A rumoured LEGO Star Wars battle pack may have room for improvement
The 501st legion might be reappearing in the LEGO Star Wars theme, but a few design features appear to be missing or compromised.
As a new generation of Star Wars fans grows up, it seems they’re carrying the Star Wars prequel era with them. The evergreen LEGO Star Wars theme continues to offer a steady stream of LEGO sets inspired by the Clone Wars, with major releases like 75337 AT-TE proving extremely popular.
Now it seems we’re getting a new battle pack starring Clone Troopers of the 501st legion. These soldiers have appeared on several occasions within the LEGO Star Wars theme, and are currently available in 75280 501st Legion Clone Troopers. However, that set is due to retire this year – leaving a space for a new set to fill its boots.
A recent rumour suggests one is on the way. 75353 501st Battle Pack offers a new quartet of Clone Troopers, which take inspiration from online video game Star Wars Battlefront II. This allows a wider variety of soldiers to be featured including two Heavy Troopers, an Officer and a Specialist. Each one includes different elements and printing to differentiate them from their fellows: the Heavy Troopers have visors, for instance, while the Specialist has a pair of macrobinoculars instead.
Despite these innovations, the new troopers may be standing still – or even regressing – in terms of character design. One element that’s reportedly missing from these new minifigures is a backpack, which is worn by the Heavy Trooper in-game. While backpacks are typically absent from Clone Trooper uniforms, one is worn by Tech in 75314 The Bad Batch Attack Shuttle. As such, the supposed absence of one here is a conspicuous oversight.
Another disappointing development is the absence of fabric elements. Certain Clone Troopers wear a kama – a garment that resembles a skirt, and protects the wearer from injury in battle. In LEGO sets, this has previously been represented by a fabric element; the best example is in 75012 BARC Speeder with Sidecar, released back in 2013.
Admittedly, such an element is exceedingly rare – but it doesn’t make its replacement with minifigure leg printing any less disappointing. While the Clone Officer in the upcoming battle set wears a kama, it’s reportedly represented by a dual-moulded leg design instead of a piece of fabric.
Fabric elements in LEGO sets are generally rare, but they have recently appeared in LEGO sets. One such example can be found in 10778 Mickey, Minnie and Goofy’s Fairground Fun – a Disney set released earlier this year. The element in question is a cheerful skirt for Minnie Mouse, replacing an awkward plastic one from previous models.
It’s not clear why a fabric kama is reportedly absent from this upcoming set. Cost seems like a likely factor; producing a new fabric element may prove more expensive than merely dual-printing a leg assembly. A fabric kama could also have compromised the playability of the set – although if these older sets are any indication, that seems like a long shot.
While LEGO is first and foremost a children’s toy, it’s also a premium product with a sizeable adult audience – one that the LEGO Group is only too happy to court. These kinds of rumoured design choices take the shine off a product that’s only becoming more and more expensive. Whether that matters is something LEGO fans have to decide for themselves.
Until we get confirmation of 75353 501st Battle Pack’s existence, fine details of the set (along with its existence) are still a matter of speculation. If you’d like to expand your Clone army – or start one – you can grab 75280 501st Legion Clone Troopers now from LEGO.com.
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