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Toys / LEGO Space

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To boldly go where no minifigure has gone before...note 
LEGO Space was launched in 1978 (or 1979 in North America) with some vaguely NASA-inspired color schemes and not much of a long-running story or characters. That was the case until 1987, when "themes" were introduced for the first time across Town, Space, and Castle. Space's first themes were Blacktron, which kicked off in '87 worldwide, and Futuron, which launched in Europe in '87 and North America in '88. This began a long, continuous, and loosely-defined story starring a revolving door of factions that would last all the way into 1999.

LEGO Life on Mars and anything that ran afterward are generally counted separate from this era, as there was a two-year hiatus between and the end of Insectoids and the start of Life on Mars, its stylistic technological shift back to a more probable near-future and the inclusion of two separate factions under the umbrella of a single set banner. Rock Raiders, strangely, is never counted as any sort of LEGO Space at all despite being explicitly set on a foreign planet and being released immediately after Insectoids.

The following LEGO Space subthemes and related sci-fi themes have their own pages:

This theme as a whole provides examples of:

  • Absent Aliens: Up until the release of UFO in 1997, at least.
  • The Aesthetics of Technology: Even the first sets following Classic LEGO Space are incredibly streamlined compared to the oblong, boxy designs that came before, and between this and the Genre Shift they're considered to be far more advanced.
  • All There in the Manual: The majority of each theme's lore is presented in LEGO magazines and catalogs, rather than in the sets themselves.
  • Casual Interstellar Travel: Several factions are explicitly mentioned to be civilian in nature and their levels of technology seem roughly equivalent to those of the more militant factions.
  • Color-Coded Armies: Each faction has its own color scheme (as well as its own general design convention), lending some personality to each and making it extremely easy to tell one from another.
  • Custom Uniform: If a faction has a designated leader his uniform will visibly reflect it, usually ranging from some extra Tron Lines on his helmet to fancy, formal shoulders.
  • Detachment Combat: The larger the vehicle, the more likely it can divide into multiple vessels or transform its components into another vehicle.
  • Drop Ship: Most large ships function as this on a small scale, transporting one or two small land vehicles that lock into and out of the main chassis.
  • Eagleland Osmosis: All the major reference websites use the US names for the sets, and therefore those names are far more widely used in such contexts as online auctions.
  • In Space, Everyone Can See Your Face: With the odd villainous or alien exception, all space helmets feature a transparent (as well as theme-colored) visor which clearly displays the minifigure's face.
  • Market-Based Title: The sets were given different names in the US and the UK. Set 6891, for example, was "Gamma-V Laser Craft" in the US, but "Dark Star" in the UK.
  • Motile Vehicular Components: Some ships are equipped with robot arms or swinging wings:
    • The Classic LEGO Space ship 6822, the Space Grab, has a robot arm ending with a mechanical claw.
    • 6901, the Mobile Lab, has a mechanical arm that can either be fitted with a shovel or a sensor array.
    • 6940 is usually a Walking Tank, but its front and rear modules can be detached and linked to form a spaceship with an arm that, like 6822, ends with a claw.
    • 6894, the Blacktron Cruiser, has wings and solar panels that can be set at different angles; so does its 2023 remake, 40580.
    • 6939, the Saucer Centurion, has a claw-equipped arm.
    • 6822 is a model of the Space Shuttle that mirrors the real life prototype with opening cargo bay doors and a robot arm.
  • Name-Tron: Between Blacktron, M:Tron, and Unitron, LEGO loved the "tron" suffix in the eighties/early nineties...
  • Planet of Hats: More like Culture of Hats, since only one faction centers around a particular planet.
  • Sci-Fi Name Buzzwords: Set names like Celestial Sled and Pulsar Charger are the norm here.
  • Space Base: Played straight by all criminal factions, but with few exceptions all factions have stationary planetary bases; the rest just aren't terribly villainous. A couple even have space monorails!
  • Space Plane: Given the art depicting spaceships navigating atmospheres and the absence of specialized sets for planetary launches there's no reason to believe that any of the ships can't break orbit under their own power.
  • Spacesuits Are SCUBA Gear: Helmets, hosed oxygen tanks and cool uniforms are the only things between a minifigure and the cold, unforgiving void.
  • Standard Sci-Fi Fleet: No set builds a craft bigger than a scale corvette or frigate (probably due to the economy of making sets large enough to accommodate larger craft), but everything from there down is represented fairly thoroughly.
  • Tin-Can Robot: Until the introduction of android minifigures in 1994, robots were the same boxy, brick-built designs seen in Classic LEGO Space.

