Review: 75022 Mandalorian Speeder
Probably the set I considered the least interesting prior to the release of this Summer wave of Star Wars sets was 75022 Mandalorian Speeder. The vehicle being recreated appeared only briefly in the Clone Wars television show (or at least a similar vehicle) and the box artwork for the set does not, in my opinion, portray the model or Minifigures in the most complimentary of light.
Despite my initial reservations, this has turned out to be a good little set, priced at £24.99 or $24.99 and consisting of 211-pieces. As a Clone Wars set, this will no doubt not be quite as popular as many other sets in this selection, and it will be viewed as good news by some that only two Clone Wars sets have been produced for this Summer wave. I was pleased to see a Clone Wars version of Darth Maul being produced before the end of the Clone Wars sets as a whole, but the Minifigure is a little disappointing in my opinion (although I believe it does look better in person than in photos).
Box and Contents
The box for this set is fairly small and the bags are densely packed inside. As I have already mentioned, the box artwork does not do the actual set justice. In my opinion, the angle at which the speeder has been photographed is rather unflattering and the colouration seems dark and gloomy as a whole. The green border brings a welcome splash of colour and there is plenty of action going on around the speeder which is always nice. The standard Minifigure gallery also features, and all three figures are labelled as 'new.'
On the back of the box are some more shots of the set and the various features are displayed as one would expect. There is a single instruction booklet, a small sticker sheet (which are not cardboard backed unfortunately) and three unnumbered bags.
There are three Minifigures included in this set, two of which are almost identical. The most interesting of the three is definitely Darth Maul, although he is not in my opinion the highlight. His head has been a source of much complaint as it is fairly ugly, although I personally find it acceptable in comparison with many other Clone Wars face prints. The eyes are printed a little too far apart and his mouth is smaller than I would have liked, but I do not think it is as bad as it looks from images of the set. His head is topped with a Zabrak horned component which is printed to match up with the printing on the face.
The torso is an excellent component, printed with the metallic collar which adorns the character in the Clone Wars and all the tattoos which make Maul quite so intimidating. These tattoos are even continued onto his arms which looks excellent and the designs are of course on the back of the torso too. However, it is the legs which brings this figure down most of all in my opinion. Despite being moulded with huge amounts of detail and looking incredible, complete with clawed feet and pistons, they are quite simply far too long. This means that the entire Minifigure looks very much taller than he ought to and his legs are quite severely out of proportion with his body. They can be posed much like a standard LEGO Minifigure, albeit with a slightly wider range of motion than usual. He is armed with a single bladed red Lightsaber which is accurate to reflect the fact that half of his double bladed Lightsaber was cut off by Obi-Wan Kenobi in Star Wars Episode I. Maul is also equipped with a Darksaber stolen from Pre Vizsla, the former leader of Death Watch. It is unfortunate to note that while Maul's brother Savage Opress is significantly taller than Darth Maul in the television show, their Minifigures do not reflect this and Maul is far taller than Opress.
The other two Minifigures included are identical but for their faces beneath the helmets. The Mandalorian Super Commando is the highlight of this set for me, as it really does look excellent, despite appearing only fairly briefly much like the speeder they are riding in. The helmet is the same design as that of every other Mandalorian released up to now, but is printed with a unique design. It is cast in pearl dark grey and printed with black and dark red highlights. Perhaps the best part of the printing however is the black handprint which adorns the helmet and makes them look rather rugged as a whole. The head underneath varies between the Minifigures as mentioned earlier, one has the standard Mandalorian head (which is exceedingly unattractive) and the other utilises Pre Vizsla's head from 9525 Pre Vizsla's Mandalorian Starfighter.
A pearl dark grey jetpack is worn which is moulded with lots of detail, but is without printing. The torso is printed with the same design as other Mandalorians, but on this occasion with a black shirt and dark grey armour (which is continued on the back of the torso, although this is obscured by the jetpack). A red splatter is printed across the armour which again contributes to the untidy and mercenary appearance of the character. The legs are plain dark grey which contrasts nicely with the red and black of the torso. Each Minifigure is armed with a standard short blaster. I am very impressed by these two Minifigures, they are very accurate to how the characters appear in the relevant episodes of the Clone Wars and in LEGO they look perfect.
As a set with only 211-pieces, little can be expected from the build, although it is a fairly entertaining half an hour build given the size of the set. The construction of the windscreen, which is on a hinge joint, is quite clever, allowing it to be placed at a particularly sleek angle. Furthermore, the use of windows as engines at the back looks great and is a very effective technique in my opinion.
The Completed Model
The vehicle may be somewhat obscure, but it is nevertheless excellent, for display in particular. What it may lack in features it more than makes up for in accuracy in my opinion. Beneath the front of the speeder are a pair of flick fire missiles which can be launched by pushing a tab forwards on either side of the vehicle. In the cockpit is a holoprojector and seating for Darth Maul and his two Mandalorian Super Commandos, as well as room for them to store their guns.
At the rear of the vehicle is a turret, behind which a Minifigure can be placed to control the weapon. This weapon can be moved up and down but unfortunately there is no swivelling motion. On either side are air intakes and thrusters, which look fantastic, and below the turret is a storage area for Darth Maul's Lightsaber and the stolen Darksaber which is very welcome.
I would certainly recommend this set as not only does it include a couple of rather impressive Minifigures (particularly the Mandalorian Super Commandos in my opinion) but the actual speeder too is truly excellent. The sleek lines and attractive colour scheme make this a perfect display piece, although I think this set does lack a little when it comes to playability thanks to the lack of many features on the speeder and the fact that all three Minifigures are of the same faction, so there is not much room for conflict in this set.
The vehicle appeared only fairly briefly in the Clone Wars as I have already mentioned, during a rather dynamic chase through the skies of Mandalore in the Season 5 episode 'The Lawless' and later on to deliver Darth Maul and his brother Savage Opress to a landing platform. So obscure is this vehicle in fact, that it does not have an entry on Wookieepedia or the Star Wars website. The only image I can find of it anywhere is this one on the Star Wars website. The vehicle in the episode does not appear to have the gun turret seen on this model, I suppose this is a slight variation on the same model of speeder.
It is tricky to avoid drawing comparisons between this set and 8128 Cad Bane's Speeder. Each model is constructed with minimal features, but plenty of detail and room for several Minifigures inside, as well as being at the ideal scale for the Minifigures. Some people prefer playset style models, but I am a huge aficionado of this kind of set created at Minifigure scale. Accuracy is important in a Star Wars set for me, although features are equally important which is where both 8128 and this model, 75022, fall a little short in my opinion.
Naturally, if you are not a fan of the Clone Wars then this is a set which you can probably afford to miss, although it is certainly well worth having if you are a Clone Wars fan, not least because it is the only set in which Darth Maul is available in his Clone Wars guise, even if he is a little disappointing.
Parts: 3.5 - A fair smattering of dark blue and Darth Maul's legs are the only components of real interest as far as I can see, so nothing ground-breaking.
Playability: 3.5 - I would not count this set among the most exciting of this wave when it comes to playability. The vehicle is nice and swooshable but that is about it.
Building Experience: 4 - A couple of neat techniques are used, about as much as one could expect from a set this size.
Value for Money: 4.5 - I have no complaints on the price, it seems fair for three Minifigures and a large speeder.
Overall: 4 - Had Darth Maul been a slightly better Minifigure, this set would have been nigh on perfection. Nevertheless, the speeder is lovely, as are those Mandalorian Super Commandos.