At the Start of Episode V, we hear about the Snowspeeders before we see them:
“Are the Speeders Ready?”
“Not yet: we are having some difficulty adapting them to the cold.”
It’s 1980 and already, we worry about this machine that we have never seen before. Unlike the first time I saw Star Wars, I had not waited over six months before having the chance to see The Empire Strikes Back. I only knew one other person who had seen the film before I went to see it. And he had spoiled the ending. But I didn’t believe that what he told me could possibly be true. So I entered in, hopeful and optimistic.
Suffice to say that 11 year old me was a little disappointed. I’d never seen a film where the good guy’s didn’t win. Not just lose a battle, but lose every battle in the whole film: the battle of Hoth, the retreat to cloud city, Luke’s Battle against himself on Dagobah, and failing to rescue Han after he was put into Carbon Freeze. And then Darth Vader Said that Thing he said. Now that I know more about writing, and story craft, I understand that a shattering second act was essential to the drama. But back then, I just wanted to cry!
So I went back to the start of the film, and remembered the hopeful things about the Snow Speeders:
- We hope to get them ready soon
- The rescue of Luke and Han after their night in the tent. (How hot is the inside of a Tauntaun? Only Luke Warm! Sorry, not sorry.)
- Bringing down the first of several AT-AT’s: Hope in the face of insurmountable odds.
Unfortunately, the Empire managed to break through their line of defence, and everything went down hill for the Rebellion in that film from there. To me, the Snowspeeder represents hope, optimism and resilience in the face of overwhelming odds. This was the essence of the Rebellion.
So Many Snowspeeders …
And so it seems reasonable that we have seen it frequently revisited in LEGO® sets, like X-wings and TIE fighters. But 19 times? (Two UCS Scale; 8 ‘Minifig scale, including the controversial Assault on Hoth ‘UCS’, one microfighter, and 8 microscale versions, including Advent Calendars, Microfighters and LEGO Game Piece. I have not begun to consider Magazine cover models or keyrings
However, they almost outnumber the ‘definitive’ Star Wars Starfighter: the X wing. So, given they are limited to appearing in one sequence over 10 films to date, perhaps they are getting a little over represented.
I understand a new version of a spaceship returning every few years, to ensure there is a version available on shop shelves – taking advantage of new elements and building techniques to improve the design – and being able to reach a new generation of LEGO Star Wars fans. We do, however, have a number of significant plot points in the film that have not been awarded with LEGO Sets or they remain under represented across the years – eg A-Wing, TIE Interceptor and /or TIE Bomber, for a start.
One thing that becomes apparent is that the snow speeder design has been pretty consistent over the last few iterations, with perhaps the graphics and the color blocking being the main difference. So lets look at what we get with this set…
Ostensibly released as an updated version of 7130, which came with a Radar Dish, Hoth Rebel trooper, Luke Sky Walker and Dak Ralter. We also get a 20th Anniversary Lando Calrissian Minifigure, with a display stand. And a snow speeder.
This year, we have an updated torso print for the Hoth Rebel Troopers: There are another four recently appearing in the two Hoth Playsets recently released. This new print is subtley different previous prints, and I think this is terrific, as it allows multiple generations of minifigures, all belonging together, but being different enough to not be considered as clones. This is of course different to stormtroopers. But I digress. This particular trooper have the choice of macrobinoculars and a bazooka to work with.
Dak Ralter appears to have the same torso, head and helmet print to that seen in 2014, while the pilot’s legs have a print first seen 2014’s microfighters set. He has a small laser pistol as well.
Luke Skywalker has a similar print to that seen in 2014’s model, as well as a lightsaber and laster pistol. Again, this is a similar print seen in recent years, but the first time we have seen this specific set of element IDs used together.
There have been a few changes to the flight suit torso over the years, particularly enhancing the level of detail on the front (first introduced in 2010). One of the neat things about reviewing the 20th Anniversary sets, is that I have a replica Luke Skywalker (pilot) figure to compare this with:
We also have a Lando Calrissian figure: a replica of the first version seen in Cloud City back in 2003. He comes with an old school brick built blaster. His cape is bright yellow on one side, and medium blue on the other.
One thing that I noticed with this set, and I have not really seen this in the wild before, is that the layers of coloured printing do not line up perfectly on both the head print and the helmet print.On his face, there are a couple of small blank areas where (for example) his eyes and visor printing do not line up well.
The first part of the build is a radar dish, providing a little shelter for our Trooper, as well as somewhere to perform short range scans. Enhanced greebling compared to the original version from 1999 sees the part count for this part of the build increase from fifteen in the original to forty four here!
This Snowspeeder is very similar to 2014s’ 75049. Indeed, subtract the other elements included in the set, and it has the same number of parts – well one more, but we can find that pretty easily, I suspect…
We start with the fuselage in one bag, then the left wing, and follow up with the right wing. while held in place using click hinges, the wings positioning is relatively fixed. The rear detail is similar to that seen before. We have more stickers than other models of this scale previously, and they enhance the overall appearance of the model.
The cockpit ones to reveal the pilot’s seat, and then lifts up further to reveal the gunner’s seat. They both have displays appropriate to their roles:
Comparing this with the snow speeder from in 75049 from 2014, the details are very similar, but perhaps the colour balance is a little better, with a few traces of orange added by the stickers.
This snowspeeder design has been used fairly consistently now since 2010s 8089 Hoth Wampa Cave, mainly with subtle changes to the greebles used. This in turn had elements in common with 2007s Hoth Rebel Base 7666.
When looking at this latest version, in comparison with 7130, released in 1999, the biggest change would appear to be the greater development of the wedge plates, which allowed the front of the wings, as well as the sloped brick on the front of the cockpit to be more accurately designed. The original model was also primarily light grey. This is probably slightly more screen accurate than more recent models, The shape has however been improved models
The feels like a great Rebellion Play set for $49.99. If you have a recent set with a snow speeder in (Post 2010) this set probably has little to recommend it. We have some new minifigure prints, as well as a radar emplacement to incorporate into the action. There are a number of playsets released this year – and several are set on Hoth. Although the scale might not be consistent with this set, they also provide some target practice to destroy both Rebellion and Empire resources.
I don’t have a Snowspeeder from recent years. As such, I enjoyed the building process with this model, as well as the minifigures. The Lando minifigure is a great addition to the expanding collection of anniversary figures on my shelf. I give this set four out of five arbitrary praise units.
What do you think of this set: fitting tribute to one of the first LEGO Star Wars sets, or an idea that is too frequently revisited. Why no leave your comments below, and until next time,
This set was provided by the LEGO Goup’s AFOL Engagement team for review purposes. All opinions however, are my own.
While you are here, have you heard about our building contest, where you can win a set of Disney Series 2 minifigures? You can read about it here. Entries close May 12th 2019
You can check out my reviews of the LEGO Star Wars 20th Anniversary sets at the links below: