“I used to bullseye womp rats in my T-16 back home. They’re not much bigger than two meters.”
When I first saw the movie now known as Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope I remember thinking that Luke’s experience shooting up rodents in Beggar’s Canyon might not be as applicable as he seemed to think. Womp rats, for instance, weren’t armed with turbo lasers, and you have to wonder if flying a souped-up crop-duster really prepared him to sit in the cockpit of a military grade starfighter. I should have been less cynical, because obviously it all worked out, and best of all, we now have an updated LEGO version of the T-16. LEGO last released the kit in 2003, so let’s bring the 12 year wait to an end and review this baby!
The T-16 was fun to build. It ships in three bags with a single instruction manual. The design features some really interesting use of Technics elements to achieve structural stability, and the angled construction relies on a variety of hinges, which also allow you to open the cockpit and reconfigure the wings for flight and landing.
The image below shows the ship configured for landing. Technic hinges allow you to open up the cockpit, which includes a storage container where you can store the blaster that comes with the pilot. Incidentally, this photo may clear up the question of whether the T-16 pilot is Luke Skywalker or not. This fellow is bald; Tatooine Luke has flowing blonde hair.
The T-16 set includes a lot of stickers that provide additional detail. As is usual with me, I did not apply the stickers as I will be re-using the set’s elements in My Own Creations. You have the option of adding cockpit controls, red markings to complete the stripe on the top fin, large personal markings that match the decorations on the pilot’s helmet, and a horizontal element that modifies the shape of the cockpit canopy.
** Playability: 3 out of 5 bricks. The T-16 earns an average rating in playability. Expert use of Technics building methods results in a sturdy ship that stands up well to swooshing and shaking. The configurable wings and opening cockpit provide good play options, and of course the inclusion of spring-loaded missiles will provide countless opportunities to
put your eye out bullseye womp rats. I suggest you build your own womp rats, however, as the rodent provided in the kit is about a quarter the size of the animals that Luke claims to have been targeting.
** Minifigures: 4 out of 5 bricks. This set’s minifigures earn an above average rating. The number included in the set is about right for the number of elements (123 pieces per minifig), and both of them are exclusive to this set (at the time of writing). The T-16 pilot’s torso, head, and helmet are superbly done, though his legs have no printing. The Tusken Raider, however, is pretty much perfectly executed. The head piece, as you can see below, has multiple colors and recreates the Sand People from the movies with excellent fidelity. Add in front/back printing on the torso along with printing on the legs and you’ve got a real winner.
** Brick Value: 3 out of 5 bricks. The Skyhopper earns an average rating for brick value. Its 247 pieces sold in our market for $29.99, which yields a fairly average price per brick of $0.12. The selection of colors is unexceptional, but you do end up with a good selection of Technics elements and Studs Not On Top pieces. On the other hand, none of the ones provided are all that difficult to acquire, so I’m assigning the average score.
** Overall: 10 out of 15 bricks. T-16 Skyhopper is an above average set whose minifigures are the biggest draw, especially for AFOLs who have been wanting to get their hands on some Sand People figures. An average rating for playability and brick value will make it easier for you to decide to leave this one on the shelf as a display piece. Keep it handy for those times when you’re trying to impress strangers with your bush-piloting skills before the big attack on the enemy’s gigantic space station.