Lego Star Wars UCS Republic Gunship review

The first prequel-era Ultimate Collector Series set in over a decade is a fine addition to Lego Star Wars’ premium range of adult-targeted models.

Lego Star Wars UCS Republic Gunship
(Image: © Future)

Space Verdict

The first prequel-era UCS set in over a decade was worth the wait. Minifigure gripes aside, Lego has managed to faithfully recreate arguably the most challenging ship design in UCS history. And despite the relatively modest piece count (by UCS standards), the Republic Gunship is absolutely huge. If you’ve got the space, the funds, and have a penchant for the Clone Wars, this is a fine addition to the current crop of Ultimate Collector Series Lego Star Wars builds.

Pros

  • +

    Jaw-dropping likeness

  • +

    Engrossing build

  • +

    Some very clever construction techniques

  • +

    Good stability, given the size and awkward shape

  • +

    It’s flippin’ huge!

  • +

    Good value

  • +

    Finally, another prequel UCS set!

Cons

  • -

    No clone pilot Minifigure

  • -

    Mass-driver missile launchers could look better

  • -

    Size will ultimately be a dealbreaker for some

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Essential info

Price: $399.99/£344.99

Model number: 75309

Number of pieces: 3,292

Dimensions: Approximately 13 x 27 x 29 inches (33 x 68 x 74 cm)

Recommended age: 18+

The Ultimate Collector Series (UCS) is renowned for some of the very best Lego Star Wars sets in existence. It represents the pinnacle of Lego’s design capabilities and boasts some of the largest piece counts in the Billund-based brick builder’s history. The Republic Gunship (or LAAT) is one of only four prequel-era UCS sets to have been released over the years, which is somewhat surprising considering the popularity of Clone Wars builds among fans. 

So, when Lego launched its first UCS fan vote, which pitched the Republic Gunship against the Nebulon B Escort Frigate and TIE Bomber, the former achieved a decisive victory with over half of the roughly 50,000 votes cast. And although the $399.99 MSRP (opens in new tab) is hefty by playset standards, it represents a mid-tier UCS price bracket, considering the UCS Millennium Falcon (75192) peaks at $849.99. 

There’s nothing mid-tier about the finished article though. The Lego UCS Republic Gunship is an imposing model that’s going to take up a hefty chunk of your living space. And if you’re a savvy brick builder who’s always on the lookout for Lego Star Wars deals, you can reduce the already decent value 12.2c price-per-brick ratio. The Ultimate Collector Series is oversaturated with some of the greatest Lego sets of all time, so read on to find out how the UCS Republic Gunship stacks up and whether it’s worthy of the Grand Army of the Republic.

Lego Star Wars UCS Republic Gunship: Build

  • 3,292 pieces
  • 17 build stages
  • Clever techniques used to form challenging shapes

True to form, Lego’s exemplary UCS building experience starts with the 540-page tome that makes up the instruction manual. The first few pages include a forward from Lego Design Director and Creative Lead Jens Kronvold Frederiksen, a few words from the model’s designer Hans Burkhard Schlömer and a few paragraphs of information on the ship itself, complete with a couple of illustrations from DK’s Star Wars: Attack of the Clones Incredible Cross-Sections

The build is split into 17 sections. You begin by piecing together the base of the hull using lots of large plates and some nice maroon tiles to break up the studded finish. The next section begins to build up the ship’s distinctive, curved green and white front, as well as the front end’s internal framework. Section three uses long Technic pieces as well as studs-not-on-top bricks (SNOT) to create the mid-section framework above the main deck. You then progress onto the lower-front section’s side paneling and the beautifully realized front-facing laser cannons. Section five is where you really begin to visualize the model’s humongous size, by building the upper-rear framework and the sliding door mechanisms. 

The large rear panel is then constructed using various plates before moving onto the framework that sits just below the pilots’ cockpits, which are themselves built during section eight. Sections nine and 10 deal with the upper back end and involve a relatively tedious, yet beautifully detailed missile belt build, as well as the rear exhaust and tail cannon. Sections 11 and 12 deal with the sliding doors, while 13 and 14 comprise the huge and impressive-looking wings. The fifteenth and sixteenth stages form the top missile launchers and pivoting composite-beam laser turrets. Finally, you piece together a comparatively small, yet deceptively sturdy stand.