Individual factions provide examples of the following:

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    Blacktron (1987-1990) 

Both the first criminal faction and the first truly defined faction. Blacktrons carry an air of mystery and intimidation with them, which comes just as much from their menacing monochromatic motif as from the lack of additional materials to flesh their characters out. They antagonize the Futurons for unclear reasons.

  • Aerith and Bob: Let's take a look at their sets: Renegade, Invader, Battrax, Alienator, Meteor Mo... Battrax? Averted in the UK, where the three vehicles were theme named as the Strider, the Cruiser and the Prowler.
  • Black-and-White Morality: Played very straight against Futuron, both in sensibilities and actual colors.
  • Black Knight: Invoked by color motif and villainous nature.
  • Combining Mecha: The instructions for the Renegade show how modules from other ships in the range can be linked to it to create a single large spaceship.
  • Faceless Goons: Blacktron was the only faction for several years to conceal its minifigures' faces with opaque visors. This becomes especially unnerving when contrasted against the bright colors of their peers.
  • Fashionable Asymmetry: Unlike most LEGO spaceships, the Renegade is deliberately asymmetrical, with the pilot's cabin placed off-centre.
  • Good Colors, Evil Colors: Mostly black with some warm colors, signifying darkness and aggression and directly opposing the white-and-blue motif of Futuron.
  • The Remake: 2023 saw the appearance of set 40580 Blacktron Cruiser, a redesign of 6894 from the original line using modern bricks and building techniques.
  • Space Pirates: They're clearly depicted attacking Futuron forces in several places. Motives aren't mentioned (short of Blacktron being labeled generally evil) but theft of resources wouldn't be a farfetched assumption.
  • Weapon for Intimidation: Short of a clear yellow window and some sparse yellow appointments, every set is stark black. The designs are meant as much for psychological warfare as conventional.

    Futuron (1988-1990) 
No description of Futuron's motives or agenda exist, except that they are the "Valor squadron", which vaguely implies that they are good guys. Their uniforms and ship designs are an extension of the late Classic Space theme, with their spacesuits now featuring white torsos and new visored helmets. They also have a monorail, which is nice. They often find themselves defending against encroachments by Blacktron and are known to collaborate with M:Tron forces.

    M:Tron (1990-1991) 
The M:Tron (presumably short for Magnet-Tron) faction introduced magnets to LEGO Space, utilized in sets as a means to grasp various cargo containers easily. M:Trons are a civilian group of nomadic miners and techs who maintain at least one mobile base of operations and harvest precious materials from remote locations, most visibly in the form of transparent yellow 1x1 round pieces. They've been seen collaborating with Futuron and ably defend themselves from attacks by both incarnations of Blacktron.
  • Asteroid Miners: M:Tron's hat (besides magnets, that is). While not specifically mentioned as asteroids, the cratered surfaces and open starfield skylines present in all depictions certainly suggest this.
  • Base on Wheels: The Mega/Multi-Core Magnetizer, a massive 6-wheeled crane/tank. This takes the place of the stationary Space Base of most other factions.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: M:Trons are content to mine and explore undisturbed but aren't afraid to stand their ground when threatened. A wing of Blacktron Future Generations ships is attacking an M:Tron mining party! Does M:Tron retreat? Hell no! They taunt the enemy with a lone scout while radioing for backup and setting up a forward trench.
  • Brought to You by the Letter "S": M:Tron astronauts are marked by the letter "M" on their torsos.
  • Future Copter: The Particle Ionizer has a long, sharp body and a 4-pointed assembly on the top that could be seen either as helicopter blades or some kind of sensor platform. Considering that the overseas name for the set is Cosmicopter, though, the former seems more likely.
  • Gimmick: Magnets; This was done on LEGO's part as an effort to emphasize sets more as interactive toys than static models.
  • Military Mashup Machine: In a more literal sense than usual; A supplemental official instruction book details the process of cannibalizing three separate M:Tron sets (Vector Detector, Celestial Forager and Particle Ionizer) into the Secret Space Voyager, a bulky craft that attempts to combine the utility and style of its component sets.
  • Red Is Heroic: The first space faction with red ships. In regions where they were marketed as a rescue service, this makes them a Space Fire Brigade counterpart to the Space Police.
  • Selective Magnetism: Why don't the magnets attract to ship hulls and personal equipment, too? It's actually not uncommon for technology used in space travel, both in reality and fiction, to be constructed of reinforced ceramics and plastics along with or in place of metal. This still wouldn't explain the ships' circuitry being immune to the ravages of powerful magnetic fields, though, but given the general softness of the setting the MST3K Mantra should be all the explanation that's needed.

