LEGO Star Wars 40288 BB-8 May the Fourth free promo set [Review and Mod Instructions]

May the Fourth or “Star Wars Day” is right around the corner, and LEGO has sent us an early copy of the free promotional set, 40288 BB-8. The set will be available May 4th through 6th (or until supplies run out) with LEGO Star Wars purchases over $75. We’ll bring you more details on the May the Fourth sales and deals later this week, so check back soon for more updates.

This buildable character joins the large-scale 75187 BB-8 released in 2017, and is about the same size as last year’s buildable R2-D2, so let’s dig in and see how this new droid compares.

The polybag includes all 48 of the parts to build the plucky droid from the new Star Wars trilogy, along with the single-sheet instructions. The set includes six printed pieces — five identical radar dishes with orange printing on white, plus a 4×4 dome for his head.

BB-8’s core is built with bracket bricks facing studs out, much like a LEGO BrickHeadz character’s body. His body is hollow, with a Technic universal joint sticking up from the lower sphere section.

The radar dishes attach to the sides and bottom, while BB-8’s head attaches to the Technic joint via a Technic pin.

When complete, BB-8 has a single stud to stand on, and with a floppy head on the Technic joint, he leans over on his side with his head lolling back and forth like he’s dead.

The 4×4 printed dome for BB-8’s head is quite nice, with various photoreceptors and sensors, but the single-piece dome doesn’t allow for any brick-built details like an antenna.

BB-8 uses the same 4×4 dome as last year’s R2-D2 promo set. Sitting side by side, it’s clear that the two droids are not built to the same scale, since BB-8 is considerably smaller than Artoo.

The poor display potential of BB-8 is easily overcome by attaching something like a 2×2 round tile with a hole in the middle to the stud on the radar dish on the droid’s underside, stabilizing him on a flat surface so he doesn’t look like he’s been deactivated. We feel like this single piece should just have been included in the set.

Similarly, it might have been cool to include BB-8’s iconic “thumbs up” pose, as the large-scale BB-8 did. We solved this with another couple of pieces.

The “thumbs up” flame is very simple, but here’s a breakdown in case you’d like to build your own:

Finally, we added a clear handle to the back of BB-8 to turn him into a puppet — another single-piece addition to the set that would have added playability.

So, with the addition of a mere five common LEGO pieces, we’ve added two play features and enabled BB-8 to be displayed and posed much more easily. At minimum, a better display solution should have been included in the set. But despite the poor display potential and play value because of these problems, each of these issues is easily solved with pieces that most builders will have readily accessible in their collections.

40288 BB-8 will be available for free from the LEGO Shop between May 4th and May 6 (or while supplies last) with LEGO Star Wars purchases over $75.

The LEGO Group provided The Brothers Brick with an early copy of this set for review. Providing TBB with products for review guarantees neither coverage nor positive reviews.