Remember the classic scene from The Empire Strikes Back, where Zev Senesca rescues Luke Skywalker from the Wampa Cave? What do you mean, No? Ok: remember the scene where Luke escapes from the Wampa cave, falls over in the snow, sees an image of Ben Kenobi, is found by Han, who stuffs him into the gizzards of a dead Tauntaun, then is finally rescued by Zev Senesca? Now, edit that scene a little, recreate it in little plastic bricks, and you get:
8089 Wampa Cave & Snowspeeder
Official Shop@Home picture
Name: Hoth Wampa Cave
Theme: Star WarsTM Original Trilogy (Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back)
Figures: 3 (4 if you include the skeleton)
Price: GB £ 34.99 | US $ 39.99 | EUR 49.99 | AUD 79.99 | DKK 429.00
While on scouting duty on Hoth, Luke Skywalker™ is savagely attacked and captured by a ferocious wampa ice creature. Can he use the Force to recover his lightsaber before the wampa gets him? Or will pilot Zev Snesca™ save him using the snowspeeder?
Celebrate the 30th anniversary of The Empire Strikes Back™ with the instantly recognizable set.
- Includes 3 minifigures: wampa ice creature, Luke Skywalker and Zev Senesca
- Features wampa cave and snowspeeder
- Wampa cave features lightsaber catapult function and skeleton
- Snowspeeder includes opening cockpit and realistic tow cable with string and hook
- Combine with other Hoth sets from LEGO Star Wars including Echo Base™ 7749, Rebel Trooper™ Battle Pack 8083, and Snowtrooper™ Battle Pack 8084
- Wampa cave measures 7” (18cm) long and 4” (10cm) wide
- Snowspeeder measures 7” (18cm) long
Links Shop@Home ... Bricklink ... Brickset ... (Peeron Not Yet Listed)
I love the colour scheme of these summer sets - far nicer than the tedious white we've had to put up with for the last eighteen months. The dark blue background is smart and eye-catching, and shows off the set really well. Here we see Luke dangling from the ceiling of the icy cave, whilst the Wampa high-fives the air; meanwhile Zev speeds towards the scene, apparently from inside the cave. It's a somewhat improbable scene, but there is no other way to feature all the elements of the set.
The back shows a different view of the set, this time with the speeder landed as Zev drags Luke from the cave, whilst the Wampa apparently waves goodbye and the skeleton watches with interest. A few of the features of the set are shown off: the opening canopy and tow cable of the speeder, plus the lightsaber ejection 'mechanism' which we'll examine later.
Also featured are adverts for three of the pricey summer releases. You can see that this box opens with the familiar thumb tabs.
The box top shows 'actual size' photographs of the protagonists, including the skeleton amongst their number.
Wampa is too tall, so has to sit sideways. Here he is rotated:
The single booklet sports a larger version of the box picture, looking pretty without all the clutter. It fits snugly inside the box, hence mine came out uncrumpled.
The steps are simple, with piece call-outs and about 2-5 pieces per step. There isn't much of a problem with colour differentiation, being mostly white and grey.
In this featured page you can see the little sub-builds used to create icy stalactites.
The now-standard parts index graces a two-page spread at the rear:
Click for a high resolution image.
A further double-spread shows close-ups of the set features, and adverts for all the (non-exclusive) summer releases:
Note again the lightsaber ejector.
The 297 parts come in three numbered polybags, plus the separately-packaged Wampa:
Bags 1 and 2 contain the parts for the speeder:
There's little to note here, and the parts collection will be familiar to owners of the previous snowspeeders.
Bag 3 builds the cave:
Some useful parts here: a few large plates, plus lots of tall white bricks and slopes which are vital for any Hoth builder. There's a single dark bley rock piece, which will probably not get many people excited, but the twelve white cheese slopes are a bonus.
The Decal Sheet
The single DSS provides detail for the snowspeeder: the nose livery, the engine detail and the computer screen.
It's a real shame that Lego have to produce stickers for these features, particularly as the 2004 version (4500) had much of the same details as printed parts. A welcome new feature is the backwards 'ZZ' which can be seen in a few scenes of the movie.
Here are the standard-size figures, front and back:
Luke will be the biggest excitement here. He sports a new torso: a quilted Hoth jacket, with utility belt, and nice back printing. I'm not sure of the authenticity of using grey for his arms and legs, but it's hard to tell from the movie what colour his trousers are! He has the oversized hat introduced with this year's battle pack. It would be nice if he had a 'car crash' face to match Luke's injuries, but this appears to be the same head as appeared in the Landspeeder earlier this year.
Here's Luke in the movie:
His arms look like they should be white. In a later shot of Luke in the cave, his trousers do indeed look grey (see here, or later in the review).
Zev Senesca is identical to the one from the battle pack (8089 on the left):
Lego have done a fairly good job on Zev. He's the dude that flies out to find Han and Luke, and is most famous for the 'I've found them - repeat, I've found them!' line. As such, most will remember him smiling and looking quite jolly:
Lego's scowling Zev is a little incongruous, though I do like his helmet.
