I happened upon some of the new 2016 battle packs almost an entire week before their street date. I was excited to get a jump on them and to increase my personal armies.
REVIEW: SET DETAILS
Set #: 75132
Name: First Order Battle Pack
Theme: Star Wars
Before we get to the build, let’s talk value. At $12.99 the price per piece works out to a bit under $.15 each. This is on the high side of pricing for a licensed set. There are 4 minifigures a First Order Stormtrooper, a First Order Heavy Gunner Stormtrooper, and 2 different First Order Crew. The Heavy Gunner and the open face Crew are currently exclusive to this set.
Some people may wind up picking up a set that is open box or, want to verify the box contents before beginning a build. For this set, there are 2 unnumbered baggies and an instruction book.
Now before I continue, I want to take a moment to talk about the box, which I almost never do. They have redesigned these smaller set boxes to be taped closed instead of glued. There's no punch out area on the back for you to messily tear apart your box, instead, you can cleanly cut open the seals and collapse it for storage, if that is what you do.
THE BUILD AND EXECUTION
So, let's begin, just open both baggies and dump it all together.
So, the first thing that you build are the minifigures and the guns. I'll go more in depth about the minifigures in my reaction. So, for now, I'll talk about the guns. The standard stud shooters are back. There's not one exciting thing about them, but there is one interesting thing to note. Building the 2 Force Awakens Battle Packs back to back allowed me to recognize that LEGO gave the bad guys red studs to shoot, and the good guys blue. Either way, I still hate these things. As a parent I really hate for my kids to play with these things too.
Now, on to the secondary reason that anyone would buy this set, the construction. We're going to be building a kind of turbolaser turret tower. (I didn't intend to alliterate, it just happened.) So, what's a good tower without a base?
Those flaps fold up into the tower for storage. The placement of that control console is a little awkward, I almost felt like it should be turned around. When you actually create the lower part of the tower with those 2x2 double slopes there's not a lot of room for a minifigure to stand awkwardly between them. Also, look, ammunition storage.
The turbolaser is one of those 1x2 modified plates with a stud shooter and some other stuff tacked on.
then you build a mounting station for it which will all snap onto the turntable on top of the tower.
I actually like the look of this set. the tubolaser adds some play value, and doesn't look terribly funky. It was a very fast build. Of course it is, once you take away the 12 pieces for the handheld stud shooters and the 16 pieces for the minifigures and the handful of pieces for the reloads for the stud shooters, you've got a small polybag of parts, under 60. A few of the pieces are nice for building MOCs, but again, not a lot of pieces to go with. So, apart from the way too small build, there's the minifigures, the real reason anyone would buy this set. The standard stormtrooper and the crew with the full helmet have been seen before in sets like 75101 First Order Special Forces TIE Fighter and 75103 First Order Transporter. The Stormtrooper still looks amazing and the Crew still looks vaguely silly and plain at the same time. The Heavy Gunner sports a new deco on his torso piece. It looks good, any first order army needs a few of these guys around for a little bit of variation. Front and back decorations are unique on him. The second crew has a unique hat and a different head. I honestly don't know if I think this hat is sillier than the other one or not. I don't know how many crew your First Order army needs. If anyone buys a bunch of this battle pack, hey will have an army of Crew. I personally don't want an army of guys in undistinguished black jump suits and silly hats. Even though, you can relieve the uniformity slightly by swapping heads so that the open faced helmet guy utilizes one of the other heads. I will say that it is nice to see a little variation in the color pallet used for human Star Wars minifigures.
This set is overpriced. There's no way around that. The build is small and LEGO is surely saying that kids and collectors are going to buy it regardless, because they always buy battle packs. The price point is designed to get the impulse buyer, the casual buyer and the army builder. The figure selection is what will drive the aftermarket price of this set. Whereas the 75078 Imperial Troop Transport held 4 Stormtroopers, this one only has 2. Initial sales of this set will be brisk as collectors attempt to build their armies, but I think it will sour after a while. Those 2 crewmen are going to be the anchor that drags this down. The only hope that anyone who is hoping for big returns on this set has is that the Heavy Weapons trooper stays unique. I highly doubt that will happen.
This set seems like a cynical cash grab by LEGO. By including half the number of Stormtroopers, and a very small build, they seem to be angling for troop builders to buy twice as many of these sets to equal their Imperial armies. Of course, this set will sell at retail. mom, dad, grampa, grandma, and little Timmy with a small allowance will pick it up. I anticipate this design of troops to be around for years, so we'll be seeing them again. I anticipate slow growth and moderate returns post EOL. (At this time, Amazon does not have a listing for this set. when they load it, I will happily add the link.)
Check out the companion 75131 Resistance Trooper Battle Pack Review.
Edited by thoroakenfelder