The Blacktron Battrax always seemed to be oddly named. The other Blacktron I vehicles are named meaningful things like “Invader” and “Renegade”, but what in intergalactic space is a battrax?
Then there’s that “-trax” element to the name, apparently standing in opposition to the fact that it doesn’t have tracks. What’s up with that?
Well, 1980s LEGO design processes being the black box that they were, we don’t know what happened when they were developing the set. Maybe the original concept model did have tracks, and they got rid of them to bring costs down.
Maybe someone involved in these things thought it looked like a sort of interplanetary Batmobile and inserted a subtle reference in calling it a “Bat-track”.
Updating the Battrax seemed like an eminently worthwhile use of my new trans yellow windscreen element. I could have gone with an Invader update, but I’ve been crying out to use all four of those small caterpillar tracks at once for some time now. And making the Battrax how I think it ought to be, with tracks, was a good opportunity.
Like the original, the cockpit section attaches to the main body of the vehicle with pin fasteners. Unlike the original, the back section does not do likewise. This ability to produce multiple configurations from the same basic set without disassembling the model was one of the features of the subtheme, and I’ve partially reprised it here with my detachable cockpit scoutship.
The rear section may not detach from the main body and stick to the cockpit to make a spaceship, but my Battrax 2.0 has a rear section that opens up to reveal a small workstation and a fuel drum.
Not having a proper Blacktron (by which I mean first-generation Blacktron, not those white-suited “Blacktron Future Generation” impostors) astronaut, I’ve done what any sensible master-builder wannabe would do: I’ve adapted.
That diagonal-zippered black torso from some forgotten Town set (I’ve got no idea where I acquired these from) makes a decent flightsuit, that particular Castle helm is the closest I can currently come to a Blacktron helmet, and I’ve assembled a backpack out of a few small elements. I hope you approve; it’s the best I can do right now. Blacktron astronauts are on my “when I find them for a price I feel I can justify to my wife” purchase list, but when you don’t have a functional PayPal account (long story involving a lost password and a change of phone number) you can’t always get the cheapest prices on Bricklink. Oh well.
Anyway, this is my Battrax 2.0. As far as an in-universe reason for its name goes, I’m thinking the battrax is some sort of alien predator. It makes sense. We name military vehicles after animals: Scorpion, Black Panther, Leopard, Maus… Or cars, for that matter: Jaguar, Impala, Tiburon…