Back when I first saw Star Wars, after the spaceships, one of the things that captured my imagination was the exotic location of Tatooine – a desolate planet, where people survived in an environment where they should not. We had strange indigenous races: the Jawas and Sand People, and exotic reptiles, such as Dewback Lizards. Somewhat restricted in their first cinematic outing, due to desert sand interfering with the animatronic mechanisms, they came back with a vengeance in the Special Edition, as the imperial presence on Tatooine increased with the addition of multiple CGI ships, troops and dewbacks. This is of course somewhat ironic, as they were employed by Sandtroopers as mounts in an environment where their conveyences were unable to work well, due to interference from the sand.
Of course the Sandtroopers are searching for the missing Death Star plans, carried by R2-D2, who accompanied by C-3PO, escaped from the Tantive IV during the opening battle in an escape pod. There have been a number of versions of the Escape pod released over the years, and dewbacks have previously only appeared in sets centred around Mos Eisley.
In 75228: Escape Pod vs. Dewback Microfighters, we have the first brick built version of the dewback, as well as a small version of the Escape Pod. this set has now retired from LEGO.com, but is still available from many retailers around Australia. Your local individual results might vary.
We have three minifigures included in this set: A Sand Trooper – this is the first time we have seen a Sand Trooper since the introduction of the new helmet mould in 2019. The figure includes a torso and leg prints which first appeared in 2014. The Survival backpack design has also been previously used, albeit more recently. The new (for 2019) helmet mould, which we have previously discussed in our review of the 75262 Imperial Dropship 20th Anniversary Edition. This features addition printing of sand/mud on the helmet as well.
The set also comes with R2D2 and C-3PO. This was the first time that a micro fighter set came with more miniatures than craft. This version of R2D2 was introduced in 2016, and has appeared in 12 sets to date. The main difference in the printing with other recent versions has been slightly different coloured dots printed on its. dome. The Flat silver dome, with dark blue printing otherwise captures the onscreen appearance well.
We also appear to have reached ‘Peak’ C-3PO – with the current design appearing in 10 sets since 2015. (having only appeared in 17 sets over the previous 15 years). The torso featured coloured midriff wires, and printing lines up with the leg prints fairly well. This version also features a sliver print on the right leg – in keeping with his appearance in the original trilogy. (Have we ever seen a ‘naked’ C-3PO figure, as seen in The Phantom Menace?)
But I digress.
The Escape Pod
In keeping with the ‘Cute, short and stubby design aesthetic of the Microfighter range, the escape capsule is only 4 studs round, but brimming with thrusters: many more than seen in the original version! There is a small seat for C-3PO, and an offset plate for R2-D2. Some SNOT work on the opposite site sees an outward facing tile, for the model to rest on.
The final effect, however, reminds me a little of Major ‘King’ Kong, in Stanley Kubrick’s Dr Strangelove or How I Learned To Stop Worrying And To Love The Bomb, riding on the back of a bomb towards the Soviet Union. The pod looks a little exaggerated, a little cartoonish and a lot of fun. Of course, this is part of the point of these sets, and I won’t feel the need to criticise this here.
The other main part of the build in this set is the Dewback. While the source material might be a little closer to Olive rather than sand green, this is a fun build. In fact, this brick built version is just a little smaller than you might expect a ‘proper’ dewback to be: Starwars.com says that they are normally about 2 metres tall – a little taller than a minifigure might be, so it is not far off for scale. It is probably about right for relative length. The legs are in fixed positions, but can be swapped around to allow for changes in stride. There are 8 2×2 plates with cut off corners in this set, providing good definition for the creature’s muscles. A reddish brown saddle also provides clips for attaching the Sandtrooper’s gun and ‘electric prod stick’.
The use of small ball joints between the torso and head, and also the tail, leaves a bit of a visual gap, but certainly enhances playability. The model also uses black tiles, with a white circular eye on them. While significantly out of proportion with the dew backs head compared with the on screen version, it fits the Microfighters aesthetic. As does the use of the plate 2×2 with 2 studs on the side, forming the animal’s nostrils. Over the years, there have been some moulded versions of the dewback – but I think they feel a little out of scale a little out of scale, relative to minifigures.
This version is a little closer, but I think could be easily modded to give the feeling of being ridden by the Sand trooper, similar to horses.
This set has 2 quick and easy builds, with seperate bags and manuals, and offers a high level of playability. It is unique amongst Microfighter sets in that it doesn’t feature stud shooters or flick fire missiles – if not the first, then certainly the first double pack.
At less than $AUD30, it offers three solid minifigures, as well as a neat Dewback design. I find the escape pod amusing, but it could also contains a reasonable collection of greebling elements: brackets, cones, offset plates, plates with clips, and so on.
For myself, the highlight was getting C-3PO and R2-D2 in a relatively affordable set. I like the Sandtrooper, but I have not made a heavy investment in army building over the years – and I can see that this new helmet might put some people off. I give this set 3.5 out of 5 Arbitrary Praise units.
Set 75228 Escape Pod vs Dewback Microfighters has a RRP of $AUD29.99/$US19.99/£19.99, and has 173 pieces. It has officially retired from LEGO.com, but is still available from some retailers at this time.
What do you think of this set? Do you appreciate this coupling in the Microfighter range? Why not leave your comments below, and until next time,