Home, Home On The Wastes: 40451 Tatooine Homestead Reviewed

Out on the plain, where the eopies and womprats play, is a dome that is like no other. More futuristic than the Eden Project, older than the Great Stupa at Sanchi, entombing more remains than the Taj Mahal and homelier than Pingu’s igloo, this miniature expression of the Lars’s ranch on Tatooine is a sight to behold.

Built by Clieg Lars to protect his (first) wife Aika and son Owen, the dome, network of shafts, tunnels, and chambers he dug out of the rock below the Great Chott salt flats serve to protect his family while he tended the moisture vaporators he used to harvest excess humidity from the arid desert air, which he sold at the souk in nearby Anchorhead.

Introduced to fans in 1977 with the release of Star Wars, the Lars’s subterranean dwelling was given its first LEGO treatment in 1999 when Steve Gerling and Erik Varzegi, from the Enfield model shop, assembled the first LEGO Star Wars displays to be exhibited the public.

Located outside the LEGO store (the only one in the United States at the time) at the Mall of America, in Bloomington MN, the display hosted three environments – Tatooine, Hoth and Endor in a sealed case – along with a life-size, brick-built Darth Vader statue and helped to promote the newly released LEGO Star Wars line of sets.

Photo credit: Paxton Holley (via Flikr)

Lacking the sensitivities that LEGO displays these days, the entrance dome and vaporator not only displayed blaster damage from the imprecise aim of the Imperial stormtroopers who were hunting the missing droids, but also included two skeletons cast down on the desert floor. In a tongue-in-cheek nod to the moviemaker, a minifigure film crew – complete with camera and sound boom – are placed next to the destruction.

It was another 15 years before an official Tatooine homestead was realized in LEGO, when – in 2015 – two convention exclusives were released. Foreshadowing this year’s micro build, almost as if they were a trial run, was a small mini-scale model that depicted the Lars family homestead, a landspeeder, and a sandcrawler.

Two variant sets of this model were released in 2015 to attendees of Star Wars Celebration Anaheim (in April) and Fan Expo Canada (during September,) coming with C-3PO and R2-D2 minifigures. Sold in batches over the duration of the conventions, only 1000 of Tatooine Mini-build with C-3PO and a reported 800 of Tatooine Mini-build with R2-D2 were made available to collectors.

Now, six years later, a new version of the location where Luke Skywalker grew up and the single most pivotal moment in the history of Star Wars – the malfunction of R5-D4 – occurred, has been re-given the LEGO treatment with an all-new micro-scale vignette produced in time for the yearly May The 4th Be With You celebrations.

Marking the most restrained MT4BWY promotion ever was 40451 Tatooine Homestead, a small-scale diorama of the Lars family’s moisture farm which captured the moment that Uncle Owen purchased C-3PO and R5-D4 R2-D2 from the Jawas who recovered the two droids after their escape from the Tantive IV. Like all the others in the micro-build range, the set was automatically added to online shopping baskets at checkout (or could be picked up at participating brand stores) with qualifying LEGO Star Wars purchases of US$85, CA$85, €85, UK£85, AU$169 (equivalent to US$130) or NZ$169.

This time around Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru are characterized in a much livlier fashion!

40451 Tatooine Homestead

Star Wars™ fans are transported to the galaxy’s Outer Rim when they build this Tatooine Homestead (40451). This diorama features micro-builds of the Lars family home from Star Wars: A New Hope, a landspeeder and Sandcrawler, plus studs representing Luke Skywalker, C-3PO, Owen Lars, Aunt Beru, R2-D2 and 2 Jawas. This awesome building toy for kids is the latest in a series of LEGO® Star Wars micro-scenes and can be combined with previous scenes to create a delightful display.

  • Spark memories of Star Wars: A New Hope scenes on the desert planet of Tatooine with this LEGO® brick diorama featuring the Lars family’s Tatooine Homestead (40451).
  • This 217-piece LEGO® Star Wars™ set features micro-builds of a landspeeder and Sandcrawler, plus studs representing Luke Skywalker, C-3PO, Owen Lars, Aunt Beru, R2-D2 and 2 Jawas.
  • Measuring over 1.5 in. (4 cm) high, 3.5 in. (9 cm) wide and 6.5 in. (17 cm) deep, this Tatooine building toy makes a fun display piece and combines nicely with other LEGO® Star Wars™ micro-scenes.
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Just like the rest of the micro-build vignettes, lifting the lid on the flip-top box exposes the four baggies of bricks – none of which are numbered – and the instruction booklet that are housed within. Though the set is aimed to attract the attention of the adult fan of LEGO, the set is branded as 8+. Making good use of the studs-not-on-top (SNOT) technique, the sideward progress might throw the younger builder.

Built in three sections that, once laid flat, interconnect to the miniature diorama. The first section consists of cheese wedges and slopes, and makes the peaks of the Jundland Wastes – an area of Tatooine that shouldn’t be traveled lightly. Next is the homestead itself; made up of stratified plates and adorned with curved pieces and rounded bricks, as well as telescopes and antenna pieces, this section is purposefully raised to allow for the dwelling’s main pit. The third zone is the salt flat adjacent to the homestead where a mobile droid bazaar, housed in a Jawa sandcrawler, is situated.

Despite being called a micro-build, 40451 Tatooine Homestead is considerably smaller than the subtheme’s 1:45 scale, and the set’s designer took on a challenge when he opted to use depict the cast members of the scene as two-plate figs (approximately 1:230) with C-3PO (two pearl gold studs), Luke Skywalker (dark tan and white studs), Uncle Owen (brown and tan studs) and Aunt Beru (dark orange and medium azure studs), two Jawas (reddish brown stud) and R2-D2 (metallic silver stud) all included in the roll call.

The amount of detail incorporated in the rest of the set is remarkable: vaporators, a condenser unit, arches in the main pit, a landspeeder, and the previously mentioned Sandcrawler fill in the foreground while sand dunes and mountains create a backdrop. Having made two previous micro-scale outings (once in the 2015 convention exclusive set and another with the August issue of LEGO Star Wars Magazine), this is the first to get a level of investment that includes a specially printed plate.

So well has this May 4th gift with purchase been received that it has inspired fans to create their own versions, including removing the Sandcrawler and placing a number of white two-plate stormtroopers around the homestead and two single black studs by the dome. Less grotesque is the simple custom bantha and Tusken Raider that Rui Miguel Anacleto came up with.

Fourth in the micro-build series – all of which have been made available as GWPs since their 2019 inception – this latest model perfectly captures the essence of one of the most famous Star Wars locations – and where, arguably, the ball that brought about the end of the Empire started rolling. In no way is this meant to be an exact geographical representation as some artistic license has been taken so as to – forgivably – condense the landscape. It’s small, it’s adorable and it was free. What more could you want or expect?

Available for a limited time only )between May 1st and 5th, 2021) during the May 4th promotion, this can now be purchased via secondary market sources such as eBay and Brick Link, where it is currently going for around $25 – though it is expected to increase in value as the set becomes scarcer.

Entertainment Earth

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