As a very young child in the early 80’s, I adored Lego. Even after being given a Lego Technic bike thingy for my 6th birthday – which left me partially traumatised by its complexity – I still endured and found myself enjoying my Lego sets even more than…gasp…some of my more basic Star Wars toys!
So imagine my reaction in the 90’s when I learned that Lego had the rights to the Star Wars franchise and were recreating my favourite vehicles, characters and later, set pieces! I was a young child all over again.
Unfortunately, my next proper foray (since the 80’s) into Lego wouldn’t be until over 3 decades later, when I got my hands on the General Grievous Lego figure. I’d owned and played around with some of the mini figs in-between that time, but the General Grievous Lego made me feel as though I was finally able to tackle a full on kit. And a kit that didn’t have that juvenile aesthetic. None of the pieces seemed particularly conventional, and it was oddly taxing (a little like the Technic sets), but the payoff was great. It was a gorgeous figure and despite not actually being that difficult to assemble, I had a swelling sense of pride in completing it.
As a very young child in the early 80’s, I adored Lego.
Next up, almost 2 years later, I’d find myself attempting my next Lego set. This time, a miniature version of the Ghost (Fig 1.) from Star Wars Rebels, given as a ‘freebie’ with Star Wars Lego Magazine. It was small. It was simple. And it left me grossly unsatisfied. Even after I’d inadvertently dropped it and attempted to reassemble sans instructions. I clearly needed something more taxing. Enter, the Lego AT-ST! At a bargain price of £26.99 from Argos (free plug intentional) I knew I had to get it.
The package design is great though having to use the punchy bit to open the box seemed like a waste of time as I ended up tearing the box flaps open somewhat in the same manner as I would have without the punchy thing anyway. Still, with this minor gripe aside, I proceeded to remove the contents.
The kit comes in 3 reasonable sized bags chock full of Lego pieces. Each numbered, (apparently as all kits are) and with an old-skool style sticker sheet and…gulp…an instruction booklet with a spine. A spine! And within the 3 bags, there is at least 1 smaller bag in each containing multiple tiny pieces. Fear and trepidation arose and despite finding it all rather daunting and suffering what I assume to be a minor stroke, I accepted the challenge and marched on.
As well as the main vehicle, the set comes with 3 mini figures (why are they called mini figures? Isn’t this size of figure the norm with larger figures a relative rarity? Aaanyway…), Baze Malbus, an AT-ST pilot aka Richard Marquand (yes, yes, I know this is the Rogue One vehicle and figure but still) and a Rebel Soldier, seemingly of Indian or African descent. #Diversity!
It took me roughly 15 minutes before I noticed that the small black piece for the gun was in small bag no. 3. Having the pieces for the same item strewn across multiple bags is no help at all (Fig 2.) Now, whether this is a common trait of star wars Lego kits (or Lego kits in general) I don’t know, but what I do know is this; I don’t like it! The figure itself once complete has a lot of attention to detail and makes a nice addition to the set. I feel Weng Jiang would be proud or the fig and my efforts.
While Baze (Fig 3.), and more specifically, his weapons, proved somewhat tricky, partly due to my utter lack of observation, construction of the legs of the AT-ST went surprisingly smoothly, with each piece fairly easily located (without separating them out into their types, which is what I’d have ordinarily done). The instructions are superbly clear and well-illustrated. Which is more than I can say for my Ikea bedside tables!
During the build, I felt that the legs may actually be articulated but, once that section was finished (and later attached to the ‘neck’), I could tell that despite there being 1 point of articulation in the ‘knee’ and 1 in the ‘toe’, it would be nigh on impossible to achieve any dynamic poses (Fig 4), not that the AT-ST is a particularly dynamic looking machine. Still, it’s a bloody impressive looking piece with a lot of detail and character. The feet are made even more intricate with the placement of stickers (Fig 5). Part of me wishes that the stickers had actually been buildable elements. But we can’t have everything now can we? You’ll receive a few small spares in this bag. I’m assuming this is the norm and is a thoughtful addition by Lego.
The Rebel Soldier, Richard Marquand & ‘Neck’:
The second bag is much the same as the first, with pieces of the figures placed across multiple bags within bag 2. I decided I’d tackle the mini figs first before getting into building the AT-ST ‘neck’. The Rebel Soldier and AT-ST Pilot (or is it a Driver? The AT-AT has drivers, right?) were considerably easier to put together than Baze and serve their purpose. The AT-ST pilot has the least amount of work involved and is easily my favourite figure. The rebel soldier’s gun involved minor assembly and is broken down into 2 pieces. Personally, I feel a single mould would’ve sufficed here but, the addition of the barrel does break up the colour scheme of the gun. So there’s that.
