Itâ€™s been a long time since the LEGO Star Wars line last saw a sculptural set. It was 2002 when 7194 Yoda was new on store shelves. Yoda, along with 10018 Darth Maul, mustâ€™ve not been hits since nothing followed, unless you count 10186 General Grievous. I donâ€™t, since itâ€™s a fundamentally different type of set, more closely related to the Star Wars Technic figures. So, if itâ€™s been so many years since Yoda, was the [non-existent] wait for 10225 R2-D2 worth the it?
Up until rumors of an Ultimate Collector Series R2-D2, I figured there wouldnâ€™t be any more sculptural sets. Depending on your point of view, there isnâ€™t much in Star Wars that lends itself to a LEGO sculpture product, or there is. Technically, if you can think of it, you can sculpt it as many successfully have. Helmets, weapons, people, droids, planets, you get the picture. Whether or not it can be sold to and purchased by the masses is a whole different bantha. I can see a LEGO-sculpted Darth Vader or Boba Fett helmet being a minor hit, but beyond that, what are people willing to buy? What makes R2-D2 interesting and potentially worth owning is: he does stuff.
He isnâ€™t like Yoda whose only two functions are a spinning head and articulated eyes that can be put into creepy positions. R2 has the potential to be a dynamic and interactive sculpture. On-screen heâ€™s shown packed to the brim with gadgets. Itâ€™s expected, if not demanded for a LEGO R2 to do the same, to the extent allowable in brick form. People want to play with R2, they want to recreate his on-screen activities. LEGO tried to capture that, but they only went so far.
If youâ€™ve watched the LEGO designer video on YouTube or the LEGO website, then youâ€™ve seen everything this set can do. There are no surprises.
His dome spins and itâ€™s spins quite well. Thatâ€™s all his dome does. There are no other functions here and thatâ€™s disappointing. I wouldâ€™ve liked to see either his periscope eye or lightsaber launcher. The way his interior is designed with the third leg function makes adding these features difficult, but not impossible. I look forward to seeing modifications of this set from MOCers with more talent than myself. This set begs to be modified, given whatâ€™s not here.
Below the dome, there are four opening flaps. Two hide tools, a computer interface arm and a saw blade, and the other two are non-specific. These two, under the dark blue flaps, are supposed to be a â€œfine manipulator armâ€ and a â€œspacecraft linkage and control arm,â€ according the internet sources. There are no other functions. Itâ€™s hard to say whether or not LEGO R2â€™s designers could have packed a couple more functions in here. I want to say yes, but at what cost?
The interface arm and saw blade are controlled from the back. After you open the front flaps, you twist the Technic axle connectors. It works effectively and the tools hold firmly in place.
The last function is the drop-down third leg. My experience with this third leg has been mixed at best. You lower the lever on R2â€™s back and pull the leg down. It doesnâ€™t freely drop. I donâ€™t know if this is just an issue with my R2, maybe too much tension in the mechanism, or what. Iâ€™ve played around with the gears, but without much success. This possible issue is listed as a â€œconâ€ at the end of the review, however Iâ€™d like to hear about othersâ€™ experiences with this mechanism and learn if my incompetence is getting in the way of a smooth-functioning third leg. Yeah, I know exactly where your mind just went.
Maneuvering R2 into his three-wheeled position can be a pain. You must lift his body so his main feet drop about a centimeter, and then pull the legs back. Nearly every time I do this, his â€œfuel cells,â€ the white boxes attached to each foot, get caught on the body and do not go back correctly. I donâ€™t think there would be much of an issue if the legs attached to the body with some tension or grip. Their connection point higher up on the body is loose. The legs dangle when you lift up R2 (note: there is no stability issue when R2 is resting on any level surface). Itâ€™s not overly frustrating, but once you pick a position for display, youâ€™re going to want to keep it there for a while.
Outside of these few functions, R2â€™s packed with considerable detail. Most of it looks fantastic with a capital T, despite the blockiness. Other details, not so much. The accuracy of the details may not be everything fans hoped for, but most of the defining features are present. Not all of it is scaled correctly, but itâ€™s close enough to look â€œright.â€
Those details from the â€œnot so muchâ€ category include the blue paneling on the dome. The designers opted for four blue panels rather than six. Itâ€™s another one of those cases I can only speculate as to the reason for this choice, along with the inclusion of regular blue pieces interspersed in the dark blue. I guess since we werenâ€™t there during the design process, weâ€™re stuck not knowing.
Another detail, one I consider a major aesthetic issue of the set, is the oddity of the main cylinderâ€™s design. Overall, the shape is ok, but if you look at it from head on, youâ€™ll notice itâ€™s too narrow. From two plates beneath the dome to the bottom of the central cylinder one stud of width on either side is missing. My assumption is the designers did this to keep the gap between the legs and the cylinder at a minimum, as they are on the character prop.
Also missing from the set are wheels, or treads. Initially, this irritated me. What good is an R2-D2 who canâ€™t roll around? Heâ€™s not. But, this isnâ€™t really R2-D2. Itâ€™s a sculpture, a display piece. What good is a display pieces that is liable to roll away? Itâ€™s not. At this point, Iâ€™m not as irritated as I was before I built this set. Iâ€™d take wheels over the boat skids, but I understand why there not included. For those who must have wheels, however, the feet are designed in such a way a crafty builder could add wheels without difficulty. Now, if youâ€™re considering adding Power Functions, then youâ€™ll have a real challenge on your hands (and a challenge Iâ€™d like to see someone take up. Go, go, go!).
In fact, Iâ€™d say most minor modifications people choose to make can be made without much difficulty. The interior structure and third leg mechanism do present a problem, but depending on what you choose to add, a periscope sensor, a grip arm, wheels, booster jets (sigh), or more blue paneling, theyâ€™re all relatively feasible.
Hereâ€™s the obligatory UCS plaque. Itâ€™s simply constructed, but very effective. And an R2-D2 minifigure. Itâ€™s not necessary, but itâ€™s there and I expect all future Star Wars UCS sculptures to include a minifigure. Because, hey, why not?
One last note before the wrap up: two sets I recently reviewed (The Avengerâ€™s Quinjet and the Mines of Moria) included the new brick separator, yet this set did not. I noticed in the two previous sets, the brick separator was included in the parts inventory at the back of the instruction manuals. In 10225, the brick separator is not in the inventory, but it pictured in the instructions as part of â€œbag 1.â€ It may have been mistakenly left out, but itâ€™s not clear. If your R2-D2 doesnâ€™t come with an brick separator (itâ€™s inclusion makes total sense in this set), I suggest contacting LEGO Customer Service and requesting one.
+Simple, organized build. The box says 16+, but younger kids shouldnâ€™t have a problem putting this set together.
+Packed with recognizable astromech details.
+The tools that are here work well and, again, are recognizable to even the casual fan.
+Excellent display piece. Clear out some shelf space in a prominent location and place R2 front and center.
+At $180 (and 8 cents per part) is a great value for a licensed set.
+Beep boop deet doot.
-Dropping the third leg may give some people trouble.
-Transforming from two to three legs can also be a challenge.
-A few major details are left out, such as treads and a periscope.
-Curious color choices (regular blue) scattered amongst the dark blue.
Even with it’s exclusions, 10225 R2-D2 is a strong entry into the UCS sculpture line, and the UCS in general. If youâ€™ve got the space to display this little guy, go for it. Itâ€™s nice to have a LEGO Star Wars set that isnâ€™t a starship every once in a while, even if that a while is 10 years. It was worth the wait, if you were waiting.
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