I finally got that horrible one-piece mech cockpit element (#27168) to actually work for me instead of against me! Seriously, that thing’s been a source of frustration since we acquired it with my son’s 70901 Mr Freeze Ice Attack set.
However, I finally realised that with a little judicious jiggery-pokery of angles with the lower pin attachment and almost completely ignoring the towball arm attachments, you can actually make quite a nice mech.
This is also the first time I’ve managed something like those completely unfolding mech cockpits that are so fashionable in hardsuit-building circles.
I don’t have a lot to say about this really. I named it after the Finnish mythological epic, because cold-weather climate mythologies are a great source of naming material for Ice Planet stuff.
If the Ice Planeteers are going to explore the dark interior ocean I’m postulating beneath the frozen surface of Planet Krysto (see last time), obviously they’ll need submarines.
Plus, presumably, diving suits able to tolerate the pressures and
temperatures of Krysto’s deep ocean, but we don’t necessarily
need to worry about that quite yet.
Designing and building space submarines for the Ice Planet crew is a
big project, and one I hope to do justice to. It’ll take quite a
while until I’m ready to produce a whole display, though, or even a
relatively minor (though still large if it were to be a set) Zycon
IV-sized multiple-crewed subglacial exploration vessel.
This smaller bathysphere-style submarine will showcase the sort of
thing I have in mind, though.
I had already decided that Aquarius would make a great name
for the Ice Planeteers’ main submarine, having both aquatic and
stellar connotations. So, borrowing from another watery
constellation name, this one is the Capricorn. It may not
look much like a sea-goat, but neither does the constellation,
really. It’ll serve.
Like most of the Ice Planeteers’ regular hardware, it doesn’t
really have anything in the way of visible armament. IP2002 was the
“civilian” theme of its day, caught between the Blacktron II and
Spyrius on one side and the Space Police II on the other, and the
LEGO Group hewed to a much stricter line back then on
violence-potential and weaponry in their sets, especially in their
futuristic Space sets where the weapons could be assumed to be even
more destructive than what we have today.
If there are large, possibly aggressive, potentially buildable
lifeforms down there (and it would be a shame if there weren’t),
this may be a Mistake, but it’s possible the Ice Planeteers just
don’t have any weapons with which to arm their submersibles.
Commander Bear himself is piloting the Capricorn, wearing
what’s going to pass in this branch of the LEGO universe for a deep
sea exploration suit. In actuality, it’s one of the spacesuit
helmets from the City Spaceport subtheme with a trans light blue
visor, but the same element was used in grey for the latest round of
Deep Sea Explorers sets, so I figure I’m on firm ground, so to
speak. I’d love to use trans red for his visor, but that element
doesn’t exist in that colour, and I’m uncertain anyway how it’ll
look with the standard Ice Planet spacesuit colours.
I’m not sure whether a diving suit is even practical for that sort
of environment, but if it is, then I’m sure that Future Technology
as used in the LEGO Classic Space universe can build it. Maybe some
sort of hard-skinned composite unobtainium using an advanced form of
the same insulation tech as the Ice Planeteers’ spacesuits. At any
rate, that’s for a future build once I’ve got hold of some
flipper elements in blue, black or white.
I borrowed shamelessly from the old Seatron logo with its symbolic
representation of the surface and subsurface colour palettes, but for
Ice Planet. Thus, white background and black lines, with yellow and
red below and blue and orange above. It looks right, somehow. These
are hand-drawn on the sort of dot stickers you can get in any dollar
store, and no doubt I’d end up with a better product if I printed
them. But I’m a bit backward with technology and I don’t know
how to set up my printer for paper that small.
After I finished the Capricorn, I decided to modify my sole
octopus into some sort of alien hybrid of squid and manta ray.
