Lego r2d2 technic

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We Build the LEGO R2-D2, a Challenging Build with an Adorable Result

I've built a few advanced LEGO sets, many for IGN. But building the new LEGO R2-D2 was challenging and difficult in a way that those builds were not. This is not a build designed for multitasking, where you can watch a movie or browse social media while constructing it. It demands your undivided attention, which for many LEGO enthusiasts, is as good an excuse as any to buckle down and shut out the ambient noise and distractions. You don't have to ask me twice.The prior Ultimate Collector Series R2-D2 nailed the character's iconic color scheme, but not the rounded, smooth design of the body, an essential component of its lovability. The new R2-D2, released in celebration of Lucasfilm Ltd.'s 50th anniversary, rectifies this with giant, smooth plating, built separately from the model, that hangs on the underlying LEGO Technic skeleton via cross pins. The build is a rectangular prism. But it does an excellent job at communicating the illusion of roundness and hiding its seams.Like the prior model, the new R2-D2 contains hidden components in its chest cavity. Side flaps fold back to reveal its utility arms/probes, which it uses to fix machines, redirect elevators, and turn off garbage compactors. Additionally, this model has an interactive dome, which can rotate 360 degrees. There's a compartment for Luke Skywalker's lightsaber, which R2-D2 launched to his master at the Great Pit of Carkoon in Return of the Jedi. There's also a hidden, retractable periscope on the back of the droid, which R2-D2 used to find his bearings after falling off Jabba's sail barge.The model has a retractable third leg, but can easily balance on two legs. To switch from two-leg to three-leg mode requires you to lift the model, manually bend the body backwards, and set it down again in its new configuration. All of the hidden features in this model are manually performed; there are no remote, battery-operated functions, which would have added considerably to its $200 price tag.. It comes with a plaque that recognizes the aforementioned 50th anniversary, plus a factoid sticker detailing R2-D2's specs. Mounted on the plaque is a mini-figure of R2-D2.

Interestingly, the R2-D2 designers anticipated builders' mistakes. They used color coding on the LEGO Technic pieces to serve as warning lights: "Do this wrong, and you'll likely spend hours undoing your error." To wit: all of the rod pieces on the backside of R2-D2 are red. All of the rod pieces on the front side of R2-D2 are green.During my build, the red coloring tipped me off that I had attached the legs and feet on the wrong sides. The realization came at a crucial moment, before I started plating over the Technic with the brick finish. It took a bit of backtracking to correct, but if LEGO had decided to make all the rods grey and indistinctive, it would have been much more.

Time and again, I felt LEGO's attempts to save me from hours of unnecessary rework. A piece wouldn't fit into its insertion point properly, because I hadn't properly aligned the bricks four steps beforehand. Another piece wouldn't be able to support itself, because the underlying bricks from ten steps ago were placed at the wrong orientation. LEGO is consistently excellent at pointing out small mistakes before they become large mistakes, hours after they're too late to diagnose.The end result is worth the fastidiousness. The final R2-D2 is adorable, decently-sized, and uncommonly pliable and poseable. Most LEGO recreations are accurate looking, but stiff to the touch--they're a nostalgic, still snapshot from a moment in our childhoods.

But the R2-D2 model feels more alive. Its legs are held to the body by flexible pins and rods, which allows the model to jiggle about, similar to how Kenny Baker would make R2-D2 waddle on two legs in the original trilogy. If you interact with it in any tactile manner, the model is reactive. In this sense, the model captures the spirit of the character in addition to its appearance. But fair warning; this is not a build for a novice. Even an expert builder will need to give this model their full attention; there's a fine line between being pliable and breaking apart at the seams, and this model walks it.I'm struggling to explain the experience of building this to readers who do not build LEGO on a regular basis. Here is an attempt: building the new LEGO R2-D2 is somewhat akin to playing Red Dead Redemption 2 back in 2018. You'll remember in that game, the developers would punish you for moving too quickly. Gallop through a town, and you'd likely run someone ever. Run through the town square, and you'd bump into an NPC.

And after multiple punitive dealings with the law, you eventually realized that this was a game meant to be walked through. You were supposed to interact, explore, and mosey about in real time, and make progress at a detail-oriented pace. And like that game, the LEGO R2-D2 build is defiant, demanding that you slow down in order to match its speed.

The LEGO R2-D2, Set #75308, was created by a design team led by Creative Director Jens Kronvold Fredericksen. It's composed of 2314 pieces and retails for $199.99.Kevin Wong is a contributor to IGN. Talk LEGO with him on Twitter at @kevinjameswong.

