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Lego 30052 MINI AAT

Another MINI set is available yet again. This time around, it’s a promotional set for Halloween. And early, as always. The Lego 30052 MINI AAT is based on the Trade Federation AAT and can be found at most Target stores. The set has a modest piece count and really has no problems, from a MINI set point of view. It does fall short in a couple of areas, so read on to find out more.

Price

The set, like all polybag promotional sets, is sold for $3.99. It contains 46 pieces. When you see this, you may be thinking, “That’s low! It’s almost ten cents per piece!” But when you examine the pieces, it’s actually a fair deal. Compared to the 30054 MINI AT-ST released this past spring, the quality of the pieces is much higher. By that, I mean there are more large parts included. The AT-ST was made up primarily of small parts. If I remember correctly, the flag part used as the front of the walker was the largest part. That’s only slightly larger than a 2×2 plate. The rest of the parts were smaller than that, so for the price, it wasn’t the best deal. With the MINI AAT, however, you have several pieces that are quite large, such as the 4×4 curved dark tan plates that make up the base of the tank. Once you finish the set and put it alongside a MINI AT-ST, there’s really no comparison. The AAT is the bigger of the two. It’s a wide and bulky tank; the AT-ST is a tall, skinny walker made up primarily of small pieces.

Design and Build

The build starts off with the base of the tank, which is arguably the biggest part of it. As I moved up in the build, I was fairly surprised at how Lego made use of the center-stud 1×2 plates, and then even more surprised in how they used curved slope pieces to mimic the original’s design. The front of the tank is steep, but as you move your eyes up the body, it dramatically changes and the slope levels out until it reaches the turret.

This is where things get interesting. The instructions prompt you to construct the turret before attaching it to the tank, so after I did so, I thought it was rather odd that the instructions tell you to attach two tan studs to the underside of the turret. When I first saw an image of this set, I assumed that it was attached by only one stud, that stud being placed in the center of the round 2×2 plate. Instead, Lego makes use of two, and it attaches to the plate in the same manner. The second stud helps keep the turret locked in place. Overall, it makes a stronger connection than a stud alone would, which is even more important since the turret can spin around 360˚. That feature works very well and gives the set more character.

In comparison to the 7155 Trade Federation AAT released back in 2000, this MINI comes pretty close. The shape of the tank is mimicked very well and the scale is appropriate.

Where the original AAT used brown accents on the tank, the MINI uses dark tan pieces, which is much more accurate to the film. Some of the little details like the side cannons and the discs underneath the tank help with the accuracy to both the film version and the original Lego version. Lego easily could have left out the discs on the underside, but they didn’t, and I’m glad they didn’t. Just like the larger version, this MINI can slide across smooth surfaces much more easily and less noisily. Try removing those discs and sliding it across; it’ll make a scraping sound because of the plates’ undersides. I’m also glad they decided to include the side cannons, but I think they could’ve done a better job. Compared to the larger Lego version, they’re much too short. The tank is missing the two large engines attached to either side near the rear. Reference back to the 7155 Trade Federation AAT and you’ll see it. But given that this is a mini set, mimicking that detail likely wasn’t possible. I can’t think of any combination of parts that would result in the same effect.

The Verdict

The set ultimately captures the essence of the AAT. It may not get the exact details, but it’s understandable given that it’s a MINI set. It includes a nice number of good quality pieces; not just large pieces, but unique elements such as the curved parts. The sets’ two main play features, the rotating turret and smooth underside, work extremely well.  I liked how Lego decided to include dark tan elements too, to make it more interesting to look at. If they hadn’t, it would’ve been a tan and gray colored set, which is frankly boring. I suspect that this set is a “sneak peek” of sorts at an upcoming set in 2012. Lego has already remade several of the vehicles from Episode I: The Phantom Menace (the MTT, Naboo Fighter, Sith Infiltrator, etc) so a remake of the AAT in minifigure scale shouldn’t come as a surprise. They’ll likely have it coincide with the movie’s re-release in on February 10th, 2012, so watch out for that – it’s certainly within the realm of possibility.

Pros:

-simple design that captures essence of original set
-good quality pieces
-makes great use of curved elements and center-stud 1×2 plates
-features work very well

Cons:

-a better job could have been done with the side cannons

BrickWars-Sets Rating: 8/10

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