16 November 2020

LEGO® Star Wars 75290 Mos Eisley Cantina: Thomas Jenkins' Alternate Build & MOCs

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Following his examination of its parts and review of the build, Thomas Jenkins (on Instagram) takes LEGO® Star Wars 75290 Mos Eisley Cantina in a different direction today with some original creations of his own! Plus, a look at the changes LEGO recently made to the click hinge family. Buying the Cantina? Consider using our affiliate links: USA | UK. New Elementary may get a commission. The products in this article were provided for free by LEGO; the author's opinions are not biased by this.

From a Star Wars icon to more of a deep cut from the Star Wars universe…

Alternate build using parts in Mos Eisley Cantina

Tan Leader standing by!

My goal with creating an alternate build was to make something as different as I could from the original model.

I thought there might be something poetic in using the bricks that build the cantina on Tatooine, where we first meet our hero Luke, to make an X-wing the likes of which he pilots at the end of his journey in A New Hope

The 3000 bricks provided a lot to work with, although the colour palette is predominantly Sand Yellow/ Tan. I struggled to create the 4 distinctive wings. As an alternative I looked at the E-wing, a ship introduced long ago in Star Wars legend, which has half the amount of wings! 

I think I succeeded in my goal, or at least provided further proof that every set is a spaceship. However I felt slightly regretful about not taking advantage of some of the more unique elements found in the set, so I carried on.

Builds inspired by parts in LEGO® Star Wars 75290

One of the more interesting parts included in 75290 Mos Eisley Cantina is the Windscreen 8 x 8 x 3 Dome with Dual 2 Fingers - 7 Teeth in Tan (Element ID 6314982). 

This 7-finger version is a new part this year although it is almost identical to the 9-finger variant (95198) which was previously available in Tan in 75052 Mos Eisley Cantina and 75270 Obi Wan’s Hut. 

In fact, it seems the entire ‘click hinge’ family has been tweaked, with all parts having their number of teeth reduced from 9 to 7. But don’t worry, as far as we can tell there’s no functional change.

The images below, from fellow contributor Inthert, show more closely the difference between the old and new moulds. The black ones are the new designs:

And below is how the new part fits with the corresponding receiving end, which has not changed. 

It seems the two little bumps on the receiving end have always sat between two teeth, while also having a third tooth in the centre gap in the previous iteration. So perhaps that central tooth was unnecessary? We can’t sense any change in strength. In which case, why didn’t they reduce it to 5 teeth? 

Why do you think these were altered? Let us know in the comments. Do any of you have these new hinges? Here are their names and Design IDs (linking to BrickLink):

  • Hinge Plate 1 x 2 Locking with 2 Fingers on Side and 7 Teeth (50340
  • Hinge Plate 1 x 2 Locking with 2 Fingers on End and 7 Teeth without Bottom Groove (54657
  • Hinge Plate 3 x 4 Locking Dual 2 Finger, 7 Teeth (50337)
  • Hinge 1 x 2 Locking with 2 Fingers, 7 Teeth and Tow Ball Socket (51482
  • Hinge Brick 1 x 2 Locking with 2 Fingers Vertical End, 7 Teeth (54671
  • Hinge Brick 1 x 2 Locking with 2 Fingers Horizontal End, 7 Teeth (54672
  • Hinge Brick 1 x 2 Locking with 1 Finger Vertical End and 2 Fingers Vertical End, 7 Teeth (39893
  • Hinge Brick 2 x 2 Locking with 2 Fingers Vertical and Cross Style Axle Hole, 7 Teeth (53029
  • Hinge Brick 1 x 4 Locking with 1 Finger Vertical End and 2 Fingers Vertical End, 7 Teeth (54661)  
  • Hinge Brick 1 x 6 Locking with 1 Finger Vertical End and 2 Fingers Vertical End, 7 Teeth (53914
  • Hinge Cylinder 1 x 2 Locking with 2 Fingers, 7 Teeth and Axle Hole on Ends without Slots (57360
  • Hinge Cylinder 1 x 3 Locking with 1 Finger and 2 Fingers on Ends, 7 Teeth, with Hole (54662

With that out of the way, here are three builds inspired by the sort-of-new dome.

LEGO ramen

Inverting the dome makes for a generously sized bowl of ramen. Another element found in the Cantina,  Zipline 22L with 2 Connectors - Flexible in Medium Nougat (6299954|27965) appears here as some rather tasty noodles.


LEGO Space 1999 fuel tanker

Putting the two domes together makes for an almost perfect sphere, something put to use here in this sci-fi fuel tanker inspired by Gerry Anderson’s creations, particularly Space 1999’s Eagle 1.

I’d love to see this technique used on a larger scale in a SHIPtember-sized build as I think the colour, size and shape work perfectly to represent this kind of object.

I experimented with different hinge connections but it seems that the best fit is its 1-finger counterpart. A normal clip will fit into the gap between the hinges, but due to a lack of friction between the parts, the connection is very floppy.


LEGO starfighter

The alternative then, was to not connect the element at all. In this last build, the dome is not actually connected to anything, but held in place by the surrounding assemblies. Here it makes for a massive thruster on this tiny starfighter.

The red curved panels and the thruster sub-assembly inside the dome hold the element in place. A rubber tyre provides extra friction ensuring the dome really stays put.

With the fingers of the dome now redundant, I used them to attach the zipline element (27965), this time in flat silver rather than the nougat colour that is included in the cantina set, to add a bit of superfluous detail and fill in those unsightly gaps between the fingers. 

