Tag Archives: Lego

In Darkness Enfolded

Having come late to the MCU party (yeah, we’re slow. I was working crazy hours for not all that much money at my previous job up until this time last year, and movies were a stretch in both time and cash), it’s only been relatively recently that I’ve actually seen Thor: The Dark World.

And having fussed about not being able to build any MCU MOCs because of lacking the ‘figs, this is actually a fairly good film to build from because TLG didn’t release any sets from it. Aside from Thor himself, and Loki of course, I don’t need any more official ‘figs than that, because there really aren’t any.

(Okay, there might be an Erik Selvig in some set somewhere as well. Give me a break).

In short, anything I can produce has almost as good a claim to being the definitive LEGO version as anyone else’s, especially where the Dark Elves are concerned.

I admit the Dark Elves weren’t the most interesting villains in the MCU. Their motivations are opaque and nearly nonsensical (wouldn’t it have been cheaper and easier to put your people in stasis until the heat death of the universe if you hate light and other races that much?), and they’re more like an embodied force of nature than an actual villain.

But then, no-one watching a superhero movie ought to be analysing the plot for plausibility. By design and nature they’re grandiose right up to the point of absurdity, otherwise what’s the point? It becomes “Quick! To the Bat-lobbying committee!”

But I do have to say that of all of the hardware of the MCU (especially its spacegoing parts), it’s the Dark Elves’ stuff that most grabs my attention.

Dark Elf ships are cool!

Quinjet? Quinjets are nice, but to this day I can’t build anything like a Quinjet I’m actually pleased with. I’ve tried Blacktron I, NCS and Futuron versions, and apparently I suck at building Quinjets. The Asgardians have a pleasing mix of high technology and Dark Age trappings (way better than Nexo Knights). The Milano is a lovely iconic ship. But as far as I’m concerned the Dark Elf Harrow kicks some serious butt as a ship, and I love the tall, imposing form of their capital ships as well.

As I’ve said before in the past, I’m an absolute sucker for vertically-oriented ships, though I don’t often build them because of the difficulties of displaying them. But I just had to try building a Harrow.

Scaled down some for the purpose of buildability (something that TLG do all the time), this is my version of the Dark Elves’ starfighter/dropship. I went with a red bubble canopy to represent that fiery glowing area at the front of the ship, but I’m still not sure whether that was supposed to be part of the drive system, a viewport area or a weapon system.

The rest of the ship isn’t totally movie-accurate either. I think the original is a little taller, more pointed at the back and slightly slimmer in the body. But on the whole I’m satisfied with it. Any more height would have redoubled the structural weakness of any ship of this sort of shape built in LEGO bricks, and there was no realistic way to make it narrower and still able to seat a pilot. You can tell what it is, and there aren’t any better versions out there that I can find. I’ve looked.

One of the things that surprised me about it was how fragile it isn’t. I was expecting something shaped like this to end up as the sort of creation that wobbles if you look at it funny and falls apart if you breathe at it wrong, but it’s actually way sturdier than I’d anticipated. The only real area of structural dubiousness is where the wing attaches to the cockpit, and I couldn’t think of a way to get more clutch power there without compromising the ship’s appearance. You can even swoosh it (gently) if you hold onto it by the wing rather than the cockpit.

Swoosh!

Probably the most challenging part of this creation was making the pilot.

Obviously, since TLG skipped The Dark World for sets (and they weren’t the only toy company to give the second Thor film short shrift. My theory is that Marvel Studios were being stingy with licenses for it in order to get more merchandising attention for the first Guardians of the Galaxy movie), there isn’t a Dark Elf minifigure. Not even Malekith.

I’m actually okay with that since I’m in the same boat as everyone else, at least as far as purist customs go. I have to try and make one of my own design.

My stock of suitable minifigures isn’t that large, and at least for this build I’m using what little I already possess rather than trying to purchase or acquire the perfect elements. I have an idea for a follow-up to this build, a Dark Elf Battle Pack, for which I might go ahead and acquire the parts, but for this, I’m keeping with what I’ve got.

