Mars Mission was a LEGO Space sub-theme that ran from 2007-9. The theme has since developed a small cult following.
Mars Mission follows a team of Earth astronauts (“Astros”) dispatched to Mars to mine energy crystals. Led by an Astro Commander (whom fans have affectionately named ‘Bob’), the Astros quickly discover that they are not alone. Aliens from another galaxy have colonised Mars and are thriving on its mysterious energy crystals. Following Alien attacks the Astros weaponise their mining technology and mount a ‘defence’. This begins an all-out war that results in the discovery and eventual destruction, of the subterranean Alien hive and Alien Queen.
Mars Mission is a significant theme due to its complication of the good-guy / bad-guy narrative that LEGO Space themes tend to recycle. In Mars Mission, the ‘good-guys’ effectively invade a colonised planet and then proceed to exterminate the inhabitants; an odd homage to Ridley Scott’s Alien and it’s comment on colonialism and genocide. Or, as one YouTube commenter put it: “this is pretty f***ing deep for lego”.
This figure is available in #7699 MT-101 Armored Drilling Unit.
ASTRONAUT GUNNER (MM008)
Mars Mission came with seven minifigure variations, distinguishable only by their face prints.
This Astro Gunner figure has a white base with grey hips; orange, black and grey detailing; white arms and gloves; and white helmet with reflective gold visor. On the front he has a silver-zippered space suit with orange vest, buttons, dials, and a planet/orbiting ship logo borrowed from the classic LEGO Space minifigures (1979 to 1987). On the back he has straps and a printed oxygen tank with gauge. His face print has dot-stubble and side-burns; black eyes with white pupils; crimson eyebrows and scruffy hair that partly falls over his right eye. This face print also appears in Space Police III, Soccer, F1 and Aquaraiders II minifigures.
The gold visor is awesome and it gives the figure a slightly menacing look. The white suit is a good choice as it reflects the colour of real-life space suits. The detailing is multi-layered and has lots of reflective silver details. The logo is a cool nod to fans of the classic space themes. The dot-stubble is asymmetrical which gives it a cool, hand-painted feel.
The figure would have looked a little cleaner with white hips and some jump boots wouldn’t go astray. The printed oxygen tank is nice but I prefer the standard tanks such as those on Space Police II and Ice Planet figures. Like the Aquanauts, the designers have been a little lazy with the copy-paste torso designs across the Mars Mission figures.
Despite its issues, I have a soft spot for this minifigure, partly due to my love of space themes and partly due to its place within a very unique theme. Added to the Hall of Minifigures.