Sunday, February 14th, 2021 at 12:40pm by Andrew, BZPower News Manager
Another day, another Star Wars set review. Don't worry, it's not going to become a trend, I don't have that much free time. Anyway, today we're looking at one of the latest Microfighters sets, 75298 AT-AT vs Tauntaun Microfighters, taking us on a trip to the Empire Strikes Back era with an iconic critter and vehicle from the opening act of the movie. Should you get this set when it releases on March 1st, or will you get cold feet and pass on it? Read on to find out!
From the design of the box to the instruction manual, these are the first things you see before building the set.
The box prominently shows not-quite-Jedi Luke Skywalker on a Tauntaun facing off against an AT-AT, just like it happened in the movie. We also see that this is from Series 8 of the Microfighters, which is new for this year and not a continuation of last years' series, like I incorrectly thought in the video. On the back, we see the AT-AT driver wisely realized his giant walking tank was outmatched by the arctic lizard and has decided to fight Luke on foot, because how can a sword beat a gun? We also see that there are a whopping two sets in Series 8, this and a new Millennium Falcon, and that you can build each model in this set at the same time if you want to share.
Half the fun is had building the set. How fun is it to build and how easy or challenging is it?
With only around 100 pieces per model, the builds are pretty straightforward. That said, they both make great use of SNOT techniques to get you building in all directions, so while they're not challenging they will keep you engaged for the time it takes to assemble them.
Now that the set is complete, we can critique how it looks from every angle. New or interesting pieces can also be examined here.
There weren't a lot of parts that jumped out at me with this set. Of the two printed elements, the 1x1 round tile with the eye print has at least been used in last year's Bantha Microfighter, but I'd guess the 1x2 cheese slope with the AT-AT viewport is unique. The Tauntaun reins are not a new element but are interesting and can probably be incorporated in MOCs in unique ways. All-in-all, it's a very monochromatic assortment with a lot of light and dark grey, but if you like those colors there's a good variety of parts, especially brackets and slopes. I would have preferred more color variety, but the source material makes that tricky.
The finished builds look good alongside each other and both instantly remind you of the things in the movie they're based on, so that's a good sign!
The AT-AT has all the major features you'd expect: four lumbering legs, a swiveling head with four cannons, and a trapezoidal shaped body. For as few parts as there are in the set, it's impressive how well they captured the shape.
The Tauntaun fairs similarly well, and I appreciate that the designers built it around a 3x3 plate, making it an odd number of studs wide and requiring some interesting solutions to make it all work out. If only they had left some space so a minifig could fit on the inside...
I thought it would be interesting to compare the models to some similar ones I have in my collection. First, the AT-AT compares very favorably to the AT-M6. Other than the back legs, the design is almost entirely new, which is very welcome and surprising in the age of Star Wars sets being rereleased with very minor changes. I really appreciate that they opted to not attach any stud-shooters on the AT-AT too. For our wintery steed, I broke out the actual Tauntaun mold from the Assault on Hoth set, among others, and honestly I think I like the Microfighter better. The single-piece mold obviously looks closer to the on-screen appearance, but lacks the 'LEGO' quality that one built out of bricks has. Yes the proportions are a bit off, but so are a minifig's compared to a human. Finally I wanted to compare the Tauntaun to the Bantha Microfighter, and while I think I like the latter better, the former does luck out by having the Mixel joints match its color scheme.
This set has two minifigures. Commander Luke Skywalker is dressed up in the outfit we see at the beginning of the film, and the print does a pretty good job capturing his look. The hat and goggles aren't new at all, but they still work well here.
The AT-AT driver seems to have had some problems with his helmet, the stripe is super-curved and the black-printing in general looks rather shoddy. That's pretty disappointing, but at least the rest of the figure looks alright.
The other half of the fun is in playing with the set. How well does the set function and is it enjoyable to play with?
These sets aren't loaded with play features, but they do a decent job. Each minifigure gets a stud-shooter blaster, which you can take or leave depending on your preference. I like how the Tauntaun has a place to clip Luke's lightsaber and binoculars, but the AT-AT is lacking in that category. As far as movement goes, each of the walker's legs has two joints that allow for some posing, but the range of motion is a little limited to ensure stability. The Tauntaun is lagging in this area, with just its hands and tail being able to move. That still wouldn't stop a child from taking either on fun adventures though, or recreating the Battle of Hoth. Except...
... Luke never fights AT-ATs while riding a Tauntaun. Letting my nitpicky Star Wars nerd side out, it feels like it would have made more sense to pair the Tauntaun with a Wampa Microfighter (is it still a 'fighter' at that point, or just a snack?) or to pair the AT-AT with a Snowspeeder. Yes we already got a Snowspeeder Microfighter, but when has that ever stopped LEGO from releasing a new version of an existing vehicle? Just look at the new Falcon Microfighter in this wave. Movie inaccuracies aside, something that allowed a wider variety of color or more contrast would have been cool.
Once it's all said and done, how does the set stack up? Should I get it?
What's to like?
- Both models have great designs
- Tauntaun is better than the single-piece mold version
- Decent selection of brackets and slopes
What's not to like?
- Ugly printing on the AT-AT driver helmet
- Very monochromatic palette of parts
- Few unique or interesting pieces
I did a big Microfighters stream at the end of last year, and the sets were definitely hit or miss. I think these two are squarely on the 'hit' side, with some nice designs that were fun to build. Sadly the set was held back a bit by the drab color scheme and the bad minifigure printing on the helmet. But if you're a fan of the source material, or looking for a $20 parts pack in grey, you won't be disappointed here.
Thanks again to BZPower's Amabassador Tufi Piyufi for hooking us up with this set and the others we've been reviewing. Also thanks to LEGO for offering them to us, and again, the opinions presented here are my own and not those of LEGO, nor have they influenced my opinions of the set. We've got one more, bigger Star Wars set to review, although that's going to take a bit to get done, and a bunch of other LEGO set reviews on the horizon, so keep checking back for those right here on BZPower!
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