Back in September of last year, #ForceFriday gave fans their first taste of LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and while all of the sets were fantastic, there were a few character and location omissions that having now seen the movie, fans would have expected.
Set Number: 75148
Minifigures: Rey, Teedo, Unkar Plutt
It’s been more than six months now since the movie hit cinemas and broke every box office record known to man and we’ve recently had a new wave of LEGO Star Wars sets released, including a couple of new Episode VII inspired models. One such set, Encounter on Jakku, finally brings us a piece of the desert planet that features so heavily during the first act of the blockbuster.
Expanding beyond the main cast of heroes and villains, the set focuses on the alien characters who Rey encounters while trying to survive in the Jakku desert. With Teedo the scavenger, Unkar Plutt, a luggabeast and an alien market stall, is this a winning set which stands out on its own? Probably not, but for those who have been collecting the Force Awakens sets, this will definitely add value to your collection.
For the price, the set does feel a little light on minifigures, only including three; Rey, Teedo and Unkar Plutt. That said, you do get two brand new alien minifigures for your Star Wars collection and exclusivity can make a huge difference with the appeal of a LEGO set to collectors, especially when it comes to Star Wars.
Now a series regular, this being her third outing, Rey’s minifigure is the least exciting addition here. What is a little disappointing is the lack of shoulder bag accessory which comes with the far cheaper Speeder set, given the setting for the movie, you’d expect that to have been included here. Moving on to the main figure pieces, the head is dual printed much like the other sets, and again I find myself asking why? The two faces are almost identical, either this girl is permanently playing it cool or the subtle differences between happy and angry are a little more subtle than originally intended.
The main body is fantastically simplistic in recreating the robes we see Daisy Ridley wearing in the movie with light blue on the torso and light brown legs, a printed robe and belt make up the main design. It’s a perfectly simple design with impressive detail, right down to the belt bucket which is actual wrapped and tied string. Overall, Rey is a great minifigure, and this is a good opportunity to collect the character if you’ve not done so yet.
The other two minifigures in the set offer something a lot more interesting, both including unique moulds which have been designed specifically for the character’s transition into LEGO. One of the biggest challenges facing LEGO designers, especially those working on LEGO Star Wars is how to bring the more interesting looking characters to life without taking too much away from the original source material, with Teedo and Unkar they have definitely succeeded.
Blink and you may have missed Teedo in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, he’s only in the movie for a very short period of time. He’s the scavenger who tries to kidnap (can you kidnap a droid?) BB-8 before Rey intervenes, saving the droid and in the process setting herself up for the galaxy-defining story she embarks on – so he’s fairly pivotal to the entire story come to think about of it.
The lizard-like creature is excellently brought to life in minifigure form with a unique head created specifically for the character. The mould is superbly designed, featuring his green scaly skin under a gasmask-like breathing apparatus which includes an air pipe, google eyes and even mouth definition, he looks exceptionally friendly considering he’s essentially supposed to be a bad guy of sorts.
The legs and torso both feature printing and both are predominantly a sandy brown colour. The layered desert-robe style outfit is made up of a number of horizontal lines with intermittent rips and tears giving it a worn look. The majority of the torso is covered by two dark brown straps which cross at the middle and feature the additional detail of varying supplies. These straps also feature on the back of the minifigure as well as the inclusion of a printed weapon of some kind. Accessory-wise, the character comes with an extended rod, made up of three individual LEGO pieces it’s similar in design to what Rey is carrying by slightly longer.
Unkar Plutt, the less than generous merchant Rey sells her scavenged goods to, was actually one of my favourite additions to the Star Wars universe and not least because he was played by one of my favourite actors, Simon Pegg. Much like Teedo, he didn’t spend much time on screen in the movie and yet had a lasting effect on the overall story, setting up Rey’s background on the harsh desert planet of Jakku.
Described as something of a gangster in the pre-movie release material, one of his thugs actually features in the Rey’s Speeder set from last year. He was always going to be a difficult one to bring into the LEGO Star Wars universe, purely because of his odd-shaped blobby (yep, that’s a word) face and bulky torso, his transition into bricks though works extremely well thanks to one big new piece which covers the entire torso and head. This isn’t just a new head like Teedo, the piece fits right over an overwise blank light-brown torso piece, covering it completely and leaving only the arms exposed.
