[Review] 7654 Droids Battle Pack
Posted 09 October 2010 - 06:13 PM
When this set first came out, I, like many others, thought it was a great idea. The perfect way to build up an army of battle droids to complement the MTT that came later that year. Nearly four years later, we have seen the release of 7 other BPs, with rumors of #8 and #9. With it's partially outdated pieces and design, how does the original measure up?
Set Name: Droids Battle Pack
Set Number: 7654
Number of Pieces: 102
Theme: Star Wars
Year of Release: 2007
The box has the set in front of your standard Star Wars explosions and laser blasts, with the same jungle background that appeared on the Clones Battle Pack and the Kashyyyk sets. This actually is a canon setting, since the closest relative of this ship, the PAC, was deployed on Kashyyyk. An interesting fact: the ship actually has it's own Wookieepedia page, which does not mention whether or not the craft is a canon vehicle. Unlike later Battle Packs, or BPs, the 'Build Your Army' icon has a picture of the 'real' character, not its LEGO rendition.
The back has only two panels, one on red and one on striped grey:
TLG used the back of the box to display the minifig lineup, presumably since they won't all fit on the top edge of the box. The lower panel has advertisements for other sets of the wave, including this set's Republic counterpart.
Since this was one of the 2007 sets, one of the sides has the 30th Anniversary logo on it:
The logo has the classic artwork of Luke and Leia, and it's in the same rectangular format as the 30th Anniversary logo for The Empire Strikes Back.
The box also displays one of the minifigs where the lineup usually is on other sets:
You do have to wonder why TLG didn't just use a picture of the Battle Droid and a picture of the Super Battle Droid, and just put 'x4' and 'x3' next to them, although a point can be made that in recent years they seem to like to put 'xn' next to the name and show all the minifigs either way.
For completion's sake, I'll remind you that the instructions have the same art as the box, without the extra information. It's the same size as the $10 set books of that time; slightly larger than the BP instructions that are produced now. Like with most other small sets, it comes folded in half.
Here's a sample page:
Color definition is around the norm for newer sets; with the dark grey and black pretty easily confused. For a small set like this one, however, there are no conflicting pieces. The background is light grey, with seemingly random lighter grey lines curving and criss-crossing over it. Like the other 2007 sets, it has the Ralph McQuarrie illustration of Darth Vader's helmet from the original novelization in the top right corner, but only on pages 3, 5, 9, 11, 17, and 19.
The back portions have the LEGO Club and Shop@Home advertisements:
But no 'WIN!' poster.
The following page shows the battle scene that can be yours after the purchase of 2 Droid BPs and 4 Clone BPs- laser and CGI effects not included.
The final page shows the parts list:
Normally, this is where the 'WIN!' poster would be. Even though it's not included, the set is still available in the drop-down menu for the online survey that you take to get a chance to WIN!
You get four Battle Droids (or B1s, for you Star Wars geeks) and three Super Battle Droids (B2s), for a grand total of seven minifigs. That's an unprecedented count for a $10 Star Wars set, even when you consider the fact that droids are cheaper to produce. Two of the B1s have the old style megaphone blasters, which is a minor gripe considering that the Clones Battle Pack included the new blasters, and the straight droid arms would be introduced later in the same year. The other two B1s don't carry anything, which is okay since they pilot the vehicles.
The back of the B1 has the stud, while the B2's back is hollow:
The B1 is your standard tan Battle Droid, but this was the first appearance of the Dark Pearl Grey Super Battle Droid, which had previously appeared only in Pearl Blue in the 2002 Republic Gunship set. Since then, the B2 has appeared in it's normal form in this color in the Hailfire Droid and Spider Droid Set, Homing Spider Droid set, and Swamp Speeder, and as a 'B2 Commander', also in this color, in the Clone Wars- edition AAT. Like all other official bipedal Battle Droids, they can't separate their legs.
This set and, therefore, its pieces are one huge hunk of dull grey and brown. In fact, there's so much of it that during the photo-editing process I was so sure I'd accidentally turned on Black and White or Sepia tones. It is, however, a pretty useful selection.
Interesting of Notable Pieces include the following:
The light grey bracket in the top left corner is an older piece, something you don't usually see in newer sets. Turntables are always nice to have on hand, and the bricks with studs on sides, 1x1 tile, and cheese wedge are pieces you can never have too many of.
The instructions have you start out with the STAP, or Single Trooper Aerial Platform. It's a quick build; by Step Two you've finished the core, and the whole thing is done in eight steps. A ninth step instructs you to attach one of the B1 Battle Droids.
The carrier, predictably, takes a little longer.
Even though there's the same number of steps, the turret portion takes seven separately numbered steps of its own. The model is built from the ground up, flipped over once to attach the 1x6 plates and boat studs on the bottom. Like the STAP, a final step instructs you to place the minifigs in/on the vehicle.
