I’d be fibbing if I were to say that this new range of dioramas did not take me by surprise. Of course, I’d also be fibbing if I were to say they made no sense. The history of movie scenes displayed at LEGO conventions has involved AFOLs setting up scenes from their favourite films and television series for the audience to admire. And so it was only a matter of time, given the current targeting of the Adult Market, before the LEGO Group started to produce fan favourite scenes from movies they share a licence to. This new range of dioramas presents the source material in a more appropriate fashion than might be expected in a playset, laden with play features, but not specifically designed to present us with comprehensive scenery.
This new range of dioramas brings us highly detailed vignettes, in a relatively small space, using techniques that you might have only previously find tucked away in the darkest corners of flickr, with occasional elevation to the front page of the Brothers Brick or Eurobricks.
There are three dioramas available for preorder at LEGO.com: 75329 Death Star Trench Run; 75330 Dagobah Jedi Training and 75339 Death Star Trash Compactor. We currently expect 75330 and 75339 to be available from April 28 while The Trench Run has been delayed for delivery on May the 5th 2022.
I am grateful that the LEGO Group sent me all three of these sets to review and, today, I’d like to take a look at the 75330 Dagobah Jedi Training Diorama. Focussing on the sequence where Luke Skywalker heads to Dagaboah to train as a Jedi Knight with Master Yoda, this model seems simple enough in its components: a swamp with a submerged X-Wing; Yoda’s hut in a new design, as well as some space around for Luke to practice his Force Using Skills. All of this area is framed by a large, gnarly tree with an extensive root system.
But is it really so simple?
What is it that elevates this set from previous Dagobah play sets? Let’s wander through the build, and then we can look at the things that make this set a special build. Again, special thanks to Ann for knolling the elements beforehand. This set comes with 6 separate bags of elements. We have doubled them up on the trays here.
The first bags brick us lots of black plates, bricks and SNOT elements which will bring us the base of the build, followed up by the layers that will be visible under the swamp,
Bag three brings us seemingly infinite transparent green tiles, as well as 1×1 plates. Subsequently we see many elements in dark tan, tan, reddish-brown and darker brown appearing around Yoda’s hut, as well as a number of brown arches and inverse arches forming the tree and its extended root system around the hut.
the final bags bring us the roof of Yoda’s hut, further elements for the tree, as well as the ornamentation for the landscape including shrubs and bushes, as well as foliage for the tree.
Before we look further at the build, let’s take a look at the minifigures:
There are three figures in this set: Luke Skywalker (Dagobah fatigues); Yoda and R2-D2. The Yoda and Luke figures both appeared in 2018, in a playset representing a very similar scene to this one. R2-D2, covered in mud is VERY similar to the previous Dagobah version but we have seen an innovation with this wave of sets: The little droid now has printing on the reverse side – also splattered with mud. If you are after the ‘clean’ version, you will have to look to the Trash compactor – Look out for my review soon.
Now, back to the build.
We start off working on the base – essentially a few large plates, outlined by bricks, capped off with tiles. A little greebling around the outer edges adds a little interest, and we also add a couple of printed tiles to the front: One 2×4 declaring LEGO Star Wars, and another 2×6 printed with our favourite quote from Master Yoda “Do. Or do not. There is no try.”
Measuring 18 x 34 studs, the base is sizable enough – a little larger than a typical architecture set. A white plate in one corner provides great assistance in orienting the base during the next stage of the build.
The rear left corner of the build will contain Yoda’s hut and training ground, while the front/right will be filled with the swamp. To add some interest to the appearance of the swamp, we fill in a layer of plates – tan, dark tan and black- then covered by nearly 140 1×1 transparent green tiles. The relative darkness implies depth. A few plates are also placed, to give the appearance of ripples and bubbles.
