Tag Archives: Neoclassic Space

Space Trek

There seem to have been a lot of Star Trek builds from yours truly of late. Two Klingon cruisers, one Federation long range explorer with a rather overdetailed backstory, one bridge module of said overdetailed explorer, and numerous other small builds that I didn’t even bother blogging.

Space Trek. Or, “what a blending of Star Trek and Classic Space might look like”

This is not another Star Trek build. Though I’ll grant you it’s similar. Space Trek, or something.

You see, after building that bridge module with the Classic Space torsos representing Starfleet uniform jerseys, I started to think about how similar in ethos Star Trek’s Federation and the Classic Space astronaut corps are. Traditionally, the Classic astronauts come from a “Federation” as well, though I prefer “League” when I’m dealing with the normal upbeat version and “The System” when it’s my inverted dystopia in which the Blacktron are the good guys.

Ahem. Anyway… Both are set in space, at some point in the future. Both portray an upbeat, optimistic view of said future. Both feature brightly-coloured uniforms. Both endeavour to show peaceful exploration and cooperation rather than conflict and warfare.

Of course, Classic Space doesn’t have any real story, whereas Star Trek has 50 years’ worth of complex, dynamic future history and established canon. Indeed, hardcore Trek fans can be some of the most nitpicky continuity-obsessed grumpy old men in all of fandom where their canon and perceived deviations therefrom are concerned.

The tech’s a little different, too, insofar as the LEGO Group ever bothered to define the Classic Space tech base. More or less it was “whatever’s cool for 7-12-year-olds, mostly boys”. With not much in the way of definition to its universe, the question could reasonably be asked: “Was Classic Space a kind of Trek or pre-Trek?”

Starfleet runabout? NCS lander? Yeah, something like that.

Before the movies (Star Trek: The Motion Picture released in 1979, a year after the first Classic Space sets hit the shelves), TNG, Enterprise or JJ Abrams’ Kelvin timeline, there was only so much in the way of official canon future history for the Trek universe either, but given the thorny copyright problem that would probably have existed even in 1978 had the LEGO Group openly set their new toy line in the Star Trek universe (even a lot closer to the present than to Jim Kirk) I’d be hesitant to seriously suggest it.

Given the similarity in overall tone and ethos, though, it’s reasonable to guess that Gene Roddenberry and the LEGO Group might have been drinking from the same well. Which is something I hadn’t really considered until now.

There are some differences, of course, particularly in the equipage of the individual explorers. Starfleet’s crews wear brightly-coloured uniforms, but they are daywear, not spacesuits. They deal with Earthlike planets with breathable atmospheres, or the interior of their starship. Up until some of the movies you never even saw a Star Trek spacesuit. Which is a bit weird when you think about it since the whole premise of the show was space exploration.

If your planet has breathable atmosphere, do you actually need a spacesuit?

By contrast, the Classic Space astronauts wear spacesuits all the time, even in what ought to be the pressurised cabin of their Galaxy Explorer-class space cruiser, or (in a lot of fan MOCs) the interior of their giant moonbase. I have to confess that even as a kid this used to bug me, and I always wanted to make airlocks or changing rooms where they could put on their spacesuits for going outside.

If I’d kept buying sets when Futuron came out instead of becoming too embarrassed to buy LEGO as a teen in the ‘80s (back before nerd culture was cool) I’d probably have made the Futuron torsos my day uniforms. Probably modified with a white arm on the left so it looks more like a diagonally-divided bicoloured jersey with an organisational badge. And I’d have kept the plain coloured Classic Space ‘figs as my spacesuits. Alas, it was not to be. And I can’t do that now because I only have two Futuron-style torsos.

I have no idea what this guy’s little sensor doodad is, but I like it. That’s a new fuel rod the blue-shirted woman is carrying.

Therefore, classic Trek-looking day uniforms. The women are wearing black trousers like the men, because the right elements don’t exist to make Trek-style miniskirts in all those bright colours, and anyway, that seems a little too close to objectifying women. It isn’t the ‘60s any more and we ought to know better. They’re explorers. Dresses of any kind seem like they’d be impractical.

