LEGO Star Wars 40451 Tatooine Homestead: GWP for 2021 May the Fourth weekend [Review]

May the Fourth, the annual Star Wars Day, is almost here, and as usual LEGO is releasing some special goodies to celebrate. This year brings another freebie Gift with Purchase (GWP) set in the line of Star Wars microscale dioramas that LEGO’s been exploring since 2019. 40451 Tatooine Homestead lets you finally recreate Uncle Owen haggling over droids with the Jawa junk dealers outside the Lars family underground home. Maybe you can even get those units in the south range repaired by midday. The set includes 218 pieces and will be available from LEGO.com and in LEGO stores May 1 through May 5, free with a minimum purchase of US $85 | CAN $85 | UK £85 of LEGO Star Wars products.

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 box and contents

Like the previous GWP microscale dioramas, the Lars homestead set comes in a small, wide box with a hinged lid. Although the set is rated an accurate 8+, it follows the recent trend of Star Wars sets targeting adults with the back of the box featuring a few stills from the movie. Inside the box, you’ll find four unnumbered bags of parts along with the instruction manual. There is no sticker sheet, as the set’s only decorated elements are printed.

There are just three printed elements: a LEGO Star Wars 2021 2×4 tile, and two identical brown 2×2 tiles printed for the sides of the tiny Jawa Sandcrawler. Except for these, there aren’t any new or recolored elements in the set, nor even any that are particularly rare, meaning that once the instructions are available online you might be able to recreate the set with your existing collection if you don’t mind missing out on the few printed pieces. There are a couple of somewhat rare elements, though, such as the 1×1 tile with half-circle in dark red, which has thus far only appeared in Ninjago City Gardens, or the white lipstick that’s only been in two Architecture sets and the Ideas Treehouse.


The build

The first step is a doozy, so bring your best building skills to the table.

In all fairness, most LEGO sets start off with a single element in the first step, but usually there is more than one step on the first spread, so seeing step 1 by itself makes it stand out. I do think it’s a little absurd, but if this sort of simplification helps even a few builders it’s worth the trade-off for the rest of us. (Remember, not everyone building LEGO sets is a skilled or able-bodied adult.)

From these humble beginnings, you’ll sculpt the mountains in a vertical, studs-up orientation that will be familiar to a lot of MOC builders. They’ll later be laid down on their back to create the multi-layered Tatooine landscape.

The Lars homestead is mostly underground with a large open atrium in the middle, so this portion of the diorama is studs-up with LEGO’s newest arch system used to create the cavernous doorways around the atrium. The arches create a square courtyard, but diagonal plates will help round it off later. Aunt Beru watches over the homestead from inside, made of just two studs.

Once the homestead section gets a landspeeder and domed dwelling, it’s mated to the rest of the scenery and locked in place. Once all the pieces are joined, the diorama is very solid. Just add a few more details and this slice of sand is ready to display.


The completed model

OK, this is adorable. The tiny Sandcrawler and landspeeder are amazing given the scale, and the diorama is nicely studless except for a few patches of “disturbed sand” around the homestead. I’m a huge fan of microscale models in general, and seeing official models of Star Wars locations rendered in miniature just tickles my fancy.

 

The Lars homestead–which has never before appeared in a LEGO set apart from one event-exclusive set of the same scene from Star Wars Celebration 2015–is instantly recognizable, with the 2×2 dome and 1×1 domed tiles making a great showing as the above-ground portions, while the white telescopes stand in as moisture vaporators (plus a tall one out on the south range that’s topped with a white lipstick piece). I do wish the landspeeder were a more accurate color. LEGO versions of Luke’s X-34 landspeeder have bounced around a variety of colors from tan to sand red or even yellow, but the most recent versions from 2017 and 2020 employ nougat, which is about the most accurate hue from in LEGO’s color palette to match the on-screen speeder. Dark red makes the landspeeder recognizable and stand out against the tan landscape (a problem the minifigure-scale sets don’t have to contend with, as they don’t include Tatooine’s sand), but it can’t be claimed as accurate. Interestingly, the tile on the front of the speeder is available in nougat thanks to this year’s Modular, 10278 Police Station, but the 1×1 plate behind it is not available at all–at least officially. LEGO has produced the piece in nougat for certain display models at LEGOLAND parks, and a small quantity are available on the secondary market. This would have a perfect opportunity to introduce it in a set, so it’s a shame it gets a miss here.

