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  1. If you found this review first, I suggest you read my review about set 75216 Snoke’s Throne Room first and then after reading that, continue with the review of set 75225 Elite Praetorian Guard Battle Pack. This is my 21st RA review and the 2nd part of my back-to-back Star Wars set reviews. Overview Name: 75225 - Elite Praetorian Guard Battle Pack Theme: Star Wars: The Last Jedi Year: 2019 (1H) Pieces: 109 Minifigures: 4 Price: 12.99 GBP / 14.99 USD / 14.99 EUR Resources: Brickset and Bricklink Introduction Having reviewed 75216 Snoke’s Throne Room set, my goal is not to compare this set against it but to show how it is really meant to be a companion little set for the bigger set. I will also express my opinion about the variants of the Elite Praetorian Guards included in both sets. So, right off the bat when you think of LEGO Elite Praetorian Guards, do you think about the cheaper battle pack or the Snoke’s Throne Room set? Without knowing rocket science, I believe that majority will remember what they could afford and by extension, what they could play. Not all battle packs has great balance of affordability and mass appeal but this packs them all. Starting with the packaging artwork: the front panel artwork shows the Elite Praetorian Guards sparring. The back panel is practically the same thing presented in the front panel, just taken from a different angle. That’s how straight forward this set is. Below is one the uninteresting pictures of the box side panels. Minifigures Because the minifigures are the most important recipe in any battle pack, let’s showcase the minifigures included. First of all, the weapons are plentiful in this battle pack so every minifigures gets at least 1. A stud shooter is included for the lonesome Stormtrooper. Front view with shoulder pads, headgears and weapons armed In order from left to right, I suppose the weapon is meant to be Electro-bisento (TLG: electro-staff), Vibro-voulge (TLG: Vibro-axe) and Bilari electro-chain whip. I don’t know who supplied those alternate names to TLG but those names in parenthesis was mentioned in the official description. I don’t see how someone will confuse axe with a pole cleaver because that’s what a voulge is. Ok, you can say that a pole cleaver is a pole axe but that is really stretching it, quite literally. Front view with shoulder pads and headgears About the headgears, apart from familiar pointed Praetorian helmet, we also get the helmet with a flatter top that extends forward. Personally, this is my most favourite version of the guards because it is flashier and looks more functional to deflect blasts and lightsabers beams as long as it doesn’t hit directly. As for the First Order Stormtrooper, I will make a direct comparison between TFA vs TLA version further below so hold that thought for a moment. Back view with shoulder pads and headgears Surprise! The back of all the Elite Praetorian Guards are all identical. Front view with ridged shoulder pads only Surprisingly the red heads of the guards do not have any face print. I don’t mind it because the helmets will likely stay fitted onto the minifigures all the time so using red minifigure heads make a lot of sense. Back view with ridged shoulder pads only Nothing to see here. No head prints at all. Ridged shoulder pads, Praetorian helmet Here are the official names of each part: Ridged shoulder pad = mini armour, no. 12, element: 6231897, design no. 37614 Flat Praetorian Guard helmet = mini helmet, no. 222, element: 6251104, design no. 42866 Pointed Praetorian Guard helmet = mini helmet, no. 209, element: 6231899, design no. 38561 In my review of Snoke’s Throne Room, I showcased the Elite Praetorian Guards with skirts. The only part that makes those Elite Praetorian Guards exclusive is practically just the skirt/robe part used for the legs (aka mini skirt, no. 6, element 6231958, design no. 39139). Also, thanks to the skirt part, first introduced in set 75206, the Praetorian Guards from Snoke’s Throne Room have the same height as the Praetorian Guards from this battle pack. Unfortunately TLG is not very generous in producing the the third Praetorian helmet with a pointy tip at the bottom. I would have preferred another unique helmet instead of the inclusion of other parts, like those allocated for the training droid. FO Stormtrooper: ep. 7 vs ep. 8 version Moving on, the FO Stormtrooper in this set is the TLJ version with thinner mouth pattern. I don’t really see the point of updating the graphics but I suppose it is more movie accurate for TLJ. I don’t have a problem with the change but I do have a problem with the print quality. If you look closely at the photos below , you can see that the black middle arch has a bit of smudge or imperfection. This is very frustrating because I have 2 sets of these battle packs and both the FO Stormtroopers had this. I don’t know if this print defect is widespread but it’s definitely a let-down. The inclusion of FO Stormtrooper is odd because the set is definitely meant to be Praetorian Guards-centric. I think this is just a way to push these FO Stormtroopers out of the warehouse inventories. Perhaps asking for another variant of Praetorian Guard is just asking too much. Build The built for this set is very mundane but it doesn’t take anything away from the awesomeness of the battle pack. Since it is a sparring stage for the