For the second 2013 set review, I’ll be looking at the Lego 75012 BARC Speeder with Sidecar. Based on a scene from the Clone Wars episode, “Kidnapped,” this set includes two speeder bikes and four minifigures, two of which are new. Both vehicles are revamped versions of ones Lego has already made in the past in some set or another. Question is, does this set stand apart from them and is it worth the retail price?
To put it simply, this set’s price is fair when looking at the piece-to-price (PTP) ratio. At $25 for 226 pieces, that’s slightly over 10 cents a piece. That’s what I thought when I purchased the set. But when I was done building it, it didn’t feel that way. It’s small. The speeders have a lot going for them, but ultimately when you sit back and look at what you’ve got, it just doesn’t feel right. Back in the early days (1999 to mid 2000s), this set would have retailed for about $14.99, or perhaps a couple dollars higher. Not based on PTP ratio, but on what you’re actually getting. I understand the price increases in recent years, and would have no problems if this set retailed for $20. A $5 increase is what you would expect for most Lego sets today. But for this one, it feels like a $10 increase. To me, that’s excessive. As much as I like the set, the price on it really bothers me. I just hope that this isn’t the start of another significant price increase – as I said, I understand the need to raise the prices, but as with anything the change should be gradual, not abrupt as it is for this set. Only time will tell, I suppose.
Design and Build
The Separatist flitknot speeder is not a new vehicle – it’s appeared in several sets in the past, including the 7868 Mace Windu’s Jedi Starfighter and the 7752 Count Dooku’s Solar Sailer. As a whole, I think that as a part of this set, the speeder is well designed. It looks very sleek and only has four visible studs. However, comparing it to the flitknot speeder from the Star Wars universe, I think that this rendition of it takes a step back from the previous ones I mentioned. As I said, its design is well done, but if they were going for the flitknot speeder (which clearly they were), they did not structure it very well. It almost seems as though they pulled back on parts and made the speeder with the least amount of bricks (and plastic) as possible. In the past versions, the rear of the speeder had the large, 6×4 triple curved wedge piece, which gave the speeder a much smoother, continuous shape. This is more in keeping with the flitknot speeder from the Star Wars universe. This speeder simply doesn’t look like it from the back end, past the pilot’s seat. That said though, I think the front end is done really well and captures the little things about the speeder, like the stirrups (where the feet normally would go; a minifigure could never position their legs that way, but it’s still great that they were included for consistency) and the small windshield.
What definitely took a step back is the pilot’s seat. Excluding the 7752 speeder (since it was designed with a minifigure seated in it in mind), this speeder takes a step back from the 7868 speeder, which had a nicely designed seat and adequate space for the droid minifigure to fit in. I had a hard time fitting in the commando droid; the legs are too long and the way they are positioned just looks strange and forced. Additionally, the 2×2 cylindrical brick placed on the bottom makes the speeder somewhat unbalanced. It’s a great piece to have there (I’ve liked the concept since it was introduced in the 7914 Mandalorian Battle Pack) to give the speeder the appearance that it’s floating, but the position the instructions specify make it unbalanced. This issue can be resolved if the cylinder is moved back one stud, since the rear being heavier is what is causing the imbalance.
The sticker application somewhat makes up for the inaccurate design, because it really does add to the speeder’s overall look. The sticker on the back end is mostly dark gray, but it features three blue lines that emphasize the color scheme the rest of the speeder has going on. The small stickers on the 1×4 slope that have the Separatist emblem printed on are also very nice; for me, it showed that the white plate placed towards end of the speeder was not pointless, but was put there as a complimentary, accented color. The triangular stickers that go on the rear flaps also have a nice touch of blue on them.
Although this is the 3rd rendition of the same vehicle, I’m glad Lego put it in the set. They could have easily included some terrain with the droids or some droidekas. That’s not nearly as fun as pretending to stage a high-speed chase on speeder bikes!
Building the BARC speeder with the sidecar attachment was a somewhat familiar feeling. In 2011, two BARC speeders identical in build to each other were released, one in the 7869 Battle for Geonosis set and another in the 7913 Clone Trooper Battle Pack. This new BARC speeder has a very similar build in regards to its rear end, but its overall appearance has little resemblance with the original. Lego changed just enough things around to make it different and much more detailed. I particularly enjoy the dark red parts and stickers peppered throughout it. The stickers on the fin are nice and draw a nice parallel with the flitknot speeder: as I had pointed out, the flitknot has a Separatist emblem sticker on both sides of its dorsal fin. The BARC speeder has a Republic emblem on both sides of the dorsal fin too. An issue I had with the 2011 speeders was that they seemed bland, like they were lacking something. This new version has a lot going on and I love it. While its shape is still too blocky compared to the speeder seen in the movies and the show, some things that were added make it look more accurate. However, the one gripe I have with it is that it’s way too long. One of the reasons why I liked the 2011 speeders was for their size. This time around, the speeder is six studs longer than the original.