I’ve used Garmadon’s torso and some plain black legs, as they look reasonably like the Dark Elves’ outfits, but I think once my son’s finished with Darth Maul I’ll use that torso and legs instead. There are options for the body of the ‘fig. It’s the head and headgear that are the real challenge.

There is a LEGO head printing that looks pretty close to those mask helmets: the old Gasgano head from the first Star Wars Episode I Mos Espa Podrace set. Those heads are old, rare and expensive, though, and even if I had one they wouldn’t be a good choice for something you might want a fair-sized legion of. And like I said, for this build I was just going with stuff I already had.

In the end I went with Palpatine from the Darth Vader Transformation set, but I’m not especially happy with it. For general use it has the advantage of being plentiful, recent and cheap, but it’s not especially accurate in either the eyes or the expression. Luminara Unduli wouldn’t be a bad choice, but then the disadvantage is you either have to make all your elves female or modify the eyes with paint or a Sharpie (and a very steady hand). It may come to that if and when I make the Battle Pack, but for now, Palpatine. Palpatine is probably a better colour anyway.

When I built the Harrow, I elected to use one of the old Castle helmets for the pilot, but after that I wondered if there wasn’t a better way of doing it and started playing around with my stock of elements. It turns out that you can wedge the samurai chin guard visor element onto the aviator cap element in a raised position, and end up with something that gives the effect of the long Dark Elf ears they appear to have.

Alas, this won’t fit in the cockpit of the Harrow, but if I make the Battle Pack that’s the way I’m doing my Dark Elves. Stay posted on that score.

Dark Elf pilot, version one.

I’m actually tempted to add in some yellow stripes and swap out the windscreen element to modify this into a Blacktron vessel. I’d probably want to add some visible guns and engines if I did that, though.

Anyway, here’s my Dark Elf Harrow, single-pilot version. I hope you like it.

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Project P.E.G.A.S.U.S.

The P.E.G.A.S.U.S. spaceplane

And the first MCU-related build that I post here is… Not spectacular, I have to admit.

The experimental Project PEGASUS craft from Captain Marvel never even got the dignity of a proper name, let alone more than about six seconds of on-screen time, but since neither of the two blue minifig heads we have in this household (TLBM’s Mr Freeze and a random and unidentified Star Wars alien from one of the Battle Packs, for what it’s worth) look much like Kree, it’s about as likely a first MCU build as anything else. At least I only need human-appearing ‘figs in something that’ll pass as a flight suit.

Technically it’s not my first MCU build, but the actual first will have to wait because I’m entering it in next month’s DFWLUG “MOC the Set” contest and I don’t want to spoiler myself.

I also have the advantage that I haven’t yet seen another PEGASUS plane MOC. It’s nice to be the first, even with as unspectacular a build as this.

The main problem, obviously, is that it mixes white and grey. I realised halfway through building it that I didn’t have enough 1x2x3 slopes of either colour to make it all one shade, and the combination looks far less pleasing than I’d hoped it would. I was thinking I could make it look sort of intentional, but it’s still a bit hmmm if you want my opinion.

Oh well. I have some upcoming MCU builds that are better than this, but I did want to post this one anyway, to make the point that even without all the main character minifigures and even without wanting to remake anything that’s already in a set, there are still things you can do.

I’m starting to suspect the reason why there was only one set in the Captain Marvel wave. It has to compete with not only Endgame sets, but also Spider-Man: Far From Home in what’s (from a marketing perspective) a single range of MCU sets for this half-year period. Presumably TLG only has a limited amount of licensing money and places for sets in its current lineup, and only a certain percentage of those can be devoted to the MCU. That being the probable case, it makes sense for them to put the bulk of their effort behind things that are likely to prove more popular. Spidey is a major established character in the Marvel franchise and already has one MCU movie under his belt, and Endgame is Endgame, obviously, and needs no further comment on the likely popularity of any merchandise that ties into it. It’s possibly a major concession on TLG’s part that we even have a set from the movie and they didn’t go the Thor: The Dark World route and skip over it entirely. Of course, it did feature a brand new character who seemed an obvious new major powerhouse on the overall team lineup, which might have been a consideration.

