In this review, I will be taking a look at 75021 Republic Gunship, which was perhaps the most anticipated set of the entire Summer 2013 Star Wars line-up. Much like many of the other sets from this wave, it is only fairly recently that LEGO last produced a Republic Gunship model (7676) which was released in 2008. As one of the most prevalent and iconic vehicles from the Prequel Trilogy, previous editions of the Republic Gunship have proved to be very popular indeed, and I would imagine that this set will continue in this vein as it only improves on the earlier models in my opinion.
This is the largest edition of the Republic Gunship so far with 1175-pieces. Naturally though, with a greater piece count comes a higher price, and this set costs £109.99 or $119.99, so is significantly more expensive than either of the Republic Gunship sets released before if you are in the UK, the US price has remained the same. Not only do I consider this set to be the best edition of the Republic Gunship yet, but the minifigures are also outstanding, and five of them are brand new and exclusive which only furthers their appeal.
Box and Contents
The box is of course fairly large given the size of the set, although it is not as big as I had expected and is distinctly smaller than the box from the 2008 edition of the Republic Gunship. On the cover, the vehicle can be seen sweeping over the Geonosian plains in a particularly action packed shot. The standard green border and minifigure gallery are also present, with five of the seven minifigures being labelled as 'new.' Also, unique to this box and that of 75020 Jabba's Sail Barge, is an advertisement for the poster contained within.
The back of the box displays the Republic Gunship from another aspect, as well as demonstrating the many features of the set. One image in particular caught my eye and that is the shot of Obi-Wan, Anakin and Padmé all going into battle in the top right hand corner of the reverse of the box.
Inside the box one finds nine numbered bags, and a cardboard backed package containing two instruction booklets, the poster and of course the sticker sheet, which is thankfully not particularly large. The poster is double sided and can be seen below. On one side is a gallery of all 62 minifigures released this year which looks fantastic, and on the other is a slightly odd panoramic view of the Battle of Geonosis. This shot has been created in the style of a painting, and is quite eye-catching. I find it slightly strange that LEGO chose to include a poster as if it has been painted, although I do not think it is fooling anybody.
The minifigures included in this set are going to be one of the main draws for the product as they are excellent and the majority are exclusive. The Anakin Skywalker minifigure is superb, and he looks fairly accurate to his on-screen counterpart. His hairpiece is perhaps the biggest flaw in this minifigure as it is not entirely appropriate when compared with the character as he appears in the film. I must admit however, I am struggling to think of a hairpiece which would suit his unique haircut from Episode II. The head is lovely with printing on both sides. One has a very slight smile, while the other side is printed with a grimace for going into battle. Both sides have brown eyebrows and some cheek definition.
The torso continues the detail, with Anakin's dark brown Jedi robes captured very effectively. His Padawan braid is printed along with an elaborate belt on the front and back. His legs are printed with a continuation of the torso design and he carries a green lightsaber, the one given to him during the Battle in the Petranaki Arena.
The next minifigure is that of Obi-Wan Kenobi in his Episode II attire. The hairpiece used is perfect, cast in dark orange and accurately representing Obi-Wan as he appears in the film. His head is the same as that used in 9494 Anakin's Jedi Interceptor and has a double sided head like Anakin. One expression is decidedly serious, the other is angry. The torso is fairly standard but is still not lacking in detail or accuracy on the front or back with some lovely creasing and a simple belt. His legs are printed with a continuation of the torso design and this finishes the minifigure off nicely. Obi-Wan comes with a simple blue lightsaber as an accessory.
Padmé Amidala was probably the most anticipated minifigure to come out with this set, being the first ever version of Padmé as she appears on Geonosis. Her hairpiece is brand new and is incredibly accurate to the film in shaping and colour. She too has a double sided head, with one face printed with a slight smile, and a toothy grin on the other. She has some pink lipstick and even a couple of beauty spots which shows impressive attention to detail.
