There are only so many Star Wars scenes that are prominent enough to become a LEGO set, so it’s refreshing to see something that hasn’t been done before. Most LEGO Star Wars fans would probably agree that the Death Star escape scene has been long overdue in becoming a set. Despite receiving 3 minutes of screen time, it is one of the most memorable scenes from the franchise. Now, we finally get to see it built in LEGO-form. The 75229 Death Star Escape consists of 329 pieces and retails for $29.99 USD (CDN 39.99 and GBP 24.99). Does it hold up to the memorable scene from Star Wars: A New Hope? Read on to find out more.
The packaging and instructions
The outer box art features the exciting scene of what’s to come, with Princess Leia hanging on to Luke as he swings across to the platform. Does the LEGO set live up to the original source material, though? When a Star Wars scene becomes a set for the first time, the bar is raised because fan expectations run high. The set comes with three numbered bags and a single instruction booklet. A quick glance at the parts doesn’t give much away because the bags are filled with shades of grey elements.
Assembling the first few pieces reveals a tiny surprise in the form of an MSE-6 Droid (aka Mouse Droid) and a stormtrooper accessory holder. Previous iterations of the Mouse Droid featured a round 1×1 plate with a straight side. The newer open stud version is used here and makes for a perfect replacement.
This joy was short-lived, as the following steps were a build-up of mundane interior corridors of the Death Star.
The tower is built for a purposeful function, with the first part of the platform designed to host the attacking stormtrooper and escape landing area for Luke and Leia.
Bag 2 isn’t much different in terms of excitement, with the exception of the layering of bricks and a little more detailing.
Although there’s quite a bit of detail in the build, there’s unfortunately little resemblance to the actual scene from the movie. The exception to this is the door panel access buttons being present on both platforms.
A somewhat nice build is the platform extension. While the extension was never showcased in the movie, it was implied that the platform could hypothetically extend.
The final build with Bag 3 consists of a sliding door for the platform and a catch/release mechanism.
A couple of interesting parts were put together that I initially thought would be complex functional builds. In reality, they turned out to be semi-decorative elements with a different purpose to be revealed later.
The completed platform build
Whether viewed from the front or the back, the completed build is not exactly inspiring. The two platforms are joined together by two hinge plates, allowing them to be either in a closed position or placed a distance apart as shown below.
A simple mechanism is built with a 1×4 technic liftarm and a pin holds the door in place suspended from above. Applying slight pressure down on the red pin lifts the catch, and down comes the door
With everything in place, the only part left is to position the minifigures as they appear in the movie. Luke and Leia are suspended over the platform with a grappling hook attached to a string. The set lacks a built-in swing attachment so, technically, the only way for our heroes to cross the chasm is for you to manually bring the two platforms together.
An overhead view shows how the grappling hook rests in between the recesses of the elements. There are no other built-in functions for the heroes to swing over or move. They’re basically suspended over the build unless you use your hands to move them.
This set comes with three minifigures and a Mouse Droid, which I would call a bonus surprise. (Disclaimer: Though the droid is displayed on the box art, it is easy to miss.)
The 2019 issue of the stormtrooper comes with the familiar torso and legs produced in the past. However, as we noted in previous reviews of sets in this wave, their helmets are entirely new parts and are made of dual-molded plastic.
The single face print shows an angsty stormtrooper. Identifying the dual-molded helmet is easy because the black mold is visible from the underside.
Luke comes with a bunch of accessories to support his play functions. He has a neck bracket and a string attached to a transparent neck bracket with 2 studs. A round 1×1 plate with handle is attached on the left side, while the other side features a stud with a string attached to a grappling hook with a bar.
Luke also comes with a utility belt in white, which isn’t new and has been issued before in a couple other sets. However, its inclusion will surely make it a more commonly available element, and is the first time that this key detail has been included with Luke. The set comes with a second belt so you will have an extra in case you loose this one.
Luke also comes with a standard-issue lightsaber and is in his Tatooine outfit. His printed face shows a hint of a smile.
He has an alternate face print, which represents a tiny difference in appearance. His expression is that of a person deep in thought during a sticky situation.
Leia wields a blaster and sports a smiling face on one side and a determined look on the opposite.
She has a printed back but no prints on either side of her leg piece.
From what we’ve seen so far, there’s very little to like about the building techniques or finished look. By this stage, it’s pretty obvious that this set is meant to showcase its play features rather than serving as a display piece. Let’s look at each of the play features in detail.
The door mechanism is designed somewhat similar to the one in the movie scene where it does not completely shut. We see stormtroopers clamoring their way in, hastening the time needed for our heroes to leave the platform. Pressing the lever releases the door, and lifting it up secures it back into its original state.
Seen from a different angle, the two platforms slide apart together with the release of the door. I can only assume that instead of Luke and Leia making a jump, a manual push of the platform will allow the two heroes to land on the opposite end.
The final play feature is the sliding platform which is able to be extended to the opposite escape platform. Not exactly a scene from the movie, but nevertheless it provides options to create imaginary scenarios.
Leia holds on to the back of Luke while they swing across to safety.
Our heroes escape in style across the chasm between the platforms.
Though there are elements inspired by the movie, I found that there are more areas where the LEGO Star Wars design team added functions for play instead of staying true to the source material. If it were to be movie accurate, here are a few nitpicks:
- The doorways and the platform where the stormtrooper is situated do not resemble the ones from the movie scene, both in terms of design and placement.
- Luke does not wield a lightsaber in the scene.
- The platform never extends for our heroes to escape.
- The Mouse Droid was not part of this particular scene.
- The doorway from which the stormtroopers attack is missing, and so is the doorway on the landing platform.
- …and the list goes on.
Having said that, if seen through the lens of a set meant to be played with and having completed the build – this is a wonderful set for re-enacting movie scenes and extending the imagination. It was never meant to be a display piece. As long as you have the right mindset from the start, it should not disappoint. A reasonably priced set with 3 minifigures, it will keep you entertained for a bit and probably make you want to watch the movie again.