75197 First Order Specialists Battle Pack is not the first First Order battle pack from the LEGO Group, but is it the best?
Price: £12.99 / $14.99 / €16.99 Pieces: 108 Available: Now
Have you had enough of First Order LEGO battle packs? The LEGO Group seem to think not, and so here is their third such themed offering in two years and the second inside half a year. With 75132 First Order Battle Pack and 75166 First Order Transport Speeder Battle Pack still so fresh in the memory and most likely yet to have gathered dust in your sequel trilogy collection, the impact that 75197 has on release is definitely diminished.
Its main appeal comes, as with many LEGO Star Wars sets, in the form of its minifigures included, in this case two First Order officers and two First Order Stormtrooper Executioners. Be careful not to band those two similar looking First Order officers together, though. Whilst the masked one is very common and not really something any of us can be happy we have amassed so many of in such a short period of time, the unmasked version is only available in the much, much more expensive 75190 First Order Star Destroyer, so kudos to the LEGO Group recognising an opportunity to include him here.
Even so, it’s no coincidence that it’s the two First Order Stormtrooper Executioners that are front and centre on the box art. They are as eye-catching in minifigure form as they are in The Last Jedi and benefit from taking on that film’s slimmer mouthpiece design, alongside the striking black detailing along the side of the helmet. Gladly there are two included here, and the pieces used to recreate the laser ax are probably as best that we can hope for at the moment. Interestingly, as an aside and just as with 75198 Tatooine Battle Pack, the ‘battle’ aspect to the battle pack is a loose concept, as First Order Stormtrooper Executioners are ‘usually reserved for disciplinary purposes’ rather than ‘participating in actual battle’, and those First Order officers…what do they actually do?
The quality of builds in battle packs is up and down and sadly the one included in 75197 feels uninspired. Whilst there are two planes of motion included for the turret on top, the overall concept and application for this build feels like an afterthought.
In all, this isn’t a classic battle pack. It’s not the first First Order-themed battle pack nor is it the best designed one. If we really are going down this route of continuous First Order battle packs, further variety in the minifigure heads included (such as a female First Order officer minifigure) could add more appeal where the uniforms are starting not to. That aside, the minifigures included in 75197 First Order Specialists Battle Pack will still be enough to pull most of us in again, even if the build won’t keep anybody occupied for very long, and the concern for future battle packs increases.