Paying homage to the 40th anniversary of the first Space Shuttle flight on 12 April 1981, LEGO has launched the new LEGO NASA Space Shuttle Discovery set that that is an absolute joy to build.
The LEGO 10283 NASA Space Shuttle Discovery set, the latest in the 18+ line for adults is a detailed recreation of the STS-31 mission launched in April 1990, that saw the orbiter Discovery and its five crew members first deploy the Hubble Space Telescope.
Since then, the Hubble has shared amazing images of deep space, leading to breakthroughs in astrophysics and space exploration. While the Hubble wasn’t the first space telescope, it is one of the largest and most versatile.
Officially revealed by former NASA Astronaut Dr Kathy Sullivan, who was part of the original NASA STS-31 mission which launched the Hubble Telescope, the new set is accurate-to-scale and made up of 2,354 pieces that truly bring the set to life with an amazing amount of detail and building techniques that allow it to feature functional landing gear, payload bay doors that open one after the other and reflective stickers that mimic the cooling radiators found on the real shuttle orbiter.
The bricks are separated into 16 bags, with bags 1 to 3 containing the parts to the Hubble telescope, and bags 4 to 16 the Space Shuttle Discovery. Unlike other builds, you can choose to work on either the telescope or the shuttle first and split it into two sessions. It took about eight and a half hours in total.
The entire build is extremely enriching with the use of several building techniques, such as SNOT (studs not on top) to change the direction of the bricks to achieve a smooth surface. It was extremely interesting to build, and understand, the engineering know-how using LEGO bricks that allow the landing gear to release by pushing in the body flap.
The rear engine of the Discovery also allows you to move the elevons on the wing by rotating the top-most engine.
The set really does pay a lot of attention to detail with the crew cabin featuring the five seats in their correct placement for the astronauts on the STS-31 mission, complete with flight and robotic arm (Remote Manipulator System, or RMS), control panels.
In addition, the mid-deck contains the space shuttle’s storage lockers for necessities and mission equipment, as well as space for the fifth crew member.
The payload bay itself contains the Ku-band antenna for communications, cameras for the crew to monitor operations within the bay, and the RMS arm that you can use to grapple the Hubble and display in multiple poses.
The build does include quite a few stickers that require a steady hand. There are a few printed bricks that look really good, but the “cooling radiators” will require you to paste silver stickers to complete the effect.
Once done, the LEGO NASA Space Shuttle Discovery set is an amazing display piece. You can choose to display the shuttle and the telescope seperately with their own stands and information plaques, or combine the two by storing the telescope within the shuttle, or showcase the build with the telescope ready to deploy. Any display option you choose, it is awesome. Plan where you want to place it though, it takes up quite a bit of space – the shuttle is about 54cm long.
Another cool little bonus is that the build booklet is filled with interesting facts and information about the shuttle, telescope and mission. Very educational.
As part of the wider LEGO Go beyond campaign, that kicks off with this product launch, space and LEGO fans alike can head to lego.com/gobeyond to watch the interview and find out more about the original mission, discover more about the LEGO NASA Space Shuttle Discovery set and access some great online space learning tools from LEGO Education.
The LEGO NASA Space Shuttle Discovery set is now available at LEGO Certified Stores at S$279.90 (US$199.99).