Christmas Morning, 1980: Lego Space and The Green Machine

Christmas Lego 1980

That’s the Galaxy Explorer, the centerpiece of the 1979 Lego Space line. (For stacks of Lego Space in a toy store in 1981, go here.)

Marx Toys released the Big Wheel in 1969 and the Green Machine—“a racer for guys who like a ride that’s really fast…“—in 1976. Damn thing was the Corvette of racing trikes.

JC Penney Catalog 1976

JCPenney Christmas Catalog, 1976

I’m assuming the dog on the left is a Christmas present, and the dog on the right isn’t.

(Images via j_t_d/Flickr and Wishbook)

10 Responses to “Christmas Morning, 1980: Lego Space and The Green Machine”

  1. 1 Don Gates December 16, 2013 at 5:18 pm

    Wow! Haven’t seen the Galaxy Explorer in a long, long time. I’m sure it only ever looked like that once in my hands, before it got pulled apart to be turned into other stuff.

    • 2 2W2N December 16, 2013 at 6:50 pm

      So true. My best friend had the Explorer and other sets, and I had some sets, and it was one giant, awesome bucket of space legos…

    • 3 leftylimbo December 17, 2013 at 10:03 am

      Yup, I’d have to say the same thing, except my best friend had all the cool Space Lego sets and we just played with ’em when I came over. I remember when he got that Galaxy Explorer thing. We may have built it together once, but it was way more fun for us to come up with our own smaller spacecraft and/or other miscellaneous space stuff using whichever bricks we could find.

      That’s the cool thing about then, it was common for kids to have all kinds of “brick bins” or “brick buckets” which meant hours of fun just using our imagination. These days the Lego sets are awesome and so articulate, but at the same time they’re often so part-specific that it’s not so intuitive or easy to come up with other things on the fly. At least that’s my experience these days when I play Legos with my son, who’s 7—which is about the same age that I started playing with Legos myself.

      Oh, and also—the brick bucket? Total no-no these days. Each and every set is stored in its own ziplock bag to make sure the parts don’t mix…again, because a lot of the parts are very specific to the structures that they pertain to. Is this just me, or do any other dads feel the same way?

    • 4 leftylimbo December 17, 2013 at 5:20 pm

      Oh, another thing too—as grand as that Galaxy Explorer seemed back then (to my friend and I it was like, mega-super huge)…doesn’t it seem totally minimal and sparse compared to today’s Lego sets? lol

    • 8 Mike Moore December 17, 2013 at 7:07 pm

      Lego’s are expensive as well. Walmart had a Large bucket on sale for $15 last year. I bought 4 of them for my 5 year old, as well as ordering a set off e-bay that just contained multi colored longer bricks and roof pieces.

      We have also bought him some of the more specific lego sets like the power ranger megazord, and like Lefty said above, you cannot do much with it except build the megazord. He has a lot more fun with the blocks.

      • 9 leftylimbo December 17, 2013 at 9:09 pm

        I’ve resorted to looking on Craigslist for people who are getting rid of their old “brick buckets” just so my kid can have stuff to craft with just like I did. I’ve found a few with various price ranges. There was a perfect catch once—I think over 40 lbs. of Legos in bins—but it was all the way up in Santa Barbara or something.

  2. 10 contradextraavenue December 16, 2013 at 11:29 pm

    Ah, space Legos. Before all the Lego licensing deals. My personal favorite was the Mobile Rocket Transport ( That independent suspension…

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