The summer 2020 lineup of LEGO Star Wars sets has added a number of sets inspired by Star Wars: The Clone Wars, including 75283 Armored Assault Tank with Ahsoka Tano and one of her unique Clone Troopers. 75280 501st Legion Clone Troopers adds the elite infantry that Anakin Skywalker leads into battle as part of the Grand Army of the Republic. The set includes 285 pieces with the four Clone Trooper minifigs and two battle droids, and is scheduled to be available in the US starting September 1st from LEGO (US $29.99 | CAN $39.99 | UK £24.99), though actual availability may vary significantly due to COVID-19.
Before we dig into the details of the set, it’s important to briefly correct some earlier reporting, which indicated that this is part of the minifigure-centric Battle Packs line of sets within LEGO Star Wars. Although the set does include four “army builder” Clone Troopers and a pair of battle droids, the inclusion of two substantial vehicles places this within the realm of standard LEGO Star Wars sets, not Battle Packs.
(And yes, I inverted the torsos on a couple of the nearly identical Clone Troopers as you can see in some of the overall photos, but thankfully we caught it during photography and the detailed minifig photos are correct.)
The parts for the two vehicles in the set come in their own bags, with the Clone Troopers split between them. The sticker sheet is loose in the bag, although ours was undamaged.
Sadly, there are no “Ahsoka Troopers” in this set (you’ll have to buy the new AAT with Ahsoka Tano for that), but the box design does feature the 332nd Company trooper with the special orange helmet. Given the likely popularity of the “Ahsoka Trooper” minifigure in the other set and the presence of Clone Troopers in this set, it’s not improbable that some consumers will be confused when grabbing them from store shelves.
Both the AT-RT walker and BARC speeder rely on a significant number of stickers for their final designs, with a total of eleven stickers between them.
Neither build is particularly challenging, though the AT-RT has some nice strut details and the armor in front of the drive includes some nice angled building.
The finished vehicles
Unlike the lower-cost Battle Pack sets, the two vehicles included in this set are “proper” vehicles depicted in the Star Wars canon and not the creations of the LEGO Star Wars design team — as fun as those may sometimes be.
Two-legged walkers controlled by Clone Troopers have appeared in a number of previous LEGO Star Wars sets. However, the actual AT-RT (All-Terrain Recon Transport) walker first seen briefly in Revenge of the Sith and then frequently in Clone Wars has only appeared in three previous LEGO sets. Other two-legged Clone walkers are actually non-canon variations; 75002 AT-RT and the 20th Anniversary 75261 Clone Scout Walker (already a “retired product” a year later) are really the only previous version of this vehicle that were at all substantial.
Like most mechs at this scale, the walker has click-hinge bricks for legs, with a detailed pod for the Clone Trooper driver. For this version, the cockpit pod is built from plates and triangle flag pieces rather than large slope pieces. The markings in both cases are accomplished with stickers.
In contrast to the relative rarity of the AT-RT, the BARC (Biker Advanced Recon Commando) speeder appears as a frequent addition — some might argue filler — to larger sets and as part of Battle Packs, with no fewer than six appearances so far. Presumably to allow for the right shapes and details on a two-stud-wide base, LEGO speeders and swoops are often far larger than they really should be — something I discussed in a bit more depth in our review of the otherwise excellent 75215 Cloud Rider Swoop Bikes with Enfys Nest from the Solo movie in 2018. Still, the speeder works well as both a display model for your Clone Troopers and as a play vehicle for younger builders.
Minifigure skis work well as steering vanes on both the front and rear sections, but the blocky rear lacks some of the sleek detailing on the speeder’s “nose”.
Despite not being a true Battle Pack, with a pair of substantial vehicles that double the price, the focus of 75280 501st Legion Clone Troopers is obviously the Clone Troopers. The set includes three “standard” clones (with one sporting a longer sniper rifle built by attaching a black candle piece to the end of the LEGO blaster rifle), plus a Jet Trooper and two generic battle droids.
We didn’t note this in our review of the Ahsoka Trooper yesterday, but all of the Clone Troopers have heads in a new, darker color compared to the “light flesh” color that they’ve all had since the change to more realistic skin tones in 2003. Given that the actor who portrays all clones (and their “template” Jango Fett) is the New Zealand actor Temuera Morrison, whose ancestry is part Māori, this is a long overdue change.
The Jet Trooper clone has a unique torso with blue across the top of the chest rather than up the middle of the torso, and a unique helmet with different blue stripes and red markings. His blue jetpack is the same as the ones included in previous LEGO Star Wars sets, going back to 75133 Rebel Alliance Battle Pack in 2016.
After more than twenty years, what can we say about generic, all-tan battle droids? Not much — the generic tan battle droid has appeared in nearly sixty sets. “Roger roger.”
Conclusions & recommendation
Minor criticisms of the individual vehicles aside, they’re both solid, fun ways to feature or play with the Clone Trooper minifigs that are the centerpiece of the set. It’s disappointing that LEGO hasn’t released a Captain Rex minifig since 2013, resulting in an after-market price of an insane $100 for the 2013 Rex variant that matches the Phase 2 helmets of the other Clone Troopers here. As a result, the lack of a Captain Rex or other named Clone Troopers in either the new AAT or this set feels like a miss.
With LEGO’s acquisition of its primary secondary market late last year, the LEGO Group itself now profits from such exorbitant prices. Those of us who feel that LEGO should be accessible to more people, not just adult collectors with unlimited budgets but kids with limited allowances as well, have expressed concern that LEGO’s ownership of BrickLink will influence future design decisions. Such a scenario seems highly unlikely so soon after the acquisition — most LEGO sets spend at least two years in development. Whether it makes sense or not, Clone Troopers from retired LEGO sets are likely to continue commanding high prices on the secondary market.
So, if you just think these are pretty cool but you don’t want to pay crazy prices for these variations of the ever-popular Clone Troopers, be sure to pick up this set soon…
LEGO Star Wars 75280 501st Legion Clone Troopers includes 285 pieces with four minifigures and will be released on September 1st from the LEGO Shop (US $29.99 | CAN $39.99 | UK £24.99), Amazon.com, and from third-party sellers on eBay 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.