Convergence. Twenty years ago, we saw the release of the first LEGO® Star Wars™ sets. LEGO Mindstorms was launched the year before. Later in 1999, the Droid Developer Kit 9748 was released, followed up the following year with the Dark Side Developer Kit 9754. These sets were equipped with the Micro Scout CPU – it came with a number of pre programmed responses, including behaviours that could be influenced by ambient light. The programming might have been limited, but who wouldn’t want to be able to build their own R2-D2?
Fast Forward 20 years, and LEGO Robotics system have obtained an unprecedented level of power through the EV-3 system, and the new Powered Up paradigm is starting to take hold. With the LEGO Boost Creative Tool Kit now almost 2 years old, it seems reasonable for it to be upgraded, and what better way this year, than to make it a LEGO Star Wars set.
Regular readers will know of my enthusiasm for Boost as a way to power your models, as well as add a degree of automation. The original Boost Tool Box featured a series of models and programming challenges to teach younglings the ways of the coding for those models, and a similar app is available for the Star Wars models and their challenges.
Like the original Boost Toolbox 17101, The BOOST Droid Commander set comes with the Move Hub, a light/color/distance centre and a servo motor. It will also be able to be used for non Star Wars purposes, using either the Powered Up App, or the original Boost App. (although, I am sure the Star Wars app will allow this too). Personally, I believe the Boost Creative toolbox s one of the best sets to get somebody interested in a general set, with wheels and gears. I suspect I will feel similarly about this one.
With the final film in the Star Wars/Skywalker Saga opening later in the year, the Boost Droid Commander set will be released world wide in September 2019. It has 1177 pieces and the recommended retail price will be US $199.99 – CA$249.99 – DE €199.99 – UK £179.99 – FR €219.99 – DK 1799.00DKK – AUS 359.99. [The original 17101 Boost Creative Toolbox had 845 elements and cost $AUD249.99/$UDS159.99. At present, I don’t understand the US Price rise of $40 compared with the AUD increase of $110]. I expect a degree of increase due to increased set size and Star Wars License, BUT this is a little inconsistent.
There are three different models to build, each with different challenges. Looking at these models, there are a variety of colours provided in the set (predominantly white, black and medium turquoise/teal). We see models for R2D2, the Death Star Mouse Droid, and the Gonk Droid, which seems to function as a walking droid, wrapped in teal!
The models were designed by Carl Merriam, who was responsible for ‘Frankie the Cat’ in the original Boost Tool Box. Carl has been part of the Creator Expert Team, in the meantime, as well as contributing to the Saturn V Ideas set.
We have been provided with a little bit of insight into the design process, through the ‘Sketch models’ provided, demonstrating different stages in each model’s development. You can see those details in the galleries after the Press Release.
LEGO® Star Wars™ BOOST Droid Commander set takes the Force to a new level, introducing the droids you have been looking for…
New LEGO® Star Wars™ BOOST Droid Commander set lets fans build, code and play with three iconic Star Wars droids – whether they’re a young Padawan or Jedi Master
BILLUND, DENMARK (May 4, 2019): Today, the LEGO Group unveils the latest addition to its much-loved Star Wars™ range – and it’s something even Yoda’s Force sense didn’t see coming. The new LEGO Star Wars BOOST Droid Commander set offers all the creativity and coding fun of LEGO® BOOST alongside the chance to build three of the film franchise’s most iconic droids: R2-D2; the Gonk Droid; and the Mouse Droid.
It’s the first time the intuitive drag-and-drop LEGO BOOST coding technology has been used in a LEGO licensing product. With the technology overhauled to match the LEGO Star Wars galaxy, the result is a whole new play experience in which kids and parents can team up to build, code and play with the droids, then create their own Star Wars stories and battlegrounds with inspiration from 40+ interactive missions. What’s more, every time they play with this LEGO Star Wars brick galaxy of lovable droids, they will also be honing their STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths) skills, which are ever more important for children in today’s digital world.
Julia Goldin, Chief Marketing Officer, LEGO Group, said: “We’ve been fuelling the imagination of young Padawans and Jedi Masters for twenty years and wanted to take the Force to a new level. By introducing LEGO BOOST and creative coding into the LEGO Star Wars galaxy, kids now have the chance to develop essential 21st century skills while immersing themselves in the amazing world of Droid Commanders. Our children are the problem solvers of tomorrow and STEAM skills will be essential to help them conquer the challenges of the future.”
The LEGO Star Wars BOOST Droid Commander set is the latest example of how the LEGO Group is using product innovation to help boys and girls gain vital STEAM skills like creativity, critical-thinking, problem-solving and communication – all while enjoying the thrill of playing with their favourite LEGO Star Wars characters.
Launching globally September 1, 2019 just in time to mark the upcoming release of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, all three droids (R2-D2, Gonk Droid and Mouse Droid) included in the set are great fun to build, code and play with, and completely customisable for every child.
“These are the droids you’re looking for.”
LEGO® Star Wars™ BOOST Droid Commander product facts:
The set includes a color & distance sensor, interactive motor, Bluetooth (Move Hub) and 1,177 pieces – enough to build all three lovable R2-D2 robot, Gonk Droid and Mouse Droid, each coming with their own personalities, skills, and authentic Star Wars sounds and music. It will be age graded 8+ and the recommended retail price will be US $199.99 – CA$249.99 – DE €199.99 – UK £179.99 – FR €219.99 – DK 1799.00DKK – AUS 359.99.
R2-D2 measures over 7” (20cm) high and 5” (14cm) wide. LEGO® Gonk Droid measures over 7” (18cm) high, 3” (9cm) wide and 6” (16cm) long. LEGO Mouse Droid measures over 5” (14cm) high, 3” (9cm) wide and 6” (17cm) long.
Free LEGO® BOOST Star Wars™ app is available for selected iOS, Android and Fire smart devices. Using the app, young commanders can build the droids, insert the Bluetooth-controlled Move Hub into the droid they want to see solve each of the 40+ missions, and bring it to life using the intuitive drag-and-drop coding environment.
Mission examples include:
– Plot a course
-Receive and decode an incoming message
-Assisting flying an X-wing
-Work as a load lifter
-Ready for the fighting pit
And many more…
For more information, visit: www.lego.com/starwars-droidcommander
Personally, I love the look of this set, and think that even if Star Wars is not your cup of tea, it would be a great LEGO Starter set, especially if you are looking for that mix of System and Technic elements to make a model come to life. This set has crept under the radar, and announcing it on May the Fourth – (Star Wars Day!) is a brilliant piece of marketing, although I feel frustrated at having to wait another four months before we can get our hands on it.
What do you think of the set conceptually? Does the Star Wars Skinning influence you in your ‘need’ to purchase a Boost set? Why not leave your comments below, and until next time,