Deconstructing Lego is a blog that analyzes Lego sets under a variety of lenses, sometimes comparing similar sets from different years or creating a story based around a set or analyzing the implicit message that a set creates.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

6940: Alien Moon Stalker

Classic Space was one of the first major themes to appear in the late 1970s, and continued for over a decade after that, eventually evolving into other space themes.  It featured no enemy, but rather astronauts in different uniforms who generally worked together.  The focus was exploration, not fighting or resource collecting, which is a significant difference from some of the space sets of today.  It seems in many ways to bridge the gap between the City and Town space sets (focusing on shuttles and training on earth) and the more fanciful space sets (Space Police, Mars sets, etc.)

An interesting looking set!  It features the moveable claw that is seen in other space sets, as well as the neon transparents screens that appeared in many space sets over the years.  While it looks like a base, the legs actually move (though I'm not exactly sure how) making it more of a large exploratory base, perhaps scientific in origin.  As I mentioned earlier, we see a blue and red space man (there are also yellow and white (more common) and the rare black) working together.  Not sure why they have different colors to be honest.

There are also rockets in the middle of the ship, which would fire upwards.  While many Classic Space ships feature weaponry, it's never really explained why they even need it.  Perhaps there is conflict, but further investigation will be required.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

6666: Ambulance

6 is an evil number, and 6666 is a super evil number, so why was this set, an ambulance, given such a number?

Interesting torso they chose for the woman, one of the more revealing outfits that she has.  Perhaps she is a young college student who got alcohol poisoning after using her fake ID to get into the bar?  Something of note are the incredibly small wheels on this vehicle, not something you see very much today.  Additionally, this set marks a shift in how medical sets were designed.  If you look at the 1981 ambulance...

...a red cross is used instead of the Star of Life.  The Star of Life was designed in the United States 1970s, after the Red Cross organization complained that the current United States medical symbol was too similar to theirs.  6666 was only released in the United States, while 6680 was an international release.  So, we can see that by the 1990s The Lego Group was changing their models or at least designing models specifically for certain countries, rather than using the ubiquitous and universal Red Cross symbol.

It's also interesting to look at the designs of these two ambulances.  Both are very similar in many ways, both in terms of construction and how they can be interacted with.  The main difference is how the back opens, as you can see in the photos.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

1790: Shark Fisherman

There comes a time in every boy's life, when he realizes that to become a man, he must catch a goddam shark.

Today is that day.  This set comes with a small dock, a protective gate so that one does not fall into the ocean, and a simple fisherman.  The guy appeared in a lot of sets in this era.  Aviators, Five O'Clock shaodw, green fisherman torso and a blue cap.  He appears in a lot of Leisure subtheme sets.  The subtheme itself is pretty odd to be honest.  Similar to the Paradisa subtheme, both emerged in the 1990s and were primarily luxury sets.  Indicative of the economic prosperity of the 1990s, such sets reflected the general feeling of luxury during this era.  It does seem odd though that he would be catching a shark, probably left over from the Pirates theme from several years earlier.

Lastly, what kind of a fisherman wears a lifejacket if he's on a pier?  How odd.

1492: Battle Cove

No man is an island entire of itself; every man
is a piece of the continent, a part of the main;
if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe
is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as
well as a manor of thy friends or of thine
own were; any man's death diminishes me,
because I am involved in mankind.
And therefore never send to know for whom
the bell tolls; it tolls for thee. 

The famous John Donne poem (above) seems to have no bearing on The Lego Group.  Rather, they've created a set where a single pirate is stranded on a small 6x10 stud island.  It's an odd set because there is a considerable amount of infrastructure on this island, despite it being so small.  A brick wall and a cannon signify that the pirate may not be all alone, as this could be a small archipelago, one of several islands in the nearby vicinity.  It may just be a defensive outpost.  The oddly black brick and pirate flag indicate that the island may serve as a warning to nearby ships to stay away, else suffer the wrath of the pirates.

The shark, however, is interesting, as it exemplifies the aloneness of the pirate.  He cannot merely swim to shore of course, so it's clear that he is relying on others for transportation.  Regardless, the shark gives the user the feeling that he is cut off from the rest of the world.

Lastly, why was he given two guns?  In most sets the pirates are generally only given one weapon, and someone a sword and a gun if they are lucky, but two guns is rare indeed.  Perhaps there was another pirate on the island to save him from boredom, but at some point he died.  Perhaps the shark ate him.  Or maybe this pirate shot him in a delirious fury.

Monday, April 11, 2011

4073: Tree 1

4073:  Tree 1 was released as a part of the 2000 Studios theme.  4073 represents the tendency for capitalism to commodify natural goods, going as far as to sell a tree.  The tree is not an actual tree, but rather merely a prop for Hollywood.  The ubiquitous tree has been transformed into a mere prop.