The Summer Star Wars sets have been released in LEGO Brand Stores a little earlier than usual in the UK, and I have been able to acquire a few of them for review. The first of these is 75052 Mos Eisley Cantina, a vast improvement over the abysmal rendition produced in 2004 (4501), a full ten years ago!
The fact that such an iconic location within the Star Wars universe has been absent in LEGO for so long is astonishing, and this has been a significant factor in the anticipation this set has been met with by many, including me. The model is undoubtedly superior to the original, and is actually an excellent set as a whole, featuring numerous lovely details and considerable accuracy to the film location.
The set is priced at £64.99 in the UK, or $69.99 in the USA, which I think is a reasonable price, although the set does feel quite small for your money. Nevertheless, there are plenty of new components in useful colours which are of interest, and the models themselves are great, despite their compact size. Probably the most appealing aspect of the set for me however is the Minifigure selection, which is superb, and this is nicely complimented by the addition of a Dewback.
Box and Contents
The shape of this box is fairly unusual, with an enormous width, but only a couple of inches of depth from front to back. This does not take away in the slightest from the attractive artwork however, and there is still room to display most of the features on the back along with some shots of the Minifigures interacting with the model in recreations of moments from the film.
Inside are two instruction manuals and a small sticker sheet, which are unfortunately not cardboard backed, and five numbered bags. The components that make up the Dewback are packed in a separate bag which is not numbered, although you construct the creature as part of the fourth bag. At the back of the first instruction booklet is a gallery of all the Minifigures released as part of this Summer wave of LEGO Star Wars sets, and there is also an advertisement for the website featuring Yoda and Darth Vader.
Perhaps the most exciting aspect of this set is the fantastic Minifigure selection. The majority are brand new, and all are integral to the scene in the movie. Almost everybody one might require to recreate the events in the Cantina accurately is included, although there are one or two notable omissions, which I will outline once I have taken a look at the figures which are included.
Firstly, a Luke Skywalker Minifigure is present to accompany his Landspeeder. The box lists him as 'new,' although an identical Minifigure appears in 75059 Sandcrawler, albeit with slightly different accessories. The hair piece has been used for the last few years for all Luke Minifigures from Episodes IV and V, and is perfect. It looks suitably tousled and the colour is ideal, so one cannot ask for much more with regard to the accuracy. The head on the other hand is disappointing as it is too heavily detailed with lines and wrinkles, although the smiling and frowning expressions are nice to see. The torso is printed with Luke's simple white tunic and brown belt, both of which are detailed with wrinkling and pockets on the front and back. The same design continues onto the legs, where one also finds the binding on Luke's legs which keep the sand out of his boots. This is a lovely detail in my opinion, and a blue lightsaber completes the Minifigure along with some binoculars.
Luke's companion in the Mos Eisley Cantina, Obi-Wan Kenobi, is also included. This is a completely new Minifigure but for the hair piece, which is light bluish grey and is identical to the one which has appeared previously on Episode IV Obi-Wan Minifigures. His head is printed with a rugged beard and some wrinkles, similarly to previous editions of the Minifigure, although this one is updated very slightly. The torso is detailed with a tan shirt and dark brown robe, each of which feature creasing in the fabric, a design continued onto the reverse of the torso, where one finds Ob-Wan's hood folded back. The long Jedi robe he wears is continued onto the legs which is an improvement over previous editions, although the printing does not line up perfectly on my Minifigure as you can see. Naturally, Obi-Wan is armed with a blue lightsaber.
Han Solo is the second (and last) Minifigure not to be new, as the same Minifigure has appeared in 75030 Millennium Falcon. His hair makes use of the same mould as that of Obi-Wan, this time in reddish brown, and his head is printed with two expressions, one with a confident smirk, and the other a more determined grimace. Some people are keen to see an updated hair piece for Han, and I would tend to agree as this part now looks relatively inaccurate, but it is satisfactory for the time being as far as I am concerned. The torso is printed on the front and back with Han's black jacket, which is laden with pockets, and the dirty white shirt he wears underneath. His hips and legs are printed with Han's belt and quick-draw holster, which looks great against the dark blue of his trousers. He comes equipped with a standard short blaster, which is a useful inclusion.
One of the most anticipated Minifigures of the year is the Rodian bounty hunter, and popular character, Greedo. Not since 2004 and 4501 has a Greedo figure been produced, and that particular Minifigure has become among the most sought after by collectors due both to its relative rarity and how impressive it actually looks.
This new version of the character is excellent, using the same head sculpt as the original Minifigure, albeit in a different colour and with new, more accurate printing. The dappled blue effect on the eyes (visible in the image above) is lovely, and the mottled skin of a Rodian has been beautifully recreated as ever. The torso design has been changed enormously, now featuring a dark orange jacket and blue shirt. These both have creasing printed on them, and the design is continued on the back, as well as onto the legs where Greedo's holster is printed. Greedo is armed identically to Han Solo, with a simple blaster pistol.
