Friday, February 26th, 2021 at 8:58am by Andrew, BZPower News Manager
Today we have a review of another Star Wars set for you all, kindly provided to us by LEGO. We're taking a look at 75302 Imperial Shuttle, which allows us to recreate Luke Skywalker turning himself in to Darth Vader on the forest moon of Endor. Containing 660 pieces and retailing for $79.99 when it launches on March 1st, it's smaller than the previous iteration that was released in 2015, but what is the impact of that lower cost and piece count? Is it still a fun build, are there useful elements, and can you play with it? Read on to find out my thoughts!
From the design of the box to the instruction manual, these are the first things you see before building the set.
The box makes it abundantly clear that this is a Star Wars set, and there's very little to distract you from the shuttle front and center. There's no cluttering hangar accessories or ammo trucks or anything like that. We also see that this set contains (only) three minifigures: Darth Vader, Luke Skywalker, and an Imperial Officer (ostensibly the pilot). On the back we can start seeing some of the features the set offers, including an opening cockpit and passenger compartment, stud shooters, and, most importantly for a Lambda-class shuttle, folding wings.
Half the fun is had building the set. How fun is it to build and how easy or challenging is it?
I tried something new here and split out the build portion of the review video into a separate clip, so you can see the set come together and not have to listen to me drone on. The set took about an hour to build (don't worry, the video is sped up!) and was made easier due to the perfect symmetry in the fuselage and wings. There's still some fun and interesting techniques though, with lots of SNOT and some Technic included to achieve the proper shaping and give the model stability, respectively. On thing that surprised and impressed me was that there were no stickers!
Now that the set is complete, we can critique how it looks from every angle. New or interesting pieces can also be examined here.
There were a few brand new pieces in this set that I was excited to see! We get a new SNOT bracket that is sure to enable some sturdier shapes in tighter corners than past iterations could achieve. We also get a 1x1 brick with a Technic axle hole, which compliments the old 1x1 brick with a pin hole that we've had for so long. The pointy 2x2 curve slope is also new and 'combines' the two 1x2 versions we've have for a few years into a single piece. I'm not sure if this other Technic connector is new or not, but it wasn't immediately familiar to me. Finally, we have to only printed element in this set (apart from the minifigs), which was surprising considering the aforementioned lack of stickers. It's a good print though and potentially pretty useful.
Overall, there's a good selection of slopes, wedges, SNOT pieces, and a handful of Technic that are sure to find their way into other creations if that's your thing.
Here we have the finished set! With the three wings folded up, it definitely captures the look of the Imperial shuttle in its landing position. The exposed Technic beams on the undersides of the wings do stand out a bit though, as do the stud-shooters attached underneath the cockpit. In fact, the cockpit section in general feels a bit awkward, with lots of gaps underneath, and doesn't quite achieve the sleek lines of the source material. I do like how the rounded sides were built though, and the engines on the back look nice, although the area above it with all the grey parts sticking out doesn't quite fit. If you're going to put it on display, go for a front view and you'll be fine.
An interesting thing about the Lambda class shuttle is that it has two landing struts that fold out that it balances on. This set is lacking those, and instead has three Technic connectors that kind of look like landing gear that it rests on. Not impressed. I am impressed by the mechanism to access the interior of the shuttle - a rubber Technic connector is used as a spring of sorts to keep it firmly closed, but when levered back it allows you to tilt the entire top wing and fuselage backwards, allowing unprecedented ease to put minifigures inside. There's only really room for two though - Luke and Vader in this case - along with their lightsabers. The cockpit tilts forward to open, so the pilot can easily get in as well. I thought it was interesting that there were no printed control tiles or levers to fly with - it seemed like an odd absence.
Thanks to some of the rounded click-hinge elements, the wings fold open easily and will stay in place where you put them. They're not sturdy enough to support the weight of the ship if you try to display it like this though, so I had to make use of a Pick A Brick cup to prop it up. They are designed at the proper angle and complete the silhouette of the Imperial shuttle in flight. Ignoring the above-mentioned gripes, it looks sleek and swooshable.