I built the lander first, choosing the white Classic Space colour palette of sets like 6929 Starfleet Voyager (even the set names sound like Star Trek) as seeming to contrast better with the alien biosphere I had in mind for the scene. White also looks more like the tech of the original series of Trek, before Star Wars introduced the “used-future” look with its workaday grime and occasionally clunky and falling-apart high technology. That’s not a Starfleet shuttlecraft, though. I’ll grant you that the engine pods could reasonably be interpreted as warp nacelles, but most of Trek’s shuttles are much smaller than my lander (which I’m dubbing the Endeavour-class). I think it might even be bigger than the Danube-class runabout of DS9, though that probably has more internal room. One of the features of Trek tech is that it seems to exist in hammerspace and operate without noticeable fuel reserves. Of course, some of the Classic Space sets are a bit guilty of that, too, but Classic Space is way less developed than Trek and was designed for 8-year-olds rather than a presumed adult or semi-adult audience.

Anyway, I kept having to rebuild the lander over and over again while I tried to get the payload bay door to cooperate. For a while it just wasn’t working, and I tried several things before I decided to ignore the fact that the curved panels are hinged. I initially had a slightly boxier, more Trek-looking lander in mind, but I think this “evolved Classic Space” look works even better. The lander is almost exclusively SNOTwork, and mostly looks the better for it. With all of my Clue(do) vignettes (initial series of six, of which this was the first) built, finding enough pieces for this was a real stretch. I really need to get more 1xEverything bricks in almost all colours.

Payload bay isn’t as big as I’d like, but we’ve got so much built at the moment that I’m almost out of bricks.

This is partly why there’s no more of an interior than you see. The payload bay alone can’t possibly account for all the explorers, but if you assume that there’s more internal space than I actually built it just about works.

The explorers themselves are a pleasingly diverse bunch, including a ‘fig with Elves hairpiece and pointy ears, SW Rodian and Ugnaut crewmembers and Talos from the Captain Marvel set. Among the humans, I’ve got as wide a variety of skintones as I can do, and a semidecent balance of males and females. This, too, is both Star Trek and Classic Space, though they achieved their inclusivity in different ways. Trek, featuring human actors, had a classic original bridge crew including a black woman, an Asian, a Russian and an alien (which was pretty good for the day, though the central characters are still three white dudes), whereas Classic Space used the generic, deliberately neither definitively male nor definitively female, neither obviously black nor obviously white nor obviously Asian or Latino standard yellow smiley minifigure heads. You could interpret them however you liked (though it has to be admitted that the default assumption seemed to be that they were male and white).

Fuel rod recharging station. Too many of my female heads are Light Flesh skintone white, but this is one of a few I have that isn’t.

Since I use flesh-tone heads for my Classic astronauts even when building them as conventional Classic astronauts, I’m always pleased to get sets with more diverse ethnicity of ‘figs, as it’s easy to get white male faces in large quantities. They come in any Star Wars battle pack set. The future is not ethnically monochrome, and it’s an ambition of mine to have enough minifigs with skintones other than Light Flesh at some point to do this sort of build with a majority of the astronaut explorers being non-white.

I do have a bald white dude at the back with a mug and a teapot, though. This is a sort of Captain Picard joke, even though they look more like Kirk’s era than TNG. “Tea, Earl Grey, Hot” ought to be recognisable even to more casual TNG viewers, and it amused me to put him in, though my Picard-alike is in a blue shirt. Of course, blue suits are Command in a lot of interpretations of the Classic Space colours, so that works. Just because they look like TOS Trek doesn’t mean the shirt colours mean the same.

Pointy-eared Space Elf driving the lander, not-a-Rodian-honestly in the white shirt with the life sensor, and Captain Tea-Earl-Grey-Hot in the back.

The alien environment uses green as a baseplate colour, which is possibly a bit weird considering that most of the foliage is purple or pink or orange, but it does bring it home to the Earth-trained eye that this is a full biosphere, not just a bunch of rocks. As a backdrop, I think I’ve achieved the right balance between interesting complexity and being generic enough not to detract from the main focus of the build, which is the lander. The white colour of the lander works really well to pull it forward, actually, so even if I’d built it in “standard” CS colours I might have wanted to rebuild it in white.

Final view of the whole scene

Anyway, this was a lot of fun to do, blending the worlds of Classic Space and Star Trek, and I think it works rather well. It helps that they’re so similar in tone and ethos, but even without the deliberate Trek blending, if you try to imagine what Classic Space would look like if they were exploring Earthlike planets with breathable atmospheres you’ll probably end up with something similar to this.


