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Lego Space

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Title: Lego Space  
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Lego Space

Lego Space
Sub‑themes Futuron
Blacktron
M-Tron
Space Police
Ice Planet
Spyrius
Unitron
Exploriens
Roboforce
UFO
Insectoids
Galaxy Squad
Subject Space Warfare
Space Exploration
Availability 1978–Present
Official website
Classic Lego Space sets

The Lego Space theme features astronauts and spaceships. It was introduced in 1978. It is one of the most expansive themes in Lego history, and contains over 200 individual sets. It was marketed under the Legoland banner until it became Lego System in 1992.

Contents

  • Early Space (1964-1973) 1
  • "Classic" Space (1978-1987) 2
  • Futuron (1987–1990) 3
  • Blacktron (1987-1988) 4
  • Space Police (1989) 5
  • M:Tron (1990–1991) 6
  • Blacktron Future Generation (1991–1992) 7
  • Space Police II (1992–1993) 8
  • Ice Planet 2002 (1993–1994) 9
  • Spyrius (1994–1995) 10
  • Unitron (1994–1995) 11
  • Exploriens (1996) 12
  • Roboforce (1997) 13
  • UFO (1997–1998) 14
  • Insectoids (1998–1999) 15
  • Space Police III (2009-2010) 16
  • Galaxy Squad (2013) 17
  • Licensed Themes 18
  • Other Space-related LEGO sets 19
    • Lego Town "Space" Subthemes 19.1
    • Lego Mars 19.2
    • Alien Conquest (2011) 19.3
    • Other 19.4
  • References 20

Early Space (1964-1973)

Lego Space is one of Lego's oldest themes, that actually pre-dates the standard Lego minifigure. At least three sets were released prior to so-called "Classic" Space. Early Space sets had a simplistically modern yet colorful charm rivalled by no other mass-produced toy of the time. Many of the theme's more specialized pieces had not yet been developed, although when Space was first introduced, many parts were new, or were older parts made in new colors.

"Classic" Space (1978-1987)

The Classic Space logo.

The first Lego Space sets were a leap forward in Lego design, yet by today's standards, fairly primitive. Minifigure pilots often steered their spacecraft with steering wheels; rocket engines might be simple transparent cones affixed to fence pieces; and visored helmets had not yet been introduced and often no inflight pilot protection other than a spacesuit, simple new constructs sparked builders' imaginations. In its earliest stages, Space sets consisted only of ships and basic wheeled vehicles. But as science-fiction designs grew, the basic pattern of ground-buggies, walking robots, small and large spaceships, and bases developed.

Futuron (1987–1990)

Lego added "factions" and separate "races" in its space theme. Therefore, the current Lego line needed a name now. The older sets were retroactively given the name "Futuron" and an updated line was released. The new line kept the original's white-and-blue color scheme and was depicted on an austere yet bustling settlement on the surface of a planetary body, probably Earth's moon. Its minifigures came in many colors (red, blue, yellow and black), but all shared the same uniform - a zipper crossing from hip to shoulder, with color on top and white below - as well as light-blue-tinted helmet visors. Instead of a big ship, the theme centered around the Monorail Transport System, which featured a battery-powered train system and some twenty linear feet of track.

Blacktron (1987-1988)

The first unified and truly themed Space sets, Blacktron took to the stars in black and red and yellow transparent pieces. Blacktron minifigures wore black jumpsuits akin to today's military pilots, with white trim and opaque black visors. Stylish, retro and intimidating, Blacktron was a major step up from the rather clunky design values of Classic/Futuron Space. It featured a large spacecraft, the "Renegade," which set the tone for all future big ships by splitting into a number of smaller modules, including a storage bin for a small wheeled vehicle; these modules could be recombined not just with each other, but with modules from other vehicles in the set as well, specifically the "Invader" and "Battrax." This modular interchangeability was a staple of Lego Space until 1995.