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If you’re a Star Wars fan, chances are you’ve grown fond of R2-D2 over the years. Without this lovable little droid, the fate of the galaxy could have unravelled in a very different way. And thanks to LEGO you can now build a wonderful replica of him yourself, providing you have £180 and about 10 hours to spare.

It’s not the first time a large-scale model of R2-D2 has been available of course, but with the last one discontinued in 2014 and now selling for a pretty sum second hand, we welcome this revised model with open arms. And there are a number of improvements, too.

LEGO Star Wars 75308 R2-D2

  • RRP: £179.99
  • Number of pieces: 2,314
  • Release date: May 2021
  • Age rating: 18+
  • Time to build: ~10 hours

What’s in the box?

LEGO 75308 R2-D2 is one of those sets that also presents you with a plain white box when you open up the outer box and dig around a little. Scattered between both boxes you’ll find 16 bags in total, numbered from one all the way up to thirteen, as well as two loose technic pieces.

There’s also an instruction book, of course; a 284-page one, in fact, with foreword by the Creative Director of Lego Star Wars and some information about R2-D2. There’s a sticker sheet, too, with just one large sticker.

The build

It’s a nice model to build, LEGO 75308 R2-D2. Though there’s one part of it that could frustrate you. It did me, but if you pay very close attention to the instruction book you should be alright. The troublesome part is actually the first part you build: the centre leg. It’s comprised largely of Technic pieces, with a mechanism that’s hard to get your head around until much later in the build. Until then, you’ll just have to have faith in yourself. After building the centre leg, you then build a frame around it, forming the basic body of R2-D2.

With the frame built, you move away from Technic and start using some good old System pieces. You build the sides of R2-D2, before essentially hanging them onto the frame. Flat 3×2 pieces are used on their undersides to secure them in place. You’re then able to move onto building the legs.

LEGO Star Wars 75308 R2-D2 review

When it comes to the legs, LEGO System is used to create the central part of their outer shell that sits around a Technic skeleton. They’re then attached to the central frame. The feet are then made and attached, finally allowing you to stand R2-D2 up and appreciate your work so far.

At this point, you should also do what I didn’t do: test the mechanism that allows the central leg to be deployed by lifting R2-D2’s body a little and tilting him backwards. If it works, hurrah! If not, you need to go back and check your Technic handiwork. By moving R2-D2’s body back into its neutral position, you should also be able to retract the leg again.

With the mechanism tested and working fine, it’s time to finish the legs with additional casing and detail, before moving onto the front and back of R2-D2. The front is done first, with some wonderful detailing such as numerous grills and a vent. The back is boring in comparison. Both are hung onto the frame like the sides, and strategically held in place with other pieces attached afterwards.

LEGO Star Wars 75308 R2-D2 review

The head is built last. A circular base is established and then built upon until a hollow dome has been created. One small quadrant can be lifted and twizzled around, and another can be removed to reveal a lighsaber hilt. Once built, the head has to be connected to the body via a turntable plate. It’s a bit tricky to locate, but once it’s on it allows you to rotate it, and it’s on pretty solidly.

Once R2-D2 is done, all that’s left to build is the included R2-D2 minifig and the included stand. The single sticker included is applied to the large plate to create an informative plaque.

LEGO Star Wars 75308 R2-D2 review

Play or display?

While LEGO 75308 R2-D2 isn’t designated as an Ultimate Collector’s Series set like its predecessor, it is in all but name. That means most will want to buy it for display, and those who do so will be very happy with it thanks to the wonderful amount of detail that’s been packed in.

There are, however, lots of play elements that make R2-D2 an expensive toy if needs be. Beyond the snazzy new mechanism that allows R2-D2’s central leg to be easily deployed and then stowed away again, you have slippy studs on the feet that allow you to move him about without much friction, and two rods located on the rear of R2-D2 can be pushed in to reveal tools that emerge from doors on the front. It’s just a shame that they have to be manually retracted, and the doors manually closed afterwards. The final interactive touches are R2-D2’s periscope which can be raised and lowered, and the hidden lightsaber compartment. So, play or display? We’d say primarily the former, but it’s truly up to you on this one.

LEGO Star Wars 75308 R2-D2 review

Value for money?

Coming in at roughly the same price as the previous Ultimate Collector’s Series version of R2-D2, released some nine years ago now, we feel that this new, updated version of one of Star Wars’ most iconic droids offers excellent value for money. While it isn’t that much of a bigger set piece-wise, excellent work has been done to make this model of R2-D2 more accurate then ever, with the body being more rounded, the legs being more flush, and the head having less exposed studs.

