75341: UCS Luke Skywalker’s Landspeeder: Rambling Review

Luke Skywalker’s Landspeeder was the first personal vehicle that we were introduced to when Star Wars was first released in 1977. It truly embodied George Lucas’s notion of a ’used’ galaxy – where buildings and vehicles seen on screen had a few years or miles behind them, and were no longer in brand new condition. While the X-34 Landspeeder has been produced in several forms in the past, typically at Minifigure or microscale, it has often been at the expense of being able to brick build the fine details. By producing this set at a larger scale, many of these details are able to be demonstrated without resorting to stickers, except where necessary.

This latest addition to the Ultimate Collector Series has 1890 pieces and will be available from 1st of May, 2022. I was sent a prerelease copy by the LEGO Group for review purposes. All opinions are my own.

Without further ado, let’s take a look.

The set comes in the requisite black box, with branding for the LEGO Group, Star Wars and Disney: It’s starting to get a bit crowded there. Along the bottom edge of the box is the black strip of greebled elements that we have come to associate with sets aimed at adult builders. The front of the box is dominated by a view of the speeder from the left/forward/upper aspect. There is a small logo associated with the set title, depicting the Lars’ Family homestead, under the dual suns of Tatooine. This logo was previously featured with the Mos Eisley Cantina Master Builders Series set from 2020, and also appears on the box for the forthcoming Lars Family Kitchen (featuring Aunt Beru – Available as a Gift With Purchase May 1 -5 with qualifying purchases). The rear of the box provides a view from the left rear of the landspeeder: this time mounted on its display stand complete with the minifigures, as well as images from the film, model dimensions and photos showing some of the details from the build.

The Instruction manual is 250 pages thick, and as with many of the 18+ sets, opens with comments regarding the X-34 Landspeeder, and the props used in Star Wars. We also have a few comments from the set designer, César Carvalhosa Soares. There is a grand total of 437 build steps outlined in the instructions.

The set has bags numbered from 1-11 (maybe 12 -13 numbered bags). There is another bag containing several larger plates, flex-tube and brown ’cable’ elements. The new windscreen element is packed separately, with its own tightly adherent plastic cover, protecting it from getting scratched in transit. Unfortunately, it was unwrapped before I could photograph it!

LET’S move on to the build. Once Again, Ann has knolled out elements. There are a few new recolours, including a number of the medium nougat elements, as well as the flat silver flex tubes. I’ll present some ofthe elements as we work through the build. Sometimes, we have more than one bag of parts in any given photo…

Bag 1

The overall external colour scheme of the model is nougat, with dark red trim. Some aspects of the engines are predominantly dark stone grey, depicting their age and corrosion. As you can see, however, there are multiple colours in play, which help with orientation during the build. We start off laying out plates into the form of the floor of the model. Obligatory gaps form the spaces where the stand will later attach. Inverse curved slopes/inverse bows in nougat form the outer, lower edges of the landspeeder. Other cars of a similar scale that I have built in recent years (including the Ecto-1) have incorporated a Technic frame. This build uses predominantly ’System’ elements – plate/brick/tile/stud based construction.

Bags 2&3

The dark red and black elements included here make up the contents of the cockpit: the seats and console – spread over both of these bags. Some window frames are used to define the height of the rear aspect of the build. I really like the degree of detail that is included in the cockpit.

Bag 3 also incorporates some SNOT elements (Studs Not On Top) that are incorporated in the outer wall of the build. We start to develop the small ’wings’ to which the turbines will be later attached. The steering wheel is adjustable, thanks tosome technic click joints. Mudguard elements help to assign the lines of the vehicle towards the rear of the main body, and are set opposing each other thanks to some clever SNOT work. A small row of clips across the back will serve to attach rear panels in the future, and there are some ball joints present at the front of the fuselage – suggesting that the rounded front of the vehicle will follow, and just clip into place.

Bag 4

With lots of nougat plates, and multiple different dark red elements, we start to set up the external layers of the vehicle, particularly at the rear. Curved ‘macaroni’ tiles set the sweeping lines from the decorative stripe on the bodywork, around toward the wings. We build up a layer of dark red towards the front, which will subsequently be covered, allowing the dark red stripe work to be inlaid.

I really appreciate the stacked arch elements between the wings and the rear corners. We set up different connections on the left compared to the right – technic pins on the left side and friction Technic stud elements on the right.

Bags 5 & 6

In these two bags, we complete the main body of the landspeeder. We have lots of nougat curved slopes, cheese slopes in dark red and more plates and tiles, in both dark red and nougat.

Initially focussing on the rear detail, the panels on the tail end of the landspeeder attach using the 2×3 shield, whilst the tail plane attaches using a couple of technic axles into pricks with a cross hole. The upper surface of the rear body is covered with nougat plates, and we place dark red tiles around the edge of the cockpit.