This is an interesting Minifigure in my opinion as I would argue that its design has actually not been updated too significantly since the original version, which is unusual, particularly in the Star Wars range. The loss of printed arms is a shame, but I am happy with the new version as well as the old, as they each have their advantages over the other.
Three Bith Musicians are included as well, who are just about as integral to this scene in the film as Greedo is. This is the first time the *Bith species has been recreated in LEGO, which is perhaps surprising given their frequent appearance throughout the saga. The head mould is of course completely new, and is printed with an enormous amount of detail, capturing the Bith perfectly with the large black eyes and enlarged cranium that identify the species. Each one is also printed with some little dots on their head and some highlights around the mouth. The torso is identical on each one and is printed simply with a buttoned shirt, with some creasing included on the front and back. The legs are plain dark bluish grey which is fine and the three of them are equipped with their musical instruments. I believe they are a Kloo Horn, a Dorenian Beshniquel and an Ommni Box, so I am pleased that the instruments are varied in this way to give you a respectable band, even if two of the Modal Nodes are missing. I am happy with three though, as if you really want a full band of five you can of course buy a couple more separately.
The final Minifigure included is a Sandtrooper, who has again been updated. I like new Minifigures as much as anybody, but somehow this redesign feels unnecessary. The previous version of the Sandtrooper in 9490 Droid Escape was fantastic, and although this Minifigure improves on that one in places, it actually falls short of the previous edition overall in my opinion. The helmet design has been changed quite significantly, and is now printed with various air filters and a new mouth grille, as well as the sand residue which appeared on the 2012 version of the character. This component is arguably an improvement, although the torso and legs, which are both printed with standard armour and some Tatooinian dust, are a step down. A pack is affixed to the Sandtrooper's chest, which is accurate to the movie and new to this figure. The fact that the leg printing is cut off however, as on several Minifigures this year, really damages the appearance of the character as a whole.
The same backpack has been used since 2004, and it still suffers from being too bulky for the figure. The head is that of a standard Clone Trooper (again, I preferred the black, body gloved head which has appeared for the last couple of years) and the pauldron is new in black, with some decorative lines printed across it that look rather nice. He comes armed with a blaster rifle and a long pike, which is standard fare for a Sandtrooper.
This is the first Minifigure I can recall for a long time which is actually weaker than an earlier version, but unfortunately I think that is the case here. The 2012 Sandtrooper was printed with fantastic detail, which is maintained here for the most part, but the printing on the lower legs and feet has been omitted, which is a real shame. The helmet printing however is excellent, so what it lacks in one aspect, it goes some way to making up for in another.
Construction is divided into five bags, with the first concerning the Landspeeder, and the rest gradually building up the Cantina. There are a fair few stickers to place throughout the build, although none were particularly difficult to line up properly, except perhaps for those which cover each of the three engines on the speeder as you are of course applying them to a curved surface.
The build as a whole is fairly pedestrian to be honest, with no particularly interesting moments beyond gradually building up each section of the Cantina. It took about an hour and a half from start to finish, and sufficiently maintained my attention, although I think this may have been more as a result of me wanting to see the finished product than actually being interested in the techniques used.
It is unusual to see curved piping used in a set, and here it occurs twice, on Luke's Landspeeder and the bar, so this may be new to some. It is however a technique which has been used on Landspeeders since 2004 and in this regard therefore it is not original. It may however be new to some, in which case this feature of construction may be of interest and use as it is fairly versatile. The sliding door may also be novel for some buyers, so that aspect of the build is potentially especially enjoyable.
The Completed Model
I will begin with Luke's Landspeeder, which is the fourth incarnation of this vehicle in a commonly available set. This is undoubtedly my favourite version of the speeder, although it is still not perfect, and it does not feel like a model which really needs to be included in the set as it was only 2010 when the last edition was released in 8092. This version is very similar to that one, right down to including a storage area for the lightsabers beneath the upper engine. The colour however is an improvement, now making use of the flesh colour which appeared in 71006 The Simpsons House, which will inevitably be very popular parts.
A moisture vaporator is also included. This is not an uncommon thing to find in LEGO sets having appeared before in 7113 Tusken Raider Encounter and 7101 Lightsaber Duel. This model however is by far the most accurate version, and makes a nice addition to the Cantina as some background scenery.
Another major draw to this set was undoubtedly the new Dewback, an animal which has not appeared since 4501 Mos Eisley Cantina, and has undergone an enormous update since then. This Dewback is printed with impressive detail, including eyes, nostrils and some scales on its thighs and tail.
The shape of the Dewback has been captured perfectly with this mould, right down to the four claws on each foot, although the accuracy of the mould is allowed at the cost of very much poseability. The Dewback's mouth can open and close, and there are even some teeth moulded and printed inside its jaws. On top one can place either a saddle to allow the Sandtrooper to ride, or four 1x4 bows in olive green, which fit seamlessly into the rest of the Dewback's body and look great for when it is not being ridden. The reins can also be removed, but while they are attached the Sandtrooper can hold them quite easily, as demonstrated in the final photo of the review.
