Cloud City plays an enormous role in Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back but has only appeared in two previous LEGO Star Wars sets, disappointing many fans. Rumours surrounding the release of a new model which is based upon this important location were therefore met with great excitement and considerable speculation.
However, the announcement of 75222 Betrayal at Cloud City caused some division. This set is clearly focused upon play, taking inspiration from 10188 Death Star and 75159 Death Star, so might not appeal to older LEGO Star Wars collectors who were looking for an impressive display model. Nevertheless, I believe this set has a great deal of potential so have been looking forward to building it.
Box and Contents
I like the Ultimate Collector Series branding that was introduced last year so am pleased to see it again here, applied to a Master Builder Series set on this occasion. The black packaging design looks great and the billowing clouds of Bespin create an attractive backdrop. However, the model is displayed from an unusual angle which is not particularly appealing in my opinion, although it does show almost every area of the set.
The box contains 26 bags, numbered from one to thirteen, along with a single instruction manual and two sticker sheets. Some of the bags are packaged in a smaller white box which is decorated with a quotation from Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, reading "I've just made a deal that'll keep the Empire out of here forever".
Designer interviews have become a consistent feature of larger Star Wars sets and 75222 Betrayal at Cloud City is no exception. The first several pages of the instruction manual are focused upon the set designer, Hans Burkhard Schlömer, as well as Madison O'Neil who created the graphics. In addition, there is some information about Cloud City in the movie along with a few concept illustrations.
This set contains an impressive selection of minifigures, the first of whom is Luke Skywalker. The young Jedi wears a dark tan uniform while attempting to rescue his friends from Cloud City and this minifigure looks fantastic, featuring a couple of intricately detailed pockets on the torso and two more on his legs. These designs match the source material exactly and I like the reddish brown belt too.
I think tan might have been a more appropriate colour for Luke's attire than dark tan, although the latter shade presents a contrast with his skin tone. The head features a determined grimace on one side and the alternative expression appears devastated, presumably in response to Darth Vader's delivery of a shocking truth! The minifigure is equipped with both a blaster pistol and a blue lightsaber.
Two different versions of Han Solo are included. One is based upon the character's appearance when he arrives at Cloud City while the other wears a wrinkled shirt, in preparation for carbon-freezing. Both minifigures feature the same textured hair piece which looks brilliant and their facial expressions are excellent, accurately capturing the smuggler's confident personality.
The minifigure wearing a white shirt previously appeared in 75174 Desert Skiff Escape and the design on the front of its torso is lovely. However, there is no printing on the back which is unusual and I think that should have been updated here. The jacketed figure looks fantastic though, sharing its torso with the Han Solo minifigure in 75192 Millennium Falcon but including a brand new pair of dual-moulded legs!
Dual-moulded arms and legs have been available for several years but have not appeared in the Star Wars theme, until now. Han's black boots look wonderful but I am even more impressed by the yellow Corellian blood stripes which are printed along the side of each leg. A holster is included too and this lines up exactly with the straps on the front of the legs, as demonstrated in the image below.
Furthermore, the set also includes Han Solo in Carbonite. This pearl dark grey element was created for 8097 Slave I in 2010, at which time Han Solo featured a different hair piece. It is disappointing that the hair on the carbonite block has not been updated to match Han's new hair piece, particularly given the exceptional printed detail surrounding the minifigure and the lovely texture of the frozen carbonite.
Chewbacca first appeared in 7190 Millennium Falcon and an almost identical minifigure remained in use until 2014, when the character was redesigned. This version features dark brown fur with medium dark flesh highlights so is accurate to the source material but there should perhaps be some additional medium dark flesh hair around the Wookiee's midriff. The metallic silver bandolier looks superb though.
Further printed detail highlights Chewbacca's white teeth and his shiny nose. The minifigure is armed with a stud-shooting bowcaster but does not include a satchel for carrying C-3PO which is somewhat disappointing. However, that would certainly have required the creation of a new component with few alternative uses so its omission is not entirely surprising.
This set also comes with two Leia Organa minifigures, the first of which wears a white padded jacket for her arrival on Cloud City. I love the diagonal striped pattern on both sides of the jacket and a small command insignia is attached below the collar which looks splendid. However, I would have preferred to see a different version of the character without her jacket as that attire appears more prominently on Cloud City in the film.
