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Review: 8129 AT-AT Walker


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Poll: Review: 8129 AT-AT Walker (93 member(s) have cast votes)

How do you rate this set?

  1. Yellow Snow (4 votes [4.30%])

    Percentage of vote: 4.30%

  2. Below Average (7 votes [7.53%])

    Percentage of vote: 7.53%

  3. Average (22 votes [23.66%])

    Percentage of vote: 23.66%

  4. Above Average (33 votes [35.48%])

    Percentage of vote: 35.48%

  5. FantAT-ATstic (27 votes [29.03%])

    Percentage of vote: 29.03%

Which is your favourite AT-AT

  1. 8129 (this one) (39 votes [41.94%])

    Percentage of vote: 41.94%

  2. 4483 (the 2003 original) (35 votes [37.63%])

    Percentage of vote: 37.63%

  3. 10178 (the dying animal) (17 votes [18.28%])

    Percentage of vote: 18.28%

  4. One of the mini ones (1 votes [1.08%])

    Percentage of vote: 1.08%

  5. I hate AT-ATs. Why am I reading this thread? (1 votes [1.08%])

    Percentage of vote: 1.08%

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#1 Rufus

Rufus

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Posted 05 February 2011 - 10:50 PM

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Star Wars Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back is widely acclaimed as the best film of the entire saga, and it holds a special place in my heart as the first I saw on the big screen. One of the most memorable scenes is the epic Hoth battle, the star of which is surely the terrifying metal behemoth which is the Imperial All-Terrain Attack Transport, or AT-AT Walker. Here I review the latest LEGO version of this iconic Imperial horror.

I recall a degree of surprise in the SW 2010 Rumours thread when news hit about the release of another AT-AT set, especially since the Motorised AT-AT was still available at the time. However, 2010 was very much the year of Empire, and as several other Hoth sets were either already released or rumoured, this release makes good sense to 'complete' the Hoth range. Plus, we hadn't had an AT-AT playset since 2003's 4483, which by now is ancient history.

Read on to find out how the latest AT-AT Walker shapes up.


Review: 8129 AT-AT Walker

Name: AT-AT Walker
Number: 8129
Theme: Star Wars Original Trilogy - Episode V The Empire Strikes Back
Year of Release: 2010
Pieces: 815
Minfigs: 8
Price: GP £91.99 | US $109.99 | EUR 99.95 - 119.95 | CA $139.99 | AU $ 169.99


Links ... Shop@Home ... Brickset ... Bricklink ... Peeron(not yet inventoried)


Shop@Home said:

Attack the Hoth Rebel base with the AT-AT Walker!
Build one of the most iconic vehicles from the original Star Wars™ movies and celebrate the 30th anniversary of The Empire Strikes Back™! Use the grappling hook to help Luke Skywalker™ climb the body of the AT-AT™, then use his lightsaber to stop the walker before it destroys the Rebel base! Will Luke triumph in time?
  • Includes 8 minifigures: Luke Skywalker, C-3PO™, Han Solo™ in Echo base gear, Rebel Trooper with P-Tower laser cannon, AT-AT pilot, 2 Snowtroopers, General Veers™ and Imperial Officer™
  • AT-AT Walker™ features moving legs, moveable head and guns
  • Open cockpit to seat minifigures!
  • AT-AT Walker measures more than 13” (33cm) long and 12” (30cm) tall


The Box


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I've commented on this before, but I really like the box art from the Summer 2010 wave. The deep blue surround is smart and appealing, and serves to frame the set picture rather nicely. This box front features a full-size rendition of the AT-AT, with some clever perspective effects which make the figures stand out in a larger-than-life kind of way. Compare this to my title shot to see what I mean - in reality the figures are dwarfed by the enormity of the Walker.

Picking the box off the shelf, if feels disconcertingly light and empty, so much so that I checked the seals very carefully for signs of tampering. I have heard of this set being particularly prone to 'figure-snatching'. Note the 'Limited Edition' badge revealing that this set is - in the UK at least - a Toys R Us exclusive.


A similar diorama graces the rear of the box. Luke swings merrily on his AT-AT swing, whilst ground-based Imperials take pot shots at him. Han Solo and C-3PO (more on that story later) assist the solitary Rebel soldier.

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In keeping with the rest of the wave, adverts for some of the other Summer 2010 sets feature here. Strange that they didn't include the Wampa set, which would be the most closely-related to this one. An inset shows some of the features of the AT-AT - click here for a close-up.


