Sunday, January 4, 2015

Sets I Had From The Lego 1992 Catalog

I was a little Lego fiend when I was growing up. I turned 11 in 1992, and toys weren't quite taboo yet. I was still comfortable talking about them with friends, and wouldn't run and hide if I heard kids from school walking by the toy aisle. It was also the year of my biggest Christmas Lego haul ever. I got some pretty big sets that year, and much like the larger toys from Hasbro and Kenner, they came with a flyer showing off that year's assortment of Lego sets.

This is still one of my favorite Lego catalog covers. I like the idea that all of Lego's realms coexist at one time, so it seems entirely possible for a space policeman and a Navy officer to be riding the metro when the Black Knight decides to collect a toll from the passengers. Of course, these were the days before the minifigures had anything but a smile on their faces, so everyone seems rather jolly about the whole affair.

Admittedly, I had a bunch of these sets before 1992. Several of them had already been out for a year or so, like the M-Tron team and the Metro Liner. It seems like Lego had released quite a few new sets the previous two years, so that might be why there doesn't seem like there's much new stuff in this pamphlet.

6234 Renegade's Raft
6235 Buried Treasure
6247 Bounty Boat

Not every theme was for everyone, hence the reason why I never really invested heavily in the Pirate theme. Sure, I bought a few of the smaller sets, but I never really liked them enough to go for the bigger forts or ships. Still, those smaller sets netted me some pretty cool characters, such as the Lego shark and monkey. They eventually became supporting characters in my stories, and I'm pretty sure the monkey became a space captain at one point. I think I may have given the shark some upgrades in the form of wings and laser cannons, too.

Out of the three sets I bought, the Bounty Boat was my favorite. You got a boat, three minifigures, and a chest full of gold pieces. It wasn't quite sturdy enough for playing at the beach, but I had no qualms about taking it in the pool or the tub with me. That's right, I still took baths when I was 11..

6534 Beach Bandit
4011 Cabin Cruiser
6551 Checkered Flag 500 
6646 Screaming Patriot
6648 Mag Racer

I had a lot of Town sets, but it looks like most of them were older sets, since they aren't included in this particular catalog. The great thing about Lego, is their sets usually hit all the price points. That was a great thing for those weeks I hadn't saved up my lunch money or my allowance. That's probably how I ended up with the Beach Bandit. It seems like such a random set, but I remember playing it a bunch. It was basically two vehicles in one, if you counted the included windsurfer. Not bad for Not bad for a set that cost a little under five bucks.

I still remember the night I bought the Cabin Cruiser. I think it was 1991, and I had some allowance and birthday money saved burning holes in my pockets. I loved to go fishing, and when I saw the two Lego minifigs on the box reeling in a shark, I knew this was a set I had to have. It didn't hurt that it reminded me of my grandfather's boat too. This one saw a lot of time in the pool, and I remember using it to reenact Jaws a few times. Eventually, it was outfitted with a bunch of guns and turned into a fast attack boat. It's a natural progression.

I was really into the Race sets at this point, and I can only imagine it had something to do with me seeing Days of Thunder. That was the movie that convinced me NASCAR was exciting to watch, and I used to race everything that had wheels. Hot Wheels, Matchbox, Tonka trucks..if it could roll I would race it. I even built my own Lego race cars, though they never came out as streamlined as a stock car or a Formula 1 car. The Mag Racer and the cars included in the Checkered Flag 500 set were more like Sprint cars than stock cars, but I didn't care. I always wanted more road plates so I could build a proper race course, but the one included with the Checkered Flag 500 was the only one I ever had. It worked out in the end though, since my imaginary courses involved climbing up the back of the couch and making sweet jumps off the entertainment center. As for the Screaming Patriot, that was another impulse purchase, likely influenced by my love for older muscle cars. Really, I was fascinated by any car that had half of its engine sticking out of the hood.

