LEGO sets can share a variety of interesting and often unexpected connections. The brand new 75182 Republic Fighter Tank from the Star Wars range shares traits with various past sets
75182 Republic Fighter Tank is, for the most part, not the most remarkable set. While it does offer great value for money, providing a good number of figures and parts for the price, it does not get the adrenaline pumping like other, larger Star Wars offerings do. That doesn’t mean the set is not of interest though, as it shares a number of connections with other LEGO products from the Star Wars line-up and beyond.
Connection 1 – 7679 Republic Fighter Tank
The first connection is the most obvious. Released almost a decade ago during a time when most of the LEGO Star Wars range was based on television’s The Clone Wars, 7679 Republic Fighter Tank is based on a vehicle that originated from the Battlefront video game. 7679 is 75182‘s bigger brother in every way – constructed far more accurately to its source material , this mid-range set featured a cockpit which contained seats for two minifigures, hidden missiles, and a chassis which is easily three times larger than this year’s version. There is no doubt that the two models are supposed to depict the same vehicle and in one key facet 75182 vastly improves on the original – minifigures. Rather than just two generic Clone Troopers, 75182 includes a far more detailed trooper and fan favourite Aayla Secura alongside two other minifigures.
Connection 2 – 7672 Rogue Shadow
Released in the same year as the original Republic Fighter Tank, 7672 Rogue Shadow has its own claim to fame as one of the few non-symmetrical LEGO spacecraft, Star Wars or otherwise. However, that is obviously not the trait it shares with the Republic Fighter Tank. 75182 is based on a vehicle that has never actually appeared on the big screen. Rather, it was designed for and showcased only in the Battlefront videogame. Likewise, the Rogue Shadow was developed for and has only been featured in a video game – The Force Unleashed. While they hail from different eras of the Star Wars universe, they are two of only three sets to be based on material which appeared only in Star Wars Video games.
Connection 3 – 7143 Jedi Starfighter
The box art for set 75182 shows a Clone Pilot supporting Aayla Secura, but in reality it should be the other way around. According to the Star Wars Expanded Universe, the TX-130 Saber Class Fighter Tank was designed with Jedi pilots in mind; its primary purpose was to serve as the ‘Jedi Starfighter of the ground’. In addition to its preferred pilot, the vehicle also shares a common design frame, a horizontal middle section flanked by sloped wings and a rear cockpit. It is more than a little reminiscent of the early Jedi Starfighters, specifically 7143, Obi Wan’s craft from Attack of the Clones. In addition to aesthetic similarities, the vehicles share the exact same colour palette of dark red and white accented by standard red and lime green.
The LEGO Group faces a challenge whenever they go to depict speeders or other hovering craft, namely how to replicate the action of repulsorlifts. In the Star Wars universe these devices counteract the force of gravity allowing for vehicles to hover some level above the ground. For the first decade or so of LEGO Star Wars sets, inverted tiles were used to try and limit the number of points of contact with the ground on the underside of a vehicle. However, in recent years, hidden, low profile wheels have come into favour. They create a smooth pushing experience across the ground while also creating an illusion that much of the vehicle is floating. 8091 Republic Swamp Speeder was one of the earliest vehicles to utilise this technique, which finds another application in set 75182.
Connection 5 – 70911 The Penguin Arctic Roller
So can you guess the connection that the new Star Wars set has with 70911 The Penguin Arctic Roller? Go ahead take a second to try and figure it out, I can wait. Still stumped? It’s the piece count. Both sets weigh in at 305 pieces. Amazingly, despite being from an out-of-house licensed theme thought of as costly, the Republic Fighter Tank is £10 cheaper than the Ice Roller.