Quickly becoming one of the most screen-seen vehicles in the Star Wars universe, the Republic Gunship has made appearances in two movies, eight episodes of the original Clone Wars cartoon, 73 episodes of The Clone Wars animated series, four Rebels episodes and three installments of The Bad Batch animated television show. It even featured in the Clone Wars section of Star Wars Miniland at a number of LEGOLAND parks.
The debut of the Republic Gunship – or the LAAT/i (for Low Altitude Assault Transport/infantry) as it eventually became known – was heralded by a characteristic hum/thrum and announced the start of a pivotal phase in the history of the Republic – the Clone Wars!
When the first version – 7163 Republic Gunship – rolled off the LEGO production line and into toy stores in April 2002, a month or so ahead of the global debut of Attack of the Clones on May 16, LEGO fans and Star Wars collectors weren’t sure how it would fit into their universe, but with the appearance of this new style of aerial troop transport – one that didn’t rely on four legs – gave fandom a vehicle that quickly found its place in the Star Wars universe.
Following on from the first Republic Gunship set, there have been another eight more, culminating in the recently released 75309 Republic Gunship, which is only the third Ultimate Collector Series set from the Prequel Trilogy movies. While the minifigure-scale LAAT/i has been a fan favorite, the smaller builds have been surprisingly neglected.
To date, there have been a total of five – not including the minikit that appeared in LEGO Star Wars: The Video Game – micro and mini builds made available to fans: a mini-scale version that was available at general retail, an exclusive LEGO Club Brickmaster set, a MicroFighter, and a couple of near-identical Advent Calendar builds.
4490 Republic Gunship
Released in 2003, 4490 Republic Gunship was part of the very first wave of Star Wars mini-scale builds and came in a resealable plastic clamshell case. Also distributed at the same time was a mini Millennium Falcon, a mini AT-AT and a mini MTT; each set contained extra pieces that could be used to make a mini Y-Wing model. This practice – which happened twice in 2003 – was never to be repeated.
The Republic Gunship build itself with the number of pieces used, was a remarkably accurate representation of the actual ship from the movie, even managing to include the distinctive lime green nose. The few gray pieces included were the now old gray colors that were last used in 2004.
Unfortunately, this was the last mini-scale build of the Republic Gunship that was made available to general retail – unless you count the one that could be assembled in LEGO Star Wars: The Video Game as a digital minikit.
For many people, the minikit build segment of the LEGO Star Wars video game releases is a favorite part of the game. In the LEGO Star War: The Video Game and LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga, a Republic Gunship appears in the third level of the Attack of the Clones segment. The minikit build is actually set 4490 from 2003 but without the 6 pieces that make up the canopy. We have to assume too that any gray pieces would be the new standard blueish-gray color.
20010 Republic Gunship
This set was released with the Nov/Dec 2009 of LEGO Club BrickMaster magazine, the subscription-based periodical that was published every two months in the United States and was one of eight Star Wars mini-scale models released during BrickMaster’s run between November 2007 to June 2011. There was also a three-month period in the UK when 20010 Republic Gunship was available through the LEGO Shop@Home service. Consequently, very low numbers were produced and sold and the current aftermarket prices are ridiculously high.
The build itself, with fewer pieces than the previous 4490 set is a slightly smaller size but still has the same distinctive shape and even the lime green nose
75076 Republic Gunship Microfighter
Love them or hate them but with 34 (almost) different Microfighter sets already released over 8 years, they are still going strong. Released in 2015, 75076 Republic Gunship Microfighter set is exactly what you would expect for the blown up, exaggerated but mini at the same time style. Of course, there is the obligatory pilot seat and that seat is for, a unique to this set, Clone Pilot minifigure. As with all Microfighters, the build is chunky and sturdy but even if it fell apart, 101 parts would not take too long to put back together.
7958 & 75023 LEGO Star War Advent Calendar (2011/2013)
Also appearing in two LEGO Star Wars Advent Calendars in 2011 and 2013, the two builds are effectively the same. The initial 14 piece anti-handsel that was behind the 15th day of Advent’s door in 7958 LEGO Star War Advent Calendar had a white round stud on the back, while behind the door for the 8th day of Advent (in 75023 LEGO Star Wars Advent Calendar) in 2013 was a 14 element Republic Gunship that had a light bluish grey round stud.
The main body makes great use of two different size/angle slope pieces, the canopy piece is perfect in red and yes, there is a lime green nose. The highlight has to be the wings using the trapezoid flag pieces to great effect. Often Advent Calendar builds are often a long way away from looking like the “real thing” but with this build, there is no mistaking what the build is.
There’s no doubting that the Republic Gunship has come a long way since the first LEGO model was released, and we’re celebrating this iconic vehicle and looking back at how it has impacted LEGO collectors over the years, so make sure to subscribe to The Holo-Brick Archive by hitting the blue bell in the right corner, because you don’t want to be LAAT/i!
A LEGO fan for over half a century and a Star Wars fan since 1977, Russ built one of the earliest ever LEGO Star Wars MOC’s – Luke’s Landspeeder – that summer. Though a previous contributor to a number of retro Star Wars video game preservation sites and forums, he didn’t discover LEGO Star Wars until 2011 and is now making up for lost time.