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Bootlego Baby Yodas

When I first saw the Child at the end of the first episode in The Mandalorian I was delighted, and very possibly in love. Disney managed the incredible feat of keeping the world from revealing that a baby Yoda was the show’s star, or at least it did for those watching Disney+ in the US. Thankfully I’d been watching along too, otherwise I’d have been unable to avoid the spoilers in the months before it became available in the UK and elsewhere. I’m so glad I did!

One of the most intriguing aspects of having maintained this spoiler-free state is that for months there’s no official baby Yoda merch. This isn’t surprising as licensing tends to result in tonnes of leaked images and spoilers, particularly for LEGO. Right now we won’t get a proper LEGO version of the Child till September when he becomes available only in the £119.99 set of The Razor Crest. At 120 quid, that’s a bit steep for a baby Yoda. It’s an expensive set, even by LEGO Star Wars standards, at 12p per brick. The Razor Crest looks OK, but as with many Star Wars sets it’s a big grey lump and doesn’t excite me much. In the gaping absence of official baby Yodas (because a pluralised “the Childs” just sounds weird), China’s bootleg factories have gone into overdrive. Collecting them has become a slight obsession… 

Basic Childs (see, reads horribly.)

The first one popped up quickly on eBay, before, I think we had any sight of the future LEGO version. It’s a basic (and quickly done) repaint of the existing LEGO babies mould (fucking creepy things), with ears stuck on. It’s not terrible, and is quite cute. His “basicness” feels a little like something LEGO might actually do. The little mini capes flap around quite annoyingly till you press them down firmly. He was my first, so he feels kinda special… he cost £2.95 with a Mandalorian minifigure at the end of January.

Number two popped up a week later. The body is identical, as are the pair of capes, one rectangular on the front and a rounded version on the back. This time he’s got a rather nicely sculpted head, much like the official LEGO Yoda, but scaled down and up-cuted. He was a bargain at £1.65! With the immovable arms I figured he was pretty close to what we’d end up with. 

Yoda Evolution

If there was one thing missing, it was the iconic space pram that baby Yoda follows Mister Shiny Helmet around in. I’d been looking at a few ways to build one, but then was spared by China coming through once again.  Number three cost a bit more – the bank-breaking sum of £3.99, but finally came with his little carriage.  Along with the space pram came a complete re-design. This chap’s larger, more lime green, and waaaaay angrier-looking. Clearly tired of LEGO’s somewhat freaky babies, this little chap has moveable arms (and indeed hands that plug into the wrist holes like regular minifigures) with a nice scarf accessory. The pram is quite neatly done, if a bit loose in its fitting. There’s an antistud on the base and four studs inside to choose whether you want the lid to close when the child is inside or not. I think it’s rather good, and although he is very angry, I find him rather adorable. The pram is of course MASSIVE though, as you can see when hes hanging out with Mando. Note that the first pic with Mando below is the official Din Djarin figure, and the second is the newer bootleg version with shiny beskar armour.

Then It Got… Hideous

At this point I lost all power to not buy these things. The next two that popped up showed up in mid April, just a few days after space pram boy. They were of somewhat lesser quality, but I was committed. First up, Child number three. He’s a repaint of the usual LEGO (knock-off mould) Yoda figure with mini-legs, and larger eyes literally coloured with marker pen, as far as I can tell, since they started rubbing off immediately. The head is also hard and spiky at the back, y’know, like Yoda’s… On the other hand, they’ve put some effort into the design, adding clothing patterns to all sides of the minifig body, legs and arms, which rather endears him to me more. This chap was the princely sum of £3.49!

And then this one happened. It looks OK at a distance, but close up or next to anything else and he’s a freak monster. This chap’s completely unarticulated, and he’s pretty much a single lump of horrifying plastic. But he does come with a mug, enabling him to empty his bone broth on the ground… Bizarrely for his outlandish size, he is still intended for LEGO system, four studs wide and three deep, allowing him to fit onto other plates with ease. Looks like he’s had a few too many plates of something. This monster was also £3.49, and I feel I’ve been repaid with nightmares.

Wait, You Must, for Good Things There Are 

Just a week later (I know, I know, this is getting ridiculous), possibly the best little dude ever appeared! For £3.95 (someone on eBay’s definitely seen me coming…). This little guy gives me the same feeling I did when the Mandalorian rescued baby Yoda from the Empire: intense fuzziness. He’s a bit bigger, but they’ve done a lovely job moulding his head to be super-appealing. He’s a smarter construction too – a regular size minifigure body, albeit with little custom arms and hands that can’t hold anything, plugged into a neat, um, I don’t know what to call this… body socket? with a ruff on top. Size-wise he feels more like the usual LEGO difference between an adult and child character, with lots of very nice detailing. Goddamn, he’s adorable.    

In Semi-Conclusion…

Obviously number six is the best all-round, but how close are any of them to what LEGO has planned? Honestly, I’m a little disappointed. Clearly, he fits into the usual LEGO sizing and design scheme, and has lovely big eyes and cute face, but after seeing so many other versions, I’m not that into him. I’ll almost certainly pick up a copy of him split out from the Razor Crest set.

You’ll be extremely unsurprised that I’ve got at least another two on the way… though they’re mostly for their space pram variants! I think the whole thing is a fascinating example of what happens when they’re a gap in licensing, and I’m oddly inspired by the resulting creativity.

I’ll do another post like this when I receive the others, and another one comparing the Mandolorian designs for Din Djarin himself. Do you have a favourite? Let me know!

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