For over a quarter-century Lego’s classic space Galaxy Explorer has loomed large in my mind (as well as the minds of many other Lego fans). It was, and is, an iconic part of my Lego childhood. But it wasn’t the first of the classic space sets, and it wasn’t what really sold me on Lego. That honor goes to set 493, the Space Command Center.
When I received this set for Christmas in 1978, it blew my mind. This was the first set I got that had minifigs, and it had four of them. They had swivel chairs and computers and rovers! There was a video screen showing another spaceman. This wasn’t just a set, this was a world. But it was also a world of Lego, and I built an re-built that Space Command Center over and over. We were spending Christmas at my aunt’s house, but when I got back home I added my previous Legos (which lived in an old brown suitcase) to the mix and suddenly I was in Lego space heaven.
The humble Space Command Center has since been overshadowed by the Galaxy Explorer and more elaborate sets, though it made an appearance in The Lego Movie:
If my folks had known what a gateway drug that set would be, they might have reconsidered buying it for me. It’s one of the few presents I got as a child that has remained a thread throughout my life.
When did I get it? Christmas of 1978.
Do I still have it? I still have the instructions and I’m fairly certain I have all the pieces that were unique to this set (which may only be the printed viewscreen).