75308 R2-D2: Hands On Review

The astromech droid R2-D2 was one of the first characters that we met at the beginning of Star Wars (Episode IV a New Hope to the Younglings). Along with C-3PO, he (why is it virtually always he?) is one of the few characters to be involved in each of the films of the Skywalker Saga. As such, he was felt to be a suitable subject for the set celebrating 50 years of Lucasfilm, as well as appearing in time for May the 4th celebrations this year.

The set will go on sale May 1, exclusively at LEGO Branded Stores, including the online store, priced at 199 EUR/USD – 179,99 GBP – 329.99 AUD – 269.99 CAD.

The AFOL Engagement Team of the LEGO Group sent me a pre-release copy of the new 75308. Join me as we wander through the build, and see if this set has sufficient material to justify an outlay of your money.

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75308 R2-D2 Officially Revealed.

He may not be the first character to speak in Star Wars: A New Hope, but he is the second. The feisty droid R2-D2 is the subject of the major release in time for May the 4th.

With 2314 pieces, a minifigure version of R2D2 and a special Lucasfilm 50th Anniversary LEGO Brick, you can expect 75308 R2-D2 to be on sale from May 1st 2021. It will initially be a LEGO.com/LEGO Brand Retail/ Certified Store exclusive, and is priced at €199.99 EUR – $USD199.99 – £179,99- $AUD329.99 – $CAD269.99 .

This new model is similar in size to the 10225 from 2012, but has undergone a dramatic redesign compared to that model, taking advantage of new elements that have become available in the last 9 years, including various curved slopes; there is also a new mechanisism to release R2D2’s central leg.

This is the only set that the 50th anniversary brick, as far as the team have revealed to date. It is a 4x1x3 Brick. Unfortunately, R2-D2 is still devoid of any printing on the back.

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Extra Pieces Episode One Now Live

Last Thursday, Jay’s Brick Blog and I announced that we are collaborating on a podcast for LEGO Fans – Extra Pieces. Now, in some parts of the world, it was April Fools Day, and some people seemed uncertain as to our actual sincerity.

It turns out that was not a hoax. In our firtst real episode, Jay and I discuss some of the our favorite April fools LEGO gags for 2021, as well as the new Star Wars Helmets, Probe Droid and also discuss the recent challenges faced by LEGO Fans, thanks to the LEGO VIP Program, and how it might change what it means to be a collector of LEGO Exclusive products…

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Hunt the Rebellion on Hoth with the Imperial Probe Droid [75306 Hands On Review]

The Empire Strikes Back is regarded by many to be one of the best Star Wars movie ever made. The ominous, speechless opening of the movie as the Empire searches out any hidden enclaves of Rebellion, around the Galaxy, sets the tone as to which team is on the offensive: A New Hope started off with the rebellion on the front foot—smuggling the hidden plans of the Death Star to those who might be able to best exploit any weaknesses. The Empire Stikes Back sees the Imperial Forces taking the initiative with the Probe Droids being dispatched across the galaxy. We see one crashing onto the barren world of Hoth, rising out of the snowdrift like a malevolent cybernetic jellyfish before setting out to scan the landscape. Appearing before a cross to Luke Skywalker on his Tauntaun, in all its stop motion animated glory, make the Imperial Viper Probe Droid the first character to appear in the film.

As such, it is high time to see this droid receive a more detailed treatment than the minifigure scaled brick built versions we have seen across various Hoth playsets, Advent calendars and magazine covers, over the years.

The 75306 Imperial Probe Droid will be released on 25th of April, along with the 75304 Darth Vader and 75305 Scout Trooper Helmets. It has 683 pieces and will cost: $59.99 USD/ €69.99 EUR/ £59.99 GBP / 119.99 AUD / 79.99 CAD.

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Keeping It Simple with the Troops: 75305 Scout Trooper Helmet [Hands On Review]

Sometimes, its not about being in charge, or having all of the action. Sometimes its just about hanging around, waiting for something to happen, or to be sent off on some errand. At least, that’s how it sometimes appears to bewhen you are living the life of a Scout Trooper, the subject of the latest LEGO® Star Wars Helmet.

I recently took a look at the forthcoming 73504 Darth Vader Helmet sculpture, the latest from the LEGO Star Wars team. With over 840 pieces, that set has the highest part count of any of the helmets currently available. The LEGO Star Wars helmet other set due for release in April, 73505 Scout Trooper with 471 parts, has the current lowest.

Thanks to the AFOL Engagement team, I received a prerelease copy of this set for review purposes – it will be hard to avoid comparisions with the Vader helmet.