6832 Super Nova II
6887 Allied Avenger
6933 Spectral Starguider
6812 Grid Trekkor 
6989 Multi Core Magnetizer (Mega Core Magnetizer)
6811 Pulsar Charger
6833 Beacon Tracer
6956 Stellar Recon Voyager
6877 Vector Detector

I guess it's pretty easy to see where most of my Lego love was focused. The Blacktron and M-tron sets are still among some of my favorites. Most of them were part of an epic Christmas haul from 1991. On that one day, I got the Mega Core Magnetizer, the Stellar Recon Voyager, Spectral Starguider and Allied Avenger. I don't know if you're counting or not, but that's a crap load of pieces. Both factions had their own gimmick, with M-Tron having magnetic panels that could be attached to boxes or smaller vehicles, while some of Blacktron's sets featured interchangeable cockpits. They all featured the bright neon green cockpits that looked like they should glow, but sadly didn't. I distinctly remember the Mega Core Magnetizer and the Spectral Starguider were the two sets I never wanted to disassemble. I didn't see the point, since I thought they were both perfect as is.

Even the smaller M-Tron and Blacktron sets were fun, with the Beacon Tracer being one of my favorites. It was only slightly larger than the Blacktron Grid Trekker, but it looked like a little hot rod with that lifted rear end. It looked rather intimidating, even for its size. Speaking of the Grid Trekkor, I just now realized that the minifig is standing, rather than sitting down. It's basically a four wheel drive Segway, which means Lego beat them to the punch by nearly 20 years.

Sadly, I missed out on this iteration of the Space Police. I don't even recall seeing them in stores. No matter, my M-Tron guys had no problems fighting off the forces of Blacktron. Besides, with smiles like that, they couldn't be all that bad, could they?

4558 Metro Liner

This is it, the big kahuna. I got this the same Christmas as all the bigger Space sets. At the time, it was the biggest set I had ever tackled. I think I got a couple of additional track pieces too, because I remember the long sides having more of a straight run. I had had a model train before, but I was never able to  have much fun with it. It was a pain to set up, took up most of my bedroom floor, and was fragile as hell. I remember using it a few times then either the electric motor went up in the engine, or the transformer got broken. I don't remember which. After that, the board on which everything was set up was stuck under a bed, or in a closet somewhere.

That was the great thing about the Metro Liner. I could take it all apart and put it back in its box within a matter of minutes. It was also nearly indestructible, and believe me, I put that to the test. I would set some of my other vehicles on the tracks, and then run into them at full speed. Every so often, I would have to rebuild the engine, but most of the time it came through unscathed. I'm pretty sure some minifigs may have fallen off the platform into the train's path on occasion.  Some nights I would set up the train and start it, then turn out the lights. The only thing I could see would be the headlights on the front of the train, almost like it was traveling through a perpetual tunnel. I even loved the sound it would make as it ran around the track. It was a soothing electric whirr, with the occasional "click clack" as it traveled over the joints on the rails. The Metro Liner was another one of those sets that I just couldn't bring myself to take apart. I'm pretty sure it was still assembled when I donated it and the rest of my Lego sets years ago.

So that's pretty much it. I hope you had as much fun reading this, as I did wracking my brain trying to remember all of it. I skipped over quite a bit, mainly the Technic sets, because they were always a little intimidating to me. At this point in my life, I still wasn't quite sure how they worked, so I stuck with plain Lego. Hell, I'm still not sure I could put those Technic sets together even now.


  1. Man I LOVE the Diesel Daredevil and Screaming Patriot - I've never seen those before. I certainly wasn't paying any attention to LEGO in the early nineties.

    1. I don't know why I never picked up the Diesel Daredevil. That was such a cool truck, and it was cheap, too. It looks like they can be found rather cheaply on eBay, though it seems it's cheaper to buy them from Germany than any of the US sellers.

  2. Oh man, you had some awesome sets! I loved the Pirates theme and I had several of the smaller sets and some of the medium sized sets. Thankfully I still have most of my Islanders, love those guys!

    My earliest LEGO memory is building set 6987 with my brother and my Dad. I still have several pieces from the set, but I don't know if I will ever be able to rebuild it. It may have been the biggest set we ever had, except for Fort Legorado. We had a ton of space stuff and Ice Planet was my favorite subtheme.

