While I am on a Classic Space kick, I thought that I would write a bit about a few of my favorite elements from that era. In this post, I will be talking about the Classic Space control panel bricks—at least that is how I think of them. Yes, I know, these came to be used in many other types of sets as well. Still, they evoke Classic Space for me. In this post I will take a look at the original versions beginning in the early 1980s (actually 1979 to be exact).
The new lines introduced a wide range of new building elements, including the new control panel bricks. The new LEGOLAND Space sets were a watershed moment in the evolution of LEGO sets and a huge a step up in design from earlier sets with their much more limited part selection (compare them to sets such as the blocky Moon Landing set still in the LEGO catalogue as of the year before in 1978).
The computer panel bricks were printed 2x2 45 degree bricks, often called “roof” or “slope” bricks which date back to the 1950s. Part 3039, the 45 degree “bevelled” brick was released in 1959. The 3039 element was released in 1979 with new computer panel prints for the LEGOLAND Space theme. There were two different computer panel prints done on the 3039 2x2 brick, and each was done in two different colors. The first sets in 1979 came in both blue and grey (of course, we are talking about the “old” LEGO grey color (before the reformulation to what is typically called now referred to as “light bluish grey”). Later these computer panels would come in white as well and were included in a broad range of town and space sets from 1979 on. The white version was mostly found in town sets and the blue version mostly (but not exclusively) in Space sets. So that makes six different combinations.
Here they are with some more information on their production runs (based on the Bricklink database information):
Slope 45 2x2 with Computer Panel Pattern (Part No. 3039p34) (the “Button Panel”). According to Bricklink, this version had a release period from 1979 through 2001 and appeared in 67 sets. This version has a button panel on the left, a small monitor in the upper right hand corner with a panel of horizontal buttons below in the lower right hand corner.
Slope 45 2x2 with Computer Screen and Right Side Buttons Pattern (Part No. 3039p23) (the “Monitor Panel”). This element was in production from 1979 through 2003 and can be found in 71 sets. It has a larger monitor on the left hand side and three side buttons. And, while I must admit that I have never seen one, it appears that the Monitor Panel element was produced in red in one single set from 1985, the Delivery Center town set (Set No. 6377-1). If you have one in red, I would love to see a photo.
Blue Slope, Inverted 45 2 x 2 with Computer Screen and Left Side Buttons Pattern (Part No. 3660pb01). Of note is that there was actually a version of the inverted control panel that was only produced in 1979 and only appears in two sets from that year (in fact, two versions of the Alpha-1 Rocket Base set from 1979). It is different because the large monitor is on the right hand side when it is mounted, with the buttons on the left. If you have that set with this brick, I would also very much like to get a photo of that brick or any more information about how or why this variant exists.
Well, that concludes our in depth look at some old school control panel elements. If you are aware of any more information about these elements that may be of interest, I would love to get your comments and feedback.