The original BARC speeder was a minor add-in with the 2005/2006 Clone Turbo Tank that was probably actually the best part of the set (given that LEGO has yet to make a version of the CTT that looks at all like the CTT in the movie or cartoon). In this set, the BARC is the feature player, complete with a little sidecar, to go up against a Separatist Speeder (basically Dooku's speeder but in blue - that's how we know it's evil, at least in the absence of a goatee).
Having not seen the Clone Wars cartoon yet, and not really feeling like making any excuses or jokes about it (just go read some past reviews, there are plenty to choose from), I'll cut to the chase. This is a $25 set, which in the modern market puts it squarely on the low-price category. In some ways that's sad, but it's only like two-and-a-half action figures (or 1 and 1/4 if you go with the 6" black series ones).
I liked the AT-RT well enough, which competes with this on price (and fits in the same general theme), so the question is, at 226 parts and a low price, does it really live up to it. In the US, this is a Walmart exclusive, so your choices are there or Shop@Home. Is that money better spent on getting another A-Wing?
This set is deceptive for what you get... it certainly feels "smaller" than the AT-RT even though it has more parts and things going for it. Maybe the AT-RT is just something of more substance. When you put them together, this is obviously the "bigger" set, but it really doesn't feel like it while building it.
We get four minifigures in here, a couple of Commando Droids, one of those hideous Obi-Wan Clone Wars figures, and a Captain Rex Clone trooper guy. Not a bad assortment of figures, I suppose, and both of the actual figures are unique(ish).
There's not much to say on the Commando Droids. No stripe, which means these are just the grunt versions. I've had plenty of arguments back and forth on the need for giving robots ranks (the most common retort is that the ranks are an artifact of the humans that work with them), which I still think is silly. It's not as if they're building a drastically different item here... this is like outfitting a fleet of Mustangs and then packing the majority of them with Fiesta engines. Anyway, we get two of these guys. It's actually kind of a shame that they're just the stock version from the Battle Pack, as that severely limits the value of them in this set.
Mr. "Jedi Responsible for the Death and Suffering of Billions by not actually killing the guy that just executed a complex full of children, in violation of his sworn Jedi duty" Kenobi is a new version of the old Clone Wars jedi. The outfit is obviously more "Episode 3" inspired than the colors... and I just totally noticed that one of his feet is broken in that picture above. I have other figures that have a little split in the foot (usually things like storm troopers that I've stuck to dozens of different plates), but this guy is brand new. That's not exactly an inspiring show of quality there.
I'm not going into a whole big rant about the Clone Wars figures, because they are luckily on their way out (given that the show is dead). He doesn't look as bad as some (say, Dooku), but not as good as Yoda did, or hideable, like all of the clones. He gets an alt-face that is barely different from the basic face as well.
The clone troopers have come miles past those initial wave Clone Wars sets. The printing here is unique to this clone, with accents on the chest (dirt or mustard, hard to tell), helmet. We get a full cloth pauldron and skirt (yes, I know it's called a kama) to boot, which are way better than those plastic things that made it impossible to do anything with the clone other than have them stand there.
Under the helmet, we get the standard clone face with some stubble (not sure if that's unique, I know other clone troopers have a similar setup) and no alt face, which I assume is because he goes without the helmet a lot in the cartoon (at least based on the pictures I've seen). His armor is also covered by a bunch of marks on how many droids he's killed. If this was a real conflict (like the Rebellion) where people died instead of clones and fax machines (also, incredibly ineffectual Jedi), those marks would make him seen somewhat damaged and insane. But instead of being a grizzled soldier, it's like being excited over how many toasters you've replaced over the years.
Like most smaller Star Wars sets, once you're past the minifigs, this thing is about the vehicles. We get two in this set, the separatist speeder for the clones and the namesake BARC speeder. I've softened on stickers over the year (well, except in The Batcave), but as you build this thing, you realize exactly how sticker-tastic these things are. It's not a big sticker sheet, given the size, but it's used on a lot of different things.
We get them on the side slope to show the Separatist logo, which is a <sarcasm>subtle</sarcasm> play at looking like the Imperial logo (which really ended up as a mixture of the Republic and this one, I guess, in the retcon world), on the tail, and stickers on the steering panes. What's sad is that the slope and panes would look fine without the sticker, especially the vanes, which could have just been colored blue or dark grey and looked just as good.
Once you're past that, it's a fine little craft with a lot of little parts to it. That new-ish "tail" piece (that would be a nose anywhere) is fairly cool, and one of those situations where you can always just remove the sticker for it to look cool.
Apparently LEGO really likes this design too, because they used it as a straight recolor in the Geonosis Battle set that came out a couple of months ago. Seriously, they're identical, save for colors (and the total lack of stickers in Dooku's version).
For Mr. Kenobi and Mr. Rex, we get the namesake BARC speeder and its sidecar. I don't really understand the purpose of putting a big sidecar on a speeder, which is already probably one of the worst weapons of war out there. I mean, is that a shotgun on the sidecar? That's what, a 1/10 of a second to shoot a guy at short range while you fly by at a few hundred miles per hour?
The sidecar is actually really strange on this set, even outside of its somewhat absurd nature. It only connects at one point, and can swing back/forth on that pivot. It doesn't sit straight ahead with the speeder, but angles slightly out away from the speeder. At first, you think that you built it wrong or something, but that's how it's designed to look. We get a couple of obligatory flick-fires, but they come on those small half-backets and have trans-light blue, so I think I'll actually give them a pass for once.
There are quite a few stickers on this part, and in some of the oddest spots. Gone are those printed shields from the original BARC, replaced with skis. I suppose it works, but doesn't look quite as cool. Those shields were a great part, so it would have been nice to see them get reused. There are also accent stickers on the sidecar, the front nose, and on either side of the tail of the BARC. Those ones on the tail are like the separatist speeder, and have the logo and a couple of stripes, except these don't really look as out-of-place on the vehicle
The way the BARC is built makes it very sturdy, though (save that shotgun that can get knocked off when you look at it funny). It has technic bars to form the stop and that hinge in the back, and it just sort of works. It's a swooshable little design. The sad thing is that the easiest "improvement" you can MOC on to this thing is basically to just remove the sidecar. By itself, the BARC speeder looks awesome. With the sidecar, it looks silly.
In the end, this set isn't a bad little value, but not as good as the AT-RT (or the A-Wing that's at the same price point). Sure, the figures in the A-Wing are just as silly (Han and Ackbar), but you feel like you get more. This set's value is inflated by a lot of tiles, jumper bricks, and having droids available in a battle pack at the same price point. Take out one of those droids and add a regular Clone and this set would go for decent to great. It's mixed for parts, as are most sets this size, but could have some utility if you need more dark red. Personally, I always need more dark red.
What I liked
- Slick little set
- Cloth elements and unique printing on Rex look very nice (even if the underlying concept for them is a bit silly)
- Speeder looks good if you remove the sidecar
What I didn't like
- Speeder only really looks good if you remove the sidecar. Seriously, who mounts a shotgun on a fast-moving scout vehicle
- Droids are the same as what we get on the battle pack, which limits the purpose of buying more than one of this set
- Feels like a smaller set than the piece count would normally indicate
Pick up 75012 BARC Speeder on Shop@Home right now!