Ice Planet 2002 represented the “civilian” faction of the LEGO Space universe in 1993-1994. The theme is famous for having the first named minifigure – Commander Bear (named “Commander Cold” everywhere except the UK) – the first female minifigure, and an apparently controversial colour scheme featuring transparent neon orange windscreen elements.
Personally, I found the neon orange a little garish at the time, but neon windshield elements were all the rage back then. The Blacktron (Second Generation) had them, the M-Tron guys had them, and the Ice Planet folks had them. And orange adds just the right note of warmth and visibility for an ice theme.
Anyway, I like the Ice Planet theme, and I’ve been making some modern “Neo-Ice Planet” stuff. A lot of it’s in micro-scale, but I happen to like micros. And because trans neon orange isn’t exactly a common LEGO brick colour, I’ve followed the lead of others in going to a regular trans orange windshield colour.
As part of this, I had an inspiration for why “Ice Planet 2002”: ICEPLANET is an acronym for the organisation’s name, and the “2002” refers to Commander Bear’s team.
So this is a sort of hardware guide to the Galactic Federation’s ICEPLANET (Integrated Cryotic Exoplanet and Polar Landscapes Assessment Niche Exploration Teams) organisation:
The Winterfire-class Transport is one of the main initial planetary exploration ships of the ICEPLANET organisation of the Galactic Federation. The ICEPLANET teams specialise in the exploration of cold, icy worlds in the outer parts of star systems and the mapping and extraction of resources in such frozen environments.
The Winterfire-class Transport is used primarily for initial planetary exploration under the auspices of the ICEPLANET teams, and is one of only a few Federation ship types able to safely make planetfall and take off again from the sorts of frozen worlds that ICEPLANET specialise in. The Winterfire-class functions as a large “amphibious” transport – that is, a ship able both to enter hyperspace and to make planetary landings, and can transport a team of up to twenty-four ICEPLANET specialists plus their gear, and serve as a temporary base and headquarters.
White Baron Aerospace Craft:
The White Baron is one of the most familiar of the several smaller ICEPLANET spaceships, due to its fame as the usual vehicle of Team 2002’s ace pilot Laurie Blizzard.
Featuring tripod-style twin-ski landing-gear and a specially-designed cold-tolerant engine, the White Baron is a short-range aerospace craft for both orbital and suborbital work. It is able to take off and land almost vertically, minimising the need for specially-constructed landing strips, and is often used for aerial survey, perimeter patrol and sample-gathering missions.
The official name White Baron references the archaic pre-Space Age pilot Manfred von Richthofen, sometimes called the “Red Baron”. However, media reports of ICEPLANET 2002’s activities managed to confuse its name with that of its pilot, and so many of the Federation’s wider public know the vehicle as the “Blizzard Baron”. It is even beginning to be called that within the organisation.
Baseline models of the White Baron are unarmed, though the vehicle has the capacity to wing-mount a pair of medium-power lasers for defence and debris elimination. More critical to the vehicle’s success in the ICEPLANET organisation is its powerful metaradio transmitter/receiver, enabling the pilot to remain in touch with the rest of the team from half a world away even in the absence of communications satellites or atmospheric metaradio wave-reflection effects.
The rear module containing this transmitter/receiver and the orbital engine can be detached to provide communications capacity and power to emergency and temporary shelters melted into the native ice.
Snow Leopard Ice Rover:
The Snow Leopard Ice Rover is one of the largest ground vehicles used by the ICEPLANET organisation, serving as a mobile temporary base camp and heavy surface transport vehicle.
The vehicle is an eight-wheeler like the much smaller Ice-Sat Type V Launcher, though its eight wheels are much larger; each one approximately the height of an adult human. The Snow Leopard’s forward command cockpit incorporates large windows for visibility; the bright orange both reduces glare from the ice and makes the ICEPLANET team vehicles more visible in the harsh conditions. It includes a forward snow plough, a powerful rear winch and a large hyperspace transmitter/receiver mounted on the roof. The vehicle can support a crew of six for extended missions away from the ICEPLANET main base.
As with the Winterfire transport and the White Baron aerospace craft, the baseline model of the Snow Leopard is unarmed, but many Snow Leopards mount a medium-power laser on the crew section’s roof dome.
