LEGO Star Wars Review: Emperor Palpatine’s Shuttle 8096

I am finally finding some time to construct some sets I’ve recently purchased, so I wanted to share my thoughts on set #8096 Emperor Palpatine’s Shuttle.

First, let’s check out the accuracy of the design from Lucas’ intention to the LEGO version. Here is the completed shuttle:

LEGO Star Wars Emperor Palpatine's Shuttle 8096

Here is Palpatine’s Shuttle from one of those Star Wars books:

LEGO Star Wars Emperor Palpatine's Shuttle 8096

And some concept sketches:
LEGO Star Wars Emperor Palpatine's Shuttle 8096

Overall, I have to say the LEGO design isn’t bad. I don’t like how one side of the top fin shows the bottom of the LEGO plates, I wish they could have double-sided it. But it’s a good likeness. What I really love about the final version is that it’s a good size ship, and very playable. They designed the top fin as a handle – VERY sturdy, so you can just grab it and fly it around without any fear of the top fin breaking off, and the rest of the ship crashing into hundreds of pieces.

Here is the view from the LEGO box. I always find this box shape to feel odd, very long, but very thin. Regardless, it serves its function:
LEGO Star Wars Emperor Palpatine's Shuttle 8096

These have to be the scariest 3 minifigure heads to ever be included in a LEGO set:
LEGO Star Wars Emperor Palpatine's Shuttle 8096

Love this helmet though. LEGO has been doing some really good things with helmet printing:
LEGO Star Wars Emperor Palpatine's Shuttle 8096

I like the retro feel of this display console, I can imagine Luke heading into the Death Star trenches with this display:
LEGO Star Wars Emperor Palpatine's Shuttle 8096

I know LEGO said they are addressing this in 2011, but there are big issues with identifying which color gray they refer to in the manuals:
LEGO Star Wars Emperor Palpatine's Shuttle 8096

I was surprised to find a damaged brick, see the front edge of this slope. Not a huge deal:
LEGO Star Wars Emperor Palpatine's Shuttle 8096

LEGO has given us some very detailed sets and pieces in the past decade, but I am never a fan of large molded pieces:
LEGO Star Wars Emperor Palpatine's Shuttle 8096

Two manuals for a set of this side seemed a bit much. Some of the steps are simply taking a brick and doing nothing to it:
LEGO Star Wars Emperor Palpatine's Shuttle 8096

There are inconsistencies as to how the manual approaches the process. At one point, they stop telling you which pieces and how many of them are needed for a particular step. So you have to really study the photo to ensure you aren’t missing anything. Again, not a huge deal, but inconsistent:
LEGO Star Wars Emperor Palpatine's Shuttle 8096

I thought it was funny to see some rubber pieces. I wonder how well these will age:
LEGO Star Wars Emperor Palpatine's Shuttle 8096

Overall, I bought this set for the minifigs, but find the ship to be a nice little set. The scene it depicts is my least favorite of episode 3, but the ship itself is very playable, and a pretty good design.

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