The second minifigure is dressed in an impressive gown which features a delightful circular pattern. This design looks absolutely magnificent and continues onto the back of the dress, along with some subtle tan highlights. However, the dark brown hair piece bears little resemblance to Leia's formal hair style in the movie so a new element should definitely have been introduced here.
LEGO has produced several different versions of C-3PO and the latest rendition is certainly the most detailed. I love the colourful powerbus cables which are visible between his golden chest panels and the printed designs on the legs look marvellous too, although a dual-moulded right leg would have been even better as the lower half of Threepio's leg should be silver rather than gold.
A unique head was created for protocol droid minifigures in 2000 and that component remains in use today. There is no need for an update though and the element continues to impress, despite its age. Both eyes are decorated with yellow highlights and there is some lovely moulded detail around the mouth.
R2-D2 was updated quite significantly in 2014 and has remained almost unchanged since then. The droid's pearl silver dome looks superb, featuring a pink processor state indicator and some dark blue panels, while his cylindrical body is decorated with a few metallic silver highlights. I would love to see corresponding panels on the pack of the figure but am quite satisfied with the existing design as well.
Of the twenty minifigures in this set, Lando Calrissian is definitely my favourite. His luxurious attire as the Baron Administrator of Cloud City is rendered with magnificent detail and represents a tremendous improvement over the figure from 10123 Cloud City, as one would expect. The black hair piece is ideal for this minifigure and two different smiles are printed on the head, perfectly capturing the character's charming personality.
Lando wears an impressive cape in Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back and that has been replicated with incredible detail here. Not only does the cape include two colours but its interior surface is decorated with a floral design which matches the source material exactly. Its length is not completely accurate though as the cape does not extend to the floor in the movie, although I think a shorter design would look out of place on this minifigure.
Removing the cape reveals a few creases in Lando's medium azure shirt and these continue onto the front of his torso where you will also find a simple belt. LEGO has produced more than 1000 different Star Wars minifigures since 1999, most of which are excellent. However, I think this Lando Calrissian figure deserves to be considered among the best of them!
Lobot has only appeared in a couple of previous sets and this minifigure is very similar to that from 9678 Twin-Pod Cloud Car & Bespin. His light bluish grey attire is relatively simple but compares favourably with The Empire Strikes Back, featuring white sleeves as well as some printed creasing which looks very realistic.
I like the character's severe facial expression but was surprised to find that his cybernetic implant is printed on the sides and back of the head, rather than being an entirely separate element. The press release for this set gave the impression that Lobot would come with a new cybernetic band, although the existing printed design is adequate in my opinion.
A small group of Cloud City Guards maintain security across the mining colony and this set contains two such characters. They are dressed in blue uniforms with a metallic gold trim which looks suitably regal and I like their hats as well. However, the very first Bespin Guard minifigure included printing around its wrists and I was hoping that be reintroduced for 75222 Betrayal at Cloud City.
I was somewhat surprised that both minifigures feature a flesh skin tone as the most prominent guard in the movie, named Isdam Edian in Legends continuity, is a black character. These heads look good though and each guardsman is armed with a light bluish grey blaster, represented by a hose nozzle rather than a standard blaster pistol.
Furthermore, the set includes two Cloud Car Pilots. These characters only appear in the background of The Empire Strikes Back so there is no direct source for comparison, although but numerous action figures have been released and the minifigures compare favourably with their larger counterparts. The white uniform feels appropriate for Cloud City and I like the red emblem printed on their left breast.
However, the most interesting aspect of these pilots is their helmet. This element was originally created for a Rebel Alliance soldier in 75155 Rebel U-wing Fighter but it closely resembles the helmets worn by Cloud Car Pilots so works perfectly on these minifigures. The red decoration looks good and I like the double-sided heads which feature stern and worried expressions along with an orange-tinted visor.
75137 Carbon-Freezing Chamber was the first set to include an Ugnaught but this minifigure is unique, wearing a light bluish grey shirt rather than an apron. Such variation is always welcome but I think an additional Ugnaught should have been included, particularly given the inclusion of a waste disposal room where several Ugnaught try to keep C-3PO's head away from Chewbacca.