Designing alien underwater creatures that can be built with LEGO is
fairly difficult, but this is at least a start. Though what I really
ought to try for are giant versions of some of the bizarre Burgess
Shale lifeforms, like Opabinia or Anomalocaris. Next
Anyway, this is my first “real” build for my subglacial Seatron
or aquatic Ice Planet theme. I think this is my first submarine as
an AFOL, and of course, it’s a space submarine. Benny would
Several of the larger ice moons of Jupiter and Saturn – most notably Europa, Ganymede and Enceladus – are believed to have liquid water oceans beneath their icy surfaces, kept liquid by tidal friction heating due to the moons’ orbits around their mother planets. So my question is, what about Krysto, LEGO’s own Ice Planet?
Using real-world astrophysics on the LEGO universe isn’t always straightforward, given the elastic, not-always-serious, definitely-not-hard-science nature of LEGO Space’s cosmology. However, even as a kid I liked a hard-science edge to my LEGO Space play, and got irritated when LEGO themselves did “stupid stuff” like showing minifigs in space without spacesuits, or creating ridiculous space helicopters (Yes, M-Tron Particle Ionizer, I do mean you). As an AFOL, my version of the Neoclassic Space universe tends to use as much real-world space science as I can muster within the LEGO Space aesthetic.
I really like the idea, so just like Europa or Enceladus, my version
of Krysto has an interior ocean.
Since Krysto is described as a planet rather than a moon, its
interior can’t be kept liquid by the tidal heating of its own orbit
around a mother planet, so presumably it has a large moon that
achieves the same effect. This isn’t contraindicated by anything I
know about that LEGO has put out; as a toy company they weren’t
really into giving precise cosmological detail anyway.
Giving Krysto an inner subsurface ocean allows all sorts of
development potentialities, not least of which is the possibility of
Commander Bear and his crew exploring inward with mining equipment
and submarines, as well as outward with rocketry and satellites.
In effect, what I’m looking at is a reworking of Seatron for the Ice Planeteers.
If you’ve never heard of Seatron, neither had I until I recently
came across it in a YouTube video when I was following up a tangent
in researching the first Space Police. And the reason we’ve never
heard of it is because it was an unpublished theme, sadly aborted
before reaching production.
It seems it was intended as a direct successor to Futuron; a Space
subtheme set on an ocean planet, blending LEGO’s Space and Aquazone
lines together in one awesome crossover theme. The few tantalising
glimpses we’re given show an underwater monorail, an
awesome-looking oceanic base, and alien “Sea People” almost a
decade before LEGO would finally give us nonhumans in the UFO theme.
And substantially better aliens, too. UFO is my least-favourite
Space line, with its messy colour scheme, ugly logo and
could-have-been-better aliens, but those Sea People! Look at that
thing! We’re used to alien minifigs with a unique head mould, but
about the only elements that has in common with a human minifigure
are the arms and hands. Such lovely texturing on the torso and legs!
The reasons given for why Seatron never made it to the shelves seem
as varied as those giving out the information, but they generally
fall into three categories. Number one, the LEGO Corporation’s
powers-that-be decided that they (or we) weren’t ready for LEGO
aliens yet. Number two, it seems sales of the Futuron monorail
weren’t what they had hoped. And number three, apparently they had
outsourced the monorail track elements to another company… which
then proceeded to go belly-up before LEGO could acquire the rights
for those pieces.
Who really knows? All I can say is that based on those few glimpses
it would have been a seriously impressive theme, combining my
favourite terrestrial theme with my perennial love of Space.
If I intend to adapt the Seatron concept to an Ice Planet setting,
obviously I’m going to have to make some changes. I can’t use
the Seatron theme’s above-the-waves palette of white and trans red;
I’m going to have to keep the Ice Planet colours for that half of
my builds. So whatever I choose for my alternate, below-the-ice
palette has to look right next to all that.
I tried several things while searching for the right look. My
initial thought was to maintain the blue and black of regular IP2002,
but swap in yellow instead of white and trans red instead of trans
neon orange, trying to keep in the same colour family for the
transparent elements while using that “obviously subaquatic” LEGO
Alas, while it looks great on its own, and the blue elements and
trans red make it clear that this ain’t an Aquanauts MOC, I was
really unsold on it in combination with the regular Ice Planet
livery. It just looks too warm. So I tried some other stuff.
