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Review: LEGO 75573 Floating Mountains: Site 26 & RDA Samson

For my next LEGO Avatar review, let’s take a look at 75573 Floating Mountains Site 26 & RDA Samson, another heavily military-themed set that’s based on the first Avatar movie.

Like 75571 Neytiri & Thanator vs. AMP Suit Quaritch, this set revolves around an RDA Samson helicopter, mobile link station, and of course, some components of Pandora as well as an all-new Direhorse animal, which means it has some good diversity of stuff going on.

That said, this isn’t a particularly affordable set, and with a US$99.99 / AU$159.99 pricetag, you might want to read this review before deciding to take the plunge.

Special thanks to LEGO for sending this set for review!

775573 Floating Mountains: Site 26 & RDA Samson Set Details

Name: Floating Mountains: Site 26 & RDA Samson
Set Number: 75573
Pieces: 887
Price: AU$159.99 | US$99.99 | £89.99- Buy from LEGO.com [USA] [AUS] [UK]
Exclusive to: N/A
Theme: Avatar
LEGO Designers: TBD
Release Date: 1 October 2022

Here’s a look at the sticker sheet – not an exorbitant number of stickers and just the right amount you’d expect from a play set at this size.

Here’s a look at the instruction manuals. I really enjoy this new thing where there are reference images included during the build, which are great to establish what you’ve just built.

It really helps make the builds less jarring, especially if you’re unfamiliar with what you’ve just built, and I hope the Instruction Designers continue with this beyond the Avatar theme.

The set comes with 5 minifigures, a pretty high number for the LEGO Avatar theme. First, we have the human minifigure version of Jake Sully, and Norm Spellman in his Avatar form.

Norm’s Avatar is notable because he’s the only Na’Vi with proper human clothes on, wearing a tan jacket over a dark brown shirt, and sporting a sling bag as well. Most interestingly, his long Avatar legs comes in dark tan, which is exclusive to this minifigure. It’s a good sign that LEGO can do more with these long legs outside of regular Na’Vi minifigures.

Jake is in a regular grey tank top, but I like the silhouette of the Samson helicopter printed on it, which at first glance, I thought was a sweat patch!

Here’s a look at Jake Sully and Norm’s back printing – Jake has a regular face without an oxygen mask as a dual-sided head.

The most notable thing about Jake Sully is the introduction of a brand new LEGO Wheelchair which is a really innovative piece.

For disability advocates, the new wheelchair is bound to be good news as there are some really clever features built into it – namely how the minifigure’s hands are perfectly positioned to grip the wheels. The wheels of the wheelchair are also new, and utilise a regular Technic pin as a connection.

Here’s a comparison with the older LEGO wheelchair model.

Here’s another look at the wheelchair sans minifigures on them.

The most important thing about the wheelchair is that it is now finally compatible with standard LEGO 4-studwide doors, which means that you can actually push it through standard LEGO doorways.

The original LEGO wheelchair was a little too wide, and the design was a bit of an accessibility oversight, but the fact that this has been rectified like this is good news.

Really hope to see this wheelchair in a lot more sets outside of Avatar.

Here’s a look at Norm and Jake in his Avatar form, which has orange V-warpaint on his face. The Avatar minifigures are quite bizarre and otherworldly, and to me, they’re not really the biggest draw of the Avatar sets as they all look too similar because they’re all the same shade, and it’s really hard to tell them apart.

At least with Norm, I appreciate that he’s wearing regular human clothes, and is the most interesting Na’Vi minifigure in this set, if not the entire theme.

And last but not least, we have Trudy Chacon and Dr Grace Augustine, played by Michelle Rodriguez and Sigourney Weaver respectively. They both look fairly accurate to their onscreen portrayals, and Trudy’s minifigure looks great alongside Dom Toretto.

Dr Grace Augustine’s minifigure design is really nice, and the highlight of this set – I love her crinkled blue overshirt, and just the incredible amount of printed detail on her legs, with her belt, pockets, and boots (with socks!) all printed in stunning clarity.

Among the new animals introduced in LEGO Avatar is this new moulded Direhorse, a giant-horselike creature. The direhorse is not exclusive to this set, but this is the most affordable way to get your hands on one.

Like other creatures that inhabit Pandora, the Direhorse also have these tendrils called “queue” which allow them to bond with the Na’Vi – which is why all Na’Vi hairpieces have a rod at the end for these new blue whip-pieces to join up.

Here’s a comparison with a regular LEGO horse to demonstrate just how much larger the Direhorse is. The Direhorse is made out of one big mould, and the entire thing is rigid, so there’s very limited articulation which is a bit of a bummer.

Next we have this small cross-section of Pandora, which represent the Floating Mountains of Pandora. It has quite a small footprint, but has the added advantage of height thanks to these new transparent scaffolding/support pieces, which help simulate a “floating mountain”.

Here’s a look at these transparent columns that have been introduced in LEGO Avatar sets, which are pretty neat. I can’t wait to see what they get used for next.

As usual, the selection of alien Pandoran flora is quite interesting, although this section isn’t as large or as dense as others. I do like the techniques used for these flowers.

And yes, these flower stigmas also glow in the dark!

One thing about the Flying Mountains – you can attach the Samson helicopter to the top section, so is functions really well as a display stand. The added height introduces some dramatism to the display, and is a refreshing way to display flying vehicles, whereas previously, you’d normally just have them flat on the ground.

