LEGO® Space:1978-1992 [Book Review] Christmas sorted for fans of LEGO Space?

As a kid growing up in the 70s, I was a little excited about the idea of space travel. I missed the moon landing: The Apollo programme had drawn to a close, Skylab was preparing to burn up in the atmosphere above Western Australia, and we were eagerly awaiting the arrival of the Next Big Thing in space travel – the Space Shuttle.

And so it is into this milieu that as LEGO® Minifigures were unleashed on the world, that we had worlds of Castle, Town and Space unleashed on the world. Past,Present and Future. One had a passing interest, one was the mundane and every day and the other captured my imagination from the moment I saw the catalogue that read “… coming in 1979.” I may not have had many space sets as a child, but the ones I had I could still assemble by heart after 40 years, as I emerged from my dark ages and returned to my childhood LEGO Collection. Of course, while 1979 was the release date in Australia and Europe, a limited range was released in The USA in 1978.

As I have continued to explore the worlds of LEGO Classic Space and beyond, I have seen it through old catalogue scans, battered box photos and crumpled, stained instructions, while cleaning the dust and grime off bulk lots of elements, assembling weathered spacemen and wondering if I need to get my glasses cleaned.

When I saw early mentions of Tim Johnson’s book “LEGO Space: 1978-1992” turning up for preorder on Amazon, I was excited. Tim is a passionate fan who grew up in a similar era to myself and, as a self confessed parts nerd and founder of the website NEW ELEMENTARY, he was always going to bring some interesting insights to the project.

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Monkie Kid 80054 Megapolis City: 10 Reasons That This Middle-Aged AFOL Is Excited!

Yesterday, I was a little bit excited to get my first glimpses of the Monkie Kid set 80054 Megapolis City. Celebrating the 5th year of Monkie Kid, the set is full of the eastereggs that we have come to expect from these large scale urban envoronments from MK. But the image quality was a bit poor: fast forward 24 hours and we have now got high resolution images, some are ‘lifestyle images,’others are renders of the box art. And while I was a bit excited yesterday, today I am turning it up to 11.

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60850 Blacktron Cruiser [Hands-On Review]

Blacktron to the Future?

It was 1987, and for the first time ever, a collection of LEGO characters that could be defined as ‘the bad guys‘ was released. They were’nt part of Town, they weren’t in any Castle; but they were in Space. And their name was Blacktron. Gone was the Classic Space logo from their torsos: this was a functional black printed torso, with white lines providing the detail, while the helmet was no longer the traditional shape, but rather a motor cycle helmet. Now with a visor. But for extra menace, the visors were an opaque black. The opportunity for incognito was remarkable.

This band of intergalactic secret-stealing rapscallions were the pinnacle of villainy for a couple of years, only to be succeeded by their more fluorescent sequel: Blacktron II (Electric Boogaloo??).

But Now they Are Back! And I think, for the better! Set 6894 Known in the USA as the BLACKTRON INVADER, it was also referred to as the BLACKTRON CRUISER in the UK/Europe – although the European catalogue in 1988 confused the labels for 6894 and 6941 (Blacktron Battrax or Blacktron Prowler).

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Blacktron Is Back

Well, back for a limited time, and not as a general retail release…

The LEGO Group has released official images of an upcoming gift with purchase: 40580 Blacktron Cruiser. I might have just wept a little. The new set is expected to come as a gift with purchase in the new year.

This set follows in the footsteps of the 40567 Forest Hideout, seen earlier in the 2022, rereleasing a popular set from days long past, using contemporary building techniques.

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The Age Of LEGO® Space Factions: 1987-1999

In the previous article in this series, we looked at Classic Space – and what might define the theme: More than the colours, the sets of this era were united in working together for a common goal: exploring, mining and drinking oversized cups of coffee, while wearing their spacesuits inside. We have ships, bases and rovers, with a variety of colour schemes passing by over the years.

By the time I got to 1987, I had completed school, and was just starting off at university. My brother had recently stopped playing with our bricks, and they were put into storage – to be retrieved as we both gained children of our own. I was well and truly into my Dark Ages. All I know has been derived from fellow AFOLs, catalogs, the brickset database and picking up the occasional set or three along the way.

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Minifigure 40: LEGOLAND® Space [Advertising Archive]

Celebrating its 40th Anniversary this year, LEGO® Space is one of the great evergreen themes of the Minifigure era. One of the terrific aspects of the theme was the way that the overall design would periodically evolve, introducing new colour schemes and minifigure designs.

Ad 1979_64The theme arrived as we saw a resurgence in science fiction and space fantasy entertainment on the screen: led by films such as Star Wars, and on the smaller screen by Doctor Who, Blakes Seven and Battlestar Galactica, our imaginations were primed for journeys beyond the stars. The Space Shuttle Enterprise had been undergoing test flights from the back of a 747 Jet, and a we were excited for a new era of space exploration commencing, with the Space Shuttle Columbia ultimately launching in 1981.

These early series focussed on exploration, mining and the perils of space travel itself. It took 8 years before an enemy faction arrived, providing an outlet for dramatic conflict within the stories that were told.

Join us, as we set about exploring the print advertisements for LEGOLAND Space, and continue through the classic space era. Most of these advertisements are from Europe in a variety of languages.  I have endeavoured to provide translations of these.

In the Beginning

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