up by 5 bucks, I’ll gladly pay it for the peace of mind.
Thankfully with the Y-Wing, the stickers are relatively easy to apply, even the canopy stickers (10 & 11) so you shouldn’t be too worried of messing them up.
The build process was pretty brisk. You start by assembling the Y-Wing’s core, followed by the massive ion jet thrusters on each side. It took me about 4 hours to put together and it was decently enjoyable.
There were some repetitive sections such as the ion jet engines which were a bit of a pain, but I really enjoyed putting all the little details together to achieve the highly detailed and textured exterior.
The Y-Wing, when complete is also satisfyingly large, measuring about 60cm long from tip to tip, making it a spectacular display piece – which is all you really want from a UCS Star Wars set.
I decided to change the orientation of the Y-Wing on the stand so that it tilts downwards (as opposed to sideways) to give it a more dramatic look that makes it seem like it’s mid-dive, zeroing in one a target to blow it to kingdom come.
The first thing that strikes you about the UCS Y-Wing are its large twin ion jet engines flanking the ship. The designers absolutely nailed the proportions of the Y-Wing.
I also love how well they captured the Y-Wing’s sleekness. The “flatness” and narrow profile of the Y-Wing is one of its most underrated features in my opinion.
Check out the profile from above. Disregard the slighty floppy left ion jet engine – it came undone slightly which is why it looks slightly wonky.
Here’s a look at the Y-Wing’s UCS Plaque which features technical information about the ship.
The set comes with an exclusive Gold Leader minifigure. Also known as Jon “Dutch” Vander, this is the most detailed and movie-accurate Gold Leader minifigure yet.
The printing across his chest and legs is ultra-detailed, with all the trappings of a Rebel Pilot’s flight suit.
Here’s a look at the back printing and alternate face.
Gold Leader’s helmet is the one thing that sets him apart as it bears the insignia from the movie. Hardcore Star Wars fans will be delighted that they’ve managed to capture this level of detail on the helmet.
The set also includes an Astromech Droid, this one’s called R2-BHD and I’m a big fan of the gunmetal, pearl grey colour scheme. Again, I don’t have encyclopedic Star Wars knowledge, but I believe pearl grey Astromechs are fairly rare.
His body is dark grey, but his legs and head are pearl silver which gives it a nice metallic, almost robotic sheen to it. His head is super shiny, which is a really nice effect.
And here’s a look at the droid’s back.
Overall, a decent number of minifigs for a UCS set – it’s got Gold Leader which is the most important element and R2-BHD makes for a decent companion.
Here’s a closer look at the cockpit, where you’ll see the stickers on the canopy as well as the slopes on the side. A really remarkable design feature of the cockpit is the thin sand blue strip that runs across the side.
It’s a really accurate representation of the actual model and does a brilliant job of adding a bit of contrast to the whites and yellows. Above the canopy, you can see twin ion cannons which can swivel and rotate.
And yes, the Y-Wing is kinda minifig-scale – in that a minifig fits into the cockpit. The entire model is a lot larger than “true minifig scale”, but it’s meant to be a display model so it’s not that big of a dealbreaker.
Opening up the cockpit reveals the slightly cramped interiors for Gold Leader. I was really surprised (in a good way) when I realised that the designers had incorporated the targeting reticule from the movie scenes.
The consoles and buttons in the cockpit are all stickers. Notice how I botched the alignment of the left terminal.
Here’s a look at the Y-Wing from the front, which is really quite menacing from this perspective. Imagine if you were unlucky enough to be a poor Imperial Stormtrooper, or Technician and this the final thing you see before being blown up by a barrage of proton torpedos.
The most striking feature of the Y-Wings are undoubtedly the massive twin ion jet engines that flank the ship, which give it its iconic silhouette. The engines are absolutely huge and are a crucial part of the build process.
Despite the repetitive nature in assembling them, I was really happy with the end result.
Kudos to the designers for getting the rounded cylindrical shape of the engines right, which is no simple task. This alone should make this a mandatory upgrade if you’ve owned the original UCS Y-Wing as the engines in that set were rectangular-shaped instead of round.
From behind, you can see the “vectras” which look like turbines at the end of the engines, as well as trans-pink exhaust ports behind each engine.