Sagittarius Defence Mech

I think this is a much better mech than last time’s SPARTVS design, but interestingly enough I have far less to say about it. It’s weird how that works sometimes. I was perfectly satisfied with the SPARTVS until I built this Sagittarius mech, but now that I have this to compare it with the SPARTVS seems a bit clumsy and clunky.

To me, this looks like a sort of light aerospace defence mech, which makes the name “Sagittarius” (“Archer”) very appropriate. Interestingly, though, that wasn’t the origin of the name.

With those long legs and splay-toed feet, I thought it had a rather ratite look. For the uninitiated, “Ratites” are a bird family, including all the extant large flightless birds (ostriches, emus, rheas, cassowaries and kiwis) plus the non-flightless tinamou and a number of extinct birds including the moa of New Zealand and the elephant bird of Madagascar. Anyway, it was nearly the Ratite-class, but that didn’t seem right for what was obviously a military design, so I cast my mind around for something similar but a bit more predatory.

Aha! Secretary Bird!

Secretary-class works even less well than Ratite-class, but the scientific binomial name of the Secretary Bird is Sagittarius serpentarius. And Sagittarius being a constellation as well as a genus, and meaning “Archer” to boot, that worked doubly well for a space defence walker.


The SPARTVS walker

The SPARTVS (“Spartus”; “Synergistic Piloted Assault Robot Tactical Victory Suit”) mech is a twin-crewed close-quarters combat mech developed by Cyberus Industries of Titan, a subsidiary of TransOctan. TransOctan is one of the oldest transcorporate entities in the System, and though its power has fluctuated relative to the other feudal-capitalist giants like Bencom and Lagrange-Lunacorp, it remains one of the major powers, and one known for a certain ruthlessness.

Twin-crewed bipedal mechs are not common even in the System, but Cyberus Industries of Titan seem to specialise in them; the SPARTVS is not the first such mech to come out of the Cyberus manufactories beside the Vid Flumina.

The SPARTVS was designed as an enforcement mech for quelling labour riots, so its first factory-default standard model featured neural stun batons to be used in the lower pair of hands, and sleepgas dispensers fitted to the upper arms. However, TransOctan corporate security forces requested a change to monomolecular-edged cutting blades in order to deal with unrest in the volatile Mercury solar farms, where rioting workers had access to Mercurian-environment power armours like the so-called Hellsuit.

The Mark 2 SPARTVS mech incorporated the requested changeout of stun batons for monomolecular cutting blades, and also replaced the upper sleepgas dispensers with hydraulic claws. Smaller sleepgas dispensers can still be fitted to the four upper arms, but the SPARTVS is mostly deployed against exo-suited rioters or spacesuited Blacktron agitators where sleepgas is ineffective.


And so we return to Classic Space, and the inverted-moral-polarity world of the System, in which the Blacktrons are the good guys and the Classic astronauts represent various corporate factions of the ruling Dark Side Ayn Randian hypercapitalist dystopia.

It’s been a while since I generated a proper backstory for one of my NCS creations, and with something as unusual as a twin-crewed NCS combat mechsuit it seemed like a good opportunity to rectify that oversight, as well as to return to my favourite dystopian take on the Neoclassic Space shared universe. And I got to come up with a new acronym for its name, which is always fun.

You really don’t see a lot of mechs with multiple crew; the whole point of giant humanoid walkers is that they’re supposed to be intuitive to control by a single pilot. If you’re going to build a walker with more than one crewmember, it’s usually going to be more like an AT-AT or a chicken walker and less like a humanoid. “Legged vehicle” rather than actual mechsuit.

However, if you can separate out your crew control roles, or possibly link both pilots together (perhaps with control cables plugged directly into their brains), there’s really no reason why you shouldn’t. Besides, it lets you do things like four-armed mechs that actually might have a hope of being controllable without AI running half of it.

Also, unusual design concepts are like crack for me. I’m hopelessly addicted.

I suspect that the “Synergistic” part of the name acronym means that the pilots are hardwired into the control systems, but it’s possible there’s some sort of holographic control interface instead. It’s the future; maybe people have implanted nanocomputers that interface directly with the brain for information networking, hard-drive memory support and control of personal peripherals. That would also explain the absence of any kind of visible controls for a lot of NCS hardware; they’re controlling it via implants.

Ultramarine Spitfire

LL406 Ultramarine Spitfire

If I was building this for the anniversary of the Battle of Britain, I was a month off. The officially recognised start date for the Battle of Britain was 10th July 1940, and it’s still June right now.

