Better Blasters: A Deep-Dive Into LEGO Star Wars Firearms

The blaster is as old as LEGO Star Wars itself as the two as inextricably linked. Although some have clamored for more realistic weapons, the simple yet instantly recognizable designs are perfect for the LEGO system.

The addition of the Star Wars theme to the LEGO portfolio was a point of contention for some of those within The LEGO Group in the late 1990s. There was a concern that Star Wars inherently went against the long-held stance of not supporting war. However, Star Wars was by no means the first conflict-driven theme made in LEGO form since Castle sets had been around long before then.

This deep-dive will take a look at how LEGO has armed the Star Wars galaxy and how those weapons have changed over time.

As Spring 1999 rolled around, the first sets hit shelves and included within were some new weapons. The iconic lightsaber was created, but also included were some slightly familiar pieces. What good is a trooper without a weapon, and what better weapon to have than a blaster! Those first blasters recycled the classic megaphone which had been in use since 1982. Slap a transparent round plate or cone on the end, and you’ve got yourself a weapon. The megaphone blaster would remain the weapon of choice for Battle Droids, bounty hunters, and Clone Troopers alike from 1999 through 2007.

Along a similar vein, a few of the early Star Wars sets also reused the space gun from the 80s. Again all it takes is a transparent topper, and a Rebel Trooper or Dengar are ready to take on the enemy.

In 2007, a major shift in Star Wars weaponry occurred with the introduction of a specially molded blaster. Appearing in ten of the fifteen sets that year, it was clear that LEGO was going to make good use of their new element. And make good use of it they have as this blaster has appeared in over 200 sets and is still being used today. That same year a similar but elongated version was also introduced into sets. The long rifle still appears in sets today but is not nearly as prolific as its shorter counterpart. Both of these blasters have been given a variety of accessories to make sidearms such as Boba Fett’s EE-3 carbine rifle or a Clone Trooper’s sniper rifle.

As the Clone Wars continued on, so too did the need to expand the LEGO arsenal. In order to replicate the DC-17 hand blaster sported by a variety of specialized clone troopers and made famous by Captain Rex, another new mold was created. This blaster was short lived though and would only be featured primarily in a handful of Clone Wars sets.

As the DC-17 resembling blaster was phased out in 2011, a fourth specially molded gun was created to take its place. The blaster had features reminiscent of its fan-favorite predecessors but featured a smaller barrel. This small pistol would also become a staple in the Star Wars weapon lineup and can be found in sets through 2020.

Things seemed like they were going well until 2014 when many fans “felt a great disturbance in the Force as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror.” The stud shooter had arrived. First included in the battle packs of the year, the new blaster allowed a stud to be loaded into the barrel and fired with the press of the trigger. This was certainly appealing for younger children – who after all are the target audience for most LEGO sets – but adult fans did not like the bulkiness and unrealistic shaping of the blaster. It is still in use today but has been primarily found within battle packs and other smaller sets. Thankfully the stud shooter did not replace the molded blasters from before.

Although it was created in 2013, the final molded blaster did not appear in a Star Wars set until 2017 and was not found as a minifigure accessory until 2019 when it appeared in 75256 Kylo Ren’s Shuttle. This blaster had a clip molded into the top that would allow for other accessories to be added. In the case of the Sith Trooper who can found with the Shuttle, a red lightsaber hilt is clipped in giving the appearance of a scope.

It isn’t just minifigures that need armed though, so starship weaponry has changed throughout time as well. The first development actually was present prior to the Star Wars theme’s introduction. The spring-loaded missile was first included in sets in 1998 but didn’t make it into a Star Wars set until 2001 when it was included with 8008 Stormtrooper. This style of missile was used infrequently but continued up through 2013. Then after a six year hiatus, the introduction of the Action Battle sets once again revitalized their use.

Used heavily in its first year was a somewhat similar spring-loaded design that would explain why there was a gap after 2013. The newly created projectile launcher was accompanied by a specially sculpted spring shooter dart. This part has been found in a variety of transparent colors to represent multiple blaster bolts coming from the laser cannons of TIE Fighters, AT-ATs, and even the bowcaster of a Chewbacca buildable figure!

Overlapping the spring-loaded missile was the addition of the flick missile in 2008. This simple technic pin has enough friction that when pushed from behind will launch an impressive distance. Some sets, such as 8019 Republic Attack Shuttle, have a flick based weapon that is fired using a built-in mechanism.

The stud shooter mentioned above was not only just for minifigures and has appeared in several sets as a mounted weapon. This version is a slight alteration of the minifig one and features a 1×2 plate bottom that allows it to be attached to any studded surface. This version has also been included in two Dwarf Spider Droid assemblies.

Although most of the weapons above come in the standard black and gray, there have been a few in some more vibrant colors. In recent years LEGO has dealt with ongoing issues with counterfeit bricks, which, surprisingly don’t all come out of clone brand factories in China.

The rainbow assortment of medium blasters in the photo below actually comes from the Monterrey LEGO factory in Mexico and have been created with official molds (through some less than official means). These blasters can be found for cheap prices on Bricklink and are more of an oddity than a rarity.

As more movies and TV series bring new and more extraordinary weapons to the Star Wars galaxy, how will LEGO continue to improve and advance their LEGO Star Wars arsenal? Could realistic detailing – like those produced by Brick Arms – be on the horizon or will LEGO take the opposite approach and keep their sidearms simple? Perhaps the increasingly violent nature of LEGO play will cause a seachange in their attitude towards guns in their construction toys?

Join the gun control debate and share your thoughts and opinions in our comments section below.

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