Space 1981

Onto the third wave of LEGO Space sets!

New Parts

Some of the new parts for 1981 follow:

  • Arm Grab Jaw with Holder: nice addition for articulated arms
  • Engine, Strakes, 2 x 2 Thin Top Plate: bottom-mounted engine pieces
  • Hinge Plate 2 x 4 with Articulated Joint: sturdy connection for jointed vehicles
  • Plate, Round 1 x 1
  • Plate, Modified 1 x 1 with Clip Light: useful for holding small plates, antennas, or accessories.
  • Plate, Modified 1 x 2 with Ladder
  • Slope, Inverted 33 5 x 6 x 2: the giant inverted space slope. Pairs well with the 6 stud wide transparent windscreen slopes.

Moon Buggy (6801)

Features: Small hover vehicle in gray with black accents, computer, white astronaut, walkie-talkie and a laser gun.

Thoughts: How is this a buggy without wheels? Cool use of radar dish the way it fits onto the plates both above and below. Nice to get two accessories and a printed slope in such a small set. This set has grown on me since building it – it’s definitely in the running for favorite small set.

 

Space Digger (6822)

Features: Small vehicle with four jets, positioning thrusters, and an articulated grabber arm piloted by a red astronaut with a walkie-talkie

Thoughts: Sort of like a space backhoe? Compact but functional. ❤️ the grabber jaws. Four of the new engine “strakes” provide support and thrust. The new clip light plate is used to mount the transparent red headlights.

 

Small Space Shuttle Craft (6842)

Features: Small ship with a single large engine, positioning thrusters, and side-mounted lasers piloted by a red astronaut.

Thoughts: Like riding a rocket. This was a speeder bike two years before Return of the Jedi showed us how speeder bikes should look like. White clip light plates hold a pair of black antenna at the rear. The new plate with ladder provides a way of mounting the speeder bike shuttle.

 

Space Probe Launcher (6870)

Features: Articulated ground vehicle that launches a small flying wedge with one red astronaut.

Thoughts: Neat small set but needs a second astronaut. The larger tires give it a rugged look. Mobile launcher is another archetype that will be revisited. I like the design symmetry of using the clip light plates to hold transparent 1 x 1 plates at the front of both the spaceship and the truck (also symmetry of a pair of positioning thrusters at the rear). Also note the use of the new articulated joint to connect the truck’s cab and trailer.

Here the plate with ladder part is used to represent the truck’s front grille.

 

All-Terrain Vehicle (6927)

Features: Ground vehicle that deploys a base via a clever mechanism. Dual radar dishes, two astronauts, and a pair of accessories.

Thoughts: Transparent dark blue windscreens! 💙 The ground vehicle uses white and black with transparent blue while the base employs the classic blue and transparent yellow color scheme.

Q: Why is this ground vehicle rocket-propelled?

A: Because space!

I really like the look of those transparent blue windows and the symmetry of the inverted slope below and regular slopes above. This photo also provides a good look at the white clip ring piece bearing transparent red headlights and the black ladders granting access to the cockpit.

The white 2 x 2 slopes on the doors connect with the blue inverted slopes on the sides of the base helping to lift it up and in. The transparent red round plates mounted on the sides of the base slide up the white 1 x 2 slopes on the vehicle’s sides. What an excellent design!

It’s quite cramped inside the base though. The astronaut cannot sit in the chair unless she doffs her backpack or wears it on her front. I do quite like the sturdy mechanism for raising the roof (no less than 4 hinge bricks).

 

Star Fleet Voyager (6929)

Features: Wasp-waisted mid-sized spaceship with a Concorde-style angled nose, cargo storage in the rear, a single red astronaut, and plenty of accessories.

Thoughts:Was this the replacement for the previous mid-sized ship, Space Cruiser LL924?

Opening cockpit roof. The windscreen and roof look great in transparent dark blue. The backwards facing Classic Space logo seems a little odd.

We’ve seen the mechanism of the back splitting open on hinge bricks twice before in the LL924 and Galaxy Explorer LL928, but this time the crate itself forms the floor of the cargo area and the doors latch the crate securely into place when they close (hence the 2 x 6 plate mounted on the crate’s roof).

Interesting use of window shutters as doors for the crate. I like that they provided six different accessories for this set. Some clip onto the outside of the ship, the rest go in the crate.

 

Wrap-Up

These are the six sets for 1981. Note the increased use of white and black in the color scheme as well as the introduction of transparent dark blue windows. LEGO was definitely trying to mix up the color scheme from the initial years. My favorite set of the lot is probably the All-Terrain Vehicle (6927) although the Moon Buggy (6801) is a great tiny set.

Next up: Space 1982