The PoP!-Stars give their take on the latest and greatest in Action Figures and Toy-lines in eight (succinct) parts.
We’ve gone all around Town and got Medieval on your ass, but this time we’re going to take you to new heights with eight of the greatest outer space based Lego sets ever. With so many sub-themes throughout space, this is another tricky category for narrowing down the field of contenders, but ultimately, some sets just come out lightyears ahead of the others…
One of the first Lego sets of which I have a clear recollection is the curiously named Alien Moon Stalker. Clearly piloted by two humans, it is safe to infer that the “alien” is not meant to be possessive; this moon stalker is not alien. Therefore, it must be a stalker of alien moons. Whether it’s hunting the moons themselves or the moons are serving as its hunting ground? Of that I’m unsure. What I DO know is that with its elliptical walking motion, dual ICBMs, articulated claw, and deployable flight pods, it provided hours of enjoyment – right up until I got old enough to question why the windows in the main body would open…
Another fairly early set, this mini-jet belonged to the Space Police, one of the first subsets to make their way into the Lego Space theme, and one of the most prolific. In fact, I could easily have done a Figure 8 on Space Police alone. Here, in their first incarnation, each of the larger vehicles came with a detachable prison cell. The cells were designed with the look of laser bars trapping the prisoners within, and were all made indentically so that they could be swapped from one vehicle to the next. As for the Space Police themselves, they wore simple uniforms with the classic orbital insignia of the Lego Spaceman offset to their lapel, emulating a badge. Their red visors were evocative of Robo-Cop, and their sleek black and blue vehicles were instant classics. The Galactic Peace Keeper stood out from the pack for its minimalist design and fold out laser pods.
The Exploriens enjoyed far less success in the grand scheme of things than the Space Police did, but they introduced a clever play feature that other Lego subsets have enjoyed – utilizing colored lenses, the Exploriens were able to unlock the mysteries of alien civilizations by “scanning” alien artifacts and discovering “hidden” messages. This set also saw the introduction of lenticular holograms serving as computer screens. While the set itself was largely unimpressive, it was an inexpensive way to indulge in all the Exploriens had to offer.
6989 – Mega Core Magnetizer
Before the Exploriens began researching the outlying planets of the Lego universe, someone had to get their stuff there, and THAT was a job for M-Tron, Legoland’s own intergalactic moving company. You see, the “M” stands for “magnet” (or was it “miracles”?) as each M-Tron vehicle had some sort of magnetic crane or coupling to transport the containers included with them. Some of the larger M-Tron vehicles even included smaller vehicles that could be magentically lifted onto the larger ones – as was the case with the Mega Core Magnetizer. Two large containers, one small one, two ATVs, and a space sled could all be shuffled about by the 6-wheeled behemoth’s massive magnetic boom. The colossal conveyance was largely impractical, however, as its poor economy of space led to a three-seater cockpit taking up more real estate than all of the cargo bays combined. Still, it was impressive to behold and fun to play with, and what more could a boy want? M-Tron. How the fuck do they work?
6898 – Ice-Sat V
Never before or after could a Lego subset have benefitted more from an expository narrative than in the case of the Ice Planet 2002 line. First off, it bears mentioning that the line was released in 1993, so it was apparently theorizing interplanetary travel/exploration/colonization over the course of the following nine years. Nine years after 2002, I think it’s safe to say that Legos – while fantastic construction toys – are terrible at predicting the future.
Dubious forecasts for space travel aside, this line’s greatest peculiarity is its insane combination of play features. For one, as the name suggests, it is an entire line based on some theoretically distant ice planet. Each set, therefore, includes a minifigure equipped with skis and – more often than not – some sort of chainsaw-like weapon. Presumably for cutting through ice? The vehicles themselves then borrowed from M-Tron the use of magnetic crane arms; this time out, though, they weren’t merely moving crates and smaller vehicles but instead… missiles. Yes, the ICBMs from the Moon Stalker were back, but this time, they had magnets on them. Were these Lego men denizens of the ice planet, utilizing the missiles to defend their territory? Were they some sort of militant branch of the Space Police, setting up a beachhead on this frozen rock to defend against an alien threat? We may never know for sure, but in my house? – they were a mistrusting alien race stockpiling arms to defend against a theoretically impending invasion, and you could never quite be certain where their loyalties lay. And therein lies the beauty of Legos; entire worlds subject to the whim of a child’s imagination.
6987 – Message Intercept Base
If there were space police, there had to be space crooks, right? Enter Blacktron, the potentially cybernetic villains of the Lego universe. Though their later incarnation would see them adopt their protagonists black and white color scheme (brightly emblazoned with neon green accoutrements), the OG baddies dressed all in black with blacked out visors and pimped around the galaxy in similarly obsidian vehicles, sporting only the slightest accents in primary yellow. These guys were badass, and they were deserving of an equally awesome base – so an equally awesome base they got.
5984 – Lunar Limo
After switching to day-glo green, Blacktron lost a lot of its credibility as a threat to the Space Police, and peace in the galaxy went largely uninterrupted for the better part of 20 years. That was, of course, until the most recent iteration of the Space Police and the criminal syndicate of aliens they now face, headed by none other than Brick Daddy, some sort of space squid man thing. Seriously, this guy looks like Dr. Zoidberg on a bad day. Add to that his purple mobster attire and random alien attaché, and it’s clear why he runs the show. And how else would an alien mob boss travel but in a bitchin’ space limo? No only is the set as a whole beautiful to behold, it features two fantastic little touches – a gattling-gun-armed escape pod for Brick Daddy and a kidnapped Space Police officer in the trunk. If you think that’s dark, wait till little Timmy goes hunting for grey bricks to make a pair of cement shoes for the space pig.
6990 – Monorail Transport System
There’s no other way to end this list than with the white whale of Lego Space – the Monorail. One of the first Lego sets to be priced over one hundred dollars, the Monorail was every kid’s dream. Hell, I didn’t even LIKE trains and I wanted it. First off, it had lights and sounds. Immediate epic win. Second, it was a monorail. For children of the ’80s, the word monorail was synonymous with one thing, and one thing only – Disney World. Add to that the set’s design, featuring a futuristic train station, communications tower, and cargo transport, and there was nothing not to want about this set. I didn’t own it. I didn’t know anyone who did. But it didn’t matter. This was the USS Flagg, the Megazord, and Fortress Maximus all rolled into one.
Were there other space sets that should have made this list? Of course… EVERY Lego theme is bursting with engaging and innovative sets that capture the imagination and provide hours upon hours of fun – but you’ll be hard-pressed to find eight other sets that better sum up the experience of the Lego Space theme.
Have a favorite you want to share? Care to reminisce? Or maybe you’ve got some idea as to what Lego theme should we tackle next?