Welcome to Builders’ Journeys – our Throwback Thursday inspired, nostalgia-driven look back on sets that have helped to define AFOLS around the world become the builders and LEGO Fans they are today. Today, we hear from Simon (@simonspace70s on Instagram). Simon lives in Mebourne, and recently discovered the joy of exhibiting his own MOCs, during a small lull between lockdowns. Simon has a tale that began back in the 1970s, and was changed for ever when he was given Set 924: Space Cruiser (released in the USA as 487) for his 6th birthday. The Awkward Middle Child of Classic Space sets, this ship seems to be relatively rare compared to 918 (one man Space Ship) and 927 (Galaxy Explorer). And there is just something about the shape of the nose. Perhaps that’s just me. Anyway, read on for Simon’s story.
Since I wrote an overview of ICE PLANET 2002, I have come to make a realisation: I’ve been a little too focused on news, reviews, and product announcements lately. Not to mention that little podcast thing. Perhaps to the extent that I have started to lose track of what I find to be so enjoyable about LEGO play… the act of creation. I’ve taken a couple of days out from the routine to start playing, designing and MOCing again.
A little while ago, I took a look at the theme ICE PLANET 2002 – a LEGO® space theme from the early 1990s. The theme was set on the Planet Krysto, in the centre of the known Universe. With three different figures, this theme included the first female Space Minifigure, a distinctive colour palette and a return to the values of Classic Space.
I now find myself wanting to explore this world a little further: bringing the United Galaxies back to Krysto, and using this as the basis for some MOCs of my own.
Nearly thirty years have passed since the United Galaxies’ Forces launched their last expedition Ice Planet 2002.
The Odyssey Base has since been abandoned after a computer virus, planted by Spyrius agents, rendered its systems inoperative. The United Galaxies’s rocket research program has been moved to several decentralised locations. A strange, coded signal has been detected coming from the area of the long-abandoned base in the meantime. A code not used by the forces of United Galaxies But from whom, and why?The Space Police say that an uninhabited, abandoned planet is outside their jurisdiction. Others say that the Space Police just want to chase bad guys that they know.
And so a new expeditionary force is set up, drawing upon the expertise of the earlier researchers. Their mission: identify the source of the signal, secure any residual artifacts from the original mission and, finally, establish whether there is any threat to the United Galaxies. If the Union is being threatened, neutralise the source of the problem…with extreme prejudice.
I recently reviewed the upcoming LEGO® Creator 3in1 set 31116: Safari Wildlife Tree House, due for release on March 1 2021. Another Creator 3in1 set due for for release on that date is the 31115: Space Mining Mech.
The set has three alternate builds, all based around space exploration, and particularly mineral surveying/collection.
This Creator 3in1 set has 321 parts, and will retail for $AUD32.99/ £24.99 /USD24.99 and €24.99. As such, it looks like particularly reasonable value for Australians, where, after currency conversion, we seem to have the best value compared to these major currencies. So should we exploit this relative bargain and buy many? Read on for my thoughts.
The recent launch of the the Space X Falcon9, successfully delivering astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken aboard their Crew Dragon capsule to the International Space Station has renewed public interest in the space program. And at a time when there are so many other problems affecting the world, a little excitement and optimism is what the world needs.
Space exploration has often been associated with this hope and optimism, as we see parts of the universe through new eyes, and discover that we can achieve things that had previously only been dreamt of.
A child excited by the the dream of space travel today might look at the range of LEGO City ‘Mission to Mars’ sets from 2019, and be inspired by such a future, as some of us were 40 odd years ago, when we first saw LEGOLAND Space.
Back in those days, we started with spacemen on a planet somewhere. They had a spaceship, a rover or a base. Or all three. They were all working together: no fighting, just cooperation in achieving the teams goals.
This was probably not the post I was planning to write today. In fact, I was not planning to write one. And then a couple of things happened: a couple of LEGO® Movie 2 sets arrived at home, and I was given a Lume Cube as a present.
The Lume cube is a small, portable light source – waterproof, it also comes with a variety of magnetic filters which act to provide a bit of warmth or diffusion. And the light has variable brightness: either through buttons on the back, or by bluetooth control. I’ll talk about it a little more in the future, but suffice to say I was was looking for an excuse to photograph something.
But the arrival of Benny’s Squad was also very exciting. Perhaps one of the most anticipated sets from the LEGO Movie 2, 70841 captured my attention in several ways.
A couple of weeks ago, we brought you news of the LEGO Ideas ‘Moments in Space’ contest: The goal is to design a set that would be appropriate for a gift with purchase, to be released next year, the 40th anniversary of the Global launch of the Classic Space theme. Over one thousand entries have been submitted. It is now up to the public to vote for their favourite submissions.
The 25 submissions with the most votes will be reviewed by the judges, with the grand prize winner’s model being considered for development into a Gift With Purchase set by LEGO designers for release next year.
Why am I mentioning this here? I don’t normally go in for discussion of LEGO Ideas submissions in progress. In fact, I generally don’t even mention them until they are about to be released.
The Significance of Space
Classic space inspired the imagination of ten year old me to look towards a positive, cooperative future. In 2019 that will be forty years ago. I will be turning… well you can do the maths! I think this is an important anniversary. Just as forty years of Technic was last year, 60 years of the Brick this year, 20 years of Mindstorms this year, 40 years of the minifigure this year (as well as classic Town and Castle Themes).
But with this contest, we have been asked to give an indication of what we would like to see done as part of the celebration, and I think this is an important example of the LEGO Group engaging with their fan base, on a topic about which many are particularly passionate.
This excited me enough to produce some submissions, based on Classic Space sets from 1979, and reimagine them with a contemporary parts palette, specifically that from NEXO Knights. We have recently had news that NEXO Knights is ending its run with the current wave of sets. I thought it appropriate to farewell this theme with a call back to my favourite era of LEGO Space sets. Let us refer to this as NEXO Classic Space…
NEXO Classic Space.
I am not an especially talented designer or builder, however I have submitted my take on the 891/442 Two Seater Space Scooter; 886 Moon Buggy and 889 Radar Truck. The latter two were sets that we had about the house as we were growing up.
The Two Seater Space Scooter is, however, my favourite. Conceptually, it is one of sets that led me down the Classic Space rabbit hole last year, when it appeared as part of the Classic Space DLC for LEGO Worlds: Here we have both Classic and Modern Space Explorers sharing a moment – talking about their hopes and dreams; how things of changed over the years, and how they will change in years to come. With larger engines than the previous version, it can fly further and faster than the classic version, and with its yellow and black stripes you know there is a nod back to Classic Space. And the model is, of course, extremely swooshable!
While I would love to see Blue/Grey/Trans Yellow Classic Space reappear, it is not what I need. LEGO Space inspired a generation raised during the Cold War to believe in an optimistic future, where people would work together to expand their knowledge and experience of the universe around us, striving towards a common goal. I would love to see a set which aspires to these values to be the one to win this competition.
While I have submitted these, that are part of a larger project, where I have been working to develop a reworking of that first series of LEGO Space sets from 1978-79 using the NEXO Knight’s parts palette. But more on that soon.
Have you submitted an entry in the Moments in Space contest? Why not share a link in the comments below. And why not subscribe to the Rambling Brick: our publication schedule will been a little disrupted over the next few weeks, and I’d hate you to miss the next few posts.