We enjoyed building the Lego Star Wars AT-AT far more than we thought we would. While you expect detail and authenticity from a $160 kit, the actual finished model doesn’t look all that exciting – it’s a large, gray mechanical space-horse noted for the fact it falls over relatively easily in the Star Wars movies. However, there are some clever little systems and mini-builds at play in the 75288 kit that makes this one of the best Lego Star Wars sets we’ve had the pleasure of putting together.
When constructing the Lego Star Wars AT-AT we applied the same methodology to our build and review as we always do. While the box clearly states that this is suitable for people aged 10+, we invited our six year old to join in, to see how he coped with the process overall under our constant supervision. We also invited him to play with it extensively after the build to see how the Lego AT-AT holds up as a toy, in addition to being a collectable Star Wars model.
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Lego Star Wars AT-AT: Build
Average price: $159.99/£139.99
Model number: 75288
Finished item dimensions: 13 x 14.5 x 5.5 inches
Recommended age: 10+
There are eight stages to this build, six minifigs, and a couple of small accessories. You start by making Luke (in his Snowspeeder pilot outfit) and a couple of snow troopers with a speeder bike and mounted gun. The other seven stages are all about the AT-AT. Here you start with the body, move on to building the armor and side-doors, then the legs, and finally the head. In all it took us about four to five hours to build, and we did so over about four days, to spread out the fun of the construction.
Each stage of making the Lego Star Wars AT-AT is challenging in a different way, and while nothing here is overly complex, you do need to apply a decent amount of precision to make sure all your parts line up perfectly and work properly. Misalign a door, or a mount for a leg, and you’ll need to unpick a fair amount of work to set it right. Lego aficionados will take great pleasure in seeing how the designers have worked out exactly how this build fits together; and how it retains mobility without becoming unstable and unusable as a toy. Younger builders will probably struggle a little to find joy in the technical elements, but will be equally satisfied with how well it all slots together.
Of all the parts of the build, we loved seeing how the armor fits onto the body and creates those angles you see in the finished model, and also how the head is created. The legs, being something you have to repeat four times, were the least enjoyable part… but they’re surprisingly unfussy, and didn’t take all that long to put together. Both the mobility of the legs and the fact you can easily see inside the compartments and cockpit are a neat feature of both the construction and the final element.
Our only real criticism of the whole build is that the ‘cable’ Luke hangs from, under the belly of the AT-AT, is an absolute pain to make. It’s a thin piece of string that you need to thread through several layers of Lego, before tying off. We used several curse words during this stage of construction, which our six year old probably shouldn’t have heard...
Lego Star Wars AT-AT: Design
As we mentioned above, the final appearance of the AT-AT isn’t the most exciting. It’s a big, gray horse thing. However, this Lego model is hugely authentic, and it’s surprisingly detailed, which are the main things you want from a build like this. There’s a compartment in the body, where you can sit your minifigs, and you can even seat three models in the cockpit. We did find, however, that doing this was such a squeeze that the figures wouldn’t actually fit without some very creative movement of their arms. The end result looks good, but you won’t be taking figures out and replacing them with any regularity – it’s too fiddly.
We like the fact that there are head-mounted blasters, and that they fire those long, red projectiles you’ll recognize from other Lego Star Wars kits. They’re well mounted on the head, which is a sturdy part of the model, so you won’t break anything when you fire them out. The head even moves from side to side, so you can aim properly. One big criticism of the Lego X-Wing we reviewed is that firing the blasters requires a seriously delicate touch – get too clumsy and you’ll break an S-foil or two while you play.
With a model like this, which has four skinny legs, you always worry about stability. While the Lego AT-AT is actually pretty stable, you do need to make sure you don’t adjust the legs too far, or you may find your model toppling sideways. We tested this one, on a hard floor, and actually didn’t break the AT-AT too much – a few pieces of armor, foot, and leg came away, but it was easily fixed.
Should you buy the Lego Star Wars AT-AT?
If you’re searching for a holiday or birthday gift for an older child, or you’re a collector on a budget (and don’t fancy dropping $800 on the newer, giant AT-AT) then this is perfect. The authenticity of the finished model is superb, the build is interesting and challenging without being overly complicated, and you get good value for money with the number of pieces included. It’s not suitable for younger kids to build solo, but is fine if you’re going to supervise them.
While the final build is liable to fall over if you mess with the legs too much, it stands perfectly well, and you can easily play with all the movable parts without worry it’ll topple over. The moveable head, with attached blasters, is great, and it’s fun to be able to store your other minifigs in the belly. Overall, if you’re going to spend $160 on a Star Wars Lego kit, this is probably one of the best ones you can buy.
What other Lego Star Wars can you buy?
There are a couple of obvious alternatives to the Lego AT-AT kit, and one kit you really should track down to complement it. Obviously, if you’re a serious collector with heaps of disposable income, then you should consider the new Lego AT-AT Ultimate Collector Series set (75313), which clocks in at an eye-watering $800 new. At time of writing this review it’s currently awaiting stock at many retailers, so is actually being resold at over $1000. Oof. For a far more reasonable $40 you can grab the Lego AT-ST Raider from the Mandalorian, but it isn’t original Skywalker Saga, and it only has two legs!
If you’re set on buying the Lego Star Wars AT-AT, we also suggest you pair it – like a fine wine with cheese – with the Lego Snowspeeder set (75268). The snowspeeder is built to the same scale as the AT-AT, so you can happily combine the two to create your own Hoth battle. On the plus side, the Snowspeeder is cheap at around $40, but on the negative side, it has been discontinued, so you may struggle to find stock in six months or so.