75309 Ultimate Collector Series Republic Gunship [Hands On Review]

When the Republic Gunship won the LEGO Ideas fan vote to determine an upcoming LEGO Star Wars Ultimate Collector Series set, I was a little disheartened. I was more of a Nebulon B frigate kind of a guy – this was the vessel where we saw our heroes gathering, healing and planning, after what had been a pretty dreadful time overall in Empire Strikes Back.

However, the size of the fan vote, and the proportion of that vote that was looking for the Republic Gunship (more than 30000 out of 50000 votes) certainly meant that the prequel trilogy and The Clone Wars was certainly meaning something to a lot of people. And then, in 2020, the world locked down, and my son sat me down, and we started watching The Clone Wars. By the time we finished, I had developed a new understanding of the both the prequel trilogy, as well as the importance of the gunship to the next generation of Star Wars Fans. And I probably became a little excited at the prospect of a large scale gunship to be released in LEGO form

The gunship is essentially a troop transport, as well as a low altitude assault vehicle. The contemporary analog would be akin to a Black Hawk helicopter. This version of the model is larger than minifigure scale – probably around one and a half to twice that scale, and provided the design team with an opportunity to increase the level of detail included in the build.

In this review, we will take a look at the build itself, and then consider the fact that the major virtue of this set is also possibly its biggest drawback.

Set 75309 will be released on the 1st of August 23, and has 3292 pieces. It has a RRP of RRP $349.99 / £329 / €349.99 / 579.99 AUD / 479.99 CAD.

This is what the box should look like.

Starting with the Box: the set comes in a large box, similar in dimensions to other large sets, but deeper than others I have encountered recently. The black box features an oblique frontal view of the craft. We have the logos for LEGO, Star wars and Ultimate Collector Series. The upper left corner features the legend Republic Gunship, Star Wars – but there is a little hitch in some of the review copies that got sent out: the emblem used on my box and instructions is not the emblem of the Galactic Republic, but rather that of the Empire. Was this a sign of what was to follow the Clone Wars? Is this some perverse cross promotion referring to a Bad Batch of boxes? Or a simple error?

We received this statement regarding the printing error, from The LEGO Group’s PR team:

The dark side blurred our vision and we used the Galactic Empire logo on packaging and instructions for the 75309 LEGO Star Wars UCS Republic Gunship, while of course we should have used the logo of the Galactic Republic. However, the infiltration didn’t affect the actual model- which proudly displays the Galactic Republic logo. We are working to update the packaging and instructions.

The rear of the box shows the model on a display stand, with the two minifigures included on display. It also shows images from different viewpoints, as well as stills from The Attack Of The Clones, showing the gunship in flight.

Finally, there is a side elevation view, showing the model measuring around 68 sm long and 33 cm high, when mounted on its stand. A topdown photograph reveals that the wingspan in quite similar to the length!

I opened the box, not wishing to dwell on the printing error any further. Half of the bags were included in a second internal cardboard box, as is common with larger sets – this helps prevent the outer box from becoming too misshapen.

Inside these boxes are over 30 bags numbered 1 to 17, including two unnumbered bags containing printed windshields, and the display plaque tile, as well as another containing the sticker sheets with the 540 page instruction book! There are also two long technic axles, loose in the box.

The instruction manual contains information about the fan vote, as well as the details of the Gunship itself.

Once again, as I embark upon the build, Ann has laid the elements out for me.

the instructions break down the buildinto 5 setions: Bags 1-4 take care of the front of the fuselage; 5-8 create the cabins, as well as the lower rear aspects of the ship. Bags 9-12 build up the rear half of the craft. Bags 13-16 bring use the wings, guns and gunner’s turrets. Finally, bag 17 brings us the display stand and minifigures. But more on them later.

There are very few new elements in this set – a couple of elements recoloured, as well as some new prints. But lets dive into the build.

Bags 1-4:

Bag 1

The first bag brings us lots of plates in white and grey, as well as a collection of dark red tiles. We start off laying the literal groundwork for the model, layering multiple plates and tiles. Inverted round 2×2 tiles secure most of the major plate joins on the underside of the model. We build in a little detailing to wards the rear of the section, and also add in some technic elements: this is the start of the inner skeleton of the craft.

Bag 2 brings us a collection of grey bricks and SNOT elements, along with lots of small white slopes, plates and tiles. The SNOT theme continues with a number of brackets, as well. The inverse arch in bricks yellowish green is a new colour for this brick.

I really like the way these elements get built up, as a compromise to build a compound curve, going at the front of the gunship.

We add in a central bulkhead, with an archway. Grille tiles are used to add detail to the walls on either side.

This tray has all the elements from both bags 3 and 4.

