With the premiere of Star Wars Episode: VII The Force Awakens in cinemas last week, the hype surrounding Star Wars has reached fever pitch. In short -there’s never been a better time to be a Star Wars fan!
I’ve watched The Force Awakens three times already and am already gearing up for a fourth. It’s safe to say that I enjoyed it immensely and felt that it was worthy of being part of the Star Wars universe. I consider myself an average Star Wars fan – I really enjoyed the movies, video games and have an intermediate level of knowledge of the galaxy far, far away but I wouldn’t call myself a hardcore know-it-all fan.
When it comes to LEGO, Star Wars isn’t a particular priority of mine. I have a few sets, mostly concentrating on Original Trilogy builds so my LEGO Star Wars collection is anything but extensive. In fact, the only Star Wars sets that I’ve reviewed on the blog were 9679 AT-ST & Endor and 7657 AT-ST all the way back in 2012 when this blog was in its infancy.
With my interest in Star Wars at an all time high because of Episode VII, it’s almost impossible to not get caught up in the hype of the new wave of Star Wars sets. I’ll be reviewing a couple of Star Wars sets in the coming days and weeks and what better way to kick off this series by taking a look at 75099 Rey’s Speeder.
Mild spoilers included in the review, nothing regarding the plot but some background information about the characters, settings and minor in the movie.
Name: Rey’s Speeder
Set Number: 75099
Price: AU$39.99 (AUS LEGO.com link) | US$19.99 (US LEGO.com link)
Exclusive to: N/A
Theme: Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Year of Release: 2015
Instructions: LEGO Ideas 21303 Wall-E instructions (corrected and up to date)
Rey’s Speeder is the smallest The Force Awakens set and is the most affordable way to obtain Rey, one of the key characters in The Force Awakens. A lot has been said about how director JJ Abrams infused a liberal amount of Star Wars nostalgia into Episode VII, and there have been plenty of comparisons of Rey’s Speeder to Luke’s Landspeeder from Episode IV.
I can definitely see how one would perceive these similarities but Rey’s Speeder more than holds up its own identity as a new and fairly memorable Star Wars vehicle.
For a relatively small set, there are quite a number of stickers on the sheet. Most of them function as additional visual flourish to give Rey’s Speeder a rusty and beat up look.
Let’s take a look at the minifigures included in the set, starting with Unkar’s Thug, a minor character that tries to antagonize Rey on her home planet of Jakku. Unkar is another minor character that serves as a Junklord – someone who pays scavengers like Rey for scraps that they unearth from the wreckage of ships scattered around the desert junkyard planet that is Jakku.
Unkar’s Thug comes with a snazzy pearl gold crowbar which is a really neat colour variant of the accessory. He’s attired mostly in grey and I really like the bits of sand printed across his clothes. He looks menacing but doesn’t quite come across as a character that you’d expect to see in Star Wars.
His body also has some silver flecks scattered across the fabric which just speak to the overall quality of the printing.
Removing the Thug’s grey cowl gives you a better look at his face, which like most of his body is grey. He also has what seems to be a robotic mask that’s very reminiscent of a skull that gives the Thug a very sinister appearance.
Unkar’s Thug has back printing, which is almost to be expected with minifigures these days. The back features more of that lovely sand stains.
I quite like Unkar’s Thug, although he had such a tiny role in the film. As a minifigure, it certainly ticks off all the right boxes with a distinct look, high quality printing and also a great accessory. The only issue is that his obscure part in the film will most likely render him quite unforgettable in the grand scheme of things.
On to the star of the movie and this set – Rey. Just Rey for now as her family name is subject to intense speculation. After watching The Force Awakens, I was blown away by Daisy Ridley’s on-screen performance. For a new actor, she absolutely nailed her part with her upbeat, optimistic and charismatic portrayal of Rey. I fell in love almost immediately.
Before watching the movie, I was (like many others) quite unsure of Rey but I’m confident to say that any lingering doubts have been placed to rest. Rey’s minifigure should be quite high on every Star War’s fan’s priority list and Rey’s Speeder is currently the most affordable way to get your hands on her.
I might be nitpicking but I wished her clothes matched her on-screen character’s apparel a little more. Her minifigure version’s flowly robes are a lot darker, compared to the greyish/khaki colours that we see her in the movie. Other than that, everything is brilliant about Rey – from her pensive almost hesitant smile to the subtle freckles on her face.
Her torso printing (colour accuracy aside) is sharp and has some nice little details such as a belt harness which runs across her wait. To defend herself against Unkar’s Thug, she has a staff which she expertly wields in the film.
As a little flourish to her character and to add a dash of exclusivity to the set, Rey comes with her face-mask/turban accessory that features when we’re introduced to Rey in The Force Awakens. The face mask is of exceptional quality – the moulding is brilliant, incorporating the folds and creases of the fabric. I also really love the detailed printing on her goggles.