I’m glad they made the set, because I wouldn’t have spent the money on the 76131 Avengers Compound Battle set, which is the only other place the MCU ‘fig currently appears.

Anyway, here’s my take on six seconds’ worth of experimental lightspeed engine spaceplane, though why you’d build one with a dual cockpit and risk the life of your main development scientist in a test flight is anyone’s guess. Comic-book logic doesn’t stand up too well under scrutiny, but we’re all willing to suspend disbelief enough that it’s this that annoys me rather than Captain Marvel being able to fly under her own power. Which has its own sort of comic-book logic to it, really.

Kalevala-class Ice Mech

One of my better mechs, I think.

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.

We Can Build A Spaceship (But We Can’t Build A Quinjet)

Ironic, isn’t it? It’s taken me until Endgame to get to the point of wanting to build MCU MOCs.

What’s even more ironic is that I love the whole superhero genre and I’m far more knowledgeable about and into the Marvel universe than anything DC have produced. And yet this household has precisely two MCU sets (76109 Quantum Realm Explorers and 76127 Captain Marvel and the Skrull Attack) and I’ve yet to post pics of any MOC I’ve built associated with the Marvel universe, cinematic or comic-book variety.

I’ve built some Batman MOCs, mostly using The LEGO Batman Movie‘s Batman, which fits in pretty well to the Adam West/Burt Ward milieu which was Batman for my childhood. But although Batman seems custom-designed to LEGO well, every other superhero of which I’m aware, especially in the Marvel universe, is a very different kettle of fish.

Captain America, for instance, has powers that are much more innate to himself. Once you have the minifigure, there’s not really very much that you can build around him, in contrast to Batman’s Batmobiles and Batbikes, Tumblers and Batpods, Batcopters and Batwings and so on (right on down to the wickedly satirical Bat-Dune Buggy and Bat-Space Shuttle of TLBM). Even Iron Man, who shares Batman’s schtick as a technology-powered gadgeteer hero, is basically all about the power armour, and with one or two exceptions such as the Hulkbuster, what that basically amounts to is a long string of minifigure variants.

Here I have to confess not only that Iron Man is probably my least favourite of the MCU’s heroes, but also that all of the different minor suit variations all blur together in my mind. They all basically look like Iron Man. At my level of interest in the character it kind of becomes “what’s the point?”, beyond the first minifig.

However, the point is that Iron Man is probably the Marvel universe’s most famous “builder/gadgeteer”-type hero, and he’s not easy to create my kind of MOCs for because he has no real vehicles as such. And more organic superheroes with more intrinsic powers are usually worse in that regard.

Various toy companies including LEGO long ago realised that they could use superhero branding to shift merchandise, and have “blessed” the world with all manner of Spidercopters and Hulkmobiles and Venomcycles and X-submarines, none of which bear any more resemblance to anything you see in the source material than My Little Pony looks like a real horse. When you’re eight, these have a certain coolness factor, but they don’t do very much for your average twenty-eight or forty-eight-year-old AFOL, and I can’t see any adult builder that’s not employed by the LEGO Group as a set designer actually designing and building one for any serious superhero MOC.

Yes, there are a few official vehicles from the Marvel universe that would more naturally make the sorts of vehicular builds I tend to gravitate to: the Avengers Quinjet, the SHIELD Helicarrier, the Milano, the X-Men’s Blackbird. But by and large they either have very good sets already (Quinjet, Milano) or are so humungous you’re either looking at very tiny microscale or megatons of bricks (Helicarrier). But in general, if you’re building superhero MOCs you’re probably building locations and scenery. Or Brickheadz, but those are boring and don’t do a whole lot.

I’ve tended to shy away from scenery builds because I always think I don’t have the elements to do them justice. When I do them, very often I microscale them for reasons of compatability with my smaller-end AFOL brick inventory, but you can’t very well do that if the whole focus of your build is a team of basically human-sized individuals with enhanced powers. You need to have the minifigs.

And this is where it becomes Catch-22 for me. Because I tend to shy away from location and scene-building, I’ve not been getting any of the Superheroes or MCU-related sets. I figured the builds were either contrived or not really relevant to what I was likely to want to build, and it just wasn’t worth getting the sets for the minifigures when I really couldn’t see using them in MOCs.

