Microfighters have been a great component of the LEGO Star Wars theme since 2014 and I am particularly excited about 75228 Escape Pod vs Dewback Microfighters. This set includes a nice model of a Dewback which complements other Microfighters but might similarly be integrated with standard sets.
Furthermore, the adorable Dewback is ridden by an exclusive Sandtrooper that incorporates a new helmet, matching the updated Stormtroopers found in other 2019 sets. The cylindrical escape pod carrying C-3PO and R2-D2 is probably less appealing for adults but offers a great opportunity for younger fans to add these popular droids to their minifigure collection!
LEGO designed a unique head for C-3PO in 2000 and this component remains identical today, albeit now featuring printed yellow eyes. It looks brilliant though and I am similarly impressed with the torso design. The powerbus cables certainly stand out against the surrounding pearl gold plating and I like how subtle highlights have created textured detail.
C-3PO's right leg is decorated with some metallic silver printing, reflecting his worn appearance during the Original Trilogy. However, this does not cover the droid's entire lower leg so looks slightly awkward in my opinion. A dual-moulded element would have been perfect here and I hope that will be available on future versions of this important character.
R2-D2 is the only Star Wars character to appear during every year since 1999 and he looks superb in LEGO form, featuring a pearl silver dome and a cylindrical body. Both components are decorated with dark blue panels but there is no printing on the back, unfortunately. An auxiliary central leg could have been included as well, corresponding with Bucket from 75240 Major Vonreg's TIE Fighter.
An entirely new helmet has been introduced for Imperial Stormtroopers this year and the same helmet is worn by the Sandtrooper. This element has proven controversial and I tend to agree that an update was unnecessary as the earlier piece was effective. However, I think the new design looks magnificent too, featuring dual-moulding that forms crisp lines around the black lenses and the vocoder.
Sand is printed on the helmet and continues across the torso and legs. These elements appeared on the Sandtrooper minifigures released during 2018 and the sandy residue looks remarkably realistic. In addition, the armour underneath is very detailed and I like the ammunition pouch on his chest. He also wears a survival backpack and an orange pauldron, denoting the rank of squad commander.
Removing the helmet reveals a standard Clone Trooper head underneath. An alternative head would be preferable as this design is rather common, although I imagine the Sandtrooper would generally be displayed with his helmet on. This minifigure carries a pair of white macrobinoculars, a blaster rifle and a prod for directing the Dewback.
The Completed Model
C-3PO and R2-D2 abscond from the Tantive IV aboard an escape pod. Occupants of these craft have limited control so this Microfighter does not feel entirely consistent with the others, although I think the model looks surprisingly impressive! Its cylindrical shape has certainly been captured accurately and I appreciate the inclusion of a smooth 2x4 tile underneath, allowing you to display the model easily.
There is room to seat C-3PO inside the escape pod but R2-D2 must ride on the exterior, connected to the 1x2 jumper plate which is visible below. He does look slightly awkward when placed here but I find that charming and am pleased the designer included connection points for both droids. Of course, you can modify the model to remove the jumper plate, if you prefer.
Four powerful engines propel the escape pod away from danger and it can then be positioned using smaller thrusters around the side. These closely resemble the engines found on 75136 Droid Escape Pod, although the larger version only includes three manoeuvring jets which is more faithful to the film. Nevertheless, this fun Microfighter has undoubtedly exceeded my expectations.
Dewbacks have previously appeared in 4501 Mos Eisley Cantina and 75052 Mos Eisley Cantina but the new rendition is unique, consisting primarily of standard bricks and plates rather than specialised pieces. The resultant animal looks fantastic! Olive green would probably be the most accurate colour but sand green is a reasonable alternative and I love the exposed studs which replicate its scaly skin texture.
The head includes a pair of printed eyes which are exclusively available here and may prove useful on other models. Dewbacks have much smaller eyes in the movie but their exaggerated appearance suits a Microfighter version and I like the prominent nostrils which are formed by two hollow studs. Moreover, a ball joint connects the head to the body, permitting an excellent range of motion.
Each leg is fixed in place but you can adjust the angle of the feet or reassemble the model with its legs in different positions. The saddle is distinguished by its reddish brown colour scheme and features four studs for the Sandtrooper. He does appear too large when placed on the Dewback, although not to the extent that he looks ridiculous so I believe this animal could be integrated with any Tatooine creation.
Furthermore, there are clips for two accessories on the flanks and a simple 1x2 grille tile depicts some more equipment on the creature's back. Its tail is also joined to the body using a small ball joint so can move around freely. The only area that might be improved are the tan claws as they stand out against the neighbouring sand green parts, although that contrast is not unwelcome from my perspective.
75228 Escape Pod vs Dewback Microfighters is probably my favourite set from the whole Microfighters subtheme! I was looking forward to building the Dewback and it has certainly satisfied my expectations, capturing the lumbering gait of these creatures with remarkably accuracy. The escape pod is faithful to its source material too, although I can imagine its lack of weapons might lessen the play value.
The minifigure selection is equally appealing. R2-D2 and C-3PO are very common but I am pleased to see them together in a fairly inexpensive set, especially for younger Star Wars collectors. The updated Sandtrooper is outstanding as well. For those reasons, I would absolutely recommend this set and the price of £17.99 or $19.99 seems quite reasonable.
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