LEGO Ideas and Star Wars ran an interesting experiment in early 2020 – let the fans decide what the next LEGO Star Wars UCS set would be, pitting the various Star Wars sub-fandoms against each other.
LEGO have now revealed the winning set for 2021 – 75309 UCS Republic Gunship which ran away with the vote, drawing over 30,000 votes, which was 58% of all votes cast. Prequel-memers had emerged triumphant, and LEGO has heard them loud and clear – the Prequels are cool again (thanks to Dave Filoni) and fans who grew up with the Prequels in cinemas, and Clone Wars in their formative years are now young adults ready to splash some cash on the nostalgic remnants of their childhood.
The result is the 75309 UCS Republic Gunship, which LEGO were so kind to send an early review copy of, and my first impressions of the set is – wow, it’s big. Not quite as gargantuan as the UCS Millennium Falcon or Star Destroyer, but this is a hefty, ambitious model that makes quite the statement.
In my opinion, like the Prequels themselves, the UCS Republic Gunship eschews many traditional UCS-tropes, and will emerge as one of the most divisive UCS sets of 2021, if not ever.
Read on to see more of the UCS Gunship, and what I think of the set!
The LEGO UCS Republic Gunship has a release date of 1 August 2021, and will be priced at US$349.99 / AU$579.99 / £329 and will be available exclusively from LEGO.com and your local LEGO store.
See below for regional pricing and links:
- LEGO 75309 UCS Republic Gunship [US] – US$349.99
- LEGO 75309 UCS Republic Gunship [AUS] – AU$579.99
- LEGO 75309 UCS Republic Gunship [UK] – £329
- LEGO 75309 UCS Republic Gunship [EU] – €349.99
- LEGO 75309 UCS Republic Gunship [CAN] – CA$479.99
Special thanks to the LEGO Group for providing this set for review.
75309 UCS Republic Gunship Set Details
Name: Republic Gunship
Set Number: 75309
Price: AU$579.99 | US$349.99 | £329.99 – Buy from LEGO.com [AUS] [USA] [UK]
Dimensions: 33cm / 13in (height), 74cm / 29 (width) , and 68cm / 27in (length)
Minifigures: Mace Windu, Clone Commander
Exclusive to: LEGO.com / LEGO Brand Retail Stores
Theme: Star Wars Ultimate Collector Series
Release Date: 1 August 2021
The Republic Gunship, or Low Altitude Assault Transport/infantry (LAAT/i) is a regular fixture in the Clone Wars, primarily used by the Republic to transport Clone Troopers into battle, and offer air-to-ground and air-to-air support.
An atmospheric craft, it’s best known for being prominently features in the Clone Wars TV series, as well as in Episode 2: Attack of the Clones during the Battle of Geonosis, which you can relive in this clip above.
UCS Republic Gunship Packaging, Unboxing and Manual
Firstly, let’s address the Imperial elephant in the room. The first batches of the UCS Republic Gunship come with an unfortunate printing error – the Imperial logo was accidentally used instead of the Republic emblem.
Here’s LEGO’s response:
The dark side blurred our vision and we used the Galactic Empire logo on packaging and instructions for the 75309 LEGO Star Wars UCS Republic Gunship, while of course we should have used the logo of the Galactic Republic. However, the infiltration didn’t affect the actual model- which proudly displays the Galactic Republic logo. We are working to update the packaging and instructions.
This only affects the first run of sets, and will be fixed with the subsequent releases in December/January. In my mind, this seemingly accidental printing mistake is number one, not a great reflection on LEGO, and fuels the toxic online commentators who love bagging on how the LEGO Star Wars design team “don’t get” Star Wars.
Secondly, an unintended consequence is that this will make the first misprint run, a valuable LEGO Star Wars collectable, which means I can see the first batch selling out almost immediately, and will eventually become quite the collector’s item. So be prepared to jump on the set, if you want to secure a copy of the UCS Republic Gunship for Christmas.
There are 31 plastic bags in the set, with 17 numbered sections of the build.
The instruction manuals contain plenty of interesting tidbits and insights into the designer, Hans Burkhard Schlömer, as well as the Republic Gunship, which is handy information for fans who may be unfamiliar with the Prequels and their ilk.