I’m not sure quite what made me decide to build a Neoclassic Space take on a classic British warplane, but here it is. More of my subconscious “Space Everything” mindset, I suppose. Anyway, here it is. Technically, it’s closer in shape to the Hawker Typhoon than the Supermarine Spitfire, but the body’s a lot wider than either and much more blended with the wings.

Blended-wing construction was never a feature of 1940s aircraft. It’s way too expensive and difficult for far too little benefit; you could probably make two or three less capable non-blended-wing aircraft in the time it took to build one ultra-streamlined blended-wing super-aircraft. Still, those rounded wings the classic Spitfire has are rather iconic, and given the blue-based colour scheme of Classic Space there wasn’t anything I could call it except “Ultramarine Spitfire”.

Presumably this is a Classic Space Federation transatmospheric space fighter based on some planet where they need a lot of low-speed manoeuvrability. If there’s one thing most World War Two aircraft excelled in, it’s low-speed manoeuvres.

I’m not sure whether this counts as my first Dieselpunk spaceship or not, but I suppose it might.

But At Least We Can Build A Spaceship

LL627 Starhammer

Just to prove that my inner Benny is still alive and well and hasn’t been drowned by the MCU nanovirus sweeping these parts, I built another NCS spaceship.

It’s looking like an atmosphere-capable heavy fighter to me, but most ships in the (N)CS style have atmospheric wings and tailpieces regardless of the fact that we never actually saw the originals anywhere but on airless planetoids, so presumably in the NCS universe it’s unusual if they aren’t atmosphere-capable.

The dual cockpit started out life as one of my numerous aborted attempts to build a Quinjet-style NCS ship. Not a Quinjet as such, but a homage to it. Having finished the cockpit area, though, I realised that once again I’d managed to create something that didn’t look remotely like I wanted it to.

Also, the ship was shaping up to be way huger than I’d anticipated and I was going to run out of blue.

“Adapt and Rule” being the watchword in these parts, I thoroughly overhauled what I initially had in mind and turned it into this nice stubby little starfighter.

The LL627 Starhammer is a System starfighter developed by Lagrange-Lunacorp in their Phobos-based “Dreadworks” facility. Like many of the vessels to come out of the Dreadworks yards, the Starhammer is a more or less purely military design, though it was billed as a new patrol vessel for the Space Police.

The Starhammer, however, lost the bidding process for the Space Police patrol vessel contract against Systematix Provo’s SP527 Longarm. In fairness, though, the Systematix Provo design benefited from having an inside track on the Requirement articles as well as from the usual greasing of palms and provision of incentives that passes for an honest bidding process in the System.

Lagrange-Lunacorp continued to produce a small number of Starhammers, marketing them mostly to the Nouveau Riche that had made their fortunes in asteroid mining and wanted to protect themselves from claim-jumpers, pirates and Blacktron agents. In this market, the LL627 proved to be a highly desirable ship. Its stubby wings allowed atmospheric entry but made the process of close asteroidal approach much less of a chancy business, while the basic armament of 2 laser pulse cannons and one underslung particle beam was both effective as sold and easy to upgrade.

Sting Operations

LEGO Space Police.

Space Police 1 Mission Commander/Galactic Enforcer. Photo from Jangbricks.

It took me a while to make my peace with the idea of the Space Police, and to this day only Spyrius and M:Tron among the early (pre-UFO) LEGO Space themes have inspired fewer builds.

The first Space Police sets came in just as I was entering my personal Dark Ages, and while the Blacktron subtheme provoked admiration laced with confusion (who exactly were these dark knights of the spaceways?), the Space Police line provoked more of a confusion-laced disdain. At the time, I managed to completely miss the fact that those were Blacktron astronauts in the cells, that this was the first factional conflict in LEGO history, and I wasn’t thrilled with the idea of a spacegoing police force. If I’d wanted to play cops and robbers with my LEGO, I’d have been into Town sets. What did they think they were doing, mucking up my beloved Space theme and turning it into a Town clone? Space Police? Bah!

Coming back to LEGO a few years ago, it still took me a while to get past my youthful hangups. I had remembered the second-generation Space Police’s unattractive grey livery colours as belonging to Space Police I, and I couldn’t for the life of me imagine why such an unpromising-seeming subtheme should have spawned not one, but two iterations, especially when the awesome Ice Planet subtheme (which I do remember with fondness even though it happened in my Dark Ages) only got a single run of sets.

