New LEGO Star Wars minifigures are two steps forward, one step back

The newest LEGO Star Wars minifigures are almost all brilliant upgrades on their predecessors, or fantastic brand new characters – with one glaring, cylindrical exception.

The LEGO Group unveiled three new LEGO Star Wars sets for Obi-Wan Wednesdays yesterday, each featuring the Jedi Master himself in some capacity. 75336 Inquisitor Transport Scythe and 40547 Obi-Wan Kenobi & Darth Vader are both tied to the upcoming Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi limited series, while 75333 Obi-Wan Kenobi’s Jedi Starfighter marks 20 years since Attack of the Clones landed in cinemas.

Across two of those three sets are seven brand new minifigures, including: Obi-Wan Kenobi, Taun We, R4-P17, Ben Kenobi, Grand Inquisitor, Reva (Third Sister Inquisitor) and Fifth Brother Inquisitor. The red-lightsaber-wielding baddies all look great, while Ben Kenobi – as he appears in the Disney+ show – is sporting a new hairpiece and outfit.

Obi-Wan Kenobi as he appears in Attack of the Clones, meanwhile, has brand new robe printing to match his design in LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga, and Taun We is the LEGO Group’s first-ever Kaminoan minifigure. Six of those seven characters are absolute gold for minifigure collectors, then – but the same can’t be said for R4-P17.

The last full-body version of the astromech droid arrived in 2013, as part of the LEGO Star Wars planet series’ 75006 Jedi Starfighter & Planet Kamino. The form factor of astromech droids hasn’t changed in the years since, with each and every one using the same four-piece assembly – even while there are plenty of opportunities to upgrade the standard design.

The LEGO Group took one of those opportunities earlier this year, when it finally applied back printing to R2-D2 in 75330 Dagobah Jedi Training Diorama and 75339 Death Star Trash Compactor Diorama. That they were two different minifigures (mud-splattered and clean, respectively) gave hope to the masses that back printing on astromech droids would be standard from now on. So, R4 must have back printing in 75333 Obi-Wan Kenobi’s Jedi Starfighter. Right?

LEGO Star Wars 75333 Obi Wan Kenobis Jedi Starfighter R4 P17 back printing

Wrong. While there are no images of the back of R4-P17 on the product packaging, or across the lifestyle photos supplied by the LEGO Group, the 360-degree preview of the model at LEGO.com clearly shows R4’s back is plain white, free of any kind of decoration. It’s a disappointing step back for LEGO Star Wars minifigures in what’s otherwise an appealing £30 set, although the LEGO Group will probably point to that smaller price tag by way of explanation.

Now that the technology to print on both sides of the astromech droid body element exists, though, there’s really no excuse not to use it. After all, just imagine if the regular minifigures in the cheapest LEGO Star Wars sets were missing back printing…

75333 Obi-Wan Kenobi’s Jedi Starfighter launches on August 1 for £29.99 / $34.99 / €34.99, and still includes two very desirable minifigures. It’s available to pre-order from LEGO.com now.

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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. You can follow me on Twitter at @brfa_chris.

2 thoughts on “New LEGO Star Wars minifigures are two steps forward, one step back

  • 26/05/2022 at 15:03
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    I wish they’d make an R2 droid body that allows the head to rotate. That droid body piece is in long need of an update/replacement.

    Reply
  • 26/05/2022 at 14:23
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    the tech to print both sides has existed ever since one side could be printed, to say otherwise is absurd. people really need to think about and scrutinize what companies say and stop just repeating them. LEGO simply doesnt want to pay the costs to install the setup that would allow it. To find actual costs of printing each element would be ideal and revealing im sure…

    Reply

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