LEGO Star Wars 75398 C-3PO review

LEGO Star Wars gets the Midas touch in 75398 C-3PO, but is there substance beneath this shiny golden surface?

Fun fact: 75398 C-3PO sets a new record for the number of gold pieces in a LEGO Star Wars set. (475, to be exact.) But fun facts alone aren’t reason enough to splash the cash, so can the LEGO Group’s latest buildable character improve on last year’s 75371 Chewbacca and do justice to Star Wars’ ever-present protocol droid?

Release: August 1, 2024 Price: £124.99 / $139.99 / €139.99 Pieces: 1,138 Minifigures: 1 LEGO: Order now

Human-cyborg relations

It’s fair to say the LEGO Star Wars theme has had a rocky ride with buildable characters lately. For every 75381 Droideka there’s a 75371 Chewbacca; for every 75335 BD-1 a 75255 Yoda. But just in those examples alone a pattern starts to emerge: droids are much easier to pull off in bricks than organic creatures. That’s not really a revelatory conclusion, but it is a pertinent one as we dive into 75398 C-3PO, a droid built with humanoid proportions who effectively meshes together both strands of the buildable character spectrum.

Yet while Threepio may occupy a proto-middle ground as far as this type of LEGO Star Wars set is concerned, he’s anything but middling in execution. This is LEGO Star Wars character building at the peak of its game.

You’ll start by piecing together C-3PO’s legs – one fully gold, the other silver below the knee to mirror his appearance in the original trilogy – and the slice of the sandy base to which his feet are permanently attached (you can’t lift him off to pop him on his own, which is probably a weight distribution thing). From there comes his torso, head and arms, as you build up in a straightforward, logical sequence. But ‘straightforward’ feels like a reductive way to talk about the actual build experience: this is something else.

LEGO = art

Some LEGO sets manage to move beyond the bricks to evoke other artistic mediums. And just as 31208 Hokusai – The Great Wave gives the sense that you’re painting with the pieces in your hand, each plate, tile and bird another deliberate brush stroke, 75398 C-3PO feels more like sculpting than building. That’s attributable to two factors: first, the mostly small pieces that make up the majority of the model; and second, that almost every ounce of the droid is built using studs facing in all directions. As LEGO models go, it’s efficiency encapsulated.

That all makes for a pretty great building experience; the kind where you might not necessarily realise what you’re putting together at first before it all clicks into place (oh, that’s a hand! That’s a head!), and which will frequently make you wonder how many iterations the designers had to go through before landing at what somehow feels simultaneously effortless and like the result of hours and hours of finetuning.

The effects of this precision jump out in a few immediate ways. Most impressive is C-3PO’s posture, which would have been an easy thing to overlook but which the designers have paid very close attention to. Then there’s the careful placement of studs, especially around the head, to cleverly convey those parts of Threepio’s original character design that distinguish him as a droid, no matter how humanoid his stature.

It adds up to a figure that captures almost every element of C-3PO as you know him, right down to the printed gold elements for his chest and mouth. (And, side note, working with this much gold is just a very pleasant experience.) What really makes or breaks a LEGO buildable character is how well it convinces in the broad strokes – the details are then just a nice bonus – and 75398 C-3PO certainly manages that… except for, perhaps, his eyes.

Eye see you

LEGO Star Wars has something of an eye problem at the moment, which started with its minifigures – Darth Maul’s Sith eyes, Ezra’s possessed eyes – and has made its way to buildable characters in 75398 C-3PO. This design borrows straight from the last large-scale protocol droid, 2001’s 8007 C-3PO, combining 1×1 trans-yellow studs with gold (drum-lacquered rather than chrome) 2×2 dishes. It’s curious that the designers called back to that Technic set given how crude it was otherwise, and this particular technique doesn’t quite feel like it fits the vibes of the rest of the 2024 set.

A better solution doesn’t immediately present itself, but if the designers could conjure up brand new parts for Threepio’s head – quarter dome bricks that form the four corners of his shiny bonce – you have to wonder whether a more bespoke solution was the way to go here, too. The good news is it’s not really a dealbreaker in the same way 75371 Chewbacca’s face ruined the illusion of the entire character, and if you’re feeling charitable, you could even say that these eyes have a certain retro LEGO charm to them.

75398 C-3PO is topped off with a display plaque, LEGO Star Wars 25th anniversary brick and the same C-3PO minifigure that debuted in 75341 Luke Skywalker’s Landspeeder, complete with a dual-moulded silver leg. It’s the best Threepio minifigure the LEGO Group has ever put out, so it’s great to see it more widely available than 2022’s May the 4th UCS set, even if it does leave us with questions about the LEGO Star Wars team’s wider approach to minifigures in UCS sets.

The cherry on the cake is that this set has now given us a reason to go back and pick up 75379 R2-D2, because the LEGO Star Wars team’s long game has finally become clear. 75398 C-3PO sits roughly in scale with the smaller buildable R2 – the instructions specifically call it out once the build is finished – and they’ll make for a great display piece when paired together. But even alone, C-3PO stands tall and triumphant for the LEGO Star Wars theme. Thank the maker.

This set was provided for review by the LEGO Group.

You can support the work that Brick Fanatics does by purchasing your LEGO Star Wars sets using our affiliate links.

Our honest opinion: The eyes don’t quite have it, but everything else about 75398 C-3PO is a triumph. 75371 Chewbacca is already a distant memory – this is LEGO Star Wars’ best buildable character yet.

How long does it take to build LEGO Star Wars 75398 C-3PO?

Expect to spend a good couple of hours putting together 75398 C-3PO. It’s an enjoyable process that feels closer to sculpting than building. 

How many pieces are in LEGO Star Wars 75398 C-3PO?

75398 C-3PO includes 1,138 pieces, which – coincidentally or not – feels like a nod to George Lucas’s directorial debut THX 1138, or a number that pops up time and time again in Star Wars.

How big is LEGO Star Wars 75398 C-3PO?

75398 C-3PO stands a respectable 38.5cm tall, 18.5cm wide and 11cm deep with his arms by his sides, which puts him in almost perfect scale with 2024’s 75379 R2-D2.

How much does LEGO Star Wars 75398 C-3PO cost?

LEGO Star Wars 75398 C-3PO launches August 1, 2024 and is available to pre-order now for £124.99 in the UK, $139.99 in the US and €139.99 in Europe.

Author Profile

Chris Wharfe
I like to think of myself as a journalist first, LEGO fan second, but we all know that’s not really the case. Journalism does run through my veins, though, like some kind of weird literary blood – the sort that will no doubt one day lead to a stress-induced heart malfunction. It’s like smoking, only worse. Thankfully, I get to write about LEGO until then.

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Chris Wharfe

I like to think of myself as a journalist first, LEGO fan second, but we all know that’s not really the case. Journalism does run through my veins, though, like some kind of weird literary blood – the sort that will no doubt one day lead to a stress-induced heart malfunction. It’s like smoking, only worse. Thankfully, I get to write about LEGO until then.

2 thoughts on “LEGO Star Wars 75398 C-3PO review

  • 08/07/2024 at 05:42

    Great review!! Glad it worked out, although the eyes are :/

  • 06/07/2024 at 14:21

    Threepio’s eyes are one of the most distinctive parts of his body and they’ve just not got it right – just compare them to the marked recesses for the eyes on the minifigure’s head.


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