Vintage Space toys

Popular Posts

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Beacon Tracer + Pulsar Charger = Asymmetry Equalizer

I kept thinking this would be a fun, small mashup, so since I've got the time, here's a new MOC created using two small sets from M-Tron

Pulsar Charger

Beacon Tracer


Asymmetry Equalizer

There are a total of 66 pieces available, and after completion 8 pieces were left, I kept attempting fairly banal designs until I thought back to one of the Beacon Tracer box alts and tried this downward facing look.  Upon adding a scooter to the side I went from nope, nope, nope, to oh my gosh, this!

It's a small one off, but the only limitation I faced was in my brain, once I stopped thinking symmetrically the design hit me in the face and I was done in no time.  

On their own neither of these vehicles is impressive, but when they can attach and detach, now we're onto something.  I certainly want to do something like this again...only bigger!

Don't let small sets fool you, limitations can force you to develop new tactics in your modeling, as you return to the main collection you can take that new idea and incorporate it into something else.

The Cure-all Pill

Futuron 6884 Aero Module alternate

And now it's time for box alternates with Aero Module.  This set is loaded with plates, which, depending on how you build proves a blessing or a challenge, no matter, let's see what the designers left for us.

The main fuselage is thin, as a demonstration of the inherent clutch power of the brick it's a success, and it also clearly demonstrates that length can be achieved quickly without burdening the whole model with many pieces.  The design is very open and frail, 3 engines support the mid and front portions, while a 1x4 plate and two 1x1 plates create simple convincing landing feet in the rear.

The laser cluster up front is cute and imposing all at once, eyelet plates get put on active duty to maintain a light spindly feeling.  It's like a spider web, fragile, but clearly dangerous, the rear white cone vent adds excellent finesse to an otherwise open blank space in the nose.

The rear of the Spaceship seems blank, it has a nice raised tail, but lacks texture, or defining character, scanning through the leftover bits we see several pieces left, surely we can improve on the training wheels model?

Which results in some minor use of blue, and a more textured rear assembly.

But if we're this far, why stop now?  With a few more additions we can produce this burlier version, that just might withstand one more glancing laser blast.  At this angle changes aren't very apparent.

Say? What looks different about these two?

And that wraps up this post, have a happy picture hunt, sincerely,

The Cure-All Pill

For similar sized Spaceships on store shelves, check out:

Galaxy Squad's: 70701 Swarm Interceptor


Galaxy Squad's rival faction: 70702 Space Warp Stinger.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Ideas 21109 ExoSuit Alternatives

This is the back of the LEGO Ideas Exo Suit 21109box

It gives the basic info about the Ideas program, shows off the platform and barrels, and names the green spacefarers.  But it lacks any alternates of any kind.

A good mark of any product from the Danish toymaker is its long term play prospects,  Will this product continue to entertain and delight with its possi-build-ities long into the night.  Does it offer something more?

Here to throw some light on that question, are a few alternates I've dug out of this particular mecha.

First up: Space Corridor, I must profess no skill in the art of Space Corridors, but I know when I see a good one.  ExoSuit seems to provide a good assortment of parts for the task, and in case you missed it, the rims are from SpeedRacer, they look like they've got some good options, and with Speed Racer being neither a new theme, nor a prolific one, this is the only current set to offer the rims at this time.

2nd up: Grand Prix
There are lots of round pieces in ExoSuit, and only a few ways to make them spin freely.  Feeling the challenge coming on I proceeded to build my racer and checkered flag.

Many of the bits, such as binoculars, and mostly the binoculars keep wanting to fall off my sculpted racer.  I've built an engine, free spinning friction-less wheels, headlights, cool steering levers, and a rad spoiler.  The checkered flag is the printed tile from the robot's underside.

Of course, there are other ways to make wheels spin in this model.  My attempt at a scooter didn't turn out so well...Oh wow, inspiration!
Gotta handle hazardous material?  Use these gyroscopically stabilized servo arms.

So I took what I learned and created this reactor leak playset.  Ugh, what a mess...

Finally, I took a page from the Classics and made this callback to Surface Hopper.

And that is Exosuit,  Unlike most of what I review ExoSuit is still easy to find.  If you like it and you want one keep in mind that it is retired and when it sells out its gone...insofar as they aren't making any more.  Nothing's ever truly gone when the Internet is here to help.

