LEGO Ultimate Collectors Series: Slave 1 Review

The Star Wars Universe has many unique style of ships.  One of the most unique is Boba Fett’s ship, which is called Slave 1. Of particular note iit lands in a different direction than it flies. It does not get a lot of screen time during the Star Wars series, but it does play an important role in the film as it is the ship that takes the carbonite frozen Han Solo back to Tatooine.

When I notice that LEGO has an Ultimate Collector Series version of this ship  I jumped at the chance to own one.

This is my review of this iconic set.


This set is one of the Ultimate Collector Series, which are the larger sets that LEGO produces.  This set, at 1996 pieces is no exception.  When built, the model is 7” high, 17” long, and 14” wide.  This size puts the ship is at minifig scale, which helps with the sense of play, as well as a more realistic sense of scale.  This will come in handy for us toy photographers.

Being an Ultimate Collector Series set,  it does come with a rather handy stand that can be used for display.

Included Minifigures

The set comes with 4 or 5 minifigures, depending on how you count.  Included is a Bespin Guard, a Stormtrooper, a Han Solo, and a Boba Fett.  The Boba Fett minifig is more detailed than the version of him that comes in other sets. The Bespin Guard and Han Solo are rather plain looking in comparison, but still perfectly cromulent. The 5th item that may or may not be counted as a minifig is Han Solo encased in a slab of carbonite.

Boba Fett casting a shadow
A menacing Boba Fett

The carbonite slab is hollow at the back, and contains a couple studs that the Han Solo figure can grip with his hands, essentially hiding Han behind the slab.  This isn’t over useful for photography, but sort of clever and worth mentioning.

Slave 1 

Slave 1 in space
Slave 1 in space

If you look at Slave 1 you realize that there isn’t a square angle on the thing. It is bulbous in certain places, and cylindrical in others, but never square.   I can only imagine how much trouble this gave the LEGO build engineers as they had to figure out how to recreate this ship.

They pulled it off beautifully.  It is a very complicated build, and uses the concept of SNOT (studs not on top) to an degree I have personally never seen. This allows for the complex shapes and structures that make up this ship. There are studs facing almost every direction.

The ship itself is very detailed.  It sports an expansive cockpit, which swivels to be appropriate for both landing and flight modes. The swivel guns on the tail look very accurate. It sports two hidden compartment on the sides that contain additional weaponry.  The tail contains a cargo door that is especially designed to hold the carbonite slab.

Slave 1 Cockpit
Slave 1 cockpit

Hidden Benefits For Photographers

Unfortunately the base of the ship, while detailed, is not solid.  Consequently, it is not overly photogenic from underneath.  I don’t think this will cause too many problems in practice. The inside of the ship is fairly hollow.  This, combined with the non-solid base, makes it easier to slip small lights inside for that more dramatic photo.

I took this behind-the-scenes shot of my customized light inside the cargo bay of the ship:
And this is the resulting image:

Han Solo, frozen in carbonite, being loaded onto Slave 1
Loading Han Solo onto Slave 1

The core of the ship is incredibly solid. However there are a lot of decorative bricks that come off fairly easily.  For example, while taking the above photo, I had to replace the round bits at the base of the tail several times.  As a result, I would be cautious taking this ship out into the field, however in a studio setting this doesn’t seem to cause many issues.


The Slave 1 model is a master class in creating complex shapes with LEGO bricks. It is a true work of art in and of itself, and is therefore worth adding this to your collection for that fact alone.  The ship’s detail, relative correct scale, and incredibly rugged build means that it will both look good in photos, as well as on the shelf.

I don’t believe this set is a must have for the toy photographer. However, if you are looking for an interesting model to add to your collection that is both a challenging build, and will look good in photos, this ship should be high on your list of sets to consider.

If you’ve made it this far, come continue the discussion over at our G+ community! And while you’re at it, subscribe to our weekly email round up and our shiny new podcast!

Review: LEGO 40236 Romantic Valentine Picnic

Love is in the air, so it’s the perfect time to review the first seasonal LEGO kit of the year: 40236 Romantic Valentine Picnic!

Like last year’s seasonal sets, 40236 comes with a couple minifigures, a few small builds, and a bevy of great accessories! Was Cupid’s arrow successful in making me fall in love with this set? Let’s find out!

