Said to land on shelves in January 2023, 75345 501st Battle Pack (which is likely not its final name, should it exist at all) will reportedly include a Commander, Sniper and two Heavy Troopers, all decked out in the 501st Legion’s bright blue markings. And if it does, it will instantly replace the current 75280 501st Legion Clone Troopers, which has survived on shelves far longer than a regular battle pack.
It’s fair to say 75280 501st Legion Clone Troopers isn’t a ‘regular’ battle pack, though: with 285 pieces and six minifigures in the box, including three standard Clone Troopers, a Jet Trooper and two Battle Droids, it’s a supersized take on the standard battle pack formula – with the price tag to match. The 501st set retails for £24.99 / $29.99 / €29.99, or £8 / $10 / €10 higher than this year’s 75320 Snowtrooper Battle Pack.
That clearly hasn’t stopped it from flying off shelves, however. While most battle packs retire after roughly 18 to 24 months, 75280 501st Legion Clone Troopers has been available since August 2020 – and isn’t due to retire until later this year. That in itself suggests the Clone Wars set, which was designed and released due to demand from the vocal LEGO Star Wars fanbase, has been a success for the LEGO Group.
But throw in the potential of an instant follow-up in 75345 501st Battle Pack, and the conclusion is obvious: the LEGO Group wants 501st Legion troopers permanently available on shelves, much in the same way there’s always an X-wing or Millennium Falcon in the LEGO Star Wars line-up. After all, the designers could have opted for any number of different Clone Trooper legions that we haven’t seen before – but instead, they’ve reportedly chosen specialist classes of the 501st.
Perhaps more intriguingly, this set could also be interpreted as a veritable thumbs up for pulling ideas straight from the community. The LEGO Star Wars design team told Brick Fanatics in 2020 that they’re ‘listening directly’ to fans, and aim ‘to bring out what people want’. If 75280 501st Legion Clone Troopers had failed to sell in numbers, we probably wouldn’t be getting a follow-up so quickly – and the designers may have been hesitant to listen in future.
As is, all signs suggest that only good things have come out of this experiment to respond so directly to those initial fan requests. That’s if rumours of 75345 501st Battle Pack are true, of course: until we get official confirmation from the LEGO Group, nothing is guaranteed.
If you want to bolster your 501st army with standard soldiers before those specialist troopers arrive on the scene (if they do at all), you’ll need to act relatively quickly: 75280 501st Legion Clone Troopers is due to retire by the end of 2022, and as 76239 Batmobile Tumbler: Scarecrow Showdown has already proven, that means it could theoretically disappear at any point between now and December 31.