With the Shrike (see previous), I’ve achieved something I never previously thought possible: I’ve reconciled myself to the idea of the Space Police.
Back in 1989, I thought they were ruining my favourite LEGO Space theme.
As a child, I was all about Space LEGO. I’ve mentioned in this blog before that I’m part Benny; I loved the Classic Space universe with its strange new worlds and its friendly astronauts and its moon buggies and its spaceships.
I remember the introduction of the Blacktron in 1987. This was the first real “theme” as such, and they looked cool. Visibly different from the regular Space astronauts in their white ships, these guys had their own awesome triangular emblem and a black-and-yellow colour scheme. I never got any of the sets, but I loved the look of them. Ok, “Blacktron” sounded a bit childish, but they were cool.
They also weren’t villains. Official promotional material showed them working alongside the regular astronauts, obviously different but not necessarily opposed.
Then in 1989 the Space Police arrived and changed all that, giving LEGO its first real factional conflict and making the Blacktron officially bad guys in cells.
At the time, I actually missed the fact that those were Blacktron astronauts in the Space Police cells. I was drifting into my personal LEGO Dark Ages, still interested in building, to tell the truth, but becoming embarrassed about it among my peers. I was paying less attention to the worlds of LEGO. And anyway, I hated the very idea of the Space Police.
I wanted new worlds and exploration. If I’d wanted to play cops and robbers with my LEGO, I’d have been into Town. Space Police was ruining my favourite theme, making it into a Town clone!
Or that’s what I thought, anyway.
And because I went from that into my own personal Dark Ages, I’ve carried a rather silly grudge against the Space Police all this time.
In my mind, I conflated the original Space Police with their ugly second-generation colour scheme (mostly grey with green windshields), and when I returned to LEGO as an adult and realised there had been three separate Space Police themes, I was kind of disgruntled. How could that ugly grey-and-trans-green theme spawn not one but two successors? Especially since the incredible Blacktrons only got one successor, and the excellent Ice Planet only lasted a year.
Space Police? Bleargh.
Since then, I’ve started writing stories on the LEGO.com forums. Set, of course, in my favourite Classic Space milieu, I’ve come at the whole thing with an adult’s viewpoint and an adult’s understanding of human nature.
If humans are in space, they’re still going to be humans, with all of the conflicts and problems and inner darkness that entails. This was what Star Trek always got wrong. Just because you have replicator technology it’s not going to make crime go away. Someone’s still going to steal a spaceship, or rob someone else, or sue them because their targ crapped in the air recycler, or smuggle banned nanotech into a restricted zone, or cheat on their spouse, or take murderous revenge.
And so if humans are in space, we are going to need a Space Police. Besides, they add a wonderful amount of background colour and help to convey the idea that this is a galactic civilisation, not just a small band of explorers. There are going to be hairdressers and doctors and paramedics (maybe they should do a Space Rescue line?) and artists and lawyers and news reporters and, yes, police. Someone has to kick danger in the teeth for the sake of justice. This is an inherently good thing, a noble calling to the cause of righteousness. It’s something I can get behind with a light heart.
So I’ve decided I quite like the Space Police after all. The Space Police II colour scheme wasn’t great, but the LEGO Group screwed up the Blacktron’s colours in that time period, too, and I still like the Blacktron. But the black/blue/trans red of the originals is actually pretty cool.
So I’ve been making some more Space Police hardware. The little one I’m calling the Vindicator; it’s designed as a sort of orbital motorcycle cop equivalent. An extremely agile little spaceship able to manoeuvre around ponderous giant freighters in pursuit of a bad guy in the crowded spacelanes of a major world. Ok, it looks more like a helicopter, but the inspiration was police motorbike.
The big one is the Peacemaker-class Cruiser. I consider it possibly my best spaceship yet; it’ll get its own post on this blog.
And the Space Police version of the Shrike Pursuit Ship you saw last time. Now all I need is a regular patrol-car kind of ship. And maybe some land vehicles.