Mystery Project X: Let’s Start with a Place for Space.

I am working on a display for Brickvention, our local LEGO Fan Convention- It is now less 2 weeks away, and I feel as though I am more on track than I have been any time in the last 10 years. Admittedly, I have previously done a lot of landscaping with trees flowers and rivers. These last few months I have found myself drawn towards Classic Space. It seems odd to me that it has taken so long. Minifigures were first released in Town and Castle in 1978, and Space reached Australia in 1979- I was about nine or ten years old at the time. I remember the ’78 catalog showing some images of space (coming soon), but perhaps my childhood memory and facts are in slight disagreement. Star Wars (back in those days there was only one) was very much inspiring my imagination at this time

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Our family collection of space was limited to the Space Scooter 885, Space Buggy 886, Radar Truck 889 and the 1981 Moonbuggy 6801 – although I seem to remember that last one as all gray.

So, since picking up a used 918 Space Transporter from eBay, a few things have come together. I was given a bulk lot by a friend: A mixture of Classic Town and Space. I have identified parts for all of sets I once had in this collection.

I gave all the parts a wash in warm soapy water in the summer sun, and set about reconstructing what I found, knew and once had.

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I don’t remember these thrusters being black back in history.

By now I was overrun by feelings of nostalgia. One of these feelings involved the display of the space sets in the marketing material. As well as the black sky(back lit with holes in for generating the star field), the alien planet was typically depicted as tan, except where the crater or spaceport baseplates were used.

And it is 2018.  A year for anniversaries: Sixty years of the LEGO Brick.  Forty years of the mainstream ‘Classic’ LEGOLand sets featuring minifigures.  Forty years of Town, Castle and Space (purists will remind me that Space had a limited release in 1978, but the full first series was released in 1979.) If only there was some way to combine them?  Still I am feeling very nostalgic for space at the moment. Perhaps I should look at a way to display them.  I may have inherited a couple of the grey landscape plates, but I have no road or landing strip plates.

An Idea Arrives:

Brick build the landing pad and road. On their sides. This is a common technique used in some large city layouts I have seen.  I am sure others have used it in this context. This offers a couple of advantages over plates.  One is lighting – modified bricks with two studs on opposite sides will accept the passage of small LEDs.  I can incorporate these into the build. (better than taking to a forty year old plate with a drill).  And it can be as big or small as we need.

But how big? The landing pad will have a circular design on it.  Now, designing a circle with LEGO plates edge on is all very well, but unless you turn aspects of your build around, you end up with two sides looking like an elegant(ish) steppy line, and two sides with an ugly chunky steppy line.

So I decided that I would make this pad around the same size as a baseplate, give or take, but without the roads running in four directions.  To make it square,  remember that 2 studs occupy the same width as the thickness of 5 plates. I opt for a square 32 studs across, but just use this to be the size of the landing pad, with no studs around it, and width of road.  This gives a little more space than might have been available on the official plates.

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The standard curve unit used for the landing pad.

I plate a circle 45 plates radius on graph paper and construct a quarter chord.  I build four of these and then fill up to the roadway with two of them.  I use 2 bricks with studs on the side to hold the end parts on.  They are a little tight, so I wonder if I might have accidentally put things under a little stress.

I make my circle bright yellowish orange, and have orange stripes marking approximately a quarter of the roadway, and 2 white plates to form the centre line. I intend to put some lighting into the display, and have left space for micro LEDs to pass through a modified brick with studs on both sides.  The spacing is uneven, for various reasons.

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IMG_8688I also build a road, out of 2 stud thick bricks, with holes for lights  present.  I build it in 2 halves, to be able to slip together, so that in a firm frame it might be clicked into place, firmly.

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One of the images that inspired it all.

Inspired by the original catalogue images, I have opted to surround my roadway with an essentially flat base of tan. A few SNOT bricks allow the firm attachment of building and figures to the plate.  Today, I shall leave them out. and add in some classic space vehicles instead.  Let’s minimise the spoilers, for now…

The tan base is designed to be pulled apart into 3 sections for easy transport, and the our runway/landing pad segments just slot right in

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The Classic Space looks good, but what will actually fill this area when the project is completed?

The final effect can be seen here: a clear runway and  fairly barren moonscape, along with some classic space vehicles exploring the area. The perfect place for a moonrise. Perhaps I should take the time to identify the other sets in the bulk I received.  When I have time.

How do you display your vehicles? In a city or moonscape type layout? In a garage? Lined up in a row, or with the effect of a bit of local life and character interaction? Why not leave your comments below.

Are you in Melbourne for Brickvention 2018 (20-21 January)? You can still get your tickets here. With any luck, Mystery Project X might be completed by then.

Until next time…

Play Well!

3 thoughts on “Mystery Project X: Let’s Start with a Place for Space.

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