Here’s a look at the Samson helicopter, which is the most impressive model in the set. This futuristic grey military helicopter grabs your attention with its 2 large rotors which can swivel and be repositioned in different angles.

The Samson also has a very sleek aerodynamic profile, and because of LEGO’s hesitance in launching military sets, this one is pretty notable for blurring the line between what’s acceptable, and too war machine-like.

Here’s the view from the side, with a large chamber in the middle for minifigures to stand in. The landing skids are a little clunky and primitive, being made using Technic axles and connectors.

Here’s a look at the Samson helicopter from the front, with the rotors angled in menacing fashion.

On the side of the cockpit are these Tiger designs as nose art. There aren’t any machine guns like on the movie version of the Samsons, but we have these new-type stud shooters which fire trans-yellow tiles.

Here’s a look at the back.

And here’s a look at the cockpit – I was pleasantly surprised that the canopy decoration is printed, and it adds a lot to the overall look.

If you plan on picking up this set, bear in mind that you’ll want to align these stickers on the top of the helicopter as best as you can to form this pattern.

I really like the air intakes and exhausts of the helicopter, which you can also see from this view.

If you like Military-type builds, the Samson Helicopter is a tidy little model, based on a subject that LEGO rarely tackles, but this is unmistakably combat chopper. With great swooshability and play features, it’s one of the best vehicles in the LEGO Avatar theme.

The primary build in the set is this Link Shack, a container-like structure that contains all the necessary equipment to establish remote links between humans and their Avatars.

The Link Shack has a rugged look, with great use of colour, with dark grey and sand blue punctuating the greys, as well as bright pops of yellow throughout.

There are 4 “mesh” feet to provide the Link Shack Stability on uneven terrain, as well as a large antenna situated on the roof.

To gain access on the inside, the roof is easily removable revealing the interiors.

The interiors are fairly basic, and look like a rugged military lab, with this computer screen to monitor the brain activity of Jake as he is connected with his Avatar.

There’s this sticker here which shows a video feed of Jake while he’s in the Link Unit.

Over on the other end of the room is this coffin-like Link Unit, where human Avatar operators lie inside, where they then form a psionic link to connect themselves to their Avatars.

Here’s a look at the open Link Unit, which is quite deep that you can fit a whole minifigure lying down and close it off.

And of course, the great thing about the Link Shack is just how wheelchair-friendly it is, with ramps for Jake Sully to make his way up into the lab!

What I liked:

  • Samson is an awesome military helicopter
  • Dark Tan long Avatar legs will come in handy for other minifigures
  • Transparent scaffolding provides height when displaying the Samson helicopter
  • Decent minifigures
  • New door-compatible wheelchair

What I didn’t like: 

  • Pandora flora section has quite a small footprint
  • Avatar minifigures still don’t really do it for me
  • Feels like it needs a larger Pandora section
  • Quite an expensive pricetag
FINAL THOUGHTS:

Unlike 75571 Neytiri & Thanator vs. AMP Suit Quaritch which I thought was pretty good value, I can’t say the same about 75573 Floating Mountains: Site 26 & RDA Samson, the second most expensive set in the wave.

While it does have some interesting inclusions like the Direhorse, and one of the coolest LEGO military helicopters included in a retail LEGO set, there’s just not enough here to justify the set’s relatively high asking price of US$99.99 / AU$159.99.

Thankfully, when taken as a whole, the set does a decent job of replicating key features of Site 26 and the Floating Mountains, and if taken as a play set, you do get quite a lot of play value thanks to the Samson Helicopter, Direhorse, Link Shack, as well as 5 minifigures included.

The Samson Helicopter is the star of the set, and it’s very refreshing that we get an opportunity to have a futuristic military helicopter included in a set like this – the stars don’t align like this very often when it comes to licensed sets.

The minifigures are also decent, but once again, LEGO have placed 2 key female human characters behind quite a pricey set, which is slightly frustrating, but on the whole, the minifigure design for both Trudy, Dr Augustine and human Jake Sully are satisfying.

Unfortunately, it’s very hard for me to form a bond to the LEGO Avatar minifigures, mostly because they all look so alike (with Norm and his human clothes being the exception), and the characters are not iconic and recognizable enough to be told apart based on their facial markings/features.

In an environment with rising LEGO set prices, it becomes a very tough ask to recommend sets at the US$100 price range if they aren’t outstanding, and with 75573 Floating Mountains: Site 26 & RDA Samson, there simply isn’t enough here to call this good value.

If you’re a fan of Avatar, you would definitely want to keep this set in your sights, but only if you can get it at 20% of more, when it comes a slightly more compelling buy.

At the very least, it’s a relatively easy set to display, and one that looks good thanks to the Flying Mountains also doubling as a stand for the Samson Helicopter.

Rating and score: 2/5 ★★✰✰✰

Build [3] – Some nice variety here, with the Samson Helicopter, and the Link Shack being fun builds
Real Value [2] – This is a pretty pricey set, and it feels like it needs one more “thing” or build to justify the price
Innovation [2] – Not too much introduced here, but I did like the techniques used for the Samson helicopter
Coolness [2] – Really only aimed at Avatar fans, although a futuristic military helicopter is pretty neat
Keepability [3] – At least it looks good on display, and the individual builds work great together


Thanks for reading this review of 75573 Floating Mountains: Site 26 & RDA Samson! The entire LEGO Avatar theme is now available from LEGO.com, or your local LEGO Store.

What do you think of this set, and do you think it’s worth US$99.99?

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