The Emperor arrives aboard LEGO Star Wars 75302 Imperial Shuttle [Review]

Making its first appearance in Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, the Imperial Lambda-class shuttle is one of the Empire’s most iconic small spacecraft, with its folding wings and tall white dorsal fin. Maybe that explains why LEGO keeps releasing new versions. 75302 Imperial Shuttle is the fifth incarnation at or around minifig scale. The set comes with 660 pieces and will be available on March 1st for US $69.99 | CAN $99.99 | UK £69.99.

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.

Box and packaging

The box contains 6 numbered bags of various sizes (with interior bags for smaller pieces), and a seventh bag for the instructions. There are no stickers in the set, but there is a white slope with a vent pattern printed on it which has been in every set. The back of the box includes typical close-up shots of some of the set’s play features.

Front of box

The build

The model starts off with the main body of the shuttle and we get a few relatively new parts; an upward bracket plate with two studs facing out, and some 1×1 Technic axle bricks which first appeared in the new 75300 Luke Skywalker’s X-Wing set.

New pieces

There are 2 sturdy click hinges facing out on each side which will attach to the wings later.

Main body

Next, we begin adding the lower portion of the cockpit, which unlike previous versions of the shuttle only seats a single minifig pilot. I guess Lord Vader will have to be more patient with him since there’s no co-pilot to take over after watching his boss get force-chocked for scratching the paint job. The canopy attaches at the front and tilts back to form the iconic angled cockpit.

Angled cockpit

One other thing to note is that the way the top of the canopy attaches to the bottom leaves a very noticeable gap when viewed from the side. Also, the absence of even a single printed or stickered control panel makes one wonder if the pilot is force-sensitive, as there is no other way for him to actually pilot the shuttle.

side view

Now we come to a surprising part of the model, which seems at first glance to be simply a Technic frame for the typically large dorsal fin to attach to, but turns out to be both a handle for picking up the finished shuttle and a mechanism to flip open the top gaining access to the passenger compartment. The mechanism includes a 1×2 rubber part that holds just enough tension to keep from slipping open while holding it, and I wiggled it a lot, but even when the model was finished, the connection held.

Bag 4 wraps up the main body of the shuttle, including the rounded sides to which the wings attach. Unlike the 2015 Shuttle Tyderium version, which used stacked rounded Technic elements, and both the 2001 and 2005 versions which use the standard white engine part, this set uses a combination of rounded bricks and rounded panel pieces, leaving just enough space in-between for the click-hinge that holds the wings. The end-result is a much smoother look when combined with the sloped side of the shuttle. the previous version released in 2015 used an angled plate, which looked pretty clunky.

Now for the signature top fin, which made up bag 5. As with the two previous versions of the set, the top fin is made up of a central assembly of Technic lift arms attached to system bricks. There is one minor difference: The lower front slope is shorter than all the previous sets at only a single inverted slope.

And now as we move on to the final bag, we notice right away that there are not that many parts for 2 wings. And this is the set’s only major disappointment.

The finished model

Now, with the shuttle finally finished we can talk about the wings, and why they feel like something you might find in one of the 4+ sets intended for younger builders.

The wings that give the Imperial shuttle its iconic profile require hinges that can support their weight, and maintain the sleek, thin shape at the same time. But considering other Star Wars ships with folding wings, like Director Krennic’s command shuttle, I’m convinced that the wings could have been a bit more substantial and still held up. In the end, it comes down to keeping the price point reasonable for the target audience, and at $70, the price point is already on the high side. Fortunately, with just a few extra wedge plates you could easily remedy this shortcoming. Alternatively, you could build a stand to display the ship with the wings in flight mode.

The minifigs

The set includes 3 minifigs and a pair of wrist manacles to re-enact what could be the most awkward father-son ride in history. Darth Vader comes with the now-standard 2 part helmet, to re-enact the scene when Luke lets his father see him with his own eyes if the set included a boarding ramp. Luke comes with his calm Jedi-focused expression, as well as the one you see if you’re a Sith lord and you bring up his sister. The third minifig is the shuttle’s Imperial pilot.

This version of Luke has appeared in four other sets. 75093: Death Star Final Duel (2015), 75146: Star Wars Advent Calendar (2015), 75159: Death Star, and 75291: Death Star Final Duel (2020). Darth Vader has been in 2 sets. 75291: Death Star Final Duel (2020) and 75294: Bespin Duel (2020). The pilot is new in this set.

The Minifigures

Conclusion and recommendation

Aside from my earlier complaint about the wings, which is easily remedied, I actually think this is a pretty decent set, and similar to the latest X-wing and TIE Fighter we recently reviewed here on TBB, the proportions, and the finished details are quite accurate to the source material, and the price is fairly reasonable for a set with 660 pieces. My only other complaint is the stud shooters, which the designers simply slapped on the sides of the cockpit. I think that LEGO could easily have incorporated spring-loaded shooters into the wing’s bases where the actual blaster cannons are.

The set comes with 660 pieces and will be available on March 1st for
US $69.99 | CAN $99.99 | UK £69.99

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.

7 comments on “The Emperor arrives aboard LEGO Star Wars 75302 Imperial Shuttle [Review]

  1. Aaron Townsend

    Disagree. Lego is getting worse and worse. While prices continue to climb, design seems to get worse and worse (read, cheap!) That they keep re-releasing old sets as new, with a few minor detail changes speaks volumes as well. As someone who has been a massive lego collector for 30+ years, I’m sorely disappointed with the company lately. The number of junk buildings (No backs, no roofs, nothing but shells for the most part) that lack any kind of playability, let alone rebuild value, and the constant focus on movie themed sets is seriously disturbing. It would be great if we could get back to more of the nostalgic series like space, pirates, castle, police/fire …etc. Or, how about trains, with actual features like doors, like they used to have?

  2. Elwyn

    I think the shuttle first appeared in “Return of the Jedi” but then added into the Special Edition of “The Empire Strikes Back”.

  3. Johnny Johnson

    Is this the smallest version of the Imperial shuttle we’ve seen? I need to look up a comparison of them all, now. I really dislike this one! Tiny cockpit, no ramp at the back, tiny interior, crappy wings.

  4. Francisco Vega

    That awkward moment when you realize you forgot the emperor…!? And you don’t want to tell Darth Vader.
    You had one job! One ☝???? job! This was your first mission and you were super excited! Systems checked! Course set! Takeoff super smooth! Don’t leave until the emperor was onboard. You said. Check! Wait…

    “The Emperor arrives aboard LEGO Star Wars 75302 Imperial Shuttle [Review]” not on this box he doesn’t!

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