Although the Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi has only just arrived in theaters, LEGO is already preparing to release its second wave of sets for the film. The largest of these is 75202 Defense of Crait, which has 746 pieces and retails for $84.99, and it will officially arrive in stores January 1. This review will contain only mild spoilers for the movie, but consider yourself warned.
The box & instructions
75202 Defense of Crait comes in a long, low box appropriate to its price point.
As usual, the rear of the box shows the play features.
Inside are six numbered bags and a sealed bag with a single instruction manual and a sticker sheet. Although primarily only large sets get this special treatment for the instructions, it makes a huge difference for the sticker sheet, which comes out crisp and flat. All sets with sticker sheets would benefit from this, and nearly every LEGO set has a sticker sheet these days.
The instruction manual shows the rest of the January LEGO Star Wars lineup in the back, confirming that what we wrote about last month is likely the full wave. The sticker sheet has a variety of generic panel details and worn bits, adding to the speeder’s decrepitude. All of the stickers look like they could find good uses on any number of other sci-fi vehicles.
The build begins with the Resistance base on the barren world of Crait where the Resistance takes refuge in the abandoned underground base, originally repurposed from a mining facility. The base sits on dark red plates representing the valuable crystalline rhodochrosite, the ruby red minerals that make up this part of the planet’s surface. In the movie, the base sits on the edge of a large salt flat, so a thin sheen of white salt blankets the underlying rhodochrosite. The LEGO set’s base doesn’t have as much salt coverage as we saw in the movie, likely because the set’s designers were working from very, very early images.
The turret sits on a 4×4 turntable plate and has a very colorful interior.
The three segments of the base use bags 1-2. The three-level tower uses plates attached to SNOT bricks on the sides to add significant structural integrity.
Inside the tower, you’ll find one of the two uniquely printed (non-minifigure) elements in this set, a computer screen.
The screen’s markings identify it as one of the Portable Battle Analysis Computers the Resistance rapidly set up on Crait. While the print is nice, the overall design is lacking and fails to capture the size or shape of the on-screen version.
The remaining four bags are dedicated to the speeder. The build starts with the middle engine core, with a strong frame of studless Technic beams to support the angled wings.
Bag 3 takes the speeder up through the finished engine compartment. In a nice effect, the light and dark greys of the Technic beams are matched with the curved slopes. It’s not very noticeable on the finished model, as the Technic beams are mostly hidden, but it’s still a great detail. The tail strut is made with another Technic beam flanked by slightly angled flex tube to look like an exposed frame.
Up next are the wings in Bag 4, which bolt onto the Technic beams. On one side, the mounting block for the cockpit stands ready with Technic pins, while the other side has an open slot for the weapons pod.
Bag 5 holds the cockpit and Bag 6 the weapons pod. Both are largely constructed as separate subassemblies, then attached to the speeder with Technic pins. A few plates put on afterward hold them permanently in place. The cockpit’s rear section shows some more of the complex studs-not-on-top techniques that have become commonplace in recent LEGO models.
The cockpit’s passenger compartment would make an awesome little bumper-car-like speeder on its own. The pilot gets a slightly angled brown seat-back and an open-air experience flying across the desert.
The cockpit features the second non-minifigure uniquely printed element, which is, of course, the windscreen. With a simple print breaking up the canopy into separate panels, this piece looks quite useful for other ship designs.
The finished model
It’s no surprise that the tower and artillery cannon are more than a little undersized, evoking the movie’s set pieces rather than directly duplicating them. In the film, for instance, the tower is itself an artillery piece, with a cannon where the computer screen is. I suspect that this is another victim of early designs with insufficient data. However, we’re sure that LEGO’s goal here was to provide as much play value as possible in a limited amount of parts, and on that measure, they’ve done a great job.
The tower is attached to the trench with a single clip. Although it locks snugly into place, the joint won’t withstand being picked up unless both sections are held. The trench and turret are connected by a hinge plate, allowing them to be repositioned.
The trench section is more of a berm and less of a trench dug into a perfectly flat salt bed, but creating proper below-ground structures wouldn’t be feasible in a LEGO set of this size. This solution works well.
The turret has a seat for the Resistance Trooper, and fires a single spring-loaded dart. The blaster used as a stand for the targeting sensor is quite clever.
The Ski Speeder, however, is the prime attraction at this party. The Roche Machines V-4X-D Ski Speeder was originally designed as a racing vehicle for an asteroid competition circuit, but was considered an old junker by the time a few of them found their way out to Crait as exploration craft. The Rebels on Crait repurposed them as patrol vehicles, replacing the scientific instruments on the wingtip with laser cannons. In profile, it’s clear that the LEGO model features much sharper angles on either side of the engine than it should. The on-screen version has very shallow angles in the wings, clearly pulling some inspiration from WWII fighters like the F4U Corsair.
