Price: £44.99 / $39.99 / €49.99 Pieces: 376 Available: Now
75205 Mos Eisley Cantina is one of the more curious releases from the LEGO Group in recent waves, for a promising build-by-build nature that somehow leads to a rather incomplete final product. Even so, it offers just enough to sit reasonably high on the list of LEGO Star Wars sets to consider purchasing from the 2018 winter wave.
In perhaps the most confusing choice of set codes that the LEGO Group could go with, 75205 Mos Eisley Cantina can most immediately be looked upon as an add-on pack to 75052 Mos Eisley Cantina, the mid-2014 release that came in at 239 more pieces, double the minifigure count and a £20 higher price.
Comparing 75205 and 75052 is a fairly redundant exercise given the disparity in piece count – the older 75052 has the more complete final look, Luke’s speeder, a Dewback and even a moisture vaporator. What is worth noting in looking at the two sets together, though, is how similar the build approach is in 2018’s 75205, given how disparate the end result feels. Where 75052 comes together as a nice ensemble, 75205 doesn’t.
75205 is marketed by the LEGO Group as ‘a modular, open-out design for easy play’, but really it comes across as a handful of small vignettes – less accessible than in the last Mos Eisley Cantina – lumped into the one box and labeled as a set. It’s not a major criticism of what is still a good product, but, if this is your first experience of a LEGO Mos Eisley, it’ll be nowhere near as good as if you had built 75052 Mos Eisley Cantina before it, or even 2004’s 4501 Mos Eisley Cantina.
The three parts to the cantina include a segment of Wuher’s bar, a doorway with sliding door and a bay for Han Solo and Greedo to once more work out who will shoot first – both have the same turning mechanism built into their seats, so, the decision really is in your hands. Each build is individually strong and continues very similar design points to 2014’s Mos Eisley Cantina, offering distinct and recognisable tastes of a memorable sequence from Episode IV.
What is disappointing about these three sections, though, is how the LEGO Group hasn’t built upon the strengths of the previous LEGO Mos Eisley Cantina, namely how the segments in that 2014 release came together to create a more complete set, and how in the case of the seating area, the seats actually pushed out for genuine ‘easy play’. Granted, a more limited piece count will restrict what’s possible now, and the 2018 version’s three separate builds are not weak, but they do not combine together in a way that feels as satisfactory in connection or in aesthetic as it could have been. The angles it creates and the order of bar-doorway-shootout both feel unfamiliar.
75205 brings the surprise debut of the Ubrikkian 9,000 pod in brick form, referred to as the Ubrik. For that name alone we have never had a more relevant LEGO Star Wars vehicle, and indeed its inclusion here is authentic, as it is glimpsed outside the cantina in A New Hope. The design has focused, effectively, on capturing the bulbous windows and rounded top, at the same time as building into the interior seating and controls for one minifigure. The only down points are that the bottom half to the pod could have been a couple of plates taller, and the stud shooter add-on is certainly unwelcome.
The minifigures include a first appearance for Wuher, and he doesn’t disappoint, whilst another sandtrooper to match the one from 2014 – though with an updated backpack design – is always welcome to boost numbers of an amazingly detailed minifigure. Han’s updated hair-do joins the party and Greedo returns for a third cantina set appearance and a subtle but relevant update in print design. Personally, I feel the head design on these LEGO Rodians sits a little low – perhaps not pushing it all the way down is the simple solution…
What to say about 75205 Mos Eisley Cantina… As mentioned at the top, this is a curious set with lots of features that still work in its favour, in spite of a clumsy nature when put together. It will initially disappoint anyone who has built 2014’s Mos Eisley Cantina – 75205’s whole is not greater than the sum of its parts – but look beyond that and everything about the set is relevant and still an update on what has come before. It’s better to have half a Mos Eisley Cantina set than no Mos Eisley Cantina set, and it’s slightly easier on the wallet than a lot of other LEGO Star Wars releases at the moment.