minifigures, it makes it easier to pit the minifigures against each other by spinning the round plate with turntables. Training Droid Bricklink lists that there are 5 “minifigures” in the set but it is clearly stated in the official LEGO set that it includes 4 LEGO minifigures and a training droid [brick-built] figure. Clearly, a training droid is not a minifigure in TLG’s book. Just saying. Anyway, I appreciate the transparent parts included to make the illusion that the figure is floating. Weapon rack I already mentioned the names of the equipped weapon earlier but there is one weapon that I forgot to equip onto the minifigure because it was attached to the weapon rack earlier. The one using the gun-metal horn parts is the brick-built version of Twin vibro-arbir blades (TLG: Twin vibro blades) in its joined form. It should have been longer by a factor of two because an arbir is a pole weapon but I guess we have to make use of what we have. All the official Star Wars weapon names I mentioned here are based from the information published in The Last Jedi Visual Dictionary. Thanks Pablo Hidalgo. Conclusion Considering to re-making the Snoke’s Throne Room fight scene? Thankfully the battle packs are here to save you. It is not a perfect set but for the price you pay, I think it gives you more than enough to warrant multiple purchases. If you need to buy a single set just to get the The Praetorian Guards, the wiser choice is definitely the battle pack because it is the cheaper one. If you want to get all the variants available for The Praetorian Guards, unfortunately, Snoke’s Throne Room still has the exclusive skirted variants. Ultimately, you need to ask yourself whether you really need the skirted variants. Ideally, getting set 75216 during clearance instead of buying the Praetorian Guards thru Bricklink should be more economical because 75216 already includes a lot of great parts to build the throne room with Snoke and 2 crimson guards. Then, adding 2 battle packs in the mix will give you 6 more to complete the 8 Elite Praetorian Guards of Snoke to recreate the ultimate battle in TLJ. A total of 3 sets are required to make this scene possible -- Review summary Playability: 9/10 - For its size, what it lacks for build, it compensates for the weaponries Design / Building Experience: 6/10 - Did I say very mundane? It serves its purpose though. Minifigures: 9/10 - If only a 3rd version of Praetorian Guard helmet is included, this will be perfect. Price / Value for money: 10/10 - I hope this will be another template set that TLG will use for future release of BPs because it offers all the goodies that should be present in all battle packs. Overall: 8.5/10 - This is an awesome battle pack with very desirable minifigures that every Star Wars fan should consider buying. Thanks for reading this back-to-back review.
  2. This is my 20th review in Eurobricks Review Academy and to mark this milestone, I am reviewing a back-to-back review of this old TLJ set 75216 Snoke’s Throne Room and its little companion set 75225 Elite Praetorian Guard Battle Pack. This is part 1. Regardless how you feel about The Last Jedi, it has its intense and satisfying moments. To start this back-to-back review, let’s go through the set that is based on one of the most iconic scene in Star Wars Episode 8. I suppose we don’t need spoiler warnings. So, in a bad Kylo Ren paraphrasing-- don't let this post die, read this review if you have to. Overview Name: 75216 - Snoke’s Throne Room Theme: Star Wars Year: 2018 (2H) Pieces: 491 Minifigures: 5 Price: GBP 64.99 / USD 69.99 / EUR 69.99 / SGD 129.99 / MYR 359.40 Resources: Brickset and Bricklink Introduction Thanks to TLG, this scene was not spoiled because any Star Wars fan can tell you how severely inaccurate this front panel cover picture is. To spell it out for your - (1) Snoke did not even survive to watch any battle inside the throne room; (2) Rey and Kylo Ren did not duel at all as they actually fought alongside each other to fight against the Elite Praetorian Guards; (3) The set included only 2 identical Elite Praetorian Guards even if the movie featured 8 with at least 3 different helmet variations. We will The back panel even misleads you that Rey only fought the Praetorian Guards. Good job LEGO Marketing team! The side panel features The Elite Praetorian Guard because the designers are fully aware that fans of the movie will hunt this set just for these red-armoured minifigures. You can see the other side panels and other photo here in my Flickr album. Build Below is the content of the box. There are 3 numbered bags, 1 instruction booklet and 1 sticker sheet. The sticker sheet included is quite big. As usual, in all my reviews, I won’t be applying them not because I detest them but only because I do not find them necessary. Besides, the sticker type included in this set is the kind that will come off easily after some time. Contents of Bag 1 Bag 1 Build The first bag makes the centre of the throne platform. To some extent, the technic bricks and pegs make this set modular and easy to disassembly into smaller parts. Contents of Bag 2 Bag 2 Build Bag 2 makes up the swivel door that looks more like a lift in the movie. Bag 1 + Bag 2 Builds (No throne) Once connected, you’ll see how “cute” and pathetic the short bridge is. Also shown In the picture above, the technic shaft can be pulled to simulate Snoke's pull force of Rey. Bag 2 also