Having the unique honor of being the first and (so far) only LEGO Star Wars set to be created by a fan-organised campaign – led by the equally unique and overly vociferous Ryan McCullough (aka MandR Productions aka Mandy), a popular Youtuber who organised a crusade to encourage them to create a 501st battle pack – to which LEGO responded with a polite “stop spamming us” reply.
In December 2018, legostarwars.memes commented under a LEGO picture on Instagram: “we want a 501st battlepack [sic]”. The LEGO Group deleted the comment, leading to 100 other people repeating the exact comment.
Ryan of MandRproductions amplified the message using his YouTube channel: “Together we can make a ginormous change in the way in the way the LEGO Group is running right now, they can completely change their entire product line with one simple LEGO set.” He encouraged all of his viewers to do the same as those Instagrammers and comment on every LEGO social media post, requesting the 501st Battle Pack.Brick Fanatics
After (almost*) getting what he and his cohort asked for, he self-congratulated with a backslapping video which Ryan followed up with another
five six more about 75280 501st Legion Clone Troopers.
The history of this new 75280 501st Legion Clone Troopers set actually begins five years earlier when – in 2013 – LEGO released the simply named 75002 AT-RT, which originally included an almost identical All Terrain-Recon Transport, three minifigures (Clone Wars edition Yoda, 501st Clone Trooper and Commando Droid captain) and a brick-built Sniper Droid.
Regardless of how you perceive this set to have come into existence, LEGO gave their most fervent supporters a hat-tip when they made the official announcement, at the start of April 2020, on Facebook.
75280 501st Legion Clone Troopers
Stage an epic battle between elite 501st Legion Clone Troopers and the Separatist Army’s Battle Droids. Look out for the droids from the AT-RT cockpit using the electrobinoculars. Launch into attack with the BARC Speeder and fire the stud shooters. Fight back with the Battle Droids’ blasters. Who will triumph in this exciting LEGO® Star Wars™ adventure? You decide.
- Kids can role-play as 501st Legion Clone Troopers and relive exciting action from Star Wars: The Clone Wars with this LEGO Star Wars™ action set (75280), featuring an AT-RT Walker and BARC Speeder.
- This LEGO® Star Wars™ building kit includes 4 LEGO minifigures: 3 new-for-2020 501st Clone Troopers and a 501st Jet Trooper, with jetpack element, plus 2 Battle Droids and weapons for battles.
- The AT-RT Walker has a new-for-August-2020 color scheme, posable legs, a stud shooter, attachment points for a blaster and electrobinoculars element, and the BARC Speeder has 2 stud shooters to inspire creative play.
- This 285-piece construction playset makes an ideal birthday present or holiday gift for boys and girls aged 7+. The 2 vehicles can also be driven in the LEGO® Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga video game.
- The compact, robust LEGO® Star Wars™ AT-RT Walker measures over 7” (17cm) high, 3.5” (9cm) long and 3” (8cm) wide – a convenient size to slip into a child’s backpack with the BARC Speeder ready for play wherever they go.
- No batteries are needed with this awesome kids’ building toy – it’s built purely from LEGO® bricks and powered by children’s imaginations so the action never stops.
- Thinking of buying this Star Wars™ building kit for someone new to LEGO® sets? No problem. It comes with easy-to-follow, illustrated instructions. Open the box and away they go!
- LEGO® Star Wars™ building toys are fantastic for kids (and adult fans) to recreate scenes from the StarWars saga, make up their own galactic adventures and display the collectible construction models.
- Ever since 1958, LEGO® bricks have met the highest industry standards so they are robust and connect and pull apart easily every time – no need to use the Force!
- LEGO® bricks and pieces are tested in almost every way imaginable to make sure that every building set meets the highest safety and quality standards on planet Earth – and in galaxies far, far away!
Build-wise, there’s nothing to make this set stand out in any way. You simply put it together and then you can play with it or put it on your display shelf. Armed with a stud shooter and a clip to hold the pilot’s rifle, which comes with a suppressor, the AT-RT is a sturdy construction that readily implies its nimble nature.
What does make the AT-RT pop is the design of the decals. Ignoring the fact that 99% of LEGO builders prefer printed tiles over applying stickers (the trick to which is using window cleaner), the damage and wear incorporated in the adhesive graphics implies a layer of conflict in this bipedal vehicle’s history.
Included with the AT-RT is a Biker Advanced Recon Commando (BARC) Speeder, an armored speeder bike that was used primarily as a scouting and escort vehicle, and could be easily adapted for various environments and missions. Having already had two dedicated iterations in LEGO form – as 7913 Clone Troopers Battle Pack (2011) and 75012 BARC Speeder with Sidecar (2013) – this is the first time it has been packed in with another significant vehicle since its original 7261 Clone Turbo Tank appearance in 2005.
How this set beats its predecessor is the assortment of Clone Trooper minifigures; where the original 75002 AT-RT had four minifigures in total – with only one of which being a 501st Clone Trooper – this version comes with four 501st Clone Trooper (including one with a jetpack) minifigures with all new prints and two basic battle droid figures.
The re-introduction of 75280 501st Legion Clone Troopers to the modern LEGO Star Wars theme was well overdue, and if the caterwauling of Ryan and his posse did accelerate this set’s return then they do deserve some credit.
When (or if) battle packs do return to the Star Wars theme, the inclusion of a proper 501st Clone Trooper battle pack would be loudly applauded. So, how about it Jens?
You can buy 75280 501st Legion Clone Troopers at LEGO.com, Entertainment Earth, Amazon.com and Target now (MSRP $29.99). Be aware that the popularity of this set means it is going in and out of stock on an almost daily basis.
*That the new set isn’t a battle pack – a sub-line that is rumoured to be shelved for the coming future – and is just a combined reissue two older sets are facts that seem to have escaped the attention of the #WeWantA501stBattlepack cheer squad.
Fervent documentarian, effusive AFOL and founding partner, Jeremy manages the daily news content and set reviews.
Having enjoyed playing with LEGO from his earliest years, Jeremy started collecting LEGO Star Wars in 1999 when the theme was first released. He has shared his thoughts and opinions on LEGO via a number of websites – including starwars.com, rebelscum.com and brickset.com – contributed to the LEGO Star Wars: The Visual Dictionary series and served the LEGO Ambassador Network as a Recognised LEGO Fan Media representative.