Sometimes a single piece can cause the imagination to snowball. LEGO designer Robert Heim wanted to build something with the trans-purple canopy that debuted in the Pop-Up Party Bus from The Lego Movie 2. But all he knew for sure was he wanted to make a space rover with it. That led him to design a semi-truck configuration. And the trailer had to haul something, right? Which meant he had to build a rocket…and thus, the “ORCA” rover was complete.
Flatbed trailers can understandably sometimes be a little visually uninteresting, but Robert’s combated this by including some great detail on the undercarriage, including ray guns acting as suspension on each wheel. But let’s not overlook the cargo. The angled thrusters nestled between hot air balloon shells make the rocket a stand-out build all on its own. The fact that it can be hauled into launch position by such a cool-looking rover is icing on the cake.
If you’re looking for a masterclass in clever parts usage, LEGO designer Markus Rollbühler might be one of the best professors out there. This rocket, which uses 101 parts, is a prime example. Besides the fact that it’s very cute and looks neat as heck, it’s more than that. With such few parts, you have to make an impact. The best details include a fencing foil to cap off the nose, a trophy for the nozzle, and a beard and carrot combo for the flames. Let’s also not forget the clamshells, helmets, and chef’s hat playing peekaboo in the exhaust cloud.
If you need another example of Markus’s talent, look no further than 71741 Ninjago City Gardens. That’s right! He designed that too! But while you’re here, why not also check out more of Markus’ awesome “non-work-related” builds, in addition to some more cool rockets and spaceships?
I’m too young to have played with Classic Space sets or figures firsthand, so I don’t have the nostalgia that many fans of LEGO feel. I caught the tail end of Futuron and grew up a die-hard fan of Blacktron II. That being said, my uncle had a bunch of the original spacemen and I enjoyed playing with them whenever I went to my grandparents’ house. And today, as an adult, I love the simple color scheme and the almost whimsical design of the old sets, and even more the highly detailed and almost absurdly greebled Neo-Classic Space creations. This rover by billyburg hits a sweet spot; it’s not too greebled, but also not too studded (or studded at all). It is an homage to 6950 Mobile Rocket Transport, but with two rockets and a much different scale. This one is for tiny spacemen! The knobby tires look great and the metal detectors make for a nice sensor array in the front. Time to get exploring.
Have you heard the urban legend about the JATO rocket car? If you’re unfamiliar, it’s the story of a man who straps a rocket engine to his Chevy and ends up embedded in the side of a cliff. As cautionary tales go, it’s a pretty straightforward one: Don’t strap a jet engine to your vehicle. Pasq67 thinks otherwise, at least when it comes to the world of LEGO. Benny and Lenny are going for the ride of their lives in a 1970 Chevrolet C10 Pickup with a serious need for speed. The base vehicle has all the clasic lines you’d expect, and the rocket is a well constructed nightmare of high speed bad decisions waiting to happen.
The multiple air intakes fit well with the mix of Technic and system parts, and the trans-orange discs make for an excellent hit of explosive force just starting to push the car forward. Lenny had better hold on to that pretzel…
Back in January 2018, the LEGO Ideas team held a competition themed around LEGO moments in space open to all builders, to unleash their creative talent. The winner of the contest would have his or her set made into a gift with purchase set. Nearly a year and a half later, we get to see the official set in its final form, with touchups from the LEGO design team, all packaged up and ready to be enjoyed by fans all over the world. The inspiration behind the design is the old-school rocket rides that one would find in storefronts and malls in just about every country.
Click to read the full review of the LEGO Ideas Cosmic Rocket Ride
Since it’s first flight in 1966, the Russian Soyuz rocket system has become the world’s most frequently used launch vehicle. With over 1,700 flights in 50 years, this Russian stalwart has hauled cosmonauts, satellites, and cargo aloft, with its relatively simple design creating an enviable reliability record. However, this LEGO version of the latest Fregat version of the Soyuz is anything but simple — Jussi Koskinen has pulled out all the stops to capture every last feature of the spacecraft’s detailing. The scale of the effort involved is impressive — the model took 18 months to put together, and measures over 1.25m.
The overall structure of this massive model is excellent, and the shaping and angles on the lower boosters are particularly good. The smaller details are worth a look too — don’t miss the texturing around the base of the boosters, the scaffold-style connection between stages, and the nice integration of the Russian flag into the upper stage’s colour scheme. This formidable model wouldn’t look out of place on display beside the LEGO Ideas Saturn 5 set, and that’s high praise indeed.
Look out, the amphibious space invaders are coming! Far from piloting mysterious saucers, however, these toads have tech much more familiar, needing a massive rocket to break the planet’s gravity. As usual, the ever-prolific builder Karf Oohlu employs interesting elements at every turn. Two stand out among the lot, though, with minifigure hands deftly employed to create a stud-reversal beneath the cockpit, and light covers doing double duty as space helmets–an easy-to-miss detail of the landed astronauts.
Space and space exploration is also a very popular subject when it comes to LEGO creations. Valerie Roche and Matthew Nolan have designed a collection of SpaceX vehicles and put it on LEGO’s crowd-sourcing platform Ideas, where it’s already well on its way towards the needed 10,000 supporters. One of the coolest things about this project is that the designers have received input from people working on the real SpaceX program to help make the models even more accurate.
Check out the full collection of vehicles
Japanese builder KEI ABE isn’t just an expert on the history of early space exploration, but also nails the construction of Russian Soyuz spacecraft in LEGO bricks. He started this amazing set back in March, and now a whole fleet of Soyuz ships is ready for countless space missions.
After an early tease of 21309 NASA Apollo Saturn V last month, today LEGO has officially taken the wraps off this massive 1:110 scale rocket. First announced last June, the Saturn V will be the largest ever fan-designed LEGO Ideas set with 1,969 pieces, giving even the part count a nod to the year of mankind’s first steps on the moon. The rocket itself stands 39 in. tall (100cm), and consists of all three stages with a full complement of the lunar orbiter, lunar lander, command module with flotation devices, and three astronaut microfigures. The Saturn V will retail for $119.99 USD beginning June 1, the same day as the just-announced 10257 Carousel.
The Saturn V is the first of two upcoming LEGO Ideas sets based on NASA, with a Women of NASA LEGO set coming later this year or early in 2018.
Click to see all the images of the Saturn V
It is 1965, and we have been transported to Leba launch site in Poland where Karwick has a Meteor 1 research rocket ready to launch.
Meteor-1A was a one stage ‘sounding rocket’ that would supply valuable meteorological and rocket technical data during its sub-orbital flight. The launch site for the Meteor series of rockets was Leba, Poland between 1963 and 1974.
The details on this yellow launching gantry are fantastic, especially the use of yellow minifig hands and pirate hooks to hold the guide wires in place! The coloured hose details on the detonator box are perfect and the silver rocket is adorable (if rockets can be adorable).
Not satisfied with a sub-orbital launch, in 1970, the Meteor 2 was launched from Leba and touched the boundary of the Earth’s atmosphere into space at an altitude of 100km. Karwik’s Meteor 2 is bigger, better, chromed and has a fantastic gantry that includes a loading buggy on rails.
A series of photographs providing a 360º view of the launch site of Karwick’s can be seen on Flickr.
Damien Labrousse (AKA Legodrome just posted pictures of a piece he built for CNES, the French Space Agency. Two control rooms were built for display and include a working screen and sound system. I just love the clean lines of this build but my favorite detail has to be those adorable little rocket models next to the speaker. Awesome!