Some aspects I liked about the 2011 speeder remained the same, but one changed. I like how they continued to use the harpoon gun piece as the blasters on the speeder. The original only had two of the pieces (for the rear blasters) and a type of handlebar piece for the two at the nose of the speeder. This time, they used the harpoon gun pieces instead, and I think they look much better now.
They also kept the ski shoe parts for the four fins on the speeder, which is another aspect I liked from the 2011 original. They added stickers to them all, too! It helps make them as interesting to look at as the rest of the speeder, and I would’ve liked to see the same on the original BARC speeder as well (though that speeder was quite bland, so perhaps the lack of detail was for consistency’s sake).
The headrest Lego piece is still being used for the very front of the speeder, but they made it look less odd by adding in a 1×2 hinge piece with a finger in the center. If you take a look at an image of the speeder bike from the TV series/movie, you’ll see that its engine has a round protrusion in the middle. Going with the blocky Lego design of the speeder, this addition fits in perfectly and when I realized what its purpose was, I thought, “Wow, that looks fantastic!”
The one change made to the speeder that I really did not like was the replacement of the arm handlebars. I believe the 2011 version had taken the concept from one of the variations of the 74-Z speeder bike (from the 8084 Snowtrooper Battle Pack, if memory serves) where it first appeared, and I thought it was a great idea because the design made the handlebars very flexible and extremely easy to place in a minifigure’s hands. They were also out of the way. Now, Lego’s taken a step back by using the traditional handle bars (remember the ones where you have to rotate the hands inwards in order for the figure to hold onto them? Yeah, those). These feel clunky and get in the way of the minifigure because of the way it juts out. It also makes gripping a weapon in one hand (in this case, Obi-Wan’s lightsaber) feel awkward. It’s difficult to fit any minifigure into the seat, even more so if you want them to be holding a lightsaber or blaster.
Other than trying to justify the price of this set, I think that the size of the speeder was also increased so that building a sidecar for it would be possible. The 2011 BARC is significantly shorter, as I had mentioned earlier, and I can’t envision a sidecar of adequate size attached to it. That said, the sidecar itself is consistent with its Clone Wars counterpart in shape and in most of its details. Specifically, I’m talking about the rear end and it’s clear to me that Lego paid a lot of attention for the sidecar. When I took a second look at the preview for the episode this set appeared in, I saw the gray circle on the fin; I saw the gray and black socket part slightly behind the seat; and the sidecar can rotate 180 degrees just like in the show. It’s all there, and for a geek like me who notices little things like this, it makes the price tag a bit more bearable. The main feature is obviously the sidecar’s ability to make a 180 turn and face the rear to blast away any pursuers. I think that the design can be improved since the sidecar does not stay in place. Some sort of hinged connection instead of a Technic one probably would have worked better. Using the Technic pieces could’ve worked if they had only included some sort of lock mechanism, be it a gear or a rod so that it would not flop around.
Now, on to the fun part: flick fire missiles! Because what set is complete without them (they always find a way to squeeze them in somehow)? As much as I dislike them, I think they fit particularly well here. If you ignore the fact that they’re flick fire missiles and look at them as headlights, they look pretty darn cool. It’s not often you see that pale trans-blue color, and the contrast it has with all the dark red around it makes it really stand out.
In regards to the mounted blaster, Lego could’ve easily placed a 1×2 plate with a center stud there and attached a regular blaster on top and said, “Here it is!” But they didn’t. It’s yet another detail they paid attention to from the TV show. It’s an alternating double blaster with handles. While they didn’t include the handles, they got the main part of it right: it’s a double barrel blaster. They used the new pistol that I believe first appeared in the Earth Defense theme and attached the traditional binocular piece. Very convincing and very cool result; it’s one of my favorite aspects of this set.
What I like most about the BARC speeder and the sidecar, though, is how easy it is to remove the sidecar to have a standalone BARC speeder. Simply remove the frame piece (the section attached to the BARC speeder is a solid block) and then remove the long Technic piece in the back that is actually what holds the sidecar to the speeder, and voila! They’re separated. The sockets that held the Technic piece to the BARC speeder are hidden well by the two engines on either side of the speeder, too.
Compared to some of the other sets (the 75002 AT-RT and the 75013 Umbaran MHC in particular), all the vehicles and minifigures in the set belong. They all appeared in the opening scene of the Clone Wars episode “Kidnapped,” where Anakin, Obi-Wan and some of their troops investigate a planet for a colonial Twi’lek population. As they are scouting the village, they find it is abandoned and are suddenly attacked by commando droids on flitknot speeders. Anakin and Obi-Wan pilot modified BARC speeders that have attached sidecars, with Ahsoka Tano and Captain Rex riding in them, respectively. They fend off the droids with their small group of regular BARC speeder-riding clones. Check out the clip of the scene below if you’re curious:
This set includes a new Obi-Wan Kenobi minifigure, phase II armor Captain Rex minifigure, and two commando droids.
