75177 First Order Heavy Scout Walker has received some robust criticism since being revealed, due in no small part to its unusual appearance. We have yet to see the vehicle in any trailers or promotional material but I tend to agree with the overwhelming sentiment that an eight-legged walker like this does not really fit with the existing aesthetic of the AT-series.
However, the walking mechanism demonstrated on the packaging is quite intriguing and models of a similar size such as 75153 AT-ST Walker have proven popular in recent years. In addition, the inclusion of a rare General Hux minifigure provides a further incentive to add this set to your collection, particularly if the price of £49.99 or $49.99 proves to be as reasonable as the piece count of 554 would suggest.
General Hux has only previously appeared in 75104 Kylo Ren's Command Shuttle so is perhaps the most appealing of the four minifigures included. His unique officer's cap has been replaced by a dark orange hair piece on this occasion and the head is decorated with matching sideburns and eyebrows as well as a stern expression.
The minifigure sports a long jacket which is printed across both sides of the torso and onto the front of the legs. It is fairly simple but matches the character's appearance in the movie and I like the metallic silver buckle visible around Hux's waist. The officer is armed with a black blaster pistol and I hope we will therefore see him in action during The Last Jedi.
The First Order Flametrooper was one of my favourite minifigures from the Star Wars: The Force Awakens range and its design remains unchanged for the next film in the saga. I love the smooth shaping of the helmet and the narrow visor looks very intimidating while also serving to protect the trooper from the glare of flames. A few black lines highlight tiny ridges which are present in the film and similar detail continues onto the torso, hips and legs.
A pair of large propellant tanks are fitted to the back of the minifigure using a translucent neck bracket. These are constructed using 1x1 round bricks and 3L bars so look pretty good in relation to the source material, as does the flamethrower which consists of a standard rifle with some flame elements fitted to the end of the barrel. It would have been nice to see a hose linking the weapon to the tanks but this may be impossible at such a small scale.
First Order Crew have already appeared in a few sets based on the Sequel Trilogy and an identical minifigure is found here. However, this one is described as a First Order Gunner on the box and seems to serve as the walker's driver given the absence of a specialist pilot. Presumably these troopers will helm the scout walkers in the movie, in which case I think a second such figure should have been included as the cockpit seats two.
Unfortunately, only one gunner is included and he looks very plain in relation to other Star Wars minifigures, featuring a simple design on both sides of the torso and a generic head beneath the helmet. These characters wear similarly simple attire in the films but a little fabric detailing on the legs would have been welcome, much like that seen on the Imperial Gunner minifigure in 75034 Death Star Troopers and 75159 Death Star.
This Resistance Trooper seems hopelessly outgunned, armed with just a pearl dark grey blaster, but is a useful addition to the set for play. The helmet first appeared in 75131 Resistance Trooper Battle Pack and features a new printed design on this occasion, with a single tan stripe rather than two. I love the trans-yellow visor and the absence of a chin guard bothers me less than I had anticipated, although I still favour the alternative configuration.
The torso is also new and features a row of narrow pouches strapped to the front along with a folded hood on the back. This design looks superb and does not include the curves often associated with female minifigures, thereby allowing you to use it on male figures if you wish. The legs are equally versatile so are worn by a different trooper in the larger 75189 First Order Heavy Assault Walker.
The Completed Model
The scout walker stands a little over 20cm in height and is far more compact than most models of this kind. Its legs are firmly linked to the central structure and do not stretch out as I was expecting, instead scuttling along in close proximity to the core. This is unusual within the Star Wars universe but seems sensible as the armour plating remains tightly packed at all times, reducing the likelihood of damage to an individual leg by small arms fire.
Four wheels are hidden at the base of the vehicle, allowing you to roll it back and forth and cause the legs to move. A similar function has appeared in several previous sets, memorably including the excellent 70708 Hive Crawler, but this mechanism is far simpler than that. It is reliant upon a series of cams which rotate with the wheels, lifting the legs and then releasing them again. This is effective as long as the motion of the legs remains consistent but the four wheels are not connected so often cause the legs to move in an irregular pattern.
Furthermore, the Technic mechanism is easily visible from most angles and the wheels are particularly prominent. I do think it was worth including the walking function as it would be a lot of fun to play with if the mechanism was a little more tightly constructed but the concealment of the wheels should definitely have been improved. Perhaps a single large wheel could have controlled all the cams from the very centre of the model instead.
The design of the head is more traditional of the AT-series. It is heavily armed and armoured, featuring a combination of dark and light bluish grey to create some textured detail. I like the trans-red viewport which matches that on 75189 First Order Heavy Assault Walker but it is hardly visible until the hatch on top is opened as there is no source of light inside. This vulnerable point is protected by a shield over the top and two laser cannons are mounted underneath, both of which can be angled to point up and down.
A large spring-loaded shooter is fitted to either side of the head. These can be rotated to aim in any direction and can be launched an impressive distance but little effort has been made to disguise the missiles so they look rather awkward to me. I think stud shooters would have been more appropriate as those can be incorporated very neatly, although the spring-loaded weapons are more effective for play.
The exterior of the cockpit looks marvellous, especially on the back where a pair of laser guns are cleverly used to depict some mechanical details and there are two clips for blasters or the spare missile. However, I was surprised to find that the head cannot be rotated which makes it a lot more difficult to display and hampers play to some degree.
A small tab allows you to open the hatch on top with ease, revealing seating for two minifigures along with a printed control panel. The interior is fairly spacious and slotting the minifigures into place is surprisingly easy given the depth of the cockpit. Dark tan is a perfect accent colour for the hatch as it matches the other tan pieces dispersed throughout the model, helping to break up the otherwise grey exterior.
This is definitely my least favourite of the seven Star Wars: The Last Jedi sets. The walking function is a nice idea but has not been implemented very well and the Technic that dominates the lower half of the model is unattractive for display. Moreover, the eight-legged design has proven rather unpopular and I suspect many Star Wars fans will ignore the set on that basis. I am trying to reserve judgement until we see the vehicle in action on screen but it is certainly a significant departure from past walkers.
Star Wars sets are well known for containing impressive minifigures but this aspect of 75177 First Order Heavy Scout Walker is also somewhat disappointing as the majority of the characters included are very common, having previously appeared in Battle Packs. I would not therefore recommend this set unless you wish to complete your Star Wars: The Last Jedi collection and it becomes available at a significant dicsount.
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