The box also sports insets of the figures in 1:1 scale, on the top, and an inset on the front draws attention to the 'New' Han Solo figure. The box top picture is shown here:

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Instructions

The box is one of the 'tear-tab' variety, requiring either wilful box destruction or 'stealing the mail' dexterity to retrieve the contents. I opted for the latter; fumbling blindly around inside the box I pulled out ten polybags and two rather crumpled instruction manuals:

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Judging by my failure to remove the creases, I suspect the damage is longstanding and due to the booklets rattling around the vast emptiness of the box, rather than my own cack-handedness in rescuing them :blush: .


Each manual is the same size, and paper quality. Book two contains the inventory, spread somewhat clumsily over two pages: the first is on a right hand page; overleaf, the second has a few further parts listed along the left hand side, and the remainder is occupied by a further inset detailing the figure selection, without the 'New!' flash.

The page opposite this shows again the AT-AT's working features: click here for a picture.

Author's note: Apologies for having to follow a link to view these: this was necessary to fit the review neatly into one post. These inventory shots are, in any case, better viewed in a higher resolution than could be displayed here.


The building instructions flow nicely, but with only a few parts per step:

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Clearly, the steps are designed to be relatively straight-forward, so as not to deter younger builders; however, for the adult, the process flows nicely and is reasonably free of repetition (legs notwithstanding, if you'll excuse the pun :grin: ). I encountered no colour-differentiation issues; indeed, I noticed that few parts are repeated in similar colours - a trend Lego seems to have been following of late.


Decal Sticker Sheet

I rarely apply stickers, and when I remembered half-way through the build that the set contained a sticker sheet, a few minutes of manic box-shaking released this:

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There are only three decals: one for the front 'window', two for the control computers that will feature in the AT-AT's interior. Why they couldn't have provided printed parts for these last I don't know - such parts exist - and even a Classic Space green-screen monitor would have been better than a darn sticker.

I have read elsewhere on Eurobricks that some people received the sticker sheet on a white background, which I imagine would look deeply incongruous when applied. Mine seems to be on a transparent background.


Parts


The parts come in ten polybags - five larger and five smaller - without numbering, and there is no attempt to 'modularise' the build. This is a little surprising given that most of the larger, recent SW sets have had numbered bags.


The 'larger' five polybags yield the following assortment:

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It's the expected mass of bluish and dark bluish grey plates, though the number of technic pieces is refreshingly small considering the complexity of the set's articulations. There aren't many pieces to get excited about. When I first saw the two bley old-style headlight pieces, I began to wonder if this set had been designed earlier and only released this year to coincide with the Empire anniversary - mostly the headlight brick has been superceded by this - but it turns out the older design is needed for the construction.


In any event, the two 1x3 bley tiles in the 'smaller pieces' selection put paid to that theory. Tile lovers will be delighted at this array:

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Again, there aren't any rare parts to get people going. The revolvers, shovels and hammers are used for greebling (what? no telephones?). Don't be put off by the 65 technic friction pins - their insertion isn't too big a pain on the thumbs. Such can't be said though for the 25 or so black round 1x1 plates - especially if, like me, you are particular about facing the Lego logo in a consistent direction! :grin:


The Minifigures


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Four Rebels are provided in this set, balancing nicely the four Imperials who we'll look at later.

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It's a questionable choice, though. I can understand the inclusion of Luke - the dangling from the Walker's belly seems to be a necessity of any System AT-AT set - and the Rebel soldier on the ground is fair enough. But, what on Hoth possessed Lego to include Han, who doesn't go near an AT-AT in the film? And if that isn't bizarre enough, C-3PO?? In Empire, the gold dude is very much an 'inside' kind of droid - bumbling around the icy corridors of Echo Base, and worrying about Princess Leia's waterlogged wardrobe - but I doubt even he would be idiot enough to stumble onto the battlefield.

Nevertheless, he's here, and in the same Pearl Gold form as found in the later 8092 Landspeeder and 10144 Sandcrawler, as opposed to the paler Pearl Light Gold found in earlier sets (4504 Falcon and 4475 Jabba's Message spring to mind).


The Rebel soldier has the new torso and helmet arrangement found in the 8083 Battlepack, but with a different ('Rufus') face:

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He's the one in the centre. The torso design is identical, but as you can see the printing on the scarf is slightly lighter.


Han comes with a new torso, and a new face:

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Again, he's in the middle, here compared to 6212 (left) and 4504 (right). The torso design is meant to represent the lighter jacket he wears for much of the film, rather than the heavy Parka which he only dons for the Tauntaun expedition; I always thought it odd that in 4504 Han would continue to wear the Parka around the Falcon. Maybe the heating was broken.

