Mini Steps: The Evolution Of The AT-AT Driver Minifigure
All of our Mini Steps articles have featured main characters so far, but there are many supporting characters that have received multiple minifigure iterations over the past 20 years. With the release of 75288 AT-AT in the later half of last year and the coming release of 75313, the AT-AT Driver has been given several more variants making it worthy of the next article in the series.
AT-AT Drivers, aka AT-AT Pilots, were a specialized class of Imperial trooper that fans were first introduced to in The Empire Strikes Back. We see them on Hoth, but their suits were designed for any cold environment. While their first appearance was in 1980, the first LEGO version wouldn’t come until 2003 with the release of the first System-scale AT-AT. The Driver featured an old gray body and plain yellow head. The helmet was the same mold as the Stormtrooper and TIE Fighter Pilot but came with the unique markings that signified this category of trooper.
One of the rarest variants in all of LEGO Star Wars minifigure collecting is the “full triangle” AT-AT Driver. Released in the first wave of set 4483 AT-AT, the black symbol on the front of the helmet came with a peaked appearance. Fans gave their feedback that this design made the print look like it had been drawn on, so LEGO subsequently changed the print to the more common “trapezoid” design. This change meant that very few full triangle helmets were released.
The next version was exclusive to 10178 Motorized Walking AT-AT and went back to the triangular helmet printing. It used the same helmet mold as the prior version and maintained the same torso printing. The parts were updated to new light and dark bluish gray colors. Replacing the yellow head from the first AT-AT Driver was a plain black head.
It would be three years before the next AT-AT Driver was created. The body of the minifig was identical to the last version as was the plain black head, but a new helmet mold had been created. This new design also required a change in the printing to fit the contours of the updated helmet. It was included in 8084 Snowtrooper Battle Pack and 8129 AT-AT. This would be the last of the AT-AT Drivers in this color scheme.
In 2014 the AT-AT Driver would undergo a significant update that would set the standard for the remaining variants. In addition to updated printing on both the helmet and torso came the first version to feature printed legs. The once white and gray body style was replaced with a primarily sand blue jumpsuit. While the helmet mold stayed the same, light bluish gray replaced the white of the prior versions. This version was also the first to feature a printed head and was found in 75054 AT-AT and 75075 AT-AT.
Surprisingly another version wouldn’t be released until 2020 when the aforementioned 75288 became the first set to come with two variants. To the casual observer the pair appeared almost identical to the prior version, but closer inspection showed differences in the printing on all parts. From the outer appearance the two were identical, but the heads underneath the helmet were different. The frowning version would go on to be included in 75298 AT-AT vs. Tauntaun Microfighters and will also be in the new Ultimate Collector Series AT-AT releasing next week.
Joining the ranks for the first time will also be the first female AT-AT Driver. Again the outer appearance is identical to the two from last year, but LEGO has given her a unique face print underneath.
How many of these variants do you have? Had you heard the tale of the full triangle AT-AT Driver, or was this news to you? Let us know your thoughts below, and be sure to track all these variants on the LSW Collector mobile app.
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