LEGO Time Cruisers – wackier than you could ever dream(Zzz)

While LEGO DREAMZzz might be the wacky new theme that celebrates the power of imagination, the LEGO Group launched something just as out there in the 1990s – Time Cruisers.

The reveal of the new LEGO DREAMZzz sets was met with genuine excitement. All 11 sets are goofy and wacky designs that came directly from a LEGO designer’s wild imagination instead of a movie storyboard, which is refreshing. One feature shared by each set is being able to choose which version of the model inside you’d like to build, once you have most of it constructed.

From the creative, mind-bending 71456 Mrs. Castillo’s Turtle Van to the menacing 71469 Nightmare Shark Ship, it’s rare to see LEGO sets throw away any sense of normalcy and reality in such a profound way. After all, it’s only happened once before – Time Cruisers in 1996 is the only theme to surpass DREAMZzz in terms of sheer wackiness.

Time Cruisers was a Back to the Future-style theme led by Timmy and Dr. Cyber, with the Time Twisters subtheme adding villains and spooky elements to the formula. It featured objects from others LEGO lines, including Castle, Space and Pirates, which were ‘found in time’. Each set also enjoyed a wacky mechanical function (or four, if you count the Time Twisters’ flagship). Here’s a look at a few of the craziest LEGO Time Cruisers sets – two large flagships and one small yet exciting model.

6495 Time Tunnelator

Set image courtesy of Brickset

One thing that puts Time Cruisers ahead of Dreamzzz are the linked technical functions in the builds. Sometimes this is done at the expense of visual appeal, but these mid-1990s sets are charming in their own way. 6495 Time Tunnelator encapsulates everything wacky about the Time Twisters, with a rotating propellor function and flapping wings, actuated by the landing gear wheels. Its blue, black, and brown colour scheme is unique, while the sails make excellent wings. What more could you want from a Time Twisters set?

Manned by Tony Twister, also known as Baron Blomberg, this craft is swift and unstoppable. LEGO sets are deliberately designed, of course, but it’s obvious the sets’ creators were welcome to go in any direction they wished in coming up with concepts. Though the wackiness is comparable to the LEGO Group’s new DREAMZzz theme, there’s nothing quite as bonkers as a propeller plane with flapping wings and jet engines there.

Upgrade your LEGO hobby! If you take out a subscription to Blocks, the monthly LEGO magazine, you’ll get each issue first and at a discount, plus other perks including a free digital subscription and the chance to win LEGO prizes every month.

6494 Magic Mountain Time Lab

Set image courtesy of Brickset

The Time Cruisers flagship set, 6494 Magic Mountain Time Lab, has it all. It’s a folding, inconsistent-looking lab with the backdrop of a massive mountain (made from Big- and Little Ugly Rock Pieces, also known as BURPs and LURPs in the LEGO community). Notice the angular, neon orange classic space windows used on the left hand side of the lab. It’s just one of many relics you’ll find in these sets. It’s next to King Kahuka’s mask, transparent orange skiis and helmet from Ice Planet, as well as a rare chrome sword from castle. It’s full of play features, too, like a building that can ‘blast off’ at the speed of sound.

The set includes Timmy and Dr. Cyber, a classic monkey, a brick-built robot and a skeleton with loose arms. Truth be told, there are only two true minifigures in this set – but five characters in a 504-piece set is something we don’t see often today. On the topic of character – this whole set has a lot of it, and it isn’t afraid to show it. Unlike the modern DREAMZz sets, however, this nutty classic lab may cause dizziness and confusion if you stare at it for too long.

6497 Twisted Time Train

Set image courtesy of Brickset

On the topic of 6495 Time Tunnelator, it was said ‘what more could you want from a Time Twisters set?’ A LEGO designer must have asked this same question before getting to work. 6497 Twisted Time Train is just that – a crazy train (sit down, Ozzy) that travels through time. There’s nothing comparable in DREAMZzz, though 9497 The Ghost Train from Monster Fighters shares an equally cuckoo look with rattling bones and odd train car shapes.

The functions here are as follows – when rolled, the ghost bobs up and down, the chains shake as they’re shifted by the wheels, the telescope spins, and the smokestack rotates and moves upward and downward. How they managed to put such amazing movement into a set we’d hesitate to call a vehicle in the first place is miraculous. The amazing creativity of LEGO Time Cruisers is on full display here – something that DREAMZzz promises to offer plenty more of.

Leave a Reply