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.
Welcome once again to Throwback Thursday, and our regular Builders’ Journeys. In this column, AFOLs write about a set that had a profound influence on them, and the LEGO® builder they were to later become. Today, we hear from Inez, known as @iv_lego, on Instagram.
Inez lives in the Philippines and has become renowned for crafting MOCs based on real-world flowers, particularly those native to her part of the world. But it turns out that there was one set that showed her the way towards using LEGO bricks as a medium to create these flowers and trees…
“When I started with LEGO sets in 2012, I knew immediately that I wanted to build plants and landscapes. At that time, the landscapes included in LEGO sets were still rather drab, and their trees were still very blocky. My first MOCs were trees, but they weren’t all that great. Probably because I didn’t know what I was doing. “
Welcome to another edition of Builders’ Journeys, where Adult FANS of LEGO present a set that was, in some way, pivotal in their development as a builder.
Today, we hear from Sue Ann Barber. Sue Ann has been around the LEGO Fan community for many years, and is one of the founders of MUGs – the Melbourne LEGO Users Group. I first met Sue Ann in January 2008, when I attended the public expo at Brickvention with my family. Her passion for the hobby was apparent, and she introduced me to the concept of being an Adult Fan of LEGO, and the concept of LEGO User Groups. As such, she is one of the people I credit with bringing me out of my Dark Ages.
Sue Ann is going to tell us about a set, released in 1974, that inspired her earliest attempts to create a MOC (My Own Creation).
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.
Thanks for joining us for another Throwback Thursday, in which we take a look into our reader’s personal Builder’s Journeys. Take that old set that is important to you for some reason, and write up a paragraph or two about why it is important to you: was it your first set, the set that brought you out of your dark ages, or something else entirely?
This week we hear from Greg M aka @danishspaceprogram over on Instagram. Greg lives in Indiana, USA, and has graciously shared his story today, where he takes us to Iceplanet2002 to revisit at 6896: Ice Sat V.
Back in the mid 1970’s, I was prone to bouts of tonsillitis, and, as was the fashion back then, I went into hospital for a tonsillectomy. Apart from a spectacular bout of coughing up blood a few days later, everything was unremarkable.
But that’s not what I remember most vividly.
Certainly the diet of jelly and icecream were a highlight, but within 6 months I had forgotten them.
I remember receiving 687 Caravelle Aeroplane around this time. The wings were the first ‘non rectangular’ elements that I owned, the printed bricks were terrific as a way to represent the windows, and the wheels. They offered a special challenge.
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…
Start talking about about the gender divide in the way that LEGO targets its marketing, and before long, people will refer you to ‘Back in the day’ – when there was relatively little gender specific marketing: LEGO sets were marketed to children – boys and girls. Not boys OR girls.
Eventually, someone will typically refer to print ad above, from 1981. Showing a young girl who has built a model with her LEGO Bricks. The model looks chaotic to our concrete adult minds. But the look on her face is undeniably one of excitement, joy and pride. Somewhere along the way, LEGO Sets became more of a boy focussed product, with variable effectiveness in reengaging girls in LEGO play. And then we got LEGO friends. It might be disappointing that it was necessary to release a line of sets targeted at girls of a certain age, but I think the parts palette and the set design has benefitted as a result.
This advertisment is now 40 years old. and to celebrate, the LEGO Group are taking a trip back in time, to recreate this iconic advertisement, with the young builders of today. this coincides with the message tha the LEGO Group has signed up to the UN Women’s Empowerment Principles, to help guide how it can “better empower women and girls, accelerate gender equality, and encourage more young girls to believe they can achieve anything they set their hearts on.”
The LEGO Group is calling on families to help celebrate the skills, interests and creative potential of the next generation of female leaders by recreating its iconic 1981 LEGO® advert: submit a copy of a photo of your child, holding a LEGO creation they have made, and a poster will be emailed back!
The recent Fan Vote for a 90th Anniversary set that has taken place on LEGO Ideas has reminded many of us of many of the great themes that LEGO sets have explored over the years. While Classic Space, Castle, Bionicle and Pirates were the themes that the public were most fond of, there were a number of other themes that we were reminded of. One of these was Ice Planet 2002: released in 1993-94. My friend Jay, over at Jay’s Brick Blog made an impassioned call for voting for this theme, but alas, it was unsuccessful. But there is no doubt that it is a theme that has its stalwart fans: certainly it has a striking aesthetic,so I thought I would take a closer look, to see what the theme brought to the Space sets at the time, as well as why it might be deserving of some greater love going forward.
In which I reminisce about childhood music lessons, and evening television, build the LEGO® Ideas Grand Piano while listening to some of my favorite piano music. Then I troubleshoot it, with some help from the fan designer.
Somewhere lost in the midsts of time, I spent my Thursday evenings going to piano lessons. My personal progress was approximately in proportion to my lack of commitment commitment to regular practice, but I enjoyed nonetheless. During the early 80’s, I found these lessons to be a little bit of a drag: Doctor Who tended to shown on the ABC from Monday to Thursday: and the final episode of any story (back then they were typically 4 episodes long) would due to screen at the same time as my lesson. No Netflix, no iTunes, no DVDs and the timer in a VCR could easily be disrupted by failing to find a blank tape before I headed off to my lesson.