Around Season 3 of the Clone Wars, many characters had redesigns, primarily Anakin Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Ahsoka Tano. This is what Obi-Wan’s new design is based on. Compared to his first Clone Wars rendition, a lot has changed, believe it or not. In fact… everything about him is new. He has new face printing: his first one is his calm face, where he seems to have a slight smirk; his second one is his aggressive face. His old hairpiece looked like a toupe; his new hairpiece looks like it actually belongs and there’s some slight sideburn action going on! As for the torso, there’s new printing on the front and back. His first version had no back printing at all… nor did it have leg printing. This Obi-Wan does! Every year, Lego seems to be putting more emphasis on the minifigures, making each figure more and more individualized. I hope that this trend continues!
Captain Rex in phase II armor – now that’s a minifigure I could not wait to see. And I’m glad to say that I’m far from disappointed with it. I’ll start off on the soft goods. The set comes with a small white box that keeps his kama and pauldron safe. I was very glad to see this, because both this set and the 75013 that I reviewed earlier had curled-up instruction booklets. They had fallen to one end of the box and were pushed in by the bags. If the soft goods were not contained like they were, they would probably be curled too – or worse, folded. The soft kama was first seen on the ARC trooper minifigure from last year’s clone battle pack. It’s great to see that Lego intends on using it. Except if you want Rex to be in that sidecar, it’s probably best not to bother putting it on. You can put on the pauldron, however. The blue looks sharp on the black cloth, I must say. It’s a bit on the big side, but it looks great on Rex nonetheless.
His helmet has a great deal of detailing on it, so much that I’m not even sure where to begin. Starting from the ends of his visor is the blue striping we were familiar with on his phase I helmet, which converge in the middle and move all the way down the rest of the helmet. Some interesting background on the unique look of his helmet: you’ll notice that the visor in particular does not look the same as the 212th clone trooper’s (from my 75013 review) visor. That’s because at some point during the phase I to phase II armor transition, he cut out that part of his visor and saved it. When he got the phase II helmet, he cut out the visor on that and replaced it with the part he had saved. This gives him a pretty unique look. In the series you can clearly see the lines where he merged them together; he also has two bolts on each side where the pieces meet. Lego mimicked those same lines and the bolts and had them printed on the figure’s helmet. How cool is that? On the top of his helmet there are some hash marks, which represent droid kills.
His torso is equally as detailed as his helmet. On the top, you can see a bit of where his pauldron would be, which blends in nicely with the soft goods pauldron. To the left, there’s an ammo pouch and on the right, there are more hash marks. For a clone trooper minifigure, this next thing is a first: dirt/smudges. There are a few spots on his chest and even more on the back of his torso. I’m surprised that they included this, but at the same time, very happy about it. I simply love seeing this amount of detail; I can’t stress that enough. His legs, unlike his past phase I version, has printing. It’s the same as the 501st and 212th clone trooper minifigures from what I can tell, the only difference being that there are hash marks on both legs. I’d say Lego has successfully portrayed Rex’s bold and tough-guy personality.
As for the commando droids, there’s nothing new about them; if you own one from past sets, you know what it looks like. Its figure is colored a metallic brown, its body has a small red dot on the right side of the chest, and it has the same long legs as super battle droid minifigures. Its head is printed with the commando droid’s face.
The set comes with two blaster carbines for the commando droids, two blaster pistols and a soft goods kama and pauldron for Captain Rex, and a lightsaber for Obi-Wan. There’s not much to them; I only wish that both speeders had some place to put the blasters and the lightsaber. It’s good to see Rex wielding the new pistols though. While I liked the design of the original dark gray blaster pistols that Lego had included with clone officers, I didn’t like using them. Taking them on and off caused damage to the handles quickly because they were made of a cheaper grade plastic. These blaster pistols are made of solid ABS plastic, so they don’t suffer from that.
The BARC speeder, while a bit long, is built well and chock-full of details. The sidecar is a great addition, it looks like it belongs, and most importantly it’s accurate to the show in terms of look and function. I personally love the look of the missiles as headlights and the alternating blaster. Even though we’ve seen the commando droids before, it’s rather neat that they’re in the set with a flitknot speeder because they were the foes the Republic forces encountered in the episode; even Obi-Wan and Rex being pilot and gunner is accurate. For those of you who like to re-enact scenes, this is perfect for doing so. While the flitknot speeder’s design could use some smoothing out and the BARC speeder’s handlebars a redesign, those would not have really harmed the score. No, in the end, what really huts it is the pricing. As much as I like this set, I cannot get over the fact that when I was done building and looking at the entire set in front of me, I thought, “That’s it?” If you like the speeder and minifigures, by all means, pick up the set. If you still want it, but that desire isn’t very strong, wait for a sale or discount.