While the driver’s helmet is perfectly fine, the level of detail on the soldier’s helmet is superb (Fig 7). With lots of cast / formed ridges and sections, with a well painted logo on the side. The drivers helmet goggles are also painted (including what I’m assuming is a reflection). It would’ve been nice if the goggles were a relief as well, which would’ve given the entire thing that extra 3 dimensional dazzle. But the paint jobs we are provided are sufficient and certainly effective.
Things begin to get complicated (for my feeble mind at least) and seriously fun now. The ‘neck’ is made up of multiple, intricate parts, the use of which become evident later. Another seriously seamless build regardless of its apparent complexity. The instructions (Fig 8) are super easy to follow and before you know it, the ‘neck’ piece is finished and ready to be attached to the legs. And it’s only after you attach the ‘neck’ to the legs that you really begin to get a sense of the scale of the piece.
Clever ‘ol me did manage to stick the small vent stickers (Fig 9.) on upside down (I call this, ‘customising’ *scratches head in confusion) but, despite my mistake, I’ve found it makes little difference and is barely noticeable. The circular piece (Fig 10. And 10a) on the back of the vehicle is actually (as I later realised) the means with which to rotate the ‘head / cockpit’. A really nice feature which I imagine adds a lot of depth to playability. Once the legs and ‘neck’ sections were complete (Fig 11), I was eager to move onto the head and finish this bad boy.
There’s not an awful lot to say about the head build other than it’s designed in an incredibly manageable fashion. The head is built up in 4 elements; the base, the left and right side panels and the ‘roof’.
In hindsight, I’m struggling to recall whether the cockpit section was in bag 2 or 3, but regardless, it’s a thing of beauty, with articulated guns (Fig 12). The level of detail, once again is great and colour coded pieces help to make sure you’re not missing pieces which, I assume, would compromise the structural integrity of the toy. Once attached to the ‘neck’, you really begin to see the entire vehicle forming and it’s joyous to see this thing take shape.
The side panels (Figs 13 and 13a) are again made up of multiple elements that add a lot of depth to something that could have otherwise, quite easily been boring to make and look at.
The manner in which the side panels (Fig 14) fix to the cockpit section is quite clever and allows them to remain loose whilst fixed at the same time (they slide onto 2 small cylindrical pieces). The ‘roof’ is, as the rest of the kit, beautifully detailed, with grills / vents and a hatch that opens (Fig 15). The pilot slots in smoothly enough though, by this stage, my primary concern is being able to close the hatch and just admire the vehicle in all its glory.#
Et voila! ED-209 I mean, the Rogue One AT-ST (Fig 16 & 16a)!
Overall, a really enjoyable build and to be honest, even at the £50 (ish) price tag, I’d still buy this given the amount of detail in this thing. The movement of the head, chin and ear guns and leg articulation (however limited) is a nice touch and the projectiles, whilst a tad juvenile for me personally, is, I’m sure, a wonderful addition for kids and must add to the playability immensely. In fact, I’ve only just realised that the projectiles can be used for target practice on the Rebel Soldier and Baze minifigs! Either that or your neighbour’s cat!
I’m kidding. Don’t use them on the minifigs. You’ll damage the lovely paintwork.
Ease of Build: 4 Stars – straight forward enough that even a near novice such as myself can manage it. Plus having super easy to follow instructions helps.
Value: 4 Stars – Hard to beat (even at RRP) given the size of the vehicle and the amount of ‘playable’ elements.
Mini figure(s): 3 Stars – Because they give you 3 figures. Plus they’re really well detailed and fit in with the scene from the film. I could’ve perhaps done with another rebel soldier perhaps?
Playability: 4 Stars – Whilst I’m not exactly ‘playing’ with this thing (it’ll sit on a shelf now collecting dust for the foreseeable future), there’s enough here to keep one entertained. There’s enough articulation in the head and, despite not really being particularly stable once you move any one of the legs, it does give some scope for posing (as the box suggests). The most ‘playable’ element for me are the projectiles. They go a distance!
Overall: Superb kit from Lego. It is well designed, well built, simple enough to put together due to great instructions and the articulation and projectiles enhance the overall piece. The figures are nice too with a surprising level of detail. I’ll be expecting the same from future kits with this many pieces. Well worth either price tag.
With the AT-ST now complete, I feel I’m ready to tackle larger, more complex kits. Super Star Destroyer anyone?