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Hello Eurobricks! Today I present you the review of an unusual, very playable and exciting old LEGO set - the Aero Tube Hangar.

 

48250387777_f02e85d8f0_c.jpg01 by Farseer Eldar, on Flickr

Set Name: Aero Tube Hangar

Set Number: 7317

Year of Release: 2001

Number of Pieces: 706

Number of Minifigures: 5 (all Martian)

Price: $ 90.00 ($ 0.13 per brick)

 

Life on Mars was a short-lived, but interesting LEGO Space theme. It explored the world of Martians, who are surprisingly friendly to human astronauts, which is rather unusual for LEGO and science fiction in general. The Aero Tube Hangar is the main base of the Martians. It was the dream of my childhood, but I got this set only in 2013, when I was already an AFOL.

 

So, let's get started.

 

The Box

The main box is large, what fits this set. The front side depicts the Aero Tube Hangar in all its glory:

48250317556_3ab40ceba2_c.jpg02 by Farseer Eldar, on Flickr

 

On the back side the functions of the set are shown:

48250389752_6d1e02021b_c.jpg03 by Farseer Eldar, on Flickr

 

Old-type boxes with flip covers are great for storage:

48250387182_5ea411f6a0_c.jpgBox by Farseer Eldar, on Flickr

 

Different parts of the set were sorted into three additional boxes which are not cool as the main one, but useful:

48250317481_a6248881ed_c.jpg04 by Farseer Eldar, on Flickr

 

Instruction Booklet

The instructions start with the same image as seen on the box:

48250389667_17c5cc72a6_c.jpg05 by Farseer Eldar, on Flickr

 

Next there are the minifigures (note the misspelling of Arcturus) and the hypersleds with a warning:

48250317406_141739d625_c.jpg06 by Farseer Eldar, on Flickr

 

The first model to assemble is the mech:

48250317356_3a65b1250c_c.jpg07 by Farseer Eldar, on Flickr

Note that this is an old instruction, and there is no list of required parts on each step.

 

The last pages show how to connect the tubes and how to use them and some ads (I will put them under a spoiler):

Spoiler

At first, the pump and the side facilities are connected to the main building:

48250317306_be87b4925e_c.jpg08 by Farseer Eldar, on Flickr

 

Next, the tubes leading to mech bays are assembled:

48250315676_b11c219612_c.jpg09 by Farseer Eldar, on Flickr

 

The instruction how to use the pump and change the ways:

48250317276_0bf84de2f2_c.jpg10 by Farseer Eldar, on Flickr

 

The hangar and mechs from LoM series:

48250389487_29fd9c530e_c.jpg11 by Farseer Eldar, on Flickr

 

All sets from Life on Mars:

48250317216_2f3f5fc795_c.jpg12 by Farseer Eldar, on Flickr

Note the typo: Aero Tube HangEr (like a coat hanger). These boxes have set names and piece count - this is American variety. I got an European set with the box lacking these features.

 

 

This set also has a small advertising booklet:

48250317131_05b489b221_c.jpg13 by Farseer Eldar, on Flickr

 

There are sets from other series on another side:

48250389382_8c5c289651_c.jpg14 by Farseer Eldar, on Flickr

Unfortunately, almost all that themes (Alpha Team, Studios and LoM itself) didn't live to this day. Only Star Wars do.

 

Minifigures

This set includes five minifigures. All of them are Martians, and there are no humans:

48250387612_981c364d45_c.jpg15 by Farseer Eldar, on Flickr

These Martians are, very much like Blacks from Harry Potter, named after different stars and constellations. Perhaps their names sound differently in Martian language, and here the human equivalents are given.

Riegel (note the misspelling - the star is called Rigel) is the leader of Martian people and the general of the Aero Tube Hangar. He does not like laziness and disorder. His favourite food is space slugs. Unlike other Martians, he has a different skin tone and wears some sign (maybe honorific) on his chest.

Cassiopeia is the daughter of Riegel. She does not look like her father, but very likely looks like her mother. Later she visited Earth with the austronauts.

Mizar is a Martian technician. He wears something like a gas mask.

Vega is a scientist who specializes in excavation. He likes sandwiches.

Arcturus is a spy from another tribe of Martians which tries to still energy-rich biodium ore from the Hangar. In 1930s he was the leader of Martians, and his invasion of Earth and subsequent defeat were described by Orson Welles.

All these figures are exclusive except Vega (who also appeared in 7316, 1195 and 7320) and Mizar (who also appeared in 7321).

 

The Martians have the same bodies and hands with Trade Federation battle droids:

48250389307_d755a7c40d_c.jpg16 by Farseer Eldar, on Flickr

Except they are sturdier due to different legs and (in my case) shorter use.

 

The Martians move through the aero tubes using hypersleds molded especially for them:

48250317041_ee0d573fc7_c.jpg17 by Farseer Eldar, on Flickr

The white hypersled glows in the dark.

