Making Space Turtle kits, part 1: the process

I mentioned in the last post that I was planning on making some Space Turtle kits for my nieces and nephews. I could have gotten all the parts for official Space Turtles from Bricklink, but I wanted to take advantage of a couple of currently available polybags that have almost all of the necessary pieces: 30404 Friends flower polybag, and 30525 The Guardians’ Ship. The limiting elements are the octagonal pieces from the flower polybag (2 per) and the purple transparent 2×2 boat plates from the ship polybag (3 per). I wanted to make 6 turtles, so I needed three of the former set and two of the latter.

I also picked up a couple of cheap plastic organizer bins from the dollar store down the street, for sorting parts.

The ship polybag in particular has a load of great parts that you don’t need for Space Turtles, so if you follow in my footsteps you’ll have a lot of nice bits left over. Two of the spaceship wing pieces inspired me to make this sea turtle as an alternative build.

Okay, back to Space Turtles. Here’s a core chassis made with only pieces from the flower polybag.

Here are the pieces of interest from the ship polybag, especially the boat plates for making heads, and the single-stud transparent pieces for making eyes.

A little fleet of turtle chassis. I only realized later that I’d left the tail off of the one at the left front.

The three leg variants I used. For this photo I used only pieces from the flower polybag, to show that it could be done, but for the production models I subbed in jumper plates and smooth plates in other colors. Here I’ve also added radar-dish shells – the radar dish is the one bit that doesn’t come in either of the polybags. Fortunately our local Lego store has a ton of them on their pick-a-brick wall, so I’ve got a warchest for future turtle-building.

Here’s a complete but unarmed turtle sporting the same head design as Peter Reid’s original Space Turtles, including the ones that appeared in his book LEGO Space: Building the Future. They look cool, but the un-reinforced single-stud connections at both ends of the boat plate do not spell “durable playability”. Since I am making these turtle kits for kids to build and play with, I wanted a more solid connection.

Fortunately both polybags have round 2×2 plates that snap pretty securely onto the neck clip at back and the eye stud up front. The flower polybag has one in green and several in brown, and the ship polybag has a couple in gray. I was trying out color schemes here – I ended up swapping them around a bit.

Space Turtles need laser guns, it’s just a fact. Here I built the gun out of polybag parts, again just to show that it was possible. The orange jumper plate and click-hinge parts came from the spaceship, the rest from the flower. Each ship has only one click-hinge, so this is no way to arm a fleet of Space Turtles. For the kits, I imported pieces from other sets – I’ll show those off with the completed production line in the next post.

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One Response to Making Space Turtle kits, part 1: the process

  1. Pingback: Making Space Turtle kits, part 2: the turtles, and instructions | Echo Station 5-7

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