supplies the parts to build the throne of Supreme Leader Snoke which can rotate thanks to that big turntable piece underneath. The roller blades attached at the back looks really neat. Bag 1 + Bag 2 Builds With bag 1 and 2 completed, we're just one more bag away from completion. Contents of Bag 3 Bag 3 supplies the parts for the left and right pillars that support an invisible roof. Kids and grown ups also need the power of imagination for the red wall that is blatantly absent in this set. Bag 3 Build In the middle of each pillars, there is a hidden storage for weapons and accessories. Full Build: Complete! The completed build has a decent size and heft once fully built. You can see another perspective of the build in my Flickr album. And here is the completed throne room with all the minifigures added. Speaking of minifigures, this is a good time to transition to the next section of the review Minifigures As already mentioned earlier, the box art alone suggests that the Elite Praetorian Guards are the main attraction of the set. Until now, this variant is still exclusive in this set. These guards have new shoulder pads, helmets and skirt with robe pattern. Front view with hairpieces and headgears Back view with hairpieces and headgears Snoke has no second face print since he is bald but it shows his highly scarred features. Front view without hairpieces and headgears Once the hairpieces are removed, the Elite Praetorian Guards reveal a plain red head piece under the red helmets. Isn’t that better. Back view without hairpieces and headgears Only Rey and Kylo has second face print among the minifigures. Conclusion A large majority of reviews mentioned about the price of this set so let’s talk about the pricing first. Not long ago, a similar design formula was used in TFA set 75139 Battle on Takodana - 5 minifigures with a small section of a structure. The Snoke’s Throne Room comes with similar number of figures but the parts count is a bit higher making it $10 more expensive. Surprisingly, the price to parts ratio of the Takodana set is worse but it received generally positive reviews in LEGO Shop and Amazon. Outside these 2 online shops however, the reviews were mixed and, dare I say, not favourable because of the price factor. Having owned several 75139 sets, personally, I can say that set 75216 is a better set overall. While it is debatable that the retail price is a tad higher than your average LEGO set, the new moulds for the Praetorian Guards were factored in the product pricing as it is the only set that used the new helmet and shoulder armours at the time of its release. Would I prefer it to be cheaper? Yes, but I guess everyone wants anything cheaper.... Beyond the price, I do think this is a good set; not just too good or great -- just good. Another common gripe that I read about this set is the inaccuracy of the set because it doesn’t have the red wall. It’s true that it has no walls but it also doesn’t have central pillars behind the throne, roof and floating “chandeliers” -- just look at the reference photo of the throne room. I do believe the designer did their very best to capture the essence of the throne room with the limited parts count allotted for the set. If the red wall was added it would have made the set more expensive. A simple, cheap and very easy solution for the red background is to just add your own red crimson paper backdrop in your display if you really wish to reproduce the striking wall colour of the throne. You can see what I did in the photo below. More importantly, if there is something I really want to complain about this set - it has to be the scale. It is just too small to fit four minifigures at each side. The width and breadth of the throne room is not proportional. Just compare how vastly the model was shrunk down compared to the reference set picture . It is definitely smaller than system scale. If you want to recreate the epic fight scene in the movie, modifying this set is necessary. Technically, you can fit 10 minifigures in the middle but the scene would look like Kylo Ren and Rey standing on concert mosh pit with a red army…(not a BTS reference) "You think you can turn him? Pathetic child. I cannot be betrayed; I cannot be beaten. I see his mind, I see his every intent." Review summary Playability: 7/10 - The playset functions as a stage only and the other play features do not elevate the action elements that this set is suppose to recreate. Design / Building Experience: 7/10 - The design captured the essence of Snoke’s Throne Room but the scale is just too small. Making it wider would have helped stage a fight scene a lot better. Minifigures: 8/10 - The Elite Praetorian Guards make this set special and this set is the only way you can get the robed version. Making Snoke a throw-away character in the movie reduced the appeal of this set but that’s not TLG’s fault. Price / Value for money: 6/10 - This is the same rating that I would have given the Battle of Takodana set in value. The Star Wars tax is real. Overall: 7/10 - The set is decent but there is nothing special about this set that will make you buy this immediately. That’s also the reason why I only bought this set after finding a generous discount offer. This review is not complete without the next one. Since you patiently read all the way through the end, please go ahead and jump to the next review of set 75225 Elite Praetorian Guards Battle Pack.