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M-Tron, BlackTron, Ice Planet, Space Police - 1990s - this was the best era of Lego Space

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19 hours ago, Artanis I said:

Apparently Aquazone was supposed to be on some other planet anyway. So it WAS a Space theme, just that instead of being based on the surface it was underwater.

Not really. I know some designer said something like this but it's been misunderstood.

Many of the design elements for Aquazone originated from SeaTron, but that doesn't make Aquazone an official Space theme. I mean, it clearly wasn't. No aliens, no space ships, no laser grid packaging, no Space anything.

Obviously it's fair game to imagine Aquazone taking place on another planet. It's just not official. Admittedly it's way cooler if you imagine it in Space. 

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I always saw Aquazone as some sci-fi theme on Earth. Never as a space theme underwater.

It has the same elements of a space theme, bright transparent colors, and resource gathering via magnets (a system seen in multiple space themes) but the sharks and plants still gave it an human/earth feel to  it.

 

Rock Raiders and Power Miners had actual rock monsters, but I never saw those as Aliens either, just some fantasy world mixed with sci-fi machinery, almost closer in category to Nexo Knights, which also has monsters, magic and technology but no actual Space anything beside the looks having some familiarity with maybe Ice Planet neon orange. 

Aquazone, Rock Raiders, Power Miners, Nexo Knights all have 1 factor in common, they never go to actual outer space.

 

Edited by TeriXeri

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6 minutes ago, TeriXeri said:

I always saw Aquazone as some sci-fi theme on Earth. Never as a space theme underwater.

It has the same elements of a space theme, bright transparent colors, and resource gathering via magnets (a system seen in multiple space themes) but the sharks and plants still gave it an human/earth feel to  it.

 

Rock Raiders and Power Miners had actual rock monsters, but I never saw those as Aliens either, just some fantasy world mixed with sci-fi machinery, almost closer in category to Nexo Knights, which also has monsters, magic and technology but no actual Space anything beside the looks having some familiarity with maybe Ice Planet neon orange. 

Aquazone, Rock Raiders, Power Miners, Nexo Knights all have 1 factor in common, they never go to actual outer space.

 

Aquazone was also the first appearance of lego octopi which further suggests it's based somewhere on earth. Still, if the subs could somehow get from planet to planet, I could see one showing up on an alien ocean somewhere in the vicinity of say where the ice planet guys are doing their stuff. Who knows, they may simply be on an ice shelf at one of the poles like what we have floating off the coast of antarctica.

Edited by Elana-chan

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19 hours ago, TeriXeri said:

I always saw Aquazone as some sci-fi theme on Earth. Never as a space theme underwater.

It has the same elements of a space theme, bright transparent colors, and resource gathering via magnets (a system seen in multiple space themes) but the sharks and plants still gave it an human/earth feel to  it.

Rock Raiders and Power Miners had actual rock monsters, but I never saw those as Aliens either, just some fantasy world mixed with sci-fi machinery, almost closer in category to Nexo Knights, which also has monsters, magic and technology but no actual Space anything beside the looks having some familiarity with maybe Ice Planet neon orange. 

Aquazone, Rock Raiders, Power Miners, Nexo Knights all have 1 factor in common, they never go to actual outer space.

Rock Raiders was unmistakably set in outer space in the tie-in media like the computer game and picture books. It was set on the alien Planet U, where the crew of the LMS Explorer was stranded after their ship was damaged in an asteroid field and pulled through a wormhole. The miners were sent down from orbit to the planet's surface to mine energy crystals that could help them repair and fuel their ship for the journey home. Besides the Rock, Ice, and Lava Monsters, other alien species on Planet U included giant yellow spiders, giant green and purple scorpions, six-legged Rockwhales, and the crystal-eating Slimy Slugs.

While none of the sets themselves were set in "deep space", and I generally wouldn't describe Rock Raiders as a Space theme any more than themes like Bionicle or Hero Factory, I do think it stands out from the rest of the examples you mention in that it is officially set on an alien planet, and its protagonists are clearly identified as space travelers.

Power Miners, on the other hand, was unmistakably set on Earth, albeit an obviously fictionalized version of it. In response to a huge surge in earthquakes on the Earth's surface, a team of miners was sent down to investigate the cause of the earthquakes and put a stop to them. The cause turns out to be the rumbling bodies of rock monsters after devouring multicolored energy crystals.

Aquazone was definitely a little more ambiguous. It could have been in space, it could have been on earth, or it could have been some parallel world like in Bionicle, Legends of Chima, or Ninjago that is not even in the same universe as Earth. It doesn't help that up until the 2000s, a lot of LEGO media and marketing material was not taken all too seriously as far as storytelling goes, so the "official" story would often vary from country to country or even from one media format to another within the same country. Ultimately, though, the decision to give it its own discrete branding and release it at the same time as various Space sets leads me to think that the designers wanted people to think of it as its own thing and not as part of LEGO Space.

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I've always been a fan of the old space themes, and like to build MOCs influenced by those styles. For me the best aspect of those themes were the dynamic and high contrast color schemes, which I like a lot more than a realistic look like Star Wars. The designs of the actual sets were very inconsistent. Some were amazing and others not so much (especially a lot of the bases). The sets reflected the style of the time and had less detail and lower part counts than modern sets, but many of them still had a distinctive shape and feel. I like the sharp edged, angular look, which we rarely see in modern sets. The angular canopies and windscreens are much more versatile than curved ones and can be used in more different ways.