    Blacktron Future Generation (1991-1992) 
Possibly the same group with a new tech base and new uniforms, possibly a copycat group, possibly descendants of the original Blacktron. The only thing truly known about the nature or motivation of Blacktron Future Generation is that they share the antagonistic nature of their namesake. They oppose the M:Tron and Ice Planet 2002 factions and are out to steal their technology.
  • Aerith and Bob: Giving wheeled land vehicles crazy names seems to be a Blacktron tradition; Just ask the Grid Trekkor [sic] and Tri-Wheeled Tyrax. Ships and mechs are still named with actual words. This doesn't extend to the Spectral Starguider for some reason.
  • Brought to You by the Letter "S": In the same vein as M:Tron and unlike the previous iteration of Blacktron, the torsos of Future Generation astronauts are decorated with a large "B".
  • Early-Bird Cameo: The Meteor Monitor, a Blacktron set released in 1990 (as a two-year outlier to the faction's other releases), has a design that incorporates small amounts of white; This could be seen as a sort of missing link between the iterations of Blacktron.
  • Generation Xerox: Averted. While the vehicle variety matches its predecessor's fairly closely, Blacktron Future Generation is its own animal in most other senses.
  • Military Mashup Machine: In the same vein as M:Tron's; instructions for the less-than-creatively named Blacktron Super Vehicle detail the combination of three sets (Allied Avenger, Sub-Orbital Guardian and Tri-Wheeled Tyrax) into a larger vehicle.
  • Oddly Named Sequel 2: Electric Boogaloo: Listed on the box as Blacktron: Future Generation. Only oddly named in that no other faction has a name in this format.
  • Space Pirates: Same as the original Blacktron, with it being more explicit this time as Blacktron Future Generation are referred to as stealing technology and reselling it to the highest bidders.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: A few Blacktron Future Generation designs bear a striking resemblance to Futuron ships. Compare Aerial Intruder / Stardefender 200 and Super Nova II / Space Patroller.
  • Toyless Toyline Character: The Disney Adventures comics feature a named Blacktron Future Generation character named Commander Beltar. Beltar has a mustache, unlike all the clean-shaven astronauts in the actual sets.

    Ice Planet 2002 (1993-1994) 
Ice Planet 2002's sets focus on a group of scientists stationed on the remote ice planet Krysto who research new rocket and satellite technologies while carving out a livable colony from the harsh environment. They fend off incursions by Blacktron Future Generation and Spyrius (who show special interest in their satellite tech for espionage) and maintain at least a working relationship with Space Police II.
  • Advanced Tech 2000: By way of a change from all the NameTrons.
  • Chainsaw Good: The tool of choice on Krysto for pushing back the ice is the now-infamous orange transparent chainsaw.
  • Cool Old Guy: Commander Cold, the aging Leader of the faction, who has no problem doing his share of the grunt work or leading his men in the defense of their colony.
  • Crippling Overspecialization: The colonists have some space-capable craft in their fleet, but the majority of their vehicles are land-based and rely on skis for locomotion.
  • Dub Name Change: In the UK, Commander Cold is instead named "Commander Bear".
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": The faction's name is not Ice Planet. It's actually "Ice Planet 2002".
  • Good Colors, Evil Colors: It's not as blindingly obvious as with Futuron and Blacktron, but the dominance of blue and white in Ice Planet 2002 sets marks them clearly as the good half versus Spyrius's black and red.
  • Human Popsicle: Literally in this case! On the far left of this official poster you'll see a Blacktron Future Generation agent encased in a block of ice and being carted away. No indication as to whether the science teams on Krysto have devised a working Freeze Ray or if he was frozen in a more natural manner by happenstance.
  • Orange/Blue Contrast: In the sets themselves as opposed to the art. Pair the blue and neon orange coupling with splashes of black and white and the sets gain a very striking color motif based around balancing opposites.
  • Single-Biome Planet: Krysto; Basically Hoth but with none of the native wildlife.
  • The Smurfette Principle: This was the first Space set to include an explicitly female minifigure Doctor Kelvin, complete with lipstick and earrings.
  • Snow Means Cold: Krysto is covered in snow and ice and is (you guessed it!) cold enough to support them.