Until next time
The Cure-all Pill

Monday, April 20, 2015

Ideas 21109 EXOSUIT

I am staring at Peter Reid's ExoSuit from the Cuusoo line, henceforth to be known as ideas.

Much has been made of this model by others since its appearance on store shelves, and so I feel that reviewing it in the usual way would be counterproductive to our time...let's blow the walls off this review and get into the fun Possi-build-ities that is EXOSUIT!  

It's a technical nightmare, and I envy the folks with the brains to make it stay together, which I've heard even the original didn't manage for long.  It is a very well fitted together assemblage of bricks, pins, ball-joints, and clips.  And it hearkens back to an era that was made mostly of bricks and plates. The era is Classic Space (1978-1987).  This is a theme with a large and nostalgic fan-base, one a fair bit bigger and more vocal than Futuron's I reckon.

And today I too am diving into that populist era that makes 30 odd year old men weep nostalgically for the days of yesterday.  But I'm doing a one off, we are not embarking on a review of all the Classic Space sets ever...yet.  But Jang did!!!

2014 was an exciting year for Classic Space enthusiasts, as the year was punctuated not once but twice! with a release of Benny's Spaceship Spaceship SPACESHIP! from the LEGO Movie and this AFOL (Adult Fan Of Lego) designed EXOSUIT.  I'm still salivating over the trans yellow ultimate collector series x-wing canopy on Benny's Spacecraft.  I've seen it too, and watched my brother build it at Christmas, while I prioritized the Robot... I regret nothing.

But still it would be nice to have both.

While the 2014 sets are not quite true to the original color scheme of years 1-2, (Hello Bley, my modern nemesis, we meet again.), They do a bang on job of replicating that austere utilitarian atmosphere from the original lineup.

Happily, in EXOSUIT which we can talk about today, All colors are represented. Grey, Blue, Yellow, trans yellow, trans red, trans green...Green, a cool printed tile with the red and white represented...and some orange highlights...

Wait, green?
"Yo, hello. we're new here."

"What are you people?  Little Green Men?"

The color Green was chosen to represent a mecha category, as Jens Nygaard Knudsen had already established: Red/Pilots, White/Explorers, Yellow/Scientists, Black/Spies (Which feeds into Black-Tron's origin I suspect), Blue/Soldiers/Security Personnel, and none of them were quite right for this set.  That's the story anyway.  I'll buy it.  Due to toy safety standards the original thick and thin chinstraps couldn't be brought back, and so a modern helmet and clear visor were provided instead.  I do appreciate the clear visor addition.  It's a nice touch.

EXOSUIT comes with a full set of of extra accessories, including a second spaceman; Hi Pete, a turtle tachikoma, and a platform with barrels of something yellow, toxic: handle with care or Pete's uniform will be compromised.

The astronaut's are available in two flavors, Pete and Yve, boy and girl.  The set is much more gender defined than the old smile face, which could be either or, Information via Jay's Brick Blog suggests this duo represents the designer and his significant other,  Overall it adds a nice touch to the personal story behind the toy.

The Tachikoma is very pose-able for its diminutive size and features a sensor array/perimeter defense dual laser on its back, whatever they may be it's probably bad news if you're not supposed to be here.  I have just discovered posing it like a playful dog/er tortoise.  Go get it boy, no, no rush, you can take your time... plod plod plod...Kabzhitt...stick terminated.

A stabilization tail is on the back and helps establish the very tortoise inspired shape.

The platform is perfectly sized for docking the tachikoma and the inclusion of a grate plate is greatly appreciated.  I could imagine this dock to be a charging station, as opposed to just a place to stack drums of yellow.

And that brings us to the EXOSUIT.
It's mighty tall!

The arms and legs are very detailed and pose-able thanks to Bionicle style ball and joint fittings, but care must be taken to make sure all the greebles and etc. don't fall off during adjustment.  The shoulder pads are especially fussy as they must be adjusted independent of the arms to achieve a desirable effect; crazy.  

Don't step anywhere, you've lost your baubles!
The Overall body puts one in mind of a hulking gorilla.  The cluster arms are very long and the lifting claw articulation is great for holding onto an array of items.  Take a look at the grey bowl tapering past the barrel; it's a unique color, something worth keeping in mind if you're a parts monkey, more than a set collector.