This minifigure's head sculpt is shared with the Ugnaught from 2016 but the printed designs have been updated to include more facial hair than its predecessor. I think it looks alright when compared with the Ugnaughts from the film, although even more facial hair would have been welcome. The figure carries a black spanner.
Darth Vader wears an intimidating helmet which includes tremendous moulded detail and consists of two components. A smaller element fits around the Sith Lord's neck and is left behind when the upper section is removed, revealing the scarred face of Anakin Skywalker underneath. I am pleased that the minifigure designer has returned to using this white head rather than the tan piece from 5005276 Star Wars Anniversary Pod.
The front of the torso is decorated with some colourful buttons on the life-systems computer and a metallic silver belt buckle but the reverse is completely plain. Fortunately, this is concealed by a soft fabric cape which fits around the minifigure's neck and matches the printed robes very nicely. Naturally, Darth Vader is armed with a red lightsaber.
Different renditions of Boba Fett have always been at the forefront of minifigure design, most notably in 10123 Cloud City where the figure included printed arms and legs. This example is almost identical to that from 75060 Slave I and looks fantastic so I am glad that it has not been updated unnecessarily, with the only change being the addition of a standard Clone Trooper head underneath the helmet.
A series of yellow stripes are printed on the side of the helmet, along with some metallic silver battle damage. Similar highlights cover the chest armour and both of Boba Fett's kneepads, matching the appearance of the bounty hunter in The Empire Strikes Back exactly. His sand green jetpack and printed cape look brilliant too.
However, my favourite aspect of this minifigure is undoubtedly the printing on its arms. The right arm includes a flamethrower while the left features a rocket launcher. Both arms are also decorated with flame yellowish orange shoulder armour and the back of the torso is equally detailed, despite being covered by a jetpack. Boba Fett is armed with an EE-3 blaster rifle, represented by a blaster pistol with a black lightsaber hilt at the end of the barrel.
IG-88 follows Boba Fett to Bespin where the droid is quickly destroyed by its bounty hunting rival. The remains of this bounty hunter appear briefly as Chewbacca attempts to rescue C-3PO so I am glad to see him here. This figure includes the same printed eyes as that from 75167 Bounty Hunter Speeder Bike Battle Pack and they look superb, as indeed does the blaster rifle fitted to the droid's back.
A pair of Stormtroopers complete this set. The shape of their helmets has remained the same since 2001 but the printed designs have been updated on several occasions, most recently in 2014. I love the dark blue vents on either side of these helmets and the printed mouth grille looks superb. Clone Trooper heads are found beneath the helmets which is disappointing, although they are rarely seen.
The armour on their torso and legs is also very impressive. I am particularly satisfied with the shading around their abdomen as that looks remarkably realistic, although the knee protectors end abruptly so that area of the figure could be improved. As usual, both Stormtroopers are equipped with a standard blaster rifle.
The Completed Model
75222 Betrayal at Cloud City takes inspiration from the design of 10188 Death Star and 75159 Death Star, featuring several prominent locations from Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back which are combined to resemble the exterior of Cloud City. The model measures 54cm in diameter, although this does vary as it is not a perfect circle, so is larger than I was anticipating and it is remarkably sturdy given its enormous size.
The set includes ten different rooms as well as two external platforms and the sensor balcony where Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader conclude their lightsaber duel. These areas are cleverly arranged to reflect the sequence of events in the movie and their relative sizes are appropriate too, providing plenty of space to play with the minifigures inside without compromising on the level of detail.
A circular landing platform occupies one quadrant of Cloud City. This structure is quite simple but I like its shape and the trans-yellow landing lights around the edge look superb, as indeed does the contrast between tan and dark tan plates. Exposed studs cover the whole landing platform and these might not appeal to everyone so a few tiles would probably have been welcome here, although the studs do not actually bother me.
However, the landing platform looks even better when the Slave I is placed on top, as demonstrated below. Boba Fett's vehicle fits onto the platform perfectly and provides a welcome splash of colour to the model. The craft measures 19cm in length so is considerably smaller than minifigure scale but you can still place Boba Fett inside the cockpit, just as you would on a larger rendition of the Slave I.