The new face has pupils, giving Han a more focussed expression, but it now looks generic; there's something about the heavyset features of the older faces which made them iconic.


Luke is 'new' too. Here he is (left), compared to a previous orange-jump-suit Luke (from 6212):

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He now has the new jumpsuit from the 8083 Battlepack/8089 Wampa Cave Zev Senesca. His face is the new Luke from 8092. What might excite you here is the helmet, which has vastly improved detailing - thicker stripes over the crown, outlined Rebel insignia, and the 5 marks around the sides. Compare to the movie in this shot.

Again, I'm not so keen on the new face, the older one had a 'determined' look; this one is more 'amiable'.


Posted Image The Bad Boys

Everybody sing: 'I see a little silhouetto of a man ...'


The four Imperials are essentially a rehash of the 8084 Snowtrooper Battlepack.

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I'm quite happy to expand my Snowtrooper army (although I now have more snowies than regular stormies), and it's nice to get a proper Veers figure, though he's very similar to the generic 'Imperial Officer' from the battlepack.


The AT-AT driver is identical to the earlier, incongruous inclusion in the Battlepack. The latest is in the centre:

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The older figure from the 10178 Motorised AT-AT has the same torso, but with a regular Stormie helmet with less detailed printing. I prefer the new helmet, even though it caused the 'black neck' problem at the rear, and has an expression like this :tongue: .


Here's Veers (cheers!) between his earlier self from 10178 (right) and the regular Officer from the Battlepack (left):

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This has undoubtedly been reported a gazillion times, but for the sake of completeness I'll repeat: his torso, though correctly attired in plastic battle armour, has the wrong rank insignia: he should have four columns of red and blue squares, not three. I also prefer 10178's darker helmet, though I'm glad we get to see his eyes.

Incidentally, the eagle-eyed among you may have noticed that the generic Imperial Officer on the left has the same 'Rufus' face as the Rebel in the AT-AT set; whilst Veers has the same face as the soldiers in the Rebel Battlepack. Spies? Spies on both sides? :wink:


The Build


Part 1 - The Body

Unlike the Technic bewilderthon that was the 10178 Motorised AT-AT, this one starts with a pleasingly brick-built structure. Two 8x6 Technic frames, connected with friction pins, hold the base together; after that it's mostly traditional. Note the four black SNOT brackets at the base - I'll refer to them later.

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Two transverse-mounted beams give the structure some width, and will serve as attachments for further beams to generate the correct angle for the body sides. Four black 2x1 plates with handle will secure the interior 'floor'.


Next, the dark bley liftarm at the rear is joined by a colleague, and these are secured with red bush-pins. This gives the structure vertical rigidity, and prevents catastrophe when the model is lifted from the top (as we shall see, there is no other easy way to lift the set).

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The inset shows a small sub-built which forms the head attachment. This sits on the bley 2x1 brick at the front, and is secured to the dark bley liftarm with another red bush-pin. It allows lateral movement of the head; despite being the head's only attachment, the result is surprisingly strong.


Now, some cheese wedges are added as detail. I don't know why they didn't use bley 2x1 cheeses - such pieces can be found in the Midi Star Destroyer - and correctly aligning four is a little pain in the big behind.

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Technic beams, connected to the aformentioned horizontal beams, form the 'slopes' of the body, and secured at the top with yellow 1x3 liftarms. Note the tan 2x1 plates with handle which will attach the front and rear panels of each side. Finally, large plates are added to the sides and top.


Part 2 - The Legs

The legs produce the only real repetition in the build process. As ever, the manual has you build one leg, then gives the annoying 'x2' instruction, but I prefer to build in batches. Two sets of two legs are mirror images of one another.


Starting with the feet, here we see all four in varying stages of construction:

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The design is quite clever, and I like the use of the bley symmetrical wedges to make the 'toes', and the 6-wide radar dishes to cap them off. The bley arch brick is a nice, authentic touch, but it's cosmetic: all the AT-AT's weight is carried through the black axle-pin connector. This also means that, despite appearances, there is no lateral movement at the ankle joint.

Note that the inward aspect of each foot is missing a toe - this is to prevent the feet snagging on each other, since the gap between left and right legs is quite narrow.


The legs - an identical pair shown here - consist of Technic beams connected to clicky hinges.

