30th Jan2017

‘LEGO Star Wars’ Review – Set No.s 75173 / 75174

by Phil Wheat

The release of a new Star Wars movie is, these days, accompanied by a fresh wave of LEGO sets to accompany the film. This year we had the release of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, a film that not only saw new LEGO sets produced featuring vehicles and minifigures taken straight from it, but also saw the re-release of two older sets in new updated editions: Luke’s Landspeeder (from the original Star Wars) and the Desert Skiff Escape set (from Return of the Jedi).

Both the Landspeeder and Skiff sets were released previously, in fact this is the third (or fourth?) release of the Landspeeder since LEGO obtained the Star Wars license! In fact I previously bought BOTH sets, so a comparison between then and now is inevitable…

75173 LUKE’S LANDSPEEDER

75173-lsw-landspeeder

Based on the classic design from the original Star Wars film, this new iteration of the Landspeeder features an opening trunk, two-minifigure open cockpit and three-engine design. Mini figures include Luke Skywalker, Ben Kenobi, C-3PO and a Tusken Raider, plus a womp rat figure. Sadly, this version of the Landspeeder only has one lightsaber – Obi Wan Kenobi’s, though Luke does have electrobinoculars; the Tusken Raider does come with a buildable Bantha stick, however I’d have preferred a lightsaber for Luke rather than the so-called “Womp Rat” (not really anything like the creatures in the movies) we get to accompany the Tusken Raider!

The previous Landspeeder set (Set No. 8092) which debuted in 2010 featured R2-D2 and a Sandtrooper and was a slightly different incarnation of the actual vehicle. However if you own the 2014 Mos Eisley Cantina set it’s safe to say you really don’t need this upgrade as the landspeeder design relly hasn’t changed enough to warrant a re-buy – unless you’re looking to build a Tusken Raider army, as those minifigs are getting increasingly rare in LEGO. As for actual differences, this new landspeeder is slightly smaller than previous – to be expected given the rising cost of LEGO and the fact this is a relatively cheap set at only £19.99 – and there has been a slight improvement to the engines…

This set could have been improved, and been more value for money, with the addition of an extra mini figure, R2-D2 or a Stormtrooper a la the old set, yet at this price it’s still worth a purchase if you don’t own a Landspeeder (or Tusken Raider) already.

Product Piece Count: 149 pieces | Assembled Dimensions: 18L x 11W x 5H cm | Price: £19.99

75174 DESERT SKIFF ESCAPE

75174-lsw-skiff

Based on the Desert Skiff from the famous Sarlaac Pit scene in Return of the Jedi, this skiff in this set has an extendable plank, storage hold, movable rudders at the back and transparent elements underneath for a ‘hovering’ look. The Sarlacc Pit itself has tentacles, teeth and an opening mouth action with space for a minifigure to be eaten! In terms of mini figures, apart from Boba Fett, this new version of the Desert Skiff includes figures that did not previously (Set No. 9496) come in this set: Han Solo, Chewbacca and a Weequay-like Skiff Guard. Weapons include 2 sets of handcuffs, Han’s blaster (placed in hidden storage compartment), Boba Fett’s blaster and a buildable axe for the Skiff Guard.

This set is a strange one… On the one hand there have been improvements to the Skiff itself, and – somewhat – the Sarlaac Pit; however the changes aren’t without their issues. For one, the new Skiff has had a total colour change, from the brown of the previous version to a more snad coloured version – which it totally inaccurate to the vehicle from the film. However the rest of the changes are less disagreeable: the curved hull at the rear of both versions of the Skiff has been extended to the front of the new version AND there’s now a rail around the front and rear of the Skiff  – surprisingly, whilst the size of the Skiff is not much different from the 2012 version, the new hull at the front allows for more room inside the Skiff and it now holds more minifigs. However the hidden compartment/bench in the middle of the Skiff has dropped the pivot joint for a mere removeable piece of LEGO… and the plank which extends out the side is smaller than the previous version.

Where I really take issue with this new Desert Skiff set is the Sarlaac Pit. As you can see in the photo above, the mouth of the pit does not fit together in any way and you have to merely “balance” the two halves together. Also adding to the problem is the ability to open and close the mouth with one of the tendrils; I get the idea of the adding playability to the pit, but it does add to the fragility of it too. It’s a shame that there couldn’t be some compromise between this set and Set No. 9496 from 2012. I appreciate the larger internal space on the Skiff but I think the mini figures on the older set are preferable (I certainly miss having Jedi Luke Skywalker and the in disguise Lando in this set).

Product Piece Count: 277 pieces | Skiff Assembled Dimensions: 24L x 13W x 6H cm | Sarlacc Pit Dimensions: 9L x 9W x 10H cm | Price: £29.99

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