LEGO Avatar 75573 Floating Mountains: Site 26 & RDA Samson review

75573 Floating Mountains: Site 26 & RDA Samson is an interesting, authentic and deceptively large LEGO Avatar set.

Coming in at the upper end of the first wave of LEGO Avatar sets, 75573 Floating Mountains: Site 26 & RDA Samson offers the visiting human scientists (and military) a ground base of sorts, to counter the theme’s largest and most eye-catching set at the moment, 75574 Toruk Makto & Tree of Souls.

Where that is colourful, tall and based solely on the flora and fauna of Pandora, 75573 Floating Mountains: Site 26 & RDA Samson is stylistically cold, flat and militaristic. For the contrast and mirroring between these two high-end sets from the range, where 75574 Toruk Makto & Tree of Souls carries the immediate visual appeal for Avatar fans, 75573 Floating Mountains: Site 26 & RDA Samson suggests a more subtle LEGO experience awaits. With £40 less budget to play with too, what does this LEGO Avatar set hold?

— LEGO Avatar 75573 Floating Mountains: Site 26 & RDA Samson set details —

Theme: LEGO Avatar Set name: 75573 Floating Mountains: Site 26 & RDA Samson Release: October 1, 2022

Price: £89.99 / $99.99 / €99.99 Pieces: 887 Minifigures: 5

LEGO: Available now

LEGO Avatar 75573 Floating Mountains Site 26 RDA Samson review 2

— Where to buy LEGO Avatar 75573 Floating Mountains: Site 26 & RDA Samson —

LEGO Avatar 75573 Floating Mountains: Site 26 & RDA Samson released on October 1 and is available at LEGO.com and in LEGO Stores. It is also available at a number of retailers including John Lewis and Argos.

— LEGO Avatar 75573 Floating Mountains: Site 26 & RDA Samson build —

It’s very clear what 75573 Floating Mountains: Site 26 & RDA Samson is based on from the 2009 Avatar film: the main hub for Jake Sully and Dr. Grace Augustine to make use of their genetically-matched Na’vi avatars, and the helicopter-like ‘Aerospatiale SA-2 Samson’ that the Resources Development Administration (RDA) use for transport across the vast Pandora landscape (and its floating mountains).

And on first impressions, 75573 Floating Mountains: Site 26 & RDA Samson ticks all the boxes it needs to. What it has built is instantly recognisable in appearance, colouring, features and details to what we saw on screen in 2009, even if both the research facility and the vehicle are scaled down smaller than they could be.

The laboratory is the first thing to build and is relatively simple to assemble, if also effective. What this means is that for something you’ll breeze through putting together (in part due to its size, six studs wide), there are some neat little tricks in there to create some of the details to both the exterior and interior of the quarters. And for what is a tight fit in a slightly condensed version of what we saw on screen, the key identifying aspects are all there, across what is an overall nicely and smartly-designed mini-HQ, complete with removable roof and back wall for best access.

Everything that was interesting about these transportable living hubs is interesting about the LEGO model you build in 75573 Floating Mountains: Site 26 & RDA Samson too.

The same can also be said of the RDA Samson, which for bearing all the hallmarks of a regular LEGO helicopter build that we’ve had so many of across CITY, Marvel and Jurassic World themes – to name but a few – is far larger and more unique than expected, and both highly interesting and enjoyable to put together (and pretty fun to swoosh around too). That’s in no small part down to the fact it’s not purely a helicopter, with the dual rotors on top and a much sleeker, custom-designed body.

Combined with a set of striking markings across the top side (albeit slightly out of step with the version we see on screen), it’s a vehicle that’s fresh in appearance, functionality and build – all the things you want from what could otherwise be an overly familiar and trivial LEGO experience. For the unique shaping and functionality, the RDA Samson is also more complicated to build than the lab and comes in to the same scale as that, measuring slightly longer – indeed the box art does rather hide this vehicle’s true size, just as it downplays the shaping and contouring of the model. In short, this is a much larger LEGO helicopter-that’s-not-a-helicopter than you’ll be expecting to build, and it’s all the better for it.

There’s also a small section of Pandora life in 75573 Floating Mountains: Site 26 & RDA Samson to put together too, presumably to represent the floating mountains and cleverly to double up as a stand for the RDA Samson to be attached to (this latter function works really well – more sets would benefit from showing greater consideration towards display). Where we were critical of the overuse of clashing colours to represent Pandora in 75571 Neytiri & Thanator vs. AMP Suit Quaritch, here a more subtle choice of complementing colours mixed with just one or two brighter flora really help much better create that exotic/alien plantlife we see on the planet.

As a collection of builds, then, there’s much to appreciate and enjoy about 75573 Floating Mountains: Site 26 & RDA Samson, more so than first impressions would suggest too.