As we move to bag 6, we start to add nougat plates to the top of the forward section. Res tiles sit flush with the upper surface, providing the distinctive red lines decorating the machine. Along the outer edges, the combination of 2x4x2/3 curved sloped and 1x2x2/3 ‘double cheese’ slopes form the rounded edge. While these elements don’t quite sit flush with each other, the effect works well. Finally, we add the cockpit windscreen – 14 x14 studs – the main curve fits the geometry for a circle with a 7 stud radius.

Bag 7

This bag brings us the 4 quarter circle circular sloped bricks – 10×10 with 33º slope. Back in the day, these elements were frequently printed – particularly thinking back to the UFO theme in the late 90s. Today however, we will be placing stickers. It would seem that these quarter- circle bricks were used to determine the scale for the model overall, providing that largest curve on a brick currently moulded by the LEGO Group.

But first, we make a sandwich containing a collection of other elements, with a half-circle of nougat bricks on either side. The ball joint sockets connect to the connectors at the front of the main body – attaching the semicircle smoothly onto the main fuselage/chassis/body.

Now, in recent years, I have come to appreciate stickers. They allow you to keep an element plain if you wish, or decorate other elements as you might choose with the sticker. But most stickers don’t get applied to a slope, on a circular brick, while trying to line up with a brick-built colour strip.

Fortunately, the stickers are printed on a slightly plastic material that doesn’t stretch. Itwas able to be applied and removed a few times, with no problems. I found myself secretly wondering if it would be reasonable to include several plain circular lines, to allow us to construct a vehicle in showroom condition. However, we have one sticker representing the quality dent in the front of the speeder. The manual spends some time talking about the damage that Luke’s Landspeeder has suffered over the years – the dents, the rust, the lost turbine cover. A significant amount of the effort in designing this set has gone towards making it look like Luke’s Landspeeder.

In the meantime, we fill in the gaps on the surface of the bonnet, and complete inlaying the dark red livery.

Designer César Soares was particularly excited to tell us about the way the flex tube is incorporated into the groove around the front. I could explain it all, but I don’t want to completely spoil the joy of the build for anyone putting it together. Suffice to say, it was one of those jaw dropping moments where you gasp with excitement.

Bags 8&9

These bags bring us the left and right turbines. Contrary to over 20 years of LEGO® Landspeeder traditions, none of the intakes are circular in shape, but rather, they are oval – there are some clever SNOT techniques employed to ensure that the mudguards forming the oval opening are closely opposed, while at the same time giving us the overall tapering ovoid form.

The cover is missing from the turbine on the left, and we have an exposed frame, along with various ‘wires’ wrapped around various structures in the engine. This turbine connects using 2 technic pins.

The right turbine is predominantly grey on top, suggesting that the engine has seen better days. Otherwise, more cunning SNOT techniques are employed here to bring us the covered version. It connects using 3×3.18mm bars, inserted into technic pins. These stickers are relatively straightforward to apply, even allowing for the curved surface for them to attach to .

Bags 10&11

Our final bag brings us the topmost turbine, the stand and the minifigures. The final turbine has a lot in common with its lateral versions, except that the connection is using 2 technic pins into the tail place. It uses similar stickers to the right turbine. I have to admit that at this point, I got a little enthusiastic, and didn’t take any photos until I had completed the stand, and sat the X-34 in position.

The stand features 2 upward beams which support the speeder in 2 places, one near the middle, and another towards the back. The obligatory large plaque tile with sticker contains all the requisite information , and the design decision was made to ensure that the landspeeder clears the plaque, even though this might not be consistent with the height that you might expect it to be floating above the ground.

I was a little surprised to see that the stand was black, and I found myself wondering if transparent beams could have been used for this part of the build, providing an almost seamless floating effect. With the right light, when viewed from the correct angle.

The Minifigures

The model comes with two minifigures: Luke Skywalker, as we first meet him Episode IV, or as older folks used to call it, Star Wars. This version has been around for a few years now – featuring his white tunic, with the print extending over his legs. He is holding a pair of macrobinoculars in one hand, and his lightsabre in the other.

See-Threepio is the other minifigure, and his torso is identical to the version we recently looked at in the new Death Star Trash Compactor Diorama. But he has FINALLY been given some dual molded legs – well LEG anyway. The legs are decorated to a standard some might consider above and beyond the standard of LEGO figure decoration: with detailed toe and side leg printing and of course the dual mould with the sliver lower right leg.

Here we can see some of the subtle developments of the C3PO Figure. It seems strange that we get two new detailed C-3PO minifigures within days of each other. The Trash Compactor version is very good, but this one is next level awesome. It is disappointing that it can only be obtained with a set that is priced around $200USD/$320AUD.

That said, the torso is highly detailed, with aspects of printing in gold on the chest; arm printing, and gold pectoral highlights.