Controversially, in the “Meet the Model Designers” section, Hans and Jens (the LEGO Star Wars Creative Lead aka Head Honcho) state that this is the 3rd prequel UCS set after 10018 Darth Maul and 10215 Obi Wan’s Jedi Starfighter.
Did they rewrite history and remove the UCS distinction from 10026 Naboo Starfighter and 10186 General Grievous? Bit odd, but then again, I don’t think LEGO has the final say of what is and isn’t a UCS set, especially with sets like 75308 R2-D2 which is clearly a UCS set.
Here’s a sticker sheet. Not ideal, but many of these do function to give the Republic Gunship its requisite details and aesthetic flair – they’re the transparent-decal type instead of paper-based, which is nice as it they tend to hold up better over time.
While stickers are less than ideal, LEGO has come to the party with a generous helping of printed canopies, and these hemispheric domes which are used for the Gunship’s bubble turrets.
These absolutely elevate the look of the Gunship, and look terrific.
UCS Republic Gunship Minifigures
Minifigures aren’t usually the biggest draw of UCS sets, contrary to what louder voices on social media want you to think. Minifigures have always been nice little bonuses thrown in, and the UCS Republic Gunship comes with Mace Windu, and a Clone Commander.
Mace Windu is an exclusive variant, and he has an angry face, along with his trademark purple lightsaber. His jedi Jedi robes has flecks of brown sand on it, giving him a dusty, battle-tired look.
Here’s their back printing.
The Clone Commander is likely Ponds (CT-411), and comes with bright yellowish markings. I’m no expert on Clone Trooper variants, but this seems to be the biggest point of contention in the minifigure selection – I do like his detailed leg prints, but as he is neither a pilot, nor does he have designs that match the Attack of The Clones, instead looking like a clone out of the TV series.
I’m a pretty casual LEGO Star Wars fan, so this really doesn’t bother me, but there are some pretty militant fans who are just plain disappointed here. Personally, a more fitting minifigure would be a Clone Trooper Pilot.
That said, LEGO got it mostly right here. I disagree vehemently with voices calling for a Phase 2 Commander Cody, or whatever as they would be far better suited (and accessible!) in a playset, instead of being gated behind an expensive UCS set that would put it out of reach of younger fans, and those on a budget.
That said, it would’ve been nice if LEGO had included Jedi Bob as a secret polybag, or gift with purchase – LEGO did poll fans during the UCS vote asking them about what minifigure they’d like to see in the set.
UCS Republic Gunship Build
Want to see me build the UCS Republic Gunship? I’ve uploaded a speed build on my Youtube channel so you can see how the model comes together.
The build was quite fun – the construction is quite fun and varied, with very little repetition apart from the wings, but it never did feel tedious one bit which is always nice.
You begin the first few bags by building the base, which instantly establishes that this is going to be a massive model.
After the base is completed, you then move on to the frame of the Gunship, and a combination of Technic and LEGO bricks makes for a sturdy build, with the open area in the middle great for grasping the massive model once completed.
The over-sized wings cap off the build, and wingspan reaches 73cm (!!), and I personally was surprised at how well they are connected to the body via one long Technic axle – it’s a secure connection so you don’t have to worry about them flailing around wildly.
Like most UCS sets, you wrap up the build (Bags 17) with the display stand, and UCS display plaque.
UCS Republic Gunship Model
Here’s the completed model with human Jay for scale, and boy, is it an absolutely massive build, accentuated by its wingspan which stretches 73cm across.
And yes, it can be a little awkward to hold up and move around because there are only a few sections to grip the Gunship to hold up its weight, so swooshing is definitely not on the cards for the UCS Republic Gunship.
The second thing that strikes you (after its size), is the colour-scheme. Unlike other famous UCS sets like the Star Destroyer and Millennium Falcon, you exchange boundless greys for the white, and dark red colour scheme with flashes of lime green on the front.
As a standalone model, LEGO have done a tremendous job scaling up the Republic Gunship into a proper UCS-sized model, which will delight LEGO Star Wars fans who want to only display the biggest and best ships from the galaxy far far away.