I know better now, but only having acquired a Space Police trooper relatively recently I haven’t done much with them in the way of building.

Space Police Stinger MOC

This, then is only my third or fourth Space Police build at all, and of course I’m gravitating to SP1, just as I prefer my Blacktrons to be first-generation rather than “Future Generation” Blacktron IIs. Given my penchant for inverting the moral polarity of the Classic Space universe – Blacktrons are the good guys of the rebel alliance, while the Classic Space/Futuron/Space Police triumvirate represents an oppressive, totalitarian System – SP1 colours have the most sinister appearance.

Though conceived and built as an update to the Space Police Striker, it’s a little smaller and doesn’t incorporate the light-up features of the original. In fact, it’s closer in size to the much smaller Galactic Peacekeeper, though its configuration is more like the Striker. I’m calling it the “Stinger”.

My prisoner transport pod design is far more cagelike than the original SP1 pod. I’m afraid I went rather overboard with the laser bars concept of the original, which it must be said are way cooler than the SP2’s pods managed. I’d have liked something a little more like the tubular pods of SP3 (though in red), but I don’t have any of those half-cylinder elements in trans red. What I’ve ended up with looks vaguely Mediaeval. Still, it works, and I have to say that the way those cylindrical pods were attached to SP3’s Galactic Enforcer was ugly.

Underside, showing undercarriage in retracted configuration

The Stinger is presumably something like an extended-range Galactic Peacekeeper or smaller and more agile Striker. Perfect for chasing those dastardly Blacktrons all over the cosmos.

Horizon Station

Horizon Station, planet Eos

Horizon Station is the main Federation outpost on Eos, third planet of the star 51 Arietis. The star system contains no habitable, Earthlike planets, but its location makes it an emerging nodal system for the exploration of the Sancerre sector.

Due to a strong Blacktron presence in the neighbouring Inari sector, Horizon Station’s defences have been enhanced over what might be expected from what is still a relatively minor exploration hub, as attested by the presence of a full-blown Protector-class surface-based anti-capital-ship laser turret.

Federation heavy transport Altair (hull no. LL828) sits on the landing strip adjacent to the Protector turret. A Starlifter-class vessel built for the intrasystem transport of cargo rather than passengers, Altair’s blocky lines are less elegant than more passenger-optimised transports such as LL928 Galaxy Explorer. Warehousing on the other side of the landing strip serve as a holding area for transfers of cargo into and out of the Station.

Warehousing and landing strip

The plasma exhaust vents jutting upward in front of the turret are from an old subterranean fusion plant, now part of the emergency backup systems. The modern plug-in antimatter reactor that actually powers the base is located some distance from the main facility for safety reasons. Controlled antimatter annihilation produces vast amounts of energy, and should the containment fields fail, this energy would be released all at once with incredible violence.

Plasma vents and recovery rover
Either a shield generator or a power plant

A newly-built monorail track connects the turretside landing strip to other parts of the Station, passing on of Horizon Station’s sensor nodes on its way out. The various active and passive radars, gravitic detectors, advanced optics, life sensors and lidar on the planetary surface and in orbit are tied into a single network in order to maximise the sensitivity and resolution of the system.

Elevated monorail

On the other side of the elevated monorail rack is an old-style rocket launch pad. Even in the age of antimatter annihilation reactors and cheap fusion, old-fashioned rocketry still has its uses: re-usable nuclear and chemical rockets are a low-tech, low-infrastructure way of achieving orbit without needing complex and costly megastructures like orbital rings and space elevators.

Rocket launch base

The fast transport LL564 Hyperion swoops in over the Protector-class turret for a landing on the strip, while the compact Eridani-class scout cruiser LL667 Galbatorix hovers over the ridgeline in a holding pattern.

LSS Hyperion
LSS Galbatorix


Microscale is great for stuff like this. While it would undoubtedly be awesome to be able to put something like this together in all-up minifig scale, my brick inventory isn’t yet up to humungous double-pool-table-sized displays. Also, I’m not certain how I’d do that defence turret in minifigure scale.

The turret was the first piece of this to get built, and the base grew up around it. I was playing around with various dome designs, and realising that I still don’t have quite enough 1×4 hinge plates for a ¾ icosahedron dome in all light bluish grey, and came up with this alternate dome design using the nexagon plates.

