LEGO STAR WARS: Imperial AT-Hauler 75219 REVIEW
Set number 75219, $149.99 from LEGO Shop at roughly .18 cents per brick
829 x Pieces
5 x Mini Figures
7 x Numbered Bags
1 x Instruction Booklet
1 x Page of Stickers
1 x Brick Separator
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Time to get this out-of-the-way now, though we get five mini figures in the set, two of them are identical, and one of them is hands down my favourite in recent times.
The five mini figures are as follows; Qi’ra, Val, Rio Durant and Dryden’s Guard x 2. As per usual, lets kick things off with the heroes of the set, Qi’ra. In mini figure form, Qi’ra looks pretty good. Black leg pieces are boring, but as soon as you get to the body piece, things get interesting. Although not noticeable at first, Qi’ra is sporting a winter jacket in the form of a brown colour with fluffy textures over the top. At first glance, I thought the marks on the jacket were dirt, but when you look closer, the fluffiness is easily visible. Just below that, we get a glimpse of a belt with various colours on display. I have been impressed with LEGO lately pushing the shiny silver in their mini figures. Under normal conditions they look plain, but get a little light on them, and the silver really pops out. On the back we get some more of the fluffy textures, but sadly nothing on the arms. Two expressions are given for the head-piece, the standard serious and smile looks with nothing special on offer. What I do like, is the hair piece. Mind you, I’ve been out of the LEGO reviews for a while, so most of my LEGO building has been for fun and display, not review. So coming to Qi’ra, I was pleasantly surprised to find the hair is a tough rubber piece. Now while the pony tail look isn’t unique, the fact it has a small pin hole at the top of the hair piece is. I don’t believe to have seen that before. Finishing off Qi’ra is simple with LEGO providing a laser pistol accessory.
Next up is Val, who is so much more detailed than Qi’ra. Lets start with the leg piece which has printing. Black as the main colour with brown harness strapping going up and around the legs. We also get some shiny silver details and a red rope attached to the belt printing. The body piece is even more detailed with the brown strapping extending from front to back. A winter coat look is clearly visible on the front and wrapping around the neck is what appears to be a necklace. It’s been a while since seeing Solo A Star Wars Story. The head-piece is delivered with two expressions. One is the serious look and another has an open mouth but is wearing goggles. Finally the hair piece is just perfect. A solid piece in the shape of an afro. Val is also given a larger blaster rifle in dark grey.
My favourite mini figure; Rio Durant, the loveable alien creature who just looks so damn awesome. First we have the shorter leg piece which is common now with children mini figures, or shorter characters. Dark blue with zero print. No movement here, so don’t expect Rio to be sitting in any cockpit. The body piece is where it’s at. Let me just say it right now, since Rio has four arms in the film, I half expected LEGO to make a tall than usual body piece, but instead, LEGO has gone to the effort to make the arm pieces, double. As in, each left and right arm has two in its place. Both arm pieces move as one, but each has moveable hand parts so you could have Rio holding four weapons at once. I absolutely love that LEGO has made this choice, and hope this is just a sign of things to come. The body piece though, gets even better. A light blue colour as the base, is accented by bright orange stripes from front to back, followed by a white belt all the way around. I especially love the fact front of the body piece. It packs an absolute amazing amount of details and colour with a communication cord going from the belt, to the mini figure-head piece. The colours are bright, the textures and printing are clear, and the arms alone could sell me on Rio Durant alone. But we still have more. Moving up to the head-piece, again LEGO have outdone themselves and created a totally unique piece. Light blue fur covers the entire head, save for the face itself. It even manages to come down a little further around the chin, obviously implying a beard. The face of Rio is really spot on with the alien monkey type design. With get large bulbous eyes, with two(?) pupils, indentation of the nostrils and a cheeky smile. On the side of the mouth, you can even see that LEGO has gone and placed a microphone, which is a fitting detail when you remember the wire from the body piece. Sadly the microphone can be lost in the fur as it’s the same colour. Completing the head-piece is the large white goggles that attach in place and flick up or down depending on the look you want. As I said, favourite mini figure in a long time. Like the two previous heroes, Rio comes with a blaster rifle in dark grey.
