75290 Mos Eisley Cantina: The Transports

There is a long-running joke in the LEGO Star Wars community that new members to join Jens and the rest of the Star Wars team have to perform a right of passage by designing the next landspeeder for the LEGO Star Wars line. If this is true (and it isn’t* – I’ve asked) then whoever the latest addition to the gang got lucky when the assignment for this set came up.

And that designer is César Soares, an AFOL from Portugal who joined the LEGO Star Wars team in 2016 after being plucked from his life as a school teacher. Having proven his skills with a number of smaller sets and battle packs, his first stand-out set was the iconic 75244 Tantive IV. Its success saw him designing the three buildable helmets in the Adult Collector subtheme before tackling the new Mos Eisley Cantina.

While the set does contain minifigures and vehicles, the complexity of the build and the number of pieces (and the price point) naturally mean that it was going to be more popular with adult fans than kids. With the issue of balancing detail and play factors, certain concessions had to be made – including the decision to have six instead of the eight alcoves. The trade-off, it would seem, is the inclusion of a number of outbuildings and the two iconic landspeeders that were parked outside the sketchiest watering hole on Tatooine.

SoroSuub V-35 Courier

The most notable ground transport to be included in 75290 Mos Eisley Cantina is the V-35 Courier, a family vehicle that could carry three humanoids and had plenty of storage space. Despite its sleek appearance, the addition of armor plating limited its top speed to 100 kilometers per hour. The speeder’s dependability and safety record, on top of its comfort and protection from Tusken Raiders and swoop gangs, made it a popular choice for Tatooine’s dispersed moisture farming population – including the Lars family.

Taking a slightly different tack, LEGO opted to assign the vehicle to a local droid retailer – and patron of the Mos Eisley Cantina – who goes by the name Hrchek Kal Fas.

This speeder (and its owner) is not only the first step in building 75290 Mos Eisley Cantina, but is the first – and so far only – time this specific speeder has been turned into a Star Wars toy since the black V-35 MicroMachine version that came out in 1997.

Utilizing the uncommon SNOT (Studs Not On Top) technique to hold the nose of the speeder in place, Soares also made use of two upside-down windscreen elements as the support for the three thrusters.

Ubrikkian Industries 9000

Perhaps the most eyecatching landspeeder in the Star Wars continuity, the podlike Ubrikkian 9000 was originally designed for the monocellular Ugor species, before it was re-released as the Z001 model. Its robust nature and simple controls made it popular with Tatooine miners who took joy from the fact that it was made by the same manufacturer who built Jabba the Hutt’s luxurious sail barge.

Maintaining canon, LEGO kept Greedo’s name on the vehicle’s ownership title. Presumably, it came into the hands of Wiolesa, Mos Eisley’s foremost second-hand speeder dealer after the Rodian’s encounter with a certain human smuggler.

This isn’t the first time the ‘brik 9k has graced LEGO Star Wars fans’ collections, with an almost-identical version included with 75205 Mos Eisley Cantina, released in 2018.

Clever use of four radar dishes and an inverted white dish on top helps to round out the curved bricks and give it that unique pod-like shape (which is said to have been inspired by the EVA pods in 2001: A Space Odyssey).

Patrol Dewback

The third form of transport included with 75290 Mos Eisley Cantina is one of Tatooine’s largest (though not the largest) native reptilian species, the dewback. Thick-skinned and cold-blooded, these multi-meter long beasts of burden get their name from their principal source of moisture – the dew that collects on their backs during the desert nights. Dependable and strong, they were common throughout the galaxy to haul goods as well as transport.

Being one of the original Kenner releases, the Patrol Dewback has been gracing toy boxes and collections since 1979. It came to be in LEGO form in 2004 when the first Mos Eisley Cantina (4501) was released. The original design was improved and given a walking gait for 75052 Mos Eisley Cantina (in 2014) and then turned into a brick-built format in 75228 Escape Pod vs. Dewback Microfighters dual pack (2019). Subtle print differences on the legs and upper jaw separate this from the dewback in 75052 Mos Eisley Cantina.

With both a saddle for the mounted sandtrooper captain minifigure and an alternative backplate that fits (too) snuggly when the saddle is removed, this beast can be ridden bareback if necessary.

Adding an additional layer of playability and authenticity to the overall set, each of these three vehicles (with a few additions), are worthy of their being part of separate and individual sets.

Our multi-part review of 75290 Mos Eisley Cantina continues in Part Two – The Outbuildings.

* It’s worth noting that Soares did design 75271 Luke Skywalker’s Landspeeder but this wasn’t his first set, nor was it the only landspeeder of this variety to be produced by LEGO since Soares joined the team.

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