Classic Space – one of the perennial LEGO building genres, ever-popular amongst fans for its nostalgic nods to iconic official sets of the past, and the opportunities it presents to depict an optimistic expansionist vision of humanity’s intergalactic future.
This building genre takes its primary influences from the LEGO Space sets released between 1978 and 1987, and the follow-up themes released during the late-80s and beyond, when factions like Futuron, Blacktron, and the Space Police were introduced to the universe.
But the genre is about much more than just the official sets. Take a trip with The Brothers Brick as we blast off on our grand tour of LEGO Classic Space…
The old-school Classic Space astronaut is of the most beloved and iconic minifigures of the last 40 years, and later this year it will be available in orange for the first time. The figure will be an extra in the upcoming new edition of LEGO Minifigure: A Visual History from publisher DK. According to the Amazon UK listing, where it is available for pre-order, it will be available Oct. 1 for £30.00.
Originally available in black, blue, red, white, and yellow, the figure featured prominently in space sets for more than a decade across the 1970s and 80s. Recently, LEGO has been picking up on the nostalgia fans have for the simple spaceman and have been filling in the lineup with additional colors. In 2014 the Ideas set 21109 Exo Suit included a green version, and of course Benny from The LEGO Movie proudly wears an original blue suit. Last year for The LEGO Movie 2, he was joined by two rereleases of the white and yellow space figures, along with another new addition: the pink version, in 70841 Benny’s Space Squad. Now, DK’s new book adds an eighth color to the lineup, bringing us one step closer to having a space minifigure for every occasion.
Last year, we shared an article on vintage LEGO holiday greeting cards. The LEGO Group has established a tradition of giving their employees exclusive Christmas themed sets like the X-Mas X-Wing for the holiday season. Even longer than that, since at least the 1970s, the LEGO Group has produced special Christmas cards for employees (and, occasionally, the UK LEGO Club). Each year brings a new card, with artwork ranging from carefully staged minifigures to elaborate brick-built designs. You can find blank examples that were used to send personalized messages, as well as cards with printed holiday greetings from LEGO’s leadership, such as owner Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen.
LEGO themes present creative builders with endless opportunities to mash multiple themes together into the ultimate, ultimate LEGO creations, like zombie pirates, zombie army, zombie spaceships, and zombie cowboys. (what is up with this guy and his obsession with zombies?I blame Halloween). Anyways, back to mash-ups, this wonderful SHIP (Seriously Huge Investment in Parts) by Hans Dendauw brings together the fan challenges of SHIPtember and Novvember (an homage to the Vic Viper, one of the racing spaceships from the 1995 video game Gradius, distinguished by a two-pronged fuselage), and does it all in Classic space style. Benny would be proud.
The answer is this awesome LEGO Classic Space-inspired vehicle by Alec Hole. Boasting an incredible 32 wheels across 8 axles, this monster moon buggy is one of the greebliest vehicles I’ve seen recently. (If you don’t know what greebles are, be sure to check out our glossary.) Alec says he was inspired by a similar-looking vehicle by Piotr Turecki, which was built using a 1980s palette of LEGO elements. All I can say is, I would have killed to have this thing as a kid.
This bright blue Tachikoma-like mech by Blair Archer is affectionately known as the S.P.I.D.E.R. despite it having two fewer legs than members of the arachnid family. However, it makes more sense when you learn that stands for Solar-Powered Interstellar Drone for Extraterrestrial Research, which explains the multitude of solar panels, which Blair cleverly co-opted from Anakin’s Jedi Starfighter. But as incredible as the mech is, I might be even more interested in the buried fossil. Look closely, and you’ll see that it’s LEGO too, made of a variety of Bionicle and Hero Factory pieces!
What better way to celebrate the upcoming 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing than with some LEGO Classic Space? The celebrated theme’s iconic colour scheme meets the most famous craft in humanity’s (admittedly short) space-going history in Dallen Powell‘s fun digital LEGO model. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve got nothing but admiration for the recent 10266 Lunar Lander set, but I wouldn’t be able to contain myself if LEGO released this version alongside it. Eagle looks the business in this livery, and Dallen has made some great choices — the landing pads in red are simply perfect. And check out Benny, how pleased does he look with his new ride?!
Two ideas immediately came to me when in 2017 LEGO released 75176 Resistance Transport Pod, and guess what–builder Veynom has gone and realised both. Designers of vehicles for the Star Wars universe have always embraced the potential of asymmetric form, the transport pod being a case in point. However, there’s a niggling part of my brain that wants to fix things, balance out the shuttle with a second pod. Imagine it looking something like the Twin-Pod Cloud Car–wait you don’t have to because Veynom’s built it for us.
Then there is that second idea. If you were at all interested in the joys of vintage space LEGO, the set’s trans yellow canopy would have been an instant trigger. You’ve guessed it, Veynom’s gone and built a Classic Space version of the Resistance Twin-Pod too.
Packing LEGO creations for a convention can be a tricky proposition. Some builders construct custom-made crates out of wood and foam, while others carefully wrap their masterworks in clothing in their carry-on. I cram 50 or 60 model cars into cardboard boxes and hope for the best and “the best” often involves hours of re-building and frustration. Chris Yu says hogwash to all of that with this brilliant LEGO creation that packs itself. It is impressive enough in suitcase mode with its outer shell outfitted in a Classic Space motif and made to resemble a piece of carry-on luggage.
With the release of the new Creator Expert 10266 NASA Apollo 11 Lunar Lander set, LEGO is once again delving into the world of space exploration. Some of the oldest, most notable, and most nostalgic LEGO sets and themes are based on space exploration, so it’s no surprise many of these sets are favorites of LEGO fans young and old. To commemorate the occasion, LEGO has compiled a list of interesting facts on LEGO Space sets, from the very first rocket ship in 1964, to the more recent behemoths of the past few years.
Want to learn some of the history behind the earliest LEGO Space sets? Or perhaps test your knowledge? Then read on to find out!
Adult builders of a certain age hold a special place in our hearts for what we call “Classic Space.” With the Apollo missions fresh in the history books and with Star Trek, Buck Rogers, and Star Wars capturing our imaginations, LEGO hit a sweet spot with their space theme from about 1973 to 1987. For many, they were likely among our first LEGO sets and the fond nostalgia for the theme remain with us forever. Guido Brandis captures this feeling nicely with his LL-942 Star Fire II. There are rules to the “Classic Space” look; blue and light gray are used in nearly equal measure while trans-yellow is for windscreens. Red, used very sparingly, is usually reserved only for rover rims but is utilized here as the pilot’s uniform. Modern elements not available to us in the ’70s and ’80s create a perfect synergy between the old and the new. Even its “LL” designation stands for “Legoland” and was used in the original sets. This sure takes me back!
Not too long ago, Alec Hole revealed his enormous Galaxy Explorer and now he’s back with a companion rover that’s just as exceptional. It stands out with a unique two-seater cockpit design for a pilot and his companion to go exploring the landscapes of distant planets. The rover’s cylindrical tanks at the back have some interesting-looking greebling that makes it look all authentic with serious space functions. To top it all, the highlight of the build is that this rover is built to fit into the cargo hold of Alec’s monumental Galaxy Explorer.