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LEGO Imperial Probe Droid review: One of the most unique Star Wars sets in years

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It’s May the 4th, and while LEGO’s Star Wars Day promotion rages on, we’re turning our attention to one of the latest creations from a galaxy far, far away. Debuting as the newest set inspired by Empire Strikes Back, the new Imperial Probe Droid stacks up to over 680 pieces while assembling the latest buildable character from the Star Wars universe. But does this kit stack up to a model that’s worth putting on display? Head below for all of the details on the LEGO Imperial Probe Droid.

Hands-on with the LEGO Imperial Probe Droid

As the latest addition to the LEGO buildable droid series, the new Imperial Probe Droid stacks up to 683 pieces. While that makes it one of the smallest of the collection so far, the build itself stands over 10 inches tall in order to give the set a real presence when up on display.

Just like we’ve come to expect from the series, there is an included display plaque that showcases some information about the Imperial Probe Droid in the Star Wars universe. Uniquely to this set, though, is a little terrain build that gives the droid a more stable way to stand up. Recreating some of the snowy ground on Hoth, the LEGO Group did a great job turning what is effectively a display stand into part of the diorama. Little bits of ice have made their way onto the plaque in what is just one of the many things that elevate this creation.

But as for the Probe Droid itself, the build also strays from what we’ve seen in the past. To give off the bot’s floating presence in the film, there are a series of translucent bricks that elevate it off of the snowy base. That clear structure is actually designed to be removed, so you can display the Probe Droid amongst the rest of your LEGO collection without the add-on build should you want to, as well.

Highlights

With the Imperial Probe Droid being such an oddly shaped robot from the Star Wars galaxy, the LEGO designer who worked on this one didn’t have an easy task bringing it into the brick-built world. But all of the essential elements are have been incorporated pretty well. There are a total of six arms that all dangle from the bottom, each one featuring a different clamp or tool. Some are entirely posable for recreating different scenes, and others are more static, but the result gives the model its iconic look from the Empire Strikes Back.

The Head also manages to pack in a load of little sensors and other greebles. The overarching shape isn’t exactly spot on, but this is one of those instances where taking little artistic liberties to make it fit into the blocky medium that LEGO is can be acceptable. The head itself rotates around and has two little antennas on the top to complete the build.

How it compares to other buildable droids

The LEGO Group is no stranger to recreating iconic droids from a galaxy far, far away, and its latest entry from Empire Strikes Back continues that trend. While the price point is a bit more affordable than previous additions to the collection from years past, its overall presence doesn’t suffer. 

The LEGO Probe Droid fits right in with the other models in terms of size but leverages some completely different techniques to stand out. So even if you’ve built the other droids, this one offers plenty of interesting techniques to mix things up while still delivering a model that’ll fit in with the rest of your collection. 

Is the LEGO Imperial Probe Droid a good value?

Clocking in at 683 pieces, the new LEGO Imperial Probe Droid enters with a $59.99 price tag. Even though price per part isn’t exactly the end all be all of the LEGO world these days, it’s nice to see that the included bricks end up matching the final model to provide plenty of value.

9to5Toys’ Take:

As one of the first things that Star Wars fans saw from Empire Strikes Back, the Probe Droid has secured itself as a classic piece of the Original Trilogy. And with this being the first version we’ve seen that isn’t a minifigure-scale creation, there’s a lot of pressure on the LEGO Group’s execution. And with this release falling into the collection of LEGO kits focused towards an older demographic, there’s a higher expectation for the Probe Droid to live up to its on-screen presence.

In that context, I wouldn’t say that the LEGO Group did an absolutely phenomenal job on the set like with the D-O and BB-8 we’ve seen in the past. But for the price and allotted part count, it’s a fine creation.

But if you remove accuracies from the equation, and this LEGO Probe Droid is certainly one of the most unique creations of 2021, if not the past several years. You won’t find anything else quite like it in the LEGO catalog, and for that, it’s an easy recommendation.

The real shame here is that it’s going to be overshadowed by the new buildable helmets and just-released R2-D2. It’s not very often that the LEGO Group releases a set that’s as interesting to build and has such an eye-catching on-shelf presence as this one. In all honestly, I’m much more enthused with this than either of the Darth Vader or Scout Trooper helmets, just from the sheer.

So if you’re only looking to pick up a single new set this May the 4th, consider the Probe Droid at the top of our recommendations. And considering all of the other Star Wars LEGO kits released in 2021 so far, this may very well be the best one yet.

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