Review: 75309 Republic Gunship

Posted by CapnRex101, 15 Jul 2021 14:30

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Ultimate Collector Series products have focused almost exclusively upon Original Trilogy designs which enjoy amazing popularity. The marvellous assortment of Prequel Trilogy subjects has been neglected, increasing the expectation which has preceded 75309 Republic Gunship.

Furthermore, the beloved Republic Gunship was selected to become an Ultimate Collector Series model by LEGO Star Wars fans! The resulting design appears marvellous, capturing accurate shapes with appealing detail which surpasses previous models. The increased scale has undoubtedly proven effective from this perspective.

Box and Contents

75309 Republic Gunship belongs to the 18+ range and features accordant packaging. These designs invariably divide opinion and I think this example seems quite bland, especially given the potential for an interesting Geonosian backdrop. However, the more significant problem is the Imperial symbol which erroneously adorns the box and instruction manual. That has been corrected in official images.

This mistake obviously has no effect on the quality of the model. Nevertheless, I do find such basic errors frustrating because this should have been identified during production. Moreover, comparable mistakes are commonly found on the plaques that accompany Ultimate Collector Series models, perhaps indicating an unfortunate lack of attention or knowledge when details are being finalised.

Opening this enormous box reveals 31 bags, numbered between one and seventeen. Larger elements are packaged in additional bags, including the printed canopies which are therefore relatively protected from damage. The instruction manual features 540 pages, including some that provide information about the LAAT/i and commentary from the design team.

Jens Kronvold Frederiksen and Hans Burkhard Schlömer assert that the Republic Gunship is the third Ultimate Collector Series product based upon the Prequel Trilogy, succeeding 10018 Darth Maul and 10215 Obi-Wan’s Jedi Starfighter. That seems questionable given both 10026 Special Edition Naboo Starfighter and 10186 General Grievous are omitted and were perhaps forgotten.

Images of the Republic Gunship are shown on subsequent pages, originating from Star Wars: Complete Vehicles, alongside information about this distinct vessel and its involvement during the Battle of Geonosis. Comments concerning design challenges which result from the source material are also present, identifying the gigantic troop compartment as posing difficulties.

Despite containing the aforementioned printed canopies, 32 stickers are also required. These include the ubiquitous information plaque alongside another sheet with clear backing. I favour opaque stickers which are reasonably forgiving of mistakes during application, although these clear-backed stickers are less inclined to peel over time. Regardless, the quantity is surprising.

Minifigures

Two appropriate minifigures accompany this Republic Gunship, although their selection has proven controversial. Mace Windu leads the Jedi taskforce dispatched to Geonosis and this minifigure is unique, featuring dusty highlights across his robes. These reflect the Geonosian environment and authentic detail continues on Windu’s belt, where metallic silver and golden accents are present.

Furthermore, the exclusive determined expression looks perfect and I like the pale decoration on the legs. However, the dark brown boots are missing and dual-moulded legs may therefore have proven effective here. This minifigure remains splendid though, inevitably including Mace Windu’s distinctive purple lightsaber.

Attractive flame yellowish orange markings distinguish this Clone Commander from standard Clone Troopers, presumably based upon Commander Ponds from the Battle of Geonosis. The colour scheme looks superb and substantially improves upon the equivalent from 75019 AT-TE, where the commander’s armour displayed brighter yellow decoration.

This minifigure also includes decorated legs which look excellent. However, the torso appears somewhat disappointing as LEGO has re-used the Phase II armour design which was created during 2020, befitting an animated Phase II Clone Trooper. The difference between armours is definitely sufficiently pronounced to warrant separate designs, in my opinion.

Comparing this Clone Commander with its predecessor clearly demonstrates the differences, particularly around the midriff. The enlarged flexible section corresponds with Clone Troopers from Star Wars: The Clone Wars, rather than live-action films. For that reason, an update was necessary and I think this helmet component could be enhanced too, originating from 2008.