While Rio Durant is utterly amazing to look at, I can’t help but feel let down by the Dryden’s Guard mini figure. Both are identical from front to back, save for one minor detail. But I’ll get to that. The leg piece is full black with a little above the knee and some gold just below. The body piece is also black with a lot more detail on the front in the form of dark grey textures, and what appears to be a symbol dead centre. The gold colouring is also visible, but the muted colours don’t do much. A little bit of print is on the rear, but nothing to really stand out. The arms also have no textures or printing. The head-piece of the Guard is fairly unique actually, and while it does a fantastic job of highlighting the face, it doesn’t do enough to save the mini figure. The brown hair stands out with the same pointed look Rio has, except the Guard’s chin protrudes more. The face itself is a lightly tanned tone with plenty of wrinkles and really excellent eye details. While the two Guards are identical up to this point, the mouth is the only part where they deviate. One Guard has a closed angry mouth expression, while the other has an open mouth angry expression. The open-mouthed Guard has what appears to be a slight scar on the upper left of the mouth. Both are given light grey guns to complete the look.
With five mini figures on offer, only two are really worth it for me. Val, has the amazing body printing and hair piece. Her second expression with the goggles also stands out, while Rio is just a legendary figure. Four arms, packed with body detailing, printing and colours, and a unique head sculpt. This is a must have mini figure. Sadly, Qi’ra is a rather dull looking figure which is disappointing when it comes to LEGO Star Wars sets. Finally the Dryden’s Guard figures are just wasted here. Although the head pieces are rather fun to look at and unique, the rest of the figures don’t stand out. Actually, their muted colours do nothing but relegate them to bottom level for me. The heads and bodies just seem at complete opposites to each other.
I honestly have no idea how I feel about the Imperial AT-Hauler. Is it a LEGO set, or a Technic set? Both are made and designed by LEGO. Both types of sets are fun to build and both require a change in technique. However when it comes to the Imperial AT-Hauler, I am left undecided.
Starting off, we don’t move directly to the Imperial AT-Hauler, but instead begin by constructing a large container/storage box. It is so simply built with large flat pieces making up the floor and roof, and three grey pieces making up the walls. A few yellow door pieces are used to close up the build and manage to provide some functionality to the set. Some stickers are used to give something to do, and then a large brown technic piece is placed on the roof, a sign of things to come.
Looking at the container/storage box would leave anyone disappointed. It is a dull looking and overly simple build. It doesn’t do much on its own, and even with a harshly built weapons rack being placed inside, it’s still a rather forgettable build. The colours don’t stand out, and even the yellow doors are difficult to open without nails. However, the container/storage box only makes up a tiny portion of the main build, and quickly placing that aside, the rest of the numbered bags are devoted to the Imperial AT-Hauler.
Making your way through the instruction manual, you would be forgiven for thinking you’ve picked up the wrong booklet. LEGO Technic pieces are all that is on offer for a good portion of the build. The beginning gives you plenty of dark brown technic pieces to construct the cargo bay area, and they all lock into place and form a rather rigid structure. You are given enough open space to play around with and has room for mini figures to be placed. While the front view is closed off with railing, the rear side is completely open. Obviously designed so you can move mini figures around, but feels oddly out-of-place at the same thing. Two dark brown triangle wings are used underneath on hinges, but they simply fold flat and at no point in the instruction, or back of the box, does it show the pieces being used at all. They are just there for decorative reason and don’t add anything really. Once the set is completed, these are hidden from view and would snap if not folded flat. So, pointless?
With the first bag down, the cargo bay is mostly complete. Now you begin on the left and right wings. Or are they the arms of the AT-Hauler? Look, I’m not 100% sure, and frankly, I’ll probably be referring to them as both throughout the remainder of the review.
More LEGO Technic pieces are used here to strengthen, and re-enforce the arms. A lot of weight is being supported by the cargo bay area, and the arms connected at the ‘shoulder’ portion of the build is where plenty of love and attention is given. The brown pieces are thankfully replaced at this point with your standard grey pieces and even white, and expect lots of interlocking pins again.
