04 August 2022

Space Tools Parts Fest: Introducing the elements

Posted by Kev Levell

We have decided to celebrate the release of 10497 Galaxy Explorer with a LEGO® Space-themed Parts Festival. We have a series of builders lined up to deliver new insight and MOCs to you – for the coming weeks, every Thursday is Toolsday!


If you haven't read it already, see Caz's thoroughly excellent review of set 10497 which is available now, if it hasn't sold out already! Please consider using our affiliate links if buying from LEGO.com, New Elementary may get a commission: USA LEGO Shop | Australia LEGO Shop | UK LEGO Shop.

A New Elementary Journey into Retro-Space and Elsewhere!

Every self-respecting LEGO space explorer wears their logo with style and a big, broad smile.

Whether they are Classic Space, Futuron, Blacktron, M:Tron, Space Police or any other faction, every member of these illustrious teams knows the value of having a good quality ultraspanner, astrohammer or hypershovel to hand when they need one! These ‘Space Tools’ have been used by minifigures in LEGO Space since 1978, in all manner of ways and in countless missions on the multitudinous carpet-worlds of our childhoods.

They were usually included simply as an accessory for our astronauts, but what happens when you try to use these tools in alternative ways? Well, that’s the mission objective of the New Elementary crew; to explore, and boldly probe the very edges of our brick-ific understanding by using these elements to create wildly exciting new frontiers! We will try to find novel uses for them in our MOCs and discover interesting connections that are slightly different from what we have seen before.

For seed parts, we’ve picked out the tools you might see included in a LEGO Space set. Please note our selection may not be exhaustive, and we may have missed tools that were introduced in later years! We’ve also included (recent-ish) remoulded updates, as well as one very new part that we think has all the hallmarks of being a fantastic new Space Tool.

Here are the parts we are going to be building with, categorised by the year they were first released (not necessarily the year they first appeared in a LEGO Space set).

1978

  • 3841 Pickaxe - has been available in 5 colours
  • 3838 Airtanks - has been available in 10 colours
  • 3900 Signal Paddle - has been available in 7 colours
  • 3837 Shovel - has been available in 9 colours
  • 3835 Axe - has been available in 3 colours

1979

  • 3959 Space Gun/ Torch - has been available in 11 colours 
  • 3962a Radio (compact handle) - has only ever appeared in black
  • 4006 Spanner Wrench - has been available in 5 colours

1982

Celebrating their 40th anniversary this year are:
  • 4349 Megaphone - has been available in 10 colours
  • 4360 Camera w/ side sight - has been available in 4 colours (I have wanted a mirror image of this part for a long time).

1983

  • 4479 Metal Detector - has been available in 3 colours

1984

  • 4522 Mallet/ Hammer - only ever in black
  • 3962b Radio (extended handle) - has been available in 5 colours

1985

  • 4735 Robot Arm - has been available 9 colours
  • 4592* Antenna/ Lever - comes in quite a variety of colour combinations; the 4592 base appears in 9 colours and the 4593 lever is available in 5

1986

  • 2342 Control Panel - has been available in 8 colours

1990

  • 2516 Chainsaw Body - has been available in 6 colours

2008 to 2013


  • 93106 Metal Detector (remould 2013) - only available in black only
  • 86208 Torch (remould 2008) - has been available in 3 colours
  • 19220 Radio (remould 2011) - only available in  Black and Light Bluish Gray

2022

  • 84868 'T' bar connector - currently appears only in Light Bluish Gray (element ID 6377230, TLG name is "3.2 Shaft Element, No. 2") in LEGO® Super Mario 71397 Luigi’s Mansion Lab and Poltergust. 

As it is a new-for-2022 element, let's take a closer look.

Analysis of the LEGO® T-Bar Holder Double with Stud Holder (part 84868)

The T-bar measures 2 modules wide, 1 module deep and just over 5.5 plates high. With a 3.18mm hole in either side, an anti-stud in the base, a 3.18 stem and a 3.18 bar at the top, it's certainly got some connection options!

My arrangements using the other T-Bar piece (4697b, shown in black) makes me want a whole range of similar 3.18 connector pieces, corners and curves; both as bar-to-bar elements and bar-to-hole elements.


Here are some connections for the 'T' bar that seemed pertinent to include, but are by no means exhaustive of the possibilities offered by this interesting little element.

What you can expect from the Space Tools Parts Festival

We’ve assembled a crack team of Spacey contributors. Each of us has selected our favourites from the available tools and will mostly focus on those elements in our MOCs. Each of us has been tasked with producing at least two MOCs: one that isn’t space-themed (shock horror!) and another that can be whatever we are inspired to create. My bets are down with the intergalactic bookies in Alpha Centauri that these “other” MOCs will all be set in the vacuum of interstellar travel or on alien worlds… but I could be proved wrong.
 
