Sunday, June 12, 2011

Classic Space: Surveying & Geology Research Squad

Having a brief break from Technic (and waiting for a couple of parts), I got into a cosmic mood and came up with this little space surveying & geology team.

I'm a huge fan of Sci-Fi and Lego Space theme, particularly the Classic one. Though I have no choice but to agree that the newer Space sets look brilliant and have more functions than a Swiss Army knife, I actually prefer the old-school "raw finish" spaceship and vehicle design, relying on lots of standard parts borrowed from the Town theme. It has undeniable sui generis aesthetics; I find a 6929 Starfleet Voyager set, which I am lucky to own, perhaps the best-looking example of this streamlined simplistic approach relying on contours and subtle proportions rather than boom-bang-whiz details.

That's the line I've tried to follow building this little geology squad, though I don't even want to insinuate that its look could rival the TLG Classic Space sets. It consists of a single-seater surveying craft, a small offroad vehicle, a communication station, a few field tools and a quartet of fellows (un)lucky enough to do this complicated job.

Although I'll be the first to agree that there is no need for spaceships to be aerodynamical, resemble an aeroplane in any way or have wings as they are designed to travel through vacuum, I find the general streamlined and wingy look simply nice, and consistent with the other unexplicably aerodynamic original TLG Classic spaceships. However, in this case one may argue that some of the planets being researched may have a rare atmosphere, and with speeds those machines can fly at aerodynamics may play a role, while the wings are actually streamlined radiators (let us not forget how difficult task cooling is in vacuum, without any contacting matter to transfer the heat to!). The general concept here is to have a small, fast and nimble craft equipped with lots of sensors to measure and survey large areas, and a buggy-like vehicle to get the equipment to a discovered place of interest, or access the areas unsuitable for the spaceship to land. If the results are urgent or there are no bases nearby, an extra communication station can be taken along, with its long-range parabolic antenna. There is an extra lamp available too, if the excavation site happens to be on a celestial body's dark side, should the craft and vehicle headlights be insufficient.

At this scale it is difficult to combine plenty of functionality with attractive design. I gave up a bit of functionality (trying to implement variable geometry wings into a craft of this size was just too much) to have more design and construction freedom. I particularly like using the old-style square transparent cockpit cover rather than the newer, curvy ones, because they need not to close completely (i.e. it  not retract to full horizontal position), allowing a more level and aerodynamic canopy, smooth design and keeping the "roof" actually tilted backwards, as you can see on the side photograph. Large engines (both main and auxiliaries under the wings), plenty of angled edges and long, pointy canards are simply a consequence of my taste. Most Classic Space sets rely on grey-black-blue hull colours, while reserving the brighter and warmer ones for details, especially in transparent versions. I've tried to keep up with that tradition.

This short stray off (back?) into Classic Space was so much fun, even for something this small, I'm almost sure there is more to come in the future.