I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the upcoming 75098 Assault on Hoth “UCS” set that Lego will release at the end of April 2016 and the more I think about it, the more frustrating the prospect of this set becomes. As of this writing, I am firmly in the camp of those that will NOT purchase the set. While I would love to purchase every Star Wars Lego set released, I have to be somewhat selective, and I can refuse this purchase with a clear conscience.
The primary reason for this is that 75098 is simply a “greatest hits” package of other Hoth-based sets that have been released over the last ten years. Sure, there are a couple of new elements, but overall, they underwhelm me. The shield generator looks great and has good play function, but it’s missing a unit. How can a “UCS” have so poor attention to detail? Also, 75098 features an Ion cannon. While I will admit that building a sphere out of Lego has to be a difficult task, I cannot say that the designers fully succeeded with their version of the iconic weapon.
Also, I have to question the elements that Lego decided to incorporate into 75098. Lego provides a Tauntaun caring and feeding station, but no medical bay. The Bacta tank was a very important element of Empire that was present in set 7879 and certainly deserved an update in 75098. Finally, the minifig selection in 75098 is dismal. You thankfully get a Luke and Han, but the rest are no-names (sorry Wedge). No Chewy, no Leia. You pretty much get a battle pack’s worth of rebel troops for your $250.
Anyway, I could rant on forever on this. What I am going to do for the rest of this post is to show you a couple of the classic Hoth-based sets and propose a two-set combo (7666 and 7879) that creates a much better representation of Hoth Echo Base.
Lego 7666 Hoth Rebel Base
Lego 7666 Hoth Rebel Base Review
Undoubtedly the best part of 75098 looks to be the giant blast doors. To capture some of that excitement, Lego 7666 Hoth Rebel Base from 2009 may come close. The set’s main feature is said blast doors, along with a great snowspeeder repair bay as well as a tactical display. K-3PO makes an appearance.
The Alternative to 75098
SWBR's Altarnative to 75098 (Combining 7666 and 7879)
SWBR’s alternative to 75089 simply combines 7666 with 7879 Hoth Echo Base from 2011 (separate review up shortly). Obviously, these are both retired sets and they will cost approximately $200 to purchase used, but you get a lot more play features, better minifigs (including a couple more imperials with armaments), and a shape that better captures what Echo base should be. Also, if you want the Shield Generator and Ion Cannon, you can get the instructions online when 75098 comes out and build them yourself to complete the base (this is what I will be doing)!
Obviously this is just an opinion. I will fault no one for purchasing UCS Assault on Hoth. But for myself, I’ll stick with the classics.