Over the last few weeks, we have spent a little time considering LEGO:Builder’s Journey – a game from Light Brick Studios exploring the ideas of Play, Work and family relationships. This then got me thinking: as LEGO® fans, we are all on our own Builder’s Journey. And somewhere along the way, something happened to get us on that path.
For many of us, there will be a LEGO® set that just did it. It might have been our first set, a set we built with a relative, the last set bought before entering our Dark Ages, maybe even the set that brought us out of them.
Today, I am starting a new series, exploring the sets from the past that have influenced LEGO Fans around the world. And I need your help. I have a set that after 40 years still holds appeal, still sparks my imagination. BUT I’d love to know about the sets that are important to other people. I won’t judge: be it Space or Scala, Clickits or Castle, Star Wars, Technic or Town, I would wager that for just about everyone out there, there is one set that did it, does it, or has a special place in our hearts. It might be big or small, cheap or expensive. For most of us, I am pretty sure they are pretty different sets. The opening picture might be a hint towards mine…
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.
As we get closer to the release of The LEGO® Movie 2 , the LEGO Group has released details of new sets, as well as a new trailer on their Facebook page, with further details coming out via the Brothers Brick, and the LEGO Ambassador Network:.
There is something for everyone in this selection: minidolls and minifigures; juniors and older; Duplo and Juniors. Included amongst these are new classic spacemen in blue, yellow and pink as well as some essential starter sets for buildling classic style spaceships (Printed classic space logos on 2×4 sloped bricks’; 4×3 transparent yellow slopes), and some brick built and highlights from the Systar System.
The building style ranges from simple Duplo Constructions, through to a post apocalyptic wasteland, via space and a psychedelic shape changing character in the form of Queen Watevra Wanabi. I have heard rumours of a new colour coming to the palette next year… and I see the stripe on the side of the bus looks like it could be Salmon/Vibrant Coral. To say nothing of at least another three Unikitty variations for the collectors. Certainly, there is something for everyone, but if you want to hold on to your wallet, you might need to accept that not everything is for you!
All sets listed are slated for release on December 26th. The LEGO Movie 2 is due for release on February 6 in most of the world. Warner brother via IMDB lists the Australian release date as 28th March. Delayed Again.
Yesterday, a collection of ‘Hero Shots’ of the main characters were released on twitter
These go me a just a bit excited: follow on after the break for the trailer and set details.
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