Update 1/8:: The Exo-Suit is now on sale on LEGO.com! Check out this post for all the details.
Update 7/7: Added in some more information from LEGO designer Mark Stafford on the final model, gleaned from his comments on Reddit.
Yesterday, the LEGO Ideas team pulled the curtain up from the highly anticipated homage to Classic Space, Peter Reid’s Exo Suit. Capitalizing on LEGO’s resurgence as a collectible toy as well as what is arguably THE best character in the LEGO Movie, the 1980’s something spaceman Benny, the Exo Suit as expected sent the internet into a frenzy.
The LEGO Ideas team chose to introduce the final model in stunning fashion, releasing a fantastic 3D animated video made by one of Peter Reid’s longtime collaborators, Chris Salt.
The most amazing thing about this set is the introduction to GREEN, yes Green classic space minifigures! We’ve never had Green space minifigures before and now they join the elite group of Yellow, White, Blue, Black and Red astronauts in the Classic Space Universe. Retro LEGO fans were no doubt extremely excited to get a whole new colour.
Following the recent (and overblown) controversy with LEGO and females, LEGO has done an admirable job proving its detractors wrong, opting to reinforce their commitment to representing both genders equally by including a female astronaut in the Exo Suit set. I think this is a really positive move and I for one am excited to have more female space minifigures in my own collection.
It also helps that in the video, the female astronaut plays an integral part in finding the Exo Suit, as they plot their escape from their wrecked base.
The Exo Suit looks stunning in the video and is totally unlike anything that LEGO has ever produced. I’m extremely excited about this set and I think this is one of those cases where owning just one set just won’t cut it.
Pricing and the release date hasn’t been officially announced yet but the Exo Suit should be available for purchase sometime in August.
Designer Peter Reid has posted up many more pictures on his Flickr account of the Exo Suit, including some really neat comparison shots of the original submission and the final model. There are also a ton of fantastic photographs on Bluemoose’s Flickr page.
As an added bonus, LEGO designer Mark Stafford, the man responsible for the final model weighed in on several Reddit r/lego threads over the weekend via his Reddit account. He shared a wealth of insight on the process and design choices taken to arrive at the final Exo Suit model, which will be available on 1 August.
Here are some choice quotes from Mark. For the entire comments and discussion, check out the first and second Exo Suit threads on Reddit. Highlight include that there is only a single production run for the Exo Suit. With Classic Space all the rage thanks to Benny, expect this set to sell out very, very, very quickly. These Green Space minifigures are also going to be extremely coveted, especially by AFOLs. Emphasis on Mark’s quotes are mine.
- Sorry, I stuck as close as I could. Pete’s original is fragile as hell. built with parts that don’t exist anymore, are only single stud connections being asked to carry too much weight or are connected in ‘illegal’ ways and it requires some skill to pose. This one had to be stable and this necessitated many changes, my aim was to keep as much greebling as possible while maintaining the feel, look and scale of the original. Source
- Pete’s original mech lasted about 3 seconds. The final set is pretty sturdy, though a few of the greebles are prone to unclipping when played with and the antenna pings off far too often! Apart from that it might have made it into an 8+ playtheme like Agents or Galaxy Squad without too many more changes. Source
- The green is the classic green – 1980’s something tree and baseplate green. The classic helmets break. (Hence Benny’s helmet in the LEGO Movie) so for both quality and safety reasons it can never be reproduced.The current (30 year old) helmet is available in all 5 original CS spaceman colours so if it consistency you’re looking for then choose the ‘modern’ helmet the green one has! Sorry – I’m a spacer, I do sympathize with you. Source
- A common question seems to be why the barrels? Pete’s original version had lovely lozenge shaped forearms and they are very iconic to the design. However they are entirely made of single stud connections. When moved they just come apart. So I had to find a solution. The new Friends 2×2 underside bowl has a hole through it so I could maintain the shape while putting a light-saber blade through the middle to secure it all.
- However the elbow is a technic cross-axle so I had to transition these two types of connectors. It made the arm very long (I built about 10 versions of the lower arm and this was still the best looking version.However when Pete saw it the length was a big deal to him and we worked together to find a way to shorten it. Pete’s solution actually involved getting rid of the curved parts. I had the idea to transition inside another part – and the barrel worked perfectly. Pete agreed, we both wished we had another colour change available to make it silver or light grey, but we didn’t!I knew the barrel would be controversial as I used one in my first year at LEGO as the jet nozzle of the Agents jet in set 8630 Gold Hunt and everyone hated it back then too! It was used here because it’s hollow as much as anything else. Source
- Why the green classic spaceman? With limited new parts for Ideas sets I had to use a torso assembly (body, arms and hands) that was currently in production. This left three colours that would work for a classic spaceman. Black (available thanks to Darth Vader), Blue (thanks to Benny from the LEGO Movie – too obvious) or green (thanks to Ninja Turtles).
- There was a second reason to go for green, I’ve met and talked to Jens Nygaard Knudsen, creator of the Mini-figure and all of the original classic space sets (from day one all the way to Spyrius).According to him the Red and White spacemen started as Cosmonauts and Astronauts. Later they became red pilots and white explorers, yellow were introduced as scientists, blue as security/soldiers, black as spies. Pete and I decided Mech Pilots should be a new colour. Green! Source
- Why isn’t it all light grey? I had limited colour changes available, both Pete and I believed it was more important to make a classic space minifigure then reuse a Galaxy Squad spaceman and this limited me even more. But even though there are around 4 or 5 parts I would have changed light grey I would still have had to bring in the dark grey and trans-yellow parts because of the building experience. If every one of these parts was the same colour it would be horrible to build, a slight lapse in concentration would lead to the wrong parts being used in the wrong place, finding parts in the pile of bricks from the box would be very hard. At the end of the day this has to be fun to build, not frustrating. Source
- This is currently a single production run – I’m not sure of the figures – but if you see it and you want it then buy it, at the moment when it’s gone it’s gone for good. Don’t be disappointed. (Not trying to do a hard sell here, this is currently the plan!). Source
- At the moment the plan is for a single run. Don’t dawdle on this one! (sorry.) Source