Review: 75187 BB-8

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BB-8 proved to be among the most popular new characters to emerge from Star Wars: The Force Awakens and was an enormous merchandising success in 2015. Many LEGO fans created their own models of the famed droid and an official rendition has now been released which seems certain to impress and may prove to be the best selling of the eleven Star Wars: The Last Jedi sets released on Force Friday II.

75187 BB-8 contains 1106 pieces and is priced at £84.99 in the UK or $99.99 in the US. That seems reasonable based on the piece count alone but I think some people may be a little disappointed in the size of the model, standing 25cm in height without the stand. Nevertheless, I have been very excited for this set and have high expectations that it will match or even surpass the thoroughly impressive 10225 R2-D2!

Minifigure

This set includes a small BB-8 figure to be displayed alongside his larger counterpart, just as 10225 R2-D2 was accompanied by an R2-D2 minifigure. The droid consists of only two pieces which were unique to this figure until the arrival of BB-9E. Both are intricately printed and match the source material very closely, particularly where the metallic silver tool bay panels are concerned as these feature different designs on all four sides so reflect the appearance of the character in the films perfectly.

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The Completed Model

There has been some debate concerning whether or not 75187 BB-8 should be considered an Ultimate Collector's Series set, due in part to the inclusion of this black display stand. Its design is very much like the stands found throughout the UCS range and it even includes a stickered plaque showing a few technical details about the droid. The BB-8 model slots into the supports perfectly and there is even a spot for displaying the minifigure.

View image at flickr

LEGO pieces are ill-suited to building spheres so BB-8 presents a considerable challenge given that the droid consists entirely of a large sphere which forms the body and a hemispherical head. However, the designer has made clever use of a Lowell Sphere to form the curved shape and I think it looks brilliant, particularly when viewed from a distance as the inevitable jagged edges become less apparent.

View image at flickr

Removing one of the six panels that make up BB-8's body reveals a fairly elaborate Technic structure inside. This serves two roles as the gears are dedicated to a couple of mechanisms activated from the exterior while the longer Technic liftarms ensure the absolute stability of the model. It feels very sturdy when picked up and is quite heavy in relation to its size.

View image at flickr

The first mechanism is activated by turning one of the tool bay discs which causes the head to rotate. This works brilliantly and the motion is quite realistic as there is also some transverse movement so the head appears to bob up and down, as if held in place by several magnetic casters. In fact, it is simply connected to the body using a Technic axle but this is very well hidden beneath the centre of the head.

View image at flickr

The horizontal motion is facilitated by a rubber band found within the body so the head will always return to the centre as long as the model is displayed on a flat surface. If BB-8 is placed at an angle then the head will dip in the direction of travel, just as it does when BB-8 moves at speed in the films! This function is a lot of fun and gives the droid a great deal of personality based simply on the range of possible poses.

View image at flickr

BB-8's head is traditionally constructed with almost all of the studs facing upwards but it still looks very detailed. I like the black 2x2 slider which forms the primary photoreceptor and the holographic projector is mounted at an angle which looks great. There is perhaps a little too much space between the photoreceptor and the projector but I think such a minor inaccuracy can be excused at this scale given the absence of specialised pieces.

View image at flickr

The high level of detail continues all the way around the head as rows of alternating white and orange plates form a series of small access panels. Two antennas are fitted to the top and the high frequency receiver includes black pieces at the top and bottom, recreating the design from the movies with the utmost accuracy! The back of the body is similarly faithful to the source material and features a second tool bay, although this one is purely decorative.

View image at flickr

Another tool hatch is hidden underneath the model. It does not house any functions but looks great and offers surprising stability as the tiles cover a reasonably wide surface area. BB-8 is therefore very unlikely to tip over accidentally and I would be confident in displaying the droid without its stand, although it looks marvellous in either configuration.

View image at flickr

I appreciate the attention to detail shown by the designer as each tool bay features a different design, all of which are accurate to the droid in the movie. Furthermore, not only do the final hatches look superb but they also conceal a lovely function as rotating the panel on the side extends the welding torch which BB-8 memorably used to imitate Finn's 'thumbs up' gesture in Star Wars: The Force Awakens!

View image at flickr

This is a tremendous feature and it works very smoothly as the extending arm pushes the hatch open while concurrently folding out the trans-medium blue flame. Ideally, I would have liked the flame to extend a little further and I should mention that only a small section of the panel opens to reveal the torch in the film. However, that would be impossible to recreate precisely at this scale and I am quite satisfied with the current design.