Here’s a look at Rey’s back printing and the back of her turban-mask thingy. The fabric tied into a knot on her headgear also looks really cool from behind. Other than her staff and mask, Rey also comes with a messenger bag which slings across her body. It’s quite a rare minifigure accessory so it’s also a very welcome addition.
With 2 minifigs in a $39.99 set, one of which is a major character, the selection is not outstanding value but it’s also not too expensive for what you get. A BB-8 would’ve been the perfect addition to this set to round things off but I can appreciate LEGO giving us an option to own Rey without splurging on the new Millennium Falcon.
Here’s Rey Speeder, a junky looking levitating motorbike. I’ve heard a couple of silly comparisons to Luke’s Landspeeder (its just a vertical Landspeeder, hurr, durr) but I think the speeder has a really unique look that sets it apart from anything that’s been done in the Star Wars universe.
Having seen the movie, I would probably say that the Rey Speeder is a close approximation of the on-screen vehicle but it doesn’t quite nail the overall look. For starters, the front grills don’t seem to look right as its missing a circular border around it. The Brothers Brick recently hacked a more movie-accurate one together and it looks really great.
That said, Rey’s Speeder still looks pretty damn good for a small Star Wars set. The design is nice and tight, benefiting from the sleek use of curves and slopes to give it a more natural look as opposed to a blocky angular shape that some LEGO vehicles suffer from.
From the side, you’re treated to a better look of the Speeder’s shape. Each side isn’t a complete mirror image of each other. The left side has a bunch of tools that Rey uses such as a steel cutter, binoculars and what seems to be a blaster. She didn’t have a blaster in the movie at this point, so maybe it’s something else. The right side has a cleaner and neater look – I prefer the left side’s busier look.
Rey’s Speeder has a bit of a mechanical surprise built into it, the engine flaps open up to reveal a small interior compartment space. Again, this was completely absent from the films and I’m unsure if this was something that the LEGO designers added in to increase the playability or if this functionality was simply cut on the editing floor. It certainly would be completely plausible that Rey’s Speeder could open up like this.
Here’s a closer look at the interiors, which feature a small slot for a grey crate that you can lodge inside.
From behind, you can see the thrusters that propel Rey’s Speeder forward. I can’t quite remember but I don’t think the engines had blue flames from the movie. The engines are also part of one of the set’s play features.
Twisting the engine allows you to open up the Speeder’s engine flaps. The mechanism works quite well and gives the set a bit more playability so that it avoids being just a static model.
Here’s a closeup at the Speeder’s seat, which has a stickered tile as a console and also the use of grey antennae pieces as joysticks.
Rey comfortably sits in the driver’s seat. Here you can also see a handy clip to the side where you can fasten her staff.
What I liked:
- Overall shape and colours of Rey’s Speeder
- Affordable way to get Rey
- Model is relatively accurate to the on-screen version
What I didn’t like:
- The stickers detract from the Speeder’s design
- Unkar’s Thug isn’t the most notable character
Final thoughts: Rey’s Speeder serves as an excellent introduction to The Force Awakens LEGO sets. It hits plenty of high notes with the inclusion of a primary (and very likeable) character in the form of Rey who is impeccably designed, other than the fact that I wished that her robes were printed in a lighter shade.
Unkar’s Thug is exclusive to this set and has a nice design but his fairly anonymous movie appearance (pretty much a faceless henchmen) makes me question his significance and value as a minifig, especially if you’re not a die-hard Star Wars fan or collector. I would’ve very much preferred it if LEGO had substituted him with a BB-8 Astromech Droid.
Rey’s Speeder is perfectly satisfying as the focus of this set. It’s unique design which is underscored by a great blend of dark red, brown and grey elements that give it a very convincing rusty and aged vehicle that’s piloted by a junk scavenger. It also looks pretty damn great as a display model.
The accompanying features like the engine flaps and stud blasters are to be expected in contemporary LEGO sets and as long as they don’t detract from the overall design, they don’t phase me at all. The stud blasters right at the bottom of the speeder so you don’t have to deal with those blocky guns awkwardly sticking out of the model.
I really didn’t like the stickers applied throughout the build. I’m normally tolerant of stickers but in this case I felt that they were a little too jarring, considering the Speeder’s design is relatively self-sufficient. The stickers serve to give the Speeder a rusty look but I wish that they were a little more subtle and not too in your face.
You could opt to not apply any of the stickers (except for those near the thrusters which I like) and the Speeder would look a lot neater.
If you’re new to LEGO Star Wars, especially if you’ve been caught up in the hype generated by The Force Awakens, Rey’s Speeder is an awesome gateway set into the world of LEGO Star Wars.
Thanks for reading! Do you own Rey’s Speeder? Let me know what you thought of the set in the comments section below!