Finally we come onto the main bulk of the set, the Mos Eisley Cantina itself. This has always been a set which I had deemed worthy of a larger model accurately recreating the entire Cantina, but there is no doubt that this smaller model is still a decent representation of the iconic location. The bar area is quite small, featuring the various beverage dispensers seen in the film behind the counter, along with a small control panel (presumably a cash register) and a clip in which one can place a gun. There are also some drawers containing a couple of coins, which are in fact pearl gold 1x1 round tiles.
Beside this is the alcove for the Cantina band, and it is possible to fit the three Bith Musicians included in this area, with one sitting behind his Ommni Box and the others standing. There are a few lamps and wall mounted lights in this area, along with two drinks resting on the side. Next along is a second alcove, in which one can seat Han and Greedo in a recreation of the famous scene where the two exchange blaster fire (in which Han shoots first of course). Another drink is placed on the table between the two, and there are some more lamps fixed on the walls as well. Both of these areas can be moved out of their alcoves by pushing on a section at the back, which allows easier access to the Minifigures.
The last area of the Cantina is the entranceway, which consists of a sliding door, two seats and a control panel. As you can see in the below photo, this section can be opened for access to the inside, and includes a dome piece which is unique to this set. This is a nice recreation of some Tatooinian architecture, and I think it pulls off the design quite well.
Outside the building are a few aerials, some empty clips to which one can attach the moisture vaporator and a food trough for the Dewback. There is a bone and some water in this trough, which adds some nice detail on the outside, but is actually the 'button' which will push forward the areas for the band and Han Solo. This is a neat feature, and quite a helpful one in my opinion as it makes it far easier to place Minifigures in these alcoves. The hinges between each section mean that one can adjust the layout of the Cantina or even fold it up completely, although this leaves the inside inaccessible and makes the entire model look rather small.
This is a set that I desperately want to love. There is no doubt that the Minifigures are excellent, and the Dewback is brilliant, but the set itself is not perfect. It captures the main areas of the Cantina nicely, but does nothing more than that for me. I would have preferred Luke's Landspeeder to be omitted, thus allowing the inclusion of a more extensive Cantina, or a greater number of Minifigures.
This brings me onto my next criticism of the set, which is the absence of several characters integral to the scene. Wuher the bartender seems like an obvious inclusion, as do Ponda Baba and Dr Evazan, the two criminals who pick a fight with Luke at the bar.
Nevertheless, despite these issues, 75052 is still a good set. I would certainly recommend it as I think you get a fair amount for your money and the Minifigures and Dewback are excellent. My main issue is really with the fact that the Mos Eisley Cantina was not saved for a larger set, since I would happily have paid double the £64.99 price for a set with Wuher and another five or six customers, as well as a much larger Cantina of course.
- Parts: 4.5 - There is of course a lot of tan, including that unique dome piece, which could be useful. Perhaps most interesting however are the flesh plates used on the Landspeeder and the new Bith heads.
- Playability: 5 - I think this set is a lot of fun. There are relatively few features, but the Minifigures and particularly the Dewback will no doubt be hugely popular with younger fans.
- Building Experience: 3 - The build is nothing special really, and for the price I might expect a few more interesting techniques. The use of large wall panels really damaged my score here unfortunately.
- Value for Money: 4 - The price seems fair, but another Minifigure (preferably Wuher) could easily have been squeezed in I think, particularly since there are only 615 pieces.
- Overall: 4.5 - This is a very difficult set to rate for me, since I love the scene and what we do get is excellent overall. I just cannot help but think that this should have been saved for a higher price point, where it could easily have been a challenger for the greatest Star Wars set ever. As it is however this set is undoubtedly excellent for play or display, and if you do not feel like buying the entire set, the Bith Musicians, Greedo and Dewback are well worth purchasing individually.
* I have a fun fact related to the inclusion of yet another alien species in Minifigure form in this set: did you know that LEGO has in fact created Star Wars Minifigures of an incredible forty different sentient species? In case you are interested, those species are:
Besalisk, Bith, B'omarr Monk, Cerian, Clawdite, Droid, Dug, Duros, Ewok, Gamorrean, Geonosian, Gran, Gungan, Human, Hutt, Iktotchi, Ithorian, Jawa, Kel Dor, Kowokian Monkey Lizard, Mirialan, Mon Calamari, Nautolan, Neimodian, Nikto, Ortolan, Rodian, Sullustan, Talz, Tholothian, Togruta, Toydarian, Trandoshan, Tusken Raider, Twi'lek, Umbaran, Weequay, Wookiee, Yoda's Species, Zabrak.
I have omitted Kalee and Ubese (represented by General Grievous and Boussh respectively) since those are not Minifigures that represent the standard species. I have no doubt forgotten one or two, so please feel free to note it in the comments if you can think of any others!