Just like the release of the LEGO Star Wars sets from The Force Awakens in September ahead of the movie’s release in December, LEGO has released their sets from The Last Jedi several months in advance. We’ll be digging into the sets over the coming weeks, starting today with 75187 BB-8.
LEGO BB-8 includes 1,106 pieces and retails for $99.99 in the US (with different prices elsewhere).
BB-8 comes in six numbered bags, and the instruction booklet is in its own wrapper, accompanied by the single sticker for BB-8’s specification plate.
Like other LEGO Star Wars sets, the back of the box highlights the set’s working features, which we’ll cover in more detail later in the review.
The first bag includes the parts for the bottom sixth of BB-8’s sphere, along with the Technic frame that supports his various mechanisms. It’s obvious from the box art that BB-8 is constructed studs-out, and the very first sub-assembly consists of a square section with studs facing out by way of 1×2 bricks with Technic half-pins.
BB-8’s interior, built with the parts in the second bag, is occupied with Technic mechanisms for his welding torch and wobbly head.
The third bag adds BB-8’s upper sphere segment, and a rubber band holds a weighted section steady so that it can flex back and forth.
The six sphere segments are built almost entirely with plates, with some jumper plates to add a greater degree of smoothness. Most segments have holes that connect to the interior. The two side segments, built from bag 4, are identical.
The fourth bag also includes the parts for the circular panels that connect to the interior mechanisms. By the fifth bag, the sphere segments do start to get mildly repetitive (you do end up building six of them, after all), but none of them are so large that the repetition feels endless.
The build gets truly interesting when you start building BB-8’s head in the final bag (which includes the minifig-scale BB-8). The droid’s head is full of SNOT (Studs Not on Top) techniques to achieve his unique white and orange stripes, along with all his sensors and other technical details.
The construction for BB-8’s holographic projector is particularly interesting, with the projector connected at an angle to a 1×1 brick with a stud on the side, bracketed by two corner panels.
The display stand is very basic, but holds the large-scale BB-8 in a cradle nicely, with minifig-scale BB-8 in front and the specification panel off to the side.
The finished model
Though we didn’t have a spare 10225 R2-D2 from 2012 lying around, BB-8 is at the same scale as the previous large-scale droid, and stands just 9″ (25 cm) tall including his antennae, compared to R2-D2’s 12″ (31 cm).
Each of the panels on BB-8’s sphere segments is unique, and adds interest to what might otherwise be a fairly boring ball.
This LEGO set really shines with its play features, not least of which is BB-8’s iconic “thumbs up” with his welding torch. The torch is on a Technic steering track connected to a gear turned by a knob on the outside of the sphere. The arm pushes the door on BB-8’s front sphere segment open, and the torch flips up. Unfortunately, the door doesn’t close when the welding torch arm retracts, but I’m confident one of our intrepid readers will come up with a modification to accomplish that extra function.
One of the coolest and funniest features is BB-8’s wobbly head, which flops around when you turn a knob on the opposite side from the welding torch’s knob. This short video highlights the “thumbs up” and wobbly head features.
Conclusions & recommendation
Despite its fairly small size, LEGO BB-8 is full of personality. The “thumbs up” feature is pretty cool, and his wobbly head is downright charming. At $100 for about 1,100 pieces (plus a minifig you probably already have a handful of from other The Force Awakens sets), this really isn’t a great parts pack. Most of the parts are plates and Technic bits, so if that’s your thing, maybe it’s a great parts pack after all. Either way, BB-8 will make a great display model next to R2-D2 on your office shelf or desk.