In my second review of the Summer 2013 LEGO Star Wars sets I will be taking a look at 75017 Duel on Geonosis. Priced at a (surprisingly) reasonable £39.99 or $39.99 and boasting 391 pieces, this is one of the mid-sized sets of the selection this Summer, and I am rather impressed with it.
Naturally, being a set based on a scene from the Prequel Trilogy, the appeal of this model is limited. Nevertheless, I have found it to be a very enjoyable set, much more so than I had initially anticipated. The actual Geonosian hangar is not at all bad, including plenty of play features and a smattering of details which are most welcome.
What really makes this set for me however, as with most Star Wars sets in fact are the Minifigures, which are about as good as you can get in my opinion. Much like set 75015 Corporate Alliance Tank Droid there are stand out Minifigures which make the set particularly desirable, those being Yoda and Count Dooku, who have both been in dire need of an update since 2002 (excluding Clone Wars editions of the characters).
Box and Contents
The box is exactly the size one would expect for a set at this price point and features an action-packed shot of Yoda and Count Dooku in the midst of a Lightsaber duel. As with all 2013 Star Wars sets the lovely green border is featured along with a shot of Yoda diving into battle. Along the bottom of the box we also get the usual Minifigure gallery, complete with all four Minifigures, each of whom is appropriately labelled as 'new.'
The back of the box displays all of the features and shows off Count Dooku's Flitknot Speeder bike, as well as giving us a couple of images of the characters in action much like we see them in the films, although a certain amount of artistic license is employed here.
There is only need of a single instruction booklet, and construction is split into three numbered bags, with the inclusion of one large 6 x 16 tile loose in the box. No stickers are included in this set. Interestingly, the instruction booklet is made of a similarly good quality paper as found in 9496 Desert Skiff last year, with a rather nice gloss to each page.
Four Minifigures are included in this set, each of whom is new as I previously mentioned. Perhaps the most anticipated of these has been the updated Yoda Minifigure, who is just about flawless. His head mould is brand new and elaborately printed with some highly detailed eyes and a patch of wispy grey hair on the back of his head. The entire component is made from a slightly rubberized plastic cast in olive green, and his ears are slightly flexible because of this. The torso is very similar to that included in set 75002 AT-RT for the most recent Clone Wars edition of Yoda, although some changes have been made. The folds in the fabric for instance are much finer than previously and look more realistic, as does the addition of some green flesh around his neck. The back of the torso is also printed with a hood and plenty more creases. As with every Yoda Minifigure, the character utilises short legs which are not poseable, but they look perfect. Of course, he also includes his green Lightsaber.
This Minifigure is by far the best edition of the character we have yet seen, and the detail included is extraordinary. I highly doubt a better Yoda Minifigure will be released than this one for some years to come.
The second Minifigure is the FA-4 Pilot Droid. This is a character which need not have been included; however I am very pleased that LEGO chose to do so. His head is the same mould as that of the Commando Droid Minifigures, but is printed quite differently in order to capture the look of the droid in the film, which I think is achieved quite accurately. While his upper body is a mixture of dark bluish grey and dark brown droid components, the lower half consists of a few LEGO System parts which recreate the treads on the droid in the film. All in all, this is another superb Minifigure, albeit not a particularly interesting character.
Next we have the Geonosian Poggle the Lesser. As the Archduke of Geonosis and perhaps the most prevalent Separatist leader other than Nute Gunray and Count Dooku this is a Minifigure which I am actually very impressed with and to have the character in LEGO is excellent. His head is a brand new mould and is highly detailed with a rather regal crest and his wattles both being particularly accurate to Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones. The dark tan piece is printed with some black and tan highlights, and much like Yoda, the piece is slightly rubbery.
He includes the same plastic wings as found in 9491 Geonosian Cannon on Geonosians from that set and his torso is printed with a great deal of detail on the front and back, including the various gemstones and chains which are visible being worn by Poggle the Lesser in the film. His legs and hips too are printed with metallic armour which is as detailed as the torso. He comes with two accessories, a reddish brown cane (which is supposedly made from the bones of a political rival in the movie) and a small orange hologram showing a plan of the Death Star. I much prefer the piece included in 8039 Venator Class Republic Attack Cruiser, on which the printing of the Death Star was much clearer. However, the inclusion of the accessory is very welcome. As you can see in the image below, he looks excellent heading up a group of Geonosian Warriors, and although they are actually based on the Clone Wars, they nevertheless match up very nicely with their leader Poggle.