The set comes in the ‘standard’ helmet box, with its instruction manual, 5 bags of elements and a sticker sheet. As we already mentioned, the set has significantly fewer elements than Vader’s helmet, and as such the instruction manual is almost half as thick.

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New 18+ Star Wars Helmets and Imperial Probe Droid Announced

Last year, we were introduced to LEGO® Star Wars Helmets – the first sets to be labelled 18+, introducing a new subtheme of LEGO Star Wars Sets. Today, we get our first official look the new LEGO Sculptures for 2021, aimed at the adult market: Two helmets – And a droid.

We have 75304 Darth Vader, 75305 Scout Trooper and 75306 Imperial Probe Droid. These sets will be available to pre-order in some markets from today, and are due for a general release on April 25, 2021.

Along with a number of other Recognised LEGO Fan Media, I took part in a roundtable discussion with some of the LEGO Star Wars Design team – , including Jens Kronvold Frederiksen – the Creative Driector of LEGO Star Wars. We covered a range of topics – which included discussion of the new helmets, and the Probe Droid.

There were a number of interesting things to learn about these models:

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Building the Dark Side: 75304 Darth Vader Helmet [Hands On Review]

The Darth Vader Helmet Box and instructions, with a minifigure (not included) for scale.

The LEGO Group have recently announced the LEGO® Star Wars Helmet sculptures for 2021: 75304 Darth Vader and 75305 Scout Trooper, as well as 75306 Imperial probe Droid (not an actual helmet).

Today, I would like to look at the 75304 Darth Vader Helmet .Couretsy of the AFOL Engagement team at the LEGO Group, I have been fortunate to receive a prerelease copy to build prior to its release on April 25. The set has 834 parts and has a recommended retail price of: $69.99 USD/ €69.99 EUR/ £59.99 GBP/ 89.99 AUD / 99.99 CAD. It should be available for pre order now, in some markets (unfortunately, not Australia).

Darth Vader was the first character from the Empire that we met, within the opening minutes of Star Wars/ Episode IV/ A New Hope – and we never see his face until the closing minutes of Return of the Jedi. In the mean time, all of his characterisations can be attributed to his posture, camera angles, and the voice of James Earl Jones, added in Post Production. As such, his helmet is an integral part of his character.

Let’s take a look at what’s involved in putting it together…

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What Are The Most Popular LEGO® Themes? Annual Report Review

Every year around this time, the LEGO Group presents its annual report: taking in all aspects of the company. The document always includes a small paragraph or two on which themes performed strongly in a given year.

While the metric used to define this performance has not been presented to the public, it gives us a good idea of the sorts of material that pepople are buying, and which themes are strong sellers. Prompted by some online discussion, I have gone back to 2011, and tracked down the strongest performing themes for the last ten years, as referred to in The LEGO Group’s annual report. What we found out may not come as a surprise at all. Or perhaps it will?

Join us while we look through the last 10 years – we will look at the themes directly referenced in the annual report, look at some of the highlights, and maybe even evoke some mild feelings of nostalgia along the way..

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This is the Way: 75318 The Child [Review]

The Mandalorian, season 2 premieres this week on Disney +. In preperation, we were rewatching season 1. Towards the end of the first episode, but before the big reveal, Miss 18 speaks up: “It’s Alright, I guess, but I don’t get the hype about Baby…” and the hood pops up on the ‘pram’, revealing the child within ,”Oh my goodness, it’s so freaking gorgeous, I get it now.”

It was a masterstroke of Disney Merchandising, last year: there was no merchandise featuring The Child, who appears to be, more or less, a baby of the same species as Jedi Master Yoda. We never saw it coming, there were no spoilers on the toy shelves, and before we know it, we were going weak at the knees with adoration.

The Minifigure was introduced with the Spaceship ‘Razor Crest’ set earlier this year, based on the torso for the LEGO baby.

The set is due for release through LEGO any day now, but one of my local retailers had some stock on the shelves a day or two ahead of time. I picked up a set, handed made a contactfree credit card purchase, brought it home, and started bingewatching the rest of season one. Costing $AUD119.99, with 1073 pieces, the set is designed for builders of 10 and older.

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Build the Child: Preorder today

Images have leaked over the last few weeks, but today, you can preorder the latest LEGO Star Wars Scultpure: The Child. Unless you are in Australia, where preordering doesnt really work. This set will become available globally on Mando Monday…October 30th, just in time for series 2 of The Mandalorian to start screening on Disney+.

Read on for more details…

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