There are three minifigures in this set, and I don't believe any of them are new or unique, or if they are the changes are so minor they're ignorable. The Imperial officer looks fine in his black tunic and cap, the latter of which prevents him from having a double-sided head.
Luke Skywalker looks like every other Return of the Jedi Luke we've gotten over the past few years. I'm not sure how many that's been, but he looks fine, has all the right details, and the chin on his double-sided head still peeks out below his hair on the back.
The new-style Darth Vader (I saw new but it's probably been like five years now) still does the job. I like the two-piece helmet and think it adds some playability to the figure. The printing looks great and he looks like Darth Vader should.
And that's it. Only three minifigures, which seems low for an $80 set. Maybe another officer or a Stormtrooper or Royal Guard? Then again there's no room inside the shuttle for them to sit, so maybe that was the deciding factor?
It just so happened that I had two other LEGO Imperial shuttles floating around - 2015's 75094 Imperial Shuttle Tydirium, which we reviewed almost six years ago, and 2010's UCS Imperial Shuttle. So of course I had to compare them, and I did a video about it to keep the main review from being too long. This set is $20 less, contains 277 fewer parts, and has two fewer minifigures than the 2015 version, and it shows. It's obviously smaller in every regard, which is to be expected for the cheaper price. But it feels like it's missing a lot: the previous version has the two landing legs that retract and also a boarding ramp that folds down, the cockpit fit two minifigures and captures the shape of the source better, and the passenger area fits three minifigures plus a bunch of cargo. The only area where the new model clearly comes out ahead is the accessibility of the passenger area, since on the last iteration you had to partially fold a wing down to flip the panels up. But still, it feels like you got a lot more for those $20 extra dollars six years ago. As far as the UCS version goes, obviously it trumps them both in terms of accuracy and display-ability but while the cockpit does fit four minifigs the passenger area is taken up by all the Technic pieces that allow those massive wings to go up and down.
I like that they lowered the price point on this set - people always make it clear that LEGO sets are expensive and Star Wars especially so - but when you compare this to what we got in the past it feels like it should be more of a $60-70 model and not an $80 one.
The other half of the fun is in playing with the set. How well does the set function and is it enjoyable to play with?
I pretty much covered the play features in the design section - there really isn't a lot. It opens up so you can put the figures in, the wings fold down, and it has two stud shooters. It does include Luke and Vader, but at the point in the film this model is based on, Luke had turned himself in to Vader and was a prisoner, so there's not really even a lot of conflict here. You can still run around your house swooshing it and making spaceship noises, and it will hold up just fine, but there's not a lot more than that.
Once it's all said and done, how does the set stack up? Should I get it?
What's to like?
- Mechanism to open the passenger area is awesome
- The price went down since the last version
- No stickers!
- Fairly accurate depiction of the ship from the film
- Good selection of parts including some new molds
What's not to like?
- Cockpit section is ugly and gappy
- Only three minifigures, none of which are unique
- Drop in price comes with a major drop in pieces and overall size and features
I don't think you should pay full price for this set. If you got the 2015 version, you can probably pass on it entirely. If you missed that iteration and really want an Imperial shuttle, wait to find it 10-20% off, and then it will be a better purchase. It's not a bad set by any means, and I appreciate that this and other Star Wars sets have shrunk in size and price in 2021, but that comes at a loss of accuracy, play features, and minifigures that makes it hard to find the value at $80.
We'd like to thank The LEGO Group for sending us this set so we could share our honest opinions on it. I think it goes without saying that the thoughts above are our own and are not influenced by us receiving this set for free. Thanks also goes to BZPower's Ambassador Tufi Piyufi for arranging our receiving the set to review. Hopefully you enjoyed it or at least learned something from it! This is our last Star Wars review for now, but we have a bunch of others coming up soon, so keep checking back for them right here on BZPower!
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