Posted by: Draddog | July 22, 2012

Review: Hayabusa (#21101)

The Hayabusa is a Japanese spacecraft that collected samples from an asteroid and returned to Earth. It sounded like the spacecraft had some real challenges (including losing it’s mini-lander) but the mission was an overall success.  Thanks to CUUSOO, we also managed to get a fairly cool LEGO model.

In our house, we are huge fans of any space LEGO series – however the ones that resemble real spacecraft have a special place in our hearts. The Shuttle Adventure and the Saturn V Moon Mission, for example, are really cool sets based on real NASA missions.

The LEGO model comes in at 369 pieces and is $49.99. It’s not a super big build, but has some interesting techniques.

Co-build Rating: 4/5

There are three main parts to this build (not including the mini-figure) – the base, the body of the spacecraft and the solar collectors. The body of the spacecraft has several sub-builds as well. This provides plenty of opportunity for two builders to work together.

The only real problem we ran into is that there is no even split. All three pieces go together quickly enough.  However, it’s not really a big deal and it’s a lot of fun to see it all come together.

Overall Rating: 3.5/5

This set is actually hard to rate. It’s pretty cool looking, but it is also very sparse in detail. The original model (shown in the back of the instructions) had a lot more detail. The spacecraft itself clearly has more detail as well.  All of the main highlights are there though, including the re-entry capsule, individual thrusters and the ion engine.

The ion engine itself is kind of weird. It’s 3 clear blue round 1×1 tiles. However, on the black brick they come across a lot darker than they probably should.  One of the engines is also a gray 1×1 round tile. Its not clear if this is an attempt how the real spacecraft came back on only 3 of it’s engines.

In order to support the large solar arrays, the 1×2 bricks with technic holes are locked into place with a variety of plates and bricks. Even the collector arm and gray support are held in place using a modified 2×2 brick with a technic pin pegged into a 1×2 brick with hole. This additional horizontal support helps prevent against torque that may pull a normal brick off of the base.

Similar to the Architecture sets, the base has a an edge of black tiles. A provided sticker lets you label the base with “Hayabusa”.  The base is suppose to look like a rocky asteroid, the  Hayabusa standing on it’s sampler arm. The thin gray support in the back is there to keep the spacecraft from toppling over.

At roughly 7 cents a piece, it’s a reasonable deal. However, for those who are not families with the spacecraft or have an interest in CUUSOO the price might be a bit of a stretch.  We like it well enough and it looks great next to it’s brethren.



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