The Astrosurfer & The Highway Stars
The Astrosurfer: an atomic-powered intergalactic sports car, accompanied by the hit new space rock band The Highway Stars! This epic futuristic vehicle is detailed and articulated with wheels, rubber tires, hinged doors, reclining seats, and with access to the car’s trunk. On the hood of the car is a metallic minifigure hood ornament, and underneath is a detailed engine. In the rear of the car are two folding jet engines, a set of tailpipes, a spoiler, and an Octan bumper sticker.
Background: this project was initially conceived back in fall 2015, during my long, imaginative train of thought. In late November of 2015, I took some photos of my Futuron minifigs in front of Christmas lights for an artistic bokeh effect. This led me to come up with the idea of taking a group shot of a few spacemen hanging out as friends, accompanied by lyrics from the Ramones song “I Just Want to Have Something to Do.” This soon evolved into the idea of making each of the spacemen as musicians in a fictional band, that was inspired by the music video for the aforementioned song — which starts off with the Ramones playing the song in the back of a car. With this concept in mind, in early December I took a photo of some Futuron minifigs playing instruments in front of Christmas lights. Upon releasing this photo, I was then struck with another bolt of inspiration while watching the music video for Monster Magnet’s “Negasonic Teenage Warhead“: towards the end of the video, the band takes off in a purple classic Buick and flies through space! This idea hit me, and that night I had a dream to build a futuristic space sports car being driven by a rock band — essentially an amalgamation of those videos by the Ramones and Monster Magnet, along with my previous LEGO space photography!
Production for this creation began immediately after Christmas 2015, as I was preoccupied in December with production of my LEGO Nutcrackers and electronic Mega Man sprite. The bulk of this model was completed in the middle of January, but unfortunately I ran into one tiny (yet major) obstacle: I wanted a Classic Space symbol flag for the car’s antenna, however the Collectible Minifigure that contained this particular part wasn’t available in the United States yet. It wasn’t until early February that these figures were available (scarcely) at my local Toys ‘Я’ Us in Whitestone. I felt up all of the packages, and managed to snag the very last astronaut, thus obtaining that seemingly-insignificant flag for the antenna!
The five astronauts are made from authentic Classic Space minifig bodies, hence the noticeable play wear in their insignia. I did however deviate by giving them helmets with color-coordinated visors, as well as contemporary faces. The instruments were from other Collectible Minifigure sets, with the exception of the drum kit. For the car’s design, I initially wanted to build an accurate replica of a 1957 Chevrolet Bel-Air or perhaps a Cadillac Eldorado — but instead, I opted to make an original design of an arbitrary concept. The two-tone color scheme wasn’t intentional: I wanted to make the car solid pink, but had to instead make use with available pieces in the pink/purple color family.
During downtime of the car’s production, I finished a celestial matte painting called The Moth Nebula, intended to use a background. During the photo shoots of this model, I placed the car atop a few LEGO lances attached to a platform, and then subsequently removed them in Photoshop.
A difficult task was coming up with a name for the car and the band. When I took the previous minifig band photo, I referred to the vignette as “Space Truckin'”, along with Deep Purple lyrics from the song in question. In an early phase for this project, I considered calling the band The Space Truckers, and perhaps even making their vehicle a tractor trailer. In which case, we all know how that would have turned out! Some of the names I considered for the vehicle were the Subatomic Spacemaster/Starmaster, but this was scrapped when I learned some of those names were name brands of luxury wrist watches. The idea of having the word “-master” in the title was a reference to the Buick Roadmaster. I ultimately went with Astrosurfer, as a play on words with AstroTurf. For the band’s name, they’re of course named after the hit Deep Purple song “Highway Star.”