Her torso is printed front and back with her ripped shirt which is also very accurate, complete with scratch marks inflicted by the Nexu on her back. I thought the fact that she has one white arm and one flesh arm to represent a sleeve being missing was also a nice touch. Her legs are plain white with no printing and she comes equipped with a standard blaster.
My favourite minifigure of the set is in fact the Clone Trooper Captain. The dark red highlights on the armour look absolutely fantastic in my opinion. His helmet is printed with some excellent designs, the visor is silver in colour and is trimmed with dark red. He includes a few small air intakes and there are holes on either side of his helmet for the attachment of Clone Trooper equipment should you wish. His head beneath the helmet is the same as any Clone Trooper, with a determined expression and bushy black eyebrows.
The torso is identical to that of a standard Clone Trooper but for the addition of four red dots on his chest armour. There are plenty of lovely details including a rather nice belt which is laden with various pouches and even a grenade on his back. The addition of a few light grey shadows is unobtrusive but serves to break up the otherwise almost entirely white armour and looks fantastic. His arms are dark red to match his helmet and his legs are plain white with black hips. He is equipped with the LEGO interpretation of a DC-15A Blaster Rifle which consists of a large blaster with a Technic pin attached to extend the barrel.
We also get a Clone Trooper Pilot which is a nice inclusion. His helmet is perfect but for one thing, and that is the fact that the fin on his helmet is present whereas in the film it is not. This would require an entirely new mould of course but it seems to me that if you can create a new mould for Padmé's hair then LEGO could have created a new mould for this. Nevertheless, the helmet looks superb other than this detail as it has a smattering of grilles and dials which are accurate to the film, as well as a rather lovely patch of yellow above his visor. A pair of red Republic symbols are also included which look excellent. His head is the same as that of any Clone Trooper, with black eyebrows and a determined expression as mentioned earlier.
The torso is printed with some excellent detailing, including the life support pack which is unique to the Clone Pilot, as well as the standard armour and belt. As usual, the back of the torso is printed with a continuation of the armour and belt designs. His hips are black and the legs are plain white. He comes equipped with a small blaster pistol for self defence too. I do have another inevitable complaint however, quite why LEGO were unable to include two Clone Pilots to fill the two spaces for them is beyond me, but this is an improvement over including no Clone Pilots as in the last two minifigure scale models of the Republic Gunship.
Lastly, we have two Super Battle Droids, which are exactly the same as they have been since 2007, cast in pearl dark grey. In this set, they are equipped with the standard arms rather than with the cannon arm which was included in 8018 Armoured Assault Tank (AAT).
There are some interesting moments during this build as one might expect of a larger set. It takes about three hours and contains a pleasing mixture of System and Technic building.
My favourite kind of construction is one where you build a section as indicated in the instruction manual and it will only become apparent what its purpose is when you attach it to the rest of the model. Just such an occasion took place here for me while constructing the innards of the vehicle and there are plenty of SNOT (studs not on top) building techniques as well as a nice diversity of orientations for construction.
However, while there may be pleasing moments, it must also be remembered that as this is a symmetrical vehicle there is a great deal of mirrored building, which can become a little dull at times. Nevertheless, overall the building of the Republic Gunship is enjoyable in the main.
The Completed Model
When complete, this is an impressive vehicle from just about every angle. When in action in Episode II, the Republic Gunship inspires awe as it cleaves through swathes of Battle Droids with ease, thus making the ship particularly popular. The LEGO model is very accurate, and is filled with features, so as well as being an attractive display piece, it is also fun to play with.
The nose of the ship is lime green and two chin mounted guns protect the front of the vehicle. These are placed on ball joints and are very maneuverable, but not at the expense of durability unlike the older editions of this vehicle. The twin cockpits can both open and comfortably seat a Clone Pilot inside to use the control panels which are modeled after the controls seen in the film, although they are stickers unfortunately. Beneath the cockpit section is a space for holding an extra payload of missiles, which seems a little superfluous to me, and the arched doorway through which troops can enter the vehicle. Unfortunately, an opening between the arched area and the compartment to the rear has been sacrificed in favour of a stronger vehicle, which is reasonable in my opinion.
