Review: 8012 Super Battle Droid

Posted by ,
View image at flickr

8012 Super Battle Droid is one of nine Technic Star Wars figures released between 2000 and 2002. Having seen it come up as today's random set I couldn't resist digging mine out of cold storage and taking a few photos.

It's an interesting set in many ways and one that today's mecha designers at LEGO could learn a thing or two from.


Two things immediately hit you upon seeing it: its height -- about 32cm -- and striking colour scheme.

Many of the Technic parts are cast in the ultra-rare colour metallic sand blue (Bricklink: Metal Blue) and appear in this set for the first and last time. In fact, at least 20 of the parts in the set are unique to it. LEGO's published inventory is not complete but you can view it here and if you sort by the 'Elements in sets' colum the unique ones will be shown at the top of the table.

View image at flickr

Unusually for models of this type there's a good level of detail on the back, including shoulder blades, spine and coccyx.

View image at flickr

A lever at the top of the back swings the right arm via a mechanism inside the body. Cool for play, perhaps, but it hinders posing the arm as it won't stay put once moved.

View image at flickr

The is an impressive number of points of articulation: shoulder, elbow, hips, knee and ankle, each of which can be angled and twisted, through the use of three key parts: Technic Rotation Joint Socket with 3L Liftarm Thick, Technic Rotation Joint Ball Half with 3L Liftarm Thin and Technic Rotation Joint Ball Loop with Pin with Friction. This family of joint parts had a very short lifespan from 2002 to 2004, and appeared in only around a dozen sets.

View image at flickr

Hips can be twisted, knees angled and feet positioned flat on the ground, thanks to the versatile joints.

View image at flickr

The flex pipes don't look great when the joints are bent, and at extreme angles they have a tendency to come out of the piece at their ends.

View image at flickr

Some really weird and unnatural poses can be created!

View image at flickr

Technic and Star Wars combined, what's not to like! I think it's fantastic. It's great looking model with a 'no expense spared' colour scheme, and it's a shame we don't see Technic models like it nowadays rather than the endless stream of cranes and cars.

The level of articulation is unparalleled and something today's LEGO designers should aspire to.

It's definitely a set worth hunting down if you don't already have it. As the Random set of the day article says, "If you want to add it to your collection you might find it for sale at BrickLink or eBay." Even MISB examples can be had for a reasonable price.

48 comments on this article

Gravatar
By in Canada,

Super Missing Bionicles

Gravatar
By in Finland,

Thanks for the review. I definitely dig the metal blue parts!

Gravatar
By in Australia,

Ah Huwbot, definitely doing your master's bidding today, good bot! Thanks Huw for the review, it's always nice to see something like this get a retrospective review. Like someone said on rsotd page, it still looks good today, even/especially taken out of the context of Star Wars.

How many of your sets do you have sitting around in cold storage? I'm really interested in what people do with their sets after building, especially after the box fetishists emerged last week.

Gravatar
By in United States,

I never really was a big fan of this one, but the point still remains. They just don't make sets like they used to.

Gravatar
By in United Kingdom,

Completely agree, Huw. I've only been collecting Technic since 2012 and I've already seen lots of repetition. There are only so many agricultural / commercial vehicles that one needs. It would be great to see the Technic designers have at least one 'off the wall' design in each wave.

Gravatar
By in Australia,

Super cool! I always wanted the Pit Droid, I did have Darth Vader and R2-D2 though. Vader was actually a massive let down, he had almost no articulation, only lightsaber slashing and force choking action features which weren't really enough to make him a good toy and meant he was un-posable for display. R2 was good however.

Gravatar
By in United Kingdom,

@Kynareth, actually not that many still in one piece. Mostly large Technic sets that are a PITA to deconstruct and rebuild and others that I can't bear to take apart like this and Exo-Force...

Gravatar
By in United Kingdom,

I was never the biggest fan of these figures, but I had this guy, Jango and the Stormtrooper. I think I have the Pit Droid in a box of bits somewhere, I should really dig him out and build him at least once.

