Kicking off our Lego Star Wars 2013 reviews is the 75013 Umbaran MHC (Mobile Heavy Cannon). This set and the 75012 were released later in the US than the other main sets in the January 2013 wave, so I thought that a review of this set before the battle packs and whatnot would be more appealing and intriguing. So without further ado, let’s get on with the review!
With 493 pieces for $49.99, this set has a pretty good PTP ratio – at first glance. It has many small parts and not many large ones. This is typically not considered a good thing, but I think that in this case, it is. There’s a lot of detail to this set that really adds to the overall look; there’s not too much and there’s not too little. There are also some clever workarounds/techniques that use a few more bricks than a straight-up build to achieve a desired form or function that I think many experienced builders can appreciate. When building MOCs, I often find that it is difficult to make vehicles that span four studs across and that also close up nicely around the minifigure seated inside. One of those clever techniques I mentioned is used on the main body of the tank that addresses just this issue. Bracket pieces are used to make the body very sturdy; I’ll elaborate more on that later. While I am admittedly disappointed in the actual size of the set (being smaller than I had expected), and the lack of some larger parts and use of so many small elements, I have to say that for once that it worked out. I think the quality (in terms of design) is well worth $50.
Design and Build
For a walker, I have to say that the set is quite sturdy. The build was split up into three main bags. Bag number 1 built most of the tank’s main body. Bag number 2 built the legs. Bag number 3 built the cannon and the moving mechanism. When I first began building the main body, I didn’t understand why the base was being built the way it was. The base measures 4 studs wide and 8 studs long – why not use a 4×8 plate instead of two 1×8 plates and a 2×8 plate with holes in the middle? Later, when I began building the rotation mechanism/cannon, I understood it was to allow the long Technic piece to fit through the bottom of the main body all the way to the top of the tank and to connect to the cannon; this allows you to swivel the cannon side to side by moving the lever underneath, which is a neat feature. I had thought the plate usage was another trick by Lego used to up the piece count, but it turned out to not be the case.
With the base the size that it is, I was fairly surprised at how well Lego utilized the parts to create a compact and sturdy main body. A minifigure can fit in the front cockpit and another can fit in the rear cockpit. Both figures rest comfortably without much repositioning of the arms or torso. Bracket pieces are placed throughout the left and right sides of the main body – a healthy number of them. This makes the big circular plates stay attached very well and makes for a sturdy main body. The main body had to follow the contour of these curved pieces placed sideways onto it, and I was surprised by how well this was pulled off. The biggest bends are the cockpit doors for both the pilot and passenger in the front and the back. Two 1×4 plates form the next bend (moving upwards) in the main body; the two long 1×2 bar pieces on each side prevent the 1x4s from sinking down too low. The 1×4 does not only give the main body its rounded shape, however. It serves another purpose – keeping the minifigures in place. To fit an Umbaran soldier inside either cockpit, the minifigure must lean back slightly with arms resting on the smooth 1×2 bricks (the pilot’s side has stickers). Because there are no pegs to connect the figure to, it wobbles around. That is, until the 1×4 section is pulled down. It keeps the figure in place like a roller coaster lap bar by taking advantage of the Umbaran soldier’s large helmet; this way, he does not lurch forward. With such a compact space, Lego sure did optimize the use of each and every piece. The floodlights are a very nice touch and the new 1×1 flat and smooth studs look great. The Umbaran MHC from the TV series is also armed with two antipersonnel guns in addition to the main cannon, and these are included too. Lego used the blasters they designed for the Star Wars theme in a very unique way – taking advantage of the slanted handles, they mounted them upside-down to the main body to recreate the antipersonnel guns on the real tank. Very cool indeed.
Enough of the tank’s main body – let’s move on to the legs. One issue I can imagine people having with this set are the legs; More specifically, the new piece being used to connect the legs to the main body. It is a static piece. For a human, this would be like having articulation in the knees and ankles but none in the thigh-to-hip joint. While the legs are not very flexible, I believe it works. I like the fact that it adds to the set’s durability and at the same time is in keeping with the tank’s characteristics in the show. I’ve dropped Technically speaking, although this was referred to as a “tank,” it can also be classified as a walker. In that sense, it doesn’t really move like one. This tank was only shown in one or two of the Clone Wars episodes from the Umbaran arc. It cannot make broad, dynamic movements with its limbs. But this is fine, because from what I could tell, it didn’t move like this in the show. Its movements are slow and lumbering, similar to the AT-TE, and this set accomplishes that.
I love the color scheme of the entire set. I think that the indigo and maroon pieces accent the gray pieces very well. It makes the set much more visually appealing than if it were just a bland mix of light and dark gray. As irritating as it is to apply stickers, I found that they add just as much as the colored bricks do to the set’s appearance. I’d say that Lego got down every detail using them, from the tooth-like pattern by the floodlights to the pattern on the cannon. They even added some details to the pilot’s controls.