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  1. Wow, I never noticed that click hinge change... and also never thought of inserting the zip line piece into the fingers of one! That technique feels like it could be great for "detachable" features on a MOC, not unlike the loose connection between a 3.2mm clip and a click hinge. For example, perhaps you could use the zip line piece as rigging on a pirate ship with a collapsing mast feature—the loose connection would ensure that the rigging could be separated to allow the mast to fall while also allowing it to be "reset" without much difficulty.

  2. My guess for the hinge change is that it's to simplify the mold. The old version had the "overhang" from the extra teeth that probably necessitated some additional moving parts, while the new version looks like it could be molded out of a simple two-part mold, or at least done so more reliably.

    (It look like the plate piece with two hinges already had modified teeth to accommodate for a two-part mold; you can see in the picture [and confirmed w/ a macro lens on one I have] that the two teeth around the center one are shaped differently, giving them a flat plane for the mold to release from.)

    1. I think you're right! That's very clever!
      No such option for the 1-finger counterpart though

      @Thomas Jenkins: I really like the little starfighter! Very nice work! The connections are top notch as well!

  3. Physics will tell you the likely reason why they reduced the fingers. There have actually been two previous generations of click hinges. The first were really loose, to the point that the first Jedi Starfighter I got that used them for landing gear would barely support its own weight. They had a lot of slop in them, such that you could wiggle the part around quite a bit without advancing to the next tooth. The second generation was a lot tighter, and there was minimal movement without advancing to the next tooth. The problem was, the hinges fit so tightly that it was hard to get them started. I don't know how many times I've tried to actuate a click hinge and had the part it was attached to pop loose. The problem lies in the design of the click hinge. It's not two teeth locking onto a single tooth, but two teeth locking into three teeth. By removing two teeth, it gives you one position that actually is two teeth locking onto one tooth, and two positions where two teeth lock onto two teeth in one direction, or just one tooth in the other. For something like a car roof, this allows you to pry the roof up with half as much resistance. Once you get it moving, there's less resistance to further movement, hence why they didn't just get rid of half of the teeth. And when you're at the extreme range of movement, I've found that there's less problem with closing the hinged element than there was with opening it.

    Look at the basic plane of the hinge. For plates, it's easy to identify because it's the same plane as the plate. The tooth that matches this plane is the one that's most likely to be a problem, because lifting the hinged part from this position is basically the same movement you'd use to pry a plate off of another part. Closing it from either extreme pushes the part laterally, where the stud connections are strongest.

    I recently purchased one of the car roof pieces shown in the second comparison photo, and according to Bricklink, I did buy the old 9-tooth design, but now I'm not so sure that's the one I got. The part it attaches to is the 1x4 tile with two fingers sticking straight up, and that should have popped loose every time I lifted the roof. So far it never has. It's also not super loose, so it's probably not from the first gen design. Right now the MOC I used that on is on our LUG's layout at The Henry Ford Museum, but the next time I go in I'll have to remember to verify which version I got.

    1. Great observation and logical deduction! Thanks!

    2. The thing to remember is that mold changes are expensive unless they take place when a mold has reached the end of its service life and is about to be scrapped. Remember when they replaced the U-clips with C-clips? It took a few years for them to finish rolling that change out, even on elements that were in continuous production throughout. If Bricklink data is accurate, every single 7-tooth mold has been introduced this year, and it's highly unlikely that all of those molds hit the end of their service life in such quick succession. This makes at least 13 brand-new molds that were produced to switch from 9-tooth to 7-tooth designs, and at least 12 of them got new design numbers (currently Bricklink does not have this new dome cataloged, so it's inventoried under the old listing for the Cantina) so there's clearly some problem with the 9-tooth click hinge design. Changing design numbers on all of these parts would allow them to make sure they don't have any lingering in inventory.

      However, having eliminated two teeth, I think that opened up the possibility of a simpler mold design that Bfa commented on. I dug up two older designs of 44302, but couldn't identify a set that had the new 50340 besides Bespin Duel, so I opened the Mini Robots GWP instead and looked at 54657. The old 9-tooth version appears to use a 6-piece mold. There's a top and bottom to form the plate and the interior of the hinge fingers with the little conical bump. Then there are left and right sections that form the outside of the hinge fingers and all of the teeth (this keeps the teeth consistently sized and spaced regardless of any mold alignment issues). Finally, I'm not entirely sure what they're for, but there are two discs that form on the outside of the fingers directly opposite the conical bumps. Since the fingers aren't beveled to allow easy mold release, I suspect the thick pins stay in contact with the fingers while the sections that form the teeth retract, so the fingers don't bend or break during this step.

      The new mold is a strict 2-piece design. Top forms the top and sides of the plate as usual, while the bottom forms the bottom and inside surfaces. However, the bottom angles up to form most of the bottom half of each finger including the bottom half of the center tooth, while the top half forms the rest of the finger and the center tooth. So, it's definitely a much simpler mold to run, and far less expensive to tool up, but not enough too justify scrapping out over a dozen molds all at the same time. Some of the molds they replaced may have been retooled last year with the expectation that they'd be in service for several years to come. And with the global spread of production, each of these new molds may have been duplicated for multiple factories. I mean, not counting when they switch from one system to a completely new system (like finger hinges to click hinges), have we ever seen such a rapid rollout of updated molds on this scale before?