— LEGO Avatar 75573 Floating Mountains: Site 26 & RDA Samson characters —

Five characters are included in 75573 Floating Mountains: Site 26 & RDA Samson, with human and Na’vi minifigures for Jake Sully, as well as Dr. Grace Augustine, Trudy Chacon and a Na’vi avatar for Norm Spellman. As a quintet this is a nicely-selected line-up that offers plenty of entry points back into the film, as well as a good balance between human and Na’vi characters (even if they are all on the one side, so to speak).

The Na’vi characters really do benefit from the longer LEGO arms and legs and, where it was very hard to ever accept such a variance in minifigure form when it came to Woody in the LEGO Toy Story sets, the same extended pieces work much better here, perhaps in part because of the number that make use of them. Still, these pieces aren’t to everyone’s taste just yet:

Each minifigure included in 75573 Floating Mountains: Site 26 & RDA Samson is excellently detailed – as with almost every minifigure in every LEGO set in 2022 – to catch that balance between LEGO charm and character authenticity. The stand-out from the five would be Trudy Chacon, for the torso design and use of that new and more accurate skin tone.

— LEGO Avatar 75573 Floating Mountains: Site 26 & RDA Samson price —

Coming in at £89.99 / $99.99 / €99.99, 75573 Floating Mountains: Site 26 & RDA Samson is certainly asking for greater commitment than something like 75571 Neytiri & Thanator vs. AMP Suit Quaritch, and with the hardest task to perform too, given how little of this set has that colourful Pandora palette to play with.

For the money, though, this is a trio of clever builds that make full use of the 887 pieces in the box to offer a decent balance of highly unique and playable models.

— LEGO Avatar 75573 Floating Mountains: Site 26 & RDA Samson pictures —

— LEGO Avatar 75573 Floating Mountains: Site 26 & RDA Samson pros and cons —

75573 Floating Mountains: Site 26 & RDA Samson accurately recreates a setting and vehicle from Avatar in a way that not only feels authentic to the 2009 movie, but also fully embraces the creativity of these new things to build, leaving us with a very interesting LEGO experience and a set of models that is more fun to play around with than you’d otherwise be expecting. Sets like 75571 Neytiri & Thanator vs. AMP Suit Quaritch will pull casual fans into LEGO Avatar, and sets like 75573 Floating Mountains: Site 26 & RDA Samson will well and truly transport them to a brick-built Pandora.

ProsCons
The RDA Samson is much bigger and better than the box art suggests.To keep the set affordable, the size of both the Samson and lab have had to be scaled down somewhat.
Great collection of minifigures, including another LEGO Sigourney Weaver. LEGO Ellen Ripley edges ever closer.The cheesy hero grin on Jake Sully’s avatar is a bit Jake Silly.
Smart and interesting builds across the entire set.This might be the one that makes you buy the rest of the LEGO Avatar range. (That’s bad for your wallet.)

Support the work that Brick Fanatics does by purchasing your LEGO Avatar sets through one of our affiliate links.

— Alternatives to LEGO Avatar 75573 Floating Mountains: Site 26 & RDA Samson —

If you are after more of a balance between nature and machine in the LEGO Avatar range, then 75571 Neytiri & Thanator vs. AMP Suit Quaritch delivers evenly in both ways. If you want the full onslaught of colour and plantlife from Pandora, then the pricier 75574 Toruk Makto & Tree of Souls delivers. There’s little outside of LEGO Avatar to compare these sets to at the moment.

— LEGO Avatar 75573 Floating Mountains: Site 26 & RDA Samson FAQs —

How long does it take to build LEGO Avatar 75573 Floating Mountains: Site 26 & RDA Samson?

LEGO Avatar 75573 Floating Mountains: Site 26 & RDA Samson is an involved build across six sets of numbered bags and would need up to two hours to complete.

How many pieces are in LEGO Avatar 75573 Floating Mountains: Site 26 & RDA Samson?

LEGO Avatar 75573 Floating Mountains: Site 26 & RDA Samson has 887 pieces, including five minifigures for human and Na’vi form Jake Sully, Dr. Grace Augustine, Trudy Chacon and Na’vi avatar for Norm Spellman.

How big is LEGO Avatar LEGO Avatar 75573 Floating Mountains: Site 26 & RDA Samson?

The RDA Samson from LEGO Avatar 75573 Floating Mountains: Site 26 & RDA Samson comes in at 28cm long and 27cm wide, while the laboratory/HQ measures 21cm long and 9cm tall.

How much does LEGO Avatar 75573 Floating Mountains: Site 26 & RDA Samson cost?

LEGO Avatar 75573 Floating Mountains: Site 26 & RDA Samson comes in at £89.99 in the UK, $99.99 in the US and from €99.99 in Europe.

Rob Paton

As one half of Tiro Media Ltd, I mix a passion for print and digital media production with a deep love of LEGO and can often be found on these pages eulogising about LEGO Batman, digging deeper into the LEGO Group’s inner workings, or just complaining about the price of the latest LEGO Star Wars set. Make a great impression when you meet me in person by praising EXO-FORCE as the greatest LEGO theme of all time. Follow me on Twitter @RobPaton or drop me an email at [email protected]

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