This meant that the minifigure-scale greenhouse dome I was contemplating got quietly reworked into a defence turret, and then I added the landing strip and LL828 Altair. Then the rest of the base happened.

It took some time to put together, as I put things in, moved them around, reworked them and even took them out again completely. I’m quite pleased that I managed to reference the authentic Classic Space red hubcaps in a microscale surface rover, and I also managed to reference the Space monorail and the Alpha-1 Rocket Base.

For the record, LL828 Altair is named after the brightest star in the constellation of Aquila, the eagle, because it has a definite resemblance to the Eagle spacecraft from the old Space:1999 TV series. The Eagle’s a great design and looks very adaptable to the near-future semi-realism of the Classic Space theme. At some point I have plans to build a full-sized minifig-scale Altair.

Horizon Station itself (I tried out various names before settling on this one) is named because I wanted something forward-looking and optimistic in keeping with the original spirit of Classic Space. Also it doesn’t necessarily tie you down to any particular location or franchise universe.

The terrain of planet Eos (named after the Greek goddess of the dawn, because Classic Space just seems to go with Greco-Roman mythological names) is light tan because that’s the colour of baseplate I have, but it also looks pleasingly like the sand-coloured planetary backdrop featured in all the old Classic Space promotional materials, like catalogue imagery and instruction booklets. I always used to wonder how the sand/tan background was supposed to represent the same planet as the old grey crater baseplates anyway, so being able to just build my planet in one colour makes sense to me.


Combining dinosaurs and space is a long-standing LEGO tradition for my AFOL self. Ever since I allowed myself to get back into building I’ve had a bit of a thing for merging the future and prehistoric realms. My username on the old LEGO.com forums – SaurianSpacer – referred to this; I knew I was going to be Building A Spaceship a lot, but my first posted creation was a Quetzalcoatlus pterosaur. And then some of my first (digital) AFOL creations were a series of dinosaur-shaped spaceships and vehicles.

But I don’t think I’ve done an Ankylosaur before.

It’s a strange omission in some ways. Ankylosaurs were one of the major dinosaur families, and the armoured beasts were and are pretty cool.

So as the first instalment of FebRovery 2019 I decided to rectify the situation.

Role-wise I think the Ankyloroversaurus is some sort of geo-sensing rover, possibly akin to 6841 Mineral Detector or 6844 Seismologic Vehicle. All the bristly antennas along the sides look like they’re part of some kind of sensing equipment, like an advanced Ground Penetrating Radar array or similar.

The cannon-armed thagomizer is possibly a little out of place on a geo-sensing vehicle, but in real Classic Space those wouldn’t actually be cannons despite what they look like. No, they’d be rock sampling lasers or the nodes of some other kind of sensor (using gamma rays?).

Of course, possibly those spikes along the sides aren’t antennas, and the vehicle has a more military nature. That seems a little less likely given the prominent non-existence of weaponry other than the tail club, but perhaps a force-shield generator rover or similar?

That’s actually a pretty good idea and goes well with Ankylosaurus’ armoured nature. But it still looks a lot like a geosensor rover to me.

This Is Not The V-Wing You Are Looking For

LL588 V-Wing transatmospheric craft

When looking for a name for this NCS transatmospheric craft, it seemed that “V-Wing” was the only possible choice somehow.

However, there’s already a Clone Wars-era Star Wars ship (possibly two) by that name, so I was reluctant to add a third.

Still, with those long wings that fold vertically up for landing, it’s so much more V-shaped than the V-wing. Which I don’t actually like all that much as a fighter; too derivative of the Jedi Starfighter. And since the NCS universe in all its variants is normally separate from the Star Wars canon universe and I know of at least one non-Star Wars V-Wing, I think it’s okay to add another.

LL588 in landing configuration

I know it looks like an NCS homage to Kylo Ren’s command shuttle, but I was honestly more inspired by the Imperial shuttle Tydirium. It was only after I decided to dispense with the vertical fin that I realised how similar it looks to the First Order’s second-best original vehicle.

I’ve ranted before about how ugly a lot of the new trilogy’s new hardware is, but there are a few exceptions. I mean, the Resistance X-Wing and First Order TIE Fighter can barely be told from their originals, and a lot of the other hardware is so obviously derivative that I don’t count it as a new vehicle (First Order Star Destroyers, uglified AT-ATs, Resistance cruisers). And so what are we left with? The ugly sideways brick of the Resistance troop transport, the First Order’s slab-sided repulsorlift LST, the almost-as-ugly Resistance bomber and that transport pod. The Crait speeders are a partial exception but I’m not personally that fond of them, so the only two new ships out of two whole Star Wars movies that I actually like the designs of are the First Order command shuttle and the TIE Silencer.

