Commander! It's going up!
With those fateful words, Moonbase Alpha and its crew were catapulted into deep space by an enormous explosion on the dark side of the Moon. Although able to sustain itself through visits to planets in solar systems it moved through, 21 years later the Alphans were inevitably running low on resources. Commander John Koenig decided to commission a smaller version of their versatile Eagle spacecraft, making it easier to maintain as they continued their search for a new home.
Why do I want you to hit the blue Support button? This is a set aimed at two generations. Did you ever have a toy that lasted forever, and was your go-to toy for adventuring? For me, that was my die cast Dinky Eagle. In fact, I had two! Commander Koenig and his crew are probably largely responsible for my love of realistic science fiction and coincidentally their TV series first aired in the year I was born - it just celebrated its 45th anniversary! Other Eagle projects here have shown there's still a lot of love for the show.
Nostalgia aside, my son's first comment when he saw the Eagle was that it looked like the underwater base the team rescued in the first episode of the CGI Thunderbirds Are Go. He's spot on, of course! People of my generation would immediately have spotted that distinctive nose shape as a nod of the head to the Eagles. I also hope that his generation might actually get to use something like an Eagle on the Moon. It really is a great design, NASA, Space X!
Finally, on a personal note, continuing to design this set gave me something positive to focus on after my father passed away.
This is my Goldilocks Eagle. I shall explain! Previous Eagle models here on Ideas have either been incredibly large and able to fit two minifigures in the cockpit (which is show accurate and brilliant!) or scaled down to microfigure proportions. At well under 1000 pieces, I've compromised by trying to produce a set which I hope is immediately recognisable as an Eagle, but which for play purposes can also take a single minifigure in its cockpit and in its pod without being too big to be played with (it's about the same length as the big X-Wings). Not too big, not too small - Goldilocks! The set includes:
- The Eagle, with easily removable nose and engine section for ease of crashing, ah, maintenance!
- A removable transporter pod, with hinged hatches and removable roof for play access with space for a passenger
- A small Moon buggy, capable of being stored in the pod with the passenger when not in use
- Two Alphan astronauts with classic space style tanks (seems appropriate given the show's age!)
but not the base plates I'm currently using for landscaping! I realised as I was putting my physical prototype together (see updates section) that an alternate build was also possible, which I have named the Eaglet! I see it as being a small craft you could put together from salvaging the full size Eagle in the event of a poor landing - which happened pretty frequently in the show!
As I just mentioned, I have completed a physical prototype of the set having received such strong support in the first two months. This reassured me that despite the overall size it could hold together even with my level of design skills and allowed me to test out the practicality of the digital design. I'll expand on this a little more in the updates section.
Brian Johnson designed the original Eagle, having worked on Thunderbirds - perhaps leading to the pods theme! They do make the Eagle very versatile, just like Thunderbird 2 of course, and I may add another if things go well. Brian Johnson went on to design ships for 2001 A Space Odyssey. Another fact I was reminded of recently is that the Millennium Falcon from Star Wars only looks as it does because its first design was too close to that of the Eagle!
Feedback and sharing would be very welcome, here or via social media. Let's try and get a Gerry Anderson LEGO set out there for the first time! Please also consider supporting some of my other projects, thank you!
Space: 1999 Internationally
I thought it would be worth mentioning for those who are not English speaking that as a live action show Space 1999 was distributed in many countries and so you might also search for:
Mondbasis Alpha 1
I remember once seeing it in France while on an exchange!