The rear of the unit breaks with the ExoForce tradition of 'unfortunate backside' construction, thank you, thank you designers.  The detail here is incredible, and the back plating maintains great hull integrity despite being 1 stud thick.  The coolant tube adds a level of fussiness to posing, but combined with the excess heat radiator/wheel rims the design nails the industrial machinery look.

Underside hides an intriguing print, some sort of fuel cell I reckon.  Upon further research I've discovered that this is a Legends of Chima print; even more interesting, the underside of the tile is studs!  In this set it is the only non-minifig print.  Best part about this stickers!  Woot!

The pilot cage swings forward to allow ingress/egress, and within the cockpit we find Trans yellow elements aplenty, I was very excited when I saw them.  These build into the core brick built structure, which is the only thing about this model that looks like your average set.

Posing is a dicey proposition, lean forward just a hair too much and the whole model keels over on its ankles.  Must, get it...hnngh!

The best part about constructing this model is the opportunity to study something I've yet to master, good articulation combined with deep layers of technical construction.  I tend to favor BlackTron's Alienator for its simple articulation in my own work.  Note the heavy use of turntables in the legs. Mecha have come a long way since the 1980's.

Tiptoeing so as to not alert the target Yve stalks her prey.

"Hoorah, the coast is clear!"
"The only place you're going starts with a P!"    
Of course, with a robot like this there's bound to be rampant destruction, what better device to include then than a Brick Separator?  Included inside!

Breaker: "Big Mama, come in, we've fetched a rather big stick here, our coordinates are 00°41′15″N, 23°26′00″E"

"Roger Pete, this is big Mama enroute to Tranquility base.  What have we here?"
"Rotating cluster arms to deposit non conforming object."

"What should we do with it?"
Rampage, let the Destruction commence!
Come back, we haven't had any fun yet!!!
Overall EXOSUIT nails a level of construction somewhere in the midst of System scale, Bionicle articulation, and Technic fabrication, it's a work of madness, pure and simple, and it works, it's fabulous, just keep track of the fiddly bits as you adjust it to suit your own personal narrative.  

This being a modern set from a collection composed of one offs I can't examine the parts against any particular theme, but I've come up with a solution; here are the unique bits, the continuing part development histories, and the survivors (Classic Space pieces that are still produced today.)  I'm always saddened to see good parts vanish into that long good night, but it's always nice to remember what we have left at break of day.

The Following elements are unique to LEGO Ideas Exo Suit 21109

Now let's visit the museum of history.

Bricklink wants you to know that the Walkie-Talkie has three versions.  Classic Space era is the short handle appearing on the left, and Exosuit's new mold appears on the right.  the one in the middle is from the late 90's through the 00's

The Walkie Talkie was a common sight in Classic Space appearing in 1978 with the first wave.
As seen here in: Alpha-1 Rocket Base.

This technic pin 1x2 appeared as a solid axle during the Classic Space era.
It appeared in 1 Classic Space set: Space Probe
Exosuit uses the modern design which is notched.  The notches were added to improve extraction given the limited surface area available when removing this small tight fitting axle.  Exosuit contains 6.
This dark bley 1x4 plate with offset was a classic space standby first appearing in 1984, in continuing production with no notable alterations in the intervening years.  My first space set had one, and Exosuit has 5.

One of the first Classic Space sets to contain the part was this oddball: Robot Command Center
The ubiquitous 1x1 round stud was introduce in 1980, and has become a staple of builders everywhere.  Exosuit contains 9 Pearl, and 4 Translucent Red (a Classic Space original).

In its first year of release (1980) the dot was part of the exciting new Train collection.
The dot's first appearance in Classic Space would be 1981's All Terrain Vehicle.
The Classic Space Robot Arm first appeared in 1985 and has continued unchanged in the ensuing years.  Exosuit contains 8 in light bley.

Classic Space showed off 6 robots with the new arm piece in 1985, including this one here in Rocket Sled.

The Headlight Brick was introduce circa 1980.  Exosuit contains 2 in light bley.

The light grey version of the part first appeared in Mobile Lab.  

The top hinge plate is from 1978/79 depending on which side of the ocean you were on when Classic Space released, and appeared in the entirety of the first wave, not withstanding it first arrived as a Classic Space exclusive.  Exosuit contains 1 light bley piece.

Space Command Center was part of that first wave.
Exosuit contains 4 90 degree 2x2 corner plates in light bley.