View image at flickr

The welding torch is retracted simply by rotating the panel in the other direction and it folds away as smoothly as it opens. Unfortunately, the hatch is not connected to the extending arm so it must be closed manually but this is still an excellent feature and I like the spear tip which is used to depict the flame as the standard flame piece would be the wrong shape.

View image at flickr

75187 BB-8 is undoubtedly comparable with 10225 R2-D2 as both models depict well-known droids and rely upon traditional combinations of bricks and plates to form curved surfaces. I have therefore been very eager to find out whether the two sets are appropriately scaled and I am delighted to report that they are! The top of BB-8's head reaches just over half way up Artoo's shoulder so matches the film perfectly and you could certainly display them together.

View image at flickr

Overall

This is a truly fantastic set. The spherical shape has been rendered very effectively and I love the detailed tool bay discs, each of which features a unique design, just as in the movie. The model looks magnificent on display, particularly since the black stand presents an attractive contrast with the bright white and orange of BB-8, although I think it is equally impressive when standing alone without additional support.

View image at flickr

In addition, the set includes a couple of fun features which increase the play value quite considerably without compromising the appearance of the model. I imagine the exposed studs will not appeal to everyone but I find them quite charming and the presence of a BB-8 minifigure to stand alongside its larger counterpart is a welcome bonus. I think the price of £84.99 or $99.99 seems reasonable in relation to the content and weight of the set so I absolutely recommend adding 75187 BB-8 to your collection.

I hope you have found this review informative. Let us know by liking this article and share your thoughts on the set in the comments below.

50 comments on this article

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By in Canada,

My son and I just finished building this set yesterday and absolutely loved the build. We knew that there were probably going to be repetitive parts but it didn't turn out to be too bad as most had slightly different instructions to keep it interesting. My son now is carrying it all around the house! Eventually, we will display it next to our R2-D2.

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By in United States,

Wonderful review, wonderful set! Now I'm slapping myself for never getting R2, because I am totally getting this set but won't be able to display them together...

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By in United States,

I initially dismissed the set primarily for the number of studs exposed and the 'blockiness' of it. But your review has changed my mind -- what a neat model. I didn't know about the play features on this. Excellent review and photos!

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By in United States,

I love it

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By in Belgium,

Hm, I wasn't going to get this, now I'm not so sure anymore... Didn't realise about the extra functions. Thanks for the review.

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By in Norway,

I'd love to buy this, but I'm saving my money for Millennium Falcon, Ninjago city, destiny's bounty, first order star destroyer, carousel, London bus, old fishing store, UCS Snowspeeder, Arkham asylum and the justice league sets!

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By in United States,

@TheBrickPal R2 is only going for $200 on Bricklink used, you should pick one up there before they go up.

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By in Portugal,

Cool review of a nice set, though I would have appreciated some mid-build shots.

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By in United States,

@ELH2806 well what's one more then?? ;)

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By in Norway,

The first and only set I purchased on Force Friday :)

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By in United States,

What a welcome change from the usual repetitive vehicles we get nowadays. With all of the boring, copied, unoriginal designs being handed over to TLG from Disney, it's great to see that a unique, unusual, (and also awesome) set can still come from a subtheme as hard to work with as Sequel Trilogy SW. Kudos to the designer!

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By in United States,

He's sooo cool, but... only $30 more and you get the version that actually rolls around. If he ever goes on sale, you can bet I'm getting him!

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By in Puerto Rico,

Thanks for the review, it's great.

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By in United Kingdom,

Built this today, genius technic design inside to get that spinning wobbly head. Its a perfect marriage of technic/brick building. My set of the year so far - and that's up against some tough competition.

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By in United Kingdom,

I'm mid-way through this build and it's temendous. A lovely challenging Technic build for the guts of the model, and watching the spherical shape take form is fascinating.

As I was blessed to get the R2D2 model as a gift, these two are going to look fantastic together.

The only problem now is, how long are we going to have to wait to a C3PO in the same scale?

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By in United Kingdom,

I too bought JUST this on FFII and am looking forward to building it, however before its even arrived I'm wondering how long before someone works out how to get it to at least roll in one direction....... I gather the weight would mean 3 wheels pointing the same direction is the best hope....... or would 3 small wheels fit on a large turntable?

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By in United States,

I was going to stop buying Star Wars sets since aside from space issues I want to focus on minifigure scale builds (buildings, cars, etc) but the fact that this is scaled to match the UCS R2-D2 makes it hard to pass, it's really well designed.

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By in Norway,

I was looking for a photo of Artoo and BB-8 together earlier today without success, thanks for bringing me one :)

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By in United Kingdom,

I wonder how long it will take till someone creates a bb9e version of this ?

