While it may not look like it at first, this microscale LEGO city by Casey McCoy owes its roots to the Aquazone theme, in a very literal way. Using a baseplate from 6195 Neptune Discovery Lab as the starting point, Casey assembled quite the futuristic metropolis. I love the multi-layered approach, with different levels of buildings built into the cliffside contrasting the towering skyscrapers above. The one stud-wide monorail track helps break up the levels, and appears to run through the baseplate at one point. And that pop of color from the trans-neon orange “river” running through the canyon just sets the whole build off!
It was a different time in 1996. Prince Charles and Lady Di call it quits just as Mad Cow Disease hits the UK. Coincidence? Nearly everything topping the music charts was vapid tunes we’d much rather forget but LEGO was doing some fun things. Among them was the 6190 Shark’s Crystal Cave from the Aquazone theme and famed builder Bob DeQuarte gives it a modern makeover.
I particularly like the plate-stacked ocean floor in dazzling colors and the crystal cave and aquatic plant life are not without their charms. But the real star of the show is most certainly that shark submarine staying true to its original color scheme and play features with the added inclusion of dark blue, which didn’t exist back then. There’s been a resurgence of awesome Aquazone and Rock Raiders set redos from 1996 and 1999 lately which, in my opinion, is far better than revisiting “The Macarena” or Cher’s “Believe”, respectively.
People are suckers for nostalgia. This is a well-known fact that even the LEGO company has been tapping into lately. It is no wonder that this creation by Bob DeQuatre is hitting all the sweet spots. It is a rebuild of the 6175 Crystal Explorer Sub from the Aquanauts theme. This version is quite a bit larger than the original. The cockpit manages to fit 3 seats and a hatch to access the ocean. I am not sure, as it is not mentioned by Bob, but I can imagine quite well that the big trans purple windscreen from the Pop-up Party Bus was the starting point of this amazing build. To top it all off it even has working lights.
Not to be outdone by his friend and competitor, Caleb Shilling has a few tricks up own sleeve and has used the dark azure LEGO saddle piece eighteen times in this captivating little scenario. The reason? Well, Iron Builder is currently heating up like a used Toyota on a cross-country trip. If you’re observant you’d note that was an entirely different metaphor from the one I used earlier today so clearly, I’m a literary genius. While I await a lucrative book deal from Simon and Schuster, check out the predicament these intrepid divers are in. This was also entered in Vignweek 2022 where they are mashing up styles. In this case, we have Aquanauts divers of yore executing the Chewbacca maneuver from Star Wars in which they brace the trash compactor, call for help, and escape from peril, then it’s Miller Time. So is that pulling triple duty then?
With the 90 Years Of Play thing going on, LEGO nostalgia has been running high lately. That’s why I was so chuffed to see this great Auquazone tribute by Jason Head (Xccj). Built for this year’s Bio-Cup competition, it features a superbly upgraded monstrous shark getting ready to chow down on mini versions of 1995’s 6195 Neptune Discovery Lab and 6175 Crystal Explorer Sub. Standout features are the textured approach to the sea floor, the integrated transparent blue Bionicle mask serving as the Lab’s front gates, and that cute little mini sub.
If you’re looking for more under the sea goodness, there’s plenty in our archives!
When first laying eyes on this gorgeous LEGO build by Sylon_tw, I couldn’t help but let out a Charlie Brown catchphrase. I mean, good g-reef! The variation in styles, heights, and colors amongst the coral break up the bed and keep the landscape dynamic. There’s some terrific part usage here, whether it’s brushes and technic pins for tubular sponge, or force lightning pieces for jellyfish tentacles. The submarine itself has some excellent shaping, providing a less-angular take on the Aquanauts sets of old. And I especially like the motion given to the build by the twirling bubbles coming off the sub’s dual propellers.
It’s been ingrained in my mind that when I see a LEGO build with a yellow body and a blue transparent cockpit, it’s going to be an aquatic vehicle. This is all thanks to the classic colour pallette from LEGO ‘s Aquazone theme. This stylistic submersible is quite compact and sleek and allows travelling to the depths of the wide ocean in style. I see a similarity to the silhouette and curves of a dolphin jumping out of the water and it makes me wonder if that was builder Thomas W.’s inspiration.
For sure, the most epic LEGO battles of the late 90-s took place in deep oceans, where heroic Aquanaut miners fought against the villainous Aquasharks. Many years have passed, but the heroes (and antiheroes) are not forgotten — although, some of them have evolved a lot since then. LEGO designers Chris Perron and Markus Rollbühler team up and dive deep to find out that the waters are still as dangerous as 20 years ago. Now, the battlefield teems with giant sharks like this Mega Shark Scout. Designed for espionage attacks, the shark looks absolutely terrifying; aggressive design and the striking contrast of black, blue, and transparent orange picture an enemy you better avoid at all costs. But can you name all the pieces used for the design of the circle section right behind the shark’s head?
For the past year, Peter Carmichael has been texting me updates about an Aquazone base he was building. We both grew up in the 90s, so the classic LEGO themes from that era are full of nostalgia for us, and I’m always excited to see old favorites get a new makeover. But Peter said his update to the 1995 set Neptune Discovery Lab wasn’t going to be a simple redux with modern elements, but something grander. At nearly 6 feet long and using more than 50,000 pieces, I think he delivered.
The highlight of the base is the working Aquazone monorail track, an idea LEGO contemplated in the 90s but never ultimately released. The track makes a large figure eight, winding through the central base before looping around the edges.
LEGO fan Tim Goddard is perhaps best known for his space-themed builds, such as this microscale space station we shared in February. Building off of his intergalactic experience, Tim is now diving below the seas to revisit the classic mid-1990s Aquazone theme. The centerpiece here is a large submersible, cleverly designed to look like a lobster. Instead of building the sub in lobster red, Tim went with the iconic yellow, black, and neon orange livery of the Aquanauts. By combining a mix of period-correct parts and more modern elements, Tim has created a submarine that feels both modern and true to the original source material. Meanwhile, an adorable fishy “drone” makes for a fine finishing touch.