Construction

Assembly commences at the base, which comprises numerous layered plates. This structure feels reasonably strong and will definitely need to be, since the Republic Gunship includes an expansive troop compartment towards the rear. Technic components accordingly surround the open section and the resultant frame begins to emerge during the early stages of construction.

This frame is comparatively simple, incorporating Technic beams for support towards the front and rear while the central spar consists of Technic bricks. The structure seems absolutely rigid and features an interesting lattice column which provides strength and aesthetic appeal. These exposed brackets are important too, as they will later secure the external bodywork.

Four separate panels are mounted towards the front, using Technic pins. They perfectly adjoin the neighbouring structure around the laser cannons and the wedge plates inside the fuselage, achieving an accurate shape. Additionally, the blending of smooth surfaces and exposed studs will prove important throughout the Republic Gunship.

An enormous Technic structure continues towards the rear, extending the fuselage further and revealing the mammoth size of this model. Nevertheless, the frame remains sufficiently robust, reinforcing both door braces which are secured here. Conversely, the section behind the troop compartment comprises traditional plates, only supported at each end using Technic elements.

Two substantial panels, again consisting of layered plates, are mounted on either side. These are connected to the aforementioned brackets and nestle nicely between segments which are constructed vertically, including the 1×6 arch elements located towards the front. Slotting each section into place is accordingly satisfying, completely concealing the Technic elements within and appearing impressive.

However, one section remains open to accommodate the cockpit structure, which is attached using a single Technic axle. This component alone is adequate though, since both the cockpit and upper fuselage slide seamlessly between the bodywork panels. However, the rear section requires additional strengthening, hence another layer of Technic bricks is assembled.

Such strength is necessary to brace the mammoth wings, although the doors are constructed next. They comprise plates and tiles which seems surprisingly simple, given their size and the inclusion of multiple narrow viewports. However, the doors and wing supports feel quite sturdy, without requiring complex building techniques or Technic bracing.

Despite their considerable size, the wings are assembled similarly to those on smaller LAAT/i models. Once again, they comprise various plates and tiles which are consistently overlapped and achieve fantastic rigidity. The most distinctive section emerges beside the fuselage, where one panel is attached using rocker bearings and slots perfectly into the vacant space.

Each wing is attached using one Technic axle, matching 75021 Republic Gunship. While such construction techniques are relatively simple, these axles provide ample support. Furthermore, the Technic elements are wholly concealed when the building process is complete, resembling 75275 A-wing Starfighter in this regard. This is unsurprising, since both models were designed by Hans Burkhard Schlömer.

The engine nacelles and composite-beam turrets are constructed next. These engines seem exceptionally familiar when compared with minifigure-scale versions of the Republic Gunship, until building the forward sections where 4×16 wedge slopes are attached sideways. The twin turrets are definitely unusual though, each comprising 8×8 canopies around a band of curved slopes which are connected using clips.

Construction of Ultimate Collector Series models traditionally concludes with the display stand and this process is no exception. The reliance upon Technic elements matches earlier designs, although this model requires considerable support and the stand is therefore significantly wider than comparable examples. Nevertheless, the structure remains consistent between them.

The Completed Model

Countless excellent vehicles appear throughout the Prequel Trilogy, commonly deviating from the industrial aesthetic established during the Original Trilogy. The powerful Republic Gunship exemplifies such variation, consisting primarily of curved shapes which are faithfully replicated here. Ultimate Collector Series scaling has certainly proven significant in that regard, assuring exceptional accuracy.

The model measures 68cm in length, including the forward and rear laser cannons, while the wingspan reaches 73cm! Such enormous size enhances the detailing and accuracy, although displaying the creation might prove challenging. The wingspan introduces particular difficulties, easily exceeding the widths of 75192 Millennium Falcon and 75252 Imperial Star Destroyer.

