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When I first saw the preliminary images of these sets, most of them interested me, and this was certainly one of them. While the set made me think, “What kind of combat vehicle is that?” I was still curious enough about it to purchase it when it was released. In some ways, this set disappoints and in others, it impresses. Read on to find out how!
I was expecting – or rather, was very certain – that the battle packs this year would be retailed at $13.99, following the trend of the past three years. I was relieved to learn that it was not the case. At $12.99 and 124 pieces, the piece-to-price ratio is actually better than last year’s clone battle pack (Lego 9488 Clone Trooper and Commando Droid Battle Pack), which had a PTP ratio of 13 cents. In comparison, this set has a PTP ratio of about 10 cents. As I had mentioned in that review, however, it does not always come down to the PTP; one must also look at what kind of pieces are found in the set. If the set mostly consists of small parts and/or has a build that uses smaller parts where larger ones can be better used just to up the piece count (ex. using two 1×2 plates instead of one 2×2 plate), then piece count is not as representative. I think that this set is quite varied in its use of parts and fair in its build. Compared to several of the other 2013 sets, this is one of the ones I believe has a better value for its price.
Design and Build
The main vehicle in the set, which is based on the Forward Command Center (FCC) from Episode II: Attack of the Clones, is a scaled-down version.
FCCs were fully equipped to perform the role they were designed for: directing troops on the battlefield and issuing orders. Jedi Generals and higher-ranking clone troopers operated from these to command their units. They were also small enough to be air-lifted by Republic dropships.
The Lego FCC is a U-shaped vehicle that has a radar dish of sorts and a small computer panel in the operator’s seat. It features a flap on each side, which functions as doors. Its radar dish features a hidden flick-fire missile (where would we be without them?) that can be revealed by tipping the dish’s column backwards. On the back of the FCC and underneath the radar dish column is a gun rack, which can hold two regular sized blasters. It is a nicely designed scale version of the actual command center. It’s sturdy and well decorated with the Republic’s colors. Unfortunately, while the aesthetics pass, the layout does not. The problem is that the vehicle can only seat the operator. To fit two clones side-by-side, they must be placed in the black regions with no operator in the middle. To fit three, the 1×2 grate plates by each door must be removed. I took the grates and put them on the available studs towards the back. Take a look at the image to the right to see how that would work. This lack of space for the minifigures is rather sloppy on Lego’s part. What I’ve noticed is that the battle packs from the past few years have not emphasized being able to carry the figures in the pack. While this is okay for vehicles like the BARC speeder bike from set 7913 and the Rebel repulsorcraft from set 8083, it is not for this FCC. As a command center, it ought to be able to hold more than just one clone. If Lego had simply provided four of the 1×2 plate with a single stud in the center, it would be possible to more snugly fit two additional clones in the vehicle without having to remove the grates.
Moving on, the radar column in the back is an interesting build. In Lego’s apparent desperation to include a flick-fire missile in the set, they got creative, and I give them props for that. A couple of new pieces are introduced: a 1×2 L-shaped piece that has another 1×2 set of studs attached to the side, and a sort of reverse smooth 2×2 tile. The L-shaped piece, according to Bricklink, is called a “1×2 – 1×2 bracket” and the reverse smooth tile is a “modified, inverted 2×2 tile.” There’s also a 1×2 – 1×2 inverted bracket, which allows the top dark red section to be attached at the front of the vehicle.
The gun rack, as I had mentioned, can hold two regular blasters or a mix of those and blaster pistols. Blaster rifles will not fit the same way; to place one there, it has to be inserted by its handle (and not its tip), as well as cocked to one side. This allows for only one rifle to fit.
The set includes 4 total minifigures – a clone trooper sergeant, a clone trooper, and two droidekas. The clones are styled as Episode II variants, but the helmet mold that was introduced for the Clone Wars line is still being used. Surprisingly, the printing makes a big difference – I’d say these helmets look better than both the first Episode II helmets that were introduced and the Clone Wars ones combined – you can even use your Clone Wars accessories (like antennae and search lights) with these, since they still have the holes on both sides of the helmet.
The clone sergeant is colored with dull lime green stripes on his helmet and torso with fully colored arms of the same shade. It would’ve been more accurate had they put stripes over white arms instead, but I suppose that they won’t change what they’ve been doing for so long. I really like the detail that’s been put into the helmet, from the “teeth” in the center of the helmet and the metallic sheen on his visor. It really pops.
The clone trooper is almost the same, just without the stripes. His helmet visor is completely black. It might not be “fancy” like the sergeant’s, but I still think it looks neat. It beats the cut-out visors on the original Phase I helmets, that’s for sure. The figure also has back printing, as does the sergeant, and they are the same on them both – just black and white, with a surprising amount of detail. Unfortunately, neither of them have leg printing, which would have been great seeing that they started doing that for the Phase II Clone Wars clones. Oh well, beggars can’t be choosers.
The droidekas have a new build, with the most recent one being from the 7662 Trade Federation MTT released in 2007. Prior to that, there was one more version, which was featured in 7203 Jedi Defense I, released in 2002. Personally, I like the build of the main body of the very first version. It didn’t have too much going on and gave the droid a… well, droid look to it, being made of many parts with open spaces all over. The 2007 version was just too blocky and oversized. The version included in this set isn’t quite as bulky, but I still feel it’s a bit large. I do, however, like the head of the droid. That red siren light being used for its eye is a bit big, but somehow it still looks like it belongs. I also like how they used the claw pieces for the ends of the legs. The droidekas aren’t easy to knock over, despite that they’re only standing on three little points. I do think the arms are a bit small and rigid, however. Just using a clip hinge piece with regular binoculars attached to fire hose nozzles/pistols seems like a lazy choice, but maybe that’s just me.
In terms of accessories, this set does not come with much, The droidekas’ weapons are built into them, and the clones only carry two blasters with them. The clone sergeant has a rangefinder.
Ultimately, this set really impresses me and very much overshadows all its flaws. It has a great piece-to-price ratio and a wide variety of pieces. The value you’re getting is just great, and in the recent wave, only the 75002 AT-RT is in the same boat (be on the lookout for that review too, coming in March!). At some point I’m going to play around with the command center and see what sort of things I can build with the parts – perhaps something a bit more appropriate for a battlefield scenario, like a speeder of some sort. Few sets spark my imagination just from seeing the parts in the set. It was nice to see that this vehicle is at least based on something that existed in the movie, as opposed to being a silly double-seated walker (yeah, I’m talking about that 2008 Clone Trooper Battle Pack. The minifigs were great, but the walker… not so much). By this point, if you’ve been reading my reviews, you’ll already know I like clones quite a bit, and these new Episode II versions are probably my new favorites. They’re done extremely well, and the droidekas aren’t half bad either. I recommend picking up this set as soon as you get the chance, perhaps two if you want to have a little more creative freedom in building something totally new.