A while ago i was reading through an interesting post over at gizmodo about his visit to the fabolous Lego Vaults in Scandinavia. This magical place is a priceless museum of all Lego kits ever created. From the very first up to the very latest, all lego play sets that have ever left the factory, are stored in that magical vault. To my surprise, the author had a certain weakness for a particular line of Lego toys that spanned the late seventies early eighties. The "Lego Space" line encompassed, among others, several "kits" A lunar base ‘The Space Command Center" (box 483)The Alpha Rocket Base (box 483) The Space Cruiser (Box 487) a smaller space cruiser and .. the majestic box 497 "The galaxy explorer". A fairly large and expensive box for the time. Featuring a small ground command station and a space cruiser with a pilot of one and a cargo bay for one little lunar jeep.
immediately i was taken over by a wash of childhood nostalgia. I remember the three spaceship models very well, since I owned the smallest one and had spent many many hours playing with it. I also remember the pang of envy I felt when I watched the kid across the street play with HIS Lego spaceship. THe larger and more powerful version of my little one-man patrol-ship. The "Galaxy Explorer". In comparison this was a massive ship with its own landing facility AND a "massive" hangar bay capable of transporting the little Jeep that came with it. This envy stuck, for I have never had a chance to own that kit, nor did my requests to "borrow" the instruction plans from my neighbor, so i could build my own version of the ship with the parts i had lying around. But the answer was no .. so the Galaxy explorer sailed of into the folds of the past.
30 years after the box was originally launched, that request for the "instruction plans" of the Galactic explorer seems to find an answer after all. A wonderful site called "The Brickfactory" houses every single instruction booklet to every single Lego set ever built. Now since I have obeyed my golden childhood rule " Never give your Lego’s away" I was wondering if I could put two and two together. So I have started my attempt to "rebuild" the Galaxy Explorer for my own, using the parts that I have from all the years i played with Lego.
Now, Since i was a Lego kid from lets say the late seventies tot midway the eighties, the type of blocks required for the set were not out of my reach. (there were no super modern blocks needed) so i started my attempts this afternoon. Rustling between my blocks while reading through the instructions, was like a trip down memory lane. I remembered peering at those instructions as a kid , counting the little knobs on top of the blocks to know the size i required. Spending hours looking for the right part and being frustrated when you didn"t find it. And the greatest joy : Watching your construction take form are you follow along the different steps in the instruction. No wonder we are an Ikea generation ! THe Scandinavians had us following their "instructions" since we where kids.
However I was met by a problem that has set back the "speed" of my construction of the Galaxy Explorer. The thing with using parts from a set from 1979 is not that you don’t OWN the parts , its that you have probably lost some of those parts over the span of the years. Several "classic" bricks ( engine mounts for one) proved to be a little hard to find so my own "Galaxy explorer" isn’t quite ready to come to life just yet.
But some surfing on the web did give me a chance to take a peek at the work some of the Lego enthusiasts have been doing over the years. Since our own imagination is the boundary to what we can do with lego .. you should check out just SOME of the variations that were inspired by the Galaxy Explore. So never mind I didn’t get to build my OWN galaxy explorer. Now I can drool over what others did with it too. I heart the Interwebs !
The BrickFactory : The Original Galaxy Explorer plans (among others of the Space line of 1979)
Assembly of the Galaxy Eplorer (as it should be done 😉 )