The shoulder and chest armour of the character are captured well here, but it’s the face itself which really sells this minifigure. The detail is impressive, right down to the eyes which feature two different colours, making him one of the few characters in LEGO who actually has pupils as opposed to just black dots for eyes. Additional detail has been added around the mouth to give him the flabby look of the movie, this made even more prominent thanks to the huge neck fat coming out from the chin. As I’ve mentioned, the torso has no printing whatsoever, but the legs do continue the armour printing.
The first thing to note about Teedo’s mode of transport, the Luggabeast, is that it looks a lot bigger on the box than the finished product turns out to be, this isn’t necessarily detrimental, just an observation, it’s actually a surprisingly interesting, if overly complicated in places, build.
The wonderfully detailed creation looks the part, featuring a hodgepodge of different coloured and shaped pieces making up the outer layer of the model, presumably to simulate a makeshift armour like that seen in the movie. The majority of the build time is actually taken up adding these little details, as you will see from the picture above there is a good number to add on. What is impressive is that the only unique pieces used on the model appear to be the legs, everything else is made up of established LEGO elements, including the reins which are actually the curved whips that have shown up as accessories for characters like Indiana Jones and Poison Ivy. The great news is, if you hate stickers you’ll be happy to know that those eyes are actually pre-printed.
The full build itself is split into three areas, the main body, which is far more complicated than it appears, the legs as well as all the surrounding detail and then, finally, the head which connects to the body via a Technics hinge to allow some basic movement. While it is a fun build, the end product does disappoint from a play perspective due to the restrictive movement of the legs and head.
Unkar’s Market stall
I’d be lying if I said that the promotional material for this part of the set excited me, it looked surprisingly underwhelming for a set in this price range. The build and finished product, though, do prove that sometimes the pictures just don’t do a model the justice it deserves. Despite being quite a small creation to what many may have wanted to see for a Jakku set, the market stall is impressively detailed throughout, even featuring a few hidden play features.
Obviously, this is where most of your build time is going to go, it’s a fair chunk of the 500+ pieces in the set, and despite the fact that it doesn’t look that complex, the build phase definitely proves otherwise. The designers could have created something which sat as a static piece on a large base plate but instead went with the option of having the main section split with hinges connecting, allowing you to store it in a much smaller area for display purposes, or open it up for play and to reveal a wealth of additional detail.
The outside of the stall features the Star Wars signature, ‘I built this building using whatever materials I could get my hands on’, look. It’s the combination of different shaped and coloured pieces which give it that handmade shack look, you wouldn’t see this out of place in any desert-based galactic trading outpost. There are interesting details around the entire perimeter, from the workbench with half a battle droid lying on it to the storage bin containing bits of old machinery.
The single best part of this model, and the set in general, is the distinct lack of stickers. That brilliantly detailed canvas which runs across the top is actual a pre-printed flexible plastic sheet which you can simply apply without the monotony of lining up stickers so that they look their best. There’s also a hidden slide-out floor panel which contains a pistol, you know, just in case.
If the outside doesn’t do enough to impress then wait until you open up the model to reveal Unkar’s office/stall area, this area looks lived in. Featuring a weapon, ammunition, a mug and pot, it’s the subtle details which make this look great. There’s even a safe box which can be opened to reveal Unkar’s wealth, the food portions he hands out in exchange of scavenged tech.
It’s very difficult to be disappointed by the market stall, yes it isn’t the biggest set you’ll find in the price range, but it will add a great deal of background detail to your Star Wars: The Force Awakens LEGO collection.
The Set Overall
All the right elements for a great set exist in LEGO Star Wars – Encounter on Jakku but I can’t help feeling that there is something missing. When you look at the best that LEGO Star Wars has to offer, the Millenium Falcon, Poe’s X-Wing, these sets stand out on their own and look fantastic individually, whereas this set works great as an add-on for Rey’s Speeder or the aforementioned Falcon, it enhances the other sets brilliantly, but doesn’t quite stand alone.
The addition of two exclusive named characters from the movie will definitely draw collectors in, and I think that was the point of the set in general, this feels much more like a display piece rather than something a young child will get lots of play time out of. The set also feels a little overpriced, despite the number of pieces included. This really doesn’t belong in the £50 price range, though, maybe the inclusion of Finn and a stormtrooper to fully set the scene might have made it that little more worthwhile.
- Teedo and Unkar are brilliantly recreated in LEGO form, perfect for those looking to extend their collection
- Both models are equally interesting and well detailed, fun to build.
- No STICKERS
- There isn’t a great deal of play value with this set, much more designed as a collectors piece
- To really get the most out of the set you need some of the other LEGO Star Wars sets such as Rey’s Speeder or the Falcon.
- A bit overpriced