7879 – Hoth Echo Base
Recently I picked up the new Star Wars Echo Base kit #7879.
This is a kit that I’d been “umming” and “arrring” about for quite some time. On the face of it, it doesn’t look that compelling – especially given the price point. However, if you have any of the previous Hoth sets, you’ll realise that there aren’t many to use to build much of a decent sized Rebel base. There are numerous smaller kits (#7749 “Echo Base” and even one big one – #7666 “Hoth Rebel Base”), but none of them recreate key locations from “Empire Strikes Back”, such as Luke’s recovery in the medical bay tank, or Leia watching the battle unfold from the command room.
So the key drawcard here might be the inclusion of a number of new MiniFigs. Most of them are new or re-issues with customization (like Han’s snow helmet) or Leia’s hair. The red protocol driod and the medical droid are unique to the set.
Unpacking the box reveals instructions wrapped in plastic with a cardboard backing (to avoid damage to the instruction booklets). Numbered bags make the build easy, and means that, as usual, you only need to open and sort as you go. This is actually a great benefit if you don’t have a lot of room to build. I was able to move primary building to the coffee table (in front of the TV) for this kit.
The build is in sections, and gradually improves the base. There is a unique loading crane (although what this adds to the flavour of Star Wars is unknown – surely something else could have been developed?) plus a white speeder bike and some rotating radar dishes. There’s even a separate gate through which a Tauntaun can be ridden out.
The base is designed to be opened up (by way of swing hinges on one side). This would potentially allow you to add parts of the other Hoth kits (mentioned above) to create one big Echo Base set. Ultimately, the two key areas from the film (command center, medical bay) are the highlights, and they work well enough.
Again, I wouldn’t view this kit as a perfect representation of the Hoth scenes (unlike the awesome “Battle of Endor” kit #8038 for all the action on Endor), but rather a key component. All you really need is to throw in an AT-AT and some ground guns, and you’ve got yourself one battle of Hoth!