The central ski hangs down on a hinge, allowing it to retract when the speeder is resting on the ground. When the speeder is lifted, gravity lowers the ski to its operating position (stands not included).
The ski was originally part of the craft’s racing functions, helping it stay grounded during asteroid racing. It’s made from a single helicopter blade and hangs about 3 inches below the speeder.
I love the cockpit design, both front and rear. In the back, this brick-built striped pattern looks excellent.
The cockpit seats Poe nicely. This model, however, is in much better shape than the on-screen version, and therefore has a solid floor with no holes to the ground below.
Inside the cockpit, Poe gets three banks of switches (two of which are stickers) and a yoke. Yokes made from bucket handles have appeared in a number of recent Star Wars sets. It’s great details like this that are pushing the Star Wars line further ahead every year, showing there’s always room for improvement.
In the middle of the speeder, the large engine intake has some greebles in the center made of 1×1 round plates with holes and a pair of light grey light covers, which previously only came in the large 75528 Rey figure (and that set only had 1). The engine compartment is much more rectangular here than the nearly round engine seen on-screen.
The center of the engine compartment is removable, though for what purpose is unclear. There’s no storage space inside, so instead you can play mechanic with the engine block.
The engine pod is quite simple, housing twin medium laser cannons in the middle with spring-loaded darts on either side. Up top, the power couplings are created with a pair of the new black “espresso filter” elements, aka the Bar 1L with 1×1 round plate. This has only appeared in a few sets so far, including Ninjago City where it first appeared, and there are two more on the tail for a total of four in this set.
Despite being outnumbered in the battle for Crait, the Resistance troops in this set have the numbers advantage. You’ll get a new version of Poe Dameron, a new generic Resistance Trooper, and the white-bearded “Admiral” Ematt. Poe is armed with a black blaster pistol, while the Admiral and the trooper have pearl dark grey blaster rifles.
Both Poe and the trooper have reversible heads with an alternate expression. Although the trooper’s printing is similar to the trooper in 75177 First Order Heavy Scout Walker, it is unique to this set currently.
Poe features the same legs, shirt, and head as the one in 75189 First Order Heavy Assault Walker, but sports a new hairpiece with a headset molded in.
Admiral Ematt, as he is named on the box, is an imposter. That is, he isn’t an admiral at all but rather a general. Prior to the action in Episode VIII, Ematt was a Resistance major, but as one of the few surviving officers was given a field promotion to general. Although we can likely chalk the mistaken title up to another casualty of LEGO working with limited information, Lucasfilm does sign off on all finalized info such as the box art.
Alone in representing the forces of evil are two First Order Snowtroopers. Because of the fragile snow-like salt surface and the intense glare off the salt flats in the Crait desert, the First Order opted to bring Snowtroopers and other winterized equipment instead of regular Stormtroopers. The two identical Snowtroopers wear white cloth kamas and have a tiny backpack made of a neck bracket and printed 1×1 tile. They’re the same figures that came in 75100 First Order Snowspeeder, and bear the standard Clone/Stormtrooper head.
Conclusions & recommendation
The Crait Resistance base leaves a lot to be desired. After all, these are merely the outer defenses, and woefully undersized. But given that this is the smaller part of the set, and the fact that frankly, I don’t want a giant metal door for a set, this does a good job of evoking the Resistance base. I do think it’s sorely missing a vulptex (crystaline fox), however. This would have been the perfect set to include one, but sadly they’re missing from the entire lineup of The Last Jedi sets, despite playing a key role in the plot.
The Ski Speeder is a terrific model. Reminiscent of the B-wing at a glance, it’s sturdy and will easily stand up to rigorous play. It’s not quite as accurate as it could be, but neither is it far off target. All the broad strokes are in the right places, with only insignificant details out of place. At 15 inches wide (38 cm), the speeder is larger than it looks.
And with a retail price of $84.99 for 746 pieces, it’s not hard to compare it favorably against 75188 Resistance Bomber that we reviewed, which has only 32 more pieces but costs $25 more. However, even at $85, this set feels a little overpriced, perhaps simply because of the speeder’s spindly design. A mere $10 less would have been a much more fitting price point.
Nevertheless, this is a great set to reenact the Defense of Crait. Add in a First Order Heavy Assault Walker, and you’ve got more than enough for any kid’s (or adult’s) imagination to go wild.