Comparing this model with earlier renditions of the LAAT/i, including 75021 Republic Gunship, further emphasises the outstanding scale of 75309 Republic Gunship. Moreover, the changes between previous Republic Gunship models and this example become obvious, exploiting the increased size to include details and aesthetic features which have been missing from smaller designs.

Ultimate Collector Series models traditionally contain display stands and this model therefore rests on an attractive stand. The angled position appears absolutely outstanding, creating the impression of dynamic motion. In addition, the connection between the Republic Gunship and this display stand feels secure, incorporating simple tabs which slot underneath the vehicle.

Decorative information plaques are another common feature of Ultimate Collector Series sets. Unfortunately, mistakes on these plaques have become similarly consistent and three obvious errors are displayed here, including reference to two composite-beam laser turrets, rather than four, while mention of the air-to-air rockets is completely excluded. This plaque also contains a typing error, making reference to ‘missiles belts’, which is frustrating.

Nevertheless, the plaque design matches other sets and I love the black display stand, which also appears consistent with earlier Ultimate Collector Series models. The rounded edges are superb and space for both minifigures is included beside the information plaque. However, the Technic structure remains reasonably exposed on this display stand.

Fortunately, the Republic Gunship avoids such issues and includes excellent detail, beginning towards the front. These lime green accents correspond precisely with the original vehicle and 2×2 wedge tiles are employed to good effect. In addition, stickers form accurate armour panels beneath the distinctive yellow designs which appear onscreen.

The dark bluish grey seam between the lime green sections also matches the source material, improving upon previous designs. These articulated laser cannons look brilliant too, combining large ball joints with 3×3 arch bricks which slot neatly around each weapon mounting. However, the neighbouring bodywork seems somewhat jagged because no suitable curved elements are currently available.

Such compromises are definitely reasonable, especially since they are uncommon throughout this model. The curvature of the fuselage otherwise appears authentic and I like the light bluish grey armour immediately below the cockpit. These sections are rather inconspicuous during the Battle of Geonosis, when the Republic Gunships are encrusted with sand, but do become more visible on Coruscant, for example.

Republic technology typically includes dark red accents and the cockpit section is accordingly dark red, contrasting nicely against the white fuselage. These rounded canopies look fantastic and both components are uniquely decorated, featuring an appropriate band above the gunner. Additionally, the white streaks between the cockpit module and the light bluish grey armour are completely accurate and such subtle detailing is impressive.

Each canopy is removable, revealing the seats and printed control panels inside. These seats are suitably angled when compared with the original vehicle, although I think they should have featured pronounced headrests. The control consoles could also have been improved because these deviate from the onscreen consoles, which are clearly displayed during the movie.

Among the numerous attractive features of Republic Gunships, their external composite-beam laser turrets are especially popular. These spherical weapons present considerable challenges in design, although the enlarged scale has enabled the use of 8×8 canopy elements which look outstanding, including accurate seats alongside decorated strengthening ribs.

The resulting structure appears impressive, although the spherical shape is slightly elongated. Unfortunately, the considerable weight of each turret necessitates significant Technic supports inside the troop compartment, as demonstrated below. These sturdy stanchions look relatively exposed and the composite-beam lasers cannot pitch downwards, unfortunately, but adjusting the design would probably compromise its strength.

Despite their fixed pitch, these turrets are reasonably mobile. They can swing inside the troop compartment for storage, or they could be removed altogether if you prefer the LAAT/i without supplementary weapons. The bodywork behind the turrets continues to impress, incorporating superb curvature. However, I dislike the stickers placed behind the forward archways because their colour contrasts against the neighbouring white pieces.

Several trans-light blue lights are accurately positioned inside the troop compartment, beside dark red panels. These colourful sections are not present onscreen since textured deckplates are visible instead, although I think the brighter panels look impressive. Furthermore, I like the black railings that represent cargo netting and the cylindrical generator towards the front. That generator can become easily detached though.

