LL9976: Cosmic Express

I still remember getting this Lego set for Christmas:

We were spending Christmas at my Aunt Shirley’s house, and I remember sitting on the floor just putting it together over and over again.

This set changed everything…not just for me, but for Lego. It was part of the “Classic Space” line (just called “Space” at the time) which was a definitive moment in Lego history. It was one of the first unified “themes” to be done, and one of the (if not THE) first themes to use the new Lego men (now called “minifigs”). Many Lego fans have fond memories of this line, and I’m no exception.

The Classic Space line came out in 1979, so a lot of Lego fans are celebrating its 30 year anniversary. Some folks are celebrating with what are called “Neo-Classic Space” models, in which old Classic Space sets are redone with modern pieces and techniques. Others are doing new models in either the Classic Space or Neo-Classic Space style. I decided to do one of the latter. Behold the fictional LL9976, the Cosmic Express:

I noticed that when people build Neo-/Classic Space models they go for fighters, explorers, cargo ships, or wheeled planetary labs. Nobody builds passenger ships. So I wanted to address that. This model is done in the more Classic Space style (modeled after the Galaxy Explorer, another set I owned and adored.) So it doesn’t have a lot of greeble, it’s boxy, and there’s no attempt to hide the studs. However, I did use a fair number of modern pieces and techniques (like SNOT) on it.

Of course, it opens up:

Yep, this is what started out as this. That photo was taken on 3/19, so it’s taken me a bit over two weeks to do this. There was a little delay in there, though. I went ahead and used pieces that weren’t the right color or type as substitutes for ones I didn’t have, and then put in a Bricklink order for the correct ones.

In addition to the top coming off, the cockpit canopy opens, as does the back of the ship, in the spirit of the aforementioned Galaxy Explorer.

Inside the ship is a full complement of passengers as well as a space flight attendant.

Why, even I’m there, wearing a blue space suit:

And a slightly earlier version of the model encounters what thankfully turned out to be a peaceful alien:

This is one of the most ambitious building projects I’ve done, and I really like the way it came out. If you want to see more, check out the whole set.

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8 Responses to LL9976: Cosmic Express

  1. Chris Sims says:

    I LOVE the space-flight attendant and the beverage cart. Great work, Dave.

  2. sean says:

    Cool, I like this a lot. The swivel opening options are impressive to a non-Lego head like me.

  3. Dave Campbell says:

    Those reclining seats with computer armrest controls and oxygen bottles are fantastic.

  4. Steve says:

    That looks great. I’ve really been enjoying the Neo-Classic Space site too — I haven’t built a Lego model in years but this stuff is making me want to go scavenge some bricks.

  5. Joe Gola says:

    I had a bunch of those sets…Space Command Center, Galaxy Explorer, Cruiser, maybe the Space Transport too. Best toys ever. I just recently pulled the big box o’ Lego down from my parent’s attic and cooked up a quasi-explorer from memory.

    Anyway, it looks great.

  6. RacingHippo says:

    I’ve been looking forward to your blog on this since you tweeted about it. I noticed a comment on flickr about it needing more greeble, but I knew damn well that if you hadn’t put it on, there’d be a damned good reason!
    I absolutely LOVE the opening doors on this.
    When the Space range came out I was 13 and in a (very silly) teenage Lego-shunning phase, so I missed these classics.

  7. Stewart says:

    Great creation, Dave. I think my brother got that LEGO Space Command Center for Christmas once.

    I especially like your minifig’s crankiness about the passenger in front of you reclining his seatback. The only thing that would make it more realistic would be if you had your laptop on the ship and were Twittering about annoying passengers with reclining seatbacks!

  8. peer says:

    The Space Command Center was the first Lego I remember recievin g for X-Mas someday in the 80s. We also got the lunar Train (?) and the Spaceship.
    Oh, the memories…