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The bulk of the legs is added via dark bley plates clipped onto the Technic beams in the traditional manner, and 1x4 SNOT bricks allow attachment of plates to the outer-facing sides. This is a potential weakness: it is quite easy to beak these pieces off when posing the legs, particularly as it requires quite a lot of force to articulate the hinges.


The legs are now attached to the body. Then, some small sub-builds add detail: the symmetrical wedge bit closes the head end of the body, and the round Technic thingy in the middle will sit between the front legs.

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The radar-wedge plate-tan block arrangement on the left deserves special attention. Four of these attach, via the tan blocks, to the four black SNOT brackets mentioned earlier. They are meant to represent the flange of the hip joint, allowing up-down movement of the hips of the 'real' walker, but do not move in this rendition. They are probably the weakest feature of the set - any attempt to pick the model up via the underside of the body (probably the most intuitive method, particularly if you have a cat) will result in one or more of these breaking off and flying across the room, and indeed over-enthusiastic posing of the legs will have the same result.


With these parts in place, the Walker begins to take shape:

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Part 3 - The Armour

The following section consists of a number of plates, with minor greebling detail, which enclose the rest of the body. The technique will be familiar to most Lego Star Wars aficionados, but here is employed more successfully than in (say) the 7675 AT-TE - fewer unfilled 'holes' result.


First up: on the left, the narrower plates for the sides and top of the head end of the beast ...

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... and on the right, the cylinder will go between the legs at the rear, and the structure with macaroni and handlebars will cap off the rear end. The two 1x1 clippy tiles will hold revolvers as minor greebling.


Wider plates enclose the rear end of the body:

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I like the use of the 2x4 symmetrical wedge plates to create a 1 in 2 slope here.


The side hatches of the body are built thus:

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They attach to the body via clicky hinges, but the bottom armour attachment can rotate freely on clippy hinges.


Part 4 - The Head

Personally, I found this the most interesting part of the build process, if only because the end was close. It's reasonably straight-forward: a few plates connect to some technic bricks at the rear, which attach some more technic beams via liftarms to give the correct angle.

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A quadruple sandwich of dark bley 4x4 and black 2x2 round plates make the neck; the bley axle connects to the black axle-pin connector mentioned earlier (describing technic pieces is hard work :wacko: ). Note that the driver will sit on the tile, which makes for easy removal I guess. If the recent Wampa Cave Snowspeeder is anything to go by, this is becoming a trend.


The sides and top of the head are plate-based. The rotating cheek cannons are based around a minifig hammer through a headlight brick mounted SNOT onto a black 2x2 round plate, in a manner reminiscent of the cockpit guns of the 8019 Republic Attack Shuttle (link is to a picture in def's review).

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Two hinge parts encourage correct alignment of the cockpit lid when closed; it'll attach via two black droid arms so there is a lot of play in its movement, and closing it can be quite fiddly.


The completed head, lid open:

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The hinge parts are meant to sit on the dark bley 2x1 plate with bar at the front of the seating area. Note the utter lack of any controls.


Part 5 - The Other bits

En fin, there's just the 'tray' which fits inside the Walker ...

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The raised, tiled sides slide under the four black 1x2 plates with handle mentioned in the 'Body' section of the build; they hold the tray quite securely. The white slope and the tile above it are meant to be stickered; the two black roof pieces indicate where the Snowies should sit.


... and the Rebel ground cannon (Atgar P-Tower laser cannon, I think) - it's meant to be one of these.

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It is the third rendition of this gun - there was one in the original 7130 grey Snowspeeder, and on the the 2004 white variant (4500). None are spectacular, but this is probably the best of the bunch.


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Rufus Rebel: Hey, Captain Solo! I've got to turn the cannon round, move it up and down, and fire it, but I've only got one lever.
Han: That's nothing. I hear the Imperial drivers control the walkers with telepathy.


The Complete Model


A Tour of the AT-AT

Let's have a look around the completed set in 'neutral' pose. From the side:

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In terms of general appearance and scale, this is pretty accurate. Compared the the movie version, the overall proportions are spot-on; the front part of the body is shorter than the rear, and the hip and knee joints of similar size. Both previous versions (4483 and 10178) had the hip joint noticeably larger than the knee, although I miss the use of those printed radar dishes.

The slightly larger 4483 had the overall scale a little better, when compared to the figures; however, in the LEGO Star Wars universe, 8129 is more compatible with the average shelf display area.


From the front and moreso the rear, the beast is tall and slender:

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Note the narrow gap between left and right legs: this is more in keeping with the film version than the waddling Motorised AT-AT. Despite this, the Walker is amazingly stable, and requires a hefty push to topple - thanks entirely to the lateral 'toes'. Note the revolver greebling on the AT-AT's 'bum'.


