Everyone loves to build star fighters, and other space combat craft, or space racers, buy when was the last time you saw a truly utilitarian space creation? R. J. Waldman (*jwaldo*) seems to have recognized this gap, and brings us a pretty fantastic star port support vehicle. I’ve long been fascinated by the geometry of airport support vehicles, they really bring minimalist and ultilitarian aesthetics home. This creation does a great job of capturing that look, and it also includes a lot of cool details and play features. There are built in stairs and cabinets, and I really dig the grill riding platforms sticking off the back.
There exists a small but vocal contingent of the adult fan community who look down upon Bionicle and its descendent Hero Factory, claiming that the pieces are juvenile, not useful, and altogether too different to mix with traditional bricks. I’ve never understood this train of thought. LEGO is about imagination, and the ability to successfully incorporate unusual elements into a model is generally viewed as positive. Besides, there are just so many cool things that can be done with Bionicle pieces, completely aside from building large poseable action figures.
Take, for instance, this wicked cool spaceship by Ricardo Soà. Incorporating both traditional bricks and pieces of Bionicle heritage, it’s menacing and awesome in a way that is fresh and new. It’s a welcome change of pace for a community which frequently sees the same styles again and again.
And since we’ve not featured Ricardo here before, it’s worth taking a peek at some of his other killer spacecraft.
Far too often I see fantastic Sci-Fi vehicles that are presented itself either on a plan backdrop or photoshopped background.
Not to be satisfied with just a great ship, Keith takes it to the next level by building a home for his ship, complete with fantastic hexagon floor (based off of Tim G’s design) and classic-Goldman back lit wall.
The police state will soon be able to look in on you from the skies, thanks to this creation by Galaktek. The folding, rotating, runway on the back of the truck looks awesome, and fun to play with. It’s like a mini aircraft carrier! The idea of a hovering vehicle, which launches flying vehicles is preposterously fun, too. Make sure you check out the other creations in this series in his photo stream, especially the robot dogs.
As most regular readers know, I am a big fan of LEGO space. Like most fans of 80s LEGO space, I loved the character Benny in the LEGO movie, and was excited to see that his ship would become a set. Even better, fellow Brother Brick Simon found this set for sale at his local LEGO store, ahead of the launch date for my part of the world. He kindly sent me a copy, so that I could bring you this review. First, let me get the obligatory “spaceship, Spaceship, SPACESHIP!!! out of the way.”
I have to admit that it has been a long time since I built an official LEGO set. I tried to build and review the Palace Cinema, but only managed one floor. Sifting through bags of parts to find the right one is something of a chore, compared to my sorted collection. Coupled with that, I’m no great fan of following instructions. The instructions for this set did recall a bit of a peeve, which is that LEGO seems fond of putting multipliers for assembly instructions at the end. The first few pages of the instructions are for the detachable little ships on the wing, and at the end, an exciting “X2″. Fortunately, it wasn’t the nightmare that the same treatment in the original ISD caused. None of this was enough to keep me from building this entire spaceship, though, and I must say that it was worth it.
Space builders are going to want to pick up a few copies of this set, which is sure to kick of a new frenzy of Neo Classic Space creations. First off, we’ve got three new pieces in transparent yellow. All three are great windscreen parts (I never thought I’d see the UCS X-Wing canopy in another color!), or useful to build large enclosures. There are a lot of new elements used throughout the ship, though I don’t think most are exclusive to the set. We also get three slopes with the Classic Space logo printed on them, which look fantastic. Speaking of that logo, we also get it printed on four stickers with clear backing!! Here’s a shot of an original printed logo next to the new incarnations. The sticker sheet is just outstanding, as it also includes sticker versions of classic space computer screens and buttons. It does rain one complaint, and a bit of an idiosyncrasy for the set. That is the placement of stickers on slopes. I never feel like stickers adhere well or long to most LEGO slopes, due to their textured surface. I suspect that LEGO may feel the same way, as they printed the logo on three slopes for this set. Even so, I’m generally happier with clear-backed stickers than I am with printed parts these days, so I’ll take it. In fact, I didn’t apply most of the stickers, because I want to use them on my own creations.