The Bag 3 includes a significant number of brackets, technic bricks and the grey girder element. This part of the build focuses on building the technic spine for the craft. The brackets allow additional details to be added in the form of plates along the way. Printed wedge slopes at the rear provide additional detail to the hold.

Bag 4 contained the elements for the forward guns, as well as the walls of the forward cabins. There are MANY arched elements used in these steps. But we start with the forward guns, surrounded by a ring of 3×3 curved arch bricks. The guns have a high degree of mobility. The angled sides of the forward compartment are held in place by a technic pin at their upper ends, and drop down at the sides. I quite like the way that the green tiles on the plate line up with the surrounds of the forward guns.

Bags 5-8

Having built most of the front end of the Gunship, we start work on the aft sections.

Bag 5 contains a number of rails, as well as technic arms, which will help with the swinging door mechanism a little later. The technic bricks and lift arms are used to build up the upper after core of the ship. This are extends some 20 studs or so past the rear end of the floor. I can now see that I had put some hinges on thie rear end of the floor much earlier.

Bag Six is full of plates: White plates! With 6 sets of 3×12 wedge plates (left and right), and a number of other plates, we build up an approximately trapezoid shaped ring, with a large door in the middle. This attaches to the hinges at the rear of the floor laid down back in bag one. It is held up by a rod through elements on the rear floor, as well as technic elements in the frame over this part of the model.

We now return to the front of the craft, plating up the side of the fuselage. With a significant number of triangular plates, as well as white tiles, we build up two large triangular regions that attach to the brackets previously attached to the side of the frame.

There are some 3×3 white round tiles, and we put a Galactic Republic sticker onto these. These tiles are 50% larger than the preexisting printed tiles used in previous gunship models. Curiously, as we build up these sides, we are left with room for a single 6×3 wedge plate on the left hand side. I suspect we will establish why this is the case in the next step. We can see a large stepped groove running down across 42 studs, with a drop of approximately 13 studs.

Bag 8 brings us a solitary wedge plate – along with a collection of arched elements in white and dark red.

We build up a strip around 8 studs wide and 44 studs long. Within this assembly, we assemble the cockpits with seats which are a little too big for a minifigure. These cockpits are elegant embedded, using window frames, placed on their sides, bound in place on some headlamp bricks.

Underneath this assembly, we have a couple of plates with axle holes attached. it becomes apparent that these line up with a similar element attached to the fuselage. Here, a single axle holds this entire upper hull to the main fuselage. After placing it in position, we are left with a simple wedge plate shaped gap, waiting to be covered up quickly and simply.

Finally, we see the cockpits covered up by 10x6x3 bubble canopies. These are two unique prints, both with dark red printing. One is divded into two windows, while the other is a single windscreen.

There are a few small stickers that are applied in this area, and they are enhanced by the partially studded areas, as well as the green and yellow tiled areas.

Bags 9-12

Bag nine adds detail to the rear aspects of the ship, from the slopes forming the side walls, the missile launchers as well the proximal attachments for the wings. The protruding sloped elements appear curious at this stage – but I am pretty sure they are there with a purpose that will be revealed before too long.

The missile launchers are attached to each other, so that they can spin in contrary directions. this mechanism is also covered up, later in the step. This little mechanism was unexpected, and was a delight to encounter as I built it up.

There is also a rear facing 2×2 bracket, and its role will also be revealed shortly.

Bag 10 contains another ball and socket, as seen with the front guns, as well as another large collection of plates. These parts go towards forming the rear wall of the ship, above the ramp.

We start off building a large hinged panel, which attaches over the rear end of the gunship. there is a hole in the panel, which is just right to provide access to the 2×2 bracket.

I really like the way that the 1×2 slopes, surrounded by panels provide some detail on the upper part of the build. We finish off by placing a movable rear gun into place.

We continue, moving onto bag 11:


Bags 11&12 contains the parts needed to create the distinctive doors of the gunship, as well as the proximal base of the wings. They are fenestrated: containing slot like windows, almost designed to provide the troopers with an opportunity to shoot out, from the relative cover of the heavy duty doors. Even when closed, there is still a large opening into the hold, but I feel it provides adequate detail for the build, as well as a small amount of functionality.

The doors to the hold in the ‘closed’ position

The wing bases are a simple construction: plates, with a rounded edge. But does this provide us with an indication of just how big the next part might be?

Bags 13-16

In bags 13 and 14, we start work on the wings: The left one first, but the right is symmetrical. We have a collection of layered wedge plates, regular plates as well as complex sloped bricks.

The proximal aspects of the wings are bulked up with sloped elements, while the outer aspect is dominated by the automated gun turret, with printed domes above and below the wing.

The red axle also threads through the black technic brick with sloped end, which we were speculating about a couple of bags back. This secures the wings to the fuselage, and is easily removed, if you need the ship to take up less space in storage.

