[Review] 6973 Deep Freeze Defender from Ice Planet 2002

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Here we have Lego's Deep Freeze Defender from 1993's Ice Planet 2002, a sub-theme of the long-lasting Space theme. While not the most expensive set in the Ice Planet line, the Deep Freeze Defender has the highest part count at 420 pieces. It retailed for $45 when first introduced.



It's impossible not to fall in love with the Ice Planet color scheme. White, blue, black, and trans-orange all work deliciously well together. This mighty vessel is instantly identifiable as a craft made to explore dangerously cold environments. I especially love the array of tall, trans-orange "window" elements at the rear of the ship.



This frontal shot prominently displays the distinctive tandem cockpit set-up.  The Deep Freeze Defender was not the first or last set to utilize this design feature, but in my opinion it remains the most iconic of those that do.  The large print of the Ice Planet emblem in the center of the craft is stunning.



The printed arrow tiles hint at the first of many gimmicks of this set.  Both cockpit sections are connected to the main hull via a 2x2 brick with a technic-style pin.  With a bit of force, each module can easily be detached from the rest of the ship.



Even by themselves, the "command craft" are delightful little builds.  Identical to each other, each craft features a pair of skis, a chainsaw, and a black blaster/flashlight/whatever element for the pilot to use.  Of note, the white skis are elevated just slightly above the ground.  The bottom of the craft is raised by four smooth inverted dish pieces, allowing it to glide along a flat surface with ease.



Here the connector piece that allows the command craft to attach and detach from the bulk of the ship is clearly visible.  Other elements on the main hull sandwich around the rearmost bricks of the craft, ensuring that the command craft remain aligned with the rest of the ship at all times.



With the canopy open, the cockpit interior is visible. The printed 2x2 slope piece is lovely, and the pilot fits snugly and securely inside.



A look at what the set looks like with a single command craft docked to the main hull.  The satellite which was once in the center has been moved off to the right of the ship.



A look at the set with both command craft removed.  Perhaps this could be operated by the pilot of the scout craft in the rear of the ship, who we'll see more of soon.



Once more, the printed arrows hint at another of the set's gimmicks. This time the main hull itself will be splitting apart into two smaller craft.



To undock these two halves, simply lift two arrow-printed hinges and pull the two sections of the ship apart.  Aside from the stud connections of the two hinges, the halves are joined by two blocks with technic pins, similar to the command craft.  The rear section of the vessel begins at the large trans-orange "corner" pieces.



The two halves of the main hull separated.  Each has a unique gimmick which will soon be revealed.



With both sections of the main hull separated, the two command craft can dock with the individual components, forming two unique, complimentary craft from a single large vessel.  A truly wonderful gimmick and easily my favorite part of this set.  In my opinion each configuration of this set looks equally impressive.



While one could interpret the rocket housed within the forward hull section as a weapon, it's really intended as a launch platform for a data-gathering satellite. The rocket is loosely, yet securely mounted on a short technic axle. Lifting the bay hatch pulls the rocket with it, allowing the rocket to stand upright for blast-off.



The rocket is ready for blast-off, and the satellite has been mounted and secured.  In cases where the rocket can't take off directly from the ship however, the magnet hints at an alternate launch method.



Visible through the slots in the rear windows is a hard-working Ice Planet astronaut.  While the two pilots in front are busy maneuvering and navigating the ship, perhaps this intrepid fellow is pouring over research data.  Of course, he has other duties to perform as well, when needed... 



Another iconic facet of this set is the launch bay, comprised of alternating white and trans-orange garage door elements.  Here, the bay is securely locked.



The track for the bay door is unlocked by flipping open the two hatches, made easy by the large black thruster elements.



Sliding the bay door open reveals the interior, and the Ice Planet astronaut within.  But with the bay door fully retracted...



...The hidden scout craft is ready to take off!  Sliding the bay door back all the way presses against an arm that angles the tiny ship into launch position and locks it into place.  The craft easily slides off the arm to take flight.



A look at the bay with the scout craft removed.  The launch arm is clearly visible.  When the scout craft returns, the arm's protrusion simply slots into an empty space on the rear of the tiny ship.  Sliding the bay door closed relieves pressure on the arm and lowers the scout flat inside the bay itself.



A look at the scout craft by itself.  A very simple build.  Like the larger command craft, it features a pair of skis for its pilot, but no other accessories.  As for the magnet on the left side...



...This allows the scout craft to fly off with the rocket! Perhaps the pilot has found a more suitable place to launch the satellite into orbit.



The rocket has launched, and its payload has been inserted into the icy planet's orbit.  When deployed, the arms of the satellite unfold as shown.



Assembled here are the three minifigures included with the Deep Freeze Defender.  Two can pilot the ship, while the remaining member can pilot the scout craft.  The figure in the center has a unique torso print, denoting his status as leader.



With their trans-orange visors flipped up, the identities of each minifigure are properly revealed! Commander Cold (known as Commander Bear in the U.K. and Japan) stands proudly in the center, flanked by unnamed male and female astronauts.

Ice Planet 2002 was one of the first Space themes to include specially printed minifigure faces (narrowly beaten by Space Police II). Additionally, the female of this set is the first female minifigure in the entire Space line.




Equipped with their accessories, the Ice Planet astronauts are ready for anything! Commander Cold sports a combined tool made from his black "blaster" element and chainsaw, while the female astronaut wields them separately. The male astronaut treks on only with a pair of skis. The broad, flat surfaces of the skis allow for some (carefully set) walking poses unaided by plates or other pieces.


In conclusion, the Deep Freeze Defender is an absolutely phenomenal set. It's durable, stylish, fun, and loaded with interesting and well-implemented gimmicks. It is by far the best of the Ice Planet 2002 sets, and one of the best large starship builds in all of Lego history. Very highly recommended for all Lego Space fans.

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Thanks for the review! Makes me nostalgic for the old days. :classic:

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Thank you for the review of such an iconic set. Loved getting a better look at all those fantastic play features it includes.

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That's awesome!  I remember seeing this set in catalogs, but never knew it had so many play features.  I love the usage of the garage door elements- totally didn't even know that was there!  Thanks for the blast from the (icy cold) past!  :sweet:

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Great review! Sadly I pretty much overlooked iceplanet when it came out. Looking at it now it proves to be a pretty cool (no pun intended) marriage of classic space and more modern parts and colours. I also like the modular approach which really adds some play value. :classic:

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Thank you for the review. It's always fun to look back at sets from my youth. I unfortunately missed this set, but I have all of the cheap sets from the Ice Planet theme.  Great sets. The color scheme sets it apart.

Someone in our LUG actually built a huge Ice Planet MOC for a show. I haven't seen it in a while, but I wonder if they plan to add to it.

I thought about bricklinking this, but then I ended up modifying it to make it a M:Tron version. It looks great in any color scheme it seems.

Thanks again.

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For some reason as a kid I didn't like ice planet enough to buy any. My friends brother had this set so I did get to see it, and slightly tinker with it when he wasn't looking (I liked the sliding door on the top rear). 


Now I think its a great theme and I'm currently collecting parts to build this iconic set (about 95% there, I just finished getting all that orange). Its nice to see what all its functions are so I understand why I need certain parts.  This one seems to be in good condition, which is fantastic, white doesn't always age well.


Thanks for sharing.

Edited by Criosphynx

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