This set doesn’t skimp on the figs. Most of the figs are unique to the set, and they’re all awesome. I’m going to consider astronaut Unkitty a minifig, but we should remember that she’s made of parts, which include a 1×3 arch printed with the CS logo, and gold 1×1 plates. That arch has tons of potential for use in space creations, and I hope they end up being affordable on Bricklink, though I rather doubt it. This set’s Emmet has wrapped his face and the Piece of Resistance in foil, which makes for a pretty bizare looking minifig head, and a pretty awesome silver brick. I don’t remember Wildstyle changing into a different outfit for the spaceship scene, but it’s pretty cool seeing the graffiti style applied to a classic space uniform, and it gets us her hood piece in blue. The bad-guy robot has a pretty cool space suit, with an Octan logo in the center.
Finally, we have Benny, now available outside of the Sea Cow. I don’t have the budget for the Sea Cow, and hadn’t actually seen a Benny fig in person yet. While I love the Character for nostalgia, the fig himself doesn’t wow me. The scratched up logo on his chest is in worse shape than anything from my childhood collection, and I’m not sure I can see myself using it in a creation. I’m also not sure I see much utility for the “broken” helmet, though the cover of Inherit the Stars springs to mind. LEGO went all out with Benny on the nostalgia factor, though, and printed a classic smiley face on one side of his head. Bravo!!
This is another spot where this set really shines. First, it’s very strong, built with technic frames locked in place by plates. This means I can swoosh it with one hand. I feel confidant that I could let my three year old play with it, and while I’m sure some fins and antennas would come off, the main body of the ship would probably be fine. I’ll have to remove all the shooters, so his baby sister keeps her eyes, though (they sure plaster the don’t shoot your eye out emblem everywhere, don’t they?). Second, the set has many of the play features we expect in Classic Space sets. There are little robots to deploy, single-fig fighter/scouts to detach and fly away, rotating radar dish, and an internal lab. Of course, the set also has four spring loaded projectile launchers (two are the new 1×4 brick launchers, which are surprisingly strong), as well as the ubiquitous flick-fire missiles. Finally, you can push one of the engines forward, to open the wings wider, revealing two of the guns. The motion of this feature is quite smooth, and the mechanism is simple and effective.
The set also comes with a little bad-guy fighter, so you can play out your own dramatic battles. It’s small, but has a nice shape to it, and a fairly clever SNOT technique in the nose. Compared to Benny’s ship, it’s rather tiny, but it got enough attention that it’s not merely a throw-away model. It’s swooshable, and has a few lasers, so you can fly both ships around and go “pew pew pew!” Honestly, what more do you need?
My overall impression of this ship is that it was a fun and interesting build, with plenty to hearken back to the Classic Space sets of my youth. The ship has the gray engines, gray wings, blue body, and trans yellow windscreens we all love. It has a little lab inside, a radar dish, and some helper robots, just like old times. The set has tons of play features, some interesting construction techniques, and is SWOOSHABLE. It’s a bit pricey ($100) but the 980 part count helps with this, as do the bevy of unique figs and elements. I intend to buy a few copies, and if I ever catch it on sale, I might go nuts.
It’s been almost two years since we first covered the work of Polish artists Przemek and Marcin Surma, who publish drawings every week inspired by classic LEGO sets. Since then, they’ve created a whole new bunch, based on iconic sets from classic space themes of the 70s, 80s and 90s. Classic space fans should have no trouble recognizing some of their favorites from among this collection (but the original set numbers are included in each drawing, if you need help remembering).
What you see here is just a small sample – check their website for loads more.
Thanks to Nathan Dusciuc for the tip!
June hopefully marks the arrival of 70816 Benny’s Spaceship, Spaceship, SPACESHIP!, which I guess marks LEGO’s first ‘official’ foray into the murky sub-culture of Neo Classic Space. To help you NCS fanatics get through these nail-bailing next few weeks, feast your eyes and saliva glands on this gloriously self-indulgent behemoth of an NCS ship by Michael Gale.
Built some years ago, shortly after Michael emerged his LEGO dark age, this monster is no mere sculpture – it has play features! Check ‘em out…
As awesome as I’m sure it’s gonna be, I have a feeling Benny’s creation may need renaming Shuttlecraft, Shuttlecraft, SHUTTLECRAFT! in the light of Michael’s handiwork. I just wish I had a time machine so I could go back and show a picture of this to 12-year-old me and watch 12-year-old me’s HEAD EXPLODE.