Bag 15 brings a collection of grey and dark red wedge plates, as well as a stack of dark red 4×4 round bricks.

Of course, at around this point, I start to realise a fundamental flaw in my presentation, with images taken in the soft box… it just doesn’t fit anymore!

Moving on to bag 15, we get a collection of dark red, white and grey wedge plates, along with a collection of round 4×4 bricks in dark red. These are accompanied by some round plates and white macaroni bricks.

The plates go towards triangular panels that fill in the space at the front and rear of the wings

We also have the elements to build one if the two rocket launchers/engines which connects to the fuselage via technic pins.

I really like the way the slope at the front end of the rocket launchers is achieved, with a gentle nudge. One of the large wedge bricks on each rocket launcher needs a careful hand whilst applying the stickers.

Bag 16 contains the element to repeat the rocket launcher for the other side, as well as the parts to build the outrigger gunner’s seats.

Again, a reprise of many of the elements from the previous bag, along with a collection of smaller tan elements and some white arches, not seen previously. These elements form a circumferential panel around the gunners mount. these swing out

These globular gun turrets can be tucked away in the hold while the side doors are open. I really like the detail that is included in the seats. It is unfortunate on one level that there is no appropriate figure to put in the chair, but also important to note that the model has the luxury of being able to be built at this scale, because there is no need to be bound by the constraints of a minifigure. Minifigs can fit in the seat, but they are a little undersized, and are not fixed. The seat is not well suited to hold a them without modification. The equatorial seam does make the overall shape feel a little elongated, compared to the on-screen sphere.

While we are here, lets take a look at how the minifigure sites in the seats. Unfortunately, the cockpits are not really designed to hold a minifigure: The seats are a little larger than a typical minifigure seat, as well as no studs to hold the figures in place.

And Finally.

Bag 17 is used to build the display stand for the model, as well as containing the minifigures for the set. the stand is ‘H’ shaped, with one vertical comprising the stand itself, while the other holds the 8×16 information plaque. It have parts to support the model at either end, with the white arched 2×2 brick fitting inside a hole in the floor of the hold.There are a few degrees of movement in the larger of the two stands, but not so much that the model feels unstable while supported.

The minifigures include Mace Windu – who has a transparent purple lightsaber, and a clone commander, featuring bright yellowish orange helmet detail and similarly coloured arms.

Mace Windu has the same torso/leg print that was seen in 2018’s 75199 General Grievous’ Speeder, but, as far as I can identify, this is a new head print.

I have to admit that I have been a little ignorant of the differences between Phase I and Phase II clone troopers. I am now at the stage where I can pick the helmet shape, but I remain ignorant about the subtleties in armour print, so I shall not attempt to comment on that here. The commander matches one that greets Mace Windu at the Battle of Geonosis.

You may have noticed that the last few bags were photographed in a way so as to not need to take a photo including too much of the soft box. We can now reveal the complete gun ship, mounted on the stand. I quite like the angle that the stand holds the ship on: it gives the craft a feeling of being in action.

Discussion:

Now, I may not be the person to best go in to every detail of the ship, and how it may or may not be a perfect replica of the original vessel. However, when I look at this image, taken from the Battle of Geonosis in Attack of the Clones, I gained additional gain an appreciation for the attention paid to small details in this model.

From the lime green detail at the front, the grey seam at the very front to the relative size of the gunner’s seat, relative to the doorways, the level of detail is well reproduced. Perhaps the tapering round rocket launchers could have been better represented in conical form, but with the existing elements I think it might well have been too short in that situation. The white rim around the forward guns is perhaps exaggerated around the ‘ball in socket’, but it does give the effect of bringing the gun assembly up to scale.

So, what did I get out of the build?

This is a large ship. Probably one of the largest space craft I have put together. The techniques used are, I suspect, almost universally applicable.

Once building a large ship, the technic frame offers a lightweight, but strong structure, around which a system shell can be built. This has been an evolving trend in recent years. We see it, after a fashion with the 2017 Millenium Falcon, but it becomes much more important with the UCS Star Destroyer of 2019. We see this technique also used with the large R2D2 sculpture released earlier this year, and even The Child. LEGO Ideas have also employed such a build for the typewriter, where the model is probably best described as a Technic set, with a system shell.

The use of arched bricks provided som many of the curves seen on the ship – from the forward compartment, to the connection between the walls and base of the gunship.

The Technic axle as a way to fix adjoining assemblies trick is employs in two specific ares here: the upper fuselage, incorporating the canopies, as well as attaching the wings..

I appreciate the way in which the Technic elements can be used to modularise the build: the rocket launchers/ engine assemblies just plug onto the fuselage; the gunners seats’ mounts attach to the front wall of the hold.

