reF-X04 Explorer

Classification: Mid-Long Range

(1) HC-DUALCS198X 

A unique reFrame intended for space exploration and travel, the Explorer was designed to be used by Moon’s Special Forces. The huge propellant boosters on its back would allow it to exit Earth’s orbit on its own but required the Explorer to be airlifted via special carrier to optimal launch altitudes. A few of these units were field tested on Luna base and some are still operational to this day.

reF-X04 Explorer
reF-X04 Explorer
reF-X04 Explorer
reF-X04 Explorer
reF-X04 Explorer
reF-X04 Explorer


My first build for Brick Mecha Division‘s The LEGO Movie 2 challenge where we build mecha for the various LEGO Movie characters. The moment we BMD admins conceptualized this challenge, I knew I wanted to do a Classic Space Blue-White-Light (Blue) Grey mech build featuring one of the classic spacemen from the new Benny’s Space Squad pack (set# 70841)

The original plan was to use the yellow spaceman but swapped him last minute for Benny himself since his face was just begging to ride this new mech :p 

All I knew coming into this build was that I wanted it to have a trans-yellow eye piece and have the 2×4 Slope with Classic Space logo on the shoulders. The build ended up as part of the Progenitors faction as it is one of the oldest factions in the Mech Wars timeline (meaning Classic Space would fit just in the faction :P). I figured I’d do a similar looking build to the reF-X03 Mosbach and it was a good look to go with. 

The build itself looks like an offspring of a GM grunt mecha design from Gundam with some Classic Space elements and greebling added into it. The Bazooka was actually modeled after the Classic Space gun that is included in the 70841 set. 

WIP Process

I. Head and Chest Build

Following the Mosbach’s look meant I just had to make a different variation of the head and chest design. Oddly enough, the head build’s top part took so long to finalize as I couldn’t decide right away if I wanted to use spikes similar to the Mosbach or settle on a different striping look. Ended up using some Light Grey flippers to create a visual break from all the blue on the top of the head. 

The Chest design was tricky in the sense that I wanted to use a Transparent-yellow piece to still show the pilot even with the closed hatch, mimicking the spaceship windscreens from the old Classic Space sets. I only had a 1×2 transparent-yellow brick to do this and wanted to use a 1x2x1 panel instead but those were apparently really rare. I’m happy with the results though since if you peek hard enough, you’ll see Benny’s smiling face through the “window”. 

II. Arms and Legs

As mentioned in the Build Notes, the plan was to put the 2×4 blue slope with the printed Classic Space logo on the shoulders.

I originally placed one slope piece per shoulder but after making the Bazooka, I removed the right shoulder’s printed piece.

The Legs were almost completely copied over from the Mosbach but edited to have more greebling / details in light gray (Knees are almost identical actually). The thighs are more detailed by breaking apart the 2×4 space into smaller pieces using an old vehicle mudguard and using two 1×2 cheese slopes.

The lower legs were initially made similar to the Mosbach as well as seen in the 2 photos above but were later  thickened to match the bulkier upper body and add more structural support to the ankles by adding outer ankle guard flaps. 

III. Weapons and Backpack

I wanted to make the Explorer’s weapon more of a tribute to the old Classic Space blaster / gun piece. I actually like the piece a lot and have used it several times in other builds. I decided on upscaling it all the way to a bazooka using an old aircraft engine piece as the main barrel and using a support piece for the body of the bazooka. The tricky part was making the handle but was able to pull it off with an old Light Gray Panel piece. 

The other weapon was built to be like the Mosbach’s shield but also had more function to it with the extra cannons.

The boosters were inspired by various boosters from different mecha franchises notably the V.O.B. from Armored Core 4A on the White Glint, Full Armor Unicorn Gundam’s rear boosters, and even the Psycho Zaku from Thunderbolt Gundam. I wanted it to look like actual realistic space boosters that could be jettisoned when fully used up. Due to its weight, I had to add stands on it that also helped balance the entire build.

VII. Finishing Touches

The last part of the build was designing the backpack. Unlike my other reFrame V3 builds with a front opening cockpit, the Explorer actually can open from the rear, easily exposing the Benny minifig. I did this so when I bring the build with me to public displays, I can easily pull back the back assembly and expose the sitting minifig inside. The front chest design can still open but are actually clipped into place at the trapezius. 

A good friend and fellow mecha addict Jet told me to add the red and green lights on the left and right side of the build, similar to the old Classic Spaceships. I had actually researched a bit on the significance of the lights and found out they were to signal which was Port or Starboard. I placed the lights on the arms just before the hands using a 1×1 transparent tile of the appropriate color. 

Post-Build Report

I actually rushed this build to make it to my LUG’s public display in collaboration with the movie’s premiere showing. It was in the cabinet with all the classic space displays were put by our local Science Fiction build group.  

I got to display it a local mall for around 9 days in a locked glass cabinet and on top of a turntable. Surprisingly, the turntable’s batteries lasted the whole duration. 

Fellow local mech builder C. Diaz also gave me a great expansion idea for this and that is to have it merge with a Classic Spaceship and I’m seriously considering it. Something like the Gundam 00 Raiser / Gundam Double X + G Falcon etc. 😛 

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I’ll be displaying this again at a local event this March 16 so feel free to stay tuned to my Facebook page for more details. 

reFRAME v3 Instruction Manual

The reFrame System is a modular brick skeleton aimed to help both new and veternan brick mech builders create their own designs in a consistent size with modular capabilities. It was originally designed to be a basis for all my mechs in the Mech Wars universe. Having gone through a number of upgrades, the V3 reFrame can now house a minifigure pilot in the chest without sacrificing aesthetic or articulation.

If you liked this article then you can help me out create more LEGO mech content by clicking the PayPal donate button below. Your monetary contribution, no matter how big or small, will definitely help me a lot in sustaining this passion 😀 

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  1. An amazing build! Very minimalistic re design of the head build and simple but beautiful chest build! This build also has a lot of detail that attracts attention, truly beautiful!

    1. Author

      aww thank you so much for the feedback 😀

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