Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Ones That Got Away-Part 2

It wasn't my original intent to post another of the Ones That Got Away so soon after the first, but my back-up plans tended to involve taking pictures of LEGO, and as things currently stand, it's quite cloudy in Boston, with the result that taking pictures in natural lighting is not going to make for good pictures. Although I'm considering experimenting with a light box, I don't really have what I need for that at the moment, and it's much too wet to venture out and get them--getting groceries and this semesters' books brought me back earlier this afternoon feeling like something half-drowned.

So we'll continue with the Ones That Got Away.

For Space, this theme was always Space Police--Space Police (ii) as most would call it. Even more so than the Imperial Guards, these were the ones that got away, because I never had an opportunity to buy one. I vaguely--very vaguely--remember seeing one of the smaller sets in stores while I was looking at something else, back in the fall of 1995, but Space was only just starting to legitimatize itself in my eyes as a "cool" theme. Unlike Castle and Pirates, I did not look at it in the catalogues and decide I want it.

Part of this may have to do with the fact that apart from some Star Trek (which was visually nothing like Space-themed LEGO), I'd never had much/any exposure to science-fiction at this point in my life, and even the Star Trek was a few years in the past, before we moved to an acreage in the country. Consequently, I didn't really know what to do with Space. It would be another five or six years before I got into Star Wars and Star Trek, and then into other science-fiction, but in the meantime my brother and I started to accumulate a few Space sets. He was ahead of me in that respect, having a few medium-sized sets, and representatives of whole themes I didn't have, namely Unitron and Roboforce. My largest set was 6879 Blizzard Baron, which I got at Christmas in 1995 as one of my two first Space sets.

Sometime between the arrival of the Blizzard Baron and late 1999 when I began to foray into Star Wars, I picked up some more interest in the Space themes--possibly motivated by my brother--and in looking through the old 1993 catalogue, came to favour the old Space Police. *I* say "old Space Police" because I didn't know at the time that the Space Police as I knew them were actually the second iteration of that theme, following the black-trans.red-and-blue-coloured theme closely allied with the (also unknown to me) Futuron theme. Hence, while older fans than me speak of "classic Space" (aka the Space sets of the 1980s) with fond sighs and dreamy eyes, my most similar feelings belong to the 1992 Space Police, with their trans-green elements, and red-highlighted grey-and-black ships.

Obviously, as it was the largest set, the one that I wanted the most would have been 6984 Galactic Mediator. In addition to being one of the largest spaceships I was familiar with, pre-Exploriens, it had a nice triangular shape which was not at all old to someone as ignorant of science-fiction as pre-10-year-old me was. On the contrary, I loved that shape for the same reason it is so clich├ęd: because it looks fast and swooshable.

I also liked the Galactic Mediator, specifically, because it came with the Admiral fig. He was sharp, with his white, green, and black uniform, but especially with those yummy red epaulets. He was the only Space fig I knew of with epaulets, and to my Pirates-educated mind, that made him a pretty classy fig. Besides, he was a policeman! I mentioned in my last post how I've always identified with the law-and-order themes, and Space was no exception. The Space Police figs looked sharp and professional with their microphones and arched eyebrows, and they sported a cleanshavenness that was emphasised by the bits of sandy/brown hair on their foreheads. It's still one of my favourite LEGO heads.

In fact, so much did I like the Admiral, that the Space Police set I was wanted most after the Galactic Mediator wasn't the impressively large, next biggest 6957 Solar Snooper, but rather one of the smallest sets, 6813 Galactic Chief. (As an aside, I have no idea why I never called him "the Chief," which would seem like the obvious name for someone who is both head of a police force and so named in a set I lusted over for years... all I know is that he's always been an admiral to me.)

In the early 2000s, having discovered Star Trek in the wake of Star Wars, and having become fairly well-bit by the science-fiction bug, I was quite sad about the fact that I had a total of 6 Space sets and none of them larger than the Blizzard Baron. I did what I could to augment this--handicapped, I admit, by the fact that I didn't want to integrate either Life-on-Mars, which was too close to Spacesport, or Star Wars into my Space world. The Rockraiders came aboard, and I made a starship out of a blue baseplate and some basic bricks, but it wasn't until Mom started coming across used LEGO at garage sales that my true Space collection started to grow. Most happily for me, one of the figs we managed to get, which I managed to acquire (rather than my siblings), was the Space Police "admiral." Admittedly, he didn't have a trans-green visor in those days, but had to make do with a trans-neon-green one. Still, he was my very own Space Police admiral.

A couple years later I discovered Bricklink, grew up, and stopped playing with LEGO in the same manner as I used. My success as an adult has been rather better in acquiring Space Police than it has with Imperial Guards. Part of this may have to do with a lower demand in the AFOL community--the "green coats" are less iconic than the redcoats. I still don't have a Galactic Mediator, hence its inclusion as One That Got Away, but I have acquired a used Galactic Chief, as well as a number of loose figs and elements, and a 6852 Sonar Security and a 6897 Rebel Hunter. Although somewhat lost in an upsurge of Explorien and Iceplanet nostalgia (after all, my first set was the Blizzard Baron), as well as a healthy appreciation for Mars Mission and classic Space, I daresay that Space Police (ii, to be specific) is still my favourite Space theme... which is why it's kind of funny (from my point of view), that my brother runs a blog about Blacktron... (Colour It Blacktron). But he always was a funny kid...

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