The entire build took us about nine hours to complete, and although we did this in one sitting, we’d definitely recommend breaking it up over a few days to really savor the experience and avoid sore fingertips! Given that most spaceships are symmetrical, repetitive construction comes with the territory. And the larger the model and the bigger the piece count, the more time you’re going to spend putting the same sections together twice (or thrice).

However, UCS sets aren’t about keeping things fresh. They’re about building the most accurate representation possible, hence the 18+ age rating. Sure, you’re not making a matchstick replica from scratch, but the Ultimate Collector Series is as taxing as Lego sets get and you can expect a challenge. You might roll your eyes as you piece together your umpteenth missile, but you’re always conscious of the bigger picture and watching it come together piece by piece is a magical experience. And despite sections of repetition, we still felt this trumped most other UCS builds when it comes to variety and enjoyment. If you’re a Lego nerd, you’ll love putting this one together. 

But where you will find variety that’s often lacking, due to Star Wars’ penchant for big gray ships, such as the AT-AT and Razor Crest, is color. The Republic Gunship’s white, maroon, and green paint job provides additional interest when building and also makes it easier to find the necessary pieces.

If you’re big into building the best Lego Star Wars sets, like most UCS owners are, then you’ll definitely appreciate the way this one comes together. Kudos to Hans for finding some really creative and clever solutions to the Republic Gunship’s inherently awkward design. The Technic framework is rock solid, and each humongous wing is connected via a single axle rod and rests securely on a supportive frame to splay the hefty extension at the desired angle. The pivoting composite-beam laser turrets are another highlight, with a cool little build encompassing several hinged clips to form a circular surround that houses the laser dish and a seat. This sits neatly between the two printed bowl-shaped windscreens to form a very detailed spherical turret. Another neat little build is the missile belts, which rotate in unison thanks to a quartet of Lego cogs.

The detailed pilots' cockpits are equally as impressive with printed consoles and reclining seats. All told the set contains 32 stickers (including the UCS information plaque) and some of them are challenging to apply – tapered stickers on the mass-driver missile launchers, we’re looking at you… However, this is a huge build with an admittedly impressive number of printed pieces. We count 14 separate prints – not including Minifigures – and 10 of those are the sizable prints on the various windscreen pieces.

We did notice that the right mass-driver missile launcher on our model has a tendency to sag slightly under its own weight, despite the long Technic axle that runs right through its center and if you’re going to accidentally knock anything off this build it’s probably going to be one of the pivoting composite-beam laser turrets. However, due to this model’s delicate shape and huge size, we were pleasantly surprised by how sturdy it is. And after all, this is purely a display piece.

Lego Star Wars UCS Republic Gunship: Design

  • Lots of stickers, but lots of printed pieces too
  • It's a remarkable representation of the source material
  • It’s not far off the size of the UCS Millennium Falcon!

The current line-up of Star Wars UCS sets are some of the most accurate-looking sets to come out of Lego’s Billund-based HQ. However, while blocky, grey lumps like the Imperial Star Destroyer (75252) (opens in new tab) and AT-AT translate seamlessly over to Lego, the Republic Gunship is an entirely different beast. Jutting details, odd angles, and awkward curvatures present something of a design headache. 

But when you stand back and drink it all in, it’s a rather remarkable achievement. Lego has nailed the distinctive bubbly frontage, the incredible (roughly 29 inches) wingspan, the shape of the hull, the cockpits, the beautifully detailed – albeit not perfectly spherical – composite-beam laser turrets. In many ways, it’s hard to imagine how this set might have looked, had it been released 10 years ago. It stands testament to the ingenuity of modern Lego builds and is an incredible model with a huge presence. 

The only area that we feel looks a little awkward is the mass-driver missiles atop the ship. On the film prototype, they taper to a longer point and instead appear a little too blocky and bulky. However, given that they’re one of the more delicate sections of the build, it’s possible a thinner construction would have impacted the stability even further.