Its size, and wingspan also create an interesting challenge – how are you supposed to find space to display this set when it’s completed. It’s giant wingspan makes this a challenging model to house.
The LEGO designers weren’t kidding when they said you needed a new coffee table for it, and I so happened had a (nearly right-sized) coffee table to illustrate just how large the footprint of the UCS Republic Gunship is – my coffee table has a diameter of about 75cm.
My favourite angle of the Republic Gunship is when viewed from the front, where you can truly appreciate the angled wings, bubble turrets and bulbous front.
Like AT-TEs, the designs were inspired by bugs, and it does look quite menacing with the twin lasser cannons up front, flanked by the swivelling bubble turrets.
I can see why the Droid Army feared the clones, especially when you can picture dozens of these Gunships descending on a battlefield, blasting away with their lasers before dropping off a platoon of Clone Troopers ready to follow orders and kick arse.
Here’s a look at the Laser Cannons, which make excellent of the largest ball-joints that LEGO’s inventory could muster, allowing you to swivel it around at your pleasure.
The lime green markings here are also a great visual tool, and accurately mimic the on-screen versions.
The canopies are decorated in dark red, with pretty good colour matching for once, and there are 2 seats that you can access by easily popping off the cockpit.
The cockpits is one of the most visually distinct parts of the Gunship thanks to its curved, but also colours, and this section is especially great to look at.
Here’s a look at the archway for the front of the ship, which has some nice armour plating and details, achieved by stickers. The aesthetic is pretty basic – with either flat tiles, or studs.
Another highlight are the twin bubble turrets which are attached to Technic arms, giving it a remarkable degree of movement (along only one axis, unfortunately!) letting you swivel it backwards and forwards to blast poor Separatist fools.
The use of printed round domes here, are great, and I do think it would be improved slightly if you can attach trans-green laser beams to them. There is a seat and a targeting console inside for Clone Gunners to sit in.
Here’s a look at the interior of the Gunship, which features a large and cavernous compartment in its body, held up by this Technic pillar/beam for structural stability.
You can fully enjoy looking at the “innards” of the Gunship here, and a lot of the Technic framing is hidden quite ingenuously at the top out of sight.
On the inside, you can also see 2 pairs of rockets mounted to the sliding doors.
Here’s a look at the doors, which can slide (in a limited fashion) forwards and I think they’re the weakest part of the entire model.
While they can slide backwards and forwards, it doesn’t sit flush, and they dangle awkwardly, as the doors are quite thin and there’s no real way to fasten them in the open or close position.
The fact that they don’t close properly is also a bit of a downer, for a set this expensive and grand in ambition. The side effect of the doors not being able to close properly is that you can’t quite hide the cavernous interior, with exposed Technic and all.
Here’s a look at the massive twin missile launchers perched above the Gunship. From the side especially, they look really menacing, and it’s all to do with their impressive length.
The missile launches are fed by these belts of missiles, which are located at the top of the Gunship. They can rotate within their enclosure, but cannot be removed.
Here’s a look at the back of the Gunship, which has a laser cannon at the back which can be swivelled. The back can also pop open to form a ramp, and above that, you can see the black engine exhausts.
Here’s a look wings, and the bubble turrets which are lodged in the middle of the wing.
The completed model is thoroughly impressive, mostly because of its scale.
If you have the space to display it, it very quickly establishes its presence with its attractive colour scheme, and giant footprint.
What I liked:
- A hugely ambitious Prequel model that’s absolutely massive in scale
- Colour scheme is really attractive – it’s not grey!
- The Republic Gunship’s armaments and weapons on full display
- Incredible huge wingspan
- LEGO finally gives some love to the prequels
What I didn’t like:
- Incredibly hard to display
- Could’ve used Jedi Bob, as a secret bonus
- Doors don’t close which is a wasted opportunity
- Greebling isn’t fantastic
- It feels less like a UCS set, and more like an upsized playset
The UCS Republic Gunship represents a triumph of democracy, and the empowerment of fans. Winning the LEGO Ideas UCS Fan Vote by such a massive margin is a huge achievement for fans of the prequel, many of whom have been actively campaigning for LEGO to pay more attention to the Prequels.
