For those who love space and NASA the LEGO Creator Expert NASA Apollo 11 Lunar Lander is a must-have. Not only in terms of build quality but also in terms of looks. The Lunar Lander is a real looker and has quite a lot of nice features.
As with the Mars Exploration set, the NASA Apollo Lunar Landers has astronaut minifigures. In this set, you get two, and apart from the head and the print on the torso they are not much different. I’ll be honest. I don’t like them because of the helmets. These things are so big you can’t see the print on the torso anymore which makes the minifigures almost completely white.
If the helmet and backpack, which is one mold, had some print on it as well it would have been a different story. Now they are just white and you can’t see the, quite cool I might add, NASA themed print on the torso. A bit of a shame… Anyway, moving on to the build!
The NASA Apollo 11 Lunar Lander is quite a meaty build with a total of 9 bags (a few smaller bags inside as well) divided into 4 sections.
The booklet is very cool and contains some amazing info about the race to the moon and very specific details and images about the Lunar Lander. LEGO did an excellent job of getting people engaged without having to put together any bricks.
Building the LEGO NASA Apollo 11 Lunar Lander will be done in four steps. First, you will create the Moon. Or at least the bit where the Lander will… well, Land! This doubles as the display of course and also has a brick with the printed “Apollo 11 Lunar Lander” text.
It’s nothing super fancy but it serves it’s purpose really well. I especially like the little crater though.
Once that is done the inner part of the lower module, or descent stage is up. There are some great details involved as you will be building the fuel and oxidizer tanks, the camera in quadrant 4 (which filmed Neil Armstrong as he climbed down the ladder and placed his foot on the moon), and the laser reflector in quadrant 2. This was placed on the surface so people could measure the exact distance from the earth to the moon.
Landing gear and the casing is next and contains one of my favorite details in my opinion. I am talking about the golden bricks here and these represent the foil on the Lunar Lander and were used for thermal and micrometeoroid protection.
Now how do I know all this you might think? It’s in the booklet! Specifically, it’s mentioned in the sections you are currently building. Once again LEGO did a really nice job keeping you interested and informed in what it is you are currently putting together.
The landing gear is pretty straight forward but there is something about putting in those stairs though. Now I am a bit too young to have seen the Moon landing Live, but I have seen (who didn’t) the footage of Neil Armstrong descending down that ladder.
Last but certainly not least the top module or ascent stage needs to be put together. This thing is packed with radars, computers and all sorts of gizmos. It also contains the Reaction Control System (RCS) which provides thrust to the spacecraft.
The NASA Apollo 11 Lunar Lander is not so much a playset, but it does have quite a few features nonetheless. Either for plying or for displaying. For starters, it does have more than enough spots to put the minifigures on. You can put them on the moon surface or on a number of different spots on the lander. Because gravity is low on the moon the minifigs aren’t out of place almost anywhere.
The top module has a lot of satellite dishes and thrusters that can be positioned however you like (within the limits of the build of course). The inside of the module has a few stickers which resemble monitors, gears, dials and whatnot. You can put your minifigs in there but you won’t be able to see them anymore. Taking a part off will let you display it better though.
When taking off the upper module you see there is a thruster on the bottom of it. For save return home of course. The lower module becomes visible now and gives you a glimpse of those fuel and oxidizer tanks.
On the lower module, there is the landing gear. There is some movement because of the way it’s been designed but it doesn’t really move. And they shouldn’t of course. The Lunar Lander is designed to display (mainly).
As told before in the build process there are two compartments that can open. One contains the laser reflector while the other has a nifty little camera built-in. Both compartments open with hinges and are a really nice touch.
The ladder should stay in one position. My guess is that this wasn’t the case in the actual Lander, but for design reasons, I get why LEGO has done this. The ladder should be out for display purposes.
It is also a really good spot for a minifig. One of mine will be grabbing the ladder with one hand while gently floating beside the craft.
LEGO created something special with the NASA Apollo 11 Lunar Lander. This set really does look the part. The combination of excellent design choices, usage of golden bricks, adding loads of detail, and having a great display stand makes this a must-have for anyone that loves either LEGO, Space, or both. It’s a part of history as well. Think about it.
The instruction booklet adds a lot to the building experience because of the amount of information you can read during the building.
The minifigures are ok but I still have some issues with the white helmets. But they don’t take away from the awesome look and feel of the whole set. Building this set is challenging but not too difficult and overall just looks amazing.
LEGO did a great job giving us a fairly accurate piece of history reminding us that people are capable of great things.
- Great build
- Looks even better
- Loads of little details
- Instruction booklet doubles as a reference guide
- Golden bricks make the design pop
- It’s history
- Helmets on minifigures obstruct the torso print
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