Throw in some additional functions that bring the model to life a little, and you have one of the best brick-built droids available. There’s still some room for improvement, but if you’re Star Wars fan who’s just got into LEGO, or missed out on R2-D2 the last time around, then you won’t be disappointed if you decide to part with your cash and add this to your LEGO collection.

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Technic lego r2d2

The annual May the 4th “Star Wars Day” merchandising event is coming up next week, with new products becoming available starting May 1st. The recently announced LEGO Star Wars 75308 R2-D2 joins that list, with 2,314 pieces and a price of US $199.99 | CAN $269.99 | UK £179.99. How does this version compare to the first large-scale Artoo (10225) from 2012? Is it worth picking up next week? Read our hands-on review to learn more.

The LEGO Group provided The Brothers Brick with an early copy of this set for review. Providing TBB with products for review guarantees neither coverage nor positive reviews.

The packaging & instructions

The outer box follows the pattern of recent LEGO Star Wars sets intended for adults, with the name of the set taking the top spot and a bottom banner that places priority on the “18+” age and part count. Notably, there is no sub-branding like Ultimate Collector Series or Master Builder Series. The back of the box features movie stills and the LEGO model’s working functions, and highlights the printed Lucasfilm brick.

Most larger LEGO sets have included an inner box for several years, but whether or not you can open that box first and start building with the bags from the inner box has remained hit and miss. A well-sorted inner box is a subtle aspect of the experience, but with the potential to bring in more new adult builders with these sets, it’s disappointing that LEGO has yet to achieve consistency across these sets.

When you open the inner box and sort out the bags, there are 13 groups of numbered bags, plus a couple of loose large Technic pieces. The instruction booklet and info panel sticker sheet come in the inner box in their own wrapper.

All of the details on Artoo are brick-built, but his specifications are captured on a 6×12 information panel, with a printed 1×4 Lucasfilm brick. Like previous droid sets, including the recently revealed 75306 Imperial Probe Droid, the info panel is smaller than the info panels included with true UCS sets. We’ll come back to the printed brick when we look at the assembled info panel stand later in the review.

The build

The first several bags are almost entirely Technic pieces, providing parts for the astromech’s square internal core and interior mechanisms. Artoo’s central leg is also mostly Technic, fitting into the middle of the Technic core.

The foot slides down from the leg on Technic beams, with a hinge mechanism that ensures his foot can remain flat on the ground.

More Technic connects to the central core to provide attachment points for the outer skin and legs.

Parts shift to standard LEGO System pieces as you begin building Artoo’s detailed outer skin. These come together as panels, which have Technic pins/axles to hang them from the core.

Once the side panels are attached, you begin assembling the right and left legs, which have lots of actuators, struts, and other greebly details.

The pearl-gold hoses on Artoo’s feet are new to LEGO in this color, and other than the printed Lucasfilm brick, is the only recolored piece introduced in this set.

The legs connect through the side panels to the internal Technic core.

The front and back panels include numerous functional details. Like the side panels, they hang on the core with Technic connections.

Doors open on the front panel to allow multiple tools to pop out, with two tools above the acoustic signaler and two doors alongside the body for the laser cutting tool and manipulator arm.

With all three legs in place, R2-D2 stands on his own, though he looks rather odd without his iconic dome head.

Artoo’s dome starts with a ring that’s full of studs-out attachments, half-stud offset, and the increasingly popular pin connections for odd angles.

The dome is where major external differences first become obvious compared to the 2012 R2-D2. Rather than a studs-up dome built from bricks (Lowell Sphere-style), the new Artoo uses a diverse array of regular slopes, curved slopes, and bows in a combination of studs-up and studs-out attachments. The interior is occupied by a compartment for Luke’s lightsaber and a pop-up periscope.

The pop-up periscope created an unexpected challenge during the build process. The instructions (which, notably, have switched back from the horrible black background to gray) show the periscope’s vertical section attaching to the top via the tubes rather than anti-studs, for a half-stud offset connection.

I missed this, connecting to the anti-studs, resulting in an unsightly half-stud gap in Artoo’s dome. While I saw the gap, it took a second pair of eyes to see my mistake compared to the instructions.

We popped a few of the sections off the finished dome to show how some of the angles and curves were achieved via clips and studs-out connections.

As always, the final bag is reserved for the info panel, which is accompanied by a 1x4x3 black brick printed with the Lucasfilm 50th anniversary logo.

