Star Wars BLING

Twin Pod Cloud Car Type-R (Pod-R)
Set 7119
Leather interior, revised control surfaces, big honkin' engine with chrome exhaust.

Lobot shows off a sample of the basic model

I met up with Lobot, the LEGO® mini-figure shipped with the stock Twin-Pod Cloud Car kit. Our shaven heads gave us an instant rapport. Lobot's voice is surprisingly high-pitched, like he's been inhaling a lot of helium. His attitude, though, is decidedly no-nonsense.

Chris: So, tell me a bit about the basic model Cloud Car.

Lobot: Well, for day to day administration of Cloud City, there's nothing better than a standard Twin-Pod. It's agile, easy to parallel park, and a co-pilot means you can get in a lot of on-the-job naps. They're designed to deal with the high winds in the area, so they come factory-equipped with a decent set of gyros. The interior was designed with cost-cutting in mind; duro-plastic seating, floor mounted control surfaces.

Interior of the Pod - Spartan at best.

C: "Floor mounted?"

L: Yep. You have to really stretch to use them - and we mini-figs aren't that supple to begin with. Some of our pilots have become adept at navigating with their toes - and it's something we routinely check for when performing interviews.

C: Doesn't sound like a lot of fun...

L: Your standard Twin-Pod isn't built for fun. It's a utilitarian ship.

C: But you've found a way to improve things.

L: Decidedly! Ever since Lando abandoned us to the Empire, we've had a lot of free time. The ugnauts took a few decommissioned Cloud Cars and turned them into something more aimed at the performance enthusiast. We call it the Pod-R. There were just tons of spare parts just lying around, getting shoved into the furnace. Now sales of the Pod-R have added some much needed diversity to our funding streams.

C: Care to give me a tour?

Lobot lead me to one of the many open-air landing pads in the City. He excused himself for a few minutes, then returned wearing his "Racing Togs". He asked me to wait for just a little while longer.

Side By Side Comparison

About three minutes later the air was split by a mighty sonic boom - and Lobot brought his personal Pod-R in for a screaming touchdown scant centimeters from this reporter's foot.

C: Aaaah!

L: Just demonstrating the tight, tight handling of the Pod-R. You okay over there? You look a little pale.

Lobot in Leather

L: Now, the first thing I want to draw your attention to is that we were able to keep most of the stock frame on the pods themselves. We've added some pizzazz with the racing stripes and hood graphics, but for the most part we were pleased with the aerodynamics of the pods.

L: Now, what we weren't pleased with was the engine. The factory ion drive was just pathetic. Good enough for guiding in vessels, but hardly enough to put up a decent chase. So we ripped the entire assembly out and replaced with a Cloud City Customz Tibanna-matic. It has a ram-scoop assembly that will actively process Tibanna gas while in flight - adding as much as a 200kph boost to atmospheric speeds.

C: So she's not designed for space flight?

L: Not really - the cabins are pressurized, of course, but this model isn't designed for deep space. She handles much better when she has some atmosphere to work with.

L: Taking a look inside, you see that we gutted the factory interior. We've installed heated leather seats, raised the controls to within easy arm reach - and added a trunk-mounted ten-disc CD changer with 3,000 watt subwoofer. We've also added an exhaust port on the rear of each pod to help dissipate heat generated by the stereo system.

L: Each pod now has it's own function as well. In the factory model, both sides have identical controls. The Pod-R does have backup nav controls in the auxiliary pod, but the main instrumentation has been changed to let the co-pilot focus on fuel efficiency and collision detection.

C: You have a lot of problems with mid-air collisions then?

L: Not as many as you'd think - but when you're traveling over six times faster than the normal safety rating on a Cloud Car, you've got to be extra cautious. There's no curb to pull off onto our here. It's a straight drop into the heart of a gas giant. Not exactly a comfort station.

A look at the revised interior

C: Tell me more about this improved engine.

L: Well, as you know, Cloud City's major export is Carbon-Frozen Tibanna gas. Normally that gas is used for high-energy weapons like Turbolasers. We realized we could channel that energy though a series of...well, it would take a scientist to explain it. Gas makes ship go fast is what it boils down to. The propeller assembly sucks gas into the on-board processor, waste gasses are vented well back beyond the ignition point. We went through three prototypes before we realized just how far back we needed those gasses to be.

L: Underneath, you can see the four in-line internal dampers. The acceleration on the Pod-R is so great that we pulped the driver of the fourth prototype. We installed these afterwards...and also replaced the leather interior.

Beauty Shot of the Pod-R

C: Any other features you want to highlight?

L: That about covers it - although I would like to stress that we have a large selection of stickers than can be applied to the exterior of the craft.

C: Thank you for your time.

L: My pleasure.

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