I was late to the Clone Wars, only really seeing any of the significant storylines during 2020. I recall the initial Mandalorian arc, seeing Pre Vizla’s Mandalorian fighter fly off, and thinking ‘Gee, it would be cool to have that as a set.’ Now, I am not much of one for thinking about hunting down sets that are around 7 or 8 years old. So I let it be. Then I caught up to the final season, with the return of Bo-Katan Krys, picking Ahsoka Tano up from the Coruscant slums, and heading home to reclaim Mandalore. Flash forward to late 2020, and Bo Katan returns, this time in The Mandalorian. Again piloting the Mandalorian Star Fighter, and this time appearing in scenes with both Slave I and an Imperial Shuttle – both of which feature amongst the 2021 LEGO Star Wars releases.
Set 75316 Will be released on August 1st 2021, has 544 pieces, and has a recommended Retail Price of $AUD 89.99. This set feels like a suitable bridging set in the current release of LEGO Star Wars releases: – featuring in both The Final Season of The Clone Wars, as well as The Mandalorian, as such, it is sure to be a popular set.
The set comes spread across 4 numbered plastic bags, and has 3 minifigures: Bo-Katan Krys and a Mandalorian Loyalist, along with Gar Saxon, who served as Darth Maul’s Lieutenant during his time on Mandalore.
The armor worn by the Mandalorian Loyalist is consistent with that worn by Axe Woves and Koska Reeves, Bo Katan’s colleagues in ‘The Mandalorian’
One of the most striking aspects of Bo-Katan’s minifigure is the design on her helmet, representitive of an Owl. Underneath, her head has 2 faceprints, incorporating her distinctive head band. She has both a soft smirk and angry expressions. A hairpiece is included for her: the ubiquitous LEGO Bob cut. it may not be perfect for the character, but is probably the best available in the absence of a piece incorporating a headband.
The Mandalorian loyalist armor feels like an update, weather beaten torso print adapted from that seen on the figures included in the 2013 set 9525 Pre Vizla’s Mandalorian Starfighter and 2011’s Mandalorian Battle Pack 7914, but we see newly printed legs
Gar Saxon served as Darth Maul’s lieuteneant on Mandalore, and there is no doubt as to who he serves allegiance to here. He features a crowned helmet, which feels like a good mould to use for a future Mandalorian Armorer, should one become available.
All of these Mandalorian figures feature the same jet pack mold, in metallic grey. I really love the way in which the leg and torso prints line up. These figures are well complemented by the 75267 Mandalorian Battle Pack released last year. There will certainly be a large variety of armours available from the last couple of years. Just looking at these, plus the new Boba Fett’s Starship, gives us nine without trying. There may be more yet! There would certainly be scope to revisit material from the 4th and 5th seasons of Rebels, or indeed return to the Era of Pre Vizla and Death watch to provide additional material.
The first part of the build is dedicated to the central cabin of the ship. We have predominantly grey elements: Wedge plates, slopes and SNOT Bricks.
We start off by building a solid hub with a central ball joint, as well as a turntable mounted on the rear. You can see the sloped brick with the sticker: is is cleverly mirrored on the underside by an identical part, held inverted by a small ball joint. this allows it to imitate the landing ramp of the craft, seen in the series, and helps uis to recognise how this model is a much smaller scale than true minifigure scale, even though two minfigiures can sit in the cockpit. On either side, we have two Technic lift arms, mounted to the side, which will ultimately attach to the wings.
A large Technic Ball and socket allows the front part of the cabin to rotate on its axis, allowing for the craft to fly with its
We complete the cabin with the cockpit hood, in conjunction with a few stickers (which, at this stage in the release cycle, I am starting to feel more adept at placing with a degree of accuracy.
Some of the plates used here are relatively new in these colours, including the 10×10 wedge plate in dark blue, as well as the 6×12 wing plate in dark blue.
From here, we start work on the wings. Left, and then right. They are attached to the hull using the romantically named Flex Joint 6M. Personally, I think of it as the round Technic Click Hinge.
The wings are built sequentially, but are essentially mirror images of each other. Through layering plates, the wings take on the distinctive outline of the Mandalorlian Starfighter, and the colouring is achieved using plates of different colours: Blue, medium stone grey, and dark stone grey. The patterning matches that seen on the upper surface of the wings in Series 7 of The Clone Wars (S7E8). The underneath surface does not follow the same patterning as seen on the ventral surface of the wings in the final episode of series 2 of The Mandalorian.
Our finished model looks great, and has the functionality of the the Mandalorian Star Fighter that you would expect: the main part of the cabin rotates around the central axis, and the wings fold upwards. We even have the rear dropdown ramp, prepresenting a microscale boarding ramp. I haven’t even mentioned the spring loaded missile launchers (hooray) and the stud shooters (meh!) As you can see from the image from the Mandalorian, the craft is built to roughly the same scale as the 2021 Slave I/Boba Fett’s Starship.
There are, however, a couple of gripes I have with the model – neither of which are deal breakers. The hull of the ship points downwards, rather than level. The craft has no landing gear per se, but the bricks underneath the main cabin are not high enough to ensure the hull is level. Of course, providing that level of support would detract from the overall look of the craft, so, as I said: not a deal breaker.
My other gripe refers to the underside of the wings. This is the second LEGO Star Wars set this year where the underside of plates is used to depict a design – the other example being the tail fin of the Bad Batch Attack Shuttle. Unfortunately, it is part of the psychological conditioning that I have after building LEGO sets, on and off, over the past 40 years. The side with the tubes/anti-studs on always looks a little bit wrong when displayed. Even when you set out to incorporate the design as accurately as possible through the plating, it still looks a little off. I find myself wondering if using a combination of inverse 2×2 tiles, in conjunction with some smaller (2×2, 3×3 wedge plates) could be used to better approximate the design of the underside of the wings. Perhaps some inverse wedge tiles could be developed. If this craft were to be embarked on as a UCS model, I would certainly expect a neater look on that side of the wings. The ventral patterning was not demonstrated onscreen in The Clone Wars, but I wonder if the images from The Mandalorian were available, and whether the design finally used was a best guess, or conscious compromise. It certainly provides opportunities for people to modify the final design to be more ‘screen realistic’ should they so choose.
Overall, I really enjoy the final model here. Despite its flaws, it is extremely swooshable: ideally sized for holding, and zomming. The play features and minifigure selection are also excellent, both on their own, or in combination with the other figures released this year.
As I mentioned: this craft, as well as the figures, fits in with both the final season of The Clone Wars, as well as the latest season of The Mandalorian. As such, I feel it is easy to recommend. I give it 4 out of 5 Arbitrary Praise units. I do find it hard to make a choice in prioritising this over Slave I or the Duel on Mandalore. It will come down to where your personal preferences lie. And your budget.
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I’d love to know what you think of this set overall. Why not leave you comments below, and until next time…
This set was provided by the LEGO Group for review purposes, but all opinions are my own.