75201 First Order AT-ST represents everything that LEGO Star Wars sometimes gets wrong, making for one of the worst sets that the theme has ever produced
Price: £54.99 / $39.99 / €59.99 Pieces: 370 Available: Now
It is safe to say that 75201 First Order AT-ST has not been well received. Combining what it is with how much it costs, it has already come in for stark criticism from LEGO Star Wars fans, and, before even considering the set in any detail, this has been for good measure. Immediately, there is the unavoidable issue with value, both in price-per-piece and in the perception of what the final product is.
Last year’s 75153 AT-ST Walker was an imperfect upgrade on the iconic chicken walker (great looking, at the right scale, but unable to actually walk) and, with three minifigures, was released with an RRP of £44.99. This year’s 75201 First Order AT-ST, released with the additional build of a platform, but notably without a head for the AT-ST itself, is £54.99. Fans are being charged £10 more for different minifigures and a version of vehicle released just over a year ago, but that is now only 66% complete. Yes, there is the additional build of the platform to consider, but, the set’s total piece count comes in 370, which is 79 pieces fewer than the amount that came in 75153 AT-ST Walker.
From this winter 2018 wave, 75205 Mos Eisley Cantina also comes in at £10 cheaper than 75201, yet has one minifigure and six pieces more. We recently reviewed 75172 Y-wing Starfighter, which is £10 more than this AT-ST, yet gives you another minifigure (both sets also have a droid) and 321 more pieces. Meanwhile, 75171 Battle on Scarif divides opinion, yet for a set that has been labelled itself as expensive, for the same price as the First Order AT-ST you still get one more minifigure and 49 more pieces. To labour the point, 75201 First Order AT-ST does not compare well to other sets, be them AT-STs or not, be it for price or for final build. LEGO Star Wars has always been an expensive line and, since The Force Awakens, has really tested the strength of a LEGO fan’s wallet. But, what makes 75201 First Order AT-ST stand out (in spite of having no head) from most sets that have come before is just how very, very poor its value is.
We have to verge into SPOILER territory to talk about 75201 First Order AT-ST in more specific detail, so stop reading now if you have not yet seen The Last Jedi.
For those that have, this set is based on the moment that BB-8 pilots a docked AT-ST and, shooting at the group of First Order Stormtroopers led by Captain Phasma, helps Finn and Rose break away, before Finn’s climatic showdown with the chromedome herself. The scene is somewhat jarring for a number of reasons, but still has the potential to make for a great set, for the characters involved and for the chance to pick up a First Order version of the AT-ST. However, and most likely so as to keep the piece count and price to reasonable targets, the designers have come in midway through the scene they are depicting, only after the point that BB-8’s piloting of the AT-ST has inadvertently ripped the walker’s head off, for having been still connected to its docking station.
This means that for the £55 you have shelled out, you are getting wonderful minifigures, a platform, and only the legs and lower platform to the First Order AT-ST. And it simply does not work. For the price it is ludicrously unfair to expect anyone to find enough value, and for the build it has to be the same conclusion, as the end product is literally half of what it should be. Without the head you are left with legs that are nigh-on identical in design to those of the AT-ST walker from 75153 (some of the stickers are the same), with the same limited selection of possible poses, and – a little further forward than where the head of an original trilogy AT-ST would be – a platform for BB-8 to sit on.
This platform has the same manoeuvrability as an AT-ST head like that in 75153, but, just for the platform and more prominent blasters sticking out the front, not for the head, because there is no head. This is a headless chicken walker. It is half a vehicle, it makes for half a LEGO set, and to make matters worse, it is designed in a very similar way to 75153, which is another, actually complete LEGO set that only came out a year ago (but that has unsurprisingly been retired already). For the very youngest LEGO Star Wars fans there may be a greater warmth towards the final build, for fairly accurately capturing a (for better or worse) memorable moment from The Last Jedi, but, there are so many other sets in the LEGO Star Wars range doing the very same job much better, and for far better price-per-piece ratios.
The AT-ST is half a LEGO set, but does the platform rescue it? No. It is pertinent to point out that the box art pictures the platform slightly further away than the AT-ST on the front of the box, whilst on the back, when it has been positioned next to the walker, the angle of photography is from an elevated position. This is relevant to note because in reality the platform only reaches up to the large circular joints of the AT-ST. Whilst it isn’t actually meant to be a platform for loading on to the AT-ST, it could still have served as much purpose in play, build and display had it been designed so. Instead, its sole purpose is to recreate the moment Phasma falls to her presumed death. It is simply designed, which is all it needs to be. But, you’ll build that, build the AT-ST and have to wonder if the additional pieces from the platform could have been put towards a head for your AT-ST instead.
The minifigures, meanwhile, are fantastically designed, with each of the three being exclusive to this set, as Rose sports a unique hat-and-hair-piece and Phasma a subtle update on her 2015 design. Unfortunately, given the rest of the set, the desirability of these minifigures will just as likely drive traffic towards the secondary market as encourage anyone to pick this set up in a LEGO store. Why pay £55 for Rose and Phasma (and a box of LEGO that you don’t want) when you may be able to pick them up for £15-20 each?
75201 First Order AT-ST is a set that does the most devoted LEGO Star Wars fans no favours whatsoever, the type of fans who will defend LEGO Star Wars from those who criticise it for any number of sometimes legitimate reasons. ‘LEGO Star Wars is overpriced compared to the rest of the LEGO Group’s product range’ – 75201 is overpriced compared the rest of LEGO Star Wars, let alone the rest of what’s available in other ranges. ‘LEGO Star Wars is all about the minifigures’ – 75201 has some of the most desirable minifigures from its film’s source material, and a worse quality final product than some of the battle packs, which are definitely minifigure-centric. ‘LEGO Star Wars is just re-releases of the same things’ – 75201 is meant to be a new set, but the majority of it is literally exactly the same as half of a better set that came out a year ago.
That this set exists is not entirely the LEGO Group’s fault – The Last Jedi’s source material has barely expanded on what was shown (and already produced in brick form) in The Force Awakens, and with a clear limit on piece count for whatever was above budget to produce (most likely the designs for Phasma and Rose), 75201 First Order AT-ST does come across as a set where the designers’ hands were tied. Whatever the reason, though, the end result is a disaster that will have LEGO Star Wars fans both dedicated and casual balking at both price and design.