Space Police (1989)

In 1989, Lego made a storyline decision. Blacktron, previously operating in a moral void, were now declared the "bad guys" of Lego Space; opposing them and defending Futuron from them were the Space Police, a faction whose spacecrafts were black, blue, with red transparent elements. This would be a continuing theme of space, having "bad guy", "good guy" and "civilian" factions. Space Police re-introduced the idea of modular systems on a smaller but also grander scale. The Space Police theme features three spaceships, two wheeled vehicles and a ground-based space station; all but the smallest buggy comes with a Space Police jail cell, supplied with a Blacktron occupant. These jail cells were identical from set to set and could be freely switched between vehicles.

M:Tron (1990–1991)

In an effort to increase interactivity, Lego introduced magnets in the next Space theme, M:Tron, who took over the "civilian" role of the Futuron faction. Vehicles in this set, distinctive for their red hulls, gray trim and neon-green canopies, are devoted primarily to rescue and support. They often featured crane-like attachments with magnets for picking up small cargo and storage boxes. These boxes, unfortunately, were generally not interchangeable. The figures wore white trousers, a red shirt with an "M" logo in the middle, and a black helmet with glowing green visor.


Blacktron Future Generation (1991–1992)

In 1991, Blacktron received a makeover: black with white trim, neon green canopies, as well as new uniforms. It also replaced the creative but haphazard interchangeability of Blacktron I with refined and mostly-uniform cockpit globes (best seen here), which could be switched unimpeded between those ships. To the dismay of fans, however, only four sets of eleven featured them (the Alpha Centauri Outpost, Spectral Starguider, Aerial Intruder, and the Allied Avenger). Some fans were also disappointed that, aside from a proliferation of small (50-element-or-less) vehicles, Blacktron II seemed to be mostly a rehash of Blacktron I on a set-by-set basis.

Space Police II (1992–1993)

Space Police was the next theme to receive a makeover, becoming Space Police II, remodeled into black and grey with green canopies and red trim. The standardized jail cells were retained, though only three vehicles could accept them; the theme also lacked a permanent installation like Space Police I's Space Lock-Up Isolation Base (1989). It was the first Space set to replace the Lego standard smiley face minifig head with a more complex graphic (in this case, the face augmented by a fringe of hair and an ear-mounted microphone). Finally, Space Police II ships were known for being under-armed; several vehicles sported no overt weapons (such as the Galactic Chief, whose epaulet-wearing pilot is armed with only a hand-held blaster that might actually be a megaphone), and the others featured only two small cockpit-mounted weapons (including the theme's heavyweight multi-module spaceship, the Galactic Mediator).

Ice Planet 2002 (1993–1994)

Ice Planet took over the civilian role from M-Tron, as evidenced by the similar emblems on their uniforms and ships. It featured new elements such as a distinct setting (an ice planet), skis (both on vehicles and personnel), bright neon canopies (orange), and bright neon chainsaws (orange). As befitting an icebound theme, most of its vehicles were ground-based; many of its smaller vehicles also showcased satellite dishes.


Spyrius (1994–1995)

Red and black, with transparent blue canopies, Spyrius homeworld appeared to be a craggy, desolate moon. The Spyrius took over the "bad guy" role as a group of spies out to steal technology and valuable data from the other factions. Official evidence of a Spyrius attack against Unitron is documented in this 1994 catalog picture (found on Peeron). Commercial clips also featured a high scale attack of Spyrius against the monorail.[1] This nine-set theme was the first to feature robot minifigures. Spyrius and Unitron are widely considered to the peak of the Golden Age of Lego Space.

Unitron (1994–1995)

Taking over the "good guy" role from the Space Police II was the Unitron, a military themed group. Unitron also features elements from the classic Futuron line, as it revolved around a large monorail system powered by a 9V battery; it retained Lego interchangeability in the form of small, sleek cockpits which could dock on the front or top of its vehicles. Unfortunately, aside from a ground installation, a large buggy, an advanced looking spaceship, and aforementioned monorail, the theme was underdeveloped. A single Unitron Soldier also appeared in the minifigure only set: Space Explorers.

