Review: 75529 Elite Praetorian Guard

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View image at flickr

Star Wars: The Last Jedi will introduce a number of new characters, among the most intriguing of whom are the mysterious Elite Praetorian Guard. These deadly warriors protect Supreme Leader Snoke and wield unique bladed weapons with exceptional skill so are reminiscent of the Royal Guard who accompanied the Emperor and Darth Vader during the period of the Galactic Civil War.

75529 Elite Praetorian Guard depicts one such warrior. I was particularly drawn to this model as a result of its bright red armour which stands out among other Buildable Figures, as does the unusual shape of the helmet. Hopefully the Praetorian Guard will prove to be similarly conspicuous in the movie, improving upon the inaction of their Imperial predecessors.

The Completed Model

The figure stands just over 25cm in height and features extensive articulation so you can create some very dynamic poses. Slits in the fabric component around the guard's waist ensure that the legs can splay without interference and this also reflects their design in the film, as demonstrated in recent promotional shots. It looks superb and I was pleasantly surprised to find that the bulky shoulder armour does not hinder poseability in the slightest, due in part to the inclusion of a play feature which will be discussed a little later.

View image at flickr

I imagine this helmet design will divide opinion as it does not resemble anything we have seen in previous Star Wars movies. Personally, I rather like the contrast between the textured slits covering the face and the smooth upper surface. There are some attractive mechanical details on the back as well and the shape of the helmet allows extensive motion at the neck which feels appropriate for a warrior who would be so reliant upon agility.

View image at flickr

Snoke's Praetorian Guard wear crimson robes and armour so have inevitably drawn comparisons with the Emperor's Royal Guards. However, their heavily armoured design is perhaps more akin to that of Kir Kanos and the Imperial Knights of the Fell Empire, both of which are from Legends material and feature a similar combination of red and black armour with relatively light robes. This familiarity does not bother me at all and I love the segmented armour protecting the arms, represented here by a new component over the shoulders and a printed design towards the end of the vambrace.

View image at flickr

The large shells covering the shoulders appear quite intrusive but feature notches which slot over the elements to which they are attached, allowing the guard to stand with his arms outstretched. The articulation is further improved as you can swing the arms back and forth by moving the switch on the back of the model. This works fairly well but I find it more useful as a means of shifting the shoulder joints, thereby ensuring that the arms can cross the torso further than any other Buildable Figure. It is a shame that there is not a little more friction as the arms do wobble slightly but this does not detract from the poseability.

View image at flickr

A simple fabric component wraps around the legs of the figure and is fixed in place by a 1x1 round tile with a vertical shaft which has not appeared in red before. The slits allow you to move the legs naturally and I like the new red greaves in conjunction with black shells covering the thighs. These match the source material but another element to conceal the dark bluish grey skeleton visible on the inside of the thighs would have been welcome.

View image at flickr

Five members of the Elite Praetorian Guard have been revealed so far, each of whom wields their own distinctive weapon. This one features pearl silver blades at either end and trans-red 4L bars are fitted alongside them to represent crackling electricity. I like the textured detail on the blades and their angled design is quite attractive, reminding me of Asajj Ventress' twisted lightsaber hilt from Star Wars: The Clone Wars.

View image at flickr

Furthermore, the weapon can split in half and be wielded as two separate blades, again recalling Ventress' lightsaber. This versatility is very pleasing as you can display the figure in many different ways and it also increases the play value a little. I would have liked to see some printed detail on the sides of the blades as they are not entirely silver in the movie, although their current design is perfectly satisfactory in my opinion.

View image at flickr

Overall

I am surprised to report that 75529 Elite Praetorian Guard is my favourite of the four new Buildable Figures! This is due in part to my love for the character design in the movie but can be further attributed to the extensive articulation which allows you to create an impressive range of realistic poses. The motion of the shoulders is particularly vital in this regard as joints within the torso allow the entire shoulder assembly to move back and forth, just as we might use our pectoral muscles to shift the position of our shoulder.

View image at flickr

My only significant criticism of the figure also relates to the shoulders as the function which moves the arms is quite loose, much like the arms on 75120 K-2SO last year. They therefore tend to move with gravity which is sometimes irritating. However, this is easily resolved by the addition of a few friction pins and does little to impact upon the high quality of the model as a whole. The price of £19.99 or $24.99 seems reasonable in relation to other sets of this kind so I would definitely recommend it.

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.

24 comments on this article

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By in Puerto Rico,

Looks awesome.

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By in United States,

I'm not too much into the Buildable Figures line but this one could change my mind. Very cool looking and the dramatic poses you can set make it a winner in my book.

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By in Germany,

Ah, Lobsterman!

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By in United Kingdom,

Hey where is the mini figurer version?

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By in Canada,

I know nothing to little about Star Wars yes that's right but this character just looks cool!

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By in United Kingdom,

Wow, never thought I'd hear Crimson Empire or Legacy mentioned in a Brickset review...

You're right, this looks similar to the Imperial Sovereign Protectors, just with a new semi-stormtrooper helmet instead of a black-rimmed Royal Guard helmet.
Snoke's identity and his whole background is pretty much the thing from the new movies that I'm intrigued by, just because I want to know how they're gonna justify him. So far, he's nothing but a cheap redux Sidious.

