With the upcoming release of LEGO Star Wars 75361 Spider Tank from The Mandalorian, Blocks is looking at how this little set is only the second time a lightsaber has changed design.
After arriving on the ravaged planet of Mandalore, Din Djarin is seeking out the mines to redeem himself. He is halted in his latest quest by a strange and monstrous cyborg. It’s a brilliant jump scare from Chapter 18 of The Mandalorian on Disney+ and introduces a fantastic new design. So, it’s no surprise that 75361 Spider Tank will become a LEGO set with plenty of potential for galactic play. What is surprising though is how a certain element breaks from tradition.
When the LEGO Star Wars theme began in 1999, the Jedi minifigures all came equipped with lightsabers. These characters had a standard new chrome hilt element that a translucent rod could then be attached to. It changed to grey later, but it’s a design that has persisted throughout the decades with very little modification. That has frustrated some fans because while the lightsabers are recognisable, the one size fits all approach isn’t screen accurate for every Star Wars character.
In particular, the regular LEGO lightsaber design doesn’t quite work for Master Yoda. With Yoda being far smaller (don’t judge him by his size though), in the films he uses what’s known as a shoto lightsaber blade. These are shorter than typical lightsabers, so although Yoda has to use a closer combat style, it is still easy for him to wield. Unfortunately this difference in lightsaber length is never portrayed in his minifigures.
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The same goes for Ahsoka Tano. The feisty Togruta uses dual lightsabers, whether that’s her green blades for most of The Clone Wars or the new white lightsabers she used in The Mandalorian. Again, one of these is a shorter shoto blade, yet her minifigure just uses two LEGO elements of the same length. What this shows is that lightsabers really don’t change much in the LEGO Star Wars theme – Kylo Ren’s cross-guard lightsaber and Dooku’s curved hilt are the only exceptions.
Once Din Djarin wins the Darksaber from Moff Gideon, he starts to wield it in combat, even though he hasn’t mastered it. In 75315 Imperial Light Cruiser, the Darksaber uses the normal LEGO rod element in solid black, even though this blade is nowhere near a regular lightsaber. This disappointed many fans and thankfully 75361 now breaks with tradition. Finally, the Darksaber has a unique element.
And it has to be unique because the Darksaber is iconic. Throughout The Clone Wars, Rebels, and The Mandalorian, it plays a pivotal role for each character who wields it. It’s a symbol of Mandalorian culture and was forged by the only Jedi within Mandalore, Tarre Vizsla, over 1,000 years before the current storyline. This element in 75361 Spider Tank isn’t perfect, it could have benefited from some white printing around the edge, but it is a vast improvement on the previous iteration.
Lightsabers are a key part of Star Wars, so it’s nice to see at least one getting the personal treatment it deserves. With fans already excitedly taking to social media about the new LEGO Darksaber, this set might inspire more custom elements in the future. Lightsabers vary in length, colour, and the designs of their hilts, and it would be great to see this recreated more often in LEGO bricks too.