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Lego's First UCS R2-D2
on May 1, 2012
This R2-D2 set arrived in May of 2012 and is Lego's first Ultimate Collector Series (UCS) version. UCS sets tend to place a premium on visual fidelity rather than playability, and they are usually among the most expensive sets in Lego's line. Aside from mini figures, set #10225 is Lego's second R2-D2, the first being the Technic-built #8009 from 2002.
The UCS R2-D2 comes with a small number of functions. It has a third leg that drops down via a lever on the rear. The left and right legs rotate backward. None of the legs have wheels, using smooth domed tiles instead (what the Legoscenti call "boat tiles"). It has an I/O port that swings out from the front-right (useful for disabling Death Star trash compactors), and a rotary cutting tool on the front-left; both of these tools are also controlled from the rear. For both tools, you must open their respective hatches by hand before deploying them. The blue horizontal arms on the front-middle swing open as well. The head has full rotation. The set comes with a display plaque and a mini figure R2-D2, just in case the large one is not enough.
The age range for the set is 16+, however, if you have a young R2 fan who is a precocious builder, this set will present little difficulty. The inner core is composed of Technic pieces to accommodate the third leg. There are a lot of white bricks; for this reason you may want to encourage younger builders to split the project into a number of days in order to ward off frustration. In spite of some of the drawbacks of this set (mentioned below) the outcome is very rewarding.
This set is fun, but it does present some play challenges. The set is simply so large that it does not integrate with Lego's mini-figure Star Wars line. There are no other characters or structures of the same scale (it is about a foot tall) unless you happen to have the UCS Yoda from 2002. The set also lacks for not having wheels. The model is a bit tippy on only two legs, something that might have ben a contributing factor in the decision not to have wheels.
For some buyers, this set will work well as a Lego sculpture. While the dome and sides are largely represented by blocks (like the whole thing has been pixelated), I think this works stylistically. Your mileage may vary. Glancing at the model from a distance, I think the overall effect is impressive, especially with regard to the coloring of the dome, the detailing on the legs, and the front grillwork.
Lego has a short, campy video with the two designers of the model. You can find it at Lego or on youtube (search "Lego 10225 designer"). Finally, this set is a Lego exclusive, which sometimes means that Lego has greatly limited distribution and that you should (hint) cross check with their website).