For many of us, the landspeeder was the first floating vehicle we saw and in a decade that was riding high on the space race, it set the tone for our expectations for future ground transport. While we still waiting to be able to glide across any terrain or surface – whether it be on a hoverboard using eddy currents or repulsorlift-powered speeders – we can now enjoy the ultimate landspeeder thanks to LEGO.
It was one of the first vehicles seen in Star Wars when it hit the cinemas in 1977 and through the cleverness of Lucasfilm, we were totally hooked in when Luke piloted (yes, pilot not drove) his X-34 landspeeder across the rough terrain when he and C-3PO went searching for an errant astromech.
A popular activity with post-adolescents, street racing was a pastime that George Lucas enjoyed enough to include in four of the six Star Wars movies he made. Luke, on the other-hand, preferred barn-storming in his T-16 Skyhopper but still invested in a beat-up jalopy to get him around the family moisture farm and to make the occasional trip to Toshe Station.
“The landspeeder was based on a lot of ideas and drawings I had seen,” Lucas says. “I described what it was and I showed Ralph a lot of pictures of things that were close to what I wanted, from comic books and science-fiction novels, and strange things out of National Geographic or some industrial magazines of an interesting design—say, a door handle that looks like a spaceship.” wrote Jonathan Rinzler in The Making of Star Wars: The Definitive Story Behind the Original Film (2007).
The look of the original landspeeder seen in A New Hope was conceived by Ralph McQuarrie and model maker Colin Cantwell for the early establishing artwork that Luca had commissioned and was designed during the pre-production phase of Star Wars by effects illustrator and designer Joe Johnston. With the planning stages coming to an end, production designer John Barry took the sketches and made draft blueprints for a working vehicle.
Lucas, having returned from location scouting, was worried about shipping the vehicle to Tunisia and by the narrow roads of Ajim, which was doubling as Mos Eisley, on the island of Jerba decide the planned vehicle needed to be made smaller.
With production about to begin at Elstree Studios in the United Kingdom, the task of turning the blueprints into reality was outsourced to Ogle Designs, an industrial design consultancy company based 30 miles (48 km) away in Letchworth. John Karen – inventor, designer, toymaker and director – determined that the modified chassis of a Bond Bug, a small two-seater, three-wheeled microcar made by Reliant Motor Company in the Midlands, would be a suitable carriage. They then began to create a clay master for the vehicle, and once their work was approved by Lucas a mold was made and a fiberglass body cast.
Back in London, John Stear – the man who tricked out the Aston Martin DB5 driven by James Bond and the flying car Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and was hired by Oscar-winning mechanical effects supervisor on Star Wars – sourced a second-hand Bond Bug and had it shortened to accommodate Lucas’s vision, and fabricated a suitable wooden frame to accommodate the fiberglass body.
With the bodywork fitted to the frame, which was attached to the refashioned Bond Bug’s body the landspeeder was ready to be dressed. With the assistance of sculptress Liz Moore, junior set dresser Bill Hargreaves and Harry Lange, whose skill at scavenging aircraft parts from scrapyards around London made Jawas nervous, art director Leslie Dilley gave the vehicle the color, detail and even a full canopy (which was later ditched) that would make it a science-fiction icon.
Thankfully you don’t have to go through such rigmarole to add a landspeeder to your LEGO Star Wars collection.
75341 Luke Skywalker’s Landspeeder
Be transported to the desert planet of Tatooine as you build the first-ever LEGO® Star Wars™ Ultimate Collector Series version of Luke Skywalker’s Landspeeder (75341). Use new building techniques and custom-made LEGO elements to recreate this iconic vehicle in intricate detail. From the cockpit windshield to the turbine engine missing its cover, it has everything you remember from Star Wars: A New Hope. The buildable vehicle measures over 19 in. (49 cm) long and comes with a display stand for the hover effect. It is complemented by a plaque showing X-34 Landspeeder technical data, and 2 LEGO minifigures: Luke Skywalker with a lightsaber and electrobinoculars, and C-3PO with a new-for-May-2022 decoration. This collectible LEGO Star Wars set for adults makes a wonderful gift for yourself, another Star Wars connoisseur or any advanced LEGO builder. It comes with step-by-step instructions so you can zone in and enjoy the complex build.
- Discover the power of your creative Force – Build and display the first-ever LEGO® Star Wars™ Ultimate Collector Series version of Luke Skywalker’s Landspeeder (75341) from Star Wars: A New Hope
- 2 LEGO® minifigures of iconic Star Wars™ characters – Luke Skywalker with a lightsaber and electrobinoculars and C-3PO, plus a plaque displaying X-34 Landspeeder technical data
- Recreate authentic details – Use clever building techniques to build instantly recognizable features, from the cockpit windshield to the turbine engine with its cover missing and inner details exposed
- Display stand – Place the Landspeeder on the stand for the hover effect
- Gift idea – Treat yourself or give this 1,890-piece set as a birthday present or holiday gift to another Star Wars™ fan, advanced LEGO® builder or collector of LEGO Star Wars UCS sets
- Brick-built centerpiece – This buildable Star Wars™ vehicle measures over 4 in. (10 cm) high, 19 in. (49 cm) long and 11.5 in. (30 cm) wide
- Illustrated instructions – Step-by-step instructions are included so you can take your time and tackle this complex and rewarding building challenge step by step
- From a galaxy far, far away to your living room – Collectible LEGO® Star Wars™ sets for adults are designed for people like you who enjoy fun DIY projects to relax in a mindful and creative way
- Premium quality – LEGO® components comply with stringent industry standards to ensure they connect simply and securely for robust builds
- Safety assurance – LEGO® bricks and pieces are tested in almost every way imaginable to make sure that they meet demanding global safety standards
If this was a car you’d buy it just because of the image on the box, or if this was a box of chocolate you’d gorge yourself sick because that’s how presentable the graphics on the box make the new UCS landspeeder look.
After three monster UCS sets in equally gargantuan boxes, this new landspeeder is a clear indication that LEGO is back on track for sustainable packaging because this carton is much smaller than expected, or far better packed than normal – depending on how you look at it.
Either way, when you extract the 15 bags of 1890 elements and instructions you get the feeling that you haven’t just opened a bag of potato chips, as you get with a lot of LEGO sets.
The build, which can take between six and eight hours, starts from the bottom up, with successive layers being added to the model.
Starting with the flat base, which is the only monotonous stage, designer César Soares has used different colored pieces to create a reference system so you aren’t batting with medium nougat blindness. The technique works so well that you’ll find progress a lot swifter than you’d expect.
The second and third stages build up the cockpit and introduced the fairings, steps four and five adds the upper body before the detailing and the windshield is added in bags six and seven. Bag seven adds the nose, eight sees the first thrust turbine, with the last two included in bags nine and ten. The eleventh and final bag contains the display stand, data plate and minifigures.
Aside from not having functioning repulsorlift technology, this UCS landspeeder doesn’t lack for realism, and while this upper surface of the finished model is studed, the use of tiles to give it detailing and a sense of aerodynamics doesn’t detract from its used universe nature. It’s a farmhands pick-up truck after all!
Despite it not being correctly scaled to minifigures, LEGO has included (what they say is) two minifigures to complement the set: Luke Skywalker in his familiar farmboy outfit and C-3PO, who looks like he has just emerged from an oil bath.
That the shiny C-3PO minifigure is currently exclusive to this set has opened up old wounds for minifigure collectors who are unhappy at having to spend a large amount of their local currency to keep their collection up to date.
In response to this latest “outrage” LEGO Star Wars team design lead, Jens Kronvold Frederiksen, said “There are no fixed rules that we’re never going to do exclusive minifigures in bigger sets. We always want to add something to these sets that we know people would appreciate, and here we know that C-3PO is definitely one that would work well.”
This is a slap in the face of those collectors who, after finding out that 75309 Republic Gunship didn’t have the exclusive minifigures they’d led themselves to believe would come with the set, complained loudly on social media that they weren’t happy with the mix, to be told by LEGO designer Hans Burkhard Schlömer that “We put in minifigures that are appropriate, but I personally feel they shouldn’t be super-rare collector’s items. It’s just not okay to put a super-rare minifigure into a super high price point, because not everybody can afford it, and those minifigures will be super-sought-after.”
If there was one addition that fans would like to see it would be to provide a hidden mechanism that would allow the model to glide just above the surface – maybe there’s a smoke and mirrors expansion pack coming for this set further down the dusty road?
Fans wanting to augment this set needn’t go further than adding some miniland passengers, thanks to Rambling Brick, to the landspeeder, or – if you want to roll back the clock – look to Praiter Yed’s custom Colin Cantwell landspeeder on Eurobricks.
Released to members of the VIP Rewards program on May 1st, and to the rest of the world on May 4th, 75341 Luke Skywalker’s Landspeeder is exclusively available through LEGO.com and its brand stores for US$199.99 / CA$269.99 / UK£174.99 / EU€199.99 / AU$319.99 (when it’s in stock).
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.