75320 Snowtrooper Battle Pack has just been announced, offering an excellent companion to the new 75313 AT-AT. With an apparent eye on older LEGO fans, these new Snowtroopers are armed with more accurate blaster elements. This immediately sets it apart from recent battle packs, which have gone all in on stud-shooters in their models.
The earliest Star Wars battle packs used familiar blaster pieces, drawing inspiration from both the prequel and original trilogies. By 2014, however, bespoke blasters had been replaced by generic stud-shooters instead. 75034 Death Star Troopers was one of the first battle packs to introduce the piece; in total, 24 Star Wars battle packs have included stud-shooters. These offered obvious play value, but were a far cry from the retrofuturism of Star Wars more broadly.
What’s motivated the change? It’s not that stud-shooters are gone, per se; a revised version has been integrated into one of the set’s brick-built weapons. A possible reason is that – given Star Wars sets have an increasingly older audience – the stud-shooters are too clunky and toylike for the Ultimate Collector Series crowd.
While the stud-shooter is impressive from a technical standpoint, it’s clear that more accurate weapons are preferred for Star Wars models. It’s also clear that stud-shooters can be integrated into Star Wars models with a touch more elegance nowadays.