The finished model

R2-D2 is one of the most iconic characters in the Star Wars universe, and one of only two characters who has appeared in all nine movies in the Skywalker Saga (along with his droid companion C-3PO). In LEGO form, Artoo is all too common — I have a full bag of spare minifig-size R2-D2s. But larger-scale Artoos have been few and far between, with only a handful released since the launch of LEGO Star Wars back in 1999. This latest Artoo is also only the second System version, following the 2012 version.

There is so much detail packed into the front of Artoo’s body, from the ventilation ports and power couplings to hidden tools.

Artoo’s hidden tools include a laser cutting saw and grasping arm, which pop out of his body from vertical doors.

Activating the tools requires a simple push on pins that stick out of the back of his body.

Astromech droids like R2-D2 have three legs, allowing the droid to stand upright or move along more quickly with the central leg extended down. Some of the complexity in the central Technic core is due to the mechanism that enables LEGO Artoo to extend his central leg. To do so, you lift the body up, which partially extends the left and right legs as well. After lifting Artoo’s body, you turn his head back, which unlocks the middle leg to drop it down. Getting this movement right takes a couple of tries, and the whole mechanism feels frankly a bit floppy. Still, the inclusion of this major functional detail in the LEGO version is important, and my non-Technic brain can’t fault a bit of wiggle to accomplish such a complicated mechanism.

Artoo’s dome also has several working features, including the aforementioned periscope, which you can pop up and flip around by pulling up from the dome.

Another small panel also pops off, revealing a compartment for Luke Skywalker’s lightsaber. There’s no special mechanism to pop the panel off or send the lightsaber flying through the air, but it’s a really fun detail that’s brand new to this latest version of R2-D2.

The lightsaber itself is a fun little build, with all the right details built from just a few pieces.

Comparing the 2021 LEGO Star Wars R2-D2 to earlier versions

It’s easy to feel nostalgic about older LEGO Star Wars sets, and many LEGO Star Wars collectors decry the constant stream of re-releases, some of which are admittedly not always improvements over their previous incarnations. But I’ve argued for several years now that, in general, the larger palette of slopes and curved pieces has allowed LEGO designers to make important improvements in most re-released sets. I think this latest LEGO Artoo is no exception, representing a huge step forward in design, with several new functional elements.

The domes are where the difference is much more obvious. The older version looks almost jagged, with much smoother curves on the new version. But this is a purely aesthetic, stylistic consideration that is likely a matter of personal preference — many LEGO fans may prefer plenty of studs for a very LEGO-like pixelated appearance. Another significant difference is in Artoo’s sensors and indicators, whose size is more accurately proportional to the dome.

The very first large-scale LEGO Star Wars R2-D2 was released as part of the MINDSTORMS Droid Developer Kit during the first year of LEGO Star Wars, all the way back in 1999. It’s not the same size as the later System versions, but used Technic panels available at the time with a gorgeous printed dome. Nevertheless, the aesthetic of many Technic models at the time included large gaps, and this first LEGO Artoo was no different.

As a display piece, the new LEGO Star Wars R2-D2 fits with other recent large-scale Star Wars figures, including 75187 BB-8 (2017) and 75318 The Child (2020), although their scales aren’t necessarily all the same (Grogu would certainly be smaller).

Conclusions & recommendation

After 22 years and numerous iterations across various sizes and even multiple building systems, I think that each LEGO R2-D2 makes incremental improvements over the previous version. This latest version doesn’t necessarily represent the pinnacle of perfection — there are always more functional details that could be included, better curves to be achieved with new LEGO parts in the future, and improvements to be made on existing features like the leg. Nevertheless, this is a great LEGO Artoo, full of personality and lively detail.

LEGO has recently released a number of great parts packs for builders who need lots of white pieces, like 10295 Porsche 911 Turbo & 911 Targa and 10283 NASA Space Shuttle Discovery. While this one doesn’t include any new slopes or curves like the other two, at over 2,300 pieces for $200, 75308 R2-D2 isn’t a bad parts pack itself.

If you’re a long-time LEGO Star Wars fan, you probably already have the 2012 version, and may even prefer the studs-up look of the earlier dome. Busy with work, then being a bit more budget-conscious between jobs when it was originally released, I didn’t buy the 2012 version until several years ago, when I snagged it for a small markup from a friend who had an extra copy. I like both versions for different reasons, and I can heartily recommend this new version as much as I enjoyed the last.

LEGO Star Wars 75308 R2-D2 includes 2,314 pieces and will be available beginning May 1st from the LEGO Shop for US $199.99 | CAN $269.99 | UK £179.99.

The LEGO Group sent The Brothers Brick an early copy of this set for review. Providing TBB with products for review guarantees neither coverage nor positive reviews.

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