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Lego Maniacs' Guide: Reviews: Space : Space Police : Mission Commander

[Purchase Lego at Amazon.com] 6986 - Mission Commander

Rating: 5 Stars
Pros: Beautiful design; the color combo of black; blue and red is excellent. This is a classic!
Cons: None
Contents: 462 pieces including 3 mini-figs
Price: Discontinued
Reviewed: 23-Apr-1997
Reviewed by: Joseph Gonzalez

6986 For the second time this journey, a warning message for a faulting seal system in the aft cargo bay goes off on a control panel. Space Police Captain, Adam Spaulding, follows his hunch this time and immediately transfers over to independent oxygen reserves and not a moment too soon. In an instant, the panel confirms that an aft holding cell is giving off a fully-breached alert. Air-contamination warning lights go on as communication with the Captain's partner suddenly goes deadly silent.
The Blacktron prisoner they were transferring was obviously more crafty than either of the officers gave him credit for. That mistake blooms into sudden danger as a virus alert notifies the pilot that program functions are shutting down one by one starting at the rear of the ship where the prisoner's cell was being held. Only Captain Spaulding's experience and quick reflexes as a seasoned fighter in the Kronos Wars will determine in the next few minutes if the battle cruiser Potentia will fall into the hands of Blacktron forces!

Legendary are the raves about the coolness of the 6986-Mission Commander and I'm here to tell you they are all true! This is an excellent model of all around sturdy construction and lots of moving parts.
It's kind of hard to know where to begin, so we'll start at the nose and work our way back. The nose of the ship is a one-man canopied cabin. The top half of the nose (not just the canopy) raises to allow a four-wheeled mobile unit to detach itself from the ship for exploration. This car looks like its main purpose is to carry one of the holding cells on its short bed.
A great deal of the ship's rear section is a detaching spacious cargo bay which also holds two of the holding cells in side compartments (they lay down and slide in securely to the cargo bay's floor). Even with the holding cells in place, there is still plenty of room for seven or eight standing mini-figs, or to load large amounts of 2x2 bricks of cargo. The rear tips of the wings are hinged and angle in to "hug" the cargo bay in place. It is very secure in flight and yet is not very difficult to disengage from the ship. I very much like the way the pod fits in with the overall shape of the craft yet its purpose is not obvious on first glance at the ship.
On each wing there are transparent canopies that cover one-man flying "mini-speeders", but these are very small to be used for anything other than short transport (possibly escape-type) vehicles.
Mini-figs with the set include two Space Police officers and one Blacktron astronaut. There were additional black and red visors (one each), so I put both of the black ones on the officers and put a red one on the Blacktron fig. For some reason I pictured the Space Police colors to be in white and dark blue, but they are actually white and black. The black visors contrasting on the white helmets look pretty darn good (and assist our helpful officers in maintaining some protective anonymity). I also like the red visor on the Blacktron guy, but then again I also like putting a trans-green visor on him for special missions (for the record, I don't like black wings on black dragons either).
The unique bricks that leaped out at me were the 2x4x2 gear box and gear rack elements that are used to raise the nose canopy. Any brief description I try to give to these wouldn't explain them well, but they also appear in the 6987-Message Intercept Base and the 6989-Mega Core Magnetizer. It looks like they are also used for the elevator in the 6394-Metro Park set and they're screaming for me to use them for an elevator mechanism myself. Other unique/worthwhile bricks are four of the 4x4x6 interior corner panels (again appearing in the 6987 set but in black there), and lots of red transparent 2x3x6 convex side panels and 3x3x6 convex corner panels.
Strangely, there is not one hand held weapon in the entire set. The Mission Commander ship isobviously armed with at least six large blasters mounted on the wings and nose.
This is undoubtedly among the best of the large ships Lego has put out. The moving parts coordinate well with the ship without making it look bulky, and the number of panels and large plates make it great for creating some large alternate models.

66 readers have rated this set as 4.735 out of 5 stars.
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