Taking off with Artemis: 60351 Rocket Launch Centre

As I write this, we are awaiting the second launch window for Artemis I, after the mission was delayed earlier this week, as the result of cooling problems. This mission will see an integrated test of the Space Launch System rocket as well as the Orion space craft – which will house the crew when they are taken to land on the moon in 2024.

In Greek Mythology, Artemis is the twin sister of Apollo, as such it seems fitting that this is the name chosen for NASA’s missions to return to the moon, 50 years after the last man stepped foot on the surface.

This year, the LEGO City range has featured a number of sets with a ‘Space’ theme, based on the components being investigated for the Artemis mission. We have previously looked at the Lunar research Base, as well as the Lunar Rover. The Rocket launch centre represents the largest set in the theme, with 1010 pieces, and with a RRP of $AUD249.99. This is a big set, and contains everything you need to set up a rocket launch base. Designed in cooperation with NASA, the rocket bears more than a passing resemblance to the Artemis Space Launch System… But I am getting ahead of myself.

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LEGO® CON REVEALS: 10497 Galaxy Explorer

It seems like an age ago that LEGO Ideas ran a fan vote to determine which LEGO Theme would be commemorated as part of the company’s 90th Anniversary Celebrations. I had long hoped we would see a grey and blue castle, with a transparent yellow Bionicle mask mounted above the drawbridge. Today I am delighted to say that I was mistaken. Not one set or one theme, but at least two. Will we see more? I honestly have no idea.

A revised 928/497 Galaxy Explorer was announced at LEGO CON today. This is the Iconic LEGO Spaceship. The emblem of LEGO Space in the early days, representing the ethos of peaceful exploration, before the introduction of conflict was required to drive the story-telling.

The set was revealed by Mike Psiaki – who revealed it is 1.5 times larger than the original set.

10497 will arrive on August 1st 2022, and will cost $99.99 / £89.99/ €99.99 /179.99 AUD/129.99 CAD. IF YOU ARE KEEN, it will be available for preorder in some markets from today!

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LEGO® City Missions: Building Creative Confidence [RoundTable and Review]

Back in the early days of LEGO® minifigures, the majority of sets that we had to play had a modest part count, and could be pulled apart and rebuilt in less than an hour: there was plenty of source material for alternative builds, either from the suggestions on the back of the box, or using an ideas book, such as #6000 – which documented the adventures of Mary and Bill, initially in a Town-based adventure, but takes a detour through the worlds of Classic Space and Castle…

Sets were built, played with and rebuilt. Hardly anything was kept together for a significant amount of time.

Flash forward 40 years, and the way some kids play seems to have changed: sets become display pieces in some households, gathering dust until the owner enters their dark ages, before moving on to sell them on the secondary market.

In part, I can understand this: sets have become a bit more sophisticated over the years: more pieces, more complicated building techniques, and we have already invested a couple of hours in building the core model. I encountered some examples of this recently as I worked on the new Creator 3in1 sets – Viking Ship and Midgard Serpent, as well as the DownTown Noodle Shop: pulling these sets apart and building the alternative models took up to 2 hours, depending on the models.

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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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New Story-Based LEGO® City Mission Sets Revealed

Today, The LEGO Group have announced a new type of LEGO City Set: LEGO City Missions. Following the basic themes of Water Police; Mission to Mars and Wildlife Rescue, the online building instructions, in the form of an online storybook, provides challenges for the builder – encouraging problem solving, and expanding the play available. This takes me back to the days when the Fabuland set Instructions used to be primarily a story book, to take the child on their journey.

For AFOLs, we might also regard these sets as providing awesome parts packs for related themes, including Space. To say nothing of a selection of new animal moulds – including a city scale hare, are well as a baby crocodile (seeing this element move from Marvel minifigures, through to the City range.) Perhaps we should say nothing about the vibrant coral frog.

Read on for more pictures, as well as the press release:

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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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Is This The Return Of Classic Space? 60350 Lunar Research Base: Hands On Review

It has been a little over 40 years since I fell in love with the idea of LEGOLAND® Space. Those initial sets put forward a future where people were collaborating in exploration, mining, and seeking out new worlds. All while improbably controlling vehicles with a steering wheel, and only installing cabins on to craft cabable of inter-planetary travel. All while drinking coffee in a base with the main control room open to the vacuum of space or whatever hostile atmosphere the team were facing this week.

0350: Lunar Research Base: The subject of today’s review: Is Classic Space making a comeback?

After Exploring Classic Town, I have been planning a series on ‘Whatever Happened to Classic Space?’ to arrive over the next few months. A lot of the answer depends on how you define Classic Space. While some might limit the definition to sets that include the logo with the shuttle orbiting a planentoid – others might use the definition of sets released before the arrival of Futuron and Blacktron in 1987; Others might feel that to use colours other than Blue, light grey and transparent yellow might be pushing a friendship.

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Builders’ Journeys: Harald Takes Us Back to the Futuron…

80’s clickbait

Welcome Back to Builders’ Journeys, where we hear from AFOLs around the world talk about ‘that special set’ that helped to define the LEGO Builder and AFOL that they would become. Today, we hear from Harald, who succumbed to a flashy image on the cover of a LEGO catalogue, many years ago…

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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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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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