There are seven contributors and we will post one article each Thursday. So wind up your deep space watches and set your star-alarms to make sure you check the airlock each week, because we have some treats blasting in from the furthest corners of the universe as well as wonderful things from closer to home!

READ MORE: See all the new elements released in August 2022 sets

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28 comments:

  1. Yes!!! Parts fest is back!!!

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    1. Glad you are excited! We have some real treats in store.

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  2. Space Tools parts fest! A "world idea", as we would say in germany! And again something new, two versions of the radio ... now I'll have to check them all! XD

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  3. Which reminds me that oversized versions of the walkie talkie (and shovel) was released, and made a Target exlusive & out of reach for us europeans :(

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  4. Is the spaceman with 4360 Camera w/ side sight holding it right? :-) I always think of that part reversed with larger part of the camera on the shoulder like an 1980s VHS camcorder.

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    1. I'll correct myself after some research. Finding the part used both ways in product shots. And as with any good Lego element, it can be used in many ways.

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    2. I would never dare to tell a spaceman how to hold his camera!

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    3. It is certainly an oldschool camera and is mostly seen handled the opposite way in most sets. That said it's rarely seen used as a camera in Classic Space and it can be spotted backwards like this.

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    4. Yeah my kid self always thought of it more like a shoulder-fired space lazer bazooka!

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  5. Hmmm, 84868 has never ever appeared in a Space set. Doesn't that constitute cheating?

    (Checking out BrickLink, it seems that all other parts have appeared in at least one Space or Star Wars set...)

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  6. Ah, but 84868 looks like it could be a really useful greebly part!

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  7. I would use Lego's official name for part 86208, because it's "BUTT".

    Also the metal detector (old mould) officially (in sets) exists in 4 colors (look up for 5177).
    (officiously [not found in sets, but on BL] in way more)

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    1. Yes, I subsequently discovered the dark grey variant... Thanks though.

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    2. I like fig's butts and I cannot lie
      You other builders can't deny
      That when a part comes in with proportions spaced
      And a round anti-stud face...

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    3. The 5177 Metal Detector is listed as Light Gray on Bricklink, Dark Gray on Rebrickable. That's confusing.

      https://www.bricklink.com/catalogItemInv.asp?S=5157-1

      https://rebrickable.com/sets/5157-1/town-and-space-equipment/?inventory=1#parts

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    4. It's also listed as dark gray on Bricker, and shows as dark gray on the plastic bag. I couldn't find a picture of it inside or outside the bag though. But judging from the price of the 2 ones on BL, they have to exist, they're not wrongly listed. I'm not surprised there are only 2 ones on BL, those service packs were like mail orders.

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    5. Yeah, but BrickLink inventory tends to be regularly checked. I don't know if there's been an oversight this time, or if there have been different versions of 5177 released and distributed.

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    6. I'd rather trust Bricker as for accuracy for old stuff (but it doesn't seem to be as up-to-date as BL). It would be weird for the labels of both 5177 and 5157 to feature a dark grey version by mistake, so if there's a mistake it's Lego's.

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    7. Ah, there were two different sets. According to Bricklink, neither of the sets contain a dark gray detector, according to Rebrickable only 5157 and according to Bricket both sets. Curiouser and curiouser.

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    8. We based the Rebrickable jnventory on the image from the catalog.

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    9. The whole thing is pretty odd. Why would Lego introduce a new color for a limited release service pack? And why do three different sites claim three different inventories? Could the dark gray detector have been made for a cancelled set, with remaining stock included at random in 5157 and 5177? As for now, it feels like a mystery.

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    10. Not that much of a mystery, considering that same metal detector can be found in more colors (tan/yellow/white/red/blue) not appearing in sets than appearing in sets. Lego does/did that a lot.

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    11. Yeah, I know about test colors. Detectors in actual test colors are equally rare on BrickLink as the presumably officially distributed Dark Gray variants, though. You'd expect a bigger numbers of Dark Gray detectors if they were a standard occurrence in the Service Packs.

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    12. Except those service packs were mail orders, you had to snail mail in order to buy them, as a kid back then I never heard of anyone bothering doing that. Perhaps they were on the shelves in some countries, I don't know, but all over the world those packs must be pretty rare. But yeah it's weird not to even find a single picture of a dark gray one, when the other rare colors have one.

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  8. Aren't we missing 30035? I would have expected it to be included...
    Great idea for a parts fest though! Super excited to see what happens!
    MAC

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  9. We considered it, but it felt a little bit of an outlier and the number of seed parts was already quite large by the time we got to 1990's sets.
    Thanks, there are definitely some treats in-store!

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    Replies
    1. I'm sure the list can get quite large. Maybe next time in addition to 30035, it would be fun to include 6023 (the white jetpack with 2 handles seen in Blacktron2), and 4736 (jetpack with stud on front). Either way I'm excited to see what folks come up with.

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