Space. The frontal finial. The most beloved section of my Lego collection. In today’s Lego 250 review I head to a very Terran corner of space, and one of the newest — and, honestly, best — space-based themes Lego has produced.
I’ve always loved space. The stars. Alien life. Travel between solar systems. SETI. SF. Everything about it speaks to me in ways that nestled deep within my bones very early in life, and never left. When it comes to Lego, that love is there in spades. I love to build Space-themed Lego, love to collect it, love to MOC it. Every AFOL has that one theme, no matter how much we like or dislike any other: the one theme, that special one, that digs into us and is, really, the very core of our collection. For some it’s trains, or City, or underwater themes, or Friends. For me, it’s space.
If you’ve known me for more than, say, half a moment, you’d know this.
One of the most recent space themes Lego has released is also one of the most interesting. City Spaceport is inspired by real-life NASA vehicles and situations. In many ways, stripped of the us vs them combat narratives that have plagued Lego themes over the last 20+ years, it’s the closest Lego have come to the original Classic Space philosophy– to highlight the joys of exploration, scientific advancement, and sense of wonder that space travel represents. 60224 Satellite Service Mission hews even closer to that original premise. At least, it does for me.
I’ve mentioned before that, as a child, my collection was made up of a series of very small sets. My first, and one of the most beloved, was a little things called the Space Scooter.
Costing a few bucks, and with fewer than twenty pieces, and one classic red minifig, it was a teensy little hedgehopper of a vehicle. But it was made from fewer than twenty very adaptable pieces. It was possible to build multiple variations on the ship, because every part was as non-specific as possible. For a skint kid with a big imagination, it was a dream.
And here’s where this latest theme captures the spirit of its forebear. Satellite Service Mission costs $9.00. That’s pigeon feed in Lego terms, real entry-level, skint-kid stuff. It’s got 79 pieces, which isn’t the smallest set I’ve got by any stretch, but it’s not blowing any storage budgets either. And pretty much no one of those parts (cockpit notwithstanding) is single-purpose. Lego seems to have exploded with new moulds recently, each one more specific and less adaptable than the last. It feels like a concerted an effort to value realism over playability. Satellite Service Mission goes the other way, closer to the roots of the building system. The set looks like a space ship… ish. Certainly enough to get the imagination going. But it’s assembled using as many generic, simple pieces as possible. It’s eminently re-buildable.
You can see the family resemblance, without sacrificing the resemblance to its more modern inspiration and aesthetic.
It’s small, cheap, and great value for playability. For AFOLs it’s reminiscent of older times, and for kids it’s a great-looking little set they can remold and play with multiple ways. As a starter kit it’s excellent. As a cheap, quick, moment of building joy it does exactly what you want it to. It’s just a really nice little set all-round, without a single weakness.
And it’s not even anywhere near the best set in the series.
A genuinely good-looking set from any angle.
A really nice little kit the way Mum used to make.
The League Table of Awesomeness