The newest LEGO Ideas set to be released is the Women of NASA (21312) which is based on the project of the same name introduced by Maia Weinstock, aka 20tauri. The set has 231 pieces and will retail for $24.99. The set celebrates some notable researchers and explorers in NASA’s long history.
As with all the previous LEGO Ideas sets, the beginning pages of instruction booklet give a short description of the fan designer, Maia Weinstock, along with LEGO designers Gemma Anderson and Marie Sertillanges who talk about some of the process in creating this set.
There is also descriptions for the women featured in this set, Margaret Hamilton, Sally Ride, Nancy Grace Roman, and Mae Jemison.
There are four minifigures in the Women of NASA set, Margaret Hamilton, Nancy G. Roman, Mae Jemison, and Sally Ride. The minifigure of Katherine Johnson, who was also proposed in the project, is not included in this set. LEGO has released a statement saying:
In order for us to move forward with a partner we need to obtain approval from all key people which was not possible in this case. We naturally fully respect this decision.
Margaret Hamilton was a lead software designer who developed the onboard flight software for the Apollo missions. She has on a black dress with a wavy striped design. The legs continue with the printing of the dress with the same design along with the lower part of the legs and shoes. Her face printing shows her smiling while wearing her round framed glasses on one side and a variant smile on the other. The hair style has been used before but this is the first time that it has appeared in a nougat color.
Her vignette shows the famous photo of her standing next to the Apollo guidance software that she developed with her team at MIT. The left side of the scene shows a simple clothes rack. The middle of it is a stack of 2×2 blue and white jumper plates to recreate the stack of books. The back wall has a 2×3 printed tile of the chalkboard. The whole vignette sits on a 6×10 layout with a printed tile of Margaret Hamilton on the front.
The next vignette features the Space Shuttle Challenger along with two women astronauts, Mae Jemison and Sally Ride. Jemison is the first African-American woman in space aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour in 1992. She wears an International Orange Advanced Crew Escape Suit that is decorated with some patches and the pressure bladders and ventilation system. The arms should have some patches as well but none are present with the minifigure. The back of the torso also has some printing of the zipper for the suit which is a nice detail to make it more accurate. Her face printing shows her with a serious look on one side and a nice big smile. Her accessory is a white helmet with a visor.
Sally Ride was the first American woman to fly in space in 1983 aboard the Challenger. Her minifigure is shown wearing the iconic blue in-flight suit that has printing of the STS-7 Challenger patch as well as her name badge. There’s also some details of the pockets and lines on the jacket. It does look a little different compared to the actual suit she wore during the mission. Her facial expressions include a serious look and a smile on the other. She also has a camera as an accessory.
The miniature model of the Space Shuttle Challenger is a great little build. The shuttle also includes the two rocket boosters and the external tank that is detachable. The boosters connect to the external tank by the way of some Technic pins on the sides while the orbiter connects to the tank using an angled plate. There is a pedestal that the whole shuttle sits on on the display stand. Again, the front of the display are a couple of printed tiles for Jemison and Ride.
The last vignette features Nancy G. Roman who is known as the “Mother of Hubble” for her role in planning the Hubble Space Telescope as well as helping launch more than a dozen satellites into space. For her minifigure, she is shown wearing a white top along with a white cardigan. The torso also has printing of a multi-colored necklace. The legs are plain tan. Her facial printing shows her with some glasses and a sincere smile on one side and a big smile on the other.
Roman’s vignette shows her alongside a miniature version of the Hubble Space Telescope. It uses an interesting variety of parts to create the telescope include a trash can and a wide rim, along with some clips to holding on to some printed 1×4 solar panels. Next to the Hubble is a printed piece showing an image of a nebula. In front of the stand similar to before, there is printed tile of Nancy’s name.
The LEGO Ideas Women of NASA (21312) set is nice looking set that has a similar feel to the LEGO Ideas Research Institute (21110) in terms of the small vignette builds for the women featured. I do appreciate the accuracy of the minifigures to the builds themselves especially the one for Margaret Hamilton in that iconic picture. The builds themselves are vast upgrades to what was proposed on LEGO Ideas. There are no stickers in the set and the designs on the bricks are all printed. It is unfortunate, however, that we did not get a minifigure and build for Katherine Johnson but it seems that LEGO couldn’t get approval for her inclusion.
The Women of NASA set seems to be a popular set with the feedback shown online on social media and other media outlets. Playability is very low but they will make great display sets wherever you decide to put them, especially next to the other LEGO space sets. It will be available starting on November 1 at LEGO Brand Stores and on [email protected] along with some retailers like Toys R Us and Barnes & Noble.
Thank you to LEGO AFOL Relations & Programs (ARP) team for sending in this set for me to review. The content above represents my own opinion and not the company. Review sets sent in does not guarantee a positive review.