So, in working on an Ice Planet MOC recently, I've been looking up more information on the theme, and I was wondering what other tidbits about them might be out there. The LEGO wikia page says that the top of the #6973
Deep Freeze Defender reads:
The ice planet Krysto, with its vast network of frozen tunnels and
caves, is the capital of a remote part of the universe known as Ice
Planet 2002. It is from this snow covered planet that rocket technicians
are conducting top secret research. Their findings are coveted by the
Blacktron forces and even renegades within the Space Police.
I hadn't remembered the mention of frozen caves and tunnels, although the name of Krysto seemed to ring a bell. So I dug out my copy of the Deep Freeze Defender, and it's got DIFFERENT text:
Scientists on the frozen planet Krysto conduct top secret satellite research, but dangerous forces in the universe want their technology. With Building sets from the LEGO SYSTEM™ Space Collection, only you, the LEGO MANIAC™, can put Ice Planet foes into a deep freeze.
That's the North American box, with the same above text translated into both French and Spanish immediately following the English. So, does the one talking about tunnels and Blacktron and such come from the UK box? (Sadly, I can't seem to find my Ice Station Odyssey box, although I assume it's probably got the same text on it)
I also note that the Summer 1994 Bricks 'n Pieces magazine had a short article on Spyrius (also mentioning Ice Planet, once calling it merely "Planet 2002" rather than "Ice Planet 2002"):http://www.miniland.nl/LEGOclub/lego magazine lezen.htm
But I can't find any scans of 1993 Bricks 'n Pieces or Brick Kicks magazines that have anything similar for Ice Planet. (I have the Winter 1993 Brick Kicks, and from the looks of it, it seems unlikely that other Brick Kicks would have anything like it). Also nothing terribly interesting in the normal catalogs or [email protected]
catalogs (although the Spring 1994 [email protected]
catalog mistakenly refers to the skis in the Celestial Sled as "snow shoes").
Although not terribly noteworthy, the UK 1993 catalog says:
Located right in the centre of the Universe so their advanced rockets with satellites can reach any remote galaxy. Only special equipment makes it possible to survive the freezing cold climate.
The only interesting tidbit there being that it seemingly contradicts the reported statement in the #6973
box cover that says that it's "a remote part of the universe" as opposed to "right in the centre of the Universe".
I also know that the leader of Ice Planet was later referred to as "Commander Cold" in one of the LEGO Racers games, although it's not clear if it was invented for the game, or if it was actually taken from earlier internal summaries of the lineup. Given that it's the first space theme with apparent "characters", it wouldn't surprise me if LEGO had additional descriptions internally for them, though we may never know without some official input.
Anyone else have any other tidbits on Ice Planet?
EDIT: Found a trading card of Ice Station Odyssey. It talks about the hidden tunnels and networks of ice caves and mentions Blacktron. When I have more time later tonight I'll try to scan it.
Huh, I didn't even notice that!
... And oddly enough, in the German catalog, he's "Ice Planet Bob"!
Anyone have an Australian catalog handy?
Yes, they did come with one of the 1993 Brick Kicks magazines. I don't recalled which one. I must have misplace a few because I only have three on hand: 6056, 6957 and 6983. I thought there cards for 6076, 6286, 6398 and more. Hoping this are at my parents house where I still have a lot of Lego paper work.
Also found the comic, "Encounter at Ice Station Odyssey". It doesn't say much more about Ice Planet other than the base is underground. It is much more focused on Blacktron 2 and the Lego Maniacs, Jack and Mack, helping the Ice Planet to defeat them. For those curious the Blacktron 2 leader is named Commander Beltar.
Also kind of amusing that Ice Station Odyssey "is hidden in a vast network of ice caves", seeing as how it's tricky to launch rockets from inside a cave! :)
I'd love to see the backs of the other cards if you get a chance! I guess they must be rather uncommon, seeing as how only two of them are listed in the BrickLink catalog!
So, there's an Ice Planet figure hologram dealybob apparently? I don't see it on BrickLink, though, I guess it must be pretty uncommon to find!