Exploriens (1996)

Returning to the clean white and transparent blue canopies of Futuron (as well as their civilian role), Exploriens sets are known for their use of large, open (sometimes rickety) structures and special image elements (e.g., as foil-holograph stickers for viewscreens). The Exploriens were searching, evidently, for fossils, certain flat plates contained triple images: one in white, for the naked eye; one in blue, for viewing under transparent red scanners; and one in red, for viewing under transparent blue scanners. It was the second space theme to include a robot minifigure, some also considered this the second Space theme to include a female minifigure, however this minifigure was actually a feminine robot named Ann Droid. The theme was heavily inspired by the popular Star Trek TV Series, with the race's main focus being with exploration, special new Lego pieces called "phasors", their robot figure's name being a play on "android" and their race's insignia resembling Starfleet's insignia.

Roboforce (1997)

Taking the "good guy" role was another four-set theme, Roboforce featured various large robots in varying color schemes, run by similarly uniformed pilots. Neon Orange Class features a rescue function in humanoid robos, equipped with buzz saws for rescuing trapped civilians. The "head" of each robot was also a small space ship that could be used as an escape pod or secondary vehicle. Neon Green Class featured a more military theme with animal shaped robots. The Robo Raptor was the only set not to feature a space craft, while the Robo Master's small starcraft strongly resembled the Unitron Star Hawk II as a tribute to the fan favorite set. Roboforce "Robos" were powered by "secret" "robo disks" which were oddly enough rectangle-shaped power sources.

The theme was only released in USA.

UFO (1997–1998)

UFO was the first Lego space race to look alien instead of human. The UFOians (as they are often called) are the most powerful and militaristic looking of all the races in Lego Space. All of UFO's minifigures were cybernetic in nature, and featured two wholly robot figures (the red one was said to be "Andy Droid", Ann Droid's brother stolen from the Exploriens, according to the Lego Company), and as befitting its name, many of its spaceships used saucers or half-saucers as elements. It has the smallest proportion of wheeled ground vehicles to ships (two to nine) of any Lego Space theme before or since. UFO was the first theme to introduce what has since become a staple of Lego System sets in general: large pieces meant to provide effects (such as curvature) that would be difficult to achieve with traditional Lego pieces.

Insectoids (1998–1999)

The second alien race to actually look alien, the Insectoids were insect-like humanoid cyborgs especially interested in "energy orbs" which included magnetic stickers so that magnets attached to cranes could lift them. Insectoids are unusual in that Lego had never before in Lego Space released two "bad guy" factions in a row. According to the LEGO Group, the Insectoids had crash-landed on an alien planet filled with enormous bugs, and in order to steal their giant egg orbs to refuel their spaceships and escape, they were forced to disguise themselves and their spaceships as bugs. After escaping the planet, the Insectoid went out into the galaxy to make life miserable for the other races with their mischievous and pest-like nature, while looking for more "energy orbs" to power their technology.

Space Police III (2009-2010)

Space Police III continued the Lego trend of humans (or at least human-looking) versus aliens started in the Lego Town theme of Mars Mission. This is the first time the Space Police have been pitted against monstrous looking aliens instead of human looking aliens, like Blacktron or Spyrius. It is also the first Space Police theme to include enemy ships instead of just prisoners and is the first Space Police theme in 16 years. A gang, including: Kranxx, Snake, the Skull Twins, Slizer and Squidman, are the main troublemakers for Space Police III with independent, Frenzy, keeping them busy as well. However, Rench bears the old Blacktron Future Generation logo on his uniform (which is an updated original Blacktron uniform), hinting that he may have a connection with the old Blacktron faction, as well as hinting that the Space Police are in the same continuity as their older versions.