The considerable size of this troop compartment requires supports that are not present during the movies. The designer has therefore extended the onboard computer terminal, which partly disguises another Technic beam. While complete accuracy would be wonderful, disguising this structural support using the onboard terminal and cargo netting is ingenious!

Exposed studs are consistently important on LEGO models and the balance between smooth surfaces and studs here seems effective. The pronounced light bluish grey armour panels are appealing too, creating brilliant texture and corresponding with the onscreen vehicle. Naturally, the Republic emblem also decorates the fuselage and can be oriented correctly.

Articulated doors are attached on either flank, protecting the troop compartment. They include several narrow viewports which seem reasonably faithful to the source material, although their edges should be rounded. Additionally, the doors cannot close completely against the fuselage because their angles are inaccurate, unfortunately. The rockets mounted inside both doors are authentic though.

Light bluish grey highlights continue across the rear, where studs become more exposed than elsewhere on the bodywork. The shaping and colour scheme looks splendid though, reflecting the onscreen Republic Gunship. I like the adjustable antipersonnel laser cannon too, above an opening rear hatch which is deployed regularly during Star Wars: The Clone Wars.

Two prominent exhausts are situated between the engine nacelles. They compare favourably with the original vessel, although the engine diagnostics panel that should appear underneath has been omitted. That decision seems strange as shortening both exhausts or elongating the whole armour section would provide adequate space for the diagnostics system.

Republic Gunships are heavily armed, including twin mass-driver missile launchers which are supplied from missile belts. Technic gears connect both belts, allowing them to rotate together beside the missile launchers. The surrounding bodywork includes wonderful detail, particularly since another lime green stripe is suitably located here, complementing those across the nose.

These substantial engines are absolutely enormous, measuring nearly 40cm in length. Their gradual tapering differs somewhat from the original LAAT/i, although this solution is excellent and accurate carbon scoring is present around the muzzles. The stickers which form dark red markings appear awkward, although they were necessary when using these parts.

Additional stickers adorn both wings, accompanying dark red, light bluish grey and lime green elements. The resulting colours are attractive and the angular shaping looks appealing as well, closely resembling the onscreen vehicle. Additionally, the integration between these wings and the engine nacelles is impressive, avoiding the gaps which have appeared on smaller versions of the Republic Gunship.

Automated composite-beam laser turrets are connected to each wing, matching those beside the troop compartment. The twin emitters above and below the wing reflect the original vessel and I appreciate the varied decoration between these turrets and those alongside the fuselage. These composite-beam lasers cannot rotate though, which is slightly disappointing.

Four air-to-air rockets are slung beneath each wing, corresponding with those inside the troop compartment doors. They cannot be easily detached, but include authentic dark red warheads and tail fins because those weapons are usually deployed during atmospheric flight. Of course, the lower section of the composite-beam laser turret is also visible underneath the wing.

Overall

Ultimate Collector Series models invariably provoke excitement, but 75309 Republic Gunship was chosen by LEGO Star Wars fans and has therefore inspired particular anticipation. I think the resultant model has proven worthy of such expectations, fortunately! The creation includes extraordinary detail, taking full advantage of the enlarged scale to capture nearly every feature from the LAAT/i.

That scale is also impressive, although displaying this model could prove challenging because its measurements are considerable in every dimension. However, the minifigures are definitely the most significant disappointment. I understand excluding Commander Cody, but the generic Jedi Knight from 7163 Republic Gunship, commonly known as Jedi Bob, should have returned here. 75978 Diagon Alley contained a secret character and providing Jedi Bob using the same method would have been ideal.

Nevertheless, issues concerning the minifigures should not overshadow the Republic Gunship itself, which looks absolutely spectacular. Furthermore, the price of £329.99 or $349.99 seems reasonable, taking the scale of the vessel into consideration, so I would absolutely recommend 75309 Republic Gunship to fans of the Prequel Trilogy or this magnificent vehicle.

This set was provided for review by The LEGO Group but the review represents an expression of my own opinions.

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