For the Star Wars universe, that’s a pretty terrible record. The franchise made its name and reputation at least in part on its iconic and awesome ship designs, and even the Prequel Trilogy had a lot of gorgeous vehicles, like the vaguely-ancestral-to-an-X-Wing Naboo fighters or the sail-powered vessel of Count Dooku or the AT-TE. The present crop of hardware designers just don’t seem to cut it by comparison.

However, this is NCS, and owes little to the Star Wars canon apart from a tangential inspiration. My V-Wing actually looks like a V and not a letter H.


The LL588 V-Wing is a class of transatmospheric scoutship used by the Federation. Its long wings make it perfect for in-atmosphere work as well as in vacuum, but its flight configuration is suboptimal for space carrier operations due to the amount of hangar space they take up.

Though some carrier designs experimented with vertical-stacking small craft bays, the fact is that humans evolved on the ground and prefer flat layouts.

The solution ever since the days of ancient wet-navy aircraft carriers has often been folding wing designs, and the V-Wing is no exception. When raised for landing, the wings do take up a considerable amount of height, but hangar bays are typically tall to facilitate takeoff/landing operations.

The LL588 V-Wing is not heavily armed for its size, though the pair of underslung particle cannons are of a calibre normally found on corvettes and small frigates as secondary or tertiary weapons. In addition, the V-Wing bears a pair of wingtip lasers.

The main thrusters are augmented by wing-mounted microjets to aid in extra-atmospheric manoeuvring.

The Black(tron) Knight

The Black(tron) Knight faces off against the fearsome dragon Neoclassica

The combination of futuristic space technology and high fantasy has of course been done before. LEGO has its own slightly cringeworthy Nexo Knights, but even the Star Wars franchise is effectively high fantasy in a tech setting, with its Sith and Jedi wizards and its fighter pilot knights.

I didn’t think much of Nexo Knights’ execution, but the concept is sound. And because it’s me, the high technology in question has a better-than-average chance of having something to do with the Classic Space/Blacktron metatheme.

In this case, I’ve perhaps subconsciously channelled my flipped Brightly Coloured Tyranny take on the original LEGO Space universe, because the knight is a Blacktron and the draconoid (“draco” + “mechanoid”) is in NCS colours. But building a Black(tron) Knight references the Classic Castle prototheme’s original bad guy as well as the Classic Space universe’s primary adversaries.

I’ve wanted to build an updated Neoclassic Space dragon for several months now but not been inspired as to specifics. My original Elemental Dragon of Classic Space was in some ways a markedly different build: more of a blended hybrid between spaceship and creature. This Classic Space dragon being a robotic creature, it skips out on some of the Elemental Dragon’s features, like cockpit and thrusters and the like.

The difference is mostly that the previous dragon was an Elemental Dragon of the “Element” of Classic Space. In view of the weird stuff considered “elements” by the various LEGO themes – lightning, ice (as well as water), sound, mind, amber, love – having an element of Classic Space is not something I consider much of a stretch, but that’s beside the point for this creation. This dragon was created in order to serve as an adversary for the Black(tron) Knight.

The hover horses were one of the few bits of Nexo Knights that I thought were well thought out and well designed. So I decided to make my own version of a mostly horse-shaped speeder; bigger and hopefully more impressive than the Nexo hoversteed. I went Blacktron initially because of the colours of my CCBS elements, but the idea of a Black Knight that’s a Blacktron seemed like a good one. And that meant either a Neoclassic Space or Neo-Futuron dragon, unless I built a second grav-destrier and generated a joust.

I still might; a Neo-Futuron grav-destrier is more probable with my element inventory, or possibly a Neo-Space Police I version.

Until then, the Black(tron) Knight is fighting an NCS dragon and red-spacesuited technomancer.

Technomancer and robofamiliar, space tower, and weird hyperspace beacon monument

The technomancer was an afterthought, actually. As a set, this would be a bit boring without at least one more minifigure, and a pilot for the dragon didn’t seem right this time around. But a high-tech wizard equivalent? That has possibilities…