Building a Star Wars icon in LEGO: R2-D2

With 75308 R2-D2 offering the latest buildable version of the Star Wars hero, Blocks is looking back at the different LEGO releases the beloved droid has had over the past 22 years.

R2-D2 is one of the most iconic, if not the most iconic, robot in all of modern film. Making his debut in the original Star Wars (1977), this lovable droid has captured the imagination of countless fans over the course of his long history on screen. So it only makes sense that this clever droid friend has been adapted not only into minifigure scale, but in brick form as well. Here is a look back at every single buildable R2-D2 ever made in LEGO history.

9748 Droid Developer Kit was released in 1999 under the LEGO Mindstorms banner. Though this kit allows you to build two other droids, the Trainer droid and Jedi Knight Droid, it’s clear R2 is the primary build. Retailing for only $100, you were able to power up your R2 with a pre-programmed ‘brain’ called a Microscout. This R2, who sports some flashy specialized panels, was able to move around though the use of gears. A CD filled with building challenges and extra activities was also included.

For more R2-D2 action, check out Blocks magazine Issue 79 – we interview the movie makers who brought the character to the screen and hear from the designer behind the new LEGO set.

8009 R2-D2 is from a time when the LEGO Group did Star Wars Technic sets. Hitting shelves in 2002, this version of our mechanical friend retailed for only $20. Though not the most attractive model, it sure packs in quite a few features. There is an internal mechanism that not only causes his third foot to pop out, but it also simultaneously causes his main legs to tilt back into their proper angle. The head is able to spin around 360 degrees, and if you push down a lever on its back, an arm pops out from the front. This exact same R2 model is also included alongside C-3PO in 65081 R2-D2/C-3PO Droid Collectors Set, which came out the same year as a store exclusive and retailed for $40.

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The most memorable release of the character as a set, up until now, is probably 10225 R2-D2, which blew fans away in 2012. Retailing for $179.99 and under the UCS label, this was the largest retail R2 yet. Packed with features such as movable arms, extendable buzz saw, rotating head, and extendable third leg, its seemed to offer the full package. A display plaque and R2 figure were also included.

At the other end of the spectrum is the smallest buildable R2, 30611 R2-D2. The polybag was released as a May the 4th promotion in 2017. This Star Wars polybag still packs a punch. Larger than minifigure scale, but not too big, its most prominent feature is the unique printed head. I could see this part being used in many non-minifigure scale MOCs.

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75253 Droid Commander shares many similarities with the first R2 from 9748. R2 has been placed at the front and centre, but you can also build two other Star Wars droids: The Gonk Droid and Mouse Droid. While this 2019 set was sold under the LEGO Star Wars theme, a banner on the upper right hand side of the box lets you know your $199.99 is also going toward not just these models but this era’s MINDSTORMS for younger kids. A CD-ROM is substituted for a tablet app and all the new sensors are impressive. This R2 is meant to be rolled around and played with, hence the visible tires attached to his front foot. Some would argue this limits displayability – but the following set is much better suited for that…

Released ostensibly to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of Lucasfilm, 75308 R2-D2 is the latest buildable droid. Its design is similar to 10225, though just about every aspect has been improved. What was once blocky has been smoothed out, every inch packed with even more detail. The third leg function has been redesigned, and adjustable arms have been carried over. A display plaque and a minifigure are included, though this time R2 is marketed as an 18+ set. What looks to be the best looking R2 unit retails for $199.99 making this version the most expensive R2 ever made and is available now.

Will you be adding the new 18+ R2-D2 to your collection? What’s your favorite rendition of this iconic droid? Comment below or on our social media channels!

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