The UCS Republic Gunship being realised as a UCS set in 2021 represents a watershed moment for the Prequels, and I think signals LEGO finally conceding that there’s commercial benefits to meeting the wishes of Prequels fans.
LEGO Star Wars is clearly not the exclusive domain of the Original Trilogy any longer, which is a very big deal.
So, the Republic Gunship – it’s big. Very, very big which makes for a terrific model to display, as it makes quite a statement thanks to its display presence. On the flip side, finding space for it is challenging.
It’s also a bit of an odd Ultimate Collectors Set. Unlike other UCS sets, it lacks highly detailed greebling on its exterior, which is a bit disappointing, as that tends to be one of my favourite parts about building UCS sets (see the UCS Y-wing for a masterclass in greebling).
The sense of scale is also odd, as it doesn’t really feel like a highly detailed display model of a Star Wars ship or starfighter, instead, it just seems like an upscaled and upsized version of a playset/minifigure-scale Republic Gunship.
That probably is due to scale – as Republic Gunships are quite small in the grand scheme of things, and because of its wingspan, there are constraints to how big LEGO designer Hans Burkhard Schlömer could go with it.
While Prequel fans may have won the vote, it really does make me wonder if the Gunship was the right subject for a UCS-scale model, instead of say the Nebulon Frigate which I think is a much better fit for LEGO’s UCS design language/system.
That said, a part of me feels like a Republic Gunship makes much more sense as a minifigure-scale set (complete with a squad of Clone Troopers, Jedi and more) as it’s inherently an action-oriented ship that’s begging to be played with and swooshed around.
Should you buy it? If you love all things Star Wars, and Prequels, the UCS Republic Gunship is a formidable model, and build. The build experience is fantastic, and you are left with a thoroughly impressive model that makes quite a statement.
It’s a very unorthodox UCS set, and the sheer size is also a big drawcard to those wanting to show off and display big, bag Star Wars sets in their home.
The price however, puts it out of reach for a huge number of fans, and at US$349.99 / AU$579.99, you really have to wonder if you’re getting the most bang for your buck. I think the price is justified because you get so much LEGO and it is sized like you’d expect from a US$350 set.
With so many things holding it back, such as doors that don’t close completely, stickers aplenty, and only 2 minifigures, the value equation does lean towards the slightly overpriced territory, and once again, you’re left to wonder if a US$150 set, with 3 or 4 Clones, and a Jedi or two would make for a more satisfying outcome.
Also, while the Prequels have many fans, there are equally as many old school Star Wars fans who still have disdain for George Lucas’ largesse in the early 2000s, many of whom will require quite a bit of strong-arming to be convinced that there is value within the Clone Wars-era. These people will naturally reject all things Prequel, and won’t have any emotional or nostalgic connection to Republic Gunships, or clones for that matter.
If you like the Prequels, and the Clone Wars, and want a massively fun set to display, the UCS Republic Gunship is a worthy purchase, especially considering that this is an enormously huge display model which don’t come around every other day.
Rating and score: 4/5 ★★★★✰
Build  – The build was fun, with varied techniques and phases without ever being bored
Real Value  – The price is a tad high, but for the amount of LEGO and ship you get, I think is priced fairly.
Innovation  – The engineering and stability challenges Hans Burkhard Schlömer had to overcome makes this a truly impressive set from a technical perspective. Some really ingenious yet simple solutions were used in the build to make it all work
Coolness  – Cool if you’re a Prequel fan, not cool if you aren’t.
Keepability  – It’s a Star Wars UCS set, and a Prequel one to boot, enshrining its value for years to come. Bonus if you get an error version.
Thanks for reading my review of the 2021 LEGO UCS Republic Gunship – I hope you enjoyed hearing my thoughts on this truly unique UCS set.
As a special bonus, here’s what the UCS Republic Gunship would look like with a Phase 2 Commander Cody.
I’d love to know what you think of the UCS Republic Gunship. If you’re a Star Wars fan, does this appeal to you at this price?
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Special thanks to the LEGO Group for providing this set for review.