There are a total of four minifigures in this set, all of which are brand new: Ahsoka Tano in her new outfit, a phase II 212th battalion clone trooper based on the Clone Wars design, and two Umbaran soldiers.
A redesigned Ahsoka Tano wearing her Season 3 – 5 outfit is depicted very accurately. Her torso features front and back printing and her legs feature some printing on the front. Her head is double-sided, with a calm expression on one side (with a raised eyebrow and slight smirk) and an aggressive one on the other. Even her headpiece is new; in the show, when she is featured in her new outfit she is also slightly older, her headpiece appearing longer and more pointed. Impressively, Lego noticed this and made her headpiece slightly longer and more slender. This is the kind of detail I like to see. Ahsoka also begins practicing Jar’Kai, or the dual lightsaber style of combat. She wields a lightsaber and a shoto, or mini lightsaber. Lego includes two lightsabers for her, though the blades are both the same length. A minor error that I don’t mind too much myself, since I really like the dark trans-green lightsaber blades. I find it odd that she’s included in this set, as she never showed up during the Umbaran arc in the show. It probably would have been more appropriate to include General Krell in this set.
The new 212th battalion clone trooper has printing on the front and back of his torso, yellow arms and printing on the front of his legs. The head is the same as other Clone Wars clones, though some lines in the face seem to be darker and more defined. The leg printing is a first for regular clone troopers, and I hope that it’s something we continue to see for clones in upcoming sets. To me it seems like Lego is putting much more attention on detailing minifigures well and accurately, and as I said, it’s great to see. It almost makes the higher prices acceptable. Almost. The helmet is a new design too. The phase II helmet made its debut in 2005 with the Episode III: Revenge of the Sith waves, and has not been redesigned since then. The phase I helmets (which first debuted in 2003) were redesigned in 2007 for the Clone Wars, and again this year in the Attack of the Clones style, so perhaps we’ll see a Revenge of the Sith redesign in the near future as well. Being based on the Clone Wars helmet models, the new helmet sculpt is slightly more cartoonish in nature. The helmet as a whole looks a bit large, but it is very detailed. The blue markings on the bottom sides of the helmet are present, as are the small black lines in the “mouth” of the helmet. Lego even goes as far as printing the respirators and the small gray square that go on the chin area of the helmet. As a clone fan myself, I really like the helmet redesign. Interestingly, there have not been any “plain” clones in any of the known sets so far, but there have been clones based on those from the 501st legion and 212th battalion. I hope that we see more of these clones, particularly those from the 41st elite corps (green) and the Coruscant guard (red).
The new Umbaran soldier minifigures are very cool figures. The head and torso are completely new. The head is a pale purple color printed with the sharp, angular faces of the Umbaran soldiers seen in the TV series. The torso is printed on the front and back and the patterns are very accurate and well done. I think that the helmet could use some work though, seeing that in the show they were more egg shaped than round. Their visors also had a light green tint. Still, I have to give Lego credit for getting as much as they did right. The figures, in terms of overall accuracy, are passable – improvements can definitely be made.
Two lightsabers, a blaster rifle and two blaster carbines (not including the ones mounted under the tank as antipersonnel guns) are included in the set. Just enough weapons for everyone. As I had mentioned earlier, I particularly like the lightsabers because of the trans-dark green color that was introduced in 2011. The set also came with some extra pieces (as per usual): a tan gear, several studs (trans-light blue and light gray), a light gray smooth stud and trans-clear smooth stud, and a few others.
I don’t suppose this counts as an accessory, but it’s something I’ve been wanting to point out anyway, and it probably best fits in this section: this set includes a brick remover! It’s not as well made as the ones Lego have retailed in the past (it’s a bit on the skinny side), but it gets the job done. I’ll eventually be reviewing the 75004 Z-95 Headhunter, and I suspect that there will be one in there, too. My instinct tells me that Lego will be including these in most, if not all, $50+ sets.
While many of you may think, “This set isn’t as big as I thought it would be…” I think that, like me, most of you will be able to appreciate the detail and ingenuity that went into the design and build of the set. It is nearly a perfect Lego rendition of the vehicle from the Clone Wars series. The set is not by any means fragile either, and it’s a walker. The PTP ratio is pretty fair, too. Perhaps not on an overall piece-by-piece basis, but on count, it is. The minifigures are fantastic and all brand new, and they all have an accessory or two to use. I would recommend picking up this set as soon as possible. If you’re torn on this set and the 75004 Z-95 Headhunter (also $50), however, stay tuned for our review on the set to help with your decision; whether or not you like the theme and design of the sets is up to you, but if you also want to know which set will get you the most bang for your buck, we’ve got you covered.