Welcome Back to Builders’ Journeys, where we hear from AFOLs around the world talk about ‘that special set’ that helped to define the LEGO Builder and AFOL that they would become. Today, we hear from Harald, who succumbed to a flashy image on the cover of a LEGO catalogue, many years ago…
After a few years of making the elements in Universal Building Set 722 work for all manner of things Town/City related, when I saw the Stardefender 200 in the 1987 LEGO catalogue, I knew I had to have it. The catalogue cover of a Yellow Futuron Minifig blasting through the page was like a retro version of clickbait. And it worked on me.
I wasn’t a big LEGO Space fan, having been allowed limited playtime with my brother’s Classic Space collection, but this set was instantly intriguing and ‘different’:
Where were the wings from most other CS sets?
Why was it not sleek like the revered 6929 Starfleet Voyager?
Who were these Futuron space people and why did they look SO MUCH COOLER?
After begging my parents for as long as they could tolerate, and saving any pocket money that I could, I finally received my Stardefender 200. The new elements, new Minifigs, and a muted, yet awesome colour scheme with not a single Grey piece in sight, had me building as many Space MOCs as I could for years afterwards. It really opened my eyes to what LEGO could do, and what I could do with LEGO.
I’ve still got my well-loved original, and as an AFOL, I’ve obtained a few other nice examples, but I would love to find and keep a copy MISB, just for my own selfish sense of nostalgia for a set that changed the way I looked at LEGO forever.
Futuron seems to be a polarising Space theme for some: on the upside, monorail, on the downside a change in colour scheme, and design ethos. But, it does represent the start of the ‘Factional era’ where each year we would see a new design of characters. After Futuron, Blacktron I and Space Police, these take on that special neon characteristic that characterised 90’s space build: MTron, Blacktron II, Ice Planet, before settling down again for a few years. It also gave use the first appearance of the ominous ‘Sky Grid’ that would overlay the box art for many years to come.
Of course… we haven’t heard of a dedicated space theme for a few years, although Both Ninjago and Monkie Kid had held hints of this type of set over the last few years. Moving forward into 2022, it would appear that the new LEGO City Space sets will sell and truly herald a return to the spirit of Classic Space… but more of that in the near future.
I’d like to thank Harald for sharing this particular story, and I would like to invite you, dear readers, that if you would like to contribute a story of the LEGO Set that influenced your life in some way or another to get in touch via @ramblingbrick on Instagram or Twitter or sending an email through. If you have images, brilliant. Otherwise, as always I must acknowledge the amazing resources provided in the Brickset library, containing examples of just about every LEGO Box art ever produced during the days before online asset management libraries.
What was your favorite Space Faction? Why not leave your comments below, and until next time,