 

Mech

This small mech is used for scouting and defense:

48250387272_3a1fe3c262_c.jpg47 by Farseer Eldar, on Flickr

 

The mech's limbs are very mobile, which is rather good for early LEGO walkers:

48250316116_b61294692f_c.jpg48 by Farseer Eldar, on Flickr

 

The only flaw is the lack of knee joints:

48250388212_5c5438c29c_c.jpg49 by Farseer Eldar, on Flickr

 

The right hand holds a cannon to repel enemies, and the left hand has a hook to lift meteorites:

48250388202_9047c6d9df_c.jpg50 by Farseer Eldar, on Flickr

 

The cockpit is open and has a holder for a Martian pilot, and a printed control panel:

48250388122_93be5f7781_c.jpg51 by Farseer Eldar, on Flickr

 

Flyer

Another vehicle in this set is a flyer (or convertiplane, to be precise). It looks similar to Scorpion from James Cameron's Avatar and Banshee from Starcraft II.

48250315861_da67a12de2_c.jpg55 by Farseer Eldar, on Flickr

 

The propeller engines rotate freely:

48250387237_ab3e4f04b3_c.jpg53 by Farseer Eldar, on Flickr

 

The pilot is interestingly attached to the cockpit - only their arm is attached to a lever which is connected to one of the flyer's cannons:

48250388112_4ddfc6482b_c.jpg52 by Farseer Eldar, on Flickr

 

Transportation

Now it's the time to review the most noteworthy feature of this set. The Martians can be transported through aero tubes using this pump:

48250388472_48d2e7147c_c.jpg42 by Farseer Eldar, on Flickr

The pump is one very big part with some adjustments. It looks like some futuristic storage house or power plant. The black upper part, which is made of rubber, can be rotated to shange the direction of air flow.

 

The aero tubes are flexible, transparent and not perfectly round. They should be plugged into purple solid connectors very tightly, so they will be disconnected with a click:

48250316241_7649a0f7a8_c.jpg43 by Farseer Eldar, on Flickr

This system was used again in two sets from Mars Mission line (7690 and 7691), but there the tubes were orange and human-built. And the aliens were hostile and didn't come from Mars, so this was a completely different theme.

 

Unfortunately, humans (or other non-Martian minifigures) cannot ride or even get into the tubes - their arms are too large:

48250316231_bbdc9504fe_c.jpg44 by Farseer Eldar, on Flickr

 

Mizar needs to get to the red mech bay. He lies in a hypersled at the main station:

48250316991_4bbc5eb647_c.jpg18 by Farseer Eldar, on Flickr

 

To suck him into the tube, we should rotate the upper part of the pump counterclockwise until it stops and then squeeze it:

48250389262_3bd03b1f3a_c.jpg19 by Farseer Eldar, on Flickr

 

Now the Martian can be seen within the tube:

48250389172_51d2c2bdf6_c.jpg20 by Farseer Eldar, on Flickr

 

Then, we remove a stopper and place the tube in the required direction using gears and the steering wheel:

48250315476_645f684015_c.jpg21 by Farseer Eldar, on Flickr

 

48250316896_2040088f4c_c.jpg22 by Farseer Eldar, on Flickr

 

There is another fork on Mizar's way, and here we also should set a course by moving the tubes:

48250389132_04c021bd1d_c.jpg23 by Farseer Eldar, on Flickr

 

The stopper is removed:

48250316841_8031090471_c.jpg24 by Farseer Eldar, on Flickr

 

And then the tube can be moved on rails:

48250316801_b502e0feb9_c.jpg25 by Farseer Eldar, on Flickr

The drawback of this process is that the supports are constantly shifting and can hang in air.

 

Next we rotate the pump clockwise and slam it. Now the air pushes the hypersled from the rube, and Mizar rides to his destination.

48250389057_29c8dc4cbb_c.jpg26 by Farseer Eldar, on Flickr

 

48250315416_f5aaa445a6_c.jpg27 by Farseer Eldar, on Flickr

 

That's it! Mizar has arrived and is ready to work!

48250389027_c185173bf6_c.jpg28 by Farseer Eldar, on Flickr

 

48250388972_4395278538_c.jpg29 by Farseer Eldar, on Flickr

 

Now Riegel must lead an excavation expedition, and he prepares to depart:

48250316681_7fc9ca2de5_c.jpg30 by Farseer Eldar, on Flickr

 

But wait... He is stuck within the tube - probably due to his medal:

48250316636_b50d7886f2_c.jpg31 by Farseer Eldar, on Flickr

In reality there is nothing to do with the medal. Sometimes Martians get stuck in tubes and cannot be launched. Nevertheless, the construction is made very soundly.