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By in United States,

I have such mixed feelings about this figure. On the one hand, the Star Wars buildable figures have somewhat of a dearth of brighter colors like this, and in the absence of more brightly-colored constraction themes like Bionicle or Hero Factory it's good to have a source for those kinds of parts. On the other hand, like most "bad guy" characters, the color scheme feels very flat and monochromatic, without much to vary it up. And as a character, this figure does nothing for me until I've really seen its role in the movie — otherwise it's just a fancier-than-usual faceless trooper. At least he has a cool function.

I feel like I'd have fun playing around with the cloth skirt, red shins, and the new shoulder armor from this set and trying to use them in MOCs, but I have a hard time motivating myself to get this figure when the more charismatic and attractive Rey and Chewbacca figures are available for me to pick up instead. I might end up getting the figure eventually or even just BrickLinking the parts that appeal to me the most, but it's not a priority.

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By in United Kingdom,

I didn't expect the Spanish Inquisition!

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By in Germany,

Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!

Hm, maybe combine this figure with Jyn Erso's head for the inquisitor that wears a similar headgear/goggles... :)

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By in Canada,

The rebels should easily defeat these guys with boiling water and giant nutcrackers...butter is optional

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By in United States,

I actually like the designs of these guys. I think the idea is that they're so good they don't require any kind of stealth or subtlety. This might be one figure I pick up.

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By in United States,

Bravo! This is a very nice review and this has to be one my favorite buildable figures yet

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By in United States,

I only do droids/helmeted characters for the most part in these figures, so when I saw this I had to have it since all my other characters are black or very very dark grey. Nice to have something that looks so visually striking on the shelf alongside them.

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By in Canada,

I hope that these guys get more screen time and do something interesting in the last Jedi unlike the royal guards

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By in United States,

I love the buildable figures. Wish the human forms didn't get so much criticism, because they are my favorite. They look better inside a display case from further away. I want them to do a whole wave of EP 1 buildable figures.

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By in United States,

I better see some sweet flips and trick shots out of these guys in the film. Cause seeing the normal Stormtrooper run in, kill some people, and die gets very boring to watch....

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By in United States,

I think what makes this the best figure is that the physical thing looks a lot shinier than these pictures and the box shots, which makes it really match the actual costume. I love this figure! I don't even buy the constraction figs

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By in United States,

One of the times I kinda wish you'd show a layout of the pieces and some in-build pictures rather than just a few pictures of the completed figure.

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By in United States,

I'm of two minds about this set. I'd probably only want it as a parts pack, and red is a common CCBS color. On the one hand, that'd make new red parts easy to use in MOCs. On the other, it also means they wouldn't expand possibilities for me quite as much as a rarer color would.

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By in United States,

I own this guy, and for the most part, I LOVE him! He's not perfect, but I love the whole vibe he has going for him. I mean, it's hard to go wrong with a bright scarlet color scheme.
As per the official design choices, he inspires something like a samurai warrior, covered with armor but is still fast and agile. I especially am interested in the head sculpt of the figure, as I am fascinated by the helmet's design. It won't be for everyone, but it reminds me of Sensei character from a martial arts film, the large smooth plate on top reminding me of a Sci-Fi interpretation of a Rice-hat, I love it!
The Sci-fi-Laser-Ginsu knives he has are pretty accurate to the film, but I love how they could still be used in a BIONICLE or other MOCs without them looking to out of place! The build was fun, and I enjoy that the designers are still trying to include functions with these figures, makes them much more fun to build and- obviously- play with.
That said, I've had a few problems with this figure that I wonder if you or anyone else has dealt with. My biggest issue I've found with the figure are the arms. No, not the mechanism, I know that's loose... I'm talking about the actual shoulder joints. The Red Hordika necks that the arms attach to (great recolor, by the way!) seem really loose on my model, and even slowly moving the arms causes them to droop down really quickly. I've also had the awesome shoulder pads pop off with normal play very often, watch out for that.
On a personal note, I kinda wish they included another head sculpt for a normal Praetorian guard, or at least another weapon. Little things like that would make it SOOO much cooler to me, as you could choose how you want the figure to look. Much like the Shoretrooper we got this year, some extra pieces to change it from Captain to just a standard infantry would be much cooler to me. Unfortunately... I know including another insanely detailed head sculpt would make the figure like $35, and no one would pay for that.
Overall, I'm very happy with the figure. He just brightens up the lineup in a wash of white, grey, and black figures, I like him! You?

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By in United Kingdom,

Lego interpretation aside, actual knives as weapons? In the future? With lasers and light sabres?
Mmmkay.

People bash Lucas but his leadership of creative teams resulted in some stunning looking stuff.
These new films are struggling to deliver designs that'll look timeless and fresh 40 years down the line!

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By in United States,

@Mr Whippy: In fairness, even the original Star Wars movies had their fair share of bladed weapons for characters like the guards at Jabba's Palace and on his sail barge.

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By in United States,

@SMC
There is none yet, but I sure hope to see one soon.

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