The Finished Model(s):
We'll start with the STAP. It's TLG's second of three attempts at this speeder; the first was included in the Gungan Swamp set, while the third came with the Clone Wars AT-TE, on it's own without a sticker as a Daily Mirror promotional giveaway, and in the soon-to-be-released Mace Windu's Jedi Starfighter. It's much more streamlined than it's predecessor, but, like almost all official small vehicles, it's larger than minifig scale:
That error is most evident when viewed from the front. While the view is slightly exaggerated by the camera's single lens, it's pretty close to what you get with the real model. The 1x3 plate that the droid 'stands' on is also connected to the stand, not the vehicle, so you can't take the stand off in the model's stock condition. While this is fine for display, it does impair swooshability.
The second vehicle of the model is the Droid Carrier:
Whether this really is a canon vehicle or not, it's still a nice complement to the BP. Getting two vehicles is another unprecedented statistic that this BP features. The vehicle maintains a traditional Trade Federation/Baktoid Armor Workshop feel, with large brown and grey armored sides and a curved look, although it doesn't greatly resemble any animal like the other Trade Federation vehicles do:
Personally, I would have preferred a smaller version of the afore-mentioned PAC carrier seen in Episodes 1 and 3. The sides aren't the prettiest, with the armor being much to short to offer any real protection, but it's still a nice touch.
Seen together, the two look even better, despite their various flaws:
A few of these sets could make a nice Separatist convoy, or act as an escort for larger sets like the MTT or AAT. Whichever you choose, I really don't think there's much more you could ask of a Battle Pack.
The Play Features:
Even though this is a smaller set, it's not without a play feature. The one functionary part is the turret, which , in addition to being able to rotate, can raise or lower it's guns:
As a longtime player of Battlefront 2, I think it would be a pain to aim a turret and steer a vehicle at the same time, while sitting in the turret. There's a reason that Y-wing pilots usually lock their ion cannon turret in one direction when flying solo. It would have been nicer to include something like a deploying droid rack, but since B2 Super Battle Droids can't fold into racks, I'm not complaining. Now that we've thoroughly examined the set, it's on to the ratings.
Price/Piece Count: 18/20 There isn't much fault in the parts per dollar ratio and assortment of parts, but I don't think it would be right to give it a higher rating than I did the V-wing.
Bricks: 14/20 For a BP, this is an excellent assortment, but those larger pieces have limited usage.
Build: 11/20 The build is quite simple and doesn't have very many new techniques. The STAP was pretty interesting as far as a BP build is concerned, though.
Minifigs: 19/20 With the most minifigs ever for a BP, it's hard not to give it a perfect score. Having three of them be Supers makes up for the fact that droids are generally cheaper to make than true 'figs. It would have been nice to have a little variety, though. A blue pilot droid would have made this selection faultless.
Playability/Features: 12/20 Even if it's an irrealistic feature for the B2s, a sliding droid rack would have been a big improvement over the turret. And if the Supers were used as escorts and the regular Battle Droids couldn't fill the rack, it still would have been nice.
Grand Total:74/100, or 74%. It could have been better, but it's still a great value.
Nine BPs later, it still can't be beat. Congrats on a well-executed set, TLG; a pity you couldnt repeat the performance.
Posted 09 October 2010 - 07:07 PM
Edited by Brickdoctor, 09 October 2010 - 07:07 PM.
Posted 10 October 2010 - 01:17 AM
Currently playing as the Sheriff Kenneth Emanuel in Tamamono's Silver City Mafia
Posted 10 October 2010 - 07:55 AM
I think they showed all the BDs to fill out what would've been an empty space at the back.
Posted 01 January 2012 - 12:06 PM
There is plenty here for half a small battle, and this is more lacking in the new Clone Wars battle pack, with only two droids vs. two clones, neither of which are normal, army building ones.
Now having to pay £11 for only four minifigs and, perhaps, a more accurate vehicle is rubbish compared to £8 for 6 minifigs and two vehicles (Neither of which is totally accurate but I don't care, they can carry all of the minifigs, rather than only one)
Dream LOTR sets visualized in boxart
Minotaurs rule! -Ahem- ...And Cyclops! And Medusa! And Yeti!
Posted 02 January 2012 - 02:29 AM
Posted 02 January 2012 - 02:33 AM
Posted 02 January 2012 - 03:24 AM
Well, at least the bumper made a solid post. I don't know what he means by a more accurate vehicle, though. As I've been saying since we first saw pictures of the new battlepack, the AV-7 is just pathetic. More interesting than your usual turret or speeder bike, perhaps, but disappointing nonetheless.
And for the record, I liked the megaphone blasters.
Posted 03 January 2012 - 12:26 AM
Posted 03 January 2012 - 12:40 AM
ye fully true figs are worth more than droids so given that shouldn't we getting 2 figs and say 3 droids in the 2012 battle-pack?
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