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The Ghost

Star Wars Rebels
by yo go re

It took a while to get going, but Star Wars Rebels was an outstanding cartoon and a superb follow-up to Clone Wars. We're still waiting for Hasbro to release half the cast, but even if you're willing to accept the crummy 3¾" figures, it's clear there's no way they'll ever release the Ghost - it'd have to be bigger and have more play features than the big Millennium Falcon from a few years back, without the decades of recognizability behind it. Yeah, not gonna happen. So, if you want a model of the show's main ship, it's either Hot Wheels or Lego - or, as I discovered, Fantasy Flight Games.

Another successful Corellian Engineering Corporation freighter design, the VCX-100 was larger than the ubiquitous YT-series, boasting more living space and customizability. The famous Lothal Rebels led by Hera Syndulla employed a heavily-modified VCX-100 named the Ghost, utilizing its sensor scrambler, gun emplacements, and unique docking attack shuttle to devastating effect.

The Star Wars X-Wing Miniatures Game was introduced in 2012, and set itself apart from other miniatures game by being ready to play straight out of the box - all the models came assembled and pre-painted. The starter pack had an X-Wing and two TIEs, but there were many waves of expansion sets in the following years, with most of the ships being in a 1:270 scale. More or less. It may not surprise you that, gamers and Star Wars fans being two notoriously persnickety groups, Star Wars gamers are very obsessive about precisely what scale each of the ships are in. For our purposes, it's 6½" long and 5⅛" wide. To be in scale with Black Series figures, it would have to be 22.5 times larger than it is, or 12' long; for the smaller classic figures, it would "only" need to be eight feet.

The Ghost definitely has some stylistic connections to the Millennium Falcon, befitting a ship that was (kayfabe) built by the same design corporation. Yes, the YT-series had round hulls, while the VCX is shaped like a diamond, but you've still got the docking ports on both sides with the apparent corridor running between them, a gunner's bubble on the top, and a mandible notch up front - although here, that's where the cockpit is, rather than being offset to the side. The cockpit also looks even more like an old World War II B-17 bomber than the Falcon's did, thanks to the dual-level glass canopy with the nose guns underneath.

The X-Wing Minis ships are molded from solid plastic, without any moving parts. But since this is a piece for a game that's all about flying in space, it includes a clear plastic stand to lift it up off the table. The base is 3⅛" square, and a three-pronged arm holds the ship aloft. In the game, you can slot in a card that shows the Ghost's stats and attack range and so forth, but that doesn't matter to us. So you don't have to worry about accidentally knocking the ship off its stand, the front prong has a peg that fits into a hole on the underside.

As we said, the game pieces come pre-painted, and the Ghost looks great. Star Wars ships have always had a more "lived in" look than other sci-fi properties', so the parts here that would theoretically be white are instead a slightly dingy shade. There are a few panels of yellow, teal, and salmon scattered about, but this is still mainly a "white" vessel. The fine black lines outlining the various seams wouldn't be there in real life, but this is a representation, not a real thing, so they look completely awesome and positively make the toy's design pop.

The Rebels team had some really strong branding going on: their codenames were numbered versions of "Spectre," their ship is the Ghost, and their backup ship is the Phantom. Spooky! The Phantom actually did get a real toy, as Rustin can attest. It's not much of a ship in its own right, just a glorified escape pod - kind of like the runabouts in Star Trek.

In the show, it docks in the back of the Ghost, facing the rear so it's ready to be deployed quickly when need be. It's sculpted in place here, nestled right in between the engines. Unfortunately, it's not removable: think how cool it would have been if Fantasy Flight Games had crafted that as a separate "plug" which could be removed from the ship, revealing more tech-y detailing within. It's not like we're asking for the wings to be able to unfold or anything; we don't need that, because the set also includes a free-standing copy of the Phantom with its own hover base.

The base is a 1⅝" square with a clear rod to support the ship, and like the big one, it would also accommodate pieces for game info. The deployed Phantom is sized perfectly next to the Ghost, and is just as detailed in sculpt and paint. So really, yes, the only problem is that when it's off flying around by itself, there's another copy of it still stuck in the back of the mothership. And that's why we wish the other were removable.

If you buy this Expansion Pack, you won't be able to immediately play a game of X-Wing Miniatures - this does come with a booklet explaining the new rules and suggesting a few game scenarios, but a core set is still required to play. There are also lots of cards and tokens and other pieces that all presumably have some important role in the game, but it's nothing I care about; I just wanted the ship.

Supplementing a toy collection with pieces from a game I don't play isn't exactly an unprecedented development, but it still seems like a lot of money to drop on something that none of my other toys can interact with. However: Fantasy Flight has recently revamped the rules for the game, introducing X-Wing Miniatures: Second Edition; while the ship models used are all the same, the card stats and abilities are different. Because of this change, a lot of game shops are putting the First Edition sets on clearance; that existing discount, coupled with a decent Black Friday sale, knocked the Ghost set down to a price I was okay with. It would be better without the Phantom permanently attached to it, but you do get a loose version of the smaller ship, and it's not like there's ever going to be a "real" toy of them.

-- 01/13/19

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