Directly at the shoulder connection, LEGO gives you a very large rotating cog piece. I wasn’t 100% sure how this would work in the long run considering it never has a locking position, but once connected, it sits tight against the cargo bay. Another unusual, but very welcome feature is the landing gear. Using a much smaller wheel, you attach the legs and as the arms are raised up, the legs touch the ground and hold their position. From here, a bit of pressure then allows them to close back up and tuck against the arms for flight.
Bags two and three deal with each arm, but by the time bag four rolls around, it begins to feel more like a traditional LEGO build. Large grey and white pieces connected along upper, outer and inside of the arms to add not only bulk, but a bit of body to the skeleton. A few hinges provide some much-needed shape and also manage to hide much of the Technic pieces from view.
At the tips of the arms, Technic pieces are again in play to build hooks. This allows the AT-Hauler to actually interact with the container from earlier in the build. By using the wheels on either side of the arms, you’re able to swing the hooks in and out, and with just enough luck, you can pick up the container. Genius.
Even with the arms in landing mode (upright with landing legs down), the container stays attached to the hooks and never loses its footing.
Finally we have the centre section and cockpit of the AT-Hauler. Let me just mention this for a moment, is anyone else getting Wildmutt vibes from Ben 10? No? Just me? Moving on.
Again mostly white bricks are used to fill out the centre of the AT-Hauler. A few stiff hinges are created and used to give an angled look to the sides of the cockpit and a clear plastic piece for the cockpit window. The fact you can move it, works well and allows for some more space when handling the cockpit, but even with the roof being made to open and close, it never gives you enough space inside. Even the interior itself is pretty bare to look at. Mostly stark white with a few black bricks for controls. Some stickers here and there for atmosphere, but otherwise, it is kind of a let down. You will fit Rio inside, but don’t expect much more than that.
The centre section has a little more care taken to really bulk it up. Large wedge bricks are used to give some much-needed shape, and stickers are used to mimic machinery. Kind of a waste when you realise the cockpit walls have printed circle pieces.
I do like the rear part of the AT-Hauler. Its nothing fancy, but uses dark and shiny grey bricks with some gridded tiles to create a cool look. Something that is sorely missing from the AT-Hauler.
Separate from those already mentioned, some more play features are present. Either side of the cockpit are some awkwardly placed stud shooters. Why awkwardly placed? Well, because LEGO seems to have placed them in the worst possible position, and unless you have bones for fingers, firing them is not going to happen. The only way I have gotten a chance, is in landing mode with the arm up leaving the stud shooters completely exposed. Also at the front of the cockpit, exposed hinges are present with no purpose. Maybe you can add the Han Solo mini figure from the train set (75217) and clip him on. It does work, but clearly the pieces aren’t there for that reason. Also on top of the centre section are dark grey snap lock bricks. Only here for aesthetic reasons, but with some smart builders out there, I’m sure it could be moc’ed up for more use.
Imperial AT-Hauler 75219 set leaves me confused. To begin, we need to talk mini figures. On the one hand, you have some pretty unique looking figures in the form of Rio, Val and the head pieces of the Guards. Then you have the rather plain look of Qi’ra and body pieces of the Guards. Some good, some bad.
The main build follows this same trend. The AT-Hauler is one part Technic and the other part LEGO nightmare. In flight mode, having the build on a desk simply makes it fall forward. That is unless you have the hooks down, which in turn creates a stable front and keeps it all level.
Much like the mini figures, half the set is dull and boring. Bland colours are used throughout with features not exactly being well designed. The arms shifting up is awkward and never works as easy as I’m sure LEGO intended. You need to actually hold the centre section with one hand, lift the arm with your other hand, and then repeat for the other side. Oh, and you also need to push down the landing gear to stabilise it. This should’ve been a more focused design.
As it stands, LEGO have completely dropped the ball with the Imperial AT-Hauler. With 829 pieces, we could’ve had something better than the final build. While I do appreciate the unique design and sturdiness of the build, it doesn’t make up for the fact it’s just a clumsy product. LEGO needed to spend more time on the AT-Hauler, and less time trying to implement ideas that just don’t work.