Forgive me if I skip the cockpit and go straight to the new and improved (somewhat) solar panels. The cockpit's the same one that came out with the K*B Toys exclusive and the OTC.
Yep... this sucker is huge. SO huge that the new one could eat a whole fleet of the previous versions, dating back to 1978, for a breakfast appetizer! Seriously.
Hasblah rejiggered the connection struts a little but not enough for one to really notice. The panels are nicely detailed and you really couldn't ask for more as far as that goes. Hasbro did their homework and managed to tool them with an unbelievable amount of detail and care.
Sadly, the new struts aren't strong enough to really carry the weight of the panels. You know how the old TIE Fighter had a little side to side give due to the design? Well-- multiply that by the size the panels increase over the old ones and you've got yourself a little bit of a problem.
Fortunately, I don't see this causing a problem in the long run but you'd best be sure that wherever you are displaying this, the surface is level.
The panels themselves seem to be made of a pretty high-impact plastic so I don't believe these will be as susceptible to the bending seen on the Darth Vader TIE or the TIE Bomber of recent years.
Overall, it's a very handsome piece. I'm glad I had some gift cards from my birthday to pay for this otherwise I'd be screaming "rape". After all, I DID buy that K*B Toys exclusive for $29.99 a couple years ago. Grrrr... If only I knew then what I know now!
The packaging is very nice. For those of you who wanted some nicely printed Imperial Navy insignias, they are all over this box. There's a pretty huge one on the inside bottom panel. There are no flames or lava but it closley resembles the ROTS colour scheme that we've grown accustomed to over the last couple months. Due to the extensive window design, the cardboard has a tendancy to rip. The one I took had a rip in the box that Hasbro kindly taped up before packing. So, I don't know how yours will ship if you are a boxed collector.
The other "issue" with the packaging one might has is that the centre hexagon of each panel is pushed through a hole in the side windows. This leaves the part exposed to Lord knows what sort of abuse it may experience while on the shelf. The part is so inricately detailed that I'm afraid some damage may occur if it is bumped against another unit or dragged along a vented shelf.
Overall... I'd give this an "A". I'd have given it an "A+" if Hasbro had done a little more work to this to ensure a little more stability between the panels and the cockpit.
These puppies come packed two to a case. The nice lady at Target brought me the case and Jedi Drew is the recipient of the second unit.