Now, this provides the builder with a remarkable opportunity to work to their intrinsic level of obsession. The 1×1 plates – you can determine whether or not you wish to be consistent with the direction you place the LEGO mark on the studs. And then there are the tiles. I don’t think I had noticed the element details on a 1×1 transparent tile previously, but as I placed these elements, it became apparent that this moulding is apparent, and is affected by the direction the tiles were placed. – there is a small line visible that crosses the edge of the stud on one side. As you can see in my build below, it did not become apparent to me until I had placed most of the tiles. This probably won’t affect most builders. But it might catch some off guard.
We add the land, with the uneven edges thanks to plates in a variety of shapes. As you can see, we have the lighter, shallow swamp waters close to the land, getting deeper as we move away. the lighter whiter aear in the front corner will also represent Luke’s submerged X-Wing fighter.
Next, we move onto the Yoda’s hut. We have a mixture of tan, for clay, as well as reddish brown and dark brown elements to represent the roots of the tree that the hut is enmeshed in. There were a couple of elements of interest to me, including this mudguard element, previously only available in black, as well as these slopes with the inward curve. We build up the walls, enclosing a small stove as well as a sleeping mat for Yoda. a small plume of smke drifts out of the hut, above the stove.
Meanwhile, as we cap it over, we build up the roots of the tree around the back.
With Yoda’s house located in the middle of the swamp, it can only be a matter of time before we have to deal with the Dagobahnian equivilent of mangroves. These roots tuck in under atches, and provide us with some great examples of taking the build ‘off the grid.’ I may or may not have misplaced a couple of the transparent green plates, resulting in a partial dismantle and rebuild at this point.
From here we build up the tree, and get the foliage in place.
The tree is not too tall, but the foliage, in conjunction with the suspended seaweed elements looks quite effective. Our model is looking nearly complete – perhaps a little too tidy around the edges.
During the final stages, we add reeds and shrubs around the hut and shoreline, as well as a few boxes of equipment that Luke has salvaged from his X-Wing, including his torch and lamp. There are at least 4 different elements used for the different forms of reeds and bushes. It’s little wonder
Our final touch is the sole wing of Luke’s fighter, sinking into the swamp.overall the effect is well executed, with the swamp waters bubbling over the top.
I found the final effect quite delightful. The diorama captures life on Dagobah quite nicely. The build takes a little patience, and takes time, but did not become frustrating or boring. It took me a couple of nights to build, probably taking around 4-5 hours, relishing the experience, doing my best to line the 1×1 elements up squarely, even though I might not have got their exact orientation sorted out in a consistent fashion.
There is plent of space on the ground, in front of the hut for Yoda, Luke and Artoo to share a moment.
Compared to both the 2004 set – a swamp covered X-wing featuring Yoda’s hut, as well as 2018s 75208 Yoda’s Hut, this set gives us a complete display model: it is nicely framed, and the details in both the tree and the sinking X-Wing give it a completeness of form.
This new ‘Diorama standard’ has been an interesting lesson for me, as I start to try and come up with new ways to make a diorama look special. This framing certainly does just that, and certainly elevates the set to the next level.
This set cost $119.99 AUD, and I don’t begrudge that. Contruction of the set gave me a few mindful moments as I lost myself in the build. Couple that with the tutorial in swamp/green water construction, and the experience was quite special. The minifigures help bring this build to life, allowing you to customise it as you might choose.
It is hard, not to praise this set. I give this build 4.5/5 Abritrary Praise Units. As an AFOL who grew up with the Original Trilogy, and now experiencing an ever diminishing supply of shelf space, I think this new form of detailed build has a lot to offer – both as a learning tool for AFOLs embarking on their own creations, as well as for Star Wars fans making a tentative return to LEGO Building. It’s pretty easy to recommend!
If you are tempted by this set, you can preorder it now, and it will ‘Ship from 28 April 2022.’ Please consider using these affiliate links: it wont cost you anything and the Rambling Brick might be paid a small commission, which I use to help offset the costs of running the blog.
I’d love to know what you think of this sort of build: Does it appeal to you? Will you pick it up? Why not comment below, and until next time,
This set was provided by the LEGO Group for review purposes. All opinions are my own.