The troop compartment is now completely open inside unlike the last model and has plenty of space for as many as twenty Clone Troopers (at least that is as many as I could fit with them all being attached to at least one stud). A small box fits into the floor of the vehicle in which one finds a Jedi Holocron and there is more storage above the troop bay in the form of four containers. The two side pods which were notably absent from the 2008 model, although this was justified since they were not featured in the Clone Wars very often. On this model however they are included and they look decent, although it still bothers me that they pivot from the underside of the pod rather than from the centre. Each one can fit a Clone Trooper in fairly easily, who can control the composite beam gun using levers.
While these turrets are not bad, I personally think I have found a better solution myself, from the perspective of accuracy to the film at least. You can see my own version of a Republic Gunship side pod turret below, and if anybody is interested in the LDD (LEGO Digital Designer) file, I would be happy to send it.
The rear of the ship contains a speeder bike which can be unloaded by dropping the rear hatch. A minifigure can sit on the speeder bike, even while inside the Republic Gunship should you wish. Above the rear hatch is yet another gun turret, this time on a different kind of ball joint, but nevertheless with plenty of movement. There is yet more storage above the rear turret where a small hatch can open in which you can place rifles or whatever equipment you wish. The side doors can open and close from here, although they do not close all the way across the opening, accurate to Episode II. The tips of the wings each have another composite beam turret, in which a minifigure can be seated, although in the film these turrets were remote controlled by the co-pilot/gunner.
On top of the vehicle is a carrying handle which folds away nicely and allows one to 'swoosh' the ship around with ease. There are also eight flick-fire missiles which are a nice addition for the purpose of playability, and on either side of these are the thrusters which are an attractive mixture of dark red, white and black. The colour scheme of the entire vehicle is very pleasing, white and dark red, without the smattering of bright red which has plagued the last two editions of the Republic Gunship and somewhat ruined the aesthetics.
There are flaws in this model. The lack of a second Clone Pilot, the fact that the side pods are not as accurate as I had hoped, and the distinct absence of any standard Clone Troopers to ride in the Republic Gunship. The price is a little higher than I might have hoped too, although there are plenty of improvements which have been made to go some way to explain the dramatic price increase. Perhaps an additional couple of Clone Troopers or another Clone Pilot would have helped to soften the blow quite significantly.
However, despite these few problems, which are fairly insignificant in my opinion, the set as a whole is brilliant. The minifigure selection is wonderful and includes some very desirable characters which are either brand new or perfect for army building. There are several notable improvements over the previous versions of the vehicle, particularly from the point of view of durability, which has been greatly improved by the increased amount of Technic construction used for keeping the structure firm.
Beside previous editions of the Republic Gunship, this model is a similar length and wingspan, although the front of the fuselage narrows unlike on the older versions. The bodywork is dramatically different from earlier editions, although the overall shape is of course very similar and this model will look just fine next to one of the older sets in my opinion.
In terms of 'swooshability', this set is hard to beat. It is very strong and has some points where one can easily hold the ship, including the useful (and discrete) carrying handle. The playability is as good as it gets and the model is lovely for display as well in my opinion. Therefore, I think this set suits anybody who is a fan of the Prequel Trilogy be they younger or older as much like the 'real' ship, it is its versatility which makes it stand out for me.
- Parts: 4.5 - Lots of white and a nice selection of dark red pieces.
- Playability: 5 - Loads of features and a great minifigure selection. What could be better?
- Building Experience: 4 - A nice mixture of System and Technic, although there is some repetition.
- Value for Money: 4 - With a larger model comes a higher price, although an additional Clone Pilot would have gone some way to justify the cost.
- Overall: 4.5 - Almost perfect, but a couple of flaws keep it from full marks for me.