The top is rather plain:

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I was slightly disappointed there was no 'carry-handle' on this rendition. Whatever you may have thought of the technic handle on the motorised version, it was both ingenious and useful. This one you have to pick up by gripping the tiled sides of the body - woe betide anyone with sweaty or greasy fingers.


The underside is the least exciting view:

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There's a distinct lack of a hatch for Luke to throw his stink-bomb into, though I'm sure it could be modded. The 4x6 plate is the only convenient anchor for Luke's harpoon (in this set, for some reason, a whip piece), and it is maddeningly difficult to attach it - I found the best way is to remove the 4x6 plate entirely, attach the whip, then replace it.


Here's a close-up of the side of the head:

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The 'sandwich' arrangement of round plates is effective for the neck, though an unsightly gap remains at the body end. I worry about the strain over time of the attachment on the axle and connector, although as I've said before, it seems remarkably stable.


Inside the head: in the Motorised AT-AT, there is room to stand Veers behind the driver; here, however, there isn't much room at all:

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That is largely due to the mechanism for attaching the cheek plates at the correct angle, and the roof bricks which help to close the gap at the bottom. I think it is modifiable to sit two pilots and Veers, though as yet I haven't attempted it. Watch this space ...


The body interior is reasonably roomy, and sits Veers and two Snowies in comfort.

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If the 'computer' were removed, there would be standing room for several Snowies; if you were to sacrifice the sliding tray mechanism I estimate you could fit eight or nine in there.


The rear section of the body isn't accessible easily, which is a shame as there's a modicum of wasted space here:

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The panels here have been opened to their limit; I imagine it would be possible to provide an opening mechanism to the rear 'bum' if you wanted to utilise this space, in a manner similar to the opening rear of 4483 (picture from searrius's review) Clearing a path to the centre section would require removal of the the white slopes and the dark bley liftarm and would overly weaken the structure.


Range of movement

So we've seen around the AT-AT and her features, now let's have a look at what she can do. First off, a little stretching to limber up.

The Hips

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Head down, with the front hips at maximum extension, and the rear at maximum flexion...


... and vice versa:

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If only the head could yawn! :laugh: There's a good 80 degress or so of extension in the hips, but the range of flexion is very limited - only one click of the clicky hinges.


The Knees

The knees can flex to about 100 degrees ...

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... but, in contravention of all rules of biology, they can also extend a similar amount! If you're squeamish, or have ever suffered cruciate ligament injury, avert your eyes:

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Aaargh! *huh*


The Ankles

Twinkletoes the AT-AT Ballet Dancer likes to point her dainty feet:

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There is about 35 degrees plantar- and dorsiflexion in the ankle joint (that's forward and backward movement :blush: ). Further movement is limited both by the dark bley Technic steering arm and the bley arch touching the plates on the front and rear of the shin.


The Neck

There is lateral movement of the head to about 30 degrees each way (beware the ghost):

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Unfortunately, there isn't any up-down movement. It would have been nice to have a fully articulated neck, to allow recreation of the scene where the AT-AT 'shows off' by twisting to shoot a snowspeeder out of the sky, but I can't see how that could be done in LEGO.


Posing the AT-AT

So now we've seen what each joint can do, let's see what fun we can have. :devil:


'Sit Up and Beg'

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Kneeling on the hind legs, the Walker will balance with front paws at the ready, in 'tickle my tummy!' pose. Again, it's a pity you can't make the head look forwards here.


'Hokey-Cokey'

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You put your left from leg in, your right rear leg up... What's remarkable here if that the model will balance on two legs; she is leaning to the right though (and the head kept turning that way when I was posing her).


'Cock'

Like any self-respecting animal, AT-ATs feel the need to relieve themselves by cocking a leg against anything resembling a lamp-post:

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Remember, rebels: don't eat yellow snow!


Making the AT-AT Walk

In attempting to recreate the 'Imperial Shuffle', I first tried a 'trot' - diagonally opposite legs moving at the same time - similar to how the Motorised AT-AT walks. This, however, looks a trifle silly:

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There's something about forwards-bending knees which makes me uncomfortable. If you study most four-legged animals, they seem to do something similar, until you remember that the forwards-bending part of the hind leg of the horse (for example) is actually its ankle.


Therefore, you have to make like an elephant:

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This looks more realistic, although the result reminds me of the slouching gait of your average insouciant teenager, or Tim Roth.