Finally, we have the nefarious Count Dooku. I am delighted with this Minifigure, and in a completely unexpected turn for me, this is in fact one of the best Minifigures of the last year or two in my opinion as the character in the film is brilliantly captured by the LEGO version. His hairpiece is perfect for Count Dooku and it looks wonderful in white to me. The head is printed on both sides with two different expressions, one of anger (which looks very evil indeed) and the other fairly neutral. There are plenty of little wrinkles on each side, as well as a realistic mixture of white, grey and black for his facial hair.
He wears a standard brown cape and his torso is accurate with a rather nice chain to keep his cape on. He also has a rather nice belt with some pouches and a few creases here and there. Unfortunately there is no back printing but the cape obscures this regardless, so it is of no consequence really. His legs are plain black and he carries his unique curved Lightsaber which looks fantastic as always, as well as some force lightning which is nice to see.
This set is very easy to build, and lacks any particularly interesting moments. The manner in which the impressive Geonosian architecture is recreated using arched bricks is impressive, but other than that there is little of note that I can find. The build takes about forty minutes and is enjoyable if you prefer building with standard System pieces, although for Technic fans there are other Star Wars sets which offer far more from the perspective of an entertaining construction phase.
I did in fact spot a very minor error in the instruction manual, or in the box photography depending on how you look at it. The small triangular fins towards the rear of the Flitknot Speeder are attached the opposite way round in the instructions to how they are on the box. Personally, I prefer the attachment of them as shown in the instruction manual (which is what you can see in the photos below of the completed model) which also seems a little more accurate compared with the vehicle in the film.
The Completed Model
As a playset, the actual model is not particularly accurate or impressive for display; however there are plenty of features and lots of fun to be had with the model. As I mentioned a little earlier on, Count Dooku's Flitknot Speeder is included which is rather nice, being very durable and therefore swooshable. The bodywork looks superb, and Count Dooku can sit down at the front holding on to the handlebars with his cape either pushed up over the body of the speeder, or folded behind his back, neither of which damage the cape as long as he is not left sitting there for days on end.
The actual hangar contains some nice features, including flick fire pieces of scenery to recreate the brief force duel which takes place between Dooku and Yoda in Episode II. We also have a box in which you can store the Death Star plans or Count Dooku's force lightning if you would prefer, which is hidden behind a rock. Next we have the collapsing column which comes close to killing Obi-Wan and Anakin but for the timely intervention of Yoda. By pushing the grey lever beside the tower one can control to what extent it collapses as if Yoda is using the force to catch it as in the film. Also, and somewhat bizarrely if you ask me, there is a small button at the back of the model which can be pushed to launch a section of rock from the wall. This is a slightly superfluous feature but it takes nothing away from the appearance of the model and is therefore welcome in my opinion.
Lastly when it comes to features, and perhaps most interestingly of all, a rather long pole is included which can be connected to Yoda's back using a neck bracket, allowing you to recreate Yoda jumping around the room as he duels with Count Dooku. These are all fun features if you prefer to play with your sets, although for display this set is lacking in my opinion.
There are also some nice details such as the landing platform outside (which lines up nicely with the Republic Gunship by the way to recreate the dropping off of Anakin and Obi-Wan), a chandelier style light fitting over the large archway door, and some nice piping details which add to the industrial appearance of the hangar. The architectural styling of the model is in fact rather attractive and very reminiscent of Geonosian architecture from Episode II. The entire set can fold up to form either an expansive play area, or a more realistic and densely detailed recreation of the hangar in which this scene takes place.
I have mixed feelings about this set in many ways. Although the Minifigures are beyond reproach in my opinion, being just about perfect, the detail is somewhat lacking in the model itself. For play this is a superb model with loads of excellent features and of course everything required to recreate one of my favourite Lightsaber duels of all six films, between Yoda and Count Dooku. Perhaps Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi might have been included to truly complete the set, although I think that this is a somewhat unreasonable expectation however as they both come in 75021 Republic Gunship and we already have an excellent Minifigure selection in my opinion.
In the simplest of terms, the Minifigures are 'must haves' if you ask me, and if you are looking for a set with play value then this is among the best of this wave. However, for display alone, the set is lacking in the 'wow factor' which one finds with other sets sometimes, and there are certainly others from this wave which are better suited for display.
Parts: 3 - Plenty of brilliant parts for the Minifigures, although nothing of universal usefulness as far as I can see.
Playability: 5 - This is where the set shines, numerous features and the Minifigures make this a very enjoyable set.
Building Experience: 3.5 - Nothing much of note really, but certainly not a repetitive build at any point.
Value for Money: 5 - You get plenty of parts for your money and the Minifigures are well worth the price.
Overall: 4 - Not an iconic set by any means, but the Minifigures are well worth purchasing at the very least.