    As fate would have it I have decided to choose a focused theme for each month on my blog, and January is LEGO month! Thanks for the post, I enjoyed the rush of nostalgia.

    Do you still have some of your old 90s LEGO? I'm glad I still have bits and pieces, but tons it have been lost.

    1. Oh man, 6987 is one of the sets I used to sit there and drool over in the catalog. As cool as the new Blacktron is, I have to admit I prefer the old yellow and black theme. Ice Planet was another good subtheme. In fact, I'm pretty sure an Ice Planet set was one of the last ones I ever bought.

      I had to chuckle when I saw LEGO was going to be your January theme, because I almost considered doing the same thing myself. hah. I'm looking forward to reading it this month.

      Sadly, all my LEGO stuff was given away to someone else's kids. There's a slight tinge of regret, but I know they went to a good home and got played with. I just hope they didn't throw them out, and passed them on when they were done.

      I'm glad you enjoyed the nostalgia fix Mason. Thanks for reading!

  3. You had an impressive collection of Legos! We should've been friends as kids because I had ALL the Space Police sets, but was missing a lot of the ones you had. We could've combined forces for the ultimate intergalactic showdown!

    I also had a Shell gas station. Not sure how that would've fit in, but it was cool!

    1. Hey, Space ships need fuel too!

      Man, I bet that would have been a blast. I think that's the one problem with Lego. They travel well door to door, but not so much on longer journeys.

  4. Good turned 11 in 1992! I just graduated from high school in 1990 and was working a full time job by 92' lol.

    1. I'm not sure if that makes you old, or makes me a youngin'. Haha!

  5. These catalogues were my imagination fuel growing up. The dioramas in them were incredible, particularly the M-Tron one from (I think) '92. My friend and I combined Lego trying to build the ultimate space base off of these pics. That was a huge deal for a 9 year old...

    Also, snap on building racing cars. With the interchangable road plates it was like a poor man's Scaletrix up in my house!

    1. The dioramas were always my favorite part about these catalogs. It's a crying shame that no one has released a book collecting all the dioramas from the Lego pamphlets.

    2. That's an amazing idea, instant buy. You should tweet Lego about it!

    3. You're young, Chris!! I turned 12 in 1992!!

    4. Joe, I never even considered that. I'll do it today!

      Yellina, I'm not that much younger. I turned 11 in October of that year.

  6. I have the Poolside Paradisa* from 1992, maybe it appears in your catalog, Chris.
    I also have a vehicle that seems to be the Tri-Wheeled Tyrax, but mine is a little bigger and the pilot is a robot

    *Exactly I have the Poolside Paradisa pieces, because I have no idea how to assemble it. When playing, I build anything but a Paradisa facility...

    1. Yep, that one is in there. I think it had been out for a year or two by 1992, because it was relegated to the last page with the order form. I think you can find the instructions online, if you ever wanted to build the actual set. But then again, where's the fun in that?

  7. I keep this pamphlet by my bedside for last minute reading before I turn the lights out... among the Lego pamphlets it's the one I look at the most... partially because my Brother ate the pristine 1988 pamphlet I had several years back... and he eviscerated the Space section worst... my favorite section! :( I keep the pieces though... I'm a Lego pamphlet hoarder, always was. The Internet has diminished their value for in depth analysis, but for a quick check they're tactile and immediate. For reference I was 6 in '92 and the thought of not being allowed to play with Lego after the age of 12 made me want to never grow up. Funny how times have changed.

    1. That's something I'm going to miss when most catalogs and magazines go online only: the feeling of actually holding one in my hands. It's nice to be able to look up a catalog and browse all its wares, but I don't always want to do that at a computer desk, or even on a screen. The Lego pamphlets were especially great, because the designers seemed to go through so much trouble to actually set up a scene to advertise their products.

      As for growing up, I'm not sure that I ever will. I'm not sure what I would think about if I didn't have toys, movies, and books on my mind.


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