LEGO Death Star II Battle (GWP) Set 40407 Review

May the Fourth Be with You

May 4, affectionately known as Star Wars Day to fans,  has come and gone, but for a brief window, LEGO shoppers had the opportunity to take home an exclusive Star Wars set with their purchases. In this post, we take a closer look at that exclusive set and build it for some photos.

LEGO Death Start Battle II Set 40407
LEGO Death Star II Battle set 40407

Death Star II Battle (set 40407) was available for free from Shop.LEGO.com with qualifying Star Wars purchases of $75 USD or more. The set is comprises more than 230 pieces and depicts the epic, Return of the Jedi battle over the Empire’s under-construction Death Star.

LEGO Death Start Battle II Set 40407
LEGO Death Star II Battle set 40407

Fully operational

The Death Star II Battle will be immediately recognizable for Star Wars fans, and LEGO has done a wonderful job recreating this scene in micro-scale form.

LEGO Death Start Battle II Set 40407
LEGO Death Star II Battle set 40407

Death Star II Battle features minimal yet creative parts usage to recreate the surface of the Death Star with splashes of color to highlight the active construction zones. A mini A-wing races just above the Death Star’s exterior while being pursued by a fearsome, TIE/IN interceptor.

LEGO Death Start Battle II Set 40407
LEGO Death Star II Battle set 40407

Not entirely stable

This is the first Star Wars micro build I’ve ever assembled, and these things take a delicate hand. The surface of the build is solid, but the ships and protruding pillars are a bit fragile.

While I was building the A-wing it exploded in my hands because I accidentally applied a bit too much pressure. Several pieces in the set are held in place by a single stud, so while not difficult to assemble, they can be easily knocked off.

Once assembled, the finished set looked great. It’s impressive what talented designers can create on such a small scale with only a handful of LEGO elements.

LEGO Death Start Battle II Set 40407
LEGO Death Star II Battle set 40407

Shooting the set

As someone who focuses on minifigures 99.9% of the time, I was perplexed about how to shoot this set. The micro scale and minimal parts usage concerned me, as I knew my parts placement would be under scrutiny when viewed through a macro lens.

As I looked at the set, I got the idea to try recreating the intensity of the second Death Star battle as the Rebel Alliance desperately fought to destroy the Empire’s deadly space station. I wanted to make the scene exciting and chaotic, and what better way to do this, than with the use of sparklers and long exposures.

I went with a simple setup, using a Lume Cube to throw some light on the set, as well as an overhead flash and homemade lightbox. I suspended the sparkler from above so the sparks would rain down just behind the set.

I focused on the A-wing, set my shutter speed to 1.6 seconds in order to get some nice streaks from the sparkler. Then, I shut off the lights, lit the sparkler, and took as many exposures as I could before the sparkler fizzled out.

1.6 sec at f/11, ISO 100

Initial results were promising, so I adjusted the position of the set and sparkler and kept shooting.

One downside to working with sparklers (aside from the potential fire hazard) is that they leave a lot of black debris where they fall. In between shoots, I had to use a rocket blower to clean the black specs away.

LEGO Death Start Battle II Set 40407
1.0 Sec at f/11, ISO 100

The shots were looking good, but I wasn’t entirely happy with the way the sparks were falling—as if they were coming from something offscreen, not from the actual battle on the surface.

I tried repositioning the sparkler directly behind the set and started shooting again. Now I was getting the results I was after. I wanted to make the sparkler appear more explosive, so I slowed my shutter speed down to 3.2 seconds. I also wanted to black out the background as much as possible, so I stopped my lens down to f/16.

LEGO Death Start Battle II Set 40407
3.2 seconds at f/16, ISO 100

Combining sparklers with long exposures can be a ton of fun, just please do so at your own risk—especially when working around toys. I’ve had more than my share of mishaps, so be careful.

LEGO Death Start Battle II Set 40407
3.2 seconds at f/16, ISO 100

This was a fun set to build and shoot. Thanks to LEGO for providing ToyPhotographers.com a copy to play with.

May the Fourth Be With You… Always…

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