This was the year when the full initial wave of LEGO Space sets was released worldwide. As a child I had at least 3 of these sets.
Space Shuttle (442)
Small two-seater open ship.
Features: Single white astronaut, room for 2, dual steering wheels, jets, positioning thrusters, computer, laser gun, and antenna.
Thoughts: Simple, swooshable. I had this set as a child.
Mobile Ground Tracking Station (452)
Features: White astronaut, doors in back swing open to reveal a computer terminal, rotating sensor array, and trailer with radar dish,
Thoughts: Another of my childhood sets. I 💛 mobile lab sets – something about the intersection of exploration and science. The use of hinge bricks plus tile to create the moving doors made a big impression on me.
Errata: The 2 clear dishes up top should be transparent clear minifig shields, but they’re quite expensive so I did without.
Galaxy Explorer (497)
LL928: Flagship of Classic Space: largest of 3 early enclosed spaceships.
Features: Large ship with opening cockpit and rear compartment, rover, small base with radar dish, four astronauts, landing plate and a crater plate.
Thoughts: This thing had it all. 🚀 One of my favorite sets as a child – I could build it again and again. I believe this was the only ship to come with 2 base plates. Really just one of a few sets ever to come with 2 base plates. Also maybe the only ship to come with a small base (future ships came with deployable rear modules that could be considered bases).
Space Scooter (885)
Small flying wedge
Features: Transparent dark blue round bricks stuck in a fence for engines, red astronaut, antenna, and a slope printed with the Classic Space logo.
Thoughts: One of the smallest Classic Space sets. Maybe too simple.
Space Buggy (886)
Features: A small rover with antenna, astronaut, and a laser gun
Thoughts: The other smallest Classic Space set. . That gun was my favorite piece! This vehicle appeared in almost the same form in the Galaxy Explorer (497) and Beta-I Command Base (6970).
Radar Truck (889)
Features: Small truck with movable radar dish and a red astronaut.
Thoughts: Not particularly exciting, but a solid little vehicle. Bonus points for the laser gun.
One Man Space Ship (918)
LL918: Little brother to the Galaxy Explorer. Smallest of 3 fully enclosed early spaceships.
Features: Red astronaut, opening cockpit, storage in the rear.
Thoughts: This was about as small a ship as you could make in 1979 and yet be fully enclosed. Unlike its two larger siblings, the rear does not split open on hinge bricks. The printed control piece was originally used as oven dials! Despite its small size it still merited its own pair of printed model number bricks, the last space set to do so.
These seven sets together with the four sets from 1978 compose the initial wave of LEGO Space sets. (I’m not counting minifigure packs nor base plate packs. I’m also excluding duplicates where the same set was released under different numbers.)
Next up: Space 1980!