'Look at 'is little face!' Wampa is very cute:
There was a lot of disgust, when pictures of this set first appeared, at the 'holes' on the inside of Wampa's arms. I really don't think it's that big a deal; you really don't notice them most of the time. I suspect that filling these holes would have required a whole separate mould, and would probably have made the set prohibitively expensive. I wouldn't be surprised if the Wampa alone makes up over £5 of the £35 price tag.
Note that, unlike with the Tauntaun, there is no ambiguity about how to position the horns.
He's quite a good representation:
Perhaps a little stocky for what's basically a white wookiee.
Wampa's arms are attached via blue Technic pin-axles, as we'll see later. The right arm can grip minifig tools (or chicken legs), and the left arm can hold whole figures, allowing the Wampa to drag Luke off to the cage ...
... or to test the 'Humans taste like chicken' assertion.
The speeder is built first. For owners of 7666 Hoth Rebel Base, the build will be hauntingly familiar, although there are a few differences. It's as if the designer relied on memory rather than reference to the previous model.
The little differences include use of the yellow tiles for the floor of the speeder. This is a little annoying as the pilot tends to rattle around.
There are more differences in the wing. The engine mounts are the same shape as 7666's, but aren't removable. The cannons are improved: they are in line throughout their length, not staggered; however, the cannon end-pieces aren't mounted on jumper plates which mean they sit a little lower.
We'll compare the speeders directly later.
The cave is a simple open structure which nevertheless makes effective use of staggered blocks to add perspective.
The dark bley 4x1 bricks with side studs attach the stalactites mentioned earlier, and also serve as the attachment point for Luke's legs.
The ribcage and lightsaber ejection 'mechanism' are built thus:
The ribcage is a lovely touch, built simply from tan 1x1 plates with side 'eye', and teeth. The bley minifig neck-attachment serves to anchor the ribcage to the cave floor.
The Complete Set
Let's have a look at the snowspeeder.
It looks like Lego have settled on this basic design, which hasn't changed a great deal since 4500 in 2004. It's sleek and attractive, if not wholly accurate to the movie version; the main difference being the shape of the cockpit which uses the same piece as the X-Wing and Y-Wing models.
It's quite imposing from the front, and Zev gets good visibility through the tapered cockpit:
From this angle you can see how the cannon end-pieces sit a little low; this would be easily fixed.
We'll now have a look around the model, with comparison to the previous two versions - 4500 (right) and 7666 (left). I haven't included a comparison to the original grey 7130, which is a completely different bucket of frogs.
The most obvious difference between 7666 and the other two is the colour scheme - 7666 has grey stripes, while both 8089 and the earlier 4500 have orange. This is an authentic feature of the movie: Zev's speeder has the orange flashes, whilst Luke's has grey. The only offender here is 4500, which was sold as Luke's speeder.
The colour difference is shown in this screenshot:
From the top, you can see how the basic shape is the same, though 4500 has differences in the slopes of the engine modules and the cannon pieces.
4500 also features more tan in the colour scheme. The major difference between 8089 and 7666 is the centre section of the cannons, which have been smoothed nicely in the latest incarnation.
From the back, we can compare the harpoon and tow-cable mechanisms. The basic spool is identical (notwithstanding that I hadn't applied the fiddly string when I took these pictures), but the harpoon itself is different on all three versions. 4500 used a classic space camera; 7666 a piece which resembles a jack-hammer; and 8089 a megaphone. The last, unfortunately, does not grip the hook well.
The evolution of the harpoon system is linked to the change in the cockpit between 4500 and 7666. 4500's cockpit opened in the middle: this is authentic to the movie, but problematic as the whole rear part of the cockpit tended to rip off. Therefore, with 7666 some opening hinges were provided so that the whole cockpit would open, giving easier access to the gunner. The downside of this otherwise useful change was that there was less room for the harpoon gun, which was now attached with a clip piece and therefore doesn't rotate.
You can also see in the above shot how the bley ridged plates on the inboard surface of 8089's wings do no extend all the way to the rear. This is due in part to the engine modules sitting a plate lower on the wing.
Here's a close-up of the tow cable apparatus, with string attached:
The left-hand picture shows the intended arrangement; as such, the megaphone doesn't grip the hook, so I've reversed it in the second picture. That way, whilst it doesn't grip securely, at least the hook stays in place.
The differences in the cockpit design can be seen in this view (8089 at the front):
Note that the more recent versions' cockpits can still open in the middle, thus preserving authenticity.
Finally, a view from below:
It's a shame that the later sets didn't include rounded plates to assist the sliding along the carpet that kids will want to do. 7666 has a 2x4 plate which lets it sit in the rotating repair bay that comes with that set. 8089 is rather plain by comparison.
