Review: Brick Formation’s Hiigaran Ion Cannon Frigate

Hiigaran Ion Cannon Frigate
705 pieces, $300.00
Available at brickformation.com

Back in March 2019, Brick Formation released their first set of custom LEGO kits. Targeted to the premium collector, the sets were based on starships from the video game Homeworld. Gearbox Software, the designers of the game, licenced the rights to the models to Brick Formation, which is something of a first. As a result, the sets had to be approved by the company before they were released. The end result has been a growing number of sets that come from a few of the factions so far. I was given a copy of the Hiigaran Ion Cannon Frigate to build and review. So how was it? Let’s take a look.

Packaging-wise, it’s ready to be considered a premium set. The box opens from the front and presents the parts, all in five ziplock bags. There is one bag for the smaller parts, with the rest conating the bulk of the 705 part set. The bags are not numbered, and are not sorted by groups of steps, so I ended up dumping the parts in separate bins. It was easier to find parts when they were out of their bags. 

The instructions are in booklet form, printed on heavy paper and printed sideways. This lets you read the instructions vertically on the page spread, from top to bottom. The steps are clear, with parts in a step indicated by pink highlights. This approach is helpful in tracking parts in a step. However, its use in subassemblies can be a little confusing, as the subassemblies are sometimes shown completed, so the builder has to take a look at his parts to figure out the construction. The other issue I had was with figuring out which gray to pick – grays and black are hard to determine in instructions most of the time. This is usually solved by looking into the next step or two to see if the part matches up with what you selected.

Inside the instructions is a information/collector card in a protective sleeve. Printed in full-color, the card gives information on the spaceship being built, as well as the designer of the LEGO model. The card also has a place on the model stand, which is the first item built in this set. 

The build itself isn’t very hard – what’s neat to see and learn about while building is how the sculptural forms are built. This model has a core ‘box’ that is built out of plates and brackets. This allows the model to have studs in all directions.This stud not on top technique makes it easier to shape the body and is fun to watch progress at the build continues.

There is a small problem that happens when the bottom of the ship is attached to the rest of the ship. It should be a pretty easy placement, but the SNOT bricks in the ship body don’t have any support behind them, so they will pull inward and fall off. It wasn’t hard to fix this – a couple of bottom assemblies had to be removed so I could manually keep the parts in place, then replaced. Outside of that, the model came together pretty easily – it takes a good set of instructions to have a set where built assemblies fall into place without any adjustment. The engines look delicate while building them (the outer engines are held in place by one stud), but end up being protected by plating. 

Design-wise, this model is really nice. The use of color is well-done and unlike many a build, the color doesn’t affect the stability of the model. The many angles make the model look a little non-LEGO, and the almost complete concealment of studs reinforces that perception. The total time build was three hours – and it was a good three hours of building and learning.

As I mentioned at the beginning, this is targeted to the premium collector. The price is high, but it’s also an officially licensed set from Gearbox Software and reflects the time invested in creating the set from scratch and the fact there are only going to be 100 sets made. Whether or not a builder or fan wants to buy this set is based on how much of a fan the buyer is. This business model is already in use with Brickmania and its military sets, and I hope that Brick Formation will start a new direction in collector sets.

As for me, I am waiting for the Homeworld: Deserts of Kharak sets!

You can order this set here. You can see more Brick Formation sets here.

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