Modified Atlantis palette, swapping the Ice Planet blue and trans
neon orange for red and trans bright green? Nope; it looks too much
like miscoloured Atlantis. A complete no-go.
A lot of the visual warmth is probably inevitable, since I want to
stay with yellow for one of my primary colours, and I want to keep
the trans red as well to make it distinct from Aquazone. I tried
again with white instead of blue, and that seems to work.
Much of this “trying things out” phase was with small tablescrap
builds that I didn’t photograph (though the yellow/blue/black/trans
red combination did result in a fairly nice modular submarine with a
lot of the visual shape of the Blacktron Invader, but I broke it
apart before taking pics), so you’ll have to take my word for how
bad some of the combinations looked. Having established the colour
combination, I was ready to build something more serious.
I’d love to make a whole minifig-scale scene on a 32×32 baseplate,
featuring a slice section through the ice and parts of both the
surface and subsurface worlds. Alas, I don’t begin to have enough
white to generate a believable thickness of ice, and trying to
support that sort of mass at height raises structural concerns. I
could work something out, but at the moment the lack of white is
crippling my ambitions.
Microscale, though, I can do.
For its scale and size, I’m pleased enough with this, but it’s so
small and limited compared to what I’d like to do that I’m ending
up somewhat disappointed. I do like the use of those Season 5
Ninjago ectoplasmic blades as seaweed, though. And that’s not a
bad submarine for a 15-element nubbin the size of a fingernail.
I will be continuing with this adjunct-to-Ice-Planet subtheme. I do
really like the idea of a Krystovian interior ocean.
So now I just need a name for it. Ice Planet: Beneath has a
sort of possibility, but it’s inelegant and doesn’t abbreviate
well. Aquatron doesn’t preserve the link with Ice Planet,
and Frozen Seas sounds too terrestrial, like a Viking-based
computer game or something.
Seatron: Krysto could work, I suppose, or I did consider Ice
Planet: Aquarius Project, as I thought Aquarius would make
an apt name for their biggest or first main explorer submarine. But
IP:AP is an even more terrible abbreviation than IP:B.
Rudolph and company are all very well for Earthly Christmas travels. All around the world on a sleigh pulled by eight to nine flying reindeer is doable when your distances are only thousands of miles. But in the galactic future, the Big Red Guy is going to need an upgrade.
The idea of Santa calling on the aid of warp-dwelling transgalactic lifeforms such as Hyperspace Reindeer has a lot of awesome story potential but it’s difficult to build. No, Father Christmas is going to need a spaceship.
Enter the Spirit of Christmas Future.
Santa drives a Vic Viper, obviously. This is only my third or fourth Viper, and I’m pleased with how it’s turned out. And this from the guy who built his first Vic Viper and said to himself “Right, done that now. Can’t see myself building another one.”
Since in the spirit of goodwill to all men, Santa has to visit all the factions of the Classic Space universe, even the Spyrius, he can’t have a spaceship in any of those colour combinations. White with green and red accents works great against a black background but when I combined it with my icy planetary backdrop I wished I’d gone with more green and red.
There’s even a storage compartment for presents in the back. Unfortunately it won’t open any more than that because engines, but the thought is there. I can’t rebuild to correct it because that would drastically mess up the overall profile of the ship, and I won’t change the engines for the same reason. But there it is.
Alongside Santa’s spaceship, the scene was crying out for some Ice Planet goodness, so I built a little Krystovian Christmas scene adjunct to go with it. Stockings hung by the reactor with care, the reactor itself having a lot of the look of a Christmas tree, presents, hot tea and Christmas cookies. Sounds good to me, except I hope that reactor is properly shielded!
Old Obi-Wan makes a pretty good Commander Bear, and I followed through on the slight Star Wars subtext by using Rei and Finn’s heads as well. Ice Planet needs at least a few black people, after all.