Continue reading Review: LEGO 40236 Romantic Valentine Picnic

The Power of the Polybag

Many of us say we are toy photographers rather than toy collectors; however, unless we only shoot other people’s toys, we have collecting built into our DNA. I personally rip toys out of their packaging as soon as they come into my possession. I feel that, in its own right, omits me from joining the league of true collectors. But I also scour the Internet markets for the Minifigure head with just the right expression for my next shot. I once waited 6 months for a grey hairpiece with a bun, for a particular image (of course, within a month of purchasing it I had seven in my collection). So even if we are predominantly toy photographers were are, in part, also collectors. Continue reading The Power of the Polybag

Review: Ahch-To Island Training

After having seen Star Wars: The Last Jedi multiple times in theatres, I came away from the experience wanting to explore the new grizzly cynical old Luke Skywalker in my artwork. Of all the characters from the original trilogy, his story arc is by far the most interesting to me. So I went in search of a LEGO set that contained an aged-Luke minifig, and settled on the Ahch-To Island Training set.

Warning: Contains very minor spoilers, but nothing plot revealing.

When it arrived, I handed the building of the set off to my 8 year old son, Zeke, a proud LEGO and Star Wars fan himself, so I could get his opinions of the set from his perspective, as well as my own.

This is our review. Continue reading Review: Ahch-To Island Training

The Toys That Made Us

Have you seen the latest docuseries from Netflix: The Toys That Made Us? If not, you really need to put down what you’re doing and immediately binge watch all fours episodes of season one. 

Rarely have I seen a TV series so perfectly aimed at toy photographers and toy collectors. Ok, I will admit I don’t watch a lot of tv so maybe I’m not the best judge. But I can assure you, you will enjoy at least one of the first four episodes.  Continue reading The Toys That Made Us

Ship in a Bottle

Have you seen the latest LEGO Ideas: Ship in a Bottle set? Like all the LEGO Ideas sets this one is beautiful. There’s something about these fan driven sets that make them approachable, and very collectible. The Ship in a Bottle is no different.

How do I know? LEGO was kind enough to send around a few copies so that I, and a few Toy Photography friends, could take this cool set out for a spin. I’m here to report on the results and share the images that where created by Brett Wilson, Luigi Priori, Robert Whitehead and myself. Continue reading Ship in a Bottle

Review: LEGO 21312 Women of NASA

I’ve known Maia Weinstock via Flickr for a few years, so when I heard that her “Women of NASA” set was being released on November 1st, I knew I wanted one right away. I had a feeling the set would be popular, so I ordered one in the middle of the night on release day from LEGO Shop@Home.

I’m very happy with this set. All three vignettes were fun and interesting to build and are great tributes to these amazing women. There are already many reviews about this set and the builds, so I’d like to write this one from a minifigure photographer’s perspective. Continue reading Review: LEGO 21312 Women of NASA

Review: LEGO 76085 Battle of Atlantis

When first planning this week’s review, I set my sights on the new LEGO Ideas 21312 Women of NASA kit. Unfortunately, it’s out of stock both online and at my local LEGO store, so that review will be a bit late. In the meantime, I’ve decided to celebrate the release of Justice League with one of the film’s three tie-in sets!

The set in question is 76085 Battle of Atlantis, featuring DC Comics’ iconic ocean dwelling hero, Aquaman. The kit features a small piece of the lost city of Atlantis, where two Atlantean warriors are watching over a Motherbox, guarding it from a Parademon. It uh… all makes more sense once you see the movie. Continue reading Review: LEGO 76085 Battle of Atlantis

Review: LEGO 40261 Thanksgiving Harvest

November upon us, and the Thanksgiving holiday is just around the corner for those of us in the United States. At the risk of being region-specific, I decided to take this opportunity to review the latest LEGO seasonal kit: 40261 Thanksgiving Harvest.

Like its predecessor, 40260 Halloween Haunt, 40261 is a small vignette with two minifigures, a handful of accessories, and several mini-builds. If you’re looking to get into the holiday spirit, or take some nice autumnal shots, is this the set for you? Continue reading Review: LEGO 40261 Thanksgiving Harvest