Earlier this year, the LEGO Group released the latest version of the galaxy’s most lovable droid, R2D2, as the more detailed recreation yet. Now we’re finally getting to take a hands-on look, to see just how authentic the most recent iteration is. Complete with over 2,300 pieces, the build packs in plenty of details alongside some working features. Head below for a closer look and all of our thoughts on the new LEGO R2-D2.
Hands-on with the new LEGO R2-D2
R2-D2 has been a staple in the LEGO Star Wars lineup for over two decades now, coming in all sizes from minifigure-scale up to display-worthy recreations. Now for its latest iteration, the LEGO Group is going all-out with its most impression iteration to date that stands over 12 inches tall. Comprised of 2,315 pieces, this enters at the same scale we saw in 2011’s version of the UCS R2-D2, but now things have been updated with new designs, added details, and plenty of extra bricks.
LEGO justifies the remake with plenty of updates and just flat out all-new incisions this time around on R2-D2. There are plenty of little features we’ll get to in a second, alongside a rotating head, center leg that pops out for putting into the driving position, and more. R2-D2 is then complemented by a little display plaque that comes with a minifigure version of the droid, as we’ve seen from these LEGO recreations of iconic characters in the past.
My favorite aspect of the build has to be the internal mechanism found on R2-D2 here that gives the droid their iconic functionality of being able to cruise around with the center leg. It’s a pretty ingenious design and employs some sophisticated techniques in order to deliver an almost flawless system of releases and locking in the leg.
From there, there’s also some pretty novel inclusions that aren’t quite as integral to the overall build, but certainly bring a lot of charm to the set nonetheless. Throughout the Skywalker Saga, there are plenty of scenes where R2-D2 has little instruments and tools pop out of their shell in order to access command terminals or scout out surrounds. The LEGO Group has managed to include quite a few of these, ranging from an array of arms on the front that can fold out to a module on the head that pop up.
But more specifically to Return of the Jedi, the LEGO Group have included a little Easter egg, if you will, that harks back to one of the more notable scenes in the film. While there’s no actual functionality with it like a spring-loaded mechanism, in R2’s head you’ll find a to-scale version of Luke’s lightsaber. It’s a neat touch that may be overlooked compared to some of the flashier inclusions, but is quite a novel aspect that lives up to the Ultimate Collectors Series attention to detail.
Authenticity some places, not everywhere
As notable as that love for the Star Wars universe is some places, the authenticity doesn’t quite carry over to every aspect of the build. Some of the techniques do end up managing to delivery the details you’d expect, but while adding a little too much bulk. Close up, it means that the LEGO R2-D2 looks pretty spot on, but from far away there are some angles where things are a bit too bulky and off.
Entering with 2,315 pieces at the $199.99 price point, you’re getting a pretty solid value with the new LEGO R2-D2. Aside from a solid part per dollar ratio for a Star Wars set, the final model is pretty impressive in size and manages to look great up on display, despite some nitpicks. So it’s a pretty solid value all things considered.
But when you expand the scope out to take the greater Star Wars lineup into consideration, does that change anything? If you have the original from just over a decade ago, save your cash. No need to pick up the latest, as the tweaks this time around don’t necessarily justify grabbing a second version. Now for those who might want to bring it to their collections for the first time, that’s a different story. The latest is the best, and you’ll be darn happy with the build for the most part. So it’s an easy recommendation if you want a LEGO R2-D2, or even any other brick-built droid for that matter.
But when you compare to other Star Wars sets out there, I think there’s better value to be had elsewhere in the lineup. Those just looking to grab a creation from a galaxy far, far away, regardless of the theming, will probably find some of the other UCS builds to be worth a look. I think that the final build of last year’s UCS A-Wing was a better model overall, though that’s only if you’d rather bring home a starfighter rather than an iconic character.
After launching in May and pretty much disappearing from store shelves, the latest LEGO R2-D2 has returned in stock just in time for builders to turn their attention to the UCS Republic Gunship. But for those who don’t plan on picking up the new Clone Wars creation, be it a lack of funds or space, going with the year’s other massive Star Wars set that we’re reviewing today is a good choice.
There’s plenty to like this time around with the new R2-D2, with a refreshed design that justifies the remake in quite a few capacities. For one, it’s the most authentic version of the droid to date from LEGO, while still adding in plenty of value from play features and little inclusions to catch the eye of Star Wars fans.
Though on the flip side, the LEGO Group taking a second crack at recreating R2-D2 doesn’t exactly deliver a flawless creation. The execution in some areas just isn’t up to the UCS standard that many builders, myself included, will have come to know and love. Which leads to the $200 price tag feeling just a tad too steep in my book.
All that’s to say, builders who want an R2-D2 will very much appreciate the latest LEGO set and should grab it without hesitation. But if you’re not dead set on picking up the iconic droid, it’s worth holding out to see if any of the all-new summer LEGO Star Wars sets is more to your liking.
Buy the LEGO R2-D2 now
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