Comparison to 10178


I missed out on the hallowed original 4483, so for comparison you'll have to make do with my first AT-AT, the remarkable Motorised 10178.

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10178 is indeed remarkable, in my opinion, not for its vague 'ball-park' approach to movie accuracy, nor its 'dying animal' lurch, but for the fact it walked at all. Seriously, the thing is a bundle of thumb-twisting Technic headfunkery, which, once you nurse life back into your fingers after building, you have to admit is perfect for stimulating dinner party conversation and pestering cats. Even my sister loves it!


But we're reviewing 8129 here. Side-by side as they are, it's immediately apparent that 8129 does for accuracy what 10178 achieves for amusement. The shape of the new version is pretty much spot-on, whereas 10178 is rather wide in the body, and necessarily so across the hips; without that extra stability she'd be sure to topple amusingly at every step.

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You can also see they're the same height. This looks good on 8129, whereas - again due to the width - 10178 seems almost to crouch. Another very apparent difference is in the body shape - 8129 has a distinct step between the centre sides of the body and the angled plates at front and rear, while those of 10178 are almost flush. This is most noticeble at the top, where the designer has tried to minimise the step with cheese wedges. A slight step is apparent in the 'real' AT-AT, though not nearly so pronounced as in 8129; some compromise here between the two LEGO variants would be ideal.

For a side-on comparison shot, click here.


Conclusion


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With very few core Original Trilogy sets left to make, LEGO has turned to what some criticise as rehashes of earlier sets to maintain the OT fans' interest. 8129 is another of these, being a similar playset to the earlier 4483. This new version is smaller than the 2003 original, with a reduced part count, but at the same price point; when you take into consideration the effect of inflation, and the inclusion of eight minifigures (two with new printing) in 8129 compared to four in 4483, I think this latest AT-AT represents good value. If you are able to get this on sale (I paid £80), it's even better.

The wider issue of rehashes has been argued to death. Personally, I like to see new interpretations or angles on older models; the 8038 Endor and 7754 Home One playsets are perfect examples of 'remakes-with-something-new'. 8129 is, however, like the 6212 X-wing very much a straight remake with some extra figures thrown in, and as such will be bound to suffer some mudslinging. This goes some way to explain the nonsensical inclusion of Han Solo and C-3PO: the former having a new torso, and the latter considered by many a 'rare' figure (I've got five or six of the blighter) will be sure to add desirability even for those who own the original AT-AT.

The contemporaneous availability of this version and the Motorised set is a puzzle - I recall many EB members questioning the rumours of a new AT-AT before pictures were available, and many speculated this latest release would be an Endor version. That would have been nice, even if the AT-AT was only apparent in Return of the Jedi for a few blink-and-you-miss-it seconds! It is best to remember that 10178 is an anomaly - designed probably on a whim - and it is, let's face it, a Technic set at heart. 8129, on the other hand, is hardcore OT fan territory, and if like me you missed the original, it's a must buy.


Scores

Design: 9/10 In terms of accuracy, the set is near spot-on. It's a little smaller than it ought to be, if correct movie scale is your criterion, but then so are the figures! I think the designer has struck the perfect balance between scale and practicality: this Walker will fit nicely alongside the rest of your burgeoning Hoth diorama, without dwarfing the other sets, and without annoying your significant other by hogging too much in the way of shelf space. I'm not so keen on the use of the whip piece for Luke's dangle, or the lack of space in the cockpit, but these are minor points.

Build: 7/10 Overall, it's a pleasing experience, without too much Technic or repetition. It is not easy, but neither is it challenging; once the legs go on (and the annoying tan-block bits) it becomes easy to knock things off which can be a little frustrating. The final result is pleasing, and you don't have to work too hard for it.

Parts: 6/10 Really this is the standard bley plate experience of most Star Wars sets these days. I'd have preferred to see those printed radar dishes used in the earlier AT-ATs. Tile fans might be pleased, although to be honest I've got bley tiles aplenty.

Figures: 8/10 The 'new' Han is a major bonus, though really only the torso is new, and Luke's new helmet is a beauty. The rest you can get from the Hoth Battlepacks, and C-3PO is of course available in the Landspeeder. However, eight minifigs for a set this size is good value, and Hoth army builders will be delighted to add to their repertoire.

Playability: 10/10 As a standalone set, this is probably as good as you'd get. You have two evenly-matched sides, ground artillery, a featureful, pose-able AT-AT and a wandering droid to beat up when no-one's looking. The only thing missing to complete the scene is a Snowspeeder, and of course one of those is sitting next to this set on the shelf...

