Luke's period of training with Yoda includes many of the most important and well known scenes from throughout the entire Star Wars saga. It is therefore somewhat surprising that the Dagobah environment has only appeared once before in 4502 X-wing Fighter, a set that was released more than a decade ago!
75208 Yoda's Hut might therefore be the most anticipated Star Wars set of the year so far, returning to this vital location and including three brand new minifigures. I have certainly been looking forward to this set, although the design of Yoda's hut appears to diverge quite significantly from what we see in the films. Hopefully those changes will be justified and still result in an excellent completed model.
Fourteen years have passed since the last version of Luke Skywalker sporting his Dagobah training attire was released so he is certainly due for an update. This tousled hair piece was created for Luke in 2011 but has not appeared in dark tan before. It looks perfect here in relation to the film and the double-sided head is equally impressive, even including a face with closed eyes for meditation, just as in the movie.
The original Dagobah Luke Skywalker minifigure wore a sand green vest and dark bluish grey trousers. I can see why those colours were chosen but this tan and dark tan combination is much more effective in my opinion. The graphic designer has even included part of the dark tan trousers on both the front and back of the torso, demonstrating tremendous attention to the character's onscreen appearance.
Luke often carries Yoda on his back during training so the minifigure wears a backpack to which the Jedi Master can be attached. This is a nice idea but the scale of LEGO minifigures leaves the result looking absolutely ridiculous, as demonstrated below. The 2004 figure also included a backpack for Yoda and I believe that was better executed so it is unfortunate that a similar design was not used on this occasion.
Yoda has not appeared in an Original Trilogy set since 2004's 4502 X-wing Fighter was released so his torso is new, featuring worn robes and a reddish brown belt. The Jedi Master keeps a blissl, a musical instrument similar to a pan flute, on a string around his neck so it is brilliant to see that detail included and the printing on the back of the torso looks good too.
The head is made from a rubbery plastic and includes some wrinkled textured on the front while the back is decorated with a patch of grey hair. I would have liked to see a little more texture in this area but the printing looks alright as well. Yoda comes with a reddish brown 3L bar representing his gimer stick.
R2-D2 has appeared in more LEGO sets than almost any other Star Wars character but rarely receives an update to his design. However, this minifigure is splattered with mud from the Dagobah swamp so is unique and I think it looks marvellous. The pearl silver dome is printed all the way around and there is similar detail on the front of Artoo's body but the back remains blank. Nevertheless, I am delighted to see a new version of R2-D2.
The Completed Model
Yoda's hut is built into the base of a gnarltree, using mud from the surrounding area and any materials that could be scavenged from the escape pod in which he arrived. I was initially unimpressed with this model when it was revealed as the shaping of the walls seemed rather crude and the door looked far too large, despite being ingeniously constructed. Now that I have actually built the set my opinion has changed. This model may not capture the exact appearance of the hut but it does represent the essence of the location.
Layers of 2x2 curved and angular corner bricks form the walls. This is a reasonably effective technique and I like the dark green vines clipped beside the door, replicating the roots growing over Yoda's hut in the film. Tan dominates the structure but there are also some attractive reddish brown, dark tan and olive green accents which look suitably organic, particularly around the window. This is the perfect height for R2-D2 to peek inside but there is little room to actually stand the figure.
The model stands on a base consisting of four sections. Three are connected using hinges while the fourth can be attached to the front or rear of the hut, allowing you to reconfigure the exterior space. I like this idea and the folding sections are integrated quite nicely but the separate catapult component outside the front door looks somewhat strange to me. However, it does cover an unsightly dark bluish grey Technic brick.
Yoda's hut is undoubtedly the focus of this set but certain aspects of Luke's Jedi training are included too. For instance, the minifigure can hold onto a trans-clear clip as if performing a handstand which is clever, as demonstrated below. The crate can then be raised and lowered on a trans-clear pillar, recreating the scene in which Luke learns to focus his mind and sees a vision of his friends on Cloud City.
A small tree branch grows from the other side of the hut and this incorporates another function. The box shows Luke standing on a dark bluish grey 1x2 jumper plate and holding onto the end of a short string. Pressing the Technic liftarm beneath the figure will launch Luke, sending him swinging around the tree. This is extremely simple and works well, although I would rather the Technic liftarm had been better hidden.
There is little room to place minifigures inside the hut as it is quite densely furnished, featuring a folding bed as well as a fireplace with a pearl dark grey cooking pot hanging above it. These details are faithful to the movie and there is even a trans-yellow gem set into the wall, representing the glowing stone that illuminates Yoda's hut. Furthermore, the table in the centre of the room can be removed to reveal a storage space under the floor.
Fortunately, you can create more space for figures by folding the exterior sections behind the hut which is excellent for play, although the transition between tan and dark green flooring looks rather abrupt. Nevertheless, this is a clever way to offer sufficient interior space and some scenery for the swampy environment beyond the hut, all without using too many pieces and unnecessarily inflating the price.
75208 Yoda's Hut may not be entirely accurate when compared with the source material but it captures the essence of the location and includes a number of great functions. I am therefore very pleased with this set, contrary to my initial impression based upon official images alone. There is plenty of interior and exterior detail as well as numerous references to scenes in Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back.
The minifigure selection is also thoroughly impressive and on that basis I would recommend this set to any Star Wars fan. It is priced at £25.99 or $29.99 which seems reasonable given the popularity of the scene, although a slight discount would make this set a true 'must-have' in my opinion.
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