For a very simple playset, this is quite an attractive design, and I think Lego have done well to include nice details and play features whilst ensuring that Luke remains the centre of attention. The use of cheese slopes to finish off the upright parts helps to highlight the iciness of the scene; I love the perspective effect of the cave tunnel.
This is what the cave should look like:
Note Luke's grey trousers. The Lego rendition is far simpler, but the icy stalactites and stalagmites are brought to life quite well.
It's not so much to look at from the back ...
... although the outward-facing rock piece helps to break the monotony. Looking at the screen shot above, I guess this aspect represents the entrance to the cave: the rock piece facing outwards therefore makes some sense.
The skelington has a little handle to hold onto:
This is a nice touch, and helps to prevent him disappearing under the furniture during dusting.
The lightsaber launching mechanism is less effective:
The features page of the instructions implies that pressing on the white tile at the right will launch the saber at Luke, so he can cut himself free. However, no matter how I pressed it, I couldn't get the saber to shift more than a few millimetres (right panel). It's more of a talking point than a play feature, but a nice idea.
To continue the sequence, Luke somehow retrieves his lightsaber, and cuts himself free in time to face the Wampa:
He then dismembers the poor blue-blooded beast and legs it ...
... In time to be rescued by Zev.
Isn't there something missing here? Well, I haven't watched Empire for maybe at least a week, but I could swear there's a whole scene involving fading Ben, muttering Luke, hero Han and a Tauntaun's giblets before Zev stages his eleventh-hour rescue. This set therefore sits on a dubious premise: that the target market will either not remember the details of the film, or forgive both the blatant editing required to render this scene, and the extra cost of having to purchase 7749 Echo Base in order to recreate the movie plot with accuracy.
Most adult SW Lego fans, I'm sure, won't care. This is a great opportunity to get hold of a snowspeeder, for those who missed out on the short-lived 7666 and the ancient-history 4500, and holds the additional excitement of a new Luke figure and the cute chunky Wampa monster; I can't imagine that anyone who is thinking of buying this hasn't already got at least one 7749, or wouldn't be averse to buying one.
From that point of view, I suspect 8089 is aimed as part of a marketing strategy: with 7749, two elements of a collectable series. I know many will complain that the snowspeeder is just a re-hash, but with another AT-AT out this year, it'll need something to fight; plus we have a whole horde of Hoth battle figures, so another central player in the Battle of Hoth actually makes perfect sense for 30th anniversary of The Empire Strikes Back.
Design: 9 Lego have just about perfected the design of the snowspeeder, so I can't complain about its similarity to the previous incarnations. It's a beautiful little ship, delightfully executed. The cave is simple, but the staggered blocks recreate the look of a short tunnel very effectively, and the little touches such as the ribcage really set it apart as a design triumph.
Build: 8 The build process is fun, even for those who have built the speeder before. There is minimal repetition, and little fiddly Technic, though attaching the tow cable required patience. I didn't apply the stickers, but there are no multiple pieces or tricky curves to deal with.
Parts: 7 There are no particularly rare or unusual parts, but the collection of tall white bricks and slopes would be useful for MOCcers.
Figures: 8 Despite concerns about the Wampa's hollow arms, he's a handsome brute. The different arms can look a bit odd, but are necessary for playability, and I like that he can pick Luke up. Luke himself has a great new torso, but I would have liked to have seen a scarred face. It's a pity that Zev is identical to the figure from the battle pack, but this is more a fault of the latter which should ideally have included a generic pilot.
Playability: 7 There are lots of little features which add to the playability, but there really is a limit to the number of times you can recreate Luke escaping from the cave. The lightsaber mechanism is more puzzling than anything else. This sets shines most when combined with others, be it Han and the Tauntaun from 7749, or using the speeder to attack the AT-AT of your choice.
Price: 6 Considering the original Snowspeeder 7130 cost around £15 back in 1999, this set seems way overpriced - it's only £5 less than the much larger 7749 Hoth Rebel Base. Much of this cost is, I suspect, down to the Wampa, and may preclude the purchase of multiple copies in order to build a fleet of speeders or a Wampa civilisation. Shame!
Overall: Average score 45/60 (75%). My score 8.5/10. I didn't have to think about buying this, and I rushed out to get it as soon as it became available. With the Wampa, we have finally filled a hole in the Lego Empire Strikes Back story, and who can complain about another snowspeeder?
Verdict: A must for any Original Trilogy fan.
Thank you for reading, and I hope you enjoyed the review. Please let me know your thoughts on the set and the review.
For all the pictures, including high-resolution shots, go to my Brickshelf folder
Read schlaouich's review here.
Other Snowspeeder resources:
4500 Snowspeeder by Skipper24
7130 Snowspeeder by I Scream Clone : by def
7666 Hoth Rebel Base by mutley777 : by def
10129 UCS Snowspeeder by Rufus
Take care when cutting yourself free from ice caves with a laser sword:
Sometimes Vader regretted joining the Dark Side: