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Separatist Spider Droid

Lego
by Artemis

Pop quiz: how many legs does a spider have? If you said "eight," congratulations, you know more than the Commerce Guild.

The Commerce Guild's contribution to the ground war is the Homing Spider Droid. It is an all-terrain weapon capable of precise targeting and sustained beam fire from its laser cannons. With surface-to-air and surface-to-surface abilities, it is a danger to Republic walkers and gunships.

Actually, from what I remember, it's a danger to Republic walkers, and a bit of easy target practice for the gunships - but I guess no one wants to buy a droid and read on the back of the pack "Your new purchase works okay half the time, but otherwise is a piece of junk a Jawa wouldn't think is worth salvaging!"

The OG-9 Homing Spider Droid - crapness at ground-to-air warfare notwithstanding - is one of the more impressive pieces of kit the Separatists trotted out in their abysmally flawed attempt to conquer the galaxy, so it's only fitting that Lego Separatist commanders (who're probably better tacticians than Lucas's lot) should be able to add one to their ranks. Incidentally, I've read various profiles for these clankers - Wikipedia, Wookieepedia, the Visual Dictionaries (both Clones and Sith), and I've yet to find out what about them is "homing." One claimed they had a "homing laser," which makes no sense; another possibility is that the droid's inclined to fixate on its target to the exclusion of all else, but that'd make it a royal pain in the arse for its own commanders, so let's not dwell on it.

The HSD isn't a big vehicle - though at 6¼" tall, even if not reaching its proper scale height, it still manages to tower nicely over Lego-scale humanoids - so I didn't bother with the stage-by-stage photos; you can see pretty much how it's built from the outside anyway. The body is that most hated (by Lego designers) of shapes, a sphere, but they've done a decent job of building one with the parts available - it's close enough to spherical in rough shape, but the nifty design of it is that it's got the right angles in the right places, so even though half of it's 45-degree angles, your eye tends to gloss over them and see the curve it's trying to imitate instead.

Attached are the two laser cannons - the top one (the supposedly "homing" laser) is the heavy hitter, while the one slung underneath the body is for close-quarters anti-personnel work, though for some reason it's larger than the more powerful one on top, both in Lego and in the genuine article. There's also the droid's single photoreceptor, which I quite like - it's nothing fancy, just a circular red 1x1 plate with a clear red dish attached over it, but set against the black plate they're mounted on, I think it gets the look just right.

The legs are mounted in pairs, with each attached to a laterally-mobile "shoulder" - mainly just so they can be at 45° angles to the direction of travel, it's not much of a useful joint for posing the droid. The rods attaching the horizontal leg struts are loose at both ends, allowing the legs to swing inward and outward a little way, while swivelling ankles keep the feet level to the ground. If you just plonk the droid down on the floor it'll tend to flop from side to side a bit until you pose the legs properly splayed - it's nigh impossible to get it to stand still with the vertical struts properly vertical - but to its credit, it's functionally impossible for the thing to fall over.

Besides the leg joints - and a swivel beneath the mounting plate for the eye, which isn't intended to be used, but could if you wanted to, I guess - the laser cannons are articulated, with the top one able to turn 360 degrees, and the bottom mounted on a vertical tilt joint, though with its power cable in the way it can only tilt downwards (and only really to one click of the ratcheted joint, before it hits the ground).

To keep the OG-9 company on those cold winter nights in the trenches, the set also includes a trio of regular-sized battle droids: a standard B1 (the mechanical morons relied upon by the Trade Federations), an OOM command droid (a B1 with a yellow torso), and a B2 "super battle droid." Both the B1 and OOM have short-stock blaster rifles, and feature one each of the newer-style arms with the hand rotated 90° to the shoulder, meaning the poor things don't have to hold their rifles sideways, gangsta-style, like the original Lego B1s did.

And to stop them all getting too big for their mechanical boots, the set also includes a pair of clones to blow them up. One is a standard Phaser 1 clone trooper, the other is Commander Fox of the Coruscant Guard, which means he's got red sleeves and armour markings, and comes with the usual clone officer accessory kit of a kama, shoulder plauldron, helmet visor, targeter, twin pistols, and those little mortar shell things that never seem to get used. Fox's proper gear, according to the packaging (and Wookiepedia seems to back it up) is the kama, the target, and the pistols; if you're obsessed with accuracy it's always good to check the packaging, because the instructions inside always show the officer figures wearing the same kama/pauldron/visor combination, regardless of character.

There's no such thing as cheap Lego nowadays, and likely won't be until those idiots in the automotive industry stop guzzling all our precious plastic-making petrol, but this set isn't bad value. It's not exactly an army-builder, with the sizeable OG-9 droid, but for anyone amassing a Clone Wars collection, in addition to the main attraction droid, the other figures make it a useful army-booster.


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