The Wolverine is a smaller ICEPLANET surface vehicle employed as a snowplough/bulldozer and general pioneer cryotic construction vehicle. Driven by a single operator, its snow-dozer blade is employed to smooth off the icy surface to create base roads and landing strips.
Atop the roof, the ubiquitous ICEPLANET communications antenna enables continual contact between field operatives and Base personnel; essential in the harsh and hazardous conditions in which the ICEPLANET teams work.
The Wolverine also incorporates a pair of light-duty manipulator arms in the rear of the vehicle, which are useful for handling ice or rock samples and for light cryotic-construction tasks, and can carry a pair of skis for the operator on a rear-mounted rack.
The 6-wheeled Wolverine is a fairly powerful vehicle for its size, but its range is more limited than some vehicles due to its particular role.
[I had to use trans red for the windscreen of this one – lack of trans neon orange in the right shapes]
Mechs are not often used by the ICEPLANET teams. Most mech designs are either unsuited to work on ice surfaces or unable to tolerate the extreme cold in which the organisation’s teams work. At the sorts of temperatures found on the ice worlds of most outer star systems, many metals become brittle and weak, and while a wheeled or tracked vehicle is more able to cope, the stresses put on a mech usually render the vehicle types unsuitable for use in the extreme cold.
The Polarizer is not most mechs, however. Specifically designed for the ICEPLANET organisation and constructed using special cold-tolerant pseudoceramic materials and insulated structural components, it is able to withstand the temperature extremes of typical ICEPLANET working conditions and the human-habitable temperatures of base interiors and workshops.
The Polarizer is equipped with skis on its feet to aid in manoeuvrability on ice surfaces, and advanced mobility programming to enable the pilot to fully utilise this option. As far as upper-body equipment goes, the standard loadout is a three-fingered grasping claw on the right hand and a combination cutting laser and power ice saw on the left, though other tool mixes exist and the hand attachments are mostly interchangeable. The standard ice saw is no bigger than the ones carried by ICEPLANET field operatives, but the larger power source of the Polarizer mech makes it considerably more powerful and with greater endurance.
Roof-mounted communications antennas complete the Polarizer’s integral equipment list. Some Polarizers also carry additional equipment, for example back-mounted additional fuel cells for extra range.
The one weakness of the Polarizer is that its access point is narrow and the vehicle is not easy to get into and out of. Once inside, the mech is roomy and comfortable, but the access process is difficult, especially in spacegoing cold-weather gear.
The Norway-class Transport is a medium-sized amphibious (i.e. able to land on planets and enter hyperspace) space transporter used by the ICEPLANET organisation.
Mostly employed for the transfer of personnel and light gear, it is considerably smaller than the regular Winterfire-class transport and has a smaller cargo hold. Norway, the class’ lead ship, functions as the personal transport of ICEPLANET head Commissioner Witusz Bellingshausen.
Like its larger cousin, the Norway-class is not normally armed, though a laser turret can be fitted in place of the upper viewing dome toward the rear of the craft. ICEPLANETeers are not combat troops, and the extreme conditions in which they work are hazardous enough to need the individuals’ full focus without compromising their training by adding in weapons handling modules.
YMIR Ice Tunneler:
ICEPLANET operational bases are frequently formed by tunneling, either beneath the planetary surface or into the sides of cliffs or mountains. With the ice-and-rock composition of most of the worlds on which the teams work, using controlled heat to melt away the ice is frequently one of the simplest ways of constructing large enclosed spaces, and the primary vehicle used for these operations is the YMIR.
The Yttrium-Modulated Ice Regulator is a cryotic-construction vehicle using large-scale heat-projecting lamps to swiftly melt away native ices in a more controlled manner than using a laser.
Powerful fans in the rear of the vehicle direct the vapour and spray from the melted ices away to the surface, preventing them from immediately refreezing behind the vehicle and trapping it.
The vehicle is also readily modifiable into a tanklike heavy laser carrier.
Snowfox Scout Vehicle:
The Snowfox is an ICEPLANET updating of the ancient “skidoo” vehicle concept. Featuring a single track mounted at the rear for traction and mobility, and twin skis mounted forward for steering, it is a manoeuvrable small vehicle for ICEPLANET surface operations.
The vehicle has room for a single pilot and serves as a scout/reconnaissance vehicle for the ICEPLANET teams.