 

We turn the pump counterclockwise, suck Riegel into the tube and place it to the left side:

48250316656_26e71d8ab6_c.jpg32 by Farseer Eldar, on Flickr

 

Next we turn the pump clockwise, push the Martian ruler forward, and he is now ready to lead the expedition:

48250316631_2b1f104890_c.jpg33 by Farseer Eldar, on Flickr

 

Buildings

Let's take a closer look at the hangar buildings. Here is the biggest one:

48250388772_99ac45ecdf_c.jpg34 by Farseer Eldar, on Flickr

 

The "umbrellas" with tools and control panels are attached to the sides via bridges:

48250387357_6340f55b02_c.jpg35 by Farseer Eldar, on Flickr

 

At the top there is a tower from which Riegel oversees his domain:

48250316516_f59c78efb0_c.jpg36 by Farseer Eldar, on Flickr

 

The flyer can be hung on axles:

48250315951_b492fce730_c.jpg54 by Farseer Eldar, on Flickr

 

The tower holds a turning crane which is used to put meteorites to the site for further dissection and processing:

48250388642_53a2f7b73c_c.jpg37 by Farseer Eldar, on Flickr

 

This meteorite contains biodium - a substance used by Martians as energy source. They collect meteorites especially to obtain biodium:

48250388622_766701351e_c.jpg38 by Farseer Eldar, on Flickr

 

One purple "umbrella" (or "mushroom" if you like it more) has some control panels:

48250316316_6e967b7525_c.jpg39 by Farseer Eldar, on Flickr

These Martians should be really cold resistant - they walk bare-handed and bare-headed in the open air at -50 degrees Celsius (or -58 Fahrenheit).

 

Under the second "umbrella" they store their equipment, which unfortunately does not suit their hands at all:

48250388537_96775953e1_c.jpg40 by Farseer Eldar, on Flickr

 

48250387342_31be2d50aa_c.jpg41 by Farseer Eldar, on Flickr

Walkie-talkies (there are two of them!) and circular saws are common, but the grey wrench is a valuable acquisition.

 

The aero tubes lead to mech bays:

48250388297_3cd05ca3f2_c.jpg45 by Farseer Eldar, on Flickr

Each is painted in colors of different Martian mechs. The blue one corresponds to the heavily weaponized Red Planet Protector (7313), and the pinkish-red one - to the Recon Mech RP (7314). The light-grey studs are used to connect the mechs.

It should be noted that the entire Life on Mars theme is rich in colors and non-standard parts. It had the first appearances of rare "sand" colors, such as sand purple, sand red, sand green and sand blue. Unfortunately, only two last colors are still produced nowadays.

 

The bays can be disconnected from the tube ports:

48250316146_2dd1cc6983_c.jpg46 by Farseer Eldar, on Flickr

 

This set has only two bays, but three ports. The third port is supposed to be connected with a tan bay coming in 7316 - the Excavation Searcher.

 

In conclusion, I will show the extra parts of the set: differently colored droid arms (both Martian and mechanic), another Riegel's medal and transparent studs:

48250387812_660a43122e_c.jpg56 by Farseer Eldar, on Flickr

 

Pros/Cons

Pros:

+ Tubes

+ Tubes

+ TUBES!!!

+ Rare colors

+ Non-standard parts

+ Martians

+ Mech and flyer

+ No stickers!

Cons:

- Martians sometimes get stuck in tubes

- Supports not always stand firm

- Tubes are not compatible with traditional minifigures

- Primitive build

- Not so many Martians

- No humans

 

Thank you for reading! And what can you say about this set?

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Great review!

This is one of the sets I really liked as a kid, but never had. This one belongs to the most original Lego sets in my opinion.

I did not expect the separate boxes inside and thought the first time it happened was years later in exclusive sets like the Star Wars Super Star Destroyer.

13 hours ago, Farseer Petriel said:

It explored the world of Martians, who are surprisingly friendly to human astronauts, which is rather unusual for LEGO and science fiction in general.

I'm not really surprised by this, because the Martians don't look like bad guys at all. They're even more on the cute side.

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Posted (edited)

Thank you, Trance89!

6 hours ago, Trance89 said:

This one belongs to the most original Lego sets in my opinion.

And definitely is! The aero tube system makes it really playable. And this is one of the sets I don't want to disassemble for parts (except for some a few easily returnable accessories). On the contrary, it's hard to imagine a MOC with these tubes. Expecially a MOC that doesn't belong to LoM series.

 

6 hours ago, Trance89 said:

I did not expect the separate boxes inside and thought the first time it happened was years later in exclusive sets like the Star Wars Super Star Destroyer.

I didn't expect this too, because there wasn't such thing in other old large sets.

 

6 hours ago, Trance89 said:

I'm not really surprised by this, because the Martians don't look like bad guys at all. They're even more on the cute side.

Yes, they're really cute with their smooth triangular heads, thin arms and bent legs. And I almost forgot their big eyes! Cats may confirm that big eyes are cute.

Edited by Farseer Petriel

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