Galaxy Squad (2013)

The latest official space theme, Galaxy Squad, features a team of intergalactic heroes and robot sidekicks trying to defeat an alien race of humanoids with insect features (known as Insectoids) intent on "cocooning" the galaxy with special 2-piece cocoons which trap a standard minifigure. According to the Lego plot tie-in, the Insectoids were summoned by Lord Vampyre from Monster Fighters. The vehicles of the heroes feature a notable "split function" ability, which allows them to split into two different vehicles.

Licensed Themes

Several licensed Lego themes have featured space elements as well. The most notable licensed theme with space elements is Star Wars, produced since 1999. Nearly 300 Lego Star Wars sets have been produced so far, as well as three video games and numerous other licensed merchandise.

2003's Discovery theme produced six sets related to past and present NASA efforts at the time, including the Apollo Program, the Space Shuttle, the International Space Station, and the Mars Exploration Rover mission.

2010's Toy Story theme produced Buzz's Star Command Spaceship, which is based on the Buzz Lightyear toy's background from that universe.

Since 2012, Lego has produced sets from both the Marvel and DC comic book universes, both of which feature many elements derived from space.

Other Space-related LEGO sets

Lego Town "Space" Subthemes

Lego has produced four subthemes with space-related content for its Town and City themes - Launch Command, Space Port, City Space 2011, and City Space 2015. Each of these subthemes involves a realistic, Earth-based approach to space exploration. These subthemes are not considered to be official Lego Space themes.

Lego Mars

In addition to Lego Space and Lego Star Wars, Lego also released a third line of space-related lego sets. Earthlings and Martians. This line was originally released around to the public around a time of much curiosity about the red planet, and concept that primitive life that could possibly exist there. Life On Mars was the first one of three "humans and aliens" themes, featuring Lego Town astronauts and Martian aliens. The sets denote peaceful coexistence between the two species on the planet Mars. Mars Mission is the second theme to feature both humans and aliens and is a reboot of Life on Mars. Unlike Life on Mars, the aliens (a different breed of Martians) and humans were pitted against each other as children had been fond of doing with the original line. More can be found here.

Alien Conquest (2011)

Alien Conquest was released under the Lego City theme. It was released in May 2011, and is the first Lego City series with aliens to actually feature Lego City itself (on Earth). A new wave of aliens (possibly a new breed of Martians) begins attacking Earth. Multiple cities around the globe report massive abductions and UFOs in the night sky. The UFOs are finally identified as aliens in saucer-shaped space-craft, who are abducting humans for brainpower to power their spaceships, which bear distant resemblance to the Classic UFO line of Lego Space. Panic breaks out worldwide, and the Alien Defense Unit takes up the cause. Using their ubiquitous blue vehicles, they fight back against the aliens, stopping abductions in their tracks. See more here.

Other

2008 saw the release of two space sets through the LEGO Factory theme. Star Justice and Space Skulls were fan-designed sets released as special edition sets available only through LEGO.

LEGO Ideas (previously known as Lego Cuusoo), a program which allows users to submit their own ideas for commercial sets, has produced two sets related to real-life space efforts so far. Hayabusa is based on the spacecraft Hayabusa created by the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), and Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity Rover is based on Curiosity, a rover created by NASA currently exploring the surface of Mars. In addition, it has released one set based on the Classic Space Futuron line, the Exo Suit (set #21109), which includes two minifigures in a new green version of the Classic Space uniform.

In 2014, a set titled 'Benny's Spaceship, Spaceship, SPACESHIP!' (set #70816) was released as a tie-in to The Lego Movie, which featured many references to past Lego Space themes. The spaceship itself is highly reminiscent of Classic Space spaceships, with a predominantly blue and grey colour scheme. The pilot of the ship, Benny(voiced by Charlie Day) is a blue Classic Space minifigure with notable signs of wear and tear.

References

  1. ^ Institut National de l’Audiovisuel – Ina.fr. "LEGO SYSTEM : JEU DE CONSTRUCTION GAMME". Ina.fr. 
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