Hans Burkhard Schlömer, the designer of this set, also created 75060 Slave I for the Ultimate Collector Series so it should come as no surprise that this an excellent model, despite its small size. The curved shapes have been replicated effectively and the balance between light bluish grey, dark red and sand green components is faithful to the movie.
The wings are fitted to a Technic axle so will rotate as the Slave I moves between flight and landing modes. This works reasonably well and I like the yellow highlights on the wings, although there is no stopper which prevents them from rotating all the way around when the vehicle is inverted. In addition, two stud shooters are mounted on either side of the fuselage and they are incorporated neatly so avoid detracting from the model's appearance.
Boba Fett fits comfortably inside the cockpit, leaving just enough room for the canopy to close around him. There are no controls in front of the pilot but I believe that would be an unrealistic expectation for such a small model. Nevertheless, a couple of mechanical details are visible behind Boba Fett and no unsightly Technic elements remain exposed once construction is complete.
Similar detail continues on the underside of the vehicle where you can see a row of five small thrusters alongside two larger ones. These are accurately arranged and the sensor dish, which is also shown to be a docking port during Star Wars: The Clone Wars, looks brilliant. Unfortunately, the cavity beneath the engines is far less attractive and reveals part of the internal structure.
This is intended for storing Han Solo in Carbonite, allowing Fett to transport the stricken smuggler to Jabba's Palace on Tatooine. I am impressed that the designer found space for this carbonite block in such a small model and the Slave I can still land without obstruction as the block fits entirely within its storage compartment. Furthermore, you can place Boba Fett's blaster rifle on a single clip at the top of the boarding ramp which is useful.
A short walkway connects the landing platform to a sliding door. The tan external wall looks marvellous when compared with the source material, featuring a series of light fixtures and some white decorative moulding around the doorway. The dark orange door at the centre really stands out, due in part to its distinctive colour scheme but also to the interesting grille texture. Oddly, this door opens horizontally rather than vertically so contrasts with the movie.
White walls dominate the public areas of Cloud City and that colour scheme is prevalent throughout the entrance hall. The sculpture at the centre of this space looks fantastic and I love the relief mural on the wall which makes clever use of some 1x1 quarter circle tiles. Several stickers are used in here as well, representing two computer terminals, one of which may actually be a power socket! This is somewhat disappointing as brick-built designs would have been adequate, even if they did not capture absolutely every detail from the film.
The blue and white murals beside the door, on the other hand, look tremendous. These stickers are applied to white panels and cover part of the tan exterior wall, although the opposite side of the door remains exposed which is a shame. The tan walls that surround the dining room also look somewhat awkward in my opinion and I think an additional layer of white bricks should have been added, even if that reduced the available floor space.
Three separate rooms are accessible from the entrance hall, the first of which is a maintenance area where C-3PO encounters a squad of Stormtroopers. We only see a small part of this chamber in the movie but I like the pipework on the wall and the Stormtroopers' seats are a charming inclusion. You can store their weapons by plugging them into the dark bluish grey jumper plates on the floor.
Each room is accessed through a sliding door which opens upwards and is held in place by a Technic pin. This is a simple function but it works well and only occupies a small space. The numerous sliding doors in 10188 Death Star were always among my favourite features and I am sure that these doors will prove equally popular with children today.
Han and Leia reside in a luxurious apartment while waiting for the Millennium Falcon to be repaired. This is dominated by an impressive trans-clear sculpture at the centre of the room and there are two chairs around the sculpture which look ideal for Han and Leia, although there should actually be a few more seats. The curved tables could also be improved as they are light bluish grey here but transparent in The Empire Strikes Back.
Several more large stickers are placed on the walls inside the apartment. Unfortunately, not all of these stickers feel necessary, much like those in the entrance hall. Nevertheless, the plant in the corner of the room looks good and I like the alternating textured 1x2 bricks which form the doors, faithfully replicating Cloud City's onscreen appearance.
The irregular shape of the dining room is accurate to the source material but does not make efficient use of the available space, leaving several empty studs outside. The tan walls look marvellous though and I like the stickers that depict relief murals. Five chairs surround the dining table at the centre of the chamber which is perfect for the minifigures in this set, although there are seven seats in the film.