So now, when I actually want to build some superhero-related builds, I can’t because I don’t have the minifigures. Catch-22.

There’s always Bricklink and the local Bricks and Minifigs stores, but Captain America runs at $12 a ‘fig at the closest local B&M store, and that adds up quickly when you need not only him but Iron Man and Scarlet Witch and Thor and Hawkeye and all the rest. It’s a better price on Bricklink, but less so when you have to factor in postage.

Then, too, I always want obscure ones. I mentioned last time that I’d like some Kree. I’d like a better-looking Nova. And I’d absolutely love a Captain Britain (in his better-looking second outfit with the red diagonal cross, for preference). Of course, I figure the likelihood of the LEGO Group producing a Captain Britain ‘fig is woefully low unless he gets face time in one of the MCU Phase Four movies, and probably not high even then. Though there was that “blink-and-you’d-miss-it” name-drop in Endgame where Peggy Carter says that “Braddock” (as in Brian Braddock, Captain Britain?) hasn’t checked in for a while.

I’m unsure what I’d use a Captain Britain ‘fig in, but I really want one. So much so that for the first time I’m actually considering going to one of the bootleg custom brick-printing outfits for one. There are a few quite cheaply-priced examples online that don’t look half bad in their pics. I’ve always been leery of going that route, though, because I figure the quality is probably going to be bad and/or there are going to be real compatability issues with trying to attach it to real LEGO bricks.

MCU Battle Packs: An Option Worth Exploring

I do rather like the Star Wars “Battle Pack” sets that TLG produce. They’re great for cheap minifigures that you tend to need lots of, like Stormtroopers, Clones, random Jedi, Jawas and so on.

Typically I’ve personally used them as a source of flesh-coloured heads for my neo versions of Classic Space, Blacktron and Ice Planet astronauts, but I can foresee a time when I will actually buy them for their intended purpose.

However, the Star Wars Battle Packs in all their variety aren’t precisely what I want to talk about.

This week was my birthday, and among other things I got the 76127 Captain Marvel and the Skrull Attack set. Now, I don’t precisely want to review it right now either, but I will say that the proto-Quinjet is a very nice build for its size, with some really creative SNOTwork techniques being used. It’s just a pity that Captain Marvel’s hair is the wrong style. That’s a minor quibble, though, because I’m sure we’ve got a better hairpiece in nougat somewhere around.

No, what really annoys me about it is that they only made the one set from the entire movie, because I’d really like some Kree Starforce minifigs, or Accusers, or Skrulls.

That’s when it hit me that the Battle Pack format would be a great one to apply to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, because a Kree Starforce Battle Pack is basically the MCU’s equivalent of Stormtroopers.

You don’t have to confine it to just the Kree, either. I’ve got a whole raft of ideas you could do:

  • Kree Starforce
  • SHIELD Agents
  • Skrulls
  • Hydra Soldiers
  • Nova Corps
  • Ravagers
  • Chitauri
  • Kree Accusers
  • Wakandan Border Tribe
  • SHIELD Soldiers
  • Dora Milaje

And so on. You could even expand it into the further Marvel universe that the MCU hasn’t touched yet. But even if you don’t, at 2 or 3 Battle Packs per cycle that’s enough for several years’ worth of sets and their revenue.

Frankly, who wouldn’t be enthused about the opportunity to get a load of Kree, or Hydra soldiers, or SHIELD Agents, or Chitauri, in job lots without having to buy massive and expensive sets? I’d buy several, especially of the Kree.

Capricorn

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.

Capricorn Subglacial Deep Submergence Vehicle

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 piloting the Capricorn

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.

“Krystovian Seatron” logo

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 time…

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 be thrilled.

Deep, Deep Space

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?

Structure of Jovian moon Europa, as currently theorised.

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.

One of the few tantalising glimpses we have of what might have been: the Seatron monorail

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.

One of the awesome-looking Seatron aliens.

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.

Beneath the ice of Krysto

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 yellow colour.

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.

Closeup of the Krystovian submarine

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.

Hmmm.

Closer look at the surface support base