The 90 degree 2x2 corner plate was first released in 1987, right at the tail end of Classic Space.  Only 2 sets received it.  Terrestrial Rover was one of those sets.

The 1x4 Plate showed up in 1977 and predates Classic Space.  Exosuit contains 2 in light bley
Mobile Tracking station was one of the many Classic Space sets to contain the piece, and its color scheme is a match for Classic Space's color influence in Exosuit.
the 2x4 plate from 1962 appears in Exosuit as a light bley part.  

Surface Explorer was among the Classic Space sets which contain the 1x4 plate.  It shares color similarities with Exosuit, and has its own Classic Space twist on articulated limbs.
the 2x6 plate appears once in light bley in Exosuit.

Modular Space Transport happens to sport the 2x6 plate among other Classic Space sets.
The Eyelet Plate contained in Exosuit is gen 2 for the element.  Classic Space presided over the release of both versions.  There are 6 in Exosuit.

The thick ring eyelet is clearly visible just past the flags in this official image of Twin Starfire.
The round 2x2 circle plate with axlehole is another element from 1980 developed for the excellent train line that found its way into Classic Space in 1981.  Exosuit contains 4 in light bley.

1981's Starfleet Voyager was the first Classic Space set to have the round 2x2 plate with axle hole.  the first copy in Classic Space was black.

The Technic 1/2 bushing has gone through 4 iterations.

Exosuit uses the modern smooth bushing. with four triangulated teeth (two sharp, two rounded).  It contains 16 in light bley.
The third design had two triangulated teeth (rounded) and two straight edges.

Gen 2 of the part had teethed edges and two triangulated teeth inside.
Gen 1 appeared in 1 Classic Space set containing 1 element: Polaris 1 Spacelab
Note that this is like the second version, except for the true cross shaped axle hole.
The Technic pin 1/2 appeared in 1981 as part of the Technic range.  Exosuit has 2 in light bley
1985's Astro Grappler is the only Classic Space set with the element; it also has 2 in old grey.
The 1x1 tile with groove appeared in 1972.  4 found their way into Exosuit.
I chose Galaxy Explorer to represent this diminutive grooved tile.
A grooveless version ran from 1965-76 and appeared in sets like this: 080-1 Basic Building Set with Train
The modified tile 1x2 with handle appears once in Exosuit in light bley.
This modified tile with handle showed up in 1987, the last year of Classic Space and appeared in 2 sets, represented here by Strata Scooter.  Eagle eyed viewers will have already spotted the other two in Twin Starfire.

The 1x1 cone with groove top is a second gen development of the classic Space piece from 85.  Two of these are in Exosuit in brushed silver...a very cool color.
Space Dozer was part of the 85 wave, which introduced the first version of the cone.
The hollow trans yellow brick was a welcome sight when I opened this set, and for good reason, it's a direct descendant of the 1980's Classic Space theme.  Too bad there's only 1.
This set from 1984 contains 4 of them!  Uranium Research Vehicle.
the 1x1 tile appeared in 1962, and in a nod to Classic Space these 2 are transluscent yellow.
The 1x1 transluscent yellow tile at first might seem more welcomeon some 1980's car, but it too appears in Classic Space: Mobile Command Trailer
There is one more amber yellow plate in Exosuit...8 actually...the 1x2 plate.
In classic Space the 1x2 tiles were typically solid colors.  Two Seat Space Scooter contains the Element in old grey.
The 2x2 round brick with Cross Axle was introduced with the first wave of Classic Space as part of the rocket stages.  Exosuit uses 4 in its yellow drums.  
Mobile Rocket Launcher shows the element in its natural habitat: ROCKET!
Finally we come to the Jumper, which is in its 3rd stage of development.
New Elementary outlines the pros of the new design.
Here's a sided by side for changes in the 1st and second versions.  the grooved version is gen 2.
The original jumper appeared in 1978 in sets like Chocolate Factory.
The 1x2 Jumper Plate was an important element in Classic Space, and is still a favorite element of AFOL's

Here you can see it in the simple, evocative Space Buggy.
As well as the equally elegant Radar Truck, using it in the exact same manner.

And last, but not least, the Spacemen, ginning up a nostalgia from before my time, for a theme that has stood the test of time to continue to excite and thrill another generation of AFOLs, TFOLs, and KFOLs.  That is the testament of EXOSUIT, and its little green men.

Buy it now @

Until next time, 
the Cure-all Pill