The 4 pylons that stretch outwards from the engines are surprisingly sturdy and look sensational.
Here’s a look at the back, which shows off the thruster jets and hyperdrive.
In my opinion, what really sets this set apart from other UCS models is the insane amount of greebling (the fine exterior details that make it look more complex) that envelopes the model. I’ve never, in my life built something with this much greebling and it was a blast.
Not only is it fun to build, the amazing level of detail achieved throughout the Y-Wing starfighter really takes the entire model to a whole new level. There is just so much going on (without feeling cluttered) that you’re able to appreciate something new about the Y-Wing’s hull every time you look at it.
There’s even greebling on the underside!
There is greebling just about everywhere, and there are some really ingenious use of elements such as shields, ice skates, and even tank treads!
The “exposed” look with the brown wires and pipes sticking out is a nod to the Rebel engineers that removed armour plating from the Y-Wing to increase its speed and performance
It has a raw, unfinished, scruffy look to it that’s particularly unique to the Y-Wing and in this UCS model, the appearance is executed to perfection.
What I liked:
- A new opportunity for those that missed out on the previous UCS Y-Wing
- Proportions are near perfect
- Colour scheme and bright yellow highlights make the ship pop
- Insane level of greebling
What I didn’t like:
- Build is slightly repetitive
Final thoughts: I enjoyed the UCS Y-Wing so much that after completing the model, I wondered to myself – why don’t I collect and buy more UCS Star Wars sets?
For a person that doesn’t prioritise UCS sets, building and reviewing this was a breath of fresh air, and while I can’t deny my fondness for the Y-Wing, this is a superb set that will delight all kinds of Star Wars fans – whether you’re a hardcore UCS completionist, or a casual fan like me.
The overall size of the Y-Wing Starfighter is imposing in all the right ways. As soon as you lay your eyes on it, the Y-Wing model exudes a modest but strong vibe, exerting its position as the “workhorse” of the Rebel fleet.
There’s no fancy gimmicks like the X-Wing’s S-foils, or the B-Wing’s unconventional shape – the Y-Wing is in the business of blowing stuff up, and business is booming.
The build while repetitive in sections was quite enjoyable for the most part. If you enjoy greebling, this is THE set for you, as pretty much half the build consists of delicately using odd pieces to create the bumpy, sometimes erratic exterior of the Y-Wing.
The set’s proportions are downright amazing – upon looking at the set, you’ll be hard pressed to come up with any significant design improvements. It just looks, and feels like a Y-Wing should, which is exactly what you’d expect from a UCS-scale set.
There are a lot of things to love about the Y-Wing, but having built and marveled over it in the flesh, the greebling really lifts the entire model up a whole other level.
The massive ion jet engines and impeccable proportions are some of the most visible standout features of the Y-Wing, but the greebling and amazing level of detail across its entire exterior is what makes this an exceptional Star Wars UCS set.
By paying attention to the ultra-detailed fuselage, the Y-Wing succeeds in presenting itself as a mature, highly detailed and complex LEGO model that is in my opinion, one of the most well-executed LEGO UCS sets of all time.
Whether you own the original, or are leaping to finally add a Y-Wing to your UCS collection, 75181 UCS Y-Wing Starfighter will not let you down in any way. I highly recommend this set, especially if you’re a Star Wars fan.
The 2018 LEGO UCS Y-Wing officially goes on sale on 4 May 2018. You can purchase it from LEGO.com or visit your local LEGO store if you’re lucky enough to live near one. For those of you in Australia, it’ll most likely come to Myer in a few months, so if you’re on a budget, there’s no harm in waiting for it to go on sale and save a couple of bucks.
Thanks for reading! This was really fun, to review a set of this size – something that I’ve not done in quite some time!
I’d love to know what you think of the UCS Y-Wing now that you’ve had a closer look at it. Will you be picking this one up on Star Wars Day? If you do, and have completed the build, let me know what you thought of the finished model in the comments section!
Thanks again to LEGO for sending this set to me for review purposes.
Don’t forget, you can find many more reviews in the Jay’s Brick Blog Review Hub. To stay up to date on the latest posts, you can follow the Jay’s Brick Blog Facebook page or subscribe to receive email alerts for new posts!
Subscribe to receive updates on new posts & reviews!
Thanks for reading, and May the 4th be with you!