The UCS Republic Gunship is big, surprisingly big in fact. It’s nearly 28 inches long and 29 inches wide, and to give you an idea of just how it stacks up next to other UCS behemoths, the UCS Millennium Falcon – despite being over double the piece count – is 33 inches long and 23 inches wide. As such, this isn’t a model you can pop on a standard shelf. If you’re looking for a UCS Lego Star Wars set to adorn your college dorm, you might be better off taking a look at Luke Skywalker’s Landspeeder (75341) instead… 

Although Minifigures will fit neatly inside the cockpits and pivoting laser turrets, you need only to place a clone trooper on the main deck to realize that it’s nowhere near Minifigure scale. And that was a good choice on Lego’s part, given that a Minifigure-scale model probably wouldn’t have been much bigger than the Republic Gunship (75021) playset released way back in 2013. The enlarged scale allows for so much more detail and a more accurate overall form, and we love it.

Minifigures in UCS sets are an interesting topic of discussion. Some UCS sets in the past haven’t contained any Minifigures at all and others, like the AT-AT and Millennium Falcon (75192), contain a sizable line-up.

Since the Republic Gunship isn’t Minifigure scale, we weren’t exactly expecting a full load of clone troopers. However, the two Minifigures Lego has chosen to include do leave a little to be desired. Mace Windu is an exclusive figure to the set, but this is really only due to a few tiny flecks of Geonosian sand on his torso and a marginally different face print. Still, this is a nice figure and a sensible inclusion. However, with a very similar Mace Windu Minifigure already on shelves as part of the Republic Fighter Tank (75342) (opens in new tab) set, we would have welcomed a different Jedi.

An altogether more curious inclusion is the Phase I Clone Trooper Commander. This is a nice figure in its own right, but with only two Minifigure slots available, we can’t help but wonder why a Clone Pilot wasn’t included instead. Especially since the Clone Trooper Commander appeared in the Clone Trooper Command Station (40558) (opens in new tab)and then again in the 2022 Lego Star Wars Advent Calendar (75340 (opens in new tab)). UCS sets of recent years, such as the 2022 A-wing Starfighter (75275) (opens in new tab) and 2018 Y-Wing Starfighter (75181) (opens in new tab) have included the necessary pilot(s) and it’s a shame Lego has chosen not to do this with the Republic Gunship.

Should you buy the Lego Star Wars UCS Republic Gunship?

The UCS Republic Gunship is a triumph of modern Lego design and watching all 3,292 pieces come together over the nine-hour-or-so build is a real treat. Like any UCS behemoth, it’s gratuitous size will delight some and turn off others. However, the Ultimate Collector Series moniker isn’t about practicality, it’s about pushing Lego’s boundaries and showcasing what 90 years of brick-building experience has amounted to. 

The Gunship isn’t nearly as iconic as the Millennium Falcon, AT-AT, and perhaps now even the Razor Crest, but this excellent love letter to the prequels has earned its place alongside them. If you’re a Lego-crazed prequel fan, it’s a must buy. If you’re a UCS aficionado, it’s unlike anything else in the series. And if it’s just too big or too pricey for you, it’s worth remembering that a Republic Gunship playset is long overdue…

Other Lego Star Wars sets to consider

If you’re happy to spend $399.99 (opens in new tab) but are looking for something with more playability, the Lego Star Wars Mos Eisley Cantina (75290) from the Master Builder Series comes highly recommended. This wretched hive of scum and villainy boasts arguably the best Minifigure selection in any Lego Star Wars set, with no fewer than 21 figures.

The UCS Republic Gunship is currently the only Ultimate Collector Series Prequel-era set available. But if you can’t get enough of the Clone Wars, you could always pick up the fantastic AT-TE Walker (75337) (opens in new tab)playset, which retails for $139.99 (opens in new tab).

If you’re firmly in the Original Trilogy camp and have an infinite budget, you’re in luck. The UCS AT-AT (75313) (opens in new tab)will set you back $849.99 (opens in new tab), but is one of the largest and most accurate Lego Star Wars sets ever made. And if you need to pick your jaw up off the floor, you could always plump for the significantly cheaper AT-AT (75288) playset which costs $169.99 (opens in new tab) and doesn’t compromise on accuracy nearly as much as you might think.

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Mike is a freelance writer for Space.com with over ten years experience. He also serves as Deputy Editor for N-Photo: The Nikon Magazine. As you might expect, he's an avid photographer, but he's also a bit of a sci-fi buff so you're just as likely to find him reviewing Star Wars Lego as the latest cameras.