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.Continue reading
This year seems to be the Official Year of the Diorama, with 3 LEGO® Star Wars dioramas announced last week, as well as one in Jurassic Park. Last week we took a look at the new LEGO Star Wars Diorama Dabobah Jedi Training Ground. With a clearly defined border, an exclusive R2-D2 minifigure, along with Luke and Yoda, this set gave us a glorious rendition of an organic swamp landscape, with different earth tones, greens, a swamp of varying depths and plant life. Today, I would like to go the the other extreme in design for these Star Wars models: occupying the same footprint as Dagoboh, the 75329 LEGO Star Wars Death Star Trench Run diorama features 3 visible colours in the scenery, a more induction, inorganic design than Dagobah as well as no minifigures, 2 TIE Fighter’s; Darth Vader’s Advanced TIE and an X-wing fighter – All in microscale.
So, how does it fare? Is it a reasonable build, with interesting details? Or is it a big slab of grey, missing all of the things that made the Dagobah set such a highlight in the release calendar for the year? Read on, and perhaps you might decide that this is the set you have long been waiting for. Or not…Continue reading
There are a lot of classic LEGO® sets. There are a good number of LEGO Space sets that might be declared to be classic. But there is probably only one set that is almost universally recognised as being emblematic of not only Classic Space, but perhaps the entire early Minifigure era. Bringing together a ship, a buggy and a base, along with 4 astronauts, 928 Space Cruiser and Moon Base, also known as 497 Galaxy Explorer was not the first playset of the era: you might consider the 374 Fire Station or the 375 Castle as being the other sets with this position – and they were released a year earlier, in 1978. And they contained more elements. Galaxy Explorer was not even the first of the space playsets – we had the 483 Alpha-1 Rocket Launching base come first. But still, there is something about the set which just says ‘This is Classic Space’.
I would dare to say it might even be iconic!Continue reading
When Minifigures arrived on the scene in 1978, we were presented with three settings: Castle, Town and Space – The Past, The Present and The Future. Through the 1980s, these themes developed in their own ways, fairly independent of each other. During the 1990s, we saw the themes diversify in different ways: Space brought us a new hyperfluorescent faction each year; Castle changed a little less frequently, but introduced an increasing amount of magic. In the meantime, Town diversified: no longer the sole home of contemporary lifestyles, we saw different themes split off, containing subject material based on the contemporary real world: Divers, Paradisa, Outback, Race, Space Port, ResQ, Team Extreme, and Sports. The ‘core material’ – which we first saw back in 1978 – police, fire and construction – became increasingly juniorized. Having been further dumbed down for younger builders with the introduction of Jack Stone, and other 4Juniors sets, we saw a return to more mature material with LEGO World City.
However, both the 4Juniors and World City themes featured alleged models of modern vehicles that bore minimal resemblance to the real-world equivalent. After the LEGO Group’s financial crisis, a number of themes were discontinued, and the company set out to return to its core business. A revitalised town theme was introduced – but things were on their way to being a bit bigger; expectations were greater: Town just wasn’t going to cut it anymore: we were presented with LEGO City.Continue reading
There is something about Italian design from the mid 20th Century. It feels classic, and modern at the same time. The Fiat 500 demonstrated it, and now the LEGO Group have announced the year’s Motor Vehicle For Adults (the label formerly known as Creator Expert): the Vespa 125.
I have to admit, this is one of the more elegant vehicle sets for some time, and more so as a Creator Expert syle Motorcycle, rather than a Technic Model. This baby blue motor scooter captures the charm of this classic bike, endeavouring to capture the iconic curves that have seen the Vespa maintain its popularity some 75 years after it was first introduced.
The set will be available from March 1 2022 and cost 169.99 AUD / 129.99 CAD / 99.99 EUR / 89.99 GBP / 99.99 USD. It has 1106 elements, and measures 35 cm long, 22 cm high and 12 cm wide.
But will this set be one to pick up when it is released on the first of March? Lets take a look through the images that capture the details of this model.Continue reading
Welcome back to our exploration of classic themes. When we last visited LEGO Town, it was in the process of becoming juniorized. The Classic Town that many had grown up with was becoming an almost cartoonlike parody of itself. From 1978 through to the early ’90s, Town had a certain degree of simplicity, but with style. It was always striving to be its best, held back by the limits of the system, rather than the ability of the builder.
During the ’90s we saw the diversification of design: elements were used across many themes, we saw a broadened colour palette, and as time went by, we saw more themes/subthemes depicting aspects of contemporary life: Paradisa, Divers, Race, Outback, Arctic, Spaceport, Extreme Team and Res-Q. Towards the end of this era, the traditional town sets – fire, police, construction – were labelled ‘city’ and we saw a juniorization of some of the sets; a reduction in complexity, and perhaps a slight step away from attempting a realistic appearance.Continue reading
Welcome Back to Builders’ Journeys, where an AFOL takes us back to remember one of those important sets from their life, that helped them to develop into the builder they are today. Today, we hear from Piotr, a Polish reader, who you can find on Instagram and Youtube, where he runs the channel ’Habit of Bricking. Piotr is the first of our AFOLs to bring a LEGO® Star Wars set to the fore. And it is one of the earliest: 7101 Lightsaber Duel from 1999. It has 2 minifigures and 52 pieces.Continue reading
Welcome back to our Throwback Thursday column, where we look at LEGO Sets that were influential in setting people on the path to becoming the LEGO Fan that they are today. Today, we hear from Russell C, who lives in California. He submitted his entry as part of our recent Jumper Plate Minifigure giveaway and would like to talk to us about a town set. This time, it is one from 1980: 6363 Auto Repair Shop.Continue reading
Welcome back to our occasional series examining ‘Whatever Happened to Classic LEGO Themes?’ Previously, we took a look at the Classic town sets from 1978-1990.
We examined the way that the theme was defined by certain colours, shapes, and how a gradually expanding parts palette resulted in an evolution in the design of sets during this period. In 1978, when the LEGOLAND branded sets were first released, along with LEGO Minifigure, this was the theme set in the present, the real world, containing subject matter that kids could relate to: LEGO Town was set in the contemporary world, bringing kids experiences they could understand.
In this article, we shall trace the development of these ’Real World’ LEGO sets during the ‘System Era.’ The ‘System’ label, with the red 2×4 in place of the arm on the letter ‘T,’ was used to distinguish the other brick systems used in LEGO construction toys at this time: DUPLO and TECHNIC. The mark appeared in the upper left corner of the front of LEGO Boxes, to the right of the LEGO logo. This label appeared on LEGO Sets released from 1992 to 1999.Continue reading
It looks like people have been enjoying the Builder’s Journeys column – our Throwback Thursday feature where we ask AFOLs to name a set that has a special meaning to them.
So far we have heard about sets from the last 50 years, from the LEGOLAND Bakery from 1973, through to the Hobbit. You can find all of the previous articles here.
If you have been thinking about making a contribution – there is no better time than the present. All submissions received by the 23rd of October will go into a draw for a great nostalgia laden prize from Jumper Plate.Continue reading