Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace was released twenty years ago and the exhilarating podrace sequence is probably among the most well known scenes from the movie. However, it has only inspired a few LEGO models so 75258 Anakin's Podracer - 20th Anniversary Edition is an interesting prospect.
This rendition of Anakin Skywalker's podracer appears somewhat similar to the version from 7962 Anakin Skywalker and Sebulba's Podracers, albeit with some additional colours. It looks marvellous though and the minifigures are impressive, particularly since Padmé Amidala now includes medium legs and a new hair piece.
Several different young Anakin Skywalker minifigures have been produced since 1999 and the latest example was introduced in 75223 Naboo Starfighter Microfighter. This reddish brown helmet is perfect for the Battle of Naboo but a printed helmet should have been included instead, matching 7962 Anakin Skywalker and Sebulba's Podracers. I like the folding goggles though and the double-sided head looks superb as well.
Anakin wears simple clothing, consisting of a dark orange belt which secures a tan tunic. His necklace looks marvellous when compared with the movie and I appreciate the subtle folds which are printed on both sides of the torso. This minifigure comes with a black wrench, as one might expect given Anakin's mechanical talents.
Padmé Amidala appears in relatively few LEGO Star Wars sets and this rendition of the character is unique, incorporating a new hair piece. This element features wonderful textured detail so represents an enormous improvement over the component from 1999, closely resembling her onscreen hairstyle. The head was originally designed for Jyn Erso and looks good, although the alternative grimace is not entirely suitable for Padmé.
Mos Espa can sometimes become a dangerous place and Padmé is accordingly disguised in peasant clothing. Her dark tan knitted vest is intricately detailed and I like the red stone at the centre of her belt buckle. However, the most distinctive feature of this minifigure is probably the medium legs which have not appeared in a standard retail set, until now.
These legs were introduced with the Wizarding World Collectable Minifigures during 2018 and include the standard articulation, unlike short legs. They are perfect for teenage characters such as the young queen of Naboo and I hope to see them used more frequently in every theme. Padmé wields a blaster rifle which seems slightly strange, although any accessory is welcome.
Each twentieth anniversary set contains a classic minifigure and Luke Skywalker is provided here. This figure wears an orange flight suit from 7140 X-wing Fighter which seems fairly simple, although every important feature from the movie is included. The metallic silver life support pack is particularly appealing and further metallic silver branding appears on the back of the torso, identifying Luke as a twentieth anniversary minifigure.
Two decades have passed since this helmet component was created and I am pleased that one of its original printed designs has returned. The hazard stripes across the front look fantastic and two Rebel insignia decorate the top. Furthermore, the classic Luke Skywalker head has been faithfully recreated so lacks the pupils which are a consistent presence on modern figures. This minifigure carries a blue lightsaber.
The Completed Model
Luke Skywalker is displayed on a black display stand which looks brilliant, featuring the metallic silver twentieth anniversary emblem beside Luke's name. The bases can be joined together using black 2x4 plates underneath and these should form an impressive collection when all five minifigures have been assembled.
7131 Anakin's Podracer was released in 1999 and provided some inspiration for this design, although more comparisons have been drawn with 7962 Anakin Skywalker and Sebulba's Podracers from 2011. This model appears outwardly similar to its immediate predecessor but measures 35cm in length so is slightly longer than past renditions and looks far more accurate when compared with the movie.
Both engines are assembled around Technic axles which ensure their absolute stability and enable the designer to include superior mechanical detail. An interesting combination of blue, dark orange, yellow and grey dominates the exterior and I appreciate the copper swords which are attached on both sides. This section of the engine housing has been absent from previous models of the podracer but it looks excellent here.
Moreover, the yellow air scoops are connected to click hinges so these can open and close, reflecting their function during the movie. The smaller exhaust flaps on each side are articulated as well. Energy binders connect the engines onscreen and they are cleverly represented by trans-pink lightning pieces which look perfect, although these elements do not actually provide any structural support.
The entire podracer is instead designed around a trans-clear Technic frame. This appears very similar to the structure from 7962 Anakin Skywalker and Sebulba's Podracers and provides adequate stability, although the designer has chosen to include tan Technic pins with low friction. These match the desert environment of Tatooine but pins with more friction would have been preferable. The handle can serve as a display stand, as demonstrated below.
Anakin's control pod appears exceptionally aerodynamic in The Phantom Menace and this rendition is impressive, featuring prominent air scoops on each side and several curved slopes. The racing decals look perfect when compared with the movie and are formed using stickers. I particularly appreciate the blue and dark bluish grey stripes across the tail.
There is plenty of space for Anakin to stand inside or you can seat a standard minifigure. Twin throttle levers are included and these look superb but there are no system displays, unfortunately. The flexible control cables are connected to the pod using two clips which feel reasonably secure. However, I think the control linkage design from 2011 was probably more faithful to the source material.
Podracers are interesting vehicles and 75258 Anakin's Podracer - 20th Anniversary Edition is certainly my favourite model of Anakin's craft. The mechanical detail on the engines is outstanding and I like the updated energy binders. Furthermore, the Technic frame provides ample support and includes a useful handle, taking inspiration from the 2011 set which was similarly constructed.
The minifigure selection is similarly appealing but no other podracers are currently available. That may limit the play value offered by this set so hopefully corresponding vehicles will be released in the future. Nevertheless, I would recommend the modern rendition of Anakin's Podracer and its price of £24.99 or $29.99 seems appropriate to me.
I hope you have found this review informative. Let us know by liking this article and share your opinion of 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.