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By in United Kingdom,

Love it but the fact it's a model from the new trilogy (I thought Force Awakens was terrible and the story, characters, ships and vehicles are all second rate knock offs from the original trilogy ) means I won't buy it.

I have the UCS R2D2 and it's absolutely fantastic-one of the best UCS. More UCS characters please Lego! A Darth Vader bust would be great

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By in United States,

Definetely going to get BB-8, I have the the UCS R2-D2 and excited to put them together.
Weird to think that I'm most pumped for this set out of the first wave of TLJ sets!!

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By in United States,

Great review, thanks! Very curious about how the UCS controversy(?) plays out. Seems like TLG is really pushing this to be a huge seller. I admittedly grabbed 2 myself... 1 to build and 1 to save unopened. Can't wait to build this!

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By in United States,

I rarely purchase a set on the first day, but this set was a day one buy. My kiddo has R2-D2 and Wall-E. There is no way we were passing on this droid.

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By in United States,

Oh my goodness this thing is beautiful. Perfect size for display!

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By in Germany,

BB-8 was the single best thing about "The Force Awakens". Can't wait to get this set! Non-UCS Star Wars set of the year?!

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By in United States,

This is definitely a must-have

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By in United States,

This will look great next to my R2, will be the only set I get from TLJ wave.

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By in United States,

Cute!

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By in Australia,

there's a guy who did a much larger MOC of BB-8 which doesn't have the blockiness of this model. still looks good though.

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By in Finland,

How does it compare to Wall-E?

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By in United States,

Love the exposed studs and slight 'blockiness'. That's Lego to me.
This looks great and fun features. Can't wait to build and display with my UCS R2-D2.
Thx for the thorough review!

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By in United Kingdom,

I suspect this will be THE Force Awakens set that inflates in value in the future.

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By in United Kingdom,

Only The Last Jedi set that has tempted me and the fact it is to the correct scale with R2-D2 has probably tipped the balance.

Agree with @Matt89190 that the (otherwise excellent) review is crying out for some building stage pictures.

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By in Germany,

I went to our local store last Friday in order to take advantage of the FFII promotions. As I came in the afternoon, most of the bargains had already sold out, so I got this set as it IMHO represents the best value of the sets released in this wave, plus it is simply an awesome little build. Love it.

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By in United Kingdom,

@Matt89190 and @yuffie - I only tend to use build photos when I think the construction is worth discussing at some length. In the case of 75187 BB-8 the image showing one panel removed really demonstrates everything you need to see as the same technique is repeated on six sides to form the spherical body.

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By in United States,

Very cool set!

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By in Austria,

Very beautiful sculpture and rendered well. I can display this anywhere in the house and it will look nice even for non star wars fan.

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By in United States,

Looks great and thanks for a great review. Still on the fence but really curious how this UCS designation plays out. I don't imagine it is as it isn't labeled as such but if upto the fanbase it just might become.

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By in United States,

This is the most attractive of any of the new released sets. If you have the R2 this would be a great addition, without the R2, however, it might be an easy pass for me.

Also, I do not like the stand, just the model and the plate is all that is needed. I think linking the two has a distracting look, my eyes are drawn right to the black connecting pieces. In general Lego has always done a poor job with UCS stands.

Thanks for the review

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By in United States,

Thanks for the review. This truly is an amazing set. It is amazing to me how they pulled off the curved surface of the model, but nonetheless, it is still an excellent model.

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By in United Kingdom,

Very nice review, Captain!

Picked this up today, and I can definitely see this sitting alongside R2-D2 if I ever actually get some display space sorted out!

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By in Switzerland,

I really like this set, cool play features, the whole mechanic is very impressive, but it's 120 CHF in Switzerland, which is just too expensive. Just like the whole TLJ wave, so I'll have to wait for a discount in TRU..

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By in Singapore,

Beautiful set! Love all the action features especially that bobbing head, and the stand just elevates this set to UCS level (it is definitely UCS worthy imo)

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By in United States,

This was the only Last Jedi set I was really interested in--another walker that is 'close enough' to the other two or three I already have; a star destroyer that is 'close enough' to the others already released at that scale; Kylo's tie fighter that is basically a slightly flattened Advanced.

They were sold out at the LEGO store by me on Force Friday, but I was able to pick one up at Wal-Mart the next day. My son was very enthusiastic when he saw it peeping out of the bag. I showed him the rest of the Last Jedi sets and he agreed--this was the only set he wanted to put together.

The kids are always right.

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By in United Kingdom,

All we are missing know is a C-3PO in the same scale!

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By in United States,

what a great Set! I love it

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