The Ice Planeteers had (proportionally speaking) quite a lot of surface vehicles in their single year of existence as a theme, but no mechs. This was back in the day, mind you, before the advent of CCBS and balljoint elements, and making reasonable legs was really hard.
That’s since been rectified, but insectoid ice mechs still aren’t exactly two-a-penny.
I actually started out with the smaller “Snowbug” robot, building it as a vaguely AT-TE-inspired microscale. Something the size of a building that could transport the heaviest equipment across the frozen worlds of the organisation’s mandate.
Then I decided to see if I could scale it up at all.
Knowing I wasn’t going to be able to build a vehicle even remotely as big as I’d envisaged (3-6-crew cockpit, ½ plate height = approximately 6 feet), I felt free to adapt the basic design while keeping with the overall beetle configuration.
Ski Rover (stowed position)
Ready for deployment
One of my better small Ice Planet vehicles, I think
The resulting ice bug can transport a small ski rover on its rooftop flatbed pallet, adding a nice element of playability. There’s only room for one of the two crew I’ve provided it with in the cockpit, unfortunately, but it does have those rotary shooters as well as the poseable legs and deployable ice rover.
The final element of the overall setup is an ice speeder I built a week or so back but never posted here. My neo-Commander Bear figure (Commander Cold Bear’s body with Old Obi-Wan’s head for the flesh skintone I typically like to use) is driving, now that I actually have the Ice Planet commander figure.
Not my first combination of dragons and space, but definitely my most draconic, this is obviously a dragon of the old Ice Planet 2002 theme.
Ninjago has given us plenty of “elemental dragons” of all sorts of elements including ice, and in the past I’ve personally built “elemental dragons” of Steampunk (on the defunct LEGO Galleries, alas) and Classic Space. I had some ideas about building a Blacktron space dragon (which served as a partial inspiration for the Dragon-class Blacktron battlecruiser) but I’d never considered an Ice Planet elemental dragon before.
The Elemental Dragon of Krysto is much more definitely a dragon than the fusional Classic Space variety, with a rider rather than a cockpit and those moulded dragon feet elements on its four legs. Still, Ice Planet 2002 did have a lot of open-cockpit vehicles, so I felt less need to enclose the crewman.
Sized about like the Jay’s Lightning Dragon or the first Zane’s Ice Dragon, about the only concessions to space vehiclehood here are the shoulder-mounted rocket engines and the bits of ice saw and skis at the end of the tail.
Still, you couldn’t mistake it for anything but an Ice Planet dragon with its colours and Celestial Christmas Pudding logos.
I’m fairly pleased with how this turned out, even with the CCBS elements on the neck and tail rather than being exclusively built. That shouldn’t really feel like a cheat, but somehow it does a bit.
Inspired by the shape of the original 928 Space Cruiser but sized more like the 924 Space Transporter, I’m calling this neo-Ice Planet shuttlecraft the “VX925 Snowbird”.
Having a limited range of available trans neon orange windscreen elements, several parts of this spaceship were necessary adaptations of that original design to what I had available; in particular the two separate compartments.
The overwing engines and cranked-arrow delta wing obviously reprise the 928 Space Cruiser/497 Galaxy Explorer, but on a smaller scale because a lot of my blue elements are still in use on the Auriga.
I guess the VX925 Snowbird would be a sort of slightly larger stablemate to the Blizzard Baron, with a more realistic enclosed cockpit. It’s possibly a bit overengined for its size, actually, so presumably it serves the Ice Planeteers as a kind of fast courier.
Both crewmembers are sporting what I’m considering for an adapted Ice Planet standard gear, adding blue epaulets and replacing the airtanks with a backpack that presumably includes airtanks but which looks much more rugged. Technically I suppose the epaulets ought to desigate a commander, but Commander Bear is still on my list of “need to get this but haven’t yet” minifigures (which also includes Space Police 1 troopers, yellow and black Classic astronauts and the legendary Ice Babe).
Whatever. It was eighty-something Fahrenheit in Texas last weekend, and so I naturally built an Ice Planet spaceship.