While the prequel movies may not be that popular among the majority of Star Wars fans, it’s fair to say that the trilogy did add a few gems into the Star Wars universe.
Set Number: 75080
Minifigures: Jar Jar Binks, plus Battle Droid and Pilot Battle Droid figures
I’ve already spoken about my appreciation for General Grievous, one of the prequel trilogy’s most unique-looking characters who recently made his buildable figure debut in LEGO, but over the last fifteen years many more prequel-inspired LEGO sets have been released.
Back in 2000, with Episode I: The Phantom Menace on a merchandising high, LEGO released a set based on one of the more iconic new vehicles from the movie, the Trade Federation AAT. The droid operated assault tank featured prominently during the battle of Naboo as the armies of the Trade Federation went head-to-head with the Gungans.
Appearing again in the extended universe, through the Clone Wars series, the armoured vehicle, now in blue instead of the movie tan coloured version, saw a slight redesign and new LEGO release in 2009. Both of these releases were popular with fans, despite the design featuring a much larger and blockier based than was actually seen in the source material.
As part of a host of LEGO Star Wars releases in January of this year, LEGO revisited the prequel trilogy and decided that a new, modern redesign of the AAT was needed based on the original Episode 1 movies version of the tank.
Adding many of the features now considered standard on new LEGO sets, such as missile and stud launchers, as well as new, more accurately shaped armour moulded pieces, the new set aims to be the definitive version of one of the few popular things to come out of George Lucas’ turn of the century return to the Star Wars universe.
Unlike the original set, the new version features more than just the standard monotone pilot droid figs. Despite containing three individual figures, the sets offers no real collectable exclusives as two are standard droid figures that haven’t seen an update in fifteen years. The third, Jar Jar Binks, has had only minor design updates which aren’t prominent enough to draw in the collectors.
Jar Jar Binks is considered the single most unpopular character to ever grace the Star Wars universe. The on-screen version was designed with one thing in mind, a 21st century Ewok replacement that would draw in the younger fans, unfortunately, this failed miserably. In my opinion, though, LEGO has given the bumbling Gungan a new lease of life, thanks in no small part to him having a unique skill in the LEGO Star Wars video games.
In toy form, the character has had three variants released, including this new 2015 redesign. I’d be lying if I said that the changes compared to its predecessor are noticeable with only very minor changes made to the torso design and slight modification of the specifically designed head piece.
Much like the 2011 design, this new ‘variant’ has dark grey unprinted legs, and a printed tan torso. The torso is printed with a tan vest, and a grey shirt, the design looks great and accurately recreates the outfit worn by the character in the early parts of Episode I.The aforementioned head piece is character accurate tan coloured, with a long jaw and mouth, and yellow eyes on stocks protruding from its top. He has very large ears, which go all the way down the back of his torso obscuring almost the entire back of the main torso pieces except for a small portion at the bottom of back, where a grey sash is visible.
While the variant hardly differs from the 2011 version, it is still a brilliant recreation of the Gungan and one that may have value to those rare creatures, Jar Jar Binks fans. Where this minifigure does differ from his predecessor though, is in the accessories included, with this Jar Jar featuring a staff and shield rather than the more standard blaster.
The droid figures are far from unique, the design has appeared in most of the prequel and Clone Wars based sets since The Phantom Menace hit cinemas.
That said, the two droids do differ from each other, with the AAT pilot featuring a blue torso. Other than this minor cosmetic change, these two droids are identical the to the droid figures which came with the original AAT set.
The Armored Assault Tank (AAT)
Now on to the tank itself, the AAT model. It’s interesting that when initial images were released on the internet prior to the set coming out there was a lot of negativity from fans of the original 2000 set. This group of less than impressed Star Wars fans were concerned about the newly created specific arched moulds for the front part of the hull, as well as what looks like a much smaller overall model when compared to the original.
Once the build is completed, in my opinion at least, it is clear to see that this new design is a lot more true to the source material – I know it might be difficult guys but go back and watch The Phantom Menace and see for yourself.
The 250 piece creation is incredibly fun to construct, taking about 40 mins from start to finish, the tanks design has a number of hidden gems. Firstly, it features dual front firing missiles, with the trigger mechanism completely hidden within the design so that collectors will be happy that the Star Wars purity is not ruined by adding the interactivity.
The model is also exceptionally versatile in the sense that if has a number of posable features, from the angle that each of the guns can be set to, to the full 360 degree turning ability of the main, large tank weapon. There are also two compartments where both droids can be placed, though, my one issue with the set is the lack of space meaning that the droids cannot be comfortably hidden as the compartment doors will not fully close with the droids in a sitting position.
Besides that, though, this is an incredibly accurate design, the new front armour pieces drastically improving the overall look.
The Set Overall
Overall, the new AAT set is a significant improvement compared to the 2000 design, featuring not only a more accurate representation of the popular vehicle but also featuring a much more interactive experience for younger fans looking to play rather than display.
Collectors may struggle to find justification for purchasing this set if they already own the original model, but despite having no exclusive minfiigures, you will get your money’s worth from the poseable options available for the main build.
If you’re looking for a set for a younger Star Wars fan who doesn’t suffer from the same bitterness for the prequels as old fans, then this is definitely worth the asking price, it is a great model in it’s own right and will keep them playing for a long time to come.
This set was provided for review purposes. However, all reviews reflect the authors own personal views and are not influenced in any way.