Too Hoth to handle?
January’s largest Lego Star Wars set was a curious Hoth variant of the venerable AT-ST. Retailing at $79.99 (currently on sale at Amazon, $62.95), set number 75322 contains 586 pieces, 3 minifigures and a well-detailed probe droid. The noble frozen chicken-walker couples really well with the other smaller snowy play-scale sets available like the AT-AT 75288, the Snowtrooper Battlepack 75320 and the Defence of Hoth 40557 minifigure pack. Most of these sets can still easily be found on shelves or ordered online. But, does the Hoth AT-ST stand on its own (pun intended) nearly 6 months later? Let’s take a look.
OK. First things first, what makes a ‘Hoth AT-ST’ different to a regular AT-ST? We only briefly see the AT-ST in The Empire Strikes Back but it is distinctive for having longer legs and a different shape to the cockpit. It isn’t really something you’ll likely notice unless comparing two screenshots side-by-side. The behind the scenes reason, as I understand it, is that the studio redesigned and refined the look of the AT-ST model entirely for Return of the Jedi and thus we end up with the two. Something, something canon and lore followed to make it all mesh. A big factor that will determine whether you’ll like this Lego set will simply come down to your personal appreciation for that original movie model.
The build admirably distinguishes itself from previous AT-ST sets by virtue of it being a literally different vehicle entirely. It does indeed have longer legs and the more angular cockpit has more of a bird beak shape. In fact, the whole set is more avian in design. The feet are virtually talons and appear to be perhaps a little overbuilt in relation to the barebones legs. Furthermore, the model can only really stand in one pose as a result of this design having very little joint articulation – just the single technic join on each leg near the base of the cockpit. That cockpit head is far better though. Functionally, it has a simple gear mechanism to rotate the top via a 2×2 cylinder at the rear and there is a working hatch for the driver to poke his head out. This is simple stuff but actually very well done. The entire top plate removes easily to place a minifigure inside hassle-free but unfortunately, that lack of pose-abilty of the legs makes the set feel quite static.
The minifigure selection is solid. Chewbacca’s new snow-speckled fur print is a subtle but welcome change for his mould. The imperial AT-ST driver and rebel trooper aren’t overly special but necessary additions. One more rebel soldier would’ve made the range a little more ‘complete’; something to even the odds in playing out this epic scene. Finally, whether you count the probe droid as a minifigure or mini-build, its head does cleverly rotate and it generally livens up the scene. Keep in mind that the droid does use up about 50 of the total 586 parts which may have been better served beefing up the legs or adding some articulation to the main model.
The Hoth AT-ST has some flaws in design sure, but this is a set with a relatively humble price (for Star Wars!), has a pretty decent minifigure selection and shows us something a little new. Some will just not get past its Empire design and that’s fair. Others will appreciate the novel take on an old classic. In sum, this is a fun little set but may still seem a little too familiar in build and aesthetic to warrant its own place in the Star Wars display cabinet. Alternatively, pairing it with an AT-AT or even just a Snowspeeder Battlepack would make for quite the show and quite some fun for younger folk. If you’ve been sitting on this set, maybe this is the time to check it out for yourself!
Words by Lukas Mack
Photos by Lukas Mack
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This set was provided free of charge from The LEGO Group. Opinions expressed in the review are those of the reviewer.