40288 BB-8 is the latest in a series of exclusive Star Wars polybags which have been produced to celebrate the May the Fourth weekend every year since 2011. 30611 R2-D2 divided opinion in 2017 and I expect this set to be similarly divisive as there are many LEGO fans who would prefer an exclusive minifigure over a small model.
Excellent though a brand new minifigure might be, I enjoyed 30611 R2-D2 when it was released last year so have been eagerly awaiting its successor, 40288 BB-8. This adorable Astromech droid is an exceptionally popular character and I think it looks marvellous in official images.
The Completed Model
BB-8's most distinctive feature is undoubtedly his spherical body which is replicated with remarkable accuracy on this model. Five dishes are fitted around a core with studs on each side and they line up perfectly, forming a reasonably consistent sphere. It is therefore difficult to stand the figure up straight which is problematic for display, although I actually think BB-8 looks pretty good when leaning over, as though he is moving. Alternatively, you can attach a 2x2 round tile with a hole in the centre underneath, as shown in the image above.
The head is too large in relation to the body but still looks tremendous in my opinion, featuring intricate printed detail all the way around the dome. I love the metallic silver bands, the holoprojector and the red highlight in BB-8's eye, all of which are accurate to the movie. Unfortunately, the droid's receiver and transmitter antennas are not included. They would have been a welcome detail but are not a necessity for such a small model.
A light bluish grey universal joint connects BB-8's head to his body, allowing it to move back and forth in any direction. This is perfect for creating dynamic poses and offers some play value, although I can imagine that not everyone will appreciate its tendency to rock. The printed dishes, on the other hand, look fantastic and I like the light bluish 1x1 round plates and 1x1 quarter circle tiles that represent tool bay discs.
This model measures just under 7cm in height so is not designed in perfect scale with 30611 R2-D2. However, I think the two Astromech droids look alright when displayed together, due in part perhaps to Artoo's unusual proportions. It waits to be seen whether a matching C-3PO polybag will be released for the May the Fourth weekend next year, thereby completing the famous droid triumvirate!
BB-8 is one of my favourite characters from the Sequel Trilogy and this is a superb rendition of the Astromech droid. His body looks tremendous when compared with the films, featuring detailed printed designs on every surface as well as a surprisingly accurate spherical shape. The shape does result in a stability issue but that is easily rectified with the addition of a single 2x2 round tile to the base.
The head is decorated with similar detail and this figure looks great beside 30611 R2-D2, even though the two models are not quite in scale with one another. I would therefore recommend 40288 BB-8, especially to those who already own last year's May the Fourth polybag.
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