    Spyrius (1994-1996) 
Thieves and spies hailing from planet Spyrius. The Spyrians grab information and technology from other factions to further their own ends. They show a particular affinity for rocket/missile tech, likely to facilitate a covert intelligence network, and as such show great interest in the research happening on Krysto. Unitron opposes Spyrius openly, having suffered at least one direct attack by them.
  • Flying Saucer: Spyrius favors generally saucer-shaped designs for their spacecraft, notably the Saucer Scout and Saucer Centurion. Looking at the space series as a whole, Fridge Brilliance may imply that they may have reverse-engineered their ships from stolen UFO technology, a faction that would appear a few years later.
  • Good Colors, Evil Colors: Their sets are dominated by blacks and reds opposite the prevalence of white and blue in Ice Planet 2002. Faction alignments are played straight here.
  • Humongous Mecha: The Robo-Guardian, in place of the usual flagship set. They also had a slightly less humongous mecha.
  • Named After Their Planet: The Spyrians comprising the faction are settlers of planet Spyrius.
  • Perma-Stubble: One Spyrian astronaut sports some in addition to a classy mustache.
  • Red and Black and Evil All Over: Their ships are red and black, and they're a villainous faction.
  • Robot Buddy: The Spyrius droid Major Kartofski is a sort of inversion, since he is shown to be commanding Spyrian forces on the field rather than being the astronauts' sidekick.
  • Space Pirate: In the same general vein as the Blacktrons, but with more of a focus on espionage.
  • Spy Satellite: Employed by Spyrius and deployed via remote rockets. The Spyrius base set is a launch facility for one such rocket.

    Unitron (1994-1995) 
Unitron is located at the "crossroads of the universe", where astronauts and aliens from all across the galaxy converge. Notable only for having a monorail that was sometimes attacked by giant Spyrius robots. A disorganized release schedule, short set list and shortage of fluff left this faction woefully underdeveloped despite recalling elements of old fan favorite sets and creating one of their own. Unitron is primarily seen combating Spyrius on their home turf.

    Exploriens (1996) 
Civilian scientists (with a specific bend towards xenoarchaeology this time). Exploriens sets made use of colored transparent pieces in a new way for LEGO: Multicolored pieces (alien fossils in the setting) were prevalent in this faction's sets, and when viewed by the naked eye or under red or blue filters they would reveal one of three different images. Their main enemy is initially Spyrius, until UFO shows up.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: The Explorien's flagship, Explorien Starship.
  • Family-Friendly Firearms: Shop at Home catalogs of the time persistently tried to pass off the larger sets' prominent cannons as "telescopic lasers" similar in purpose to ordinary telescopes.
  • Gimmick: The red and blue color filter scanners.
  • Humanoid Aliens: Surprisingly averted; The fossils (an embryo in an egg and a lizard-like head with sharp teeth) seem to indicate that the race in question is saurian in nature.
  • Insufficiently Advanced Alien: One of the fossils depicts a creature eating a bone. Assuming that all fossils depict the same species it doesn't seem likely that they got very far.
  • Palette Swap: The robot present in the Exploriens sets is nearly identical to those in Spyrius, save swapping red for white. Confirmed singular thanks to fluff naming her...
  • Punny Name: Ann Droid, the resident robot helper and second confirmed female in LEGO Space (female personality, anyway).
  • Robot Buddy: Ann Droid is the Exploriens' droid.

    Roboforce (1997) 
Roboforce was unique in their sets' focus on terrestrial vehicles, specifically giant robots. Not explicitly listed as military or civilian, Roboforce fills an almost municipal role on the interstellar stage, with separate teams acting as a search-and-rescue force and a sort of space Home Guard. Likely at least a partial inspiration for the Exo-Force theme. Their enemy is UFO, as well as the occasional run-in with Time Twisters.
  • Animal Mecha: Both Green Class unit types have animal-inspired designs.
  • Cool Shades: Mirrorshades seem to be standard issue for Green Class Roboforce pilots.
  • Humongous Mecha: The general theme of the Roboforce faction.
  • Oddly Small Organization: It consists of literally four people.
  • Phlebotinum Battery: All Roboforce mecha are fueled by "robo disks."
  • Shout-Out: The Robo Master set contains a small escape vehicle with a sweep wing design very similar to the Unitrons' Star Hawk II. Popular opinion is that this was done as a nod by LEGO to the surprising reception of the previous set.
  • Theme Naming: Robo Raptor, Robo Stalker, Robo Master...

