In the midst of the excitement (and dread) surrounding the Comic Con exclusives which plague LEGO every year, allow me to bring you a little light relief in the form of a review. It has been far too long since my last Star Wars review, over a month in fact, and now that I am back from my cruise around the Baltic, which was excellent, I can sit back and continue my documentation of this Summer's Star Wars sets.
This Summer, Star Wars sets can be split into two entirely different groups. There are five Battle of Geonosis sets, and five from elsewhere within the films and the Clone Wars television show. The second largest of the Battle of Geonosis sets is the seemingly ever-present AT-TE, now in its third outing at Minifigure scale. Therefore this set, much like many others from this wave, is simply an updated version of a previous model, and no doubt it improves vastly on earlier editions.
The AT-TE played a fairly significant role in Star Wars Episode II, and is certainly not one of those 'blink and you miss it' vehicles unlike some others I could think of (most notably the B-Wing, which now has as many models made of it as seconds it was in the film). This particular edition, 75019 AT-TE, has a slightly inflated price, in the UK at least, over the last incarnation, costing £79.99 or $89.99. The US price has remained the same while the piece count has gone down by a grand total of four parts from the 2008 edition, to 794 pieces. While not initially struck on this set, due to the fact that it is rather more stubby than earlier AT-TE models, I am fairly impressed with this set, and beside its older counterparts, this one is far superior in my opinion. Add five excellent Minifigures to the mix and one has the makings for a great Star Wars set.
Box and Contents
The box for this set is an entirely unique shape as far as I can tell, being over twice as wide as it is tall. The front of the box shows the AT-TE in action on Geonosis while the Jedi cut down swathes of Battle Droids on the ground. As usual, the green border is present and a gallery of the five Minifigures is included on the box. Needless to say, many of the features are documented on the reverse, as well as a shot of the vehicle from some more angles.
Inside are five numbered bags and the instructions nicely packaged with cardboard backing to keep them flat and in pristine condition. The sticker sheet is fairly small, and they are easy enough to apply so there need be no concerns on that front.
Five superb Minifigures are included in this set, all but one of which are exclusive to this model. The first of these is Mace Windu in his Episode II attire. This is a lovely figure and is highly desirable as one of the most popular of all the Jedi with fans. His head is the same as the one which appeared last year in 9526 Palpatine's Arrest and before that on Seso from the Prince of Persia theme. The face is a nice representation of the character and being bald, he has no hairpiece.
The torso is also the same as we saw in 9526 Palpatine's Arrest with a white undershirt peeking out from behind his dark tan Jedi robes. Unfortunately, there is still no back printing which I miss as it has become the standard inclusion on licensed Minifigures. His legs are printed however with a rather nice design, showing his robe reaching to his knees. The white below this represents his boots and I quite like this inclusion, although I am certain it will not be too everybody's taste. Of course, he also comes with his famous purple lightsaber which is perfect as always.
Next we have a character in his first outing as a LEGO Minifigure, the Vurk Jedi Coleman Trebor. This is a very interesting Minifigure, featuring one of the oddest head moulds ever created by LEGO, which is a fantastic interpretation of the character from the film. The piece is cast in a slightly rubbery plastic and is dark bluish grey, with printing for his eyes and lots of detail moulded into the component. His torso is much like many other Jedi torsos, with tan robes, although this figure has some dark grey skin visible and a nice belt printed on the front and back. His legs are printed with a continuation of these flowing robes and he carries a green lightsaber.
Before I move on to the next Minifigure, just in case anybody reading is not aware of this character, he can be seen at various points during the Battle in the Petranaki Arena, most notably when he is able to jump onto Count Dooku's viewing balcony. Just as he prepares to strike at the nefarious Sith Lord with his lightsaber, Jango Fett steps in and blasts Trebor multiple times, leaving him to fall to his death. Therefore, the character never actually made it to the huge battle outside the arena which this set is a part of. I am not going to hold this slight inaccuracy against LEGO though of course as I am delighted to get the character regardless of what set he is included in.
The next Minifigure, and one which I am very pleased with is the Clone Trooper Commander. I was not sure about this figure looking at images before I actually obtained the set as I felt the yellow and white armour would be quite an eyesore. However, I am happy to admit I was wrong and now that I have the Minifigure, he looks great. His helmet is printed with an impressive level of detail, including a sliver visor, tiny grilles and of course the yellow highlights which denote him as a commander. His head piece beneath the helmet is printed with a determined face and bushy black eyebrows, the same as any other Episode II Clone Trooper Minifigure.
The torso is printed on the front and back with the white plastoid armour seen in the film, and it is highly detailed with a belt and four yellow spots on the left of his breastplate. His arms are yellow and his legs are plain white. Some leg printing would have been welcome as it is becoming more commonplace, although I am satisfied that this figure looks perfectly fine without it. A large DC-15A rifle is included with him, or at least the LEGO interpretation of one, created using a Technic pin and the standard long blaster.
