In which I look at 76109 Quantum Realm Explorers and realise that not only does it have some great minifigures, but it also gives a masterclass in greebles! And there isn’t long to enter our Ant-Man Contest.
When the original Ant-Man film was released a few years ago, I missed seeing it at the cinema, and I missed getting hold of the single LEGO® Set related to the movie. And as such, I missed out getting hold of an Ant-Man Minifigure. A favourite figure amongst toy photographers, there are so many images of this figure exploring the world. A month or so ago I went to see Ant-Man and the Wasp. It was an enjoyable film, full of humour, action and special effects. I have finally got around to building the set, Quantum Realm Explorers. You might have seen posts over the last few weeks, providing an opportunity to win this set in a building competition: I will come back to that later.
Quantum Realm Explorers was released in June 2018, and has 200 pieces, including 3 minifigures. It costs $39.99AUD; or $19.99USD, 24.99€ or £19.99. 10c/part in the US, 10p/part in the UK, 12.5 eurocents/part in Germany and 20¢/part in Australia…
Many people may be looking at this set as an opportunity to pickup the minifigures, and each of the figures included in this set are terrific. We have: Ant-Man, Wasp and Ghost.
They are all pretty close to their movie counterparts. They all have detailed torso printing, front and back, to match their characters, as well as double sided faces. Continue reading →
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.
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
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.
Last week I wrote about revisiting an imaginary childhood with a classic space set that I never owned, the One Man Spaceship 918. While it has brought me great joy, I have had the feeling that it is missing something. Lighting.
While I have written about simple lighting solutions previously, this is likely to need something more complicated. My vision is to provide lighting in the cabin, put running lights under the transparent plates on the thrusters and have lights on the wing tips flashing intermittently.
Over recent years, there have been a number of lighting solutions come onto the market. These feature a microprocessor controller chip, with connections for multiple LEDs. LEDs may be powered by an onboard coin cell or external penlight style AA or AAA batteries. The board itself might be enclosed within a brick sized housing, or the board might be uncovered, but dimensioned such that it can be easily built into your MOC.
A quick word on the ‘purity’ of 3rd party lighting.
There is no doubt that Space exploration captures our imaginations. It can be real or imagined – the hours I spent as a kid poring over the ‘S’ issue of the Encyclopaedia of Nature and Science. Indeed LEGO® has had a reasonable amount of success with space exploration oriented sets, both based on the real world works of NASA, and in the realm of speculative works – particularly when Space, along with Castle and Town became one of the founding LEGO minifigure themes. The ongoing success of LEGO Ideas submissions based on real world space exploration is also testament to its enduring appeal.
A couple of months ago, I started to play LEGO Worlds: the not so new video game, on the Nintendo Switch. One of the things that really taught my imagination was the Classic Space Down Loadable Content. It brought back memories of my childhood: playing with the neighbour who had all the cool sets: he had the 497 Galaxy Explorer. I had the 885 Space Scooter and the 886 Space Buggy. We even drilled holes in his landing pad plate to accommodate LEDs. It looked great until we melted a great big hole in it with the soldering iron.
But playing LEGO Worlds made me start to covet some of those sets that I had never had the opportunity to have as a child. It is one thing to fly them around on a video game screen, but quite another to hold it in your hands and say ‘voosh.’ I found a copy of 918 One Man Space Ship on eBay. I probably paid more than I should have. The trans yellow plate on the roof was cracked along one edge. But the rest was intact, along with the original instructions.
I had been trying to work out what I liked about the old instructions compared to the contemporary design. It isn’t the opportunity to miss five of the twelve elements placed in a given step. It isn’t the suggested layout distracting you the whole way as you see as you continue to build. It is the lack of page turning. Modern instructions are simple and unambiguous. But page turn heavy. I suspect this build might have had up to 50 pages. Every time I let go of the book, it would attempt to close. If things aren’t quite right here, it is easy to scan back over the last 8 steps to see what went wrong, rather than go back page by page, discovering you had a couple of pages stuck together and missed the critical element. On the third reading. I’m glad I have sorted that out with myself. It gives me a level of inner peace.
Assembling it involved 86 pieces of pure joy. The gray was a little different to that which we are now used to. The construction techniques are relatively simple. but this is an extremely swooshable ship. From the tilting roof on the cabin, to the aft storage compartment, construction was simple, and rapid. The red spaceman just sat and smiled. (For the record, 4.5 out of 5 Arbitrary Praise Units)
I ran around the living room with it, swooshing it from side to side, an idiot grin spreading from cheek to cheek. I was amazed at how much joy this simple set provided me with. And I decided to take a couple of pictures. Not many, but I wanted to capture the spirit of ’79. So I considered the old product shots on the box: black back drop with starfield, and perhaps a tan surface. The full space base was going to be impractical to reconstruct. Today, I have a few other things that need to get done.
So I took some black card, and punched holes in it. I placed it inside my lightbox, so that the light shone through the perforations like starlight. A little fill in light, and the vision was complete. No Photoshop, no compositing. Old school physical effects. OK, perhaps I used photoshop to darken the blacks, to disguise the pedestal. I hope you like it.
It still feels as if it is missing something however, for that extra level of realism