Droid Escape (9490) Review

Droid Escape (9490) Review

In Episode 9 of Bargain Bricks, we took a look at Droid Escape (9490), a Star Wars set from 2012. I acquired the kit is a bulk bin of LEGO® bricks that I found for a good price on Facebook Marketplace. As far as I know, the LEGO® Group has produced three versions of this set to date. This one is neither the oldest nor the newest. 7106 proceeded it with the same name in 2001. Subsequently, 75136 (Droid Escape Pod) came out in 2016. Interestingly, 9490 is the only iteration of the classic Star Wars scene to offer unique Minifigures.

Droid Escape (9490) box art.
Since I got this set second hand, I did not have the box on hand to photograph. This is the original product image, ©2012 The LEGO® Group.

DROID ESCAPE SUMMARY

  • NAME: Droid Escape
  • SET #: 9490
  • THEME: Star Wars
  • COST: $24.99 CAD
  • BRICK COUNT: 137
  • MINIFIGURES: 3 + R2-D2
  • RELEASED: January 1, 2012
  • RETIRED: December 31, 2013
Droid Escape (9490) bricks.
Droid Escape brick selection.

DROID ESCAPE QUICK REVIEW

  • VALUE: 61% (satisfactory cost/brick, but really expensive build time.)
  • BUILD: 75% (Satisfactory overall experience but lacks detail.)
  • MINIFIGURES: 91% (You get a lot of minifigs for a set this size and they’re good.)
  • ENTERTAINMENT: 80% (Nice for Star Wars fans.)
  • OVERALL SCORE: 77% (Satisfactory set.)

DROID ESCAPE (9490) REVIEW

VALUE: 61%

Originally, Droid Escape cost $24.99 in Canada. Since it is a retired set, you can no longer get it NIB for that price. However, you can presently find used Droid Escape sets for around the same price. Based on the original retail price, the kit was a bit on the expensive side. It clocks in at $0.18/brick. On average, all the sets we’ve reviewed at True North Bricks go for about $0.14/brick. Our Star Wars collection currently sits around $0.15/brick. Consequently, I rate the cost-per-brick for Droid Escape at 72%.

Top view of the droid escape pod.
Top view of the Droid Escape pod.

As you can imagine, it does not take long to assemble 137 pieces. I had this set complete in just 15 minutes. That means that each minute of build time cost $1.67. That is really expensive. On average, build time costs $0.85/minute based on our metrics. Star Wars sets specifically tend to range on the pricier side at $1.03/minute. Either way, this set did not provide a lot of build time for the price. I rate the build time value at 46%. Averaging this with the cost/brick score gives an overall value rating of 61%.

Droid Escape pod front view.
Front view of the Droid Escape pod.

BUILD: 75%

The assembly process for Droid Escape is simple and straight forward. Do not expect any new bricks. The exterior has a nice brick-built shape that captures the look of the movie prop well enough. However, it tapers more towards the rear and relies heavily on stickers for detailing. Based on images alone, I think the 2016 version does a better job at exterior texturing and movie accuracy. Additionally, the interior of this Droid Escape is bland. It has enough room for C-3P0 and R2-D2, but only one small control panel. For the brick count, this is not a bad design. However, it is not a great design either.

Droid Escape pod interior.
Droid Escape pod interior.

One aspect of the build I appreciated was the use of technic cross axles and parabolic rings to change the build direction for the rear thrusters and nosecone. It is a clever use of parts. I am sure I have seen similar techniques in other sets, but it is always good to get a reminder of different ways to build in multiple planes. Those techniques come in handy for MOCs!

Rear view of Droid Escape Pod.
Rear view of the Droid Escape pod.

The other minor build included is the speeder bike. Once again, it achieves the movie look well enough. However, I found the assembly a little flimsy. It doesn’t hold its shape since the design employs 2×1 plates with holders to angle the front half of the bike upwards. Those plates act like hinges. Ultimately, Droid Escape achieves a recognizable look on all fronts, but lacks a little detail and finesse. I rate the build at 75%. It is a satisfactory experience.

MINIFIGURES: 91%

As with many Star Wars sets, Droid Escape shines in the Minifigure department. You get three proper minifigs plus R2-D2. While none of the Minifigures come with a double-sided face, C-3P0 always features a specially molded head, and they all have front and back torso printing. Additionally, the Stormtroopers have leg printing. Droid Escape also includes a medium and long blaster rifle, and each Stormtrooper has a different pauldron. I rate the minifig designs and accessories at 82%. I wish this version of C-3P0 had leg printing like newer iterations do.

Droid Escape includes four characters if you include R2-D2 in the minifig count. For a 137-piece kit, that is outright amazing. Regardless of whether you compared to LEGO® sets in general or just the Star Wars theme, that is a lot of characters for a set this size. Additionally, both Stormtroopers are unique to this set. The ratio score easily earns 100%. Averaging this with the design score gives and overall Minifigure rating of 91%.

ENTERTAINMENT: 80%

As with many LEGO® sets, designs get better over time. This Droid Escape (9490) certainly beat its 2001 predecessor in terms of look and build, but I don’t think it matches the later Droid Escape Pod from 2016. However, in terms of Minifigure inclusions, this one takes the cake. The early one only included C-3P0 and R2. The later one includes four characters, but two are stumpy-legged Jawas and none are unique to the set. I like the two sand-beaten Stormtroopers in this version of Droid Escape. Anyone building a Tatooine scene with Mos Eisley will benefit from having them. Additionally, while not hyper-detailed, the pod remains recognizable for what it is. It makes a decent shelf prop next to other Star Wars items. I rate the entertainment value at 80%.

OVERALL SCORE: 77%

Droid Escape is a satisfactory set overall. It was expensive for what you got, and the build experience was not particularly remarkable. With that said, Star Wars fans get a recognizable scene rebuilt decently. The real highlight of the kit is the Minfigures, two of which are unique to this set. Of the three versions of this set that the LEGO® Group produced, the minifigs in this one are arguably the best. I would have liked a little more brickwork detailing both inside and out for the escape pod itself though. This version is a little too sleek and reliant on stickers. What do you think of Droid Escape (9490)? Let us know in the comments below or reach out on social media.

Until next time,

-Tom

The dewback and third Stormtrooper in the background are from the Mos Eisley Cantina set, not this one.

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