Thursday, January 26, 2012

Neo-Explorien MOCs

During the mid 90's during the heart of my youth LEGO experience, the Exploriens theme was introduced, and I fell in love.  Since then, Exploriens have been my favorite theme--bar none.  Once I rediscovered my enthusiasm for LEGO and joined the AFOL community, one of the first things I began looking for was neo-Explorien MOCs.  Sadly, there were few to be found.  I knew what I had to do.

At first, I tried to pull out and rebuild most of my Explorien sets, but I quickly realized that was futile.  Instead, I turned to my good friend Google, and discovered a post by a user RedBoost on the Aussie Fans of LEGO site.  RedBoost has been collecting the space sub-themes, and (s)he has great pictures of the sets.  Of interest in this case is the picture of the Explorien sets.

Beautiful, aren't they?

Given that my interest is creating neo-Explorien MOCs, I obviously need to understand the stylistic definition of the Explorien sets.  To that end, I've broken down the collection on various points of style:

The first, and probably most important, thing to notice is the color scheme. Explorien sets predominantly use white, with black here-and-there as accents. Notice that black almost always shows up on the extremities of the models as wheels, guns, claws, or similar features. The white and black scheme is accompanied by two transparent colors: trans-neon green and trans-dark blue. The trans-dark blue is almost exclusively used as windows/windscreens, but occasionally makes an appearance in weaponry (I'm ignoring the red/blue decoding apparatuses). Trans-neon green is used throughout the models as an accent color for antennas and weapons, but importantly, all engines/thrusters are shown in trans-neon green.

Stylistically, Exploriens have a forward-set cockpit. With two exceptions, the pilot sits at or in front of the center of the model, and in most models, the pilot sits at or very close to the front. Most models also have a wide front in the form of a front wing-like structure, similar to a Galor-class cruisers in Star Trek. It's not quite as forward as the Galor's wing, but it's a fairly prominent feature (primarily due to the use of this piece).

Another defining feature (in my mind) is the narrow abdomen of the Explorien Starship (middle left). In a number of other sets, though not nearly as pronounced, the spine of the vehicle is narrow, and only the wings/wheels "widen" it. (For contrast, look at the Space Police II sets in Redboost's post above.)

Other than components of the spine, the Explorien vehicles predominantly have dual symmetry, but that is not much of a defining restriction apart from wings. I do not believe an Explorien ship would have a central rear stabilizer, but would instead have them in increments of two.

Lastly, the rear of Explorien vehicles widens drastically with wings/wheels. The end does not taper down to a single engine, but rather its width allows for multiple engines across the rear. This feature is visible on most of the vehicles above.

There is one stylistic feature prominent in Explorien ships that I hope to avoid while maintaining the appropriate look. Most Explorien vessels are rather spindly, with significant gaps and breaks in their constructions. Instead, in my MOCs, I will try to copy the more robust appearance of the Space Police I and II sets.

Something to note is that most ships have asymmetric weaponry, but the high variability in their armaments makes this point something that I will probably ignore, though my own creative process will probably yield something similar.

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