Speaking of inaccuracies, the landscape of Tatooine has been condensed a bit here. As we all remember from Luke’s iconic wistful pose in front of the binary sunset, the Lars homestead sits on a flat expanse of desert, not in front of looming mountains. There are mountains on Tatooine and they appear in the background of numerous other shots (and R2 encounters the Jawas in a deep ravine) but their inclusion behind the homestead is more of an artistic choice than an accurate representation. And frankly, it’s a good decision. If this model were accurate to the Lars homestead, it would be flat as a pancake and featureless except for the homestead itself. This is much better, even if it loses some geographic fidelity. And while I would have loved the inclusion of a tiny Bantha and a few tiny Tusken Raiders, this diorama is depicting a specific scene from A New Hope which didn’t feature them.

The other half of the diorama is a little vignette of Uncle Owen and Luke haggling over droids with the Jawa junk dealers in front of their massive Sandcrawler. LEGO has used the two-stacked-studs character design before, such as with 2019’s promotional Battle of Endor diorama, but it gets even smaller with one-stud Jawas here. Here there are two Jawas, Luke, C-3PO, R2-D2 (who is also a single stud), and Uncle Owen arranged in a semicircle. The Sandcrawler has appeared three times before as a microscale model, but this version is the best. The two printed tiles on the sides add some great detail, including the side hatch, while the black minifigure rollerskates stand in well as the crawler’s massive tracks.

40451 Tatooine Homestead is the fourth microscale Star Wars diorama promotional set that LEGO has done. The first two, 40362 Battle of Endor and 40333 Battle of Hoth – 20th Anniversary Edition, were released in 2019 as part of the LEGO Star Wars 20th Anniversary lineup and bear a nameplate with that logo. The third, 40407 Death Star II Battle, was released last year with a nameplate that reads simply LEGO Star Wars 2020. LEGO is following that trend with an updated 2021 nameplate for the Tatooine model, so it seems the company is intending to continue this trend with at least one microscale diorama per year, perhaps for each May the Fourth weekend. Together they make great display models that take up little room while giving a great ambiance of Star Wars.


Conclusion and recommendation

If you haven’t already started collecting these microscale dioramas, you should start now. It seems the cute little scenes are here to stay, and they’re a perfect bite-sized chunk of Star Wars. This one includes the Lars Homestead, a new location in a wide-release set for the LEGO Star Wars theme—an increasingly rare feat after 22 years of sets—and it looks as good as I’d have hoped. The microscale Sandcrawler is simply adorable, as are the imaginative one- and two-stud characters sprinkled around the scene. I would happily buy this set, and getting it as a freebie is even better, provided there are some other Star Wars things you’re wanting–and there are plenty of options, from the just-revealed UCS-style R2-D2, to the Imperial Probe Droid and Darth Vader or Scout Trooper helmets.

40451 Tatooine Homestead includes 218 pieces and will be available from LEGO.com and in LEGO stores May 1 through May 5, free with a minimum purchase of US $85 | CAN $85 | UK £85 of LEGO Star Wars products.

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.


3 comments on “LEGO Star Wars 40451 Tatooine Homestead: GWP for 2021 May the Fourth weekend [Review]

  1. Johnny Johnson

    I read the name of the set and got really excited for a brief moment, thinking that we were finally getting whatever it is that LEGO intends to attach to Obi-Wan’s Hut (#75270). Ah well!

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