Those old catalog scenes were great too. I stared at them a lot as a kid. As mentioned earlier, there was some minimal backstory to the factions but it was often not consistent across countries. If they brought back a new space line though, I would rather see something new instead of just reintroducing the old themes. Among the more recent themes, I loved SP3 but didn't care for Galaxy Squad or Mars Mission (although I did like the colors of the MM alien ships).

As for Aquazone, one of the designers said it was originally intended to be like underwater space, and not necessarily on Earth. They made it into a separate theme distinct from space during the actual release. They still feel space-like to me though.

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I was a big fan of the space theme as a kid. I don’t remember if I had a backstory for the factions, they were just cool. When rebuilding the sets some 20 years later I did think of a shared universe. Classic Space/Futuron would be first generation, government sponsored missions. Standard.

M-Tron introduces some big mega-corporation taking on logistic tasks outside the solar system, gradually branching out to research and exploring to allow for new settlements. Blacktron II is split off to break the monopoly and gets involved with darker genetic and social engineering stuff. Stealing M-Tron company secrets is part of the job.

Spyrius are subcontracted for duty in the most remote and inhospitable regions, for this reason relying heavily on robots and AI. They have dubious and changing loyalties. The Ice Planet 2002 is the most successful settlement, getting ice into orbit with a space elevator and piggybacking it on meteors for transport. Their rocket program, initially to link up communications, is becoming a bit of a worry though.

To handle increasingly conflicting interests, the Space Police is sent by the Earth government. They are not always welcome and are suspected of being a cover for their real mission: keeping the space colonies in check. Lastly the Insectoids would be Blacktron II experiments to handle extreme conditions on some newly colonized planets. The other factions don’t have a place in this narrative simply because I don’t own any of their sets :p

I don’t think this kind of world would be commercially viable at all. A variation on the Stargate concept would be cool though: linking all worlds, not just space, in a more serious way than Time Cruisers. But probably the narrative from the Lego Movie has already filled that bill.
 

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People tend to forget the 'race for space' was more present in the late 60's/early 70's in culture which influenced everyday objects; from cars to toys. This also happend in the late 80's/early 90's with the ISS/Space Shuttle program. And at te same time more SciFi programs (StarTrek) on TV, maybe that's why the lego space sets were better + the nostalgia factor. Though I gotta say, I really digged the 'Alien Conquest' line; reminded me of 'Mars Attacks' and B-movies. :laugh:

I would be up for a new space-ish line; with Future/Cyberpunk' City style looks, similar to 'Pre Classic Space' moc's. :classic:

Edited by -zenn

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On 7/16/2018 at 8:37 PM, pombe said:

I used to be like many here and wished TLG would revisit the classic space themes.

As time went on, however, I've realized that really wasn't what I want.

All I really want is for TLG to release a classic space printed elements pack.  Just some bricks, tiles, slopes, and minifigure parts in the appropriate colors printed with the Classic Space, Blacktron (I & II), M-Tron, Ice Planet, Spyrius, Space Police (I, II, & III), and Exploriens logos.  That's all I really want.

If they release a separate pack with trans yellow/blue/green/red/neon green/neon orange windows and canopies (and ice equipment), that would be a bonus.

I've accepted that TLG will likely not revisit these old themes because of business constraints, but I think a small elements pack is doable, especially if it is DTC (direct to consumer), available only through official LEGO stores or their shop website.

See, I'm not interested in following instrucations and building new space sets.  I just want the printed elements so I can MOC in the old themes that appeal to me.

And this doesn't just have to apply to classic space themes.  I'm sure there are castle builders who would love to see the Black Falcons reemerge in their MOCs.

I must agree ... I also had the same thoughts, just some essential bricks they need to re release, I build my own Classic space MOCs using 95% new bricks in anyway ... 

I use the space logo sticker on the set that came with Benny's Space Ship from the first Lego Movie to make my own Slopes and Tail pieces ... works like a bomb and looks authentic!

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11 hours ago, Spac3Man said:

I must agree ... I also had the same thoughts, just some essential bricks they need to re release, I build my own Classic space MOCs using 95% new bricks in anyway ... 

I use the space logo sticker on the set that came with Benny's Space Ship from the first Lego Movie to make my own Slopes and Tail pieces ... works like a bomb and looks authentic!

I mean, couldn't you effectively do a lot of that same sort of thing with stickers, whether official or custom?

I know stickers are generally not as popular as printing among AFOLs, but this would be a LOT of new printed elements to be specific to one set produced in fairly limited numbers, while a lot more sets can be produced and sold to much bigger audiences with that same number of new elements. And so since the number of new elements LEGO can afford to introduce per year is somewhat limited (not a fixed number, but the crisis in 2003 gave a good sense of how disastrous it can be if the number is allowed to grow out of control), it's tricky to justify such a trade-off.

Pics were recently discovered of a sticker sheet with lots of useful Town-related stickers in the LEGO Xtra theme. In this way, over 150 decorations — including MANY throwbacks to themes like classic Town and Paradisa — can be released at the cost of just FIVE new elements. Each sticker sheet is a single element that becomes decorations for as many bricks as the stickers that fit on the sheet, whereas with printed bricks, each new element equals a decoration for that brick only. I feel like it'd be ideal (and much more realistic than what you describe) to see Xtra packs like this released for other non-Town themes, and for stuff that stickers might not be so suited to, like minifig decorations, to be seeded into collectible minifigures (or into sets as easter eggs, like the Futuron torso in the City Square set) much more gradually.

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