    UFO (1997-1999) 
The first aliens to actually see release in LEGO Space. Their backstory and motivations change with each telling: LEGO Mania Magazine depicts them as invaders from planet Humorless, Bricks 'n Pieces casts them as freedom fighters from planet Xivos, and German adverts describe them as explorers from Zotax. The aliens of UFO are painted as an aggressive, militant society through their mechanical designs, vessel names, and if that wasn't enough, one catalog even shows them engaging in combat with the Exploriens the moment they see them, targeting their main starship and blasting it into pieces. They are also stated and shown to be enemies of Roboforce.

    Insectoids (1998-1999) 
The last set in the traditional LEGO Space theme. Insectoids features a race of alien nomads, the Zotaxians, displaced from their home planet after losing a Civil War against their unjust ruler. They escape to Holox, a planet full of hostile giant insects called Bilgen Bugs and adapt their technology to camouflage themselves with their new environment and to assist in the process of digging to the "inner sun" of the planet to tap its energy. Surprisingly, they were never shown interacting with UFO, Exploriens, or any other factions, but they DO appear in a crossover with Scooby-Doo in LEGO Mania Magazine.
  • Adaptational Heroism: In European countries, the Insectoids are sympathetic heroes fleeing from an oppressive alien empire.
  • Adaptational Villainy: In North America, the Insectoids are mischievous alien invaders.
  • Amazing Technicolor Population: Three of the Zotaxian minifigures have bright blue skin, while three have dark grey skin.
  • Base on Wheels: The Arachnoid Star Base is a base on legs.
  • Big Creepy-Crawlies: The Bilgen Bugs; given the size of some of the Zotoxians' converted ships and tanks, they've got to be massive.
  • Cyborg: Similar to the UFO aliens, the Zotoxians' entire race seems to have cybernetic qualities. It's a bit easier to tell which parts are which this time, however.
  • Dub Name Change:
    • Every character has a different name in different markets: Gypsy Moth is known as Navigator Sharp in Germany and Insector 2 in the UK; Danny Longlegs is called Corporal Steel in Germany and Insector 1 in the UK; Captain Zec is called Captain Wizer in Germany; Insector Leon is called Techno Leon in Germany.
    • In some countries' catalogs, the Zotaxians are instead called Otopians.
    • Planet Holox is called Planet Armeron in World Club Magazine and Adventures! Magazine.
  • Going Native: The Zotaxians are not Insectoid Aliens themselves, nor were their vessels originally modeled after insects; They converted their ships to mimic the Bilgen Bugs' appearances to blend in and avoid attacks.
  • Hollow World: Holox contains varied environments beneath its surface. The planetary crust surrounds the “inner sun” core and the radiated energy is absorbed by crystalline Voltstones facing inward on the inside of the crust.
  • Hornet Hole: The planet Holox, with its hole-covered surface, giant insects, and internal energy stockpile, is probably meant to suggest a beehive.
  • Humanoid Aliens: The Zotaxians, much like the Zotaxians from UFO.
  • Insectoid Aliens: Played straight by the Bilgen Bugs native to Holox, but averted by the Zotaxians as described above.
  • Intercontinuity Crossover: The "Adventures of the LEGO Maniac" comic from the Insectoids issue of the Mania Magazine includes a crossover with Scooby-Doo, of all things, in order to promote a Scooby-Doo-themed sweepstakes that LEGO was holding.
  • Lightning Can Do Anything: In the British story treatment, it is how the Voltstones are created.
  • Meaningful Name: Gypsy Moth, the splinter Zotaxians' leader. Not only is her name somewhat prophetic of her faction's fate (gypsies being known as wanderers and moths foreshadowing the Bilgen Bugs and the impending technological conversion), but the gypsy moth is known for flying through both day and night, a tenacious and industrious trait the Zotaxians must match in order to survive on their new home planet.
  • Mechanical Insects: Many sets, specifically the larger ones, are modeled after insects. This was a choice of necessity, not style.
  • Named After Their Planet: Zotaxians originate from the planet Zotax.
  • Phlebotinum Battery / Power Crystal: The Zotaxians seek to convert the planet's Voltstones into a power source.
  • Some Kind of Force Field: The Zotaxians build these around the holes in the planet Holox to keep the Bilgen Bugs inside.
  • Spider Tank: The Arachnoid Star Base, which doubles as the Zotaxians' Space Base.