I was curious about the use of stickers in the set: some are used for decorative purposes, such as the small orange ones, and the Galactic Republic emblem.

I was surprised, however, to see some stickers applied to 6×6 tiles, where I thought that the detail could almost be better brick built. I had an opportunity to ask this question of designer Hans Schlömer:

He commented “If you look at the ship at the outer hull, it’s quite a mix of white and light gray and some lime green. I decided to brick build as many of the color details that are there. And in some cases I really felt that it was necessary to work with a six by six tile. In that case, I went with the stickers because I knew we were going to have a sticker sheet anyway.”

These stickers do look like they might have been able to translate into brick build form easily enough, but perhaps it might have affected the stability of the build. Certainly, the one on the wing is difficult to build without becoming too thick, but the one on the main hull felt a little more simple to substitute. In for a penny, in for a pound?

I do appreciate that all of the stickers, except for the main plaque, are printed on transparent stock. These stickers tend to be a little more robust that the whit ones, HOWEVER they do show up fingerprints a little more readily.

This model is BIG!

In fact, I would suggest that the size of this model is both its greatest appeal, and its greatest problem

How Big? I wasn’t able to put it on a standard width buffet, without having the wings overhang as a bumping hazard.

It looks kind of out of place next to the flowers….

But… look at the perilous overhang.

Certainly this provides a challenge to avoid bumping while casually walking past.

The Gunship is also big enough to transport a 918 One Man Spaceship in its hold…

Or perhaps apply a few simple modifications to set it up as a microfighter for a constructable figure? If only I had a clone trooper/pilot.

Overall, this is an impressive model, faithful to the source material. The details are able to be better reproduced because of the scale used in its design, which works out to be around 1.5 x minifigure scale. I think fans of the prequel trilogy will love it, likewise people with a soft spot for the craft itself.

As a fan of the original trilogy, with a healthy disdain for the prequels I was initially indifferent to the vehicle. Since watching The Clone Wars, I have found a greater amount of sentiment for this craft, and many of the details in the Prequel Trilogy. I am unlikely to become an expert in such craft, as 12 year old me might have been, but there is appreciation, none the less.

It does remind us, however, the fact that we have not had a similar craft in minifigure scale for about 8 years. With the advent of streaming services, as well as the introduction of new material such as The Bad Batch, I would be delighted to see a reimagining of some of the rarely revisited sets from the Clone Wars era. A minifigure scale gunship would be one, Cad Bane’s ship would be another. A range of Clone Wars ‘LEGACY sets, such as we are now seeing in Ninjago would be fantastic.

I am happy enough with the minifigure selection: Mace Windu rode on a Gunship from the Arena on Geonosis, and met with a yellowish-orange coded clone commander shortly after landing, however, this character was alreay established on the ground. That said, Ultimate Collector Series sets are not about the minifigures. There have been loud calls from Star Wars Fans for a ‘Phase II Commander Cody’ With such calls for a desirable figure such as that, we might be better off having him appear in a cheaper set, rather than to be exclusive to a $350USD/$580AUD set. there has certainly been a trend for making desirable minifigures more accessible in cheaper sets this year – hopefully we can see this continue, going forward.

Overall, building the Republic Gunship was a great experience, with lots of interesting techniques, especially if you are interested in building larger craft. The level of brickbuilt detail is excellent, and on the whole, any stickers are easy to apply, with the exception of the challenges posed by applying stickers to the wedge/slope blocks. Seeing the prequels represented in the UCS range, especially with larger ships is certainly an encouraging start.

By throwing the vote for this set open on LEGO Ideas, the LEGO Group, and the Star Wars team are certainly aware of the popularity of Prequel/Clone wars Material, especially as those who grew up with those movies are growing up. Hopefully, we can continue to see legacy material from the ‘Filoniverse’ – The Clone Wars and Rebels – as well as continuing content from The Mandalorian and The Bad Batch.

You can purchase the 75309 Republic Gunship from LEGO Brandsed Stores, including the LEGO Online store. If you purchase LEGO using these affiliate links, the Rambling Brick Might receive a small commission, which is used to offset our hosting costs.

will be released on the 1st of August 23, and has 3292 pieces. It has a RRP of RRP

I hope you’ve enjoyed our tour of the new Republic Gunship.What do you think of this model? A day 1 purchase? Or wait to see if it goes on sale with a discount? Why not leave your comments below, and feel free to share this review with your friends and communities.

Until next time,

Play Well!

This set was provided by the LEGO Group for review purposes, but all opinions are my own.

2 thoughts on “75309 Ultimate Collector Series Republic Gunship [Hands On Review]

  1. this is a heck of a review. very complete with a bunch of pics. this must have taken some time!! thanks! this will be a first day buy for me. although it is not minifig scale, i may equip the inner compartment with clone troopers.

    Like

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