The Lambda Class Shuttle is a large based ship expansion for the X-Wing Miniatures Game, released for the Imperial Faction as part of the 3rd Wave of releases for that game. Within the Star Wars Unoverse the Lambda Class shuttle is a transport ship and is most notably recognisable as the ship that Emperor Palpatine emerges from when he visits the 2nd Death Star in Return of the Jedi.
As has become commonplace for the large ship expansions for X-Wing the Lambda comes boxed, with the ship visible on the right of the box, held inside it’s plastic blister packaging and all of the cards and tokens hidden behind the artwork on the left of the box. The Lambda is positions side on inside it’s blister, affording you a good view of the whole ship and its wings folded up in its landing position. Given the size of the ship when the wings are folded down it would be unreasonable to package it otherwise.
Inside the box you get-
- 1 x Lambda Class Shuttle large base ship
- 1 x large ship base and pegs
- 1 x lambda Class Shuttle Manoeuvre Dial
- 16 x Cards (split between Pilots Cards and Upgrade Cards)
- 25 x Tokens (I’ll detail these specifically a little later
- 1 x Rules/mission sheet
The Lambda is an interesting ship, it’s one that seems oddly large to me, though it’s still in the 1:270 scale of the rest of the game, but that’s probably just down to my own personal perception of the ship. In a way, it also feels out of context since it looks much more like an executive transport than a ship that would regularly be involved in the kind of dogfighting that X-Wing emulates, but that’s not to say that it doesn’t have a place.
The model is well made and because of the folding wings actually has more articulation than any other ship releases so far. It also helps owners store the model since it is fairly large when the wings are fully open.
I like the look of the model, it has a suitably blocky Star Wars feel to it and since it’s from the original trilogy it obviously seems well at home with the other ships in the X-Wing Game. The paint job is terrible though, at the best of times painting white is difficult, just ask anyone who’s ever tried to paint White Scars for 40k, but mass producing it on hand painted models to even a passable level is pretty much impossible.
You get 4 Pilot cards with the Lambda and they are split, as is standard for a large base ship expansion, between 1 Generic Pilot and 3 Elite ones.
- Omicron Group Pilot
- Captain Yorr
- Colonel Jendon
- Captain Kagi
The art on the cards isn’t particularly inspiring but I like the fact that Captain Yorr appears to be flying within Endor’s atmosphere while Jendon is in a space scene with the second Death Star in the background. No card released thus far for X-Wing has particularly bad art and the Pilot cards in this set fall squarely in the average range.
The Pilot abilities are purely support, allowing target locks to be moved or passed off or letting the shuttle take stress instead of a nearby friendly ship. Overall though, I rarely see any of the Elite Pilots on the table, more often the goal is to field as cheap a shuttle as possible, taking the Omicron Squadron Pilot with Darth Vader as crew and maybe an Engine Upgrade to add some manoeuvrability. This set up still comes in at just 28 points and can add some much needed guaranteed damage to an Imperial List.
The Lambda Class Shuttle comes with 12 Upgrade cards, which puts if roughly on par with the majority of the other large based ships, excepting the Decimator. Many of the cards in this set are unique to it and have found a place in a variety of lists making it an essential expansion for competitive Imperial and Scum players. The cards you get are-
- Darth Vader (Unique to this set)
- Rebel Captive (Unique to this set)
- Intelligence Agent (Also found in the HWK-290 Expansion)
- Navigator (Unique to this set)
- Weapons Engineer (Also found in the Millennium Falcon Expansion)
- Flight Instructor (Unique to this set)
- 2 x Anti Pursuit Lasers (Unique to this set)
- Heavy Laser Cannon (Also found in the YT-2400 and Slave-1 Expansions)
- ST 321 (Unique to this set)
- Advanced Sensors (Also found in the E-Wing Expansion)
- Sensor Jammer (Unique to this set)
Many of these cards are exceptionally useful, especially when used with other ships. Darth Vader, as already mentioned, is great with the Lambda but is also exceptional when placed in a Patrol Leader Decimator. The Advanced Sensors are almost a must have on B-Wings and really improve their dial immeasurably and I’ve recently found that Sensor Jammers on Aggressors make the ship even more frustratingly hard to kill when combined with Autothrusters and IG88C. The Rebel Captive has found a home on Decimators as well but also makes a worthwhile addition to the Phantom and really comes into its own against 2 ship lists.
The Navigator works particularly well with an Imperial Boba Fett, making his movement exceptionally hard to predict and counter as well as being a good way of keeping your Phantom alive against an opponent that is skilled in covering multiple arcs of fire. Finally the Heavy Laser cannon has found a home on several ships, not least of all the YT-2400 with Outrider(although the Mangler is arguably a better choice), any Firespray, any Aggressor and on B-Wing lists, making it a very sought after upgrade.
We all know that Fantasy Flight Games just loves providing a whole plethora of tokens with their expansions. The intention is that you don’t need anything else, other than the core box, in order to use your new ship and this is a really admirable business practice, even if it does leave me with hundreds of shield tokens. In this set you get-
- 2 x Large Ship Base Tokens (double sided as Omicron Group Pilot/Colonel Jendon and Captain Yorr/Captain Kagi)
- 1 x Lambda Class Shuttle Manoeuvre dial and peg
- 5 x Shield Tokens
- 2 x Target Lock Tokens (double sided as letter M and N)
- 3 x Stress Tokens
- 4 x Ion Hit Tokens
- 1 x Critical Hit Token
- 1 x Focus Token
- 7 x Mission Tokens (3 x Disabled Ship Tokens and 4 x Cargo Tokens)
Overall the Lambda Class Shuttle is an excellent expansion, the ship is nice looking, the upgrades are excellent and many are unique to the set and the ship has a use in several lists. It’s never going to be a game changing ship but the Lambda excels in it’s support roll and as an expendable asset, used in conjunction with Darth Vader, it can easily kill more than it’s points. The Lambda also has a very unique trait, it has a 0 move on it’s dial, something that other ships can only achieve through the uses of Inertial Dampers, which is one use only. This makes the Lambda very useful as a blocking ship, especially against other large base ships.
The key with the Lambda, to me at least, it to keep it cheap. If it exceeds 30 points then it’s probably too expensive and the points could be better used elsewhere. That may change in the future since the Lambda is one of the 2 standard scale (so none epic) ships that the forthcoming Emperor Palpatine can be added too and, at 8 points, chances are that he will push the Lambda over that 30 point mark more often than not. Since the Emperor is included in the forthcoming Imperial Raider expansion the jury is still out on that one but I’d be surprised if we didn’t see a few Lambda builds start to incorporate him.
Until next time, fly casual folks.