Luke Skywalker gets roughed up quite a bit in The Empire Strikes Back, first by a giant Yeti-beast and later by his own dad, who cuts off his hand just for mouthing off and refusing to obey! As a result, Luke spends quite a bit of time in Rebel Alliance medical facilities, both on Hoth and aboard the Nebulon-B medical frigate. While LEGO Star Wars fans have clamored for a UCS or even microscale medical frigate for years, LEGO has instead focused twice on the bacta tank treatment scene, most recently with 75203 Hoth Medical Chamber. Available August 1st, this set includes 255 pieces with 3 minifigures and retails for $29.99.
The packaging & instructions
The small size of this set is underscored immediately by what feels like a rather skimpy trio of bags. The set could probably have fit into just one or two bags, and the third bag distributes the parts unnecessarily, adding extra packaging material and making all three bags feel like they don’t have very many parts in them. The single instruction booklet spans just 84 steps across 84 pages, and there is no sticker sheet.
As I noted in our review of 75216 Snoke’s Throne Room, most playset-oriented LEGO sets tend toward stacked plates and bricks, and this set — smaller than the throne room by half — is certainly no different.
The first bag includes Princess Leia and the parts for the medical chamber’s two main walls. The second bag includes Luke and adds an examination area. The third bag includes the 2-1B surgical droid and a brick-built FX medical droid, as well as the parts to complete the playset with the bacta tank itself.
The finished model
For that budding Rebel Alliance medical corps member in your life, the playset includes a huge amount of detail, with plenty of storage compartments for equipment and supplies, various lights and panels on the walls, and several distinct areas — a recovery area with a bed built into the wall, preparation or cleanup area, examination area with a spinning table on the other side of the wall, and the large bacta tank. The bacta tank section folds inward so that you can store the playset with a smaller footprint.
The exam area connects to the recovery area through an angled doorway, and the detailed exam table spins around on a turntable.
On the same side of the wall, a pair of drawers and several clips provide storage for accessories like scissors and syringes. Unfortunately, the reverse side of headlight bricks that add wall detail to the recovery area on the other side of the wall leave large holes that make this side feel a bit unfinished.
The wall section behind the patient’s bed doesn’t really have much detail, though 1×1 round bricks and a grill tile do add some texture to what would otherwise be a plain white wall.
A minifig fits well into the recovery bed, thanks to panels on the outside, allowing Luke to rest comfortably as he recovers from his wampa injuries. This section also has another storage compartment, as well as several buttons (?) and a large red light on the wall — the details added onto headlight bricks that leave the holes on the other side of the wall. Cheese slopes add some visual interest to the base of the floor.
A prep/cleanup area adds more detail and play potential to the right of the recovery area. This area includes another set of drawers, along with a brick-built sink. There’s a wine bottle and clear mug on the drawers, and we can assume based on context that these are for dispensing medicine. The macaroni tubes above the sink and drawers are an excellent touch.
Luke also fits comfortably into the bacta tank, wedged in place by a panel with center divider.
The bacta tank splits open so you can remove Luke.
The FX medical droid is attached to a turntable next to the bacta tank, and can thus spin around to use its various arms.
In addition to the brick-built FX medical droid, 75203 Hoth Medical Chamber includes a rather underdressed Luke Skywalker, Leia Organa in her Hoth gear, and a 2-1B surgical droid. This is the second time LEGO has released a bacta tank Luke and 2-1B droid, with the first ones as part of the larger 7879 Hoth Echo Base in 2011. The Leia minifig is identical to the new version in last year’s UCS Millennium Falcon (a fact that has not gone unnoticed by angry speculators and resellers).
The Skywalker siblings both have printed details on their backs, as well as alternate expressions.
Both of Luke’s faces have a subtle black eye, and he wears a breathing mask with closed eyes for the time he spends in the rejuve tank. Unfortunately, posing Luke’s legs in any way misaligns the detailed printing across his nether regions.
The first 2-1B droid actually appeared in 2010 in 8096 Emperor Palpatine’s Shuttle, though this Rebel Alliance version appeared in 2011 as we noted earlier in this review. While the mold is identical to both previous versions, the printing on this latest 2-1B has been updated slightly from 2011 (though the differences may be hard to spot).
Conclusions & recommendation
As I noted in my recent review of Snoke’s Throne Room, I do have a fairly strong bias against LEGO Star Wars playsets, despite really loving sets like 9516 Jabba’s Palace and the recent 75200 Ahch-To Island Training and 75208 Yoda’s Hut. Examining this personal bias in light of these exceptions, what seems to set great playsets apart from mediocre or bad ones — at least for me — is a solid minifigure selection and lots of fun play features.
With a trio of fairly unusual minifigures and plenty of play features, this is a LEGO Star Wars playset that continues the positive trend set by smaller sets like Ahch-To Island Training and Yoda’s Hut this year. Price is certainly a factor, however — at $30 for just over 250 mostly white parts, you may want to look for a sale before picking this one up.
Read more reviews from the current wave of LEGO Star Wars sets:
- 75203 Hoth Medical Chamber
- 75215 Cloud-Rider Swoop Bikes
- 75216 Snoke’s Throne Room
- 75217 Imperial Conveyex Transport
- 75218 X-wing Starfighter
- 75219 Imperial AT-Hauler
- 41619 Darth Vader & 41620 Stormtrooper
75203 Hoth Medical Chamber includes 255 pieces and 3 minifigs. The set is available August 1st. You can help support The Brothers Brick by purchasing your copy of the set from the LEGO Shop (USD 29.99 | CDN 39.99 | [price unkonwn in the UK] as of this writing), Amazon.com, eBay, BrickLink, and elsewhere.
The LEGO Group sent The Brothers Brick an early copy of this set for review. Providing TBB with products for review guarantees neither coverage nor positive reviews.
“The Leia minifig is identical to the new version in last year’s UCS Millennium Falcon (a fact that has not gone unnoticed by angry speculators and resellers).”
This is not entirely true. In this set Leia has a head piece that features and smirk, and a mad face whereas the USC Falcon Leia shows a happy face and side with the oxygen mask.
@kellyrev: Good catch, thanks! (It’s sometimes easy to miss minor details like this when the reference databases aren’t online yet when we’re writing our reviews.)