Pearl silver harpoons form an ornate light fixture on the wall, demonstrating excellent attention to detail on the part of the set designer. However, I am even more impressed by the miniature Cloud City which is on display in the corner of the dining room! This makes ingenious use of a light bluish grey hat from NINJAGO and looks splendid.
A small balcony extends from one side of the dining room, providing somewhere for Boba Fett to wait before emerging beside Darth Vader. While I am glad that this little platform is included, I would rather the shape of the dining room had been altered to create space for Boba Fett. The round windows look superb though, incorporating some 1x3x2 inverted bows which have only appeared in tan once before.
Cloud City becomes considerably darker as you move away from the public promenade and approach its industrial zone. This dark red corridor provides a smooth transition between two different sections of the model and includes a sticker on the wall, depicting the exterior of a turbolift. Of course, this lift does not actually work as there are no additional levels to reach.
The dark red walls surrounding the detention area feature an interesting ribbed texture that consists of 1x2 tiles and 1x6 tiles. I like the blue lamp on the wall and the stickered control panel beside the sliding door is a wonderful detail. In addition, the corridor is quite spacious so there is plenty of room for Lando Calrissian, Boba Fett and a couple of Stormtroopers to stand here, listening to Han Solo's screams!
Opening the door reveals a torture device, a prison cell and a folding bed where Han Solo can recover. These were situated in two separate rooms in the movie but I think combining them was quite sensible. I am particularly impressed by the tiny cell in the corner of the torture chamber but the dark bluish grey areas of the wall appear out of place.
The torture device at the centre of the room, which was revealed to be a piece of mining equipment in Star Wars Legends, looks suitably intimidating. There is space to place a minifigure on the torture rack and fold it forwards, bringing the sparking analysis probes nearer to their unfortunate victim. Two clips on the wall provide storage for accessories and you can also fit a minifigure on the black bed towards the back of the room.
A waste disposal chamber is situated on the other side of the corridor. This contains a furnace and a conveyor belt where Chewbacca discovers C-3PO's remains. I like how light bluish grey Technic pins form rollers on top of the conveyor but wish it was slightly longer. The furnace looks great though and there is another round window in the corner which matches the source material almost exactly.
Another landing platform adjoins the detention area corridor. This light bluish grey structure feels more industrial than its circular counterpart, featuring a small tool rack and two clips for storing the Cloud Car Pilots' blaster pistols in the corners of the room. I think a single platform would have been adequate but open spaces are always welcome for play and this chamber could fulfil many different roles, depending upon the situation.
However, it is primarily intended for landing the Twin-Pod Cloud Car and works well in that capacity. The trans-yellow lights along the edge of the platform look quite realistic and there is lots of room for minifigures to stand around the Cloud Car, should it require maintenance. Even so, I think the size of this hangar could have been reduced in favour of other areas.
Sixteen years have passed since 7119 Twin-Pod Cloud Car was released so an updated rendition is long overdue in my opinion. The organic shape of this elegant vehicle has been captured with greater precision on this occasion but its red colour scheme remains. This is very disappointing as dark orange would have been a more suitable colour. Unfortunately, several of these pieces are not available in dark orange, in which case I think red is a reasonable alternative.
A few orange and dark bluish grey parts are sprinkled across the model, adding a welcome splash of colour which helps to break up its red silhouette. The shape of the fuselage is accurate on the whole, although the connecting boom which links the cockpits should be slightly narrower. Presumably this was altered to strengthen the Cloud Car and that was definitely successful as the model feels very sturdy.
The twin cockpits are extremely cramped but there is just enough room to squeeze a pilot in each one, although their enormous helmets do make this rather difficult. The sides of the cockpits are fitted using click hinges so they fold down, revealing four studs where the figure can sit as well as a printed control panel. More spacious cockpits would have been ideal, of course, but I am impressed that the designer found any room for minifigures as the Cloud Car is a small craft.
A trans-light blue 1x4 tile forms the engine at the rear of the Cloud Car. I like the red 1x2 grille tiles on top and the light bluish grey air intake on the front looks fantastic too. Two stud shooters are situated underneath the central stanchion and these are incorporated neatly, providing some extra play value but not spoiling the appearance of the model.
