“Senior” Set Reviewer & Star Wars expert Patrick Barnes is back with another set review for our website. Found out what he has to say about 7166 Imperial Shuttle:
Patrick: As someone who got into collecting Lego Star Wars in ~2006, there were some great sets I missed out on that came before and set 7166 Imperial Shuttle is no exception! Coming in at 219 pieces with 4 minifigures, this set effectively captures the look of the Imperial Shuttle seen in Star Wars: Episode 6, with large wing and slope pieces used to capture the dainty design of the ship. However, as a 20 year old set, the build is relatively basic, with simple ratcheted joint connections for the cockpit and wings, and not a single technic pin to be seen.
Much like most Star Wars Lego sets, the ship looks drastically better in its “wings down, flight/attack position” mode than its “wings up, landing position” mode. Unfortunately, the ratcheted joints don’t allow the wings to lower beyond this, but it still captures the design effectively.
Because the model doesn’t utilize most its core for technic mechanisms, there is sufficient room in the core to house Palpatine and both his guards, as well as their accessories, on a small, slide-out platform. The hatch also folds down and resembles a ramp, though I don’t know if this was deliberate or a coincidence when designing the platform.
Towards the front of the ship, the printed windscreen (which is a great looking piece) can be removed to allow access for a pilot. The console piece used is pretty weak, looking more like some kind of wired connection than driving controls. However the cockpit itself is pretty spacious, almost fitting two figures. Above the cockpit, two printed pieces are visible, both of which are great and add necessary detail to the ship. On both sides of the cockpit, bar pieces are used to imply forward cannons, which could have been easily improved by a small pin, or even a lightsaber hilt, at the ends.
The set features 4 minifigures, which are (from Left to Right), Emperor Palpatine, Imperial Shuttle Pilot, and two Imperial Royal Guards. These are great figures to include in the set as a pilot is necessary and Palpatine is always escorted by his red-robed guards. The printing used on Palpatine’s face is iconic for the character, with deep wrinkles and squinted eyes, and the Royal Guards must have been good for the time as Lego has been using their headpiece ever since. The standout of the lineup for me is the Shuttle Pilot, who has clean and efficient torso printing for a 2001 figure and is exclusive to this set. My sole complaint is Palpatine not getting a lightsaber and the pilot not getting a blaster, but otherwise a great selection.
Overall, this is a great set to pick up if you can find it semi-cheap on the aftermarket. Lego just released a new Imperial Shuttle that I believe is similar in scale, though even this set, at 20+ years old, can likely be found cheaper. I thoroughly enjoyed the more simplistic build, and I am eager to purchase more older sets!