Value: 9/10 Considering this is, in the UK, a TRU exclusive - and might normally be subject to the infamous £10 TRU price-hike - I think that even at full retail this is good value. It's a great set, with an unexpected number (and range) of figures, and the AT-AT itself is excellent. Even compared to the original 4483 I think this comes out looking good.


Verdict: 81% My score: 9/10 Well worth the money for an OT fan.


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Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed it! Please comment, whether positively or negatively, on both the set and the review. :classic:


Rufus



Resources

My Brickself folder
Jammiedodger's review
4483 AT-AT Walker (2003) searrius's Review
10178 Motorised AT-AT (2007) Skipper 24's Review


And finally ....


No AT-AT review would be complete without a good snowspeeder stomp.

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Why the Empire had so many AT-ATs: (avert your eyes if you are of a sensitive disposition :blush: )

Spoiler

:grin:

#2 KimT

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Posted 05 February 2011 - 11:03 PM

An amazingly well done review Rufus :thumbup:
Lots of great photography to go with this one :wub:
Sorry, but I just had to use your spoiler pic for the blog
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#3 Masked Builder

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Posted 05 February 2011 - 11:11 PM

Wow that was long.  But very very informative.  I can't believe that you had the time to make this.  That lats picture was really funny. :laugh:
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#4 Brickdoctor

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Posted 05 February 2011 - 11:46 PM

Thanks for the excellent review, Rufus!

I'm not so sure about this set. The dimensions of the AT-AT are all off, and I'm not a fan of the new faces.

#5 charlieboy

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Posted 05 February 2011 - 11:52 PM

Doh! I almost bought this set a few days back opting instead for the Jedi T-6 Shuttle and Battle on Geonosis mainly due to the minifigs in those sets, im now thinking I may have made a small error!

What a great review, read from start to finish and you've convinced me I need to go buy it! I actually had the motorised set but didnt build it, instead I sold it on after having it collect dust in my lego room for a few months. Having seen them both together I think I made the right decision there, this newer set is by far the better looking!

Thanks for taking the time to review the set!

#6 Artifex

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Posted 05 February 2011 - 11:57 PM

Amazing review!

I'm really glad you threw in the set comparison - it really adds to the big picture.

Again, amazing review for an awesome set!

Thank you!

Edited by Artifex, 06 February 2011 - 12:04 AM.

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#7 prateek

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Posted 05 February 2011 - 11:58 PM

Great review Rufus! Compared to the other two AT-AT's, I'd say this is the worst. 4483 is my favourite, and the motorized one walks. This one has nothing special IMO.

#8 mutley777

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Posted 06 February 2011 - 12:27 AM

Great review Rufus and some really great pictures! :laugh:

As for the set, I am going to completely agree with prateek here. I own all three minifig AT-ATs and this is by far the worst.

As brickdoctor said the dimensions are just all wrong! :look: For me then only way this set justifies itself is if you are a completest collector (like me :grin: ) or you missed the first one. Even then I would recommend trying to get the 4483 one first, you won't be dissapointed! :wub:

#9 Skalldyr

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Posted 06 February 2011 - 12:31 AM

I think what is needed in the poll is a rating for the review itself, because it's exelent....Well done it's the best review if read so far!  :thumbup:
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#10 Brickdoctor

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Posted 06 February 2011 - 01:58 AM

View Postmutley777, on 06 February 2011 - 12:27 AM, said:

or you missed the first one.
Well the only AT-AT I own is the first MINI, and I can't even bring myself to buy this one.

#11 KielDaMan

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Posted 06 February 2011 - 02:26 AM

Excellent comprehensive and in-depth review Rufus, thanks for sharing this! I'm a sucker for comparison pics, and the ones you did for the minifigs are simply :thumbup:. Love those minifig group shots and the funny AT-AT posing too. :laugh: Despite the inaccurate dimensions and questionable minifig selection, this set is still a pretty good buy especially to those who haven't got the chance to own the previous AT-ATs.

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#12 Fallenangel

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Posted 06 February 2011 - 03:13 AM

View PostBrickdoctor, on 05 February 2011 - 11:46 PM, said:

Thanks for the excellent review, Rufus!

I'm not so sure about this set. The dimensions of the AT-AT are all off, and I'm not a fan of the new faces.


View Postmutley777, on 06 February 2011 - 12:27 AM, said:

As for the set, I am going to completely agree with prateek here. I own all three minifig AT-ATs and this is by far the worst.