In conclusion:

This is, without a doubt, the most Landspeeder like LEGO Landspeeder ever released as a set. The attention to detail – showing that the vehicle is old and dented – has been well executed. This is a predominantly brick-built, rather than technic beam and pins – model, and almost devoid of play functions. No shifting wings or opening doors; no flashing lights or firing missiles. But it has a detailed cockpit, including an adjustable steering wheel, a gearshift and console display. Panels are missing, and rusted where necessary. The red trim is essentially brick-built, except around the large curve around the front. I am not a fan of large, stickers on round elements. That said, those around the front were able to be removed and realigned without too much difficulty. We see a range of nougat recolours introduced, and a large, 14×14 windscreen element introduced. The grill around the front of the vehicle is cleverly constructed, in a way that we might have never suspected.

The minifigures raise some questions: the model is certainly not minfigure scale, as the 10×10 quarter-circle brick has defined the scale being used here. Luke and 3PO are obvious and sensible choices. The Luke Skywalker figure is not particularly special – perhaps if he had his poncho, and darker hair that has been used more recently, while C-3PO is brilliant. I am disappointed that he is only presented in this set. It is a great exclusive, but expensive for completionists.

Last year, much fuss was made about how nobody asked for the Clone pilot, included with the UCS Republic Gunship and that, perhaps, a Phase 2 Commander Cody could be included (whether it fitted the circumstance or not can be a debate for another day. ) That said, that set was significantly more expensive than the Landspeeder.

Another concern I have is the collection of very large footprints starting to be occupied by LEGO Star Wars UCS sets. Measuring around 50 sm long, and around 30 cm wide, it takes up a bit of desk space. Could this model be wall-mounted, in a way similar to the Batwing, or indeed, a number of cars, using a 3rd party accessory? Or indeed, should it?

What’s Missing?

Even with its accompanying minifigures, the Landspeeder feels a little dull and lifeless. I felt it should have some figures added. So, what size figures should be used here? It is certainly too small for any 12″ action figures, maybe still too big for standard 5 1/4″ figures. That said, I put together a motley crew using the design template commonly applied to characters on display in the LEGOLAND parks. Luke, Ben and Threepio were easily solved. I was tempted to open up a polybag of the buildable Artoo Deetoo, but have resorted to this instead…

The figures are not posable, so I built a spare set of travelling legs, allowing Luke and Ben to sit inside the Landspeeder, while the droids sat on the back.

Should these figures have been available as a Gift With Purchase?

Overall, If you like are interested in UCS builds, Luke’s Landspeeder, or indeed are looking out for an excuse to build some figures in Miniland scale, I strongly recommend this set. I give this build a 4 out of 5 arbitrary praise units (4/5). The build is engaging; rarely boring or repetitive. As you build it, you can feel that passion of the design team working to enhance the building experience. However, it is important to keep an eye on what you are doing, as there are some steps where it is possible to misplace elements in a way that might make things difficult later in the build. If you don’t like Landspeeders, larger (non-minifigure scaled) builds, or colours that aren’t grey in your LEGO Star Wars sets, you may not enjoy it as much. However, it contains some really interesting approaches to some of the building challenges along the way. I found the System based approach refreshing after a few Technic framed Star Wars builds last year.

But the stickers, and exclusivity of the C-3PO minifigure did bug me a bit.

That said, I took part in a roundtable discussion with the design team a few days ago, where we discussed aspects such as the stand, stickers and footprint, as well as minfigures – I hope to have parts of that conversation up for your reading pleasure in the next few days.

The set will be available on 1st May for VIP customers through LEGO Branded retail channels, costing $319 AUD/$269.99 CAD/£174.99 GB/€199.99 EU/$199.99 US.

I hope you have enjoyed this review of Luke Skywalker’s Landspeeder (UCS Edition). I’d love to know what you think of this set. Should it have come with Mminiland scaled figures for display purposes? Does it appeal overall? Leave your comments below, and until next time,

Play Well

6 thoughts on “75341: UCS Luke Skywalker’s Landspeeder: Rambling Review

  1. I would be curious to know how you felt the Landspeeder as a whole set compares to the UCS A-Wing as they are the same price? While it’s foot print is much larger then I originally thought it was the Landspeeder still feels like less of a build then the A-Wing from looking at the pictures and reading reviews. Speaking of which – thank you for a fantastic review!

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    • I’ve not built the a-wing. I was impressed by the builld here, though. It took me the better part of a day to put together, and was full of ‘oh wow’ moments, and another aspect fell into shape.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. When this was first announced, I planned to pre-order it on May 1st. I’m not quite as sure after reading your review. Decals can be a pain, especially on curved parts. With the price, I would have expected these to be printed. Maybe LEGO could produce some for the aftermarket.
    I don’t mind the minifigures that aren’t to scale but yours are a nice addition.

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    • The stickers were frustrating, but they were easily moved when I didn’t get them right. There seems to be an issue with printing ‘iconic’ element designs in licensed themes as well.

      Like

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