I noticed a flap on the Cloud Car landing platform when official images of this set were published and assumed that this concealed a storage compartment. In fact, a short ladder is hidden underneath the floor. This does not take direct inspiration from anything in Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back but could offer some interesting opportunities for play as there is quite a lot of room below the floor level.
The famous carbon-freezing chamber is accessed through another narrow corridor. This is decorated with mechanical details on the walls and resembles one of the hallways where Luke and Darth Vader fought their lightsaber duel. I love the trans-neon orange grille tiles on the steps but the wall appears rather plain and I think some simple pipework would have improved this area of the model.
10123 Cloud City included a fairly rudimentary rendition of the carbon-freezing chamber and that was followed by 75137 Carbon-Freezing Chamber in 2016 which improved upon its predecessor. However, the latest model is definitely the most faithful to the movie, featuring a twelve-sided platform with some trans-neon orange lights in the floor. I like the printed control panel near the stairs and there is lots of space for minifigures to stand around the chamber.
The entire platform is elevated on four dark brown columns so looks as though it might be quite fragile. In fact, these columns are surprisingly rigid. Pulling the lever on the left of the structure will cause Han Solo to be lowered into the carbon-freezing chamber while Han Solo in Carbonite is pushed upwards, replacing the minifigure! This is a fun feature but it does not work quite as smoothly as I was hoping. Even so, the carbon-freezing chamber is among my favourite areas in this whole set.
Darth Vader lures Luke Skywalker into the carbon-freezing chamber at the beginning of their lightsaber duel and this continues into a control room before moving to a precarious atmospheric sensor balcony. The sensor balcony has only appeared once before, in 10123 Cloud City, but this rendition of the vital location is far larger and more detailed than its predecessor, measuring almost 29cm in length.
The control room is smaller than would be ideal, providing only just enough space for Luke and Darth Vader to stand inside. I think this should have been expanded to occupy part of the Cloud Car landing platform. Nevertheless, the control room is easily accessible for play and a piece of machinery can be detached from the wall, recreating the scene in which Darth Vader hurls objects at his opponent using the Force.
One of these objects smashes through a radial window in the control room, causing Luke to fall onto a narrow balcony below. The gap between the window and the balcony has been reduced on this model but it still captures the essence of the source material. Moreover, you can also swing this entire section outwards, thereby creating more space on either side of the sensor balcony.
Flexible tubes form the railings around the sensor balcony which is reasonably effective, although they are only attached to thin droid arms which provide little support. The atmospheric sensors at the end of the balcony look marvellous though, making ingenious use of a light bluish grey pitchfork along with two pearl silver foils. Unfortunately, there is only a single hand grip for minifigures so the display options are limited and the antenna cluster tends to rotate as the pitchfork at its core provides very little friction.
Cloud City is primarily focused upon industry but also includes a luxurious leisure complex at its centre. A group of tiny towers therefore extend from the centre of this model, depicting the upper levels of the mining facility which appear most prominently in the film. These towers make clever use of some light bluish grey microphone accessories and ice cream cones, creating a wonderful little metropolis!
10188 Death Star was among my favourite sets as a child and I believe 75222 Betrayal at Cloud City will occupy a similar place in the collection of many younger Star Wars fans. The arrangement of the rooms works perfectly and I appreciate the smooth transitions between different areas of the model. Furthermore, this set includes two excellent vehicles and the minifigure selection is tremendous.
However, there is significant room for improvement. The area around the dining room has not been used to its fullest potential in my opinion and certain sections of the model should have been expanded, perhaps replacing the Cloud Car landing platform. In addition, the price of £299.99 or $349.99 seems quite expensive for a set containing 2812 pieces, although its size is undoubtedly impressive.
On that basis, I would primarily recommend this set to younger LEGO Star Wars fans. The model provides little display value so I can appreciate the disappointment of adult collectors, although the Master Builder Series is focused upon play and I think 75222 Betrayal at Cloud City succeeds in that capacity. I will be interested to see what the new Master Builder Series offers in the future.
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.
This set was provided for review by The LEGO Group but the review is an expression of my own opinions.