Now onto the two Battle Droids included in this set, one of whom is a Commander. The only variation between the two is the addition of a yellow area on the head and a yellow spot on the chest of the commander. Each one is an ideal colour for Geonosis, dark orange. Unlike the Battle Droid included in 75015 Corporate Alliance Tank Droid, neither of these two include a 1 x 2 plate to act as a backpack, although there is no shortage of these on the market or in other sets so one could easily add a backpack to these Minifigures. Each of them is armed with a standard blaster.
The build is certainly not the highlight of this set. As a symmetrical vehicle there is an awful lot of repetition and mirroring. However there is a nice mix of Technic and System construction and the SNOT used for creating the panelling on the vehicle is satisfying. I also came across a new part while building this set, that being a 1 x 2 plate with one clip which can be seen here on Brickset. Put in the simplest of terms, if you have built a Minifigure scale AT-TE before, there is not much new in this model.
The Completed Model
The finished AT-TE is much smaller than previous editions. However while I was initially concerned about this development, the model looks excellent in person and is far more accurate to the vehicle in the film than either of the previous versions. While the 2008 AT-TE is 48 studs in length (not including the additional length of the guns), this new model is a dramatically smaller 38 studs in length. However, it is a couple of studs broader, and far more densely built that the earlier edition. I am afraid I am not in possession of 4482 AT-TE and so cannot accurately compare the two models. However by all accounts, the 2003 model was quite similar in size to the 2008 AT-TE and thus similar differences in length and breadth apply.
The cockpit front window slides out with a seat inside where the driver of the vehicle can sit comfortably with two levers to control the vehicle. If one wanted the set to be entirely accurate to the Battle of Geonosis, the windows should be trans-neon green rather than trans-clear, however, they look great as they are, in my opinion. There are four anti-personal turrets fitted on ball joints surrounding the cockpit which have a wide range of motion and are fairly accurate to the film. The large turret atop the vehicle looks absolutely brilliant in my opinion. The gun barrel can be raised and lowered independently of the seat, which has a flick-fire missile fitted on either side of it. The entire turret can of course be turned 360-degrees and can be pointed in just about any direction.
Beneath the turret is a storage rack for an additional four flick fire missiles which can slide out and behind it is a useful carrying handle, which is not compatible with the Republic Dropship from set 10195 Republic Dropship with AT-OT Walker, although some minor adjustments of the handle can adapt the vehicle to fit with the Republic Dropship.
The rear compartment can also be opened, in which one finds a small area for placing up to three Clone Troopers. There is a rack for holding two guns and a storage container, in which there are three thermal detonators like those included in set 9516 Jabba's Palace last Summer. Two stickers form computer panels on the wall, one of which shows a Homing Spider Droid targeted. A boarding ladder can be lowered at the rear of the vehicle which is stowed away underneath. On the back of the AT-TE are two more ball joint mounted cannons.
The legs are quite poseable, and no rubber bands are used to hold them in place unlike on previous models. The use of printed dishes on the central pair of legs is very welcome and they look fantastic, far better than the dishes used on 7675 AT-TE Walker.
While I would not pick out this set as the best of the Summer releases this year, I am nevertheless very impressed by the model as a whole. In my opinion the numerous improvements make this vehicle more than worthy of being remade only five years after a Minifigure scale AT-TE was last released. Not only is the model itself excellent, but the Minifigures too are very desirable, particularly the two Jedi and Clone Trooper Commander.
If you are looking to recreate the Battle of Geonosis, I hardly need mention that this set is a must. However I would recommend 75021 Republic Gunship over this set overall, as despite commanding a slightly higher price, that set contains Minifigures which are perhaps even better than the ones included here, and the Republic Gunship is a more interesting vehicle if you ask me.
The cost of this set (£79.99 or $89.99) is a little on the high side in my opinion, but I think it is slightly better value than some of the other sets released this Summer and I would recommend that anyone pick up this set when they can. Perhaps for those of you who are only interested in the Original Trilogy this is one you can skip in favour of others.
- Parts: 4 - Plenty of light and dark bluish grey pieces, as well as some dark red is great, but few brand new pieces are included which limits the appeal for me a little.
- Playability: 4.5 - The missiles and moveable legs are bound to make this set a lot of fun to play with, and the Minifigures are a lot of fun.
- Building Experience: 3.5 - A lot of mirrored building is repetitive, although some nice techniques are used at times.
- Value for Money: 4 - Not an ideal price, perhaps an extra couple of Clone Troopers might have softened the blow.
- Overall: 4 - An enjoyable set as a whole, although probably not the best when compared with other sets available at a similar price point.
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