And of course here it says that the base's "distinctive orange canopy can be seen for miles", even though on the collector card, it says that it's hidden in a network of ice caves :)
Still got it now, as well as some of the smaller sets, and trying to think of MOCs to make use of those huge trans orange panels.
Space Police 3 came along in 2009, but its look was closer to the last couple of lines than to older Space stuff; ditto Alien Conquest and Galaxy Squad. Overall I think the look was becoming more cartoony/less blocky, which may have been a case of needing to move with the times/children's expectations as much as anything else. And the sets do actually look really fun; they just don't scratch the itch nurtured by growing up on classic Space...
I do get the impression that Nexo Knights is a very deliberate attempt to push that kind of aesthetic again - the good guy sets in particular are often very angular in design, there's a lot of trans red, etc., but if/how that will continue in the 2017 sets (we know from leaks that the bad guy stuff is changing its look) is anyone's guess...
Lucasfilm is aggressive. When they signed up to allow LEGO to produce licensed Star Wars sets in 1999, part of the agreement was that LEGO wasn't allowed to sell other 'fantasy-based space sets', or some such.
I have no idea why Life On Mars made it through-- perhaps it was designed in such a way as to look less fantasy-ish?
Oddly enough, we discussed this with Jake McKee back in 2001 or so, when the Legends lineup was being released, and asked if that was the reason that they didn't re-release any old space sets (we just got Castle, Town, Model Team, Pirates, and Train). But he told us that re-releases were fine under the contract, but that LEGO simply couldn't release any NEW fantasy space themes. So ... maybe Life On Mars was already designed and ready to go in 1999? That I don't know.
Anyway, the initial agreement was from 1999 to 2006, and in 2007 LEGO re-negotiated the license. They supposedly got a lower royalty rate, and removed the clause that prevented them from releasing new space designs. And pow! Right out of the gate, they released Mars Mission, followed soon by Space Police, Alien Conquest, and Galaxy Squad.
The space sets today aren't quite the same as the ones of the 1990s, since they're more self-contained with a particular story, and they don't make an attempt to cross over between different space themes. But they're allowed to make them again!
In spite of a very different aesthetic than the classic sets, I think that the Space Police 3 sets were very true to the classic Space themes in spirit.
But slowly, I guess the idea of "trains" in general kind of became old hat, or something, because now they're not viewed the same way, I don't think.
I suspect that the monorail system was developed in response to that feeling of "futuristic", as well as a way to further introduce their 9v system, which had been launched in 1986.
At the time, LEGO was up against Tyco Super Blocks in the US, and I'll bet (although I've never heard official confirmation) that the 9v system was one of LEGO's ways of combating Tyco, since it provided extra functionality. Given how limited the system was in 1986, compared to the later expansions to monorail, techinc motors, and trains, I personally suspect that LEGO was looking to release as quickly as possible, and kicked off with "Light & Sound" in 1986 before the rest of the system was fully explored.
Further, it makes sense that they were looking to add it to space and town sets with minifigs, whereas before, most (all?) of the motorized or lighting sets were either Technic or Trains. But their bigger selling lineup was the minifig space theme, which was a great place to put their new features.
And while it would take a while to convert 12v and 4.5 trains, the monorail system probably seemed like a good contender to release, since it was extremely cool, and further showcased their new electric system.
But mostly, monorails evaporated because they were too expensive to produce, and didn't sell well enough. The motors were supposedly VERY high quality, and the extremely large track elements were probably pretty costly (especially the switch tracks, I'll bet).
From 1986-1991, LEGO pumped out a at least 7 space sets with electronic elements across Classic Space, Futuron, Space Police, and Blacktron II, but then sorta slowed down. From 1992-1999, they only released 2-- the Unitron monorail (1994) and the large UFO starship (1997).
I'm curious if the Futuron monorail had performed better whether on not we might have even seen an M:Tron or Ice Planet monorail? Who knows? (An Ice Planet monorail is actually part of my current MOC project)
Hopefully will be complete before May of 2017 (my next local BrickFair New England event date), but it depends on a lot of factors!
I'll have to have a hunt for it.