Tales from the Mos Eisley Cantina
The introduction of some long-awaited fan favourite characters into the LEGO® Star Wars minifigure canon got fans very excited upon the announcement of 75290 Mos Eisley Cantina, but what else awaits builders in the set?
Watch your step, this place can be a little rough...
As you’d expect for a set of this value, the box is huge and it is crammed full of bags of LEGO bricks. The hefty instruction manual is packaged in its own bag with, to my relief, a very modest sticker sheet which we examined in part 1 of our coverage of the set.
The instructions are peppered with tidbits of information about the characters this set contains, providing a bit of backstory for them. I couldn’t help but jump ahead to see what I could learn about the cast of characters that would appear in the build. The manual also includes a few comments from the designers where they note some of the design choices that went into making the set.
Assembling the Speeders
The build begins with the V-35 Courier landspeeder, marking the vehicle’s LEGO debut with this set. The instructions begin with a little in-universe history and a few screenshots of its appearance in the film.
The landspeeder build is quite simple and is mostly made up of stacks of plates. Some clever construction using Flag 2x2 Trapezoid (44676) creates a nice shape to the air intakes on either side of the speeder. At the front of the ship SNOT bracket techniques are used to create a pointed nose.
At the back of the craft, the spoiler-like thrusters are attached in a rather neat way with four Tile, Round 1 x 1 with Bar and Pin Holder (which I like to affectionately call the ‘nipple’) and two Plate, Modified 1 x 2 Rounded with 2 Open Studs to reverse the direction of building. I’ve seen this technique used more than once in Speed Champions sets and I always marvel at this kind of clever part usage. Combined with the brackets elsewhere in the construction of the spoiler, there’s some really intricate building techniques used here.
While we’re talking about speeders, let’s jump ahead to take a look at
Greedo’s 9000 Z001 speeder. His vehicle is introduced during the second
half of the cantina build.
The vehicle is neither as large nor as complicated as the V-35 and comes together quickly, using brackets and curved slopes to create a convincing spherical craft. It’s always satisfying to see curved slopes come together to make a circle.
The bulbous windows are attached on to the corners of the craft with Mixel joints, which is a clever solution for what might seem like quite a difficult arrangement to recreate with LEGO bricks.
Building the cantina
Let’s move on to the centrepiece of the set, the cantina itself. First, we build the central bar area.
A nice selection of metallic elements makes up the equipment behind the bar. The designers have done well to convey the idea of some complex alien drink dispensing technology with limited parts. Speaking of metallic elements, the instructions note that “…the Cantina’s Bar shiny metallic parts were reused from droid parts - the IG-88 heads”. This is true for the film set but I’m not sure if the designers are also referencing the silver 1x1 cones that have been used in the IG droid minifigures in the past. The cones have since been replaced by printed 1x1 round bricks, so it might have been nice to some of those included here as a little wink to the builder, since it’s alluded to in the booklet.
Luke is out of luck though, as it seems there is no blue milk available at this establishment.
The rest of the cantina starts taking shape as we put down some base plates for the construction of the first half of the main building. We work on the entrance side first and the second side is built after. Wheels (55982) are used to represent round tables on this initial side of the room and they are flanked by some comfy looking chairs created with the newly coloured Dark Brown sloped 1x1 bricks.
Jumper plates are used to offset these Dark Tan masonry bricks and create this interesting alcove detail. A 1x2 panel slots seamlessly into the arch above to create this interesting piece of architecture.
A number of clever techniques are used in the entrance of the cantina. First, some clever trigonometry is employed using hinge plates to set the door sub-assembly at an angle to the rest of the building. Hinges are used extensively in the cantina’s construction to make angled walls and for opening and closing the completed model.
When the sub assembly is inserted into the rest of the build, the combination of layered plates and stacked bricks make for an attractive entrance.
The door slides up and down on rails and a Plate Special 1 x 1 with Clip Light (4081) is used to keep the door open. A note from the designers in the instructions points out, somewhat apologetically, that this isn’t screen accurate and a decision made to improve the set’s playability. It’s a good choice, as a door that slides sideways would take up valuable seating space and after all, Wuher is running a business!
The cantina continues to take shape as construction begins on the opposite side. We have a performance area for Figrin D’an and his Bith band the Modal Nodes, plus some additional seating for the cantina’s colourful patrons. Two such seats are quite special as they are reserved for one Han Solo and Greedo.
Their two seats each conceal a mechanism that allows you to finally decide, ‘who shot first?’ and catapult your victim to their demise. I say catapult as the mechanism is quite effective in flinging a minifigure across the table.
Kudos to the designers as the mechanism is cleverly concealed in the
seats, and the levers pushed to work the catapult easily pass as some
extra greebling on the outside wall.
The designers have taken care to recreate the cantina as failthfully as they could in LEGO bricks. The instruction book notes that some areas of the building have never appeared on screen, so the designers have taken some artistic license in filling in these blanks in the LEGO version, which is also true for the additional buildings we’ll be looking at later.
This cute little storage cabinet sits in the back room. I quite like the combination of brackets and the Tile Special 2 x 2 with 1 x 2 Vertical Plate (41682) that keeps it anchored to the floor.
Although this set is primarily intended as a collector’s item, there are a number of play features incorporated into the design. The hinged functions allow access to every nook and cranny of this old watering hole. I was surprised at how sturdy the whole thing was when folded together thanks to some strategically placed clips and bars.
There are also a number of removable roof panels providing even greater access to the interior.
The main building is huge when completed and is surrounded by some neat details which sit on their own base plates and further extend the footprint of the model.
These extras can connect to the main building via Technic pins and axles or clips and bars making for a highly modular design.
I’m not sure whether it was an intentional choice by the designers but the two larger plates that extend off of each side of the cantina can actually be connected together.
There are some great details to be found on these plates. One particularly good example sits behind the cantina in the form of this odd appliance. It’s a clever construction with the top half actually sitting studs down. Fixing it in place with the lightsaber hilts was quite satisfying and a little trick I’ll remember for my own MOCs.
My favourite of the extra add-ons however are the two tall moisture vaporators that tower over the cantina on each side.
Their construction is based around a central axle anchored into the baseplate with triangular elements used to give them their characteristic shape.
Two smaller Tatooine dwellings complete the set. Much like the larger building, the walls have some simple but effective weathering using bricks of different shades and textures. The first hut makes use of the sliding door function we saw earlier in the set and, much like the Cantina, opens up to reveal the interior, although there’s not an awful lot to see here.
The other building has a removable roof offering access inside.
The finished model is most impressive. The designers have really succeeded in creating a highly detailed and faithful representation of an iconic cinematic location in LEGO bricks.
This was a thoroughly enjoyable build. While there aren’t a lot of revolutionary build techniques at play, the designers peppered the set with loads of little details that make for a really interesting building experience.
It was very exciting to progress through the build, watch it all come together and slowly populate it with wonderful minifigures. For some I’m sure this will be a must-buy given the exclusive minifigures; others will hesitate at the hefty price tag. It’s an expensive set, but you get a lot for your money: a mountain of bricks that come together to make a well-thought-out set, with a lot of fun details and play functions.
If you’re a Star Wars fan you will surely cherish the experience of building this set, and you’ll find yourself humming the Cantina Band tune or even playing the films while you build. I know I did!
Now I think it’s time for a drink…
In my next article, I'll reveal an alternate model I created using parts from the set, as well as another four MOCs inspired by the 8x8 dome!
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