Tribute to Blacktron

Today, I have taken the time to pay homage to one of my favorite Lego space factions: Blacktron. This faction covered two themes, one in the late eighties and another in the early nineties. The Blacktron have been defined as theives who steal technology from other factions, helping to secure their own domination. The first of the two themes, simply titled Blacktron but usually referred to as Blacktron I or BT1, revolutionized Lego space and has been named the first truly "themed" series of space sets. Blacktron I featured intimidating minifigures, sleek shapes, and interchangeably modular designs, all glued together by a striking color scheme of black, yellow, trans-red and trans-yellow. Many ideas pioneered by Blacktron I are still used today, such as smaller vehicles detaching from larger ones, etc. To this day, Blacktron I sets are very popular and therefore expensive and hard to come by. Regrettably, I do not own any as yet but I plan on collecting them all eventually. Pictured below are the Battrax, the Renegade, and the Message-Intercept Base, some of the most acclaimed Blacktron I sets.
The Message Intercept Base features a dome that
can open using a mechanism similar to that of the
Futuron Cosmic Laser Launcher.
The Battrax features a steering joint in the
middle, great mechanical details, and a
detachable flying vehicle at the rear.
The Renegade could be broken into multiple smaller vehicles.

Blacktron returned in 1991 with Blacktron: Future Generation, which is usually referred to as Blacktron II or BT2. Unlike Blacktron I, its "sequel" had a color scheme of black, white, and trans-neon green, which added to the notion that it was an "upgrade" of Blacktron I. This newer series is often slandered as a set-by-set rehash of its predecessor, but I think this theme needs to be appreciated for what it is, not insulted for what it could have been. Blacktron II shared the idea of interchangeability, since some vehicles had futuristic, spheroid cockpits that were very similar and compatible with one another. Unfortunately, only four of the dozen sets had these cockpits, making the others incompatible. Blacktron II minifigures wore a new logo, a green letter B inside an octagon, emblazoned on their chests. While the new logo and design made the minifigures seem slightly less formidable (you can see their smiley faces through their visors), they still have a great design and excellent play value. Unlike Blacktron I, Over half of Blacktron II sits upon my shelves, hopefully to be joined by the rest of both themes. Two of the most popular Blacktron II sets, the Aerial Intruder (I have that one) and the Spectral Starguider (I really want that one) are seen below.
The Aerial Intruder features two spheroid cockpits
and a deployment ramp for two small buggies.
The Spectral Starguider features suspension, steering, and an
alternate vehicle made from the front cockpit and the small
laboratory module on top.
The Blacktron Intelligence Agency

The Blacktron Intelligence agency is a monstrous Blacktron I layout built by Brian Darrow in Indiana. The BIA was a massive undertaking, being under perpetual construction for almost a decade. At its peak, it included at least 78 trans-yellow quarter-dome panels,(worth 20-30 dollars each) and over 1600 minifigures from various themes (mostly Blacktron). It measured almost forty feet long and had over 245 feet of monorail track. Each one of those numbers is amazing, as the quarter-domes, vintage minifigures, and monorail tracks are all very expensive. I cannot go in-depth enough to do this project justice, so you can visit the creator's MOCpages site here for additional information and images. I have also included a video tour done by Joe Meno in 2007. It effectively captures the scope and grandeur of this amazing piece. Regrettably, the BIA no longer exists, as it was dismantled and auctioned off in chunks almost two years ago. This means I will never see it in person, but it has been immortalized on the internet. In fact, it has inspired me to build my own layout of epic proportions, which is already four years into the design process. It will likely be posted in the distant future.

Evidence of Blacktron
Both Blacktron themes were released in conjunction with a "civilian" theme and a Space Police theme. Unfortunately, with the release of Space Police III in 2009, there came no Blactron III. This does not mean there were no hints, however. The minifigure named Rench, who was included in the Raid VPR (5981) wears a modified BT1 uniform with a BT2 logo on it. The "Space Villain" minifig from Minifigures Series 3 also wears the Blacktron II logo, whilst his armor and weapons match the BT1 color scheme. Most interesting of all is the upcoming "Evil Mech" minifigure from the new Minifigures Series 11, which wears a Blacktron I logo (not the BT2 logo) on its armor. Be sure to look out for it upon its release. While it is uncertain as to whether there will ever be an actual Blacktron 3, we can always enjoy the classics.
The upcoming Evil Mech minifig. Note the Blackron I logo on its armor.

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