It looks like it's been about 6 months since I did the last one of these. I know I intended to do more, but time got away from me. It's time to get right back in and take a swing at yet another pricey LEGO set and what makes it tick, or brick.
I never really thought much about the Y-Wing. It was never really one of my favorite Star Wars vehicles. It looked ungainly and not as sleek as the X-Wing. It is however a classic, used in the original series, reimagined for the Clone Wars and given life again in both Rebels and Rogue One. Recently I saw people talking about this particular set though and it was enough to make me curious about what makes this set difficult to piece together. I was surprised about the sheer volume of parts that are rare or unique. Some of these parts are fairly expensive.
In 2004, a brand new Y-WIng Attack Starfighter would have cost $119.99 US. Compared to the prices of other modern UCS sets, that's a real bargain. If you could stumble across one at original retail, you'd be doing quite well. A sealed Y-WIng will run you about $1200-$1300 while a used copy sells for about $600-$800. When I plug the parts into Brickstock, an average used price for parts, is about $830. This is not including box or instructions. I am sure there are plenty of parts that are easy to find, but that's not where the bulk of your money will be spent.
I can only imagine how the cost of this set would change if it had been made a year earlier when LEGO was still releasing everything in the old grays. It might have suffered the same identity crisis of the UCS Imperial Star Destroyer (10030), which can be found in both old and new gray.
I'm going to be showcasing the parts that are of most interest in this set. I will first discuss the parts that appear in this set more than 20 times. Afterwards, I will be talking about the parts that appear in less than 8 sets and/or will run (on average) more than $1. There will be some overlap between these lists, so I will only list out any overlapping parts once, to avoid confusion. This set is composed of 1487 pieces (counting the single minifigure as a single part.) Those 1487 parts are distributed among 247 different unique elements. In this usage, an element is a unique combination of part and color. For example, there are 4 different colors of 2x6 bricks consisting of a total of 6 different parts, this counts as 4 unique elements.
As I said before, I will first be talking about the parts that occur in this set more than 20 times. There are 11 different elements that meet this criteria. These 11 elements account for 441 parts. That's almost 1/3 of the set. That means that the other 236 elements account for the other 2/3 of the set. That's what makes these parts so interesting. Even if you have some of these in your inventory, do you think you have anywhere near as many as you need to build this set? Let's take a look at them now. (All values quoted below are based upon Bricklink sold used parts, as of June 2017).
The first piece that we are going to look at is the most commonly occurring piece in the set at 112. This piece is actually not common as it only appears in this set.The White Hose, Ribbed 7 mm D 2L actually qualifies for both lists. Being both rare and coming in at an average of just under $1 each, you're going to wind up spending over $100 on hoses to make the clean, white ailerons that give this ship the distinctive Y shape. If you're trying to build this set on a budget, might I suggest swapping the color for Flat Silver Element 78c02 which comes in at a modest $.04 making it about $4.50 to complete the look.
Coming in at less than half the quantity of the previous piece we have the much more common element 4265c. The light bluish grey technic bush 1/2 smooth appears in 515 sets and has an average price of $.02 each.
The third item on my list is Element 2555. This set requires 46 Light Bluish Gray Tile, Modified 1 x 1 with Clip. It's fairly common, occurring in 210 sets. It averages about $.05 each
This set contains 40 Light Bluish Gray Slope, Inverted 45 2 x 2. Element 3660 averages $.04 and occurs in 233 sets.
You've probably got enough element 2780 laying around from some of the 1863 sets that it appears in. This set needs 38 black Technic, Pin with Friction Ridges Lengthwise WITH Center Slots and they're only about $.01 each if you need to replace any.
If you're a stickler, make sure that every one of the next element is 3794 not 3794b or 15573. The price difference between the pieces is about $.03 with this version being the most expensive at $.08. You need 34 Light Bluish Gray Plate, Modified 1 x 2 with 1 Stud (Jumper) which occurs in 240 sets.
This set also requires 26 Blue Technic, Pin 1/2. Element 4274 appears in 611 sets and average $.02 each.
24 White Technic, Axle Connector 2L (Ridged with x Hole x Orientation) appear in this set. Element 6538b appears in 15 sets and averages $.48 each. If I were looking to save a few dollars, I'd swap it for light bluish gray which averages $.06. That would save about $9-$10.
The white Technic, Axle 12 appears in 10 sets. You need 24 at $.36 each. I'm not sure how it would impact the overall aesthetic, but the black version of Element 3708 runs about half the cost and is considerably easier to find.