As brickdoctor said the dimensions are just all wrong! :look:

I think Rufus just has lower standards for accuracy than we do. It is a LEGO set, after all. And I guess the shrunken troop section doesn't bother him so much.

I don't like the way the legs look around the joints; the transition from the inverted dish to the tiles is too abrupt.

#13 Churchill

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Posted 06 February 2011 - 04:18 AM

I love this review!  I actually like how the minifigs "posed" for a group shot when you introduced them.  And the poses are amazing.  I laughed all the way through.  Thanks, Rufus!

#14 Rufus

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Posted 06 February 2011 - 10:34 AM

Thanks all for the kind words :blush:  And thanks for blogging, Kim!

View PostSkalldyr, on 06 February 2011 - 12:31 AM, said:

I think what is needed in the poll is a rating for the review itself, because it's exelent....Well done it's the best review if read so far!  :thumbup:
High praise indeed, thanks!  :blush: :blush:

View Postmutley777, on 06 February 2011 - 12:27 AM, said:

As for the set, I am going to completely agree with prateek here. I own all three minifig AT-ATs and this is by far the worst.

As brickdoctor said the dimensions are just all wrong! :look: For me then only way this set justifies itself is if you are a completest collector (like me :grin: ) or you missed the first one. Even then I would recommend trying to get the 4483 one first, you won't be dissapointed! :wub:

View Postfallenangel327, on 06 February 2011 - 03:13 AM, said:

I think Rufus just has lower standards for accuracy than we do. It is a LEGO set, after all. And I guess the shrunken troop section doesn't bother him so much.

I don't like the way the legs look around the joints; the transition from the inverted dish to the tiles is too abrupt.
Ouch.  I agree with fallenangel about the leg joints, and yes, the troop section is smaller.  Overall accuracy is never going to be 100%, but until we get a UCS non-motorised AT-AT, we'll have to make do with a compromise between accuracy and affordability.  And I maintain this set does a reasonable job.

Let's have a look at the schematics:

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If you compare this to either of the System sets, the most obvious difference is the height of the body relative to the legs.  Both 8129 and 4483 suffer from the bodies being too bulky; this effect is greater in 4483 than 8129, in my opinion, though as I've said I don't own the set.

4483 also has a shorter neck then would be expected; I think the later version is an improvement.  Overall, I'd still recommend this set.

#15 Rumble Strike

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Posted 06 February 2011 - 12:54 PM

I don't tend to post much on the Star Wars forum but I just wanted to say on here that you combine fantastically clear pics with brilliant humour and your reviews are always an absolute pleasure to read.
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#16 Brickus

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Posted 06 February 2011 - 11:15 PM

Excellent review of an equally excellent set Rufus.

#17 DS2626

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Posted 07 February 2011 - 09:52 AM

Great Review  :laugh:
Was lots of fun to read, also great photography, especially the last one  :oh:
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#18 HJR-Holland

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Posted 07 February 2011 - 12:57 PM

Great review :thumbup: A good read indeed. :classic:

#19 Stardusty

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Posted 07 February 2011 - 08:43 PM

Great review Rufus, last picture is hilarious.
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#20 perrout

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Posted 07 February 2011 - 09:07 PM

I just wanted to mention that it is this particular set that converted me to Star Wars Lego (OT only, of course  :devil: ).
Great set, great review !

#21 Fallenangel

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Posted 08 February 2011 - 12:29 AM

View PostRufus, on 06 February 2011 - 10:34 AM, said:

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The Essential Guide is not a 100% reliable source. On the other hand, this is.

#22 j30spiff

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Posted 10 February 2011 - 08:58 PM

Great Review. I have yet to open either as I just acquired both in the past 2 months. Still have to decide which one is going to get built first.

#23 Vénérable Zaïus

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Posted 10 February 2011 - 09:16 PM

One one the longuest and greatest review i've EVER read ! Applause !
I've written some reviews for my website and i know how long it could be to take photos step by step, photos of the final product in many positions, write the review itself and choosing words to make it interesting for the readers.

So : that's huge, that's great, that's good !

Special dedication to your shots of the AT-AT in many cool and comic positions !  :sweet:

#24 underredsky

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Posted 29 March 2011 - 05:43 PM

best review i have ever seen.no joke____________from china

#25 Rufus

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Posted 29 March 2011 - 05:48 PM

View Postunderredsky, on 29 March 2011 - 05:43 PM, said:

best review i have ever seen.no joke____________from china
Thanks... I think. :look:



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