Classic Themes Build Challenge: Summary

If you have been following us on instagram lately you may have encountered the 90th Aniversary Habitat/MOPs Classic Themes challenge that we have been running in conjunction with Jen @brickfambuilds. The challenge closed this week, and I’d encourage you to checkout the submissions over there following the tags #lego90habitats and #rambling90years in closer detail.

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Countdown to 90 Years Of Play Part 5: 1972-1981

Welcome back to the fifth instalment as we take a decade by decade look at the history of the LEGO Group, before they celebrate their 90th Anniversary on August 10, 2022. Last time, we left the 1960s behind: wheels and trains have entered the mix, and DUPLO is helping little people to build big things. Today, we move further into the ‘70s: an era where characters enter the mix, more realistic models are possible, and a new CEO enters the mix.

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10497: Galaxy Explorer – Redefining an Icon. Rambling Review

When I first saw images of the new 10497: Galaxy Explorer, while preparing for LEGO Con, I found myself both a little excited and apprehensive. Excited because, like many LEGO Space Fans of a certain age, this set told us that the LEGO Group recognises the importance of Classic Space to its older fans, and there had been so much clamouring for proper Space Sets: sets not tied in with different third party licences like Super Heroes or NASA, and not linked into the increasingly complicated lore behind Monkie Kid and Ninjago. We have seen sets buying into the idea of Classic Space – exploration, team work, free of conflict – in LEGO City over the years, BUT while there might be ‘equivalent’ sets, they strive to be too realistic- insisting on putting visors on every helmet, windows and air lock doors on the moon base and insisting on astronauts only being able to drink a cup of coffee when in their standard overalls. So, to see the look of Classic Space preserved and revisited is more than welcome.

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Classic themes: Defining Classic Space

The recent arrival of the 2022 LEGO City Space sets has left some people myself included, wondering if the spirit of Classic Space has returned, while others remained unsatisfied, stating reasons of not enough blue and grey, an absence of transparent yellow, or that the blue in the windscreens was just not dark enough. But what does Classic Space actually mean?

Virtually everyone will agree that the period began in 1978, with the release of the first LEGO Space sets to feature minifigures. But when does it end? And what is it that makes those sets ‘Classic Space?’

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Taking a Test Drive with the 60348 Lunar Rover [Hands On Review]

The new LEGO City Space sets are drawing heavily on the LEGO Group’s Classic Space Heritage, as well as design mockups for the Artemis Program – the NASA’s planned return to the moon in 2024. As I discussed in my review of 60350 Lunar Research Base, the theme is drawing design cues from Space sets of the 80’s, along with a reimagined Classic Space Logo.

Today, I’m taking a look at the 60348 Lunar Rover – AUD49.99 – which I picked up at a local toy retailer. It is now available through LEGO.com and other retailers. The model is inspired in part by the Habitable Mobility Platform (HMP) proposed for NASA’s Artemis program and it also draws on the traditions of Classic Space rovers from the 1980s. It is the least expensive of the City Space sets currently available.

The HMP is a pressurised rover, with the ability to travel some distance from the proposed Lunar Base Camp, without forcing the crew to spend all their time in bulky EVA suits. Essentially an RV for the astronauts. As such, it should be possible to drive the vehicle in shirt sleeve comfort.

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Builders’ Journeys: Simon Soars into Space with the Awkward Middle Child [924: Space Cruiser]

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.

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Builders’ Journeys: Branko Launches Us Into Space With The 6950: Mobile Rocket Transport

Welcome back to our regular Builders’ Journeys column, where we take a look at sets from years gone by, through the eyes of someone for whom that set has a special significance. Today, Branko from New South Wales, via the Netherlands brings us a tale of his childhood, with 6950: Mobile Rocket Transport. This set was released in 1982 and has 209 pieces. Tat year also saw the debut of the yellow spacemen, and this set came with two of them!

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Whatever Happened To Classic LEGO® Themes? Part I: Prelude

The last time I was having a chat to adult visitors at a public exhibition (remember those?), something came up on more than one occasion: LEGO® Themes these days are not what they used to be. It used to be pretty simple – you’d build the set (and it was probably Town, Space or Castle. Unless you were a bit younger – then it may well have been a Pirates set) – and you’d pull it apart and build something else. It might be one of the alternate builds on the back of the box, it might be something completely different. It may not have even been related to the original theme.

These days, many sets thrive on 3rd party IP, and the majority of the in-house, story-driven themes are tied in with either an animated series or an overly complicated app.

For those of us yearning for a simpler time, in a world where things have become increasingly complicated, things are looking bleak! Unless you want to go straight to the 4+ sets.

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Throwback Thursday: A Builder’s Journey

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…

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Returning to Ice Planet, A Builder’s Diary I: Colour and Concepts

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.

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