Gravatar
By in United Kingdom,

More retro reviews like this would be super super cool!

Gravatar
By in Germany,

Seconding the request for more nostalgia-laden reviews of awesome older sets!

Gravatar
By in United Kingdom,

Well, the box of these Star Wars figures is still out of storage, so watch this space... :)

Gravatar
By in United States,

@Huw

When you asked what improvements we want to see on Brickset a little while ago, I asked to see reviews for older sets, so this was a nice surprise to see in the feed today.

Gravatar
By in India,

This set proves that creativity and versatility in Technic is going down day by day.

Gravatar
By in Puerto Rico,

Had this been remade to the construction figures it would undoubtedly been compared to this.

Gravatar
By in Canada,

I have never been into buildable figures but thought the Droideka was the best as wasn't it suppose to roll up into a ball and then popup in battle stance.

Gravatar
By in United States,

Cool! You should do a lot more reviews of older sets!

Gravatar
By in United States,

I would love to see data on the number of people who owned the set before it popped up in the random set generator and from this review going forward…

Gravatar
By in United Kingdom,

I had the technic Battle Droid from this era, and that had a really nice play function where it swung its arm up over its shoulder and using magnets, pulled a gun from its back.

On the point of articulation, I often wonder why modern Lego mechs never have working knees any more. They always used to, just look at any of the early Exo Force sets. And I'm sure the newer mechs can't be much heavier than those were. Some of them were huge and still had lots of points of articulation that allowed for dynamic poses.

Gravatar
By in Germany,

Pieces in an exotic colour that were never used again, and rare elements that only popped up in a dozen sets total — yup, definitely an early 2000s Lego set.

Gravatar
By in Australia,

Oooh this was really cool and not what I was expecting to show up on the news feed! I have the technic R2, I remember finding it years after it should have retired in 2010 at a local toy store where they were selling roughly 10 of them for $20 each. The leg popping mechanism never seemed to work for me, even after I rebuilt. Either the instructions had an error or I'm just really bad at following them. I still wonder how the store got so many and wish I'd bought the whole batch...

Gravatar
By in Hungary,

That last photo…. :D Great review, I would definitely like to see some old set reviews here on Brickset! :)

Gravatar
By in United Kingdom,

@ shaase, it was indeed supposed to roll up but it was very temperamental. It's the only one I don't still have constructed, as it's too big to fit in the box!

Gravatar
By in United States,

This set has more going for it than I realized. Unique colors and very impressive articulation.

However, I think we also need to address the elephant in the room. It looks nothing like a super battle droid!

Gravatar
By in United Kingdom,

@KovJonas, I think it needs to go somewhere.... fast!

Gravatar
By in United States,

For myself, 95% of my sets are stored in ziploc large boxes and then in crates by subject. I am not the kind to break sets down for the parts, typically so that probably makes my Mocs more expensive propositions. I’ve always wanted to make a large train layout with all the train and city sets, but who has the time (or space)? So most things linger in boxes. You watch a movie like toy story 2 and it makes you hope LEGO blocks are a collective so that those in storage can vicariously enjoy the experience of the ones my kids are currently trashing

Gravatar
By in United States,

An impressive model. As with most LEGO action figures at the time, it is full of gaps, but it makes up for it with excellent articulation and texturing.

If you're reviewing some older buildable figures, can you do 8923 Hydraxon? That's a set I feel doesn't get enough love. As many have mentioned before, the Pit Droids would also be awesome to see!

Gravatar
By in United States,

The reason those joints are used so rarely is that they wear out very quickly and become very floppy, especially under heavy loads. Even though it means today's mechs don't have as much articulation, I'm glad Lego uses more durable joints now.

Gravatar
By in United States,

I loved this review so much. Please review more old/retired sets.

Gravatar
By in United States,

Hey @Huw, what was the first set you ever reviewed? Do you still have it together?

Gravatar
By in France,

As soon as I began to collect SW sets, and when I had my first DK SW encyclopedia and discovered those ones, I got curious to see them closer and really have an idea of final results. I was intrigued by them. But as they are sets released long ago there are very few if no good review videos of such products. So thank you for the idea and the article, which enables us to have a deeper plunge in these very particular and different SW sets. Looks better than I imagined, and I have just discovered this metal blue color I had never heard of before. Final result is interesting, even if I think I would not buy them if they were released today. But this form suits the droids and mechs well, which is not the case IMO for living characters. For instance I really don't like the Stormtrooper version... Maybe till I will have the opportunity to read a good review of it with good pictures and comments?
Oh : and I wish my Hulkbuster had so many articulations and poseability (if that word exists)!

Gravatar
By in United States,

I like these types of sets, but the Darth Vader and C 3PO were fails

Gravatar
By in United States,

Nice review. I found one of these in a thrift-shop purchase a few months ago, missing just a few pieces. Now I feel inspired to try to finish it, if I can figure out which storage bin it ended up in...

Gravatar
By in United States,

The tecnic Droidika has been my White Whale for years. I always found it so cool. Shame to hear how finiky it is, but it still looks great.

Gravatar
By in United States,

That era had some good technic builds in Bionicle and these Star Wars designs. That one looks pretty good.

Gravatar
By in Canada,

My metallic sand blue parts all crumbled apart the last time I touched them. It's a very pretty colour but its formulation has serious issues.

Gravatar
By in Poland,

Same here- all my friends that had this set lost many pieces because they became brittle.

Gravatar
By in United States,

8002: Destroyer Droid looks pretty great, as well.

Gravatar
By in United Kingdom,

No problem here with mine -- the set has been left constructed since new, and stored in an environment with temperature swings from c.5c to c.30c.

Gravatar
By in Brazil,

Random set of the day evolves to.... Random review of the day!

Just kidding! Great review! I hope to see more retro reviews here, this one was excellent!

Gravatar
By in Iran,

I never got any of the Technic Star Wars figures but I always found them really interesting and still do, while they didn't capture the characters really accurately appearance wise I think the way they were constructed with Technic parts was really interesting.

I really like the idea of reviewing noteworthy old sets like this so I hope we'll get to see more in the future.

Gravatar
By in Finland,

Wow, interesting set. I hope LEGO will revisit this Technic Mech theme in the future even without the bionicle parts.

Gravatar
By in United Kingdom,

@Huw did you just say Exo-Force!!!??? Now those I would really like to see.
Love this review and very much second the idea for more older set reviews. They make for some fascinating comparisons to modern sets.

Gravatar
By in United States,

^^Wow Huw, your skill at writing LEGO reviews has certainly evolved since that review you posted a link to.

Gravatar
By in United States,

I'm a TFOL and just started getting into the Modular Buildings and it would be great to see reviews of the older ones...

Gravatar
By in Netherlands,

I'm pretty sure you're supposed to bend the black hose at the back inwards. It looks really cool as a curved spine.

I must say, I personally like this set more for the set itself than for what it is supposed to be. It just looks so awesome, has good poseability and is expertly sculpted. It's a true gem of an oddity from a time where more often than not, lego's oddities were better left forgotten.

Gravatar
By in United States,

My younger brother had Jango, Vader and an R2 growing up, but I always fancied the federation droid builds. Just when I was warming up to the new buildable star wars figures they ended the line. Darn shame too, there was a rumored super battle droid on the way. Would have loved to see a droideka or a B1 and STAP build done like the fantastic 75532 scout and speeder bike set. Thanks for sharing your metal friend with us Huw

Gravatar
By in Germany,

Cool set. Interesting that although it has so many rare parts it can be had for very little money on ebay or Bricklink, sometimes even